A BLOG post from a UK Government adviser, arguing there are “no reasons” to believe an independence Scotland wouldn’t be economically successful, has been deleted after The National ran a story on it.

The post, published on the London School of Economics British Politics and Policy website, was co-authored by Geoffrey Chapman who advises the Department for International Trade on economics.

In the piece, he examined the financial viability of a Yes vote and the ways an independent Scotland could achieve international recognition even if Westminster rejects the results of a referendum.

The SNP has vowed to hold a new independence referendum if a pro-Yes majority is elected at May’s Holyrood vote – Boris Johnson and other senior government figures are adamant that it is not the right time for a new ballot, arguing the 2014 referendum was once in a generation.

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Chapman’s blog was at odds with this UK Government line, and the Tory messaging that Scottish independence would be economically damaging.

He and co-author Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott, of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, argued that if Westminster does not give consent for indyref2, Scotland could “attempt unilateral secession from the UK, which would arguably flout constitutional law and make the applicable international law more relevant”.

They went on: “At present, Scotland satisfies all the international legal criteria for statehood, with one exception: it lacks the formal authority to enter into foreign relations, even though it has the literal ability to do so. Consequently, if Scotland demonstrated independence from UK authority in the course of conducting international relations, Scotland would be more likely recognised as a state by other states and international organisations.

“Furthermore, if voting at the UN General Assembly is anything to go by, we see no immediate reasons why other states would side with a UK position (assuming it opposed secession).”

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On the economic impact of independence, the post looks at the example of the Slovak Republic and Czech Republic’s “Velvet Divorce” – in which both countries were able to grow real GDP per capita despite higher trade costs. The authors said Scotland could do likewise.

Concluding the post, the pair wrote: “Considering Scotland has all the necessary machinery in place to become an independent state, we see no obvious reasons why Scotland would not succeed economically if it were to do so, especially if achieved within the bounds of the law.

The National:

“Although our findings might be controversial to some, we hope to show that Scottish independence, while not inevitable, is far more nuanced a matter than many have claimed. There exist several options worth pursuing for the parties to this debate.”

Shortly after The National published our story on the adviser’s blog post, the newspaper was made aware that the piece had been taken down.

The link that previously led to the article now takes you to a “content not found” page on the London School of Economics and Political Science website (above).

The National understands the blog post was taken down at the request of the authors. 

The National:

Late last night, a UK Government spokesperson told The National: “This is not the view of the Department for International Trade or the UK Government, and the matter is being looked into."

SNP and Green representatives Keith Brown (above) and Lorna Slater had welcomed the authors' findings.

Brown, the SNP depute leader, said the report had shown Scotland needs “the powers of independence to make the most our huge potential”.

Meanwhile, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said the report shows strong links between Scotland and the EU. She added: “If Scotland is to flourish as a new nation we can't just create a little Britain with centralised power, a broken democracy and a reliance on fossil fuels.”

You can view the original blog post via the Internet Archive.