David K Allan (Letters 26 December), in response to my earlier letter, poses some questions of supporters of a Yes vote in the referendum that he considers “vital” to the decision-making of anyone with a “reasonable mind”.
Without detailed analyses of arguments around the economic case itself, which has moved substantially in favour of an independent Scotland since the McCrone Report was kept from public view 40 years ago, the answers to Mr Allan’s questions are still largely straightforward. The currency will initially be sterling and the terms (read economic restrictions) agreed with the Bank of England will determine how quickly, or how slowly, Scotland moves to establishing its own currency or to possibly joining the euro.
Uncertainty over Scotland’s continuing membership of the EU could immediately be diminished if the Westminster government were to formally request a ruling on this subject; the fact this action has not occurred should be clear evidence to most objective observers that this is not seriously in doubt. What would certainly be in doubt, though, would be the terms on which such membership could be sustained. Again, should these terms seem to be too rigorous in the view of the Scottish Government then, as an independent country, Scotland could leave the EU and, if desired, join another international trade organisation, such as the European Free Trade Association.
The question over Nato membership raises fundamental issues of principle that could prove difficult to compromise, but as with currency and EU membership, both parties can gain from an agreement on membership that reflects considerate terms – as have already been achieved by some members. Mr Allan’s question about who would be head of state is perhaps somewhat disingenuous because there have been few arguments put forward in public on discontinuing the monarchy, although it is accepted that some will become more active in the long term in arguing the case for a republic (as is likely throughout the rUK).
Would there be a fully elected Upper House? It is interesting that Mr Allan would ask this question because he must know that the prospects of this development are much more likely in an independent Scotland and if greater democracy is genuinely his primary concern, then he should vote Yes to give Scots more direct control over their own affairs.
David Allan writes (Letters, 26 December) to take Stan Grodynski to task on the issue he raised concerning “narrow and one-sided” contributions to the independence debate. In making the comments he does, Mr Allan unconsciously completes the circle of irony.
By posing the questions he does about the pound, the euro, membership of the European Union and membership of Nato, Mr Allan demonstrates comprehensively that he simply has not bothered to keep up to speed with the debate, as he has already made up his mind.
For Mr Allan’s information, if we vote for independence, as more than one Scotsman commentator has opined, Westminster will bluster, but will find a way to accommodate a monetary union. We will be accepted as a member of the EU. We will be accepted as a non-nuclear member of Nato. We will not need a border control between Scotland and England. We will have a constitutional monarchy. We will not have a House of Lords. The First Minister will be the leader of the party with an elected majority in the Scottish Parliament or, failing that, the leader of a governing coalition.
My position is, if you are happy to read the scare stories from “Project Fear”, at least take the time to read the responses and rebuttals from the Yes camp before you rush into print.
David K. Allan, as others before him, seeks firm answers on various matters prior to the referendum. However, the questions he lists will not be decided on legal or technical grounds but by negotiation with the other parties involved, and they have declined to enter into prior discussions.
In the case of the UK government, this is a good tactic for, as Mr Allan’s letter exemplifies, uncertainty is a potent weapon in the armoury of the No camp. As for the others, they apparently feel they cannot deal with an entity that does not yet exist.
Of course, a No vote is no guarantee that all will continue as at present. For instance, the Prime Minister is determined to seek changes in the European Union and the UK’s relationship with it, and his stance will be influenced by how well Ukip does in next year’s European elections. We live in uncertain times but, no doubt, whatever happens in these islands or elsewhere, some modus vivendi will be cobbled together.
One thing that can be stated with certainty is that in the event of a Yes vote, the negotiating status of the Scottish Government would be transformed.