Scotland politics

Lib Dem's Malcolm Bruce said 'don't cut historic ties'

Malcolm Bruce
Image caption Malcolm Bruce takes on the independence question during his conference speech

The Scottish Liberal Democrat president believes it is quite extraordinary that the SNP would want Scotland to cut its historic ties with the UK.

Malcolm Bruce made the comment in his Inverness conference speech.

He warned that an independent Scotland risked joining South Ossetia, Kashmir and Chechnya in "a growing list of tiny countries nursing their grievances".

The Gordon MP questioned why the SNP would wish to "disassociate" Scotland from UK institutions such as the BBC.

Mr Bruce told the party faithful that a recent visit to the new nation of South Sudan had led him to reflect on independence movements around the world.

He asked: "Do we really want the world to break up into a growing list of tiny countries nursing their grievances through the international community?

"Indeed divergences can be magnified when countries go their separate ways. Consider Czechoslovakia. Since Slovakia seceded, the GDP per capita of the Czech Republic has risen to 25,600 while Slovakia's stands at 16,288 with higher unemployment and inflation.

"There are currently recognised to be 196 states in the world with about 50 with varying degrees of aspiration to join them.

"Alex Salmond says he doesn't want Scotland to be better than other countries but equal. But where does that end? Scotland cannot be equal to the United States anymore than Montenegro or Malta can be equal even with British Columbia or New South Wales."

He added: "Does it really make sense to have 200 separate nations to quarrel with each other and to waste our precious and fast diminishing resources?"

Mr Bruce cited Russia's 100,000 outstanding cases at the European Court of Human Rights and the claim that "there are now more KGB trained agents in positions of power than was ever the case under the Soviet Union".

He added: "Before you begin to consider the economically uncertain world in which we live and in which the SNP want to cut Scotland adrift, this is the confused international background we face.

"It is quite extraordinary that we should be considering cutting historic ties and launching ourselves into this maelstrom."

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