The SNP's deal with China is either impressive or not finalised—it cannot be bothby John McTernan / April 8, 2016 / Leave a comment
Scotland has its own foreign policy. Mini-embassies in Washington DC, Toronto, Beijing. Civil servants termed “First Secretaries”—for all the world as if they are diplomats. Documents such as “The Scottish Government’s plan for engagement in the USA” and “The Scottish Government’s plan for engagement in Canada.” They are beyond boring—they are banal, bureaucratic boilerplate. Though, at times, they capture they capture the solipsistic and slightly sinister tone of the Scottish Government.
“Working with China—A Five Year Strategy for Engagement between Scotland and the People’s Republic of China” states that it “provides a framework for any Scottish organisation that wishes to work with China.” Really? I bet RBS, Edinburgh University and Celtic Football Club—to pick just three organisations—are perfectly happy with their own “frameworks.” But the Scottish Government don’t care about either the boredom or mockery which their foreign policy postures provoke. The point is to sound, feel and act like a “Government.” Having the trappings rather than the responsibilities.
This explains why the Scottish Government has boasted about a £10bn foreign direct investment (FDI) deal they have signed with two major Chinese companies in March: SinoFortone and China Railway No. 3 Engineering Group (CR3). The signing of the deal was done in the highly ceremonial setting of Bute House—official residence of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon—and there were official photographs and a press statement with fulsome supportive quotes, not just from principals but from Scottish businesses. Brian Souter from Souter Investments and Malcolm Buchanan, Managing Director of Corporate & Commercial Banking in Scotland and Chair of the Scotland board at RBS, give supportive quotes in a release which opens: