Scottish Independence: Andy Murray, The Proclaimers and the arguments for and against

Who said what, why they said it and whether they are right

There’s just 100 days of campaigning left to go till Scotland is asked to vote either yes or no to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? Arguments are taught and tempers are beginning to fray with an increasingly ferocious battle being waged on social media as well as in political polls.

Big sporting names like Andy Murray and Chris Hoy have weighed in, as well as comedy heavyweights such as Frankie Boyle and Marcus Brigstocke. Rock legend David Bowie chose to deliver his enigmatic message using Kate Moss as a mouthpiece. Last week President Obama made his feelings clear, despite the US saying it would remain neutral in the debate.

Where do your allegiances lie? Take a look through a few of the arguments for and against independence. 

AGAINST: '[The indy ref] is a distraction from what really matters to people – the economy, jobs, schools and hospitals.'

Who says it? Alex Ferguson

Why? The former Man United manager is vehemently against independence, provoking Salmond and giving £501 to the Better Together campaign, one pound over the the Yes campaign’s agreed cap on donations outside Scotland. The argument is that Scotland has enough devolved powers already to improve living conditions for Scots.  Like Wales, Scotland runs its own NHS (although a recent poll showed Less than half of people in Wales realise the NHS is the responsibility of the Welsh government).

Ferguson has been winding Salmond up with his pro-union antics

Although the Yes campaign is saying independence would allow them to abolish the hated bedroom tax, Scottish office minister David Mundell says the Scottish Government has the power to deal with it now for remarkably little if it is such a priority, saying “It is the same as the childcare debate. It is a question of choices on where they want to spend their money.” Although Nicola Sturgeon promised lower mortgage rates under independence, Piotr Jaworski at Edinburgh Napier University told the BBC that actually rates won’t be all that affected as they will still have to come in line with EU regulations.

Is he right? The SNP has said it will improve support for carers, try and improve the cost of living (by raising benefits in line with inflation) and abolish the Work Capability Assessment. They say independence will improve quality of life in Scotland and their promises have been welcomed by many charities.  Yet Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie  said the proposed 'changes' were the same ‘effectively the same in all but name’. The UK government argues that as part of the UK, Scotland’s finances are stronger, to the tune of a 'UK dividend' worth £1400 for every Scot. Unfortunately it presented this information in numbers of hot dogs and fish suppers and lego figures and was labelled as patronising.

An oil platform in the North Sea Oil is greasing the wheels of the Independence campaign  

FOR: 'Scotland has huge national resources, with its people, its wave power – all the possibilities that this country has...we need to take charge of our own affairs'

Who says it? The Proclaimers.

Why? Scotland’s national resources, specifically oil and renewable energy, have been put at the heart of the Independence campaign, with Salmond projecting Scotland has the potential to be one of the richest countries in the world (based on GDP per capita and the assumption Scotland will control all the oil and gas in Scottish waters). Scotland's renewable energy production is also astonishing, with two fifths of electricity in Scotland coming from renewables. Scotland exported 26% of electricity to the rest of the UK in 2011.

Doing it their way: The Proclaimers have released a 30-track greatest hits marking 25 years' recording They would definitely walk 500 miles

Are they right? Salmond’s oil revenue forecasts have been exposed by one of his own advisors as being out by around £2 billion.  Relying on oil alone, the argument is that it will eventually run out. Scotland is unlikely to invest its oil money like Norway, so it won’t generate a surplus revenue, making them as rich as that country.   There’s a problem with renewables too, with the government telling Salmond if they go independence fund its wind, wave and tidal projects on its own rather than spread the costs between 30m households and businesses UK-wide. That could boost annual household energy bills by up to £189, and add £608,000 on to power bills for medium-sized businesses . Yet if Westminster continued to subsidise production it would be cheaper to buy from Scotland than England and France. The SNP accused Westminster of negativity, but it does appear independence isn't a friend to renewable energy targets.

George Osborne is set to claw back millions in taxpayers’ money Osborne doesn't want Independent Scotland keeping the pound  

AGAINST: ‘An Independent Scotland wouldn’t be able to keep the pound. Any talk that they would is nonsense and totally wrong’

Who says it?  George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander.

Why? While Scotland wants to keep the pound, Westminster won’t have it. They say Scotland can’t leave the union and continue to retain the Bank of England as a lender of last resort and force English taxpayers to act as their guarantors for any potential debt. This means all Scotland can do is either adopt the euro, come up with its own currency, or use sterling without monetary union, the way Ecuador and Panama uses the dollar.

Are they right? The Daily Mash summed up the popular view of the debate with the satirical headline ‘Alex Salmond claims he has every right to use gym he’s no longer a member of.’ Yet there’s an English case for keeping in the union, allowing sterling to benefit from Scotland’s oil and gas market. The SNP also points to Belgium and Luxembourg as examples of places with the same currency but different tax policies to another nation. However by keeping sterling, Scotland may lose control over monetary policy, leaving it with ‘quasi independence’ according to some experts.

 

Rough waters: More docks would be needed to dismantle Trident subs Rough waters: More docks would be needed to dismantle Trident subs  

FOR: 'Scotland could have.. a new, ethical, visionary stance & could take on fresh ideas. That could be really amazing.

Who says it? Annie Lennox

Why? The Aberdeen born star said she wanted to see an environmentally friendly Scotland.  There are still Trident-armed submarines waiting for decommissioning in Scottish waters.  The SNP's post-independence priorities include getting rid of nuclear deterrents and are furious that areas in Scotland are being shortlisted as places to store radioactive waste.

