“I nonetheless have affection for the UK, am proud to have been a British diplomat for more than three decades, and have enjoyed working with our highly professional armed forces and security agencies.”
The newly retired UK ambassador to NATO has divulged she is voting yes to Scottish independence and maintains the Alliance would welcome an independent Scottish state.
Dame Mariot Leslie's views are in contrast with those of former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Sir Richard Shirreff, who recently described the SNP’s defence policy as “dangerous” and “amateurish” and said Scotland’s future in NATO was “uncertain” if it left the UK and expelled the Trident nuclear weapon system from the Clyde.
Dame Mariot, who was born in Edinburgh and retired as the UK’s permanent representative to NATO earlier this year, said she drew “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 defence in a wider alliance of Western democracies,” she said in a letter to the Scotsman newspaper.
“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.
“No ally would wish to interrupt the integrated NATO defence arrangements in the North Sea and North Atlantic – least of all at a time of heightened tension with Russia.
“A democratic, non-nuclear Scotland with strong military and technological traditions would fit naturally alongside similar NATO members in northern Europe, and would be likely to join them – and the UK – in looking for multinational solutions to the pressures on their defence budgets.
“Comparisons with Ukraine and Georgia are out of place. There is no ‘queuing order’ for membership of NATO. Each candidature, and its timing, is considered separately on its own merits by the NATO council. I shall be voting Yes on 18 September.
“I am a democrat, and believe that the geography, economy, demography and politics of our country are so distinctive that they are best served by our own sovereign government.