A lot of people ask me about the referendum on Scottish independence due to be held next year. What I think isn’t important compared with what the United States government thinks. Only the most naive can think that the Americans don’t have an interest in the result. Scotland has two things of great import to the United States – oil and a nuclear weapons base. Now that the US is supposedly heading for oil self-sufficiency, thanks to the controversial “fracking” extraction process, oil may not be as key an interest as it once was but is still important. The Britain’s nuclear warheads are carried on American Trident missiles. The British independent nuclear deterrent is not really that independent. I’ve often wondered what kind of safeguard the Americans have to prevent the British using their missiles to launch a nuclear attack that they didn’t approve of. Now it is very very unlikely that the British poodle would do that, but Scottish independence could be a game-changer. Governments do not like uncertainty, instability, or wild cards. American influence on next year's vote has so far remained subtle and unobtrusive. The Americans are not stupid and they will recognise that overt interference could tip the balance of the Scottish independence vote against their perceived interests. Perhaps they are still waiting to see if intervention is necessary. But if they do decide their interests are threatened, I for one will be very surprised if they don’t do something. Perhaps something very subtle but very effective.