Is she right? An Independent Scotland against Trident would be a major problem for the Ministry of Defence. it could result in in years of delays to the decommissioning of Britain' nuclear-powered submarines, including four armed with Trident missiles.  The MoD aren’t developing contingency plans for the submarine dismantling project either because they “are confident that the Scottish people will vote to remain part of the UK.“ 

FOR: ‘It’s about equality.. trying to get back to egalitarian principles.’

Who says it? Actor Brian Cox

Why? He argues that the pound has nothing to do with it, but rather banishing the “sense of inferiority” Scottish people have grown up with, thanks to our feudalist history. He also claims independence will be ‘good for the UK’ by helping to rebalance an economy totally dominated by the city of London.' Responding to Eddie Izzard’s Better Together plea, he said  “The fact is we can't be better together when one in five scots kids are in poverty. Thanks to UK austerity the Red Cross is providing food relief for the first time across the UK since WWII.

Is he right? Well, there’s certainly a north south divide, and London’s economy alone is roughly the same size of the whole of Sweden.   It’s not just Scotland suffering either. 100,000 Londoners are using foodbanks and wage inequality is much greater in London than the rest of the UK. Worth noting Cox wouldn’t be handing back his CBE in the event of independence saying “we’re not losing the Queen we’ve got the Queen still, so in a sense, you know, it’s the package.” He also doesn’t own a property in Scotland so he can’t vote, referendum rules he accepts is right.

Complaints by university students reached record levels last year Uni in Scotland is free for Scottish students. This could change  

AGAINST: ‘It would damage higher education and research’

Who says it? Westminster’s Scottish affairs committee

Why? Independent Scotland couldn't make students from the rest of the UK pay tuition fees while keeping uni free for Scots, like it does currently. At the moment it can ignore the EU rule which forces every state to give citizens of any other member state equal access to its universities. But it would be illegal if they continued this whilst an independent country. If they wanted to keep it free for Scottish students they would have to foot the bill for foreign students too. There are other funding issues too: Scottish university receive 50% more funding now than they would do if it was based on population share.

Are the critics right? Well, the Yes vote claims that this is biased research and the real threat to education comes from Westminster. However it does appear that further education is a real thorn in the Yes campaign’s side.

Sean Connery as James Bond No one ever said no to Bond.. but Connery?  

FOR: 'It will revitalise culture and heritage'

Who says it? Sean Connery

Why? He says it will bring investment in the film industry because a yes vote will ‘capture the worlds attention’. This will in turn create jobs.

Is he right? In one sense, although opponents of independence also suggest that the flow of ideas and funding from London also create opportunities.

Nope  

AGAINST: Independence would threaten the stability of the whole world

Who says it? the former secretary general of Nato, Lord Robertson.

Why? A “yes” vote would leave the United Kingdom a “diminished country whose global position would be open to question.” While not suggesting Independence may cause conflict, Obama seemed to tacitly confirm that a United Kingdom would be stronger internationally when he told Scots that the United States wanted to see its partner remain “robust, united and effective.”

Is he right? Robertson’s line seems a bit dramatic. It’s worth noting that this is from the man who once claimed having a Scottish Parliament would kill demand for independence stone dead.  The US said it would remain neutral and so Obama’s intervention was a surprise. Nationalists joked that as far as US interventions go, they got off lightly.

FOR: A rise in the minimum wage

Who says it? An expert group hired by the Scottish government recommended a rise of minimum wage by a pound, creating a living wage which recommends paying for by reducing employers' National Insurance. This would be an increase of £6.31 to £7.65 per hour.

Why? They say this will improve quality of life in Scotland and improve earnings of the lowest paid Scots by the equivalent of £675.

Are they right? Who is going to pay for this, really? In the first year of independence Scotland's finances are forecast to be worse than the UK's. Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the welfare recommendations in this same report, but failed to acknowledge the minimum wage recommendation. These are also just recommendations to the Scottish government, rather than promises.

European flags in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg Would an Independent Scotland wave goodbye to Brussels?

AGAINST: An independent Scotland would have to leave the EU

Who says it?  President Jose Manuel Barroso, previously said it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU. Business For New Europe (BNE) which has the chairmen of BAE Systems, RBS, ScottishPower and Shell on its advisory board also claimed it would be “next to impossible” for Scotland to rejoin the EU on the UK's current terms.

Why? Because the other countries will not approve the country joining, said Mr Barroso, using Kosovo as an example.

Is he right? Scotland's Deputy First Minister doesn’t think so. She says the comparison with Kosovo is ‘preposterous’ as unlike Kosovo, Scotland has already been in the EU for 40 years. A different think tank backed an independent Scotland, saying it wasnt in anyone’s interests for Scotland to leave the EU. It’s all to be decided in the 18 months following the vote. No one really knows what will happen.

 

The earliest date a separate Scotland could expect to be readmitted to the EU is 2019 'Let it go'  

FOR: ‘It’s about self-determination’

Who says it? Scottish actor and comedian Greg Hemphill said "Imagine on the 18th of September.. ticking the box that says “I want another country to make my decisions".

Why? Scotland is not a Tory country and yet it’s facing government under a Conservative coaltion. A lot of Scots are still reeling from the changes Thatcher made during her leadership, another Conservative PM they didn't vote for. Before he died Iain Banks argued along similar lines, asserting: “A Scotland still shackled to a rightwing England, especially with the rise of Ukip- I wont be sorry to be missing that’. Brian Limond (Limmy) tweeted: "If Scotland chooses to make less decisions for itself, if it's happy to let Tories & lords decide, then you have to respect that." Scottish human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar tweeted "the most worrying prospect for the people of Scotland is possibility of a UKIP/Tory coalition. Better Together? Definitely not"

Are they right? Difficult to argue with this one. Probably best to leave it to a vote. Roll on 18 September!

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada