What is the Labour and Tory Vision for an Independent Scotland?

In trying to follow the Scottish Independence referendum debate, there is one strain of argument that confuses me. It is the argument where Unionists (usually) ask questions about the policies that an Independent Scottish Government would follow, which are sometimes answered, quite authoritively, by Nationalists.

Questions like:

What sort of currency would an independent Scotland have?

What would Scotland's defence policies be? If England went to War would Scotland Support England? How many Aeroplanes would the Scots Air Force have?

How would Scotland deal with welfare and benefits? Would taxes be higher, lower, or similar?

What sort of economic policies would an Independent Scotland follow? What would Scotland's international relations be like?

They are all fair questions, I suppose. They may be questions that an "undecided" might want an answer to. They might be questions that a truly independent commentator (if such a creature exists) might be able to guess at by looking at the historic polity of Scotland.

But are they questions for the YES side alone?

I think not.

If Scotland votes Yes the answers to these questions will not just be in the hands of the Yes voters. Those who vote No and those who don't vote will also live in an independent Scotland and their opinions will still count in an independent Scotland.

The idea that the SNP should be forced to answer these policy questions whilst the unionists snigger is bad for the possible future of Scottish politics.

If Scotland votes Yes the first elected independent parliament may not be formed by the SNP. Voters may think that, having achieved its goal, the SNP is defunct. There may be a Labour Government, possibly even a Conservative Government in the newly Independent Holyrood Parliament.

In order to get the fullest possible picture of what an independent Scotland might look like those who oppose Scottish Independence should surely tell us how they would run an independent Scotland should the referendum vote go against them!


  1. The logic of the opposition assisting the SNP in its quest for separation defeats me.

    True that post separation, and I have no doubt it will come, the political map of Scotland will have the very same local ingredients that it has today. I would suggest the referendum victor will also be the post referendum election victor, and as such those issues requiring answers today from the SNP, will be provided by the SNP.

    Myself, bring on the farewell party, it is too much of a distraction in a world that needs focus.

  2. You may well be right John, the SNP will probably continue as a party post independence and may win elections in an independent Scotland, however one can't discount the strong possibility that Labour could form the first independent government; so rather than just asking questions about the currency, defence etc Labour should be answering them too.

  3. Labour would have to completely reform itself it it were to be in wit a chance - but of course, they would have to do that anyway, as they would no longer just be a branch of London Labour. Same for the other parties.

    I belileve that mmost of your questions Huw, have been answered in outline at least, in the Your Scotland paper publilshed by the SNP in 2010. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/11/26155932/0.