15 October 2012

The known unknowns

In two years time, we shall have the opportunity to vote for Scottish independence.  Will it be an informed choice?  I doubt it.

Essentially, we shall be deciding whether the SNP should be allowed to begin the process of negotiations leading to independence.  Both sides will tell us their version of what is likely to happen if we choose to go down the road of independence but there are likely to be huge differences in the scenarios that they put before us.

Would an independent Scotland be an automatic member of the EU or would we have to submit a formal application?  Either way, there would have to be Treaty changes, so that the outcome would be dependent upon the agreement of all the Member States.  Both sides of the independence debate will produce legal and political arguments for and against but the issues will not be resolved before the referendum.

What currency would we use?  Again, nationalists will say one thing while unionists will say another.  There might be some form of tentative agreement between the sides on the way forward but don’t bet on it.

How much of the UK’s national debt would Scotland inherit?  How much of the oil?  How much of the defence establishment?  Would Scotland be able to get rid of trident submarines?  You may ask politicians on both sides but don’t expect a clear-cut answer.

If Scotland were to remain part of the UK, would we be offered more devolution?  If so, how much more and how soon?  Would it be a UK led by a Tory or a Labour government?  Would it be a UK playing a full part in the EU or standing on the sidelines?

So, should we or should we not vote for independence?  How can we tell?

1 comment:

Richard Thomas said...

If Cameron's pandering to his Tory europhobes through some form of referendum of Europe, the timing of this is crucial to our own vote on the union. If we vote yes to independence then presumably we don't get to vote in any UK wide referendum - or do we? If we vote to stay in the union, would a negative vote on Europe justify the re-opening of the whole union question shouldit emerge that scots are not as europhbic as the english?