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Sun 14 Sep 2014 10:55 AM

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Independence would be bad for Scottish expats, says Dubai's top Scot

Chieftain of the Dubai Caledonian Society is advocating a no vote in the September 18 referendum

Independence would be bad for Scottish expats, says Dubai's top Scot
In this photo illustration, pound coins are placed on a Union Jack flag on August 20, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. First Minister Alex Salmonds, chief economic adviser has insisted Scotland has viable options for its currency if there is a yes vote in the independence referendum on September the18th. (Getty Images)

Scottish independence would be bad for expatriates residents in the region as there are too many economic uncertainties in breaking away from the United Kingdom, Dubai's top Scot told Arabian Business.

While expatriates and those not resident in Scotland are banned from casting a vote in the Scottish independence referendum on September 18, John Harley, chieftain of the Dubai Caledonian Society, said he is advocating a no vote and is hoping that Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"I am on the British side, I think it is better for
us to stay together. Everyone needs to be part of an umbrella and the debate has been
very disappointing from both sides. There are too many black holes, particularly in a
business sense, there is no form of security or planning. The Yes vote is based on speculation and ‘what if?’
and, as anyone in business knows, in negotiation two sides can say one thing or
another but once the hard facts are there it will be very difficult," Harley said.

He rejects the notion that Scottish voters having been waiting for hundreds of years to achieve independence from English rule: "The is too simplistic an argument. Scots have always been
Scots, like Welsh and Northern Irish, we are part of the UK umbrella and if you
look at the 300 years it has done very well. The UK punches above its weight in the world
economically and politically," he said, adding it would be like Dubai deciding to seek independence from the UAE.

However, he believes the vote is a lot closer then people believe and said there are vast parts of central Scotland that are
traditional Labour voters and they will likely come out in force against remaining under control from the London Westminster government. "This thing of 16 years being able to vote has
also thrown in another unknown factor into it. I would suggest 16 year olds don’t
quite think too much about the future but about the present," he added.

Closer to home in the Gulf, Harley believes an independent Scotland would be bad news for Scottish expats. "It will have a big impact for expatriates in the
Gulf. There are three types: those working for a Scottish
company, which will be thrown in a quandary in terms of currency, taxation and
raw materials. Those that own their own businesses will wonder
should they put money back home into pension schemes and those sort of things. And from a business point of view, which passport and
what backup will there be for the community. Will they have the backup of the
British embassies?

"Will Scotland be able to afford to duplicate those
sort of things? That takes time and there will be a degree of uncertainty. Total independence would be bad but I agree with
devolution and a more federal type system. The population is only about 8 percent of the
UK economy so it needs to be part of something with more strength," he concluded.

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Mick 6 years ago

Glasgow wanting to secede from Scotland would be like Dubai , the city, wanting to leave UAE or Quebec wanting to leave Canada is like Dubai, the Emirate, wanting to leave UAE which has tried numerous times and failed but Scotland wanting to be under its own steam may be a noble idea and, perhaps, foolhardy but why should we assume that long term failure is inevitable. Many countries have split apart from under a giant evil and controlling umbrella and succeeded. No doubt England will make life as difficult as possible for Scotland, if they achieve independance.

who2 6 years ago

I dont believe anyone is assuming anything. It could be very successful or a total failure, but that is the joy of voting in a referendum.

However I am not so sure people realise this isnt just a vote for 5 years as in an election, but for ever.

The consequences of Salmond for ever, has made my mind up very easily!

Mark X 6 years ago

The English has broken many countries in the rest of the world to many smaller bits and pieces, sometimes meaning no sense. This was entirely for their own benefits, "Divide & Rule".

Now, they themselves are being broken from within. How does it feel?

JBull Esq. 6 years ago

I'm sure the GBP 17.6bn p.a. net flow of taxpayers' money North of the Border will help ease the pain. And if times get tough we've always got the mineral rights attaching to the Falkland Islands to fall back on. Thanks for your concern though.

Doug 6 years ago

What a ridiculous scaremongering article from someone on the Better Together side. Belittling Scotland and happy for it to remain a mere lapdog of the Westminster government - being dragged into illegal wars in countries for the benefit of the US and the Westminster elite. The best people to rule Scotland are the Scots - nobody else.
The comments of 'the consequences of Salmond forever, has made my mind up very easily!' just goes to highlight the ignorance of what this referendum is. The referendum is a vote for Scotland to be a free sovereign nation - yes or no. Not a vote for the SNP or for Salmond. The new Scottish government will be voted upon once Scotland is due to secede from the UK - this could be a government of any political party - labour, lib dem, snp, greens (prob not tories though hahaha).
I hope that on the 19th Sep I wake up to find that I am waking up to a brave new future for a free and independent Scotland free from the warmongers of the Westminster government

procan 6 years ago

Well where else in the wide world would places like Scotland and Quebec be given the chance to peacefully and in a open and clear question be given the chance to separate from there current counties I salute UK and my own Canada for there openness and allowing for freedom of choice. That been said I pray that the United Kingdom remain united the same way Canada and Quebec have. I support the right for all people to choose. Let the people vote!

marcus 6 years ago

As an English man (with scottish and irish heritage) i sat on the sidelines for a while and now but i am personally fed up with the unrestrained bile of the independent movement. having taken a straw pole of other English, here it is; please vote yes. we welcome the jobs coming south in ship building and banking, it will do our economy good, as it will according to Yes Scotlands economy too - so win, win. Should the yes win please keep in mind 2 things; no remaining UK politician will keep their jobs if they don't do whats best for the UK by getting the jobs back and if you think you didnt like being ruled by westminster wait till you enter a one party state that Scotland will become for at least the next three elections.

The Consultant 6 years ago

Doug, if your primary concern is being free from "the warmongers of Westminster" then that's up to you. However most voters' primary concerns are economic. With that in mind, ask yourself this: If you create an international border between Scotland and its biggest export market (England) do you think that will make it harder or easier for Scottish businesses to sell their products? If every UK-wide supermarket and high street store has to set up a new company in Scotland, with separate requirements for audit, tax, employment law, possibly a separate currency, not to mention the fact that every shipment of inventory from an English warehouse to a Scottish store has just become an international transaction, do you think this would raise or lower the cost of doing business in Scotland? And would that encourage or discourage English businesses from setting up new operations in Scotland (and vice versa) in the future?

Mark X 6 years ago

@JBull Esq, sooner or later you will be kicked out of Falklands, as it is not yours.

FF_DXB 6 years ago

@MarkX – Sure, keep telling yourself that. After all, you made such a good job of it last time around...