Hamish Macdonell: How would the division work? It's complicated...

Examining the practicalities of an independent Scotland

Share
Related Topics

One SNP figure was sure yesterday what Scottish independence would look like. "Palm trees," he said with a grin. "And sunshine, lots of sunshine. And milk and honey, of course, and manna from heaven."

But what will it really be like if Alex Salmond gets his way?

Borders

There will have to be checkpoints on the roads in and out of Scotland. Visitors may not need to present passports as they cross over but there would have to be stop-and-search posts on crossings along the border, because the two countries would have different immigration policies. As for passports, Scots would get a new version, probably with the slightly different Scottish coat of arms.

Citizenship

Scottish residents of England and English residents of Scotland at the time of independence would become citizens of the country in which they were living. Those moving after that would have to apply for citizenship.

Trident

The Trident nuclear submarine base at Faslane will disappear. But the Nationalists are also very aware that thousands of jobs are at risk, which is why they have been careful to insist that Faslane will continue to exist as a naval base – for the Scottish navy – even after the submarines have gone.

Oil

A line drawn across the North Sea from the border would hand most of the UK's oil fields to Scotland and most of the gas fields to England. The Nationalists seem to think there is up to £1 trn of oil left. Others are not so sure...

Europe

Mr Salmond insists that Scotland would slot seamlessly into the EU as a new member state. Others believe Scotland might have to apply, and there have been suggestions that Europe might demand that Scotland enter the euro.

Liabilities

The SNP put Scotland's share of the national debt at around £40bn. Some on the English side put it at more than £100bn. There is also disagreement about how much of RBS's debt Scotland should shoulder – some say all, some say 8-9 per cent, in line with Scotland's share of the UK population.

Currency

Mr Salmond used to be keen on the euro – when he also wanted Scotland to join the so-called Arc of Prosperity from Ireland to Iceland. But with that group now more of an "Arc of Insolvency", he now backs sterling until a possible referendum on the euro. Other nationalists argue for the dollar, or a new currency – maybe the groat?

Tax

If the two countries do end up with different tax regimes, Edinburgh could conceivably decide to lure business to Scotland by lowering corporation taxes. We might also see large numbers of people living on one side of the border and working on the other.

The Queen

Scots are generally more republican than their English counterparts, but most, including Mr Salmond, seem to want to keep the Queen as the head of state.

Armed Forces

Scotland would have its own defence forces taken from its 10 per cent share of the UK armed forces. The SNP believes the existing Scottish regiments would simply transfer allegiance. The air force would be based at Lossiemouth, Moray.

Broadcasting

Many Scotland-based BBC staff would likely transfer to a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation. Any licence fee levied in Scotland would go to support the new body. But BBC output would still be available.

Culture, sport and language

English would share space on road signs with Gaelic and possibly even Scots, both of which would be promoted. Scotland would be able to compete in its own right at the Olympics. Finally, there would be a competition to find a national anthem to replace the current (unofficial) song: "Flower of Scotland".

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Investigo: International Finance Analyst

£270 - £300 per annum: Investigo: An exciting opportunity to join an internati...

Recruitment Genius: CAD / CAM Ladies Cocktail & Eveningwear Gerber Grader

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Field Sales Rep -Management Software - £45,000 OTE

£28000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £45,00 + pension: h2 Recruit Ltd: A great new ...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: stupid questions in opinion polls, in the House of Commons and in job interviews

John Rentoul
 

i Editor's Letter: The demise of a Sixties monster

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?