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Referendum 2014

Contents Meet the campaign workers out to sway public opinion

A look at Scotland’s Future: SNp vision of what might be

£500 better or worse off — that’s the figure set to sway the vote

Energy powers much of the debate on Scotland’s future

Big questions surrounding the defence of a new Scottish realm

Our Referendum Roadshow will be with you every step of the way









The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yes or no? Meet the workers Blair JenkinS: Yes Scotland’s chief executive comes from a TV news background. He was director of broadcasting at STV and head of news and current affairs at both the commercial channel and BBC Scotland. Jenkins, who was made an OBE for services to broadcasting in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2010, also chaired the Scottish Broadcasting Commission and the Scottish Digital Network Panel. He is not a member of any political party and has not previously been involved with any political campaign.

Referendum2014 Thursday, September 18



DenniS Canavan: The Fifer has been elected for both the Labour Party and as an independent. Born in Cowdenbeath, he was Falkirk West MP from 1974 until 2000. A devolution campaigner throughout his time at Westminster, Canavan was rejected by Labour when he attempted to stand as a Holyrood candidate in 1999, despite the support of 97% of his local members. Standing as an independent, he had the biggest majority of any Scottish parliamentarian in both the 1999 and 2003 elections. Canavan stood down in 2007. niCola STurgeon: Deputy First Minister and deputy leader of the SNP, Sturgeon is the most high profile member of Yes Scotland’s advisory board. Having been elected in the first Holyrood vote of 1999 via the regional list, she won her first constituency seat in 2007 as the SNP became the biggest single party in the Scottish Parliament when Sturgeon was appointed Deputy First Minister and Health Secretary. She is Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure. Many see her as the natural successor to Alex Salmond as party leader.


by Kieran Andrews

ES SCOTLAND’S home on Glasgow’s Hope Street passed me by at first. Rather I passed it by, managing to miss the giant Y E S stickers across three windows (which are around hip height, in fairness) as I searched for the campaign group’s headquarters. Once finally inside and away from the west’s incessant wet weather, the reception area is exactly as you would expect. Bright and modern with comfy seats there is even a ledge of iPads, which are presumably for punters’pleasure. One of the stands is missing a tablet but perhaps it would be unfair to assume someone has decided to take home more than the pro-independence message. The HQ is very much open plan beyond the reception area, with one giant “hub” hosting a variety of activists, press officers, designers and strategists. There are a few empty desks but, although it’s not something I would have paid particular attention to, I’m proactively told a few folk have called in sick, whilst others are out “on the ground”. Is that a convenient coincidence? Let’s just say another journalist I’ve spoken to claims to have had the same line recited to them when inYes HQ. A theme is starting to emerge, though. Green Party member Ross Greer says the office may be a central point to converge on, but reckons the campaign would carry on justaswelliftheGlasgowgroundswallowed Hope Street up tomorrow. “There are genuinely tens of thousands of people out there out doing stuff themselves,” he said. “We provided them with a system where we tried to make HQ not obsolete, but it’s not necessary for them to be in constant contact with us. Mr Greer adds: “Largely the local groups are organised by some fantastic people so we have faith in them.There are some places where we don’t need to know what they’re up to because we know it will be absolutely fantastic. “Dundee is a good example of a group where there are some of the best grass roots organisers in Scotland.” Barely a lick of paint on the

How the world sees our referendum by Stefan Morkis

The message from the Hope Street-based campaign group is simple: vote Yes. Picture: Barrie Marshall.

whitewash walls is visible in the office, with modified posters featuring superheroes and science fiction cult heroes instead taking up most of the space around the room. I suppose if Spock can’t convince you and the X-Men’s Wolverine can’t threaten you into supporting independence then you’re probably not going to be talked round. In keeping with the sci-fi theme, our photographer and I pick out the signatures of Dundee’s Brian Cox and Carnoustie raised Alan Cumming (they were both in the second X-Men film, non-geeks) on a giant whiteboard first unveiled at the launch of Yes Scotland. The board now stretches over three panels and is adorned by scribbles from the big name stars such as those mentioned above, leading politicians and on-the-ground campaigners. SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE may be the biggest item on the political agenda in the UK, but overseas the battle for the future of the UK is viewed as a curio, rather than a worldchanging event. Newspapers across the planet are covering the referendum with an air of bemused detachment. The Washington Post did provoke a response from First Minister Alex Salmond when, in December 2012, it said independence would harm the United States by weakening the UK, a key security partner.

Mr Salmond wrote to the paper to claim it had made several factual errors. However, the paper is not convinced the Yes campaign will win. Writing in the paper last month, Max Fisher said: “It looks like the economics and poor timing will have trumped one of the longest-running independence campaigns in European history. “A cautionary tale from (satirical website) The Onion: “‘Watch out, Scotland, we did the same thing, and look how that turned out.”

But is the Yes message really getting through to ordinary people? The group’s chief executive Blair Jenkins insists it is. “I have believed for some time that this is a referendum that would be won community by community, street by street, and that’s what’s happening. “I think what’s happening is that the sense of the Yes campaign on the ground, and I think in particular in terms of social media, is now proving quite an advantage for us and we are very encouraged by what’s happening in our own research and being picked up by most of the opinion polls.” What is striking about all of the people I speak to in the Hope Street HQ is their enthusiasm and unwavering belief in the cause. Despite difficulties in the polls, there is certainly no lack of optimism here. Then I step outside, reality bites and it’s raining.The irony isn’t lost. Other US papers also have their doubts, with the Wall Street Journal’s Simon Nixon unsure about the Scottish Government’s currency plans. He stated: “Scotland’s best bet may lie in a variant of the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, which was established in 1922 and lasted until the euro’s creation. “Scotland would need to create its own currency but commit to binding it so tightly to the pound that the two could be freely accepted both sides of the border. “This would minimise

Dog days ahead or just going to the dogs? Picture: PA.


The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014


hoping to sway your opinion Campaigners from both camps are hard at work


for almost a year to help the campaign in any way that he can. The 63-year-old retired Stirling Council employee said: “Different people have their own arrangements so you don’t always meet the same people. “Today I’ve met people I haven’t met before and we are all dedicated to the same ideal.” In a side room of the white walled main room there’s a meeting going on. I’m told it’s a gathering of Academics Together and can only imagine the lofty discussions. The new office is certainly more accessible. On the bustling Sauchiehall Street, it’s only a five-minute stroll from where Better Together has spent the campaign so far but seems a world away in terms of atmosphere. If the idea is to bring the message to the people, it’s a better place to be. This visit to Glasgow is a singularly sunny affair and the optimism seems to have rubbed off on those campaigning for a No vote. The message thus far has been “no complacency” and, while that phrase is used during my visit, there is more confidence displayed than I have previously seen during the campaign to date.Will that be well placed come September?

by Kieran Andrews “YOU’LL HAVE to excuse the mess, we’re in the middle of moving,” was the warning I received before going “inside” Better Together. That’s difficult to believe when you step inside the Blythswood Square HQ that is in the process of being vacated. It’s an impressive traditional building in Glasgow, where the reception area is immaculate and the board room is complete with roaring fire. It’s when the journey takes me into the “working areas” that the signs of transition appear.There are quite a few boxes piled up, waiting to be moved. To be honest, though, it’s no worse than any place which has had the misfortune for me to set up working at it for more than five minutes. There is still plenty of work going on in the main hub of the office being cleared out as researchers and press officers crack on with their jobs. Looking around the room, some bunting is particularly eye catching amongst the posters and economic charts. BetterTogether and bunting? Bound to be the Union Flag, right? Wrong. Saltires hang from the wall. I’ve previously heard activists say “Yes don’t own the Saltire” and it would seem this small act is part of that defiant narrative. Sohowmucharetheemotionalarguments playing on people’s mind when they are considering how to cast their vote six months from now? Better Together chief executive, Blair McDougall, doesn’t think it holds much sway with those who are undecided. The group has used “the biggest, most sophisticated piece of voter research in Scottish political history” to identify undecided voters they need to convince to vote No. The Courier understands this includes, in particular, people in Fife and the Lothians. “What’s happened over the last two years of campaigning is that opinion has solidified in both sides’ core vote,” said Mr McDougall. He added: “They are concerned about the security of the NHS, they are concerned about losing the stability of the pound and they’re worried about job security but they


Just part of the mass mailing being prepared by the Better Together team.

are people from all sorts of different backgrounds.” Walking down to the new base of operations for Better Together and there is more of a campaign feel, not least because there are over a dozen volunteers folding letters into addressed envelopes for distribution around 600,000 households across the country. One activist, Jon Jeffress from Dunblane, says he has been travelling west once a week

the ‘border effect’ damage to trade between the two countries, higher transaction costs and risk of capital flight from introducing a new currency; but it would leave Scotland with no control over exchange and interest rates, and its banks without access to a lender of last resort.” Although he said Scotland could prosper under this arrangement, he warned: “The fiscal discipline needed to make such a solution credible would be challenging, most likely requiring Scotland to run both

budget and current account surpluses.” Yet an analysis by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a non-partisan British think tank, concluded that based on a per capita division of UK debt, an independent Scotland would face a tougher fiscal challenge than the rest of the UK given its aging population, even assuming a benign scenario for North Sea oil revenues. “That suggests the actual freedom an independent Scotland might enjoy would be limited to hard choices.

