Thursday, 11 September 2014

Scottish Independence - Unanswered Questions

So here we are, less than a week away from the Scottish Independence vote .... so what are the questions the voters should wrestle with?

Well here's a few that would be on my mind if I still lived in Scotland:

Currency: If not the £Pound Sterling (GBP), then what? A well explored question, but hardly definitively answered by Alex Salmond who has simply waffled on about:

(a) 'We are entitled to keep the Pound.'
(b) 'They can't stop us using it.'
(c) 'We will cry, and not pay our debts if they stop us using it.'
(d) 'Maybe we can use the Pound like the Panamanians use the US dollar?'
(e) 'Using the Pound doesn't make us a colony!'

Politics: What sort of politics would an independent Scotland be going to have? The Scottish Conservative party will simply be wiped out, or totally irrelevant - even though they attract about 14% of the devolved election vote (SNP 45%, Labour 32%, Libs 8%), and up to 17% of the Westminster election vote (SNP 20%, Labour 45%, Libs 19%). Which just leaves Scotland with three left leaning parties .... a very strange type of politics, where the Scottish Labour Party may be the least left-wing party?

European Union: Someone is going to have to apply to enter the EU, and apparently it won't be the rump UK (which is a pity as it would solve the problem of the EU referendum, because we would never vote to join again), but that means that even if 'fast-tracked', for at least 18 months Scotland would be outside the EU and not guaranteed to be allowed in ..... something it really needs to stay solvent (EU subsidies to replace lost UK funds).

Borders: If Scotland is outside the EU, then England has to put up border crossings and start applying immigration controls .... it has no choice, that's EU law. This also means that there will no free movement of goods and money between Scotland and the EU (including the rump UK).  However even if the SNP manage to get some sort of waiver on the border issue, while awaiting entry into the EU on some sort of fast track, what many fail to realise is that Scotland's exit from the Union, would make the likelihood of rump UK leaving the EU itself in a referendum, all the more likely, thus reintroducing the questions of borders again with Scotland in the EU and rump UK now out.

Passports: What passport will Scots now use? They can't carry on using UK/British passports, so will need a new one issuing immediately, before the Scots can travel anywhere. Then the questions arise, who qualifies for these passports? Anyone living in Scotland on a certain day, (including Poles and English etc living there), or will there be racist policies to discriminate against non-Scottish residents and only give them to those 'born in Scotland' .... but then what about those Scots living in England, or their children? This is one of the most tricky of the unanswered questions, as the SNP have already *disenfranchised all Scots resident in England from the independence vote, but presumably can't do the same for passports?

*Of the 26-man Scotland football squad named for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Germany on the 7th of September, only four players are eligible to vote in the referendum ... ironically even Gordon Strachan, the Scotland manager doesn't qualify. There are estimated to be 830,000 Scots living in the rest of the UK who are not qualified to vote, and who will like the rest of the players, go from living in our country – Britain – to being a foreigner, a Scottish person in rump UK. This situation will equally apply to the 400,000 English living in Scotland ..... there is also whiff of borderline racism in the background to this debate, as an anti-english streak has always been inherent in Scottish society, and this has been stirred up again in the current campaigning.   

The Big Questions Not Answered

There are no doubt many more such questions, but these are enough to make me wonder about the anti-independence campaign led by Alistair Darling, because of these questions, only the Pound has been exploited .... dumb. Personally I think we are stronger together than apart, but eventually we will now split, because the SNP's deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon has already said that they will just keep asking until the Scottish public 'get it right' with another vote in five years time, and then again until they win.

Ah well, ultimately its up to the Scots, and only the Scots ... oh, and all the other residents of Scotland, but not the Scots living elsewhere, so we shall just have to wait and see. Lets hope that Mr Darling and his team don't later rue not questioning Mr Salmond, on the other issues outside of the pound.

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