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Independent Scotland would keep the pound, the Queen and oil and gas reserves

Wednesday, November 27th 2013 - 07:21 UTC
Full article 69 comments
Scottish leader Alex Salmond unveiled on Tuesday what he called a “mission statement” Scottish leader Alex Salmond unveiled on Tuesday what he called a “mission statement”

Scottish leader Alex Salmond unveiled on Tuesday what he called a “mission statement” for the country’s future: a 649-page paper detailing many of the terms for an independent Scotland. The country’s first minister released his Scottish National Party’s so-called white paper ahead of a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom set for next September.

 The document seeks to address many unanswered questions: Would an independent Scotland keep the British pound? Would it raise its own army? Will there be passport checks at the border? And for the loves of God — will it have its own Eurovision contestant?

Remember March 24, 2016. That’s the day Scotland’s independence would become official if the referendum passes.

Scotland would remain in the European Union and its borders open to other EU nationals. Salmond has pledged that an independent Scotland would not “fling out talented people who want to work in this country,” and would have more liberal immigration policies than the UK’s.

But it will keep the pound and rely on the Bank of England for bailouts. Scotland would also assume a percentage of the British national debt that has yet to be worked out.

We’ll take those oil and gas reserves, thanks. The bulk of the UK’s oil and gas reserves are in Scottish territory, and an independent Scotland would claim control of those highly lucrative resources. Exports of oil and gas from Scotland were worth nearly $50 billion last year.

The white paper claims that an independent Scotland wouldn’t need to rely on energy revenues anyway. “Scotland’s economic output per head, even without oil and gas, is virtually the same as the UK as a whole. So oil and gas is a bonus,” it states.

Scotland would remain in the Commonwealth. Although Her Majesty would remain head of state, a Scottish prime minister — not the occupant of Number 10 Downing Street — would be head of government.

Brits who live in Scotland would be able to gain Scottish citizenship. So can Scots who live elsewhere in Britain. Scotland will issue its own passports both to British citizens “habitually resident” in the country and children and grandchildren of people who qualify for Scottish citizenship. The old UK passports would be valid until their normal expiration dates and dual citizenship between Scotland and Britain would be possible.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) says it wouldn’t institute border controls with England and Ireland. However, it’s possible the EU would force the country to join the passport-free travel zone known as the Schengen area, to which most EU countries belong. Since England and Ireland aren’t part of that scheme, Scotland would probably be forced to institute some border procedures. Nevertheless, the SNP says it doesn’t want Scotland to join Schengen, preferring it remain within the British Isles’ own free-travel zone.

Scotland will send its own singer to the Eurovision Song Contest. It may sound like a trivial point, but the annual camp fest is actually an important public coming-out for new European countries, says academic and contest expert Paul Jordan.

Participating as an independent nation in international showcases like the Olympics or Eurovision (the Olympics of cheesy dance moves) is a key step in building a nation’s identity, he says.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • Redrow

    His plan appears to be increase spending and decrease taxes but without increasing the deficit and debt (maybe INDEC could help him with the figures). Though once he goes bust, the Bank of England will be expected to bail him out again! Is that not what lead to the Act of Union in the first place?

    Nov 27th, 2013 - 07:42 am 0
  • Britworker

    This is in essence a wish list, that's it, a wish list 10 months before supposed independence. None of what he 'wishes' has been agreed with the UK by a long shot. This guy seems to think he can everything he wants and that the rest of the UK have no say in the matter whatsoever. Wrong!

    It's hysterical really. The EU are very clear, any new member state must be a part of Schengen. Why the hell does he think that this doesn't apply to Scotland?
    I am afraid that as far as a the SNP are concerned it is independence at any price, regardless of of how severe the consequences will end up being for Scotland.

    Nov 27th, 2013 - 08:44 am 0
  • Be serious

    Good luck to our Scottish cousins. They certainly could go it alone and if that's what they want that's good enough for me. They can keep the £ the rate setting will continue to be carried out in London. Border controls would have to be put in place but that would be good for both countries and would create employment on both sides of the border. The EU would welcome Scotland with open arms I'm sure. As for Northern Ireland the kinship has always been with Scotland rather than England and I wonder whether they will join Scotland or Eire, perhaps they will choose independence also.

    Nov 27th, 2013 - 09:01 am 0
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