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.