At a reunion of my fellow former inmates of the much-missed Scottish School of Physical Education, one of my oldest friends, who has lived in England for nearly fifty years, asked me how Independence would affect her family. For starters, would she need a passport?
Well, I explained, until the first government had been elected we wouldn’t be sure of the finer points of whichever party’s policies on passports, border security, etc. But all the mainstream parties were likely to have very similar policies, so we can make educated guesses on what will change and what will stay much as it is at the moment. We can also predict the quirky, difficult, or almost impossible, dilemmas that will be solved to benefit Scots, and, if possible, not dis-benefit our close relations living south of the Border.
So, I imagine that thousands of Scots like my friend Sadie and her family will be able to hold two passports. It can’t be difficult, hundreds of Egyptians have two legal nationalities. However, her grandsons are unlikely to have automatic Scots nationalities, unless they come home to their Granny’s Heilan Hame to stay. But of course they’d be able to turn out for Scotland in the sport of their choice.
The question of Scotland’s borders is beginning to create some interest, particularly when it’s reported that unnamed sources “close to the American government” are concerned for US security if Scotland is an independent state. Some months ago I cautioned readers against being surprised or upset when foreign powers enter the campaign. American scholars know the importance of the present British security policies regarding terrorism, drug and people trafficking, and how these programmes carry out monitoring. That will continue to be an area of common interest to the governments on either side of the Border. So why should we assume that either the government in Westminster or the one in Holyrood would bite off its nose to spite its face?
Everyone knows that what we laughingly call the “British nuclear deterrent” is neither British nor a deterrent. It’s commonly accepted that it’s the excuse for the UK holding on to a permanent place in the UN security council, while other countries that have caught up with, and passed, the UK in economic performance, and therefore defence and security abilities, remain frozen out. Some of these other aspirant countries might try to take advantage of the change of management and some policies in the new Joint Security body that will continue to defend the geographical borders of the UK and Ireland.
The so-called experts who warn that Scotland would find it too expensive to defend itself alone in the custom to which we have become accustomed have necks of solid brass. The navy has 19 boats. The much-vaunted aircraft carriers that have no aircraft are even now in danger of being scrapped, there being an embarrassing lack of funds in the MoD kitty.
One of the other policies that is used to intimidate the Scots just doesn’t stand up when challenged. According to Better Together, an independent Scotland would be outside the tent of the British embassy network. Only where we think the best trade deals could be done on our own, or where Scottish needs might be different from or in competition with the policy south of the Border, would there not be the closest of working relationships. In tany case, on gaining Scotland’s independence, we’ll have to negotiate a division of the assets and liabilities.
Now, with Scotch whisky earning more dollars than anything else from its exports in the new markets, who do you think will be anxious to stay close to Scotland?