Poll: Should Scotland be an independent country?

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General Chat Thread, [POLL] Should Scotland be an independent country? in General; We had an indepth discussion about this over the weekend (My Brigade is Scottish, and I'm in a Liverpool/Manc Regt) ...
  1. #46
    happymeal's Avatar
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    We had an indepth discussion about this over the weekend (My Brigade is Scottish, and I'm in a Liverpool/Manc Regt) and what it would mean financially, military, resource-wise for Scotland, as well as their attempts for the EU and NATO.

    This is what we discussed - some parts I got clear answers, some raised more questions than answers (3am on Guard is NOT the best time for a debate...):

    Financially - Their claim to the Pound won't hold up as much as Salamond wants to. His argument is that "We've put into it, we want to keep it", but it's the same as a couple splitting up (I've met someone new and I'm moving out - but I'll still come back to keep the money and food, and to share the bills, yeah?). It's also slightly embarrasing as they want to be independant but keep the old currancy. I remember being ridiculed as a child because I tried to pay for something with an English fiver instead of a Scottish fiver - they refused to take it - would the rest of Scotland take/accept/tolerate the English pound?

    His only two other options that we could think of would be to either create a new currency and hope the inflation/exchange rate won't cripple them when dealing with trade abroad (and even at home), or "adopt" the Sterling in a similiar manner as Panama does with the Dollar and deal/accept with the slightly higher rates (The Bank of Scotland is currently able to issue both Sterling and Scottish notes for now?) if it happens. Panama's official currancy is the balboa, but in practice, it's all dollarised - I can't see such a practice sitting well with the SNP and the Yes party if they tried to follow suit.

    If they were to adopt the Euro with or without being a Euro member, they'd still be in the same position of relying on a foreign financial institute to dictate the rate, as well as hoping it's stable enough not to collapse (See Greece, Cyprus and Spain as examples). Would the IMF support them if they don't have their own currency? Would the EU accept their membership if they didn't have their own currency?

    I seem to remember that they also get subsidies from Wesminster (welfare and pensions too, but I can't find anything at the moment to back it up), but I can't remember what it's for and can't pull up any links right now - but an Independant Scotland wouldn't get those anymore.

    We agreed that they wouldn't be able to keep the Pound because if they did, we'd be liable for their debts as well, which would decrease the Pound's value.

    Resource-wise - from what I remember Scotland only has oil as their main export, followed by Whiskey and Financial Services (Someone said Irn Bru...not sure if he was serious or not.).

    The Oil reserves in the North Sea have been declining over the past few years slowly, which means an Independant Scotland would be ok short-term, but long-term they would have a dwindling resource to bank against.
    There are some untouched reserves off the coast of Scotland, but they're too small and unprofitable. There was a question about if all the oil/gas is sent to the Shetlands to be refined and transported, or if it's only a portion and the majority sent to Hemel Hempstead, etc - I can't get a clear answer on that one If that was the case - could they afford to do that? If it's not, can they continue with just that refinery?

    Whiskey is still a strong export, but the Financial Services is a bit of a concern - if they went Independant and RBS has another blip (I'm using them as an example!), they wouldn't be entitled to another bailout from Westminster (£37bil - wikipedia ftw). This could lead to RBS having to sell off it's assets, as well as the UK Gov selling off/withdrawing it's 80% stake (through the UKFI). In effect, it would mean a lack of funding, no bailout, and potentially, the collapse of RBS and all ye souls under her. Unless Scotland could bail it out. (All this is in theory, and I'm happy to be shown otherwise). Would the UK still keep it's shares in RBS if Scotland went independant, or demand that Scotland pay for the shares to hand over control to Scotland instead of the risk being on the UK?

    We were undecided how this would play out - they have a limited resource on their shores, so they would have to start looking at another sector eventually. The financial sector may be viable but still a big risk, and if their economy tanked because of it, the whole Independant attempt would be a mistake for the citizens. Again - I'm happy to hear other views on it, but the more I look into the Pro's, I find as many Con's.

    EU Membership - Scotland said last year it was a certainity and no member-states would object. Spain have come out recently and said "Well, actually, it's a lot harder than that - don't hitch your wagon to us yet". Now Spain have their own internal problem with the Basque movement trying to declare independance - if they supported Scotland, they would have to recognise the Basque movements efforts and offer the same.

    Turkey may object as well - although they're not a EU member, they're a part of the Council of Europe. They could appeal to countries that have good diplomatic ties with Turkey within the EU as they also have a similiar problem with the PKK who have been pushing for 30-40 years for autonomy for the Kurds.

