Foreigners “in awe” of Britain claims Hague as SNP hit out at latest anti-independence speech


  By a Newsnet reporter
Conservative MP William Hague has come under attack for deciding to come to Scotland to make an anti-independence speech instead of concentrating on the situation in Syria.
The SNP has also suggested the Foreign Secretary should address “the arsenal of nuclear weapons” stored on the Clyde, which are only 30 minutes from Scotland’s largest city rather than trying to lecture Scots.

In his speech, Hague claimed that many foreign countries are “baffled” by the desire for Scottish independence and that foreign countries are “in awe” of Britain.  The Tory MP also claimed that gatherings like the G8 summit are “tangible proof” of the benefits of the Union .

In a speech in Edinburgh, Mr Hague told an audience: “Travelling from Afghanistan to Brazil, and from Canada to Australia, I encounter bafflement that anyone would try to break up a union that has been so resilient, so successful and so admired as ours.”

He added: “Not only is Scotland safer in the UK, but the UK is one of the world’s leading nations in human rights, development and trade because we stand strongly together: a force for good in the world, with the ability to protect the interests of our citizens at home and abroad.”

On how other nations saw the UK, he said: “When outsiders look at the United Kingdom, they see one of the world’s most successful examples of stable democratic government, economic development and diplomatic influence.

“They speak in awe of our institutions, our civil service, and our legal systems.”

However SNP Westminster Leader and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Angus Robertson MP hit back and said the Conservative Minister should be “occupied with events unfolding in Syria” rather than coming to Scotland to lecture Scots

He also highlighted the nuclear weapons currently housed in Scotland and added:

“The test for William Hague is if he will mention the arsenal of nuclear weapons the UK government have in place on the Clyde, 30 minutes from Scotland’s largest city, despite the majority of Scots being vehemently opposed.

“Or the UK’s role in Iraq- an illegal war which cost the lives of over 100 000 civilians.  Or maybe, the recent rendition flights reportedly using Scottish airports- against domestic and international law.

“Or will the Tory minister talk about the UK’s role in the EU- which his party has left in jeopardy?

“150 countries have become independent since 1945 and countries around the world more than understand the principle of being responsible for your own decisions.  As an independent country Scotland will be one of richest countries in world and we will play an active part in the world. As the achievements of other countries show influence is not about size, it’s about working together and how you use the powers that you have.

“Independence offers us the opportunity to make Scotland’s place in the world one that meets the aspirations of our people.”