EDDIE Barnes (Insight, 1 December) is right that there are major issues that require negotiation after independence, but if the public press the right people, ie the UK government, negotiations on contingency plans could start at once. A first task could be division of assets and liabilities. With 8.9 per cent of the population, and of GDP, that would be a possible starting point. (A hundred years ago, when many government facilities at home and abroad were acquired, Scotland had 12 per cent of the economy. So much for better together.)
There would be many things the UK would not wish to give us a share, or we would not want a share (eg Trident, the aircraft carriers, some embassies). In a few cases we may want more than the 8.9 per cent, but overall allocating assets to best suit the administration on both sides would result in Scotland getting much less than 8.9 per cent of the UK’s total assets, and our share of the liabilities would be the same as our share of the assets.
There is nothing to stop us using the pound. The problem is the Bank of Last Resort. Do we want to be part of the last resort for the second most indebted country in the developed world? Might we not be better to be our own Bank of Last Resort, with our oil, whisky and other revenues, and our 8.9 per cent of the Bank of England? We would normally maintain parity with sterling, but could have control when needed.
The EU is a horse-trading institution. I fully expect that we will have an acceptable deal on Independence Day in March 2016. If we have not, it would not then make sense to rejoin the EU months before the rUK’s in/out referendum, and the absence of the most pro-EU part of the present UK would greatly increase the probability of an out vote. The EU can and will devise protocols to avert this risk.
John Smart, Lossiemouth