    The US may in theory support Scotland's push, but they may say "no" when they take into account our "special relationship", that they'll have to park their toys in HMS Raleigh (We'll go into that further down), etc. They're not in the EU, but sadly everyone seems to look for them for acceptance/guidance these days. Maybe they'll say yes, maybe they'll say no - either way, their words would carry weight.

    Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain are likely to object - they still object to Kosovo being independant and may view Scotland in the same light.

    Ireland may even object because of our history of popping our flag in their dirt, or it may support them to spite us (although it would mean they'd have to re-vist their view on NI as both are the will of the people - another debate for another day).

    Russia and China could even weigh into the debate (despite not being NATO members, they are on the UN Security Council) - both countries have internal problems with seperatists and although support to Scotland would be a finger in the UK/British eye, it would mean that they would (in theory again) support claims for independance. Russia doesn't recognise Kosovo as independant - an independant Scotland would have to mean Russia re-visit their stance on Kosovo, which they won't do. China still object and refuse to view Taiwan as independant, and may lean on EU Members they have ties with to reject the bit - that part is subjecture, but we were thinking it might happen.

    We're agreed that EU membership won't be automatic for them, and it will be a long drawn-out process for them.

  2. #47
    happymeal's Avatar
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    NATO - the criteria for membership of NATO which we currently have:

    The Membership Action Plan (MAP) mechanism is the stage in the procedure for nations wishing to join where their formal applications are reviewed by the current members. The mechanism was approved in the 1999 Washington summit. A country's participation in MAP entails the annual presentation of reports concerning its progress on five different measures:[18]

    * Willingness to settle international, ethnic or external territorial disputes by peaceful means, commitment to the rule of law and human rights, and democratic control of armed forces
    * Ability to contribute to the organization's defence and missions
    * Devotion of sufficient resources to armed forces to be able to meet the commitments of membership
    * Security of sensitive information, and safeguards ensuring it
    * Compatibility of domestic legislation with NATO cooperation


    The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

    Also Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty describes how non-member states may join NATO:

    “The Parties may by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.”

    This article poses two general limits to non-member states. European states are eligible for membership and these states need the approval of all the existing member states. The second criterion means that every member state can put some criteria forward that have to be attained. In practice, NATO formulates in most cases a common set of criteria, but for instance Greece blocks the Republic of Macedonia's accession to NATO, due to the disagreement over the use of the name Macedonia. Turkey similarly opposes the participation of the Republic of Cyprus with NATO institutions as long as the Cyprus dispute is not resolved. The founding members of NATO are Belguim, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, US and the UK.

    Nuclear weaponery isn't a criteria (From what I can see - NPT). They would have to apply for Partnership for Peace (aimed at building trust), then the Individual Partnership Plan, followed by the Intensified Dialogue, and then finally the Membership Action Plan (See here)

    If Scotland went and got Independance, they would in effect not be a part of the UK and not be a NATO member (Despite Mr Salamond's claims they will be). They also wouldn't be covered by NATO either. They would have to apply independantly and prove they can satisify the criteria - this could take up to a decade (mostly building their military and proving they can work towards NATO objectives without leaving themselve un-defended). They could try with the Partnership for Peace before moving up in NATO, but again they could be blocked by any member.

    We're agreed that Scotland would not automatically become a NATO member. It would be a long drawn-out process for them to apply and even longer before they're awarded the same rights as the UK (Fully-fledged members...hehehe). Just to draw an example - the Republic of Kosovo is STILL trying to apply for NATO membership, and they were declared independant in 2008 by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). How long would it take for Scotland?

    Military - This one got more arguments that answers. There are two streams of thought for the bases currently in place, and three for the military:

    Sovereign Base Areas - Army, RN and RAF bases are given SBA status meaning they can operate freely on them, but need permission to move off the bases (See Cyprus and Germany as an example). This would afford Scotland limited protection while they rebuild their military organisations.

    Not given SBA status - the UK pulls ALL of it's assets back to UK borders and mothballs/dismantles/destroys it's camps. Scotland would then have to very quickly put their own assets in place - a limited boom for shipbuilding/aircraft building, and re-build their military. Depending on what was taken/done to the camps, they may have to rebuild or demolish which is pretty expensive, or just use them as is. Keeping in mind that UK Forces take their security pretty seriously, I can't see them leaving much behind that could be used.

