When it comes to the intersection of politics, finance, and European history, there’s nobody better to listen to than the renowned investor George Soros.
Soros wrote the indispensable essay during the worst of the eurozone’s economic crisis back in 2012.
Now, in a new essay, Soros has now weighed in on the Scottish independence referendum — coming up on Sept. 18 — arguing that now would be the worst possible time for Scotland to leave the U.K. (and for the U.K. to leave the E.U., which is also a possibility down the road).
The gist is that Europe, a key keeper of order since World War II, is under renewed threat, and has been turning inward. And that Scottish independence would accelerate Europe’s pulling back from the world.
This is the worst possible time for Britain to consider leaving the EU — or for Scotland to break with Britain.
The EU is an unfinished project of European states that have sacrificed part of their sovereignty to form an ever-closer union based on shared values and ideals. Those shared values are under attack on multiple fronts. Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine is perhaps the most immediate example but it is by no means the only one. Resurgent nationalism and illiberal democracy are on the rise within Europe, at its borders and around the globe.
Soros does acknowledge one factor that would justify independence, and that is if the U.K. decides to leave the E.U. in 2017:
Only if Britain fails to resolve its differences with the EU, and if the pro-European Scots (having voted to remain within the UK) thus find themselves unwillingly excluded from Europe in 2017, would there be just cause for Scots to call for a new referendum. If it comes to that, Scotland will be in a different position — one that could legitimise a split.
But to vote for independence from the UK now would be to prematurely surrender Scottish leverage in London, and Britain’s leverage in the world.
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