SNP reveals vision for independence referendum

The SNP set out its vision for a referendum on Scottish independence today.

First Minister Alex Salmond launched a White Paper for a vote on constitutional reform, and declared: "It's time for the people to have their say on Scotland's future."



The St Andrew's Day announcement was aimed at paving the way for the referendum which the Scottish National Party hopes to see next year.



But opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament have vowed to block the move.



The wording of the referendum is not disclosed in today's White Paper.



But it sets out four possible scenarios for Scotland.



These are: no change in the present set-up; more devolution as recommended by the Calman Commission; a further degree of devolution; and full independence.



Mr Salmond said: "The debate in Scottish politics is no longer between change or no change - it's about the kind of change we seek and the right of the people to choose their future in a free and fair referendum."









Mr Salmond went on: "This historic document sets out the case for Scottish independence with unprecedented depth and clarity."

The First Minister said Scottish popular opinion had moved "far beyond" wanting no change.



And he insisted the Calman Commission on devolution - supported by Labour, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats, but not the Nationalists - fell short of public need.



Mr Salmond said Westminster was "refusing" to make any progress on issues like devolving control over airguns this side of an election and "substantial doubt" as to what would happen after an election.



He said: "This White Paper charts the route to progress for Scotland and we are calling on people of all parties and none who want real and substantive additions to the powers of the Parliament to rally to the referendum campaign.



"That is why we are open to including the option of such powers on the referendum ballot paper, alongside independence."



Mr Salmond said that, after a year of devolution, there was "a clear and consistent demand" for more constitutional "progress" and extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament.



"The vast majority of people want to expand the responsibilities of the Parliament so that we have more powers to do more for Scotland," he said.



These included the economic and financial clout needed to fight recession, the right to "speak up for Scotland" in Europe, and the ability to remove Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland.



The SNP hopes to publish a referendum Bill early next year, with a referendum being staged about 12 months from now.



But opposition parties, who outnumber the SNP in the Scottish Parliament, have repeatedly vowed to block the plan.



And Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray insisted today: "This is simply not the time for a referendum."











The White Paper published today, entitled Your Scotland, Your Voice, runs to 176 pages.

A foreword from Mr Salmond on the opening page states: "I ask every Scot to pause and reflect, not just on what kind of country we are but on the kind of country we could be, the kind of country we should be.



"I am committed to a new chapter in Scottish politics, one in which the story and the script is written by the people and not just by the politicians."



The appeal was originally made in August 2007 when Mr Salmond's administration launched the "national conversation" process which led to today's White Paper.



At the time of the 2007 launch, Mr Salmond was proposing a referendum with only one question - inviting voters to agree or disagree that the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with Westminster so that Scotland becomes an independent state.



The options set out in today's White Paper are more numerous, but the questions which would ultimately appear on the ballot paper have not yet been decided.



The White Paper sets out the four "broad options" for the future.



It states: "Independence would complete the responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament and Government while allowing existing structures and services to continue."



The White Paper continues: "Aspects of an independent Scotland would be familiar: services and entitlements continuing to be delivered; pensions and benefits continuing to be paid at a similar level as now.



"Services such as the NHS and education are already largely devolved and so would continue in much the same form as they do now.



"Over time, the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament could develop and implement Scotland-specific solutions."











The White Paper sets out various policy areas, like management of the economy, agriculture and housing, and examines the implications for each under all four of the possible scenarios.

Under "full devolution" - the option that falls just short of independence - the Scottish Parliament would, for example, have control over taxes like inheritance tax and corporation tax and would be fully responsible for collecting the "vast majority" of revenues in Scotland - and the vast majority of spending in Scotland.



The White Paper said: "A remittance or subvention from Scotland to the United Kingdom would be required to cover common UK public goods and services such as defence and foreign affairs.



"The range of services paid for in this way would be subject to negotiation at the time of any revised settlement.



"In essence, this framework would be the maximum form of tax and policy devolution short of independence."



On broadcasting, the status quo would mean no change, the Calman Commission recommendations would see the appointment of the Scottish member of the BBC Trust become the responsibility of Scottish ministers, and "full devolution" could see more broadcasting powers for Scotland but within a UK framework similar to Catalonia and Spain, said the White Paper.



Under independence, Scotland would have full responsibility for broadcasting but "should continue to access BBC and other broadcasters from the United Kingdom".



As each policy area is examined in turn, the White Paper concludes that more devolution would be better than the status quo, even more devolution better still, and independence best of all.









Looking ahead to its hoped-for referendum, the White Paper acknowledges: "It is accepted that some voters do not wish Scottish ministers to take any steps to seek to extend the responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament.

"Therefore there will be an opportunity for those who do not support any extension of current responsibilities to express that view in the referendum."



The White Paper said that, despite the Scottish Government's preference for a single choice, it acknowledges there is support in Scotland for "a range of positions seeking a variety of increased responsibilities" for the Scottish Parliament.



A multi-option referendum might be more likely to command the support of other parties, and there is "some democratic advantage" in posing more than one question.



But the White Paper continues: "There is a problem in deciding what the other option should be."



The Calman Commission proposals fall short of an increase in responsibilities which would normally be seen as requiring referendum consultation - and there is "some doubt" as to whether the Calman proposals on tax are still supported by all the opposition parties.



The White Paper says there is support for further devolution short of independence, but backers of this have yet to frame it into the form of a question which could appear on a multi-option referendum.



It will be open to opposition parties to bring forward such a proposal, said the White Paper.



"If it were brought forward, the Scottish Government would be prepared to consider it as a serious option for inclusion in a multi-option referendum.



"Accordingly, the referendum Bill will be constructed so that the Scottish Parliament can, if it so chooses, offer the Scottish people the opportunity to vote for a proposal about further devolution of other responsibilities to the Scottish Parliament as part of a multi-option referendum, even though the Scottish Government does not favour this option and will not campaign for it."

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin