The Wee Blue Book is extremely close to finished now, readers. We’re just buffing the corners. But we thought you might like to get a head start on one bit of it.
As well as trying to answer all the reasonable and sensible questions that undecided or No voters might have of the Yes side, the book will encourage them to ask a few tricky ones of their No representatives too, because we’ve been waiting two-and-a-half years for the media to do it with no luck.
But as you’ve been so awesome at writing to your MPs and MSPs before, enabling us to (for example) shed some cruelly harsh light on the full shambolic incoherence of Labour’s devolution plans, it seemed only fair that you got to have a go first.
So if you’re in the mood, why not fire a polite email or letter to your local Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem MP and/or MSP today with the following questions in it, and see what you get back? You can easily find and contact your local Westminster and Holyrood representatives via WriteToThem.com.
1. Does Scotland – including its oil revenues, of course – contribute a larger share of the UK’s income than the share of UK spending it gets? (And I mean the SHARE, not the AMOUNT – debt which has to be paid back doesn’t count as “spending”.)
2. Regardless of whether YOU think it would be a good idea or not, is it true to say that an independent Scotland could continue to use Sterling as its currency if it chose, no matter what happened?
3. Your campaign keeps saying that independence would make our family and friends in the rest of the UK “foreigners”. Even if we accept that’s true, what’s wrong with foreigners? Would you love your granny or your nephew or your sister any less if they became “foreign”? If not, why does it matter?
4. In your view, would the rUK really build and patrol a 100-mile long physical barrier of some sort across the border if an independent Scotland had a different immigration policy? (Because obviously road checkpoints alone couldn’t stop illegal immigrants, who’d simply cross on foot.) And if so, what would you estimate as the construction, manning and maintenance costs of such a barrier?
5. The McCrone Report was kept from the Scottish public by successive Labour and Conservative governments for 30 years to prevent them knowing how rich Scotland would be if it were independent. Are you aware of any similar documents relevant to the independence debate which are currently designated secret?
6. If I vote No in September, can you guarantee that in five years’ time Scotland will still be in the EU?
7. If I vote No, can you guarantee that in 10 years’ time Scotland will still have a fully publicly-funded NHS?
8. If I vote No, can you guarantee that the “Barnett Formula” used to calculate the Scottish Government block grant will still be in force by 2020 and set at the same proportions?
9. What will be the approximate set-up/annual costs of the tax-collecting bureaucracy your party plans to implement in the event of a No vote?
10. In the event of a Yes vote, will the UK government have an obligation to pay the pensions of everyone in Scotland who has ALREADY qualified for the UK state pension, as would be the case if current pensioners emigrated to (say) Spain or France or Australia? I’m not interested in the Scottish Government’s position on the matter, I want to know what the UK government’s responsibilities are.
11. Is Scotland a country or a region?
If you’ve got any good suggestions for other ones, let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the book.