The former Chief Economist at the Scotland Office, Gavin McCrone, writes a fantastic article in today's Scotsman highlighting some of the important economic questions that nationalists must answer if they are to have any chance of winning the referendum on Scottish independence. Here is the article:
I see two important points from this article. Firstly, the Scottish parliament already has many powers under devolution - far more than the SNP would have you believe. And secondly, proposals to leave the UK and keep sterling will not grant Scotland the "independence" the SNP seeks. However, the wider point here is this - a vote for separation is a vote for an uncertain future. The questions McCrone asks are unlikely to be answered. The British government expects to win the referendum (as polls suggest) and thus it would be a waste of government resources to negotiate with the Scottish government on a hypothetical scenario. Even if negotiations did take place (and there would need to be lengthy negotiations on these issues) it is likely the SNP would accuse the UK government of "scaremongering" if they did not get the answers they were looking for, as they have done many times in the past.
National pride will be important in this debate important. The nationalists will argue that those who live in Scotland should make all of Scotland's decisions. Unionists will argue that embracing Scottish and British identities is a strength, not a weakness. They will say that the union allows Scotland to experience the best of both worlds - a strong Scotland in a strong United Kingdom.
But this debate is likely to be won by the side that puts their economic case forward the best. And with the OBR today lowering their projections of future oil and gas revenues, it looks like the nats have it all to do.