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!

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Sivero in Goodfellas; Simpsons' wise guy Louie

The sound of Goodfellas mafioso Frankie Carbone demanding $250m in “damages” would be chilling enough on film, let alone in real life.

News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
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

Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

Year 3 Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 Teachers - Chelm...

ABAP Developer

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: SAP ABAP Developer - Rugb...

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?