    That's the bases dealt with. We were (and still are) undecided on the military, so we've got three views:

    Keep UK Forces on SBA, but train their own - Scotland keeps UK Forces within it's borders, while it trains their own military up.
    This would mean they'd lose massive numbers because any Scottish-based Regiments/Brigades/etc part of the UK Forces would be re-branded/amalgamation with UK-based branches. Anyone with a Scottish background *may* be allowed to continue (in the spirit of the Gurkhas, Aussies, etc) but offered a discharge if they wanted to re-enlist in the new Scottish military. Would allow them to push for NATO/EU membership to a degree, building their military as well as being protected.

    Keep UK Forces on SBA, use UK Forces instead of their own - I can't see that happening in honesty, but there have been occasions where neighbouring countries or countries with good relations have been used to help out (Iceland for example). I'm sure there will be a hefty fee, but again, I can't see them doing this especially with the SNP banging on about independance.

    Remove UK Forces and SBA - UK Forces move back within their borders over a set period of time, forces nicknamed the Scottish Division (or falling under them) would either be amalgmated back with UK Forces, or disbanded (Personnel offered discharge, or posting). Bases would be mothballed or closed down/dismantelled/destroyed to prevent information being gather about UK Forces/usage. Scotland would be un-protected for a number of years and unable to deter/protect their borders and oil refineries as well as provide assistance to sailors/Coastgaurd. EU and NATO membership wouldn't be considered at this stage. Trident would be relocated to HMS Raleigh (in theory).

    We're undecided on how this would play out, but the common theory is that we'll take out boys and toys and go home and leave Scotland to it. Diplomatically, we may leave a small contingent if Scotland request it, but we can't see them asking.

    I personnally think we'll keep UK Forces on SBA's in Scotland, with a push to withdraw by a certain time.


    Read, critque, go for it. I'm interested in what other people think will happen - just keep it civil
    Last edited by happymeal; 20th February 2014 at 12:51 PM. Reason: Gremlins...just...gremlins. Nothing to see...

  3. #48

    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Interesting points & comes back to the whole issue that there is so much not known and not investigated.

    - If all British troops were withdrawn to within their borders then Scotland would be left with nothing/next to nothing. Yes it would be a boon to Scottish ship builders to have to build a few ships to create a Scottish Navy but it would instantly but a big red mark against the Scottish financial situation. As for dividing the forces I can see the argument would be that Scotland would like to cede from the Union and the forces are bound to the Union so they leave them behind, leaving Scotland having to build from scratch.

    - NATO is another Salmond stick fingers in ears and sing question. How can they be in NATO with no forces/unknown forces?

    - I can't see Scotland being blocked from the EU but I can see them having to join as a brand new country, from outside (which is another LA LA LA LA issue with the YES camp) where they will be obliged to work towards joining the Euro.

    - I suppose Scotland could set themselves up like Switzerland, an armed populace so no standing army, with the unspoken knowledge that one, an invasion is unlikely, and two, the UK will step in to protect their own backyard. Could see it being a sore point if Scotland comment or interfere on international operations though.

  4. #49

    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    I think if we were to go independant its more of a divorce where we own a % of ALL uk assets. We are either entitled to take that % when we go or receive appropriate monies/discount of debt. We paid for part of everything that makes up the uk and we are entitled to it, this is not a case of we have to buy our own everything because we are handing back all we have paid for before. Not sure how it can't work this way.
    I really think the UK gov is going about this all wrong, they are really putting peoples backs up with the threats rather than offering anything other than "stay the same" which to me is not ideal in many ways.
    Last edited by ZeroHour; 20th February 2014 at 03:42 PM.

  5. #50

    witch's Avatar
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    Maybe the UK government isn't going about it the right way but I don't think Salmond is doing any better - all he does is rubbish everything the govt says and tells people that it isn't going to be like that instead of actually laying down how he sees it working.
    I still think that as it is MY country that is being broken up, I should get a vote too.

  6. #51

    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    I still think that as it is MY country that is being broken up, I should get a vote too.
    That could never work tbh although it would be interesting to see how many would want to keep Scotland.

    Living up here I know quite a few that have seen the latest actions by UK gov as a reason to vote yes, not for Salmond who could have a hard fight in the next election, but because of things like the bedroom tax, the denial of poll tax (a policy snp came to power with which was denied by westminster) and other things like the regrading of St Andrews waters and the oil tax the tories added that slapped Scotland hard.
    People seem to think a vote for yes is a vote for Alex Salmond, you are wrong, most in Scotland realise he is not ideal and see it as a vote for Scotland to be independent, Salmond could easily be kicked out especially since the Tory party in Scotland may actually try to win votes this time. Several people in this thread have already said to stop focusing only on Salmond.
    @RabbieBurns, are you allowed to still be on the electoral register if you dont live in Scotland?
    Last edited by ZeroHour; 20th February 2014 at 04:28 PM.

