In my last blog post, I analysed the historic and recent headline polling figures for the Scottish independence referendum, which takes place tomorrow. As you can see from the data in that post, the dominant opinion for some time was that there should be a ‘No’ vote. However, the ‘Yes’ campaign has built up some momentum and did take a recent lead. This was partly helped by the second debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling. However, the ‘No’ campaign (called ‘Better Together’) has once again taken a lead in the polls and current predictions show 52% support for ‘No’. Many are still undecided though.
After all this time, there’s still some problems
There are many unanswered questions and some areas which still require clarification. They include:
- The currency
- The European Union
- The fishing industry
- Border control
- The military
- North Sea Oil
On the subject of Europe, there are reports that some MEPs could block Scotland joining the EU. Why? Well, the United Kingdom is not part of what is known as the Schengen Area. This is part of the European Union which is basically ‘borderless’. There is a lot more freedom of movement, which means more immigration. Scotland would like to stay out of this. However, it is well known that any nation wishing to join the EU must be part of Schengen. With independence, Scotland would be a brand new nation, not just part of another. A block could mean more complexities regarding trade and potential political weakness. To become a member of the EU, there needs to be a unanimous vote in favour. According to a source from the Socialist & Democrats alliance (Labour is a part of this):
“The opt-outs they’re pushing for would make it very difficult for them to get membership”
I should mention at this point that the ruling SNP are part of the Greens alliance.
Jose Manuel Barroso, Jean Claude Juncker and Herman Van Rompuy have all indicated that Scotland could be blocked, until they adopt all the EU policies that new nations are expected to implement. How will the Scottish Government deal with this? Where is the detail and planning about this major issue?
As for oil, there is a little bit more detail on this, but it’s not totally clear.
“If Scotland were to get a “geographical share” based on the median line it would mean about 90% of the UK’s oil resources would be under Scottish jurisdiction.”
Presently, North Sea Oil revenues are not allocated to any one particular part of the United Kingdom. Instead, they are assigned to an economic region called the UK Continental Shelf. Using the above quote (read the article for more detail), you would think that Scotland would benefit greatly. However, please note the word ‘if’. That does not mean the above is certain to happen. The UKCS was set up by the UK government and they could simply stall negotiations about this on purpose. They could refuse.
The issue of the currency is very unclear. According to the Yes Scotland website, there has been some notable confusion from the ‘No’/Better Together campaign. Apparently, Alistair Darling is on record as saying the pound could be kept, but then others have said it won’t. George Osborne has said there would be no currency union. From what I can see, those expecting currency union are basing that on supposition. The UK Government could simply say ‘No’, even though some believe the union to be common sense. In that situation, Scotland would have to create a new currency as they could also be prevented from using the Euro. This creates many complexities and there is no evidence to show that this has been planned for.
Scottish independence is Alex Salmond’s life’s work and would be a crowning achievement for him. However, with the strong possibility of Scotland choosing ‘No’, you have to wonder what would happen to him in that case. There would still be plenty of work to do as First Minister. All the major parties have promised more powers, so Salmond’s government would end up having more responsibility. However, he would have failed to achieve his major goal. Could he resign? It is a possibility. After all, many have suggested David Cameron should resign if the Scottish people choose ‘Yes’. What would happen to support for the Scottish National Party? They are dominant in the Scottish Assembly, but they weren’t able to deliver on something they wanted to do. We could end up seeing a change in power.
I am a big fan of planning. There is a saying that ‘proper planning prevents p*ss poor performance’ and should be true in this case. The voters have seen very little evidence of this – at least in the areas that matter most. What does Salmond consider ‘non negotiable’? There is very little transparency and that will not help them to get what they want. The Scottish people deserve better.
On the subject of the Scottish people, it’s worth reminding you that only people who live in Scotland can vote. It’s a vote that will affect the whole United Kingdom, yet not all of us get a say. That is unfair and surely done to get the best chance of a ‘Yes’ vote.
If you live in Scotland, are you going to vote? If you are, what’s your choice and why? Also what does everyone think about the long term future for Alex Salmond and the SNP?