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As it happened: Webchat with Yes Scotland’s Blair Jenkins

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins. Picture: PA

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins. Picture: PA

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the Yes Scotland campaign, yesterday claimed independence would ease tensions between Holyrood and Westminster, during a live webchat on scotsman.com

Answering questions from Scotsman readers and website users, Mr Jenkins predicted the often frosty relationship between the two parliaments would thaw in the event of a Yes vote.

In an hour-long session, he answered about 20 questions on a variety of issues.

QUESTION FROM PERIKLIS THEOLOGIDIS: What currency will we use after a Yes vote? Euro, pound or an alternative?

ANSWER: Scotland will continue to use the pound just as we do now and the details of how that will work will be spelled out before the referendum.

Q FROM CAROL: Why should the Yes campaign abide by the Electoral Commission ruling on the Question, when the UK government is refusing to abide by its ruling on the 
pre-negotiations?

AI think the commission have gone through a very fair and thorough process and I am entirely satisfied with the question they are recommending. It preserves the key proposition intact – that Scotland should be an independent country. I think the EC recommendation of clarity from both the UK and Scottish governments on what process will follow the referendum result presents a particular challenge and call to action for David Cameron.

Q FROM JOHN P, ANGUS: Who would be the financial safeguard for Scotland if we were to face another banking crisis?

AAn independent Scotland will have a sufficiently strong economy to withstand another banking crisis, 
although we have to hope and expect that the lessons learned globally in 2008 make such an event much more unlikely in future. The precise regulatory and other arrangements for the Scottish financial sector will be the subject of a forthcoming report by the Fiscal Commission.

Q FROM ALAN: With the spending limits published, if the Greens don’t raise enough money, will Yes Scotland donate to them, to allow them to spend the money?

AThe important thing about the recommended spending limits is that they ensure a level playing field between the broad Yes and No campaigns. The Scottish Green Party is on the advisory board of Yes Scotland and we will certainly discuss with them how best to maximise the impact of the campaign.

Q FROM BBC ADMIRER: What would happen to the BBC in an independent Scotland?

AThe BBC would continue to broadcast all of its existing radio and television services to audiences in Scotland. I believe the BBC will continue to have an important role, but I also believe we will need a distinctive Scottish public service broadcaster as well as the BBC.

Q FROM TOM: Scots face terrorist threats worldwide. Why did Nicola Sturgeon say there would be no foreign intelligence service in Scotland after Independence?

AThe most effective response to terrorist threats is countries working together on an international basis and an independent Scotland would be part of that coordinated effort. In particular, there would be a high degree of defence and intelligence co-operation between Scotland and the other countries in the British Isles.

Q FROM ALAN: You’ve just said that the UK economy is run for the south-east of England. If this is true, why do you support letting the Bank of England set interest rates?

AIt will be important that any future arrangements concerning the operation of the sterling zone between Scotland and the rest of the UK are structured in a way that serves the interests of the Scottish people. I have noted that Alistair Darling has said it would be “desirable” for Scotland to continue to use the pound in the event of a Yes vote, and also “logical” for the rest of the UK as well.

Q FROM SCOTT MACNAB: Do you regret the celebrity and expat -dominated launch of the Yes Scotland campaign?

AThe launch a year ago was an exciting event. Since then we’ve been building the biggest grass-roots campaign Scotland has ever seen. We do have very high levels of support among Scotland’s artistic and creative talents and that is an important part of our campaign.

Q FROM ALEX, PERTH: What if an argument was to break out between an independent Scotland and Westminster, will there be a body to mediate?

AI believe arguments between Scotland and Westminster are much less likely when Scotland is independent. Relations between the two countries have always been close. Like everybody else, I have lots of family and friends south of the Border and that will continue unchanged when we are independent.

Q from Jim: What is Yes Scotland’s relationship to the SNP?

AThe SNP are a major part of the pro-independence campaign and are represented on our advisory board. Yes Scotland is for people from any party and indeed – like myself – no party.

 

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