Scotland is set for a referendum on independence. More than likely it will take place in the autumn of 2014, meaning that the United Kingdom could be dissolved in 2015. This would end the union which was formed in 1707 and result in an independent Scotland and what is being called the RUK—or Residual United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
British journalist Tim Judah looks at what this means for foreign and defense policy. The key issues are Scotland and the European Union, the fate of the UK’s Trident nuclear missiles, defense policy in general and the standing of the RUK. Would Scottish independence mean it had left the EU or would it still be inside? What will happen to Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles, which are based in Faslane in Scotland? Will Scotland leave NATO, which is the policy of Scotland’s ruling Scottish National Party?
After interviewing key people in London and Edinburgh, Judah visits Aberdeen, the beneficiary of Scotland’s oil wealth. He also considers Elgin, farming and whisky country, but also a place where thousands of local jobs are dependent on two military bases there which have just been saved from closure. If Scotland becomes independent what will happen to the bases? Will they close because the British military will leave or will a Scottish military take them over? And what does a local whisky maker have to say about independence? Judah also considers the mood of Scotland. He visits the fabulously refurbished Scottish National Portrait Gallery and asks what it says about how the country feels about itself today.