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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is facing claims it is trying to urge foreign newspapers to publish anti-independence articles after correspondence from the British embassy in Madrid, urging newspapers to publish criticisms of Scottish independence, was revealed by a newspaper.
 
According to the Sunday Herald a letter from Simon Montague, director of communications at the embassy, was published in its entirety this month in the English language newspaper, the Tenerife News.  The letter asked the publication to print a Home Office press release citing the "challenges" that will accompany Scotland leaving the Union.

It read: "Dear Editor, Given the likely interest among your British resident audiences - whether Scottish or otherwise - I am forwarding you a press release issued by the Home Office today.

"The paper … explores the challenges which an independent Scottish (sic) could face in assuming control of its borders and considers the difficult choices that the people in Scotland would have to face on issues such as citizenship and nationality.

"It will be a choice between the continuity and security of being part of the UK or the uncertainty and risk of leaving it."

The SNP has slammed the letter and accused the FCO of using its influence in order to try to stir up hostility towards independence overseas.

SNP MP Angus Robertson said: "Our embassies should be promoting our interests abroad but instead, under instruction from the UK Government, they are actively seeking to undermine Scotland.

"This is exactly the kind of behaviour that demonstrates why Scotland must be able to represent our own interests as an independent nation on the world stage.

"That the UK Government is going to these lengths to scaremonger on independence is another indication of how desperate and worried the No campaign has become."

Westminster have waved away the accusations as "nonsense" stating that the FCO frequently assists Scottish ministers with foreign visits in which they promote independence.

A UK Government spokesman said: "The letter in question simply points out the UK Government has published an analysis paper, nothing more.  It is information for people living abroad.

"The UK's embassies work hard for our country's interests, including promoting Scottish trade and protecting Scottish citizens.

"The FCO frequently facilitates overseas visits by Scottish Government ministers where they can promote their policy of independence should they choose."

It emerged last month that the FCO Devolution Unit, set up in 2012, while set up to promote the Scottish government's interests, was now also being used to handle feedback from other nations on the prospect of a Yes vote, assisting Westminster to source allies who can ask questions about Scotland's membership of international bodies such as the EU or NATO in the event of a Yes vote.

Comments  

 
# Marga B 2014-02-10 08:46
Well the Spanish government has sent a 190-page briefing document to all its ambassadors with a negative "script" to use if asked about Catalan independence.

Margallo the minister involved not only defended that in the Spanish parliament, he informs that a further 2 briefs will be issued. He and his staff regularly and openly meet foreign ambassadors informally and formally, briefing them against Catalan independentism.

It seems Spanish absolutism, state nationalism and faux-democracy is an attractive model for the UK government - maybe they are short of other ideas.
 
 
# Johnston 2014-02-10 09:36
This level of foreign involvement must at the end of the day undermine Scotland in the oversea markets. This at the end of the day will amke it harder for Scotland to trade abroad. Yet again the Unionists damaging Scotland's present and long term interest abroad.

Vote yes for a new Britain.
Vote yes for a new democracy.
Vote yes for sovereignty.
Vote yes for social justice.
 
 
# Mac 2014-02-10 11:09
Love bombing must mean something different to unionists.

Scots are now being offered a hand of friendship from unionist politicians whilst being slapped in the face with the other; and all the time our feet are being burned by Whitehall, be it the FCO, the MOD, or other department telling scary tales or twisting others' arms to talk Scotland down.

Westminster doesn't really care about Scots or Scotland. Half the country could slip back into the ocean and no one inside the M25 would give a damn. The diminishing of the UK on the world stage and the loss of oil revenues are all that matters to the Westminster and Whitehall elites.
 
 
# Christian_Wright 2014-02-11 03:55
So clearly, even after being rumbled last week for strong-arming of 34 nations to oppose Scottish independence, Cameron and his Bullingdon wide boys, are still doing the dirty on a grand scale.

We know now were all those uniformly negative analyses in the foreign press originate. They are lifted straight from anti-Scottish briefs like this.

It was Cameron who just last Friday told the world how much he loved and respected us. Who only three short days ago, told us the referendum was strictly a matter for the Scots to decide. Who with gravitas and moment of purpose assured us there would be no interference from him. No siree, Bob, not our David. Uh-uh.

I don’t think the man has any intimacy with the truth.. He’s all chutzpah and brass neck.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

The question for the Scottish electorate is: How do you trust a proven liar?
 

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