In its grand, exciting vision of an “independent” Scotland, the SNP depicts our nation as a state where the Scottish people will be in charge, dedicated to our national wellbeing, and will call the shots. There will be fewer taxes, no illegal wars, no nuclear weapons defiling our beautiful country. We will be able to make a massive contribution to world affairs, as an equal partner with the other nations.
Before we can confidently anticipate these attractive prospects, however, certain questions require answers.
Do we accept First Minister Alex Salmond’s belief that Scotland’s place in the European Union will be assured, to our national benefit? If so, critics would argue that consequential subjugation to the EU does not represent true independence.
What about Scotland’s share, about £100 billion, of UK debts, or £20,000 for every man, woman and child in Scotland? How can we ever pay that off, with interest, without further debts, and with lower taxes?
Even if our beautiful country is no longer to be defiled by nuclear weapons, wind turbines – now widely recognised as very feeble and intermittent generators of electric power – are at present defiling our countryside and depleting our finances in installation programmes which are to be supplemented by offshore arrays of unknown efficacy and reliability but certain vast costs.
What fully adequate electricity generating reserves are there when days are calm and cold in winter? What plans have Scottish Government ministers to exploit the likely, vast shale gas reserves under our land? A nation’s wealth depends in large part on exploitation of its resources, but they have been rather silent on this topic.
Also, Alex Salmond’s presently favourable view of the monarchy is not shared by many SNP members. What guarantee can there be of the avoidance of a “Scottish republic”, locked into the EU rather than as a free nation?
In short, what detailed confirmation can the SNP leadership offer that the prospects for our nation are as positive as they claim, if a majority vote “Yes” in a year’s time?
(Dr) Charles Wardrop