Until Mr Salmond starts spelling some of those out, it is he who is vulnerable to the charge of bluster.” European papers are also unsure about many of the Yes camp’s claims. French daily newspaper Le Figaro says that many of the answers found in the White Paper on independence regarding issues such as currency and borders are “struggling to convince”. In Germany, Der Spiegel’s Christoph Scheurmann says the referendum is an example of the dissolution of

UK society. He wrote: “The economic crisis has caused the UK to drift apart, creating ever-widening rifts between rich and poor, native and immigrant, English and Scot. With the anti-Europe UKIP party on the rise, Great Britain stands at a crossroads.” Danish paper Berlingske says Alex Salmond’s skills as a politician may be a key factor. It states: “All politicians seem to fear direct discussion with the Scottish leader. Even his opponents describe him as a man who could sell snow to Eskimos.”

Ian Young, one of the workers preparing literature for posting. Pictures: Barrie Marshall.

BlaIr McDougall: Better Together’s campaign director, McDougall is a Labour activist with experience of the Westminster machine. He was a special adviser to both Ian McCartney and James Purnell between 2004 and 2008 while both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown served as Prime Minister. McDougall also ran David Miliband’s campaign for the Labour Party leadership, where he lost out to younger brother Ed, before joining Better Together. alIsTaIr DarlIng: The ex-Labour Chancellor is de-facto campaign leader, although his title is officially chairman. Darling has been Edinburgh South West’s MP since 1987, holding the top job at the Treasury from 2007 to 2010, which saw him caught in the eye of the storm when the worldwide financial crisis hit Britain. Darling was also one of only three people to have served in the Cabinet continuously from Labour’s victor y in 1997 until its defeat in 2010. The others were Gordon Brown and Jack Straw. JackIe BaIllIe: The MSP for Dumbarton is Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Equalities and Welfare. She was one of Holyrood’s “Class of ‘99”, being elected as part of the first-ever intake of MSPs. Prior to this she worked in both the public and voluntary sector. Baillie campaigned hard for the Scottish Parliament to mitigate the effects of the so-called bedroom tax, eventually negotiating with Finance Secretary John Swinney ahead of proposals being brought forward.



The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A bright new future or just 677 policies

The Scottish Government’s White Paper on Sweeteners independence was supposed to be a referendum designed to game-changer but what impact has it had with the entice voters public? Kieran Andrews,, political editor investigates

into the ‘Yes’ camp

Referendum2014 Thursday, September 18

SCOTL AND’S FUTURE is policy-heavy, with a number of key SNP offers to try to tempt the electorate to vote Yes at its forefront. At the forefront is the “transformational” extension of free childcare that would see every three and four-year- old and vulnerable two-year-olds entitled to 1,140 hours of free care a year. Critics have said this is do -able under devolution but the Scottish Government insists it needs full access to the revenues such a policy would potentially bring in to the Exchequer. There was also an attempt to appeal to those frustrated by spiralling bills, with a policy set out whereby responsibility for green levies would be moved to central government to save householders £70 a year. That assumed the rest of the UK would continue to suppor t Scotland’s renewables industry in the event of a Yes vote. The white paper laid out no plan B on currency, with a so-called Sterling zone with the rest of the UK the only monetary policy put forward. It also asserted that Scotland would negotiate for a smooth transition to formal European Union (EU) statehood in its own right by independence day in 2016. Other SNP plans after a Yes vote include scrapping the controversial so-called bedroom tax and removing Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland by 2021, within the first term of an independent parliament. The document also rules out border checks despite setting out a more relaxed stance on immigration than the UK Government.


HE 677 pages of the Scotland’s Future, the White Paper on independence, have proven as divisive as almost any individual issue on the campaign. Does the document provide the information voters need to make up their mind come September? Is its £1.3 million price tag good value? Is it, as First MinisterAlex Salmond said at its launch: “the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation”? Given the Scottish Government says more than 100,000 copies have been ordered — just shy of 58,000 in digital format and almost 57,000 as a hard copy — it would seem a large number of people are devouring its contents with six months still to go until the referendum. The White Paper puts forward two cases for a Yes vote over its 10 chapters. One is the “gains from independence — whichever party is elected” and the other, more controversial given taxpayers’money has funded the document, is “gains from independence — if we (the SNP) are the first government of an independent Scotland”. Sometimes the distinction is difficult to spot, with economic and ideological arguments intertwined throughout the weighty publication. The first chapter sums this up neatly, with “The Case for Independence” including technical issues such as the transition and SNP policy like keeping the Queen as the head of state — something

that doesn’t sit easily with quite a number in theYes campaign. That transition between Yes vote and Scotland separating from the rest of the UK is estimated to take around 18 months, with a provisional “independence day” set out as March 24 2016 in Scotland’s Future. According to the document, that leaves time for a delegation, led by the First Minister but with the support of “figures from across Scottish public life and Scotland’s other political parties”, to negotiate with the rest of the UK, the EU and other international organisations ahead of the already scheduled Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2016. Chapters two and three of the White Paper deal with Scotland’s finances and the economy, including the controversial assertion that there will be a currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK after aYes vote. This idea has been rejected by Westminster’s main parties but the Scottish Government maintains they are “bluffing”. The next two sections cover health, education and employment and include the flagship childcare pledge that would see every three and four-year-old and vulnerable two-year-olds entitled to 1,140 hours of free care a year. International relations, defence, justice and security and the environment are all covered in separate sections, with the prospect of the return of the Black Watch and air capacity at Leuchars dangled but not committed to. The chapter on Culture, Communications and Digital proposes

Scotland’s Future talks of extending voting rights for 16 and 17-year-olds.

the foundation of Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS), a new public service broadcaster, which would create its own output and engage in “trades” with the BBC to screen the likes of Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing north of the border. Chapter 10 talks more about the transition to independence, confirms the same number of MSPs would be kept at Holyrood despite the extra workload, the creation of a written constitution and extension of voting rights to 16 and 17-year-olds. Then there are the 650 questions, with answers, that round the document off. There is plenty there to mull over, although fun has been poked at the need to outline which side of the road we would drive on, what time zone an independent Scotland would be in and what the national anthem would be (Flower of Scotland, just in case). But what happens if, as polls seem to be suggesting, and there is a No vote? That is less clear. All the three main unionist parties are offering more devolution but exactly what has not been spelled out. One thing for sure is that further powers will be arriving through the Scotland Act 2012, which comes into force across next year and 2016. This includes the setting up of a “Scottish rate” of income tax and gives Holyrood the power to scrap stamp duty, which Finance Secretary John Swinney has already said will result in a tax on land transactions being introduced in its place. Beyond that? The Liberal Democrats want a federal UK, Labour’s devolution commission will spell out its plans at the party conference in Perth this weekend and the Scottish Conservatives are expected to outline their party’s proposals in the summer. There is not cross-party agreement, though.

Running to well over 600 pages, Scotland’s Future (above) is undeniably a weighty tome.


The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014


pages of whistling in the wind? numBeRS

So whose projections are standing up better to scrutiny? A pro-independence rally in Edinburgh.

Health will be a key consideration for older voters.

SNP leadership duo Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

FOUR MONTHS ago the White Paper was launched with the promise it would answer all the electorate’s questions about life in an independent Scotland. But how much of it has stood the test of the campaign so far? One of the most repeated statistics was that Scotland contributed 9.9 per cent of UK tax receipts in 2012 but was given only 9.6 per cent of spending. However, the most recently-published data from Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland showed 9.3 per cent of UK spending was received north of the border, while the country contributed 9.1 per cent of taxes. Another major point was economic analysis from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The White Paper said: “Amongst OECD economies, it is estimated Scotland would be ranked eighth in terms of output per head.” In fact, new figures saw Scotland ranked 14th. It’s worth pointing out it still outstripped the UK as a whole’s performance by four places. Another central point was the currency an independent Scotland would use. The Scottish Government has remained steadfast that a formal currency union would be set up with the rest of the UK in the wake of a Yes vote. That’s despite it being ruled out by Chancellor George Osborne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Economic experts vary in their opinion as to what would be best in our wallets but if there’s a Yes vote and realpolitik comes into play on this issue, it will be fascinating to see who blinks first.


