Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Independence - a blogospheric discussion

If you haven't read Doctorvee's challenge of discussion concerning the constitutional future of Scotland/UK, then I urge everyone to do so. There are two posts on his page on this in a running series.

It is this type of 'conversation' that started me blogging and by creating this platform, Doctorvee is opening up the blogosphere to a real airing of views on the matter.


How I view the constitutional future of an 'independent' Scotland...hmmmm...

I am still neither for nor against an independent Scotland, haven't yet made up my mind or been persuaded, though I have always tended towards the pro-independence side of the argument and am confident that within the next 10-15 years, Scotland will have voted YES to independence.

It's a good point that due to the EU/NATO/EC/Euro etc, we would not in fact be fully independent and I'm pretty sure that most people would agree that we'd be keen to be a member of at least one of the internationals organisations out there.

But of the question of UK based independence? Doctorvee suggests some powers may not be removed from the authority of Westminster on the basis of practicality. I (kind of) agree. On defence and the military, I would be keen to keep the current set up, with it all being controlled as one unit. I don't want a separate Scottish Army and a separate Former United Kingdom's Welsh-Anglo Reservists (FUKWAR?), I want the British Army/UK Army/Isles Army, whatever you want to call it. Essentially, Scottish independence with an Entente Cordial (*more on this later) with the rest of the Former UK (FUKs?) on defence.

This would then lead to questions of "who calls the shots when crunch time comes". Whether that's Westminster, or an inter-governmental committee that was set up who we give control to, I still believe we would all be in a better position with this kind of set up (I could go into specifics, but it'd be pointless - you get the principle).

I also believe, as I'm sure many will agree, that after gaining independence, we would be keeping the sterling pound (£) for the foreseeable future, and again, I would recommend that we keep the current Bank of England set up (with at least one of the board of governors being selected by the Scottish Parliament). Then, if we chose to take on the Euro, keep the sterling pound or even a new currency 'the Jock' (pennies could be 'jockles?), we could do so when we wished, but the stabiliy this would offer in the early years, I think, would be a reasonable way to progress.

Then there is the issue of what we currently call a 'national emergency' - the attempted bombings in London and Glasgow airport and foot-and-mouth for example.

As I detailed before(*), we would have some sort of agreement - an entente cordial, a council of ministers, some sort of mechanism - where when it was necessary, the two Governments would have an agreed council/team made up of the relevant minsters, advisers etc who would, as part of their jobs, take charge of such matters, making decisions as a whole. These would be agreed withint strict, set parameters which would (hopefully) avoid any political posturing or manoeuvers in order to deal with the serious issues. Again, this is where working with (not necessarily as a part of) Westminster would be, in my view, a sensible course of action.

So to answer Doctorvee's questions...

"I am going to ask if everyone believes that different powers should be held at different levels. This could be Scotland as part of the EU, Scotland as part of the UK and the EU, or whatever other permutations you care to come up with. I have already noted that I think almost everyone agrees with the principle of this. Am I wrong?"

You are not wrong. I believe, as do you, that the modern world no longer operates, in the main, as a planet made up of all independent nations. I believe we would be better served by being part of the EU (especially in our infancy as an independent nation).

I have always been very sceptical of the EU as an institution, and don' believe it is nearly as efficient and effective as it could or should be, but the principle of the EU is a good one for an independent Scotland, and as long as we aren't forced into signing the (hopefully doomed) EU constitution, then I'm confident Scotland would prosper.

I, however don't believe we necessarily have to be part of the UK, though we can and should work closely with them within a new 'British Isles Union' (or something along those lines) within which we can gain and offer help when it is best for us all on very few, but very important issues.

Day to day Government, such as schools and hospitals and transport etc, yes, should be part of an independent Scotland, but we should have tools, mechanisms and trust enough to utilise the UK, the EU, whoever, with such links being embedded into our national plan.

Over to you Doctorvee...

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