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Arctic Yearbook 2012
The paper ends with a brief evaluation of the costs and benefits of preparing a formal strategy and
concludes that whether or not such is developed and published, some kind of coherent approach to
the Arctic is wanting in Scotland.
Why Scotland?
The current Scottish Parliament was created by the Scotland Act 1998 of the United Kingdom
Parliament in Westminster. Under it, certain matters are reserved for Westminster and any attempts
by the Scottish Parliament to pass law on these will be
ultra vires
and hence ineffective (s. 28(2)(b)).
The reserved matters are outlined in Schedule 5 of the Act and these include “international relations
including relations with territories outside the UK, the European Communities… and other
international organisations” (Scotland Act, Schedule 5, Part I, s.7(1)) and military defence, including
naval, military and air forces (Scotland Act, Schedule 5, Part I, s. 9(1)). For these reasons, issues of
military security and search and rescue are not extensively covered in this analysis although they
would be prime candidates for a UK strategy. Most energy governance is likewise reserved for
Westminster, pointedly the oil and gas supplies lying off Scotland’s shores. But, nuclear aside,
renewable energy is not reserved in the Scotland Act and cooperation in this field is considered
below (Scotland Act, Schedule 5, Part II, Head D).
The pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) majority government intends to hold a
referendum on independence in 2014, possibly with an additional option of enhanced devolution
(Scottish Government, 2012). Increased devolution and even full independence would impact both
the contents and tone of any Scotland Arctic strategy, most notably on military security. However, as
both these possibilities remain hypothetical and in any event, are some years off, they remain outside
the scope of this article.
Under the leadership of the SNP, Scotland has already drawn up a broad International Framework,
as well as more detailed plans for the USA and Canada, effectively “strategies” with defined
objectives, areas for action, planned actions, and follow-up
(Scottish Government, 2008; Scottish
Government, 2010c; Scottish Government, 2010d). Less developed
plans for India and Pakistan
have also been developed (Scottish Government, 2010a; Scottish Government 2010b).
In the
International Framework, Scotland looks to its “comparators” in the “Arc of Prosperity” (Denmark,
Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and Norway) as exemplars of high educational and economic achievement
(Scottish Government, 2008, para. 19(2)). Scotland’s International Framework was published in April