The Yes campaign has been built on the economic arguments for independence, says Stefan Morkis — but do the figures add up and what does it mean for you? Five hundred pounds (Sterling). That’s how much money will make a difference to voting intentions in the independence referendum. A survey carried out last year found 52% of Scots would vote Yes if it made them £500 a year better off. Conversely, if it was to make people £500 a year poorer then only 15% say they would still vote for independence. In other words: put ideology and nationalism, either British or Scottish, to one side because the referendum will be decided on what it puts into — or takes out of — voters’ pockets. The economy and jobs have long been the most important factors for voters in the independence debate and that will continue right up until September 18. For Yes voters, there are

plenty of strong economic reasons to leave the UK. Over the last 32 years, Scotland has contributed more tax per head of population than the rest of the UK. In 2011/12 Scots generated £10,700 of tax revenues per head, compared to £9,000 for the rest of the UK. And Scotland spends a lower proportion of that income on pensions, welfare and other public services. Over the last five years Scotland’s fiscal accounts have been stronger than the UK’s as a whole by £12.6 million — around £2,400 for every person in the country. Of course the one crucial caveat is that these figures do not take into account deficits or debts — should an independent Scotland agree to assume its share of debt. The SNP would also like to banish Trident, a move

that would free up a “nuclear dividend” of £500 million to spend on public services. Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product is also higher than the UK’s when oil is taken into account. Onshore GDP in 2012 was £126 billion — £4,230 per head but this rose to to £128.2 billion (£24,653) per head when the offshore economy is taken into account. The SNP also claims that Scotland’s fair share of UK debt is £100 billion by 2016/17, 6.4% of the total debt of £1.6 trillion. This is based on the total net contributions to the UK deficit since 1981, when North Sea oil and gas production began. But even taking in a per capita share of the debt — which would be £30 billion greater — Scotland would have a lower debt to GDP

ratio than the rest of the UK thanks to North Sea oil. However, these models rely on oil prices and output staying at the same level or higher. The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) data published this month showed why oil price volatility can be so damaging. For months the Yes campaign had claimed Scotland contributed 9.9% of UK tax receipts in 2012 but only receive 9.6% of public spending. But a 40% drop in the price of oil meant that Scotland contributed only 9.1% of taxes in return for 9.3% of public spending. And there are other factors to consider. As an independent country, Scotland would have to bear the cost of setting up the infrastructure necessary

to support an entirely new country. Whether it is embassies and consulates abroad, a Scottish version of the DVLA or other institutions, all would take considerable investment to recreate. The SNP’s preferred option is, like Sterling, to continue sharing these with the rest of the UK. There is no doubt that, looking at the balance sheet alone, Scotland could not only afford to become independent, it would be an extremely wealthy country. In fact, the argument that Scotland is “too wee, too poor and too stupid” is regarded as irrelevant by both sides of the debate. But whether remote concepts such as better GDP or a smaller deficit per head are enough to sway undecided voters will only be known on September 19.

Total tax wedge taken from salary including employers’ social security contributions

50.7% 38.1%

42.3% 43.2% 42.5%

Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Portugal Sweden UK

Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Portugal Sweden UK

Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Portugal Sweden UK




61% 45.1% 48.5% 54% 51.2%

29.6% 32% 28.1%


Single, earning 167% of average total tax take



41% 39%


32.5% 34.9%

47.6% 38.6% 37.6% 42.8% 42.8% 32.3%

Married couple, 2 kids total tax take


38.6% 42.5%

36,508 35,883


50.2% 49.7%

Single person on average wage total tax take 56%

Average wage in £


Referendum2014 Thursday, September 18

How much Scots would pay in tax after independence remains unknown and, to a large degree, unknowable. The Scottish Parliament will already receive more tax-raising powers under the Scotland Act 2012, even if it votes against leaving the UK. It will be given limited ability to adjust income tax and have control over Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, which is replacing Duty and Land taxes. The Scottish Parliament will also control landfill tax and continue to control council and business tax. But in the event of independence all taxes will be set by the party of government — and that is why questions can’t be answered. According to the White Paper, parties would put forward their tax plans in their manifestos for the 2016 elections in Scotland. Only the SNP has put forward its vision. The White Paper claims that Scotland could continue to enjoy the same services it does today without any tax increases post-independence. The SNP also offers tax cuts, claiming it would increase personal allowances and tax credits by inflation each year, although tax allowances being introduced for married couples will be scrapped. And they want to cut Air Passenger Duty to 50% of its current level before it is eventually scrapped. The White Paper also states corporation tax in an independent Scotland would be kept 3% below the UK rate. Alex Salmond often cites countries such as Norway as examples for Scotland to follow. However, they enjoy higher public spending because of their punitive tax rates. In Norway, corporation tax is 28%, which will be 11 points higher than Scotland’s if the UK rate remains at 20%. Similarly, both income tax and VAT are also higher. And while the average wage in Norway is also higher than the UK’s, it is only by around $6,000 a year more. And, earlier this month, Mr Salmond more or less ruled out the return of a 50p top tax rate if Scotland wins independence, saying the country would need to remain “competitive”. Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman expects Scots would pay less tax post-independence — but warns a currency union with the remainder of the UK is unlikely to work.

The price of our future

38,414 43,974 34,589 30,582 37,369 27,207 24,107 38,709

taxation How much taxation? Who knows?

The Courier & Advertiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Portugal Sweden UK



The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Currency: so which side’s telling truth?

one of the biggest questions is not whether people would be better off under independence — but whether they would have the pound in their pocket at all . . .


by Stefan Morkis

urrency has become perhaps the biggest single issue of the referendum debate and one emblematic of it as a whole. The scottish Government maintains that it wants a formal sterling currency union with the rest of the uK postindependence, even though such an option has been ruled out by the conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. First Minister alex salmond has said this position is nothing but a bluff and that in the event of a yes vote the Westminster Government will be far more willing to agree to such a currency union. Whether you believe Mr salmond has called Westminster’s cards correctly or think he has gone all in with nothing in his hand is probably one of the biggest factors in deciding how you will vote. It used to be so simple for supporters of scottish independence. Before the economic crash of 2008, the snP envisaged scotland breaking away from the rest of the united Kingdom, joining the european union and adopting the euro as currency. Then disaster struck and the eurozone crisis forced a re-think. e ve n t h o u g h Fi r s t M i n i s t e r alex salmond once described sterling as a “millstone around scotland’s neck”, by the time the White Paper was published last year keeping sterling in a shared currency zone with the rest of the uK was the scottish Government’s ambition. The scottish Government appointed a Fiscal commission to look at possible options for currency post-independence and they came up with four options: continued use of sterling, pegged and flexible; creating an entirely new scottish currency; or joining the euro. Their conclusion was that retaining the pound as part of a formal monetary union with the rest of the uK was best. however, chancellor of the exchequer

Which currency an independent Scotland would use has sparked much debate.

George Osborne ruled out any such agreement last month after the Treasury advised against such a union, claiming it would not be in the best interests of the rest of the uK. Deputy First Minister nicola sturgeon responded by threatening that scotland could, in those circumstances, refuse to accept its share of uK debt if denied a currency union and continue using the pound anyway. This in turn led to warnings that scotland would have to pay far higher rates of interest on any borrowings as it would not have a central bank underpinning the currency, and may

even see the remainder of the uK veto any attempt by scotland to join the eu. One of the scottish Government’s key points is that scotland cannot reasonably be expected to take on a share of debt without receiving an equivalent share of any assets, which they consider sterling to be. But the Treasury disagrees. and if scotland does not take on debt, what assets would it then actually be entitled to? Given that much of the White Paper’s proposals depend on the division or sharing of assets, just whose bluff is it that has been called?



Currency union would make perfect sense thE poUND might take up lots of newspaper coverage — but that’s because the No campaign has nothing positive to offer people, and simply relies on arguing we’re uniquely incapable of running a successful independent country and working with our neighbours. But George osborne’s currency announcement — his infamous ‘sermon on the pound’ — was a campaign tactic that the sunday herald has revealed the No campaign had planned six months ago. so we know Mr osborne is playing politics and not applying economics. And more and more people are recognising that. the truth is that a currency union makes common sense. remember, scotland can use the UK pound regardless of what Mr osborne says — because it’s a fully tradeable currency. But that’s not what’s proposed, since the advice of the expert Fiscal Commission (including two Nobel prize winners) is that there would be clear benefits to both scotland and rUK in having a formal currency agreement. they are of the firm belief that such a union brings stability for people and businesses in scotland and rUK and promotes cross-border trade. And it’s not just Yes that is saying it. here are the views from two experts. professor Anton Mustcatelli, economist, University of Glasgow, says: “Maintaining a sterling currency union would be advantageous to both countries after independence.” pr o f e s s o r D a v i d simpson (formerly UN, World Bank and standard Life): “A currency union based on sterling remains the most likely outcome following independence because it is in the best interests of not just scotland but of England as well.” Before the referendum No politicians will say anything to stop independence, after Yes they’ll do what’s best for people and businesses in the rest of the UK — and that means sharing the pound.


Pound’s strength a source of stability

As pArt of the UK we benefit from the strength, security and stability of the UK pound. this is good for jobs as it keeps the cost of mortgages and credit card bills down, and it’s vital for the wages we are paid and the benefits and pensions we receive. the only thing putting that at risk is Alex salmond’s obsession with separation.

A currency union between a separate scotland and the continuing UK is not going to happen. In any event it wouldn’t be good for scotland and it wouldn’t be good for people living elsewhere in the UK. Business leaders are against it, and poll after poll shows people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland wouldn’t support it.

