David Hardie: Separation requires careful preparation – ask a divorcee
ASK any divorcee and they will tell you that successfully separating from a spouse requires careful preparation, honest discussion, mutual understanding to divide assets and sort out future finances, and agreement on how to handle the needs of dependants. This lesson is as true for countries as couples.
Separating is not a simple business – and Scottish independence will be no different. We can see this from recent European history: when Czechoslovakia became the nations of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, it was said to have required several international treaties and more than 20,000 binding agreements to record who got what and what went where.
The big questions must be debated and answered: weighty issues of the economy, energy distribution, management of Scotland’s natural resources, pensions and tax provisions, defence, European Union membership, currency arrangements and financial regulation. These questions lie at the centre of the future of the Scottish nation, as well as other countries that make up the Union. It is critical for Scotland, whether independent or not, and the UK, that these issues are fleshed out very soon.
The CBI, one of Scotland’s strongest voices for the business sector, has called for “clarity and certainty to be provided well in advance” of the referendum planned for 2014.
Both sides in the debate can point to Scottish business luminaries’ pledges of support, for either independence or the Union. However, for every internationally prominent Scottish business proclaiming support or otherwise for independence, there is a raft of other business leaders and groups holding out for more precise information, and possibly the chance to influence areas of contention before they make their decisions.
That the current independence debate is passionate cannot be denied, and this should be welcomed. But passion doesn’t always last. It needs to be accompanied by informed and reasoned discussion, possibly some compromise and definitely by considered answers.
• David Hardie is chairman of Dundas & Wilson which is sponsoring The Economics of Independence conference on Tuesday – www.scotsmanconferences.com
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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