The Scottish MI5 station will change to MI6. And you know what MI6 does!’ Understanding the hidden politics of intelligence in Scotland’s independence referendum debate

Atkinson, C. (2015) The Scottish MI5 station will change to MI6. And you know what MI6 does!’ Understanding the hidden politics of intelligence in Scotland’s independence referendum debate. Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies, 21, pp. 5-19.

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Abstract

The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence disclosed contrasting perspectives on the nature of a prospective intelligence relationship between an independent Scotland and other nations, particularly the remainder of the United Kingdom (UK). The Scottish Government maintained that intelligence sharing would be in the best interests of both Scotland and the UK. The UK Government, however, raised concerns about the nature and extent of an independent Scotland’s intelligence relationships with both the UK and other international partners. Based on documentary analysis and first-hand qualitative fieldwork undertaken in 2014 this article argues that to fully understand the implications of Scottish independence upon prospective intelligence liaison it is necessary to differentiate between intelligence sharing and intelligence cooperation. Although limited by the ‘control principle’ and national interests an independent Scotland would almost certainly receive intelligence from the UK on an ad hoc basis; particularly if there was an imminent threat. Establishing routine intelligence sharing, and deeper forms of cooperation, would depend upon the specialist contribution or capability Scotland could make to its prospective partners. Whilst some such scope exists in relation to the UK, an independent Scotland would most likely encounter greater challenges in establishing cooperation with, or membership of, the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Atkinson, Dr Colin
Authors: Atkinson, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies
Publisher:The Scottish Association for the Study of Offending
ISSN:1360-4449

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