Instead of telling everybody else they are wrong and only he is right, what the people of scotland need from Alex salmond is his plan B on currency. Would scotland rush to adopt the euro, as the Governor of the Bank of England has suggested, or would we set up our own unproven separate currency? the idea that people in

scotland can be expected to go to the polls blind on this most fundamental issue is simply not credible. Alex salmond and other Nationalists should stop their reckless threats about not taking on a fair share of debt because they can’t get a deal on the pound. We all know from our own

lives what happens to your credit rating if you don’t pay your bills. Defaulting on our debt would push up costs for mortgages, credit card bills and car loans. Why take such a huge risk and force additional costs onto families in scotland? Why turn our backs on the strength, stability and security of the United Kingdom?


betteR togetheR Relying on oil is a highrisk strategy

Referendum2014 Thursday, September 18

norTh SeA oil has been great for Scotland but despite what Alex Salmond would have you believe, we know oil can’t pay for everything. nobody knows exactly how much is left but we know it is running out. While independence would be forever, oil is not. We need to be honest about the role that oil and gas can play in Scotland if we vote to go it alone. The challenge for us is to make sure that we make the most of this precious, but declining resource. We know that it can’t pay for everything forever. Snp claims that oil will be able to pay for every new policy that they promise simply don’t stack up. every penny of money that we get from oil and gas is already being spent in Scotland on schools, hospitals and pensions. There is no massive bounty of oil money ready to be spent if we vote for independence. The only way that we could have a norwegianstyle oil fund would be to cut services, raise taxes or borrow more. if we were borrowing cash to put money in an oil fund it would be like going to a payday loan company to invest money in an iSA. The nationalists also don’t like to talk about the fact that, even when you include oil, their own figures show that Scotland has spent more than it has brought in in 20 of the last 21 years. The difference between the money brought in to the government when oil prices were high and the sum brought in when oil prices were low is equivalent to the entire Scottish nhS budget. if that sounds like a massive risk to be taking, it is because it is. As part of the bigger UK economy, we are protected from these price fluctuations. Are we really willing to stake the nhS budget on Alex Salmond’s gamble? Why turn our backs on the strength, stability and security of the United Kingdom?

The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

‘it’s Scotland’s oil’ was the Snp’s battle cry following the discovery of north Sea black gold — and it’s still central to the 2014 referendum, says Stefan Morkis

Drilling for facts The opening of the Scottish parliament in 1999 was a key date on the road to the independence referendum. And, ironically given the it’s Scotland’s oil campaign in the 1970s which helped revitalise the Snp, it was also the year that north Sea oil production peaked. Since then, when 1.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent were extracted, output has been falling by a rate of 5-10% each year — or it did until 2011 when output fell by 17.9%. But although Yes Scotland maintains an independent Scotland would still be wealthier than it is as part of the UK without tax from oil revenues, the potential revenues that remain could be critical to settling the vote on independence. in 2011-2012, tax revenues from north Sea oil and gas were £7.6 billion and the industry is estimated to have contributed around £22 billion to Scotland’s gDp in 2012. Although oil may be a finite resource, the Snp is in no doubt that there is enough of the black stuff left to make Scotland one of the wealthiest countries on earth. According to the Scottish government’s White paper, 24 billion barrels of oil and gas remain under the north Sea — worth an estimated £1.5 trillion. T h e W h i t e pa p e r also points out that investment in north Sea oil has hit a record level of £13.5 billion while another £100 billion of investment is planned. T h e W h i t e pa p e r

UK oil & gas production

Oil & NGL output is expressed in millions of tonnes; gas output in billions of cubic feet. Source: DECC.




Oil & NGL

150 100 50

1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013


considers two possible scenarios for the future of north Sea gas and oil — both of them positive. if production and prices remain unchanged they claim Scotland would receive tax revenues of £6.8 billion in 2016/17, while even if prices fall they predict that increased production will see tax revenues rise to £7.9 billion. But this does make a few assumptions, not least on the notoriously volatile price of oil. given the impossibility of predicting oil prices and subsequent tax revenues, the White paper says an Snp government would create a Scottish energy fund. This would use revenues from oil and gas to provide investment for future generations and to “top up” revenues when tax receipts

fell below a certain level. however, the Yes campaign was dealt a serious blow this month when the institute of Fiscal Studies said oil revenues are likely to be far less than even the White paper’s most pessimistic predictions. While the Snp forecasts revenues of between £6.8 billion and £7.9bn in 2016-17, the iFS has said revenues, based on the office for Budget responsibility’s March forecasts, will be just £3.3bn. Meanwhile, the Department of energy and climate change, in a direct contradiction of the White paper, predicts a decline in output from the north Sea and that fiscal revenues will fall correspondingly. Although oil and gas UK, the trade body for the

oil industry, is predicting output will returned to two million barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2017, it has said it will be six years before this level is reached again. of course, this depends on companies being able to successfully bring new wells online to offset declining output from older ones. The difficulty for oil firms is that these reserves are much harder — and more expensive — to reach. in fact, the cost of extracting one barrel of oil or gas from the north Sea has already doubled since 2007 and one oil company — Bp — has already warned their costs may rise if Scotland votes Yes, which could affect future investment. The Snp has dismissed these concerns. And although there

is no doubt that oil will be a valuable resource should Scotland vote for independence, dividing the natural resource pool between Scotland and the rest of the UK may not necessarily be straightforward. industry expert professor Alex Kemp has suggested the median line north of Berwick. This would give Scotland a 95% share of oil and 58% of gas resources, but until the split is agreed it is impossible to gauge how much Scotland would benefit from oil and gas.


Norway’s oil wealth is a key indicator

AccorDing To David cameron our north Sea industry is the “jewel in the crown” of the UK economy. And as the UK Business Secretary said last year when launching a report that confirmed we’d continue to supply oil and gas until well after 2055: “There is a very positive future for the industry. oil and gas UK expect production to expand.”

We know that oil and gas are finite resources. That’s why almost every country or province blessed with them has built up a wealth fund. And that’s what an independent Scottish government would do. Yet successive UK governments have failed to put a single penny into such a rainy day fund. With such a woeful track

record to defend, instead the no campaign suggests we’re not up to the task of coping with year to year variations in oil and gas revenues. of course oil and gas revenues go up and down but so do other revenue streams — it is perfectly normal to manage budgets: it’s what Treasury Departments are paid to do. Looking over the last decade norway has always relied

on oil and gas for a bigger share of its total revenue than Scotland. has that caused them problems? in fact, norway is among the richest countries in the world; it tops the Un human Development index on broader measures of prosperity; and has the largest wealth fund on the planet valued at £500 billion. That’s £100,000 per person.


The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our green energy is key to the whole equation ScoTLANd IS blessed with one of the most impor tant resources in the 21st century — energy. With oil and gas and renewables, we are in a for tunate place. The No campaign wants you to believe this is a burden, whereas it is a big advantage. The rest of the uK needs Scotland’s green energy to meet its target of 30% of electricity from renewables by 2020. The uK is struggling to meet legally-binding Eu targets of 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020. More fundamentally, the rest of the uK needs Scotland’s energy to remove the risk that the lights will go off. Electricity regulator ofgem has forecast that the uK’s spare electricity generation capacity could fall to just 2% in 2015, increasing the risk of blackouts. In contrast, Scotland’s extra capacity over demand in 201516 has been predicted to rise to around 25% by the Scottish Government. Some suggest that the rest of the uK could look elsewhere for cheaper energy, but with our European neighbours facing similar capacity issues, the uK will continue to rely on power from an independent Scotland. The future for offshore renewables is very positive. With the full powers of independence we can ensure Scotland feels the full benefit — for present and future generations. offshore renewables can deliver the re-industrialisation of Scotland, with thousands of new skilled manufacturing jobs for our young people with new opportunities for the east coast in particular.

Hoping to reap vast renewables benefits Scotland’s economy depends heavily on oil but that is not our only energy source. What would independence mean for the renewables revolution? Stefan Morkis reports . . .


hether Scotland becomes independent or not, it will be energy rich — or at least potentially so. aside from the oil and gas still to be extracted from under the north Sea, Scotland also has vast renewable energy resources. Scotland is a net expor ter of electricity and renewable energy is growing at a significant rate. Between January 2010 and april 2013 the industry announced £13.1 billion of investment, which will create more than 9,000 jobs. the Scottish Government has also announced plans to set up a new energy

department — co-headquartered in aberdeen and Glasgow to capitalise on oil, gas and renewable energy — in an independent Scotland. Between 2011 and 2012, 13.6% of all the UK’s electricity was generated in Scotland and more than a quarter of this was exported. But despite these riches, Scotland’s Future — the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence — wants to maintain a shared UK energy market. this would mean that Scotland would continue to share in the subsidies crucial to developing the renewable energy sector. While Scotland only accounts for

Gross electricity consumption and % renewables output 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000




20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000


22.2% 27.6% 24.2% 36.2% 40.3%


2008 2009

0 2010



Gross consumption Renewables output Unravelling the elements of UK energy supply and demand would be a big headache.

