‘The recently retired UK ambassador to NATO has revealed she is voting yes to Scottish independence and insisted that NATO would welcome the new independent Scottish state.
“I shall be voting yes on September 18,” Dame Mariot Leslie wrote in a letter to The Scotsman. Leslie was born in Edinburgh and retired as the UK’s permanent representative to NATO earlier this year.
Leslie says Scotland’s geography, economy, demography and politics are “so distinctive” that they are best served by their own sovereign government.
She argued an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the nuclear-based defense alliance NATO even if Scotland ended the Trident nuclear program.
“A democratic, non-nuclear Scotland with strong military and technological traditions would fit naturally alongside similar NATO members in Northern Europe,” she wrote.
Explaining her decision to vote in favor of Scottish independence, Dame Mariot describes herself as a “democrat.” She added, “Of course, the closest and most important defense and security relationship for an independent Scotland would be with the United Kingdom.”
Dame Mariot wrote in response to criticism of SNP (Scottish National party) defense plans by General Sir Richard Shirreff, who described them as “dangerous.”
Shirreff, the former NATO deputy supreme allied commander in Europe, called the SNP’s independence proposal “amateurish, unrealistic and lacking any clear strategic purpose.” He also said Scotland’s future in NATO was “uncertain” if it left the UK and expelled nuclear weapons from Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde.
Mariot said she draws “a different conclusion” from Sir Richard.
“I am sure that it would be in Scotland’s interest to join NATO and to continue to anchor our own defense in a wider alliance of Western democracies. But I am also in no doubt that the other 28 NATO allies would see it in their interests to welcome an independent Scotland into NATO.”’