On oil: Without oil our economy is equal to UK and with oil we exceed the UK, so regardless of how much is left, it is a bonus that Scotland should be in control of. Westminster has proven that it can’t be trusted to make best use of this resource in the past, so why trust them with its future, or the future of the vast potential of renewable resources at our disposal?
On currency: This is simple – a currency union is good for the UK as well as Scotland, because without a deal on the assets of the pound (the currency) then there is absolutely no way that Scotland can be expected to take on the liabilities of the pound (the massive national debt). The UK government has already confirmed that it is liable for the full debt, so no default would take place, but we would prefer to take on our fair share of the debt that exists. Of course, it is prudent to have a plan B, but it would be absurd to enter into any negotiation process by telling people what your fallback position is (which is why the UK government won’t set out a Plan B on the location of Trident, for example) so the position of the Scottish Government and the Yes Campaign will remain the same – after independence a currency union with the UK would be pursued.
On public services: Yes, key areas such as education and health are already ‘devolved’, but without full control of the way in which they are financed we cannot claim them to be ‘independent’. This means that, whilst policy in these areas is made in Edinburgh, the economic decisions made in Westminster (which are politically and philosophically driven) still tie our hands far too often. Every single Scottish pound spent on Trident, HS2 and the London Olympics is a Scottish pound which is not spent in our hospitals and schools; if we want to ensure that the NHS remains a public service which is free for all at the point of use, and that our education system continues to develop onto one of the best in the world, we need full control of our country.
On vision: The No campaign has spent months talking Scotland down and pointing out what we can’t do, but at no point have they laid out a positive vision of how Scotland can become a better country by remaining in the union. Of course there are risks to independence, but what action is ever risk-free? The key consideration in any aspect of life is not whether risk exists, but whether it is manageable, and whether the reward makes the risk worthwhile – does anybody really believe that the reward of a better, fairer country is not worth the risks, or that the people of Scotland are incapable of delivering these changes?
Over to you Alex.