9% of the UK’s energy sales, it receives 37% of funding through the UK renewables obligation system, which pays electricity companies for the green energy they produce. Without these subsisidies and other levies attached to power bills from across the UK, developing renewable energy resources becomes far more expensive and could leave the SnP’s hopes of generating all electricity from renewable sources by 2020 hanging by a thread. and although the rest of UK may import excess electricity generated in Scotland, it could shop around for cheaper power from Ireland or France. It has been estimated that the average annual electricity bill in Scotland could rise by as much as £300 a year as a result. that would be difficult to swallow but english politicians would struggle to justify to voters down south why they are paying more for their electricity to keep bills in Scotland down. there are also fears that some energy companies could withdraw from what would be a much smaller market, limiting choice for consumers to an even greater degree and making them more vulnerable to price rises. But there are also signif icant advantages for the UK if it decides to retain a single energy market. Scotland accounts for nearly half (42%) of all installed UK wind capacity. Without Scotland it is unlikely the UK would meet its eU mandated energy targets, although these might well be renegotiated in the wake of Scottish independence. First Minister alex Salmond has, additionally, claimed that electricity generated in Scotland is needed to keep the lights on in england and Wales. that may be something of an exaggeration, but there is no doubt that unpicking the UK’s energy market would not be straightforward.


There’s no guarantee we’d retain subsidies

If you want to understand how much potential Scotland has as a world leader in renewable energy, you need only open your window! No-one needs to tell us that wind and rain are not things that are in short supply. However, it is all very well and good to have the raw materials; in order to capitalise

on this position of strength you need to invest in infrastructure and in new technology. This is where the Nationalist case, as in so many areas, completely falls apart. They have asserted that we can leave the uK but that we would still be part of the uK energy market. They completely ignore that the

rest of the uK would choose who it buys any excess energy from — it could go to the continent or it could go to Ireland. Alex Salmond simply demanding that they buy it from Scotland will not matter a jot if we left the uK. But the real problem comes from one of the biggest whoppers that we hear regularly from the

SNP. They claim that, after independence, hard-pressed bill payers in the rest of the uK will automatically agree to continue paying a subsidy that would pay for investment in renewables in Scotland. It is utter nonsense. Imagine if a politician said that we all had to pay a subsidy on our energy bills to

support the french renewables industry. They would be laughed out of town — and rightly so. Like so much of the case for the uK, there is sense in pooling and sharing resources. It makes sense for bill payers in all of the uK to pay for an industry that benefits the whole of the uK. We may

not like how much we pay in energy bills right now — but without the whole of the uK paying towards the Scottish renewables industry we would either have to abandon renewables or massively increase bills to pay for it. Why turn our backs on the strength, security and stability of the uK?



betteR togetheR No camp’s concern for Scots jobs

Referendum2014 Thursday, September 18

the iNterveNtioNS in recent weeks from some of Scotland’s largest employers make clear that independence would cost jobs. A recent survey of businesses in Scotland found that over one third would consider quitting the country if we separate. Courier readers know better than most the risk to jobs from independence, following the comments by rosyth dockyard owner Babcock. the trade unions and employers at Babcock voiced their real concerns about the risk leaving the UK would pose to jobs at rosyth. Alliance trust, a company based in Dundee since the late 1800s and employing hundreds of people, said that it is making plans to move work to england if Scotland leaves the UK. these are big risks that we simply don’t have to take. Being part of the large UK single market is good for Scottish businesses. today they have unrestricted access to a market of 63 million, rather than just five million. Where is the sense in putting up barriers between businesses and their customers elsewhere in the UK? the number of businesses raising serious concerns about the risks of separation shows what a leap in the dark it would be. From Standard life to rBS, Shell to lloyds, Morrisons to BP, these are firms employing thousands of Scots. rather than saying they are all wrong and only he is right, Alex Salmond should provide credible answers to the important questions. on the two biggest issues for employers, currency and eU membership, the Nationalists are all over the place. Businesses don’t know what currency they will be trading in if we leave the UK and don’t know whether we would be a member of the eU, or what the terms of membership would be if we did get in. today we have the best of both worlds. our strong Scottish Parliament takes key decisions about business, including on education, skills and training, and we benefit from being part of the larger UK economy. there is no sense in putting this at risk. Why turn our backs on the strength, security and stability of the United Kingdom?

The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

the White Paper promises an enterprise-friendly Scotland that will create thousands of jobs. But do businesses agree independence is the way forward?

Business concerns While it will be voters who ultimately decide Scotland’s constitutional future, the impact on businesses — and therefore the wider economy and employment — will be a key deciding factor. there have been no widespread sur veys of business sentiment and so many factors come into play that it is impossible for anyone to state clearly what the impact of independence might be. t h e W h i t e Pa p e r claims that a post-2016 Scottish Government would support the re-industrialisation of Scotland by increasing manufacturing activity and boosting highvalue jobs, promoting innovation and increasing investment. it claims future governments would be able to help these sectors grow by offering tax incentives. however, the White Paper ’s biggest promise is to introduce a timetable that will see corporation tax drop to three percentage points below the rate set by the rest of the UK — something the SNP say could lead to the creation of 27,000 jobs by attracting new investment. h o w e v e r, c r i t i c s including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown claim this could lead to a “race to the bottom” with companies demanding Scotland — or the rest of the UK — cut the minimum wage to make investment more attractive.

Scottish exports


2012 (£b) International To the rest of the UK



8.7 13.8

Oil & gas


Oil & gas Services

Total £98.1b




(would make Scotland 34th largest exporter)

Export by sector and destination 2012 (£b)


To the rest of the UK

Oil & gas Whisky Chemicals Other manufacturing Finance & insurance Legal, accounting Other services Other 1




Some businesses are apprehensive about the potential effects of independence.

And, of course, any cut in tax means less revenue for the government to spend on public services. Supermarkets have been the most vocal about the effects of independence, with several warning it could lead to price rises, while the chief executive of BP Bob Dudley warned of the “big uncertainties” caused by potential independence. Some business groups such as CBi Scotland have asked what currency will be used if the UK does not agree to a formal sterling zone and the eU does

not guarantee Scotland automatic entr y while John Cridland, directorgeneral of the national CBi, has come out in favour of remaining part of the UK. Some firms, such as the orion Group, have even said they are considering leaving Scotland due to the continued uncertainty over its future and currency. Standard life, the UK’s largest provider of defined contribution pensions and self-invested pension plans, has said it is preparing contingency plans to move parts of its

business out of Scotland if deemed necessar y should Scotland vote for independence. yet pro-independence campaigners can take solace from the fact that Bank of england governor Mark Carney has said the institution would find a way to make a currency union work if agreed by the Scottish and UK governments following separation. Whether that happens after Chancellor George osborne ruled out a formal currency union remains to be seen. But there is also plenty

of support for independence within the business community. Pro -independence group Business Scotland has more than 2,000 members and supporters point out that separate currencies would impact on english and Welsh businesses as well as Scottish ones, although to a far lesser degree. And a poll of UK-wide companies by the British Chambers of Commerce carried out in August last year found that 90% say the referendum has had no substantive impact on their business so far.


Yes camp’s take on business concerns

toDAy No campaigners, and even a few company executives, claim independence will be bad for business. But they said the exact same thing about devolution. they were wrong then and they are wrong now. A yes vote means economic policies designed for Scotland, a No vote means more of the same policies designed for london

and the South east. We know Scotland is one of the wealthiest counties in the world, so why wouldn’t businesses want to continue to trade here and be based here? And, contrary to the media reporting, Standard life are now writing to customers saying: “Standard life currently has no plans to relocate or transfer parts of our operations out of Scotland”.

A yes vote will create thousands of jobs in Scotland. instead of paying for civil service and defence jobs to be located down south, we’ll have those jobs here. Companies currently headquartered only in england will set up headquarters in Scotland bringing high-quality jobs. We can use the full powers of independence to support

growth in vital sectors while the current government proposes an Air Passenger Duty tax cut to boost tourism, and the possibility of lower national insurance contributions to help small business take on extra staff. We can put in place policies to support our creative industries and boost our burgeoning food and drink industry overseas.


The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Europe has always found the solution deSPITe deCadeS of ‘cold war ’, in 1990 communist east Germany was reunited with west Germany and joined the eU. In the unprecedented circumstances of German reunification there was no obvious solution in the eC treaties — but one was found, and east Germany was absorbed into the community in just months. How much easier will it be for Scotland, a country which has been part of the eU for 40 years and already meets all the requirements for membership? The independence timetable means there will be 18 months —while still part of the UK — to negotiate Scotland’s continued membership. So we’ll be negotiating from within, and even the international legal exper t commissioned by westminster said this was “realistic”. on the other hand, Scotland’s membership is hugely important to other member states. Scotland has 25% of europe’s off-shore wind and tidal resource and also 10% of europe’s wave resource. we have the largest oil reserves and are the eU’s secondlargest gas producer. we have some of the eU’s most important fishing areas. over 120,000 eU citizens are exercising the right to work and study here. why would any member state want Scotland outside the single market? even david Cameron has stated that he would “absolutely” support Scotland’s membership of the eU after yes — which explains why Spain’s foreign minister has accepted this won’t cause an issue. as Professor Charlie Jeffery of edinburgh University has said: “ The conclusion of almost all independent expert analysis is that Scottish eU membership would be uninterrupted.” of course, negotiations will be needed. But despite the No campaign’s myths, eU law means we can’t be forced to join the euro. one of the necessary steps to adopt the euro is voluntary — the decision will always be ours to take.


