05 March 2012

Our panglossian First Minister

Perhaps the First Minister is being slightly ambitious in his quest.  According to The Guardian, Mr Salmond stated:
"I think it is important when we come to the referendum in 2014 people will have an exact proposition on independence, which I pledge to give. All of the questions [will be] answered to people's satisfaction.
Aye well, that would indeed be nice.  But, instead, we will be asked to vote on independence without knowing the full terms and conditions which will apply.  We may know what Mr Salmond's starting position on the negotiations would be, for example on the repartition of the UK's national debt but we will not know the outcome of those negotiations.  Similarly, Mr Salmond may assert that, as a successor state to the UK, Scotland would retain its EU membership.  But that is far from guaranteed, so there will remain uncertainties, not least because, successor state or not, a new EU Treaty would be required, demanding the unanimous agreement of all the other member states.

That is not an argument against having a referendum on independence, merely an acknowledgement that not all of the relevant questions will have been answered.

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