One of the many advantages of becoming independent will mean Scotland will be in charge of its own foreign relations and policy. Currently we are left with no choice as international affairs are not devolved matters. We are represented by Westminster governments whose international priorities do not match our needs in Scotland. The illegal wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples, wars which have caused so much mayhem and bloodshed on all sides-the consequences of which are all too evident for the world to see. These invasions and occupations have cost millions of lives and trillions of pounds. On the contrary an independent Scotland will endeavour to strengthen its relations with the international community through mutual understanding, cooperation and understanding whilst always striving to develop economic opportunities for Scottish business and attracting inward investment. Our priorities will not be based on war and conflict. Instead we will be driven by development, trade and commerce giving us the very realistic opportunity to promote our passion as a friendly and caring nation, always championing international peace. As far as our current international branding is concerned we stand in fifteenth place out of fifty nations according to international comparisons published in 2012. We are near or in some cases ahead of thriving countries like Denmark or Finland. This is a great jumping board for us to seize the opportunity to do even much better for our nation and people by becoming independent. There is untold potential. We possess the necessary expertise required. After independence that expertise will be easily built on by retaining the International Development offices and staff in Glasgow and East Kilbride. Becoming part of the international community Scotland will join the main agencies such as the UN, WTO, OECD, NATO, the Commonwealth and many more which will see us integrated as a key player on the international stage with our own voice backed by our own unique priorities. After winning independence Scotland will make its presence in numerous countries by either opening new embassies or consulates or, where appropriate, sharing with other nations so that our interests are properly and effectively represented. The main objectives of the embassies shall be commercial, governmental, cultural, development and consular. Scottish Asians will be pleased to learn Delhi and Islamabad will host Scottish embassies and can take comfort in the knowledge when next they have to use the services of the Foreign Office to resolve many issues that affect us when we travel to the motherlands it will be the Foreign Office in Edinburgh and not in London they will have assisting them. Another valid reason to Vote Yes!
Councillor Shabbar Jaffri
(Pollok ward, Glasgow)