I have not spent much time writing about Scottish independence, because I do not think the Scottish people are likely to vote for it. The latest polls show flagging support for the cause of independence.
As an Englishman I accept that the vote will be for the Scottish people to decide. As an Englishman I will become more engaged should Scotland vote to leave. I will want to make sure that the negotiation which follows the vote is fair to England.
I am writing today on this topic to give you, my readers a chance to set out your views if you wish. The fact that the vote is for Scottish people only does not prevent the expression of opinions or invalidate the views of voters elsewhere in the UK. It is our union too, and we have every right to a view without a vote.
Were the polls to turn round, and were Mr Salmond to win, certain results follow naturally. Warship building and maitenance for the Royal Navy would not continue in Scotland, as Labour and shop stewards in Glasgow have explained. I do not see how Scotland could continue to use the pound as her currency. Why should the Bank of England stand behind Scottish banks, if they got into trouble again? Surely we have learned from the troubled experience of the Euro that it is dangerous to separate political control from monetary control. The Chancellor has said he thinks it would be very difficult for the two countries to share the pound under the Bank of England, and that looks like an understatement.
It is true the two could share a monarch. The UK does not have exclusive use of the Queen at the moment. The two countries could not share armed forces, especially as the SNP part of Scotland has different views on weaponry from the rest of the UK.
I would expect that both Scotland and the rest of the UK would negotiate new arrangements with the EU in the event of a split. It is clear the EU would want to change our arrangements, as the rest of the UK would be over represented in the EU where representation is related to population. There would also need to be budget changes, to allow for the smaller tax base of the rest of the UK. Scotland will surely have to negotiate a new membership, as the smaller partner leaving the union of the UK. Will Scotland have to sign up to Euro membership in due course? Will she lose all benefit from the current UK rebate on contributions? She will presumably lose all the opt outs the UK has obtained.
The rest of the EU might see the split as a way to worsen the deal for the rest of the UK at the same time. I would hope that with a stronger English Eurosceptic representation in Parliament we could use it to have a very different and far less intrusive relationship. If, however, all this came to pass under a federalist UK government it could spell more EU control over the rest of the UK.