Listening to the Scottish debate this week, one year before they finally have their referendum on whether to leave the UK, you do have to ask if Mr Salmond is serious about wanting an independent country.
He first of all seems keen to stick with the pound. That means a newly independent Scotland would rely on the Bank of England to decide its interest rates and amount of money in circulation. Scotland would have no say over that foreign central Bank.
Then he wants to stick with the Queen. So newly independent Scotland would still share a Head of State with the rest of the UK. Presumably the Queen’s head would still be on Scottish postage stamps, just as it would remain on the banknotes.
He wants Scotland to remain in or to join the EU. Scotland as a new country would have to join on terms likely to ensure Scotland’s full compliance with all the laws and rules currently negotiated. Scotland might even have to join the Euro, as she would not necessarily inherit Mr Major’s opt out for the UK. Much of the government of Scotland would then fall under EU rules and laws, where a small country like Scotland would have even less say than the UK manages at present, which is all too little.
It’s a funny kind of independence when you find so much is controlled from abroad. Maybe Mr Salmond has only ever really wanted devo max. Maybe he is grasping that so far a majority of Scots do not wish to be truly independent.
There are three letters that probably have influenced a lot of Scots to want to keep the union with the rest of the UK – RBS. Just imagine the cost to each Scottish taxpayer if RBS had fallen to be rescued financially by the Scottish state rather than by the whole UK. And imagine what Scotland’s revenues will look like in a few years time when North Oil has run down further.