  7. #52

    nephilim's Avatar
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    Whilst I see your side of the debate @ZeroHour it isn't that we see the yes as a yes to Salmond, we see the yes as a yes to trying to wipe the slate clean and pick the best bits from the plate (well at least that is how I see it) From what Salmond has said, the following is what he wants - keeping the pound but not wanting to keep any of the debt that we as a union created, keeping the oil and not sharing the revenues despite around 15-20% being in English waters, removal of the armed forces but wanting the protection from Nato - which includes the rest of the UK).

    I hold no malice to anyone that wants independence, I will gladly help for Scotland to become independent if they (the Scottish government) were willing to shoulder their portion of what has happened, both collection of assets purchased AS the UK (proportionally distributed, such as lands from military bases, government buildings etc) and the same with the debt created as the UK (proportionally distributed).

    If that were to happen, and it was done properly (new currency, new military (or civilian armed militia), health service adjusted so that English money no longer funds Scottish health services, same for education etc) then I would support it, but again that is if it were to happen properly. If anyone else wanted to follow suite and did it properly so that the English were no longer subsidising various parts of their system (just like Scotland, NI and Wales subsidise some parts of the English system), I would also support Wales and Northern Ireland if they wanted to go down the same route.

    Doing this, would also mean of course, that MPs could focus on the remaining union (Wales and NI, along with England) matters alone, and not have to worry about (too much) what the Scottish Parliament were voting for etc.
    Last edited by nephilim; 20th February 2014 at 04:35 PM.

  8. #53

    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    Whilst I see your side of the debate @ZeroHour it isn't that we see the yes as a yes to Salmond, we see the yes as a yes to trying to wipe the slate clean and pick the best bits from the plate (well at least that is how I see it) From what Salmond has said, the following is what he wants - keeping the pound but not wanting to keep any of the debt that we as a union created, keeping the oil and not sharing the revenues despite around 15-20% being in English waters, removal of the armed forces but wanting the protection from Nato - which includes the rest of the UK).
    Tell me where Salmond says we wont take a proportion of the debt!?!? this is a typical statement by many but I can't find a reference anywhere! I have interviews where he says we will take a % of debt. Also 15-20% are not in English waters? It did get increased because England grabber waters from St Andrews in 1999 and change the water boundary though but by most conventions the majority is in our waters and thus our oil if we go independant.
    Regarding military, if Scotland paid for 10% (mythical number) of the costs over all these years we own 10% along with anything else.

    I hate the impression so many (dare I say it, English) have that Scotland are sapping money off the rest, we have paid plenty over the years and the money from ALL the oil has served UK well. Read about the great black gold scandal, if we voted for independence last time we would be as wealthy potentially as norway but the tory gov classified the report under official secrets act as they want the monies. That horse has bolted though which is why I am kind of against it right now but the impression and sentiment that we are seeing in Scotland is helping fuel the vote for yes, it really really puts my back up too.

    For those mentioning Shetland, I am from Shetland, Total are spending £200 million currently to build a new gas plant for on-shore work at Sullom Voe, also Aberdeen is having big investment recently too now the tory oil tax is gone.
    Last edited by ZeroHour; 20th February 2014 at 04:53 PM.

  9. #54

    nephilim's Avatar
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    Tell me where Salmond says we wont take a proportion of the debt!?!?
    Salmond never said this on a televised debate to my knowledge, but his party political members on various radio question times have. So I concede that Salmond has never said this, however he has never stopped his party members or reprimanded them for saying this either.
    Also 15-20% are not in English waters? It did get increased because England grabber waters from St Andrews in 1999 and change the water boundary though but by most conventions the majority is in our waters and thus our oil if we go independant.
    Probably my mistake, I know Scotland has most of the water territory, however I thought English territorial water constituted roughly 15-20% of the area where the oil is situated since the 1999 water boundary change. If I am wrong, again I concede this point.
    Regarding military, if Scotland paid for 10% (mythical number) of the costs over all these years we own 10% along with anything else.
    I agree, though I think Scotland has paid more into it than that. I personally have the opinion that the military bases in Scotland, (Army, Navy, Airforce) should be scottish upon independence. The forces personnel which are scottish (or within scottish units) should be given the option to change to a new scottish military, stay in the (then) New British military, or retire.