European matters must be considered

Independence will mean Scotland leaving the UK but its relationship with its european neighbours will also determine how people vote, says Stefan Morkis


he debate may be about Scotland leaving the United Kingdom but it is our relationship with europe that may influence the final outcome. the SNP Scottish Government’s position is simple: Scotland would leave the UK and negotiate entry into the european Union in the 18 months between the September 18 vote and full independence. according to their argument, Scotland joining the eU as an independent state would ensure continued access to the single market vital for trade, retain the UK’s rebate on net transfers to the eU, worth nearly £300 million annually, and also retain UK opt-outs from the euro and the Schengen travel area.

these assertions remain highly disputed but the SNP also hopes that anti-eU feeling in england may convince Scotland to vote Yes. the Conservatives have promised a referendum on eU membership should they win an outright majority after the next General election. Unfortunately for the Yes camp, europe and the euro has become the achilles’heel of the independence campaign — issues that have exposed time and again weaknesses in the Yes camp’s plans for an independent Scotland. that First Minister alex Salmond described Sterling as a sinking currency and suggested Scotland could join the euro before changing hismindinfavourofaSterlingzone

Countries ranked by GDP per head (total economic output divided by mid-year population) 2012 GDP per head ($) 1 Luxembourg 2 Norway 3 Switzerland 4 United States 5 Australia 6 Austria 7 Ireland 8 Netherlands 9 Sweden 10 Denmark 11 Canada 12 Germany 13 Belgium 14 SCOTLAND 15 Finland 16 Iceland 17 France 18 UK 19 Japan 20 Italy

$89,417 $66,135 $53,641 $51,689 $44,407 $44,141 $43,803 $43,348 $42,974 $42,787 $42,114 $41,923 $40,838 $39,642 $39,160 $39,097 $36,933 $35,671 $35,482 $34,143

after the eurozone crisis is understandable. It would be a foolhardy politician who refused to change their mind at any cost. but other assertions of europe may prove most damaging. despite claiming that entry to the eU would be a formality, senior figures such as herman van Rumpoy, president of the european Council, have warned that if part of a member country becomes independent then eU treaties would no longer apply. accession to the eU under those conditions could take up to seven years, while Scotland would then have to agree to other conditions such as joining the euro. to make matters worse, Mr Salmond claimed in March 2012 to have received legal advice from Scottish Government law officers to back this up. It later emerged that advice was not sought until nearly six months later. and one of the Scottish Government’s flagship policies would become illegal should Scotland join the eU as an independent state. Currently, Scottish students, and those from eU countries, do not have to pay for tuition at Scotland’s universities and, according to Mr Salmond “rocks would melt in the sun” before his government introduces fees for Scots. however, to help Scotland’s universities keep up with their fee-charging english counterparts, students from elsewhere in the UK do have to pay fees because under eU law it is possible to discriminate against people from different parts of a member state but not those from other states. Meanwhile, there are concerns that countries such as Spain, which are keen to stifle separatist movements in their own countries, may try to stop Scotland joining the eU automatically. but the Yes camp is confident that Scotland would be too valuable a member of the eU for its entry to be blocked. they claim the Common Fisheries Policy could not work without Scotland’s participation while some experts claim that Scotland would not be compelled to join the euro or the Schengen travel area.


Why turn our backs on the UK’s shelter?

Today we have a seat at the top table in the european Union as part of the UK. The reality is that when it comes to having influence and getting things done in europe, it’s the big three countries — the UK, Germany and France — who matter most. The nationalists are all over the place on europe. alex Salmond told us that he had legal advice to prove that a separate Scotland would

automatically be a member of the european Union. It turns out that the First Minister wasn’t telling the truth. No legal advice ever existed. what is worse, alex Salmond spent thousands of pounds of taxpayer money going to court to hide that fact. The Prime Minister of Spain, the President of the european Commission and the President of the european Council have all said that

there would be big difficulties with a separate Scotland’s application to join the eU. alex Salmond dismisses them all because they don’t agree with him. as part of the UK we benefit from a number of key opt-outs that directly benefit the people of Scotland. whilst every new eU member has to sign up to join the euro, the UK has a special deal which means we can keep

using the pound as our currency. The Governor of the Bank of england, Mark Carney, a neutral observer in this debate, recently said that if we have to apply as a new member of the eU then we would have to sign up to the euro. we also have an opt-out from the common european immigration system, meaning decisions about immigration, asylum and border

controls are taken here in the UK rather than in Brussels. as a new member state of the eU, a separate Scotland would in all likelihood have to sign up to the common immigration scheme. Today as part of the UK we also benefit from the rebate, worth £300 million a year to Scotland. why would we want to put that at risk? why turn our backs on the strength, security and stability of the UK?



better together We’re safer and stronger together

referendum2014 Thursday, September 18

the uK Armed Forces are the very best in the world. For centuries, men and women from Scotland have stood shoulder to shoulder with people from england, Wales and northern ireland to keep us safe at home and to tackle threats to our freedom abroad. our intelligence services work seamlessly across the uK to tackle threats from extremism and terrorism. u n f o r t u n a t e l y, r e c e n t years have shown us that Scotland is not immune to these threats. When the attack took place at glasgow Airport, the entire uK worked to bring those responsible to justice. tens of thousands of jobs rely on the contracts that come from the uK armed forces. From the staff who work at the military bases, the high-tech companies that are making the software and hardware that our Forces use and the shipyards that build the ships for the Royal navy, being part of the uK is good for Scottish jobs. the SnP say that we can leave the uK, but still keep all the benefits. they say that we would set up a separate Scottish Defence Force and Scottish intelligence Services and that ever ything would, somehow, be better than what we have now. it is a fantasy. how can we rip up centuries of history, throw away decades of experience and expertise, attempt to recreate everything that we already have on a far smaller budget and far smaller scale and expect things to be better? it just isn’t credible. We should take pride in the global reach of our armed forces. Royal navy boats are in the Caribbean intercepting drug traffickers. Similarly, Scottish ships and Scottish troops provide relief when disaster strikes around the world. the SnP say that unless a ship is patrolling Scottish waters then it is not working for Scotland. it is a ridiculous argument. the fact is we are stronger and safer together as part of the uK. Why turn our back on the strength, security and stability of the uK?

The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

For centuries, Scots have played a full role in the British Armed Forces. But how would an independent Scotland choose to defend itself? By Stefan Morkis.

Who would defend Scotland’s realm? 14th amendment, former uS President Ronald Reagan once said that a government’s first duty is to protect its citizens.

Quoting the

And while we live in a world where the threat of invasion barely registers, Scotland’s defence remains a key issue in the referendum. As with the remainder of the uK, terrorism is possibly the biggest physical threat to Scotland, while cyber terrorism remains a potent risk that could bring governments and businesses to a halt. Meanwhile, there is still the likelihood of the Russian Air Force’s probing flights near Scotland’s nautical 200-mile border continuing. And if Scotland’s most important assets are the oil and gas reserves in the north Sea then the country must have the military capability to prevent attacks there and ensure there is no disruption to the oil supply. in the White Paper on independence, the SnP spells out what it would do in the event of independence. the party’s long-held aspiration to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons would be a priority. nuclear subs would be removed from Faslane, which would become hQ of the Scottish defence force. however, compromises have been made along the way. the SnP dropped its long-standing opposition to nAto, although it says it will join as a nuclear-free member.


A defence strategy made in Scotland

the White Paper says nuclear-armed vessels from other nAto countries would be allowed to dock in Scotland without confirming whether or not they are carrying nuclear warheads. the SnP envisages a vastly different conventional military defence force than the one the uK currently provides — and one that will, crucially, cost the taxpayer much less. According to the most recent figures from 2007-08, Scottish taxpayers contributed around £3.36 billion to the defence budget, £1.46 billion more than was actually spent here. however, given that the uK was involved in overseas conflicts in iraq and Afghanistan, such high levels of spending are not a surprise. operating under the assumption that Scotland would inherit a share of current military assets based on population, then the White Paper estimates the total value of this would be in the region of £7.8 billion. te n years after independence, the SnP predict total personnel in the Scottish armed forces would be 15,000 regulars plus 3,000 reservists. But things may not be as straightforward as they’d wish. Despite the small size of the new Scottish armed forces, the White Paper says it is envisaged that major army facilities will continue to be

We oWe our defence personnel an immense debt of gratitude. We also owe them a government that they can have confidence in and that will make the right decisions by them. Westminster doesn’t provide that. “our Armed Forces — admired across the world — have been overstretched, deployed too often without appropriate planning, with

Defence would be a key issue for a post-independence Scotland. needed at Kinloss, Leuchars, glencorse, Fort george, Dreghorn and Redford. Yet with plans for only 4,700 permanent personnel five years after independence, it seems unlikely any future independent government would be able to justify paying to keep so many army bases. Although assets like bases are likely to be handed over to an independent Scotland, equipment deemed necessary for the protection of the rest of the uK may not. And it has not been agreed whether any members of uK forces would be inherited.

