Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Up the Republic (of Scotland)

As we've previously outlined, the Best of Both Worlds position on the Scotland referendum is that contrary to their mockery of the pro-Union catchphrase, er, Best of Both Worlds, it's the SNP who tried to have an unattainable Best of Both Worlds in the form of an independent Scotland with the pound as its currency, no lapse in EU membership, and the Windsors as the head of state. From that perspective, it follows what the SNP should do in the final 6 weeks to get to Yes, so here's the 3 point plan:

  • The Scottish currency will be a currency board i.e. a newly issued Scottish pound but backed 100 percent by holdings of sterling and fixed at 1:1
  • The SNP accepts that EU membership will lapse but instead proposes upon independence to seek immediate status equivalent to Switzerland while it reinstates EU membership. Any claim that rejoining the EU means committing to the Euro can be dealt with by the Swedish wheeze.
  • The SNP admits that Queen or no Queen, Scottish citizens will no longer be UK citizens but will look for arrangements similar to that given to the Irish Free State after 1922, which included lengthy transitions on eligibility and generous treatment of resident non-citizens from each jurisdiction (note that for this one, being outside the EU might actually be an advantage).

But all of the above means admitting that independence will have costs and uncertainties, and realizing its full benefits will be protracted. And it doesn't guarantee that an independent Scotland will have no food banks (as Alex Salmond claimed in the debate with Alistair Darling last night). It's also the path to a Republic!