  10. #55

    witch's Avatar
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    I've never thought that the Scots have sapped the UK's finances.
    I would like to see a vision for Scotland laid out-whether it be Salmond's view or someone else's. What assets they would get, what proportion of debt, what is going to happen with the currency, the EU, defence, the lot
    I have searched to and cannot find anything definitive.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    As for Scotland being leeches (my paraphrasing you), I don't think thats the case. I know for a fact Scotland has paid into the coffers more than some other areas of the UK, but it is viewed by many to be unfair that the scottish parliament can make the decision that the English should subsidise prescriptions and free further education, whilst we have to pay extortionate amounts and we cannot get the same down here (also annoying that the Welsh and NI get the same NHS benefits).

  12. #57

    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    I've never thought that the Scots have sapped the UK's finances.
    I would like to see a vision for Scotland laid out-whether it be Salmond's view or someone else's. What assets they would get, what proportion of debt, what is going to happen with the currency, the EU, defence, the lot
    I have searched to and cannot find anything definitive.
    The problem is currently that is only happening if we vote yes, thats when the negotiations start as such.

    The black gold report: http://www.oilofscotland.org/mccronereport.pdf a disgrace! It was only 1/3 of what actually was realised.
    Last edited by ZeroHour; 20th February 2014 at 05:03 PM.

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  14. #58

    localzuk's Avatar
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    The simple fact remains, Salmond is spearheading the Yes campaign and as yet they have not put forward a comprehensive plan for an independent Scotland. Every time an issue is highlighted, the response has been "it won't be a problem" without any actual evidence. Just look at the warning from the EU. It wasn't a threat, it wasn't a big fanfare saying Scotland wouldn't be allowed in. It was an analysis of the current situation within the EU stating that there would be major issues with them trying to join. Same as the time before when EU lawyers said that Scotland would have to apply as a new country. The response was one of "stop threatening us, you're making it up, you're attacking us"...

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    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    As for Scotland being leeches (my paraphrasing you), I don't think thats the case. I know for a fact Scotland has paid into the coffers more than some other areas of the UK, but it is viewed by many to be unfair that the scottish parliament can make the decision that the English should subsidise prescriptions and free further education, whilst we have to pay extortionate amounts and we cannot get the same down here (also annoying that the Welsh and NI get the same NHS benefits).
    I have had it levied to me in pubs in England many times now. I am not sure what would happen regarding the secret boundary change of 1999, it was all hush hush behind closed doors and I would fully expect questions to be asked when people are more aware, no one I know realises this.

    The independant about the McCrone report: How black gold was hijacked: North sea oil and the betrayal of Scotland

    EDIT:
    I get to see a lot of the arguments via facebook and general feedback and comments, here are some of the latest yes stuff:
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politi...-debt.23438687

    [POLL] Should Scotland be an independent country?-1897860_533781516735748_428126809_n.jpg

    Paxman really really did no favours although Salmond numbers are high but come on, calling him Mugabe!:


    Trying to find some no stuff but scarily most things posted to facebook by people I know who will be voting is pro yes now, this was not the case a year ago.
    Last edited by ZeroHour; 20th February 2014 at 05:22 PM.

  16. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    I would rather a No vote but don't mind, if the Scots feel they have to go their own way then we can't really stop them.

    I'm just getting annoyed with the Yes campaigns tactics of basically sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "LA LA LA LA LA LA" loudly. A question comes up, various people in the know or high up in the group that would deal with the issue give an answer and yet SNP members turn around and say that is wrong, course they can do what they want, no one can stop them as it would be unfair and bullying which isn't allowed of a new country. The other tactic is saying that something would be sorted once a Yes vote was secured. It feels very much like they can get away with saying how wonderful everything will be and everything will slot in to place without any real facts.

    Part of me would love for the Yes vote to go through just to see what would happen and how long before Salmond would implode.
    I suspect that if there was a yes vote, Alex Salmond would very quickly learn the lesson that the Lib Dems have been taught since they agreed to the coalition govt:

    It's easy to make lots of promises that sound good when you've got no power to implement them, but very different when the buck actually stops with you and you realise you can fund one of your promises but not the other, or you realise that one of your wild claims needs someone else to say 'yes' when there's no profit for them in doing so.

    As someone with a Scottish father and an English mother, both of which are buried near Aberdeen and both of which would never have support devolution, the idea of it actually happening makes me very sad indeed.
    Last edited by Roberto; 20th February 2014 at 05:20 PM.

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