the wrong equipment, in the wrong numbers and without a clear strategy”. these are David Cameron’s words — yet he’s making 22,000 trained personnel redundant for cost reasons, while investing billions in new nuclear weapons. uK Defence Minister Andrew Murrison has recently admitted there is nothing to stop the uK building ships in an independent

the White Paper also suggests Scotland would form part of collective defence arrangement with the rest of the uK and that joint procurement of, for example, new warships would benefit both Scotland and the rest of the uK. this is to quieten fears that shipbuilding on the Clyde would not survive as article 346 of the treaty of the european union allows countries not to put contracts out to europe-wide tender if national security is stake. however, Westminster ’s Scottish Affairs Committee

Scotland. And with the closure of Portsmouth, the uK would have nowhere to build them except the Clyde. it is on Westminster’s watch that thousands of shipyard jobs have been lost. With Yes we’ll have defence forces designed for Scotland. it is absurd that Scotland — with a coastline longer than india’s — doesn’t have a single major surface ship stationed here,

was told by uK Minister Andrew Murrison that it would still be possible to build ships on the Clyde and circumvent competition law if it was in the “residual defence” interests of the uK to do so. the White Paper also suggests Scotland will have to rely on support from the uK for intelligence gathering. Although it says Scotland would create its own security and intelligence agency, it adds that it will work closely with those services belonging to the rest of the uK, particularly regarding cyber crime.

or maritime patrol aircraft. infrastructure would likely include Leuchars serving both army and air force. Many serving personnel will want to transfer to a Scottish defence force and we can recruit from the 22,000 the uK has made redundant. A career in the forces will be attractive, with no compulsory redundancies a starting point.


The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Referendum odds courtesy of Ladbrokes

odds TImelIne 2012-10-10 Odds: 2/7(no) 5/2(yes) Prime Minister david cameron tells the conservative Party conference he and alex Salmond will conclude a referendum agreement the following week.

2013-06-06 1/4(no) 3/1(yes)

Scotland’s deputy First Minister sets out 10 examples of uK Governments pushing through policies despite a majority of Scottish MPs opposing them.

2013-06-07 2/9(no) 10/3(yes)

david cameron addresses the Scottish conservative Party conference in Stirling.

2013-06-27 1/6(no) 4/1(yes)

uK Government spending review reveals Scottish Government will have cut half a billion pounds from its budget before next General Election.

2013-11-12 1/7 9/2(yes)

uK science minister david Willets claims Scottish universities’ research funding would be threatened by independence.

2013-11-13 1/8(no) 5/1(yes)

academics hit back at perceived “political interference” in dundee university’s Five Million Questions Project. Shona Robison MSP had questioned the involvement of pro union academic Professor christopher Whately.

2013-11-29 1/6(no) 4/1(yes)

three days after the publication of Scotland’s Future, the White Paper on independence.

2013-11-30 1/7(no) 9/2(yes)

St andrews day: Prime Minister hails Scots while Bank of England governor Mark carney agrees to meet First Minister alex Salmond.

2014-01-01 1/6(no) 4/1(yes)

Prime Minister david cameron makes a new Year plea for Scotland to remain in the uK.

2014-01-07 1/7(no) 9/2(yes)

chancellor George osborne sets outs plans to shrink welfare state.

2014-01-08 1/6(no) 4/1(yes)

Scottish Government Finance Secretary John Swinney claims Westminster economic policies damaging recovery.

2014-01-28 1/5(no) 7/2(yes)

Scottish Government justice minister Kenny Macaskill accused of misleading Scottish Parliament over police counter closures while disgraced SnP MSP Bill Walker lodges appeal against his conviction for domestic abuse.


The ongoing battle for hearts and minds

Polls have consistently shown that Scots are most likely to vote no on September 18 — but will that change over the next six months? By Professor John Curtice


or much of last year the referendum race appeared to be stuck in a rut. Every polling company kept on reporting there had been little or no change since its previous poll. True, the polls did not all agree with each other as to exactly how far No were ahead, but they were unanimous that their lead was undiminished. No longer. once the don’t knows and undecideds were excluded from the calculation, polls conducted in the second half of last year on average put the Yes vote on 39% and No on 61%. Since January the Yes side has been recording an average score of 42%, and an average No one of 58%. In short, there has been a modest but discernible three point swing from No to Yes. It still means Yes are well behind — but at least the winning post is now within sight rather than over the horizon. Quite why the gap has narrowed is less easy to state. Perhaps the independence White Paper, published at the end of November, helped persuade some people of the merits of the independence case. certainly, there is some evidence that on the issue that above all sorts people into the Yes and No camps — whether or not they think independence would be good or bad for Scotland’s economy — voters are now a little more likely to be optimistic than they were a few months ago. What is clear is that the stratagem that the No side believed would help to restore its lead — the announcement that an independent Scotland would not be allowed to share the pound with the rest of the uK — has so far failed to do so. At 42%, the average Yes vote in those polls conducted since the announcement is every bit as high as it was in the polls conducted immediately beforehand. many a Yes voter is seemingly either relatively relaxed about not using the pound or else reckons the uK Government is bluffing.

much of the remaining six months till polling day will be a battle to win the hearts and minds of the undecided voter. Not that there are that many — most polls find that only around 15% of Scots have no idea how they will vote (and some of them will probably not do so at all), though there are as many as another 20% who admit that they might change their minds. In short, no more than one in three votes may still be potentially up for grabs. If so, then one side or the other is going to have to f ight a remarkably effective campaign between now and

polling day. For the most part, undecided voters seem to be a little more inclined at present to vote Yes than No, but not in sufficient numbers to transform the referendum race. moreover, many an undecided voter still has to be convinced that independence would be worth it. Scotland’s future rests on whether or not they are eventually persuaded otherwise. l John curtice is P r o f e s s o r o f Po l i t i c s , Strathclyde university and chief commentator at

Many voters have rock-solid voting intentions — it’s the others who may well hold sway.

pollofpolls “Should Scotland be an independent country?” the answers provided to that question on September 18 will be the only ones that matter. But since the wording of the referendum question was agreed in January last year, thousands of Scots have already given their answers in a series of polls.

they reveal a consistent lead for the no camp, but one that has narrowed. the first poll after the question was agreed was carried out by pollsters angus Reid and showed support for independence at just 32%, compared to 47% for no with 21% saying they did not know how they would vote.

In March that year the Scottish Government agreed 16 and 17-year-olds could vote and revealed the date the ballot would take place. a PanelBase survey found that support for no had dropped by 1% to 46% but support for Yes rose by four points to 36%. over the next three months, however, this support fell

away and results of a poll commissioned by lord ashcroft and released in May showed 65% of respondents opposed independence with only 26% in favour of independence. this was the highest margin of support for the status quo recorded since February 2013. on august 22 last year a YouGov poll put support for no

at 59% with Yes at just 29% but a results of a PanelBase survey on behalf of the SnP and released just six days later put Yes at 44% and no at 43%. the release of Scotland’s Future, the White Paper on Independence, in September 2013 did not lead to a significant rise in support for independence.

Results of a tSn-BMRB survey released the following month put support for Yes at 25% although support for the status quo stood at just 44%. In February, chancellor George osborne ruled out a formal currency union. an IcM survey carried out in the aftermath put just seven percentage points between the

two camps, with no on 49% and Yes on 42% with don’t knows at 14%. the most recent poll shows the gap is widening again. the Survation poll puts no at 48% with Yes at 39%. ultimately, it may be down to those Scots who have not yet made up their minds to settle the outcome.



voting Age 16-17 is ‘right time’ to engage young voters

Referendum2014 Thursday, September 18

SixTEEn and 17-yearolds will be given a vote in September ’s referendum on Scottish independence. When the move to extend the voting franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds was announced, deputy First Minister nicola Sturgeon said it is only right that those with the biggest stake in Scotland’s future be allowed to have their say. Louise Cameron, vicechair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, says the move could increase young people’s interests in politics generally. and she said when 16-year-olds are able to leave school, pay tax, marry, have children and join the armed forces then it is only common sense to allow them to have the right to a vote. The 17-year-old said: “i think it is so important that 16 and 17-year-olds get the right to vote. “ There are so many laws that affect them and they are allowed to marry, join the army and have to pay tax,” she said. Louise added that she is in favour of letting 1 6 - y e a r- o l d s v o t e i n all elections, not just the independence referendum. She said: “People are, generally, not engaged with politics so it is good to get them when they are still at school where they can get an education about it and develop their interest. “among young people who can vote, the turnout is usually pretty low but i think if they provided them with extra support to learn about it they would take more of an interest.” She added: “i think 16 or 17 years old is the right time to do it. “By the time people are 18 they are thinking about leaving school, so it is maybe better to engage them when they are more interested.” Louise added the Scottish Youth Parliament is working to ensure young people are given as much impartial information as possible in the run-up to September’s vote.

The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Voting fine detail: who, The Courier quizzed the Electoral Commission on the finer details of the referendum, including all the ways you can vote and who is eligible Q: Who can vote? A: You can vote in the referendum if you are resident in Scotland and will be aged 16 or over on September 18 2014. You must also be a British, EU or Commonwealth citizen. If you want to vote in the referendum, you must be registered by September 2 2014.

