Like most Scots, I’m thrilled that our country will soon have the
chance to make a decision that could impact hugely on our lives.
And while I’m thoroughly enjoying the overall debate that rages around
the subject, I’m just a bit weary of the backbiting and name-calling
that has emerged.
But there are many questions I would like answered before I cast my vote.
Firstly, David Cameron says he will not take part in a TV debate with
the First Minister as he will not have a vote in the referendum. But
if we vote yes, it will lead to the break-up of the UK and surely as
UK Prime Minister, he does have a huge contribution to make to the
And Cameron must surely be on the horns of a dilemma when he tells us
we are all better together. He knows that if we separate, Scotland
will not send a huge number of Labour MPs to Westminster as we do
every general election. If there is not a mass Scottish contingent of
the People’s Party, then his Conservatives could be in power for a
long, long time, as England largely votes Tory.
So why, then, is he making so much noise about keeping the UK as it
is? Call me a cynic, but is it because of oil, whisky, tourism,
renewables and other Scottish contributions to the UK economy? There
must be something we’re not being told.
Also the question of our EU membership is puzzling. The Yes campaign
say we would retain our membership but the BT campaign say we won’t.
But if Cameron is pledging an in/out referendum, then even if we vote
yes and retain our EU status, the rest of the UK might not.
The pound? I think Salmond should have a plan B but I see his point
when he says that a monetary union would be beneficial to both sides.
If Osborne refuses, he is condemning companies in the rump of the UK
to paying massive cross-border transaction costs. In whose interest is
Anyway, as far as I understand it (and I’m not an economist) the pound
isn’t his to ”keep”. We could still use the pound informally, such
as other countries peg their own currencies to the US dollar. But if
it does happen, I’d rather it was done with agreement, rather than be
Salmond also pledges that he will keep the retirement age to 65, while
it seems to rise in increments under the Coalition. The No parties
have also said that the Barnett formula will be ”reviewed” – in
other words, scrapped – after the next General Election. Salmond
maintains that the formula returns less than we pay to Westminster
from oil revenue – but who do you believe?
There will be many twists and turns before the 18th of September and
both sides have much to win or lose. But won’t it be ironic if the
biggest decision this country is likely to make will be in the hands
of those who at they moment say they Don’t Know?