Q: If I turn 16 on September 18 can I vote? A: Yes, if you are aged 15 now but will turn 16 on or September 18 then you can register and vote in the referendum. Q: How long does someone have to have been a resident in Scotland for before they qualify for a vote? A: There is no minimum residency requirement as long as you are resident in Scotland when you register and come to vote. There are special ar rangements in place to enable members of the armed forces and their families who would be living in Scotland if not for their service to register and vote at the referendum. More information is available at Q: How do people register? A: Most

people register to vote by completing and returning the annual canvass registration form which is sent to all households in autumn each

year. If you didn’t return your form, or you have moved house since then, you can register by f illing in a form at You will need to print and sign the form and send it back to your local registration office by the deadline of September 2 2014.

Q: Do the details of all 16-year-olds allowed to vote in the referendum then have to be destroyed by their relevant local authority? A: In order to vote in the referendum,

you will need to be on the Scottish local government register or the Register of Young Voters. The Register of Young Voters will contain details of all those who will be

16 or 17 on the day of the referendum, but who are not eligible to be included on the local government register because of their age. The Register of Young voters will only be used for the referendum and will be destroyed after the poll.

Q: How can people cast their vote? A: Most people vote in person at their polling station which is open from 7am until 10pm on polling day. However, you can also apply to vote by post if you would f ind it more convenient than going to the polling station. If you are unable to go to the polling station but do not want to vote by post then you can apply to do so by proxy where you appoint someone you trust to


The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

where and when? Q: How will the votes be counted (i.e. will there be counts/ declarations in each region, what are the practicalities of the islands)? A: There will be 32 local

counts — one in each council area in Scotland. These counts will be run by local Counting Off icers (usually the Chief Executive of the council). Once all the ballots have been counted the Counting Off icer will relay the local total to the Chief Counting Off icer for the referendum who will confirm the figures before authorising the declaration of the local total. Once all the 32 local totals have been received, conf irmed and collated the Chief Counting Off icer will be able to declare the referendum result.

Q: Will there be a final declaration of the result and, if so, where will it take place? A: The final referendum result will be declared in Edinburgh by the Chief Counting Off icer for the referendum. vote on your behalf. The deadline for applying for a postal or proxy vote for the referendum is 5pm on September 3 2014. You can find postal and proxy vote application forms along with more information about the different ways of voting at www.aboutmyvote.

Q: What is the deadline for postal votes? A:

That’s 5pm on September 3 2014

Q: Where will polling stations be located? A: If you have registered to vote you will be sent a poll card telling you

where your polling station is. It is often a nearby school or a community centre. If you do not receive your poll card, you can contact your local council to find out where your polling station is.

Q: Will schools be closed on polling day? A: This

is a decision for individual local authorities.

Q: When will the votes be counted? A:

Counting of votes will begin immediately after the close of the poll at 10pm on Thursday September 18.

Q: When is the final result expected? A: It is difficult to predict when the

f inal result might be announced as it is dependent on how long it takes for each of the 32 local counts to be completed. The timing of local counts can be affected by a range of factors including the level of turnout (more voters means more votes to count) or the distance that ballot boxes have to travel between polling stations and the count venue after the polls close. The weather can have an impact on those councils where polling takes place on different islands and they have to bring the ballot boxes in to the count by boat or air. The best estimate for when the result can be expected is sometime on the morning of Friday September 19.


voting Sending out mixed messages While many people have praised the Scottish Government for extending the referendum vote to 16-year-olds, not everyone agrees. S t u a r t Wa i t o n , a criminology and sociology lecturer at abertay University, says it does not make sense to allow people of these ages to vote when other rights are being stripped away from them. he said: “Rarely has the franchise been widened without a fight, usually a fight from ‘below’. Today, however, we find the opposite is the case and it is the political and professional elites in Scotland who are handing 16 and 17-yearolds the vote. “One depressing irony about this development is that while independence appears to be something the Scottish First minister alex Salmond wants young people to be involved in, in many other areas of their lives the opposite is the case. “For example, in 2010 the SnP attempted to increase the legal age of buying alcohol from shops from 18 to 21, while in 2007 a law was passed banning the sale of cigarettes to 16 and 17-year-olds.” m r Wa i t o n a d d e d : “Classified as ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’, we end up in the strange situation where young people are seen as incapable of deciding what to spend their money on in their local corner shop, while being allowed to vote on independence.” he says fewer than two per cent of Scots now get married before they are 20 and that although 16-yearolds can join the army, they will not be put on the frontline until they are 18. “This is a patronising form of inclusion, indeed an infantilisation of the importance of voting itself: something that is to be given to a section of society who are largely still at school or dependent on their parents, and have not had, as yet, to make or take any truly independent decisions in their lives,” he said. “ What is ultimately reflected in the lowering of the voting age is a diminution of the importance of politics itself.”



Roadshow timeline Where you can catch The Courier roadshow ThE CouriEr is hitting the road to spread information and find out what you think about the big issues facing scotland in the run up to the referendum. our comprehensive roadshow will commence in April (please note — dates subject to change, check The Courier closer to the time for full and final details).

Referendum2014 Thursday, September 18

April 22: Glenrothes and Markinch 23: Bridge of Earn and Errol 24: letham (Angus) and Glamis 25: invergowrie and longforgan 28: Anstruther and Crail 29: Monifieth and Broughty Ferry 30: Montrose and Arbroath MAy 1: Balbeggie, Burrelton and Coupar Angus 2: Burntisland and Crossgates 5: Dunfermline and Townhill 6: Comrie and Crieff 7: Falkland and Strathmiglo 8: Edzell and Brechin 9: Alyth and Blairgowrie 12: Auchterarder and Dunning 13: leven and Methilhill 14: Aberfeldy and Kenmore 15: Stobswell and Hilltown 16: Forfar and Kirriemuir 26: lochgelly and Cardenden 27: Dunblane and Doune 28: Cupar and Springfield 29: Fettercairn and laurencekirk 30: Almondbank and Methven JunE 2: leuchars and St Andrews 3: Kirkcaldy and Dysart 4: Blair Atholl and Kinloch rannoch 5: Stirling and Bridge of Allan 6: Auchtermuchty and newburgh 9: Kelty and Cowdenbeath 10: luncarty, Stanley and Bankfoot 11: Dalgety Bay and rosyth 12: Dundee City Centre and Fintry 13: ladybank and Kingskettle 16: pitlochry and Dunkeld+Birnam 17: Buckhaven and Methil 18: inverbervie and Stonehaven 19: Scone and perth 20: Colinsburgh and St Monans 23: inverkeithing and n Queensferry 24: Kinross and Milnathort 25: lower largo and upper largo 26: Tayport and newport on Tay 27: Arbroath and Carnoustie

The Courier & AdverTiser Tuesday, March 18, 2014

As the referendum debate enters its final six months, The Courier will be taking to the road to find out what the vote means to you . . .

The Courier: we’re with you all the way

2014 is set to be the most important year in scottish histor y for centuries. since the union was formed in 1707, scots have never been given the option of leaving, despite two referenda — one successful, the other not — on devolving powers. And before that momentous decision is taken, The Courier wants to know what you, the reader, thinks about independence and the referendum debate so far. s t a r t i n g a t E a s t e r, The Courier will mount a major roadshow that will travel across Courier Countr y — stopping at dozens of towns and villages across central and northeast scotland — to find out what our readers feel about september 18 and beyond. We w i l l t a ke the debate direct to our readers, giving them the opportunity to grill representatives of t h e Ye s a n d B e t t e r To g e t h e r c a m p a i g n s and to air their own

The Courier will visit 90 towns and villages during the run-up to September 18’s vote. views about the referendum. During the journey we will also be carrying out an unprecedented survey of readers’

concerns and voting intentions. And as if that was not enough, in June we will host four major public debates — one each in

Perth, Dundee, Fife and Angus — where the public will be able to quiz senior Yes and Better Together representatives as well as impartial experts.

Needless to say, we will cover all events in T h e C o u r i e r, m a k i n g sure our readers are fully informed about the independence debate.

YouR viewK

Tell us what you think about the referendum

oN sEPTEmBEr 18 voters will go the polls in a ballot that, whatever the result, is likely to change our nation forever. Whether you back independence or not, there is no doubt the decision taken this autumn will have far-reaching consequences. relatively few generations are given such a chance to shape the future in such a meaningful way and we

want to know what you, as Courier readers, make of the biggest question faced by scots in 300 years. over the next six months an army of politicians from both Yes and Better Together will be doing all in their power to influence your vote. But have you been convinced by the arguments put forward by either side? Are you still to be persuaded? is enough being done

to ensure voters are fully armed with the facts prior to september 18? What are the biggest issues which will influence your vote? You can let us know your thoughts by taking part in our exclusive referendum survey. organised by the DC Thomson readers’ panel Your View K, which gives people the chance to win £150 each month for giving their views, the results will provide

a fascinating insight into the mood of the nation. To have your say visit www.completeasur vey. and after signing up click on the “Your opinions on the referendum” button. Aternatively follow the links at www.thecourier. By completing this survey you will be under no obligation to take part in further surveys.

Courier independence referendum special  

The Courier examines the key issues for voters ahead of Scotland's independence referendum