50 Questions The No Camp Must Answer

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They’re an evasive mob when quizzed about what will happen in the event of a No vote.  No seems to stand for No Alt White Paper, No Straight Answers, No Much Of A Clue. This slipperiness will come unstuck as Scots ask them, quite reasonably, to spell out their alternative to Independence.  Here are 50 questions seeking answers…

The First Eleven

1. What new powers is Holyrood guaranteed in the event of a No vote?

2. Can you guarantee future Westminster governments will retain the Barnett formula, which is used to calculate Scotland’s annual grant from the Treasury?

3. What will the impact be on Scottish families of the £25bn of new public spending cuts announced by the Chancellor this month?

4. Can you guarantee Scotland will still be in the EU in 2020 if there’s a No vote?

5. What extra powers will be devolved to Scotland to grow the working population?

6. How many more children will be living in poverty in Scotland in 2020 as a result of Westminster policies?

7. What steps will be taken to close the growing gap between rich and poor?

8. What will the UK’s national debt be in 2016?

9. Will an Oil Fund be established in the event of a No vote, as we plan after a Yes vote?

10. How many UK army, naval and air force personnel will be based in Scotland in 2020?

11. How much will Scottish taxpayers have to pay for the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system?

Finance and taxes

12. If the Barnett formula is scrapped, by how much would Scotland’s budget be cut after a No vote?

13. If the Barnett formula is retained, by how much would Scotland’s budget be cut after a No vote?

14. What will UK personal tax rates be in 2016 and beyond, and how will Westminster improve the tax system, including collection?

15. Will the rate of VAT be increased, cut, or stay the same in 2016 and beyond?

16. What will be the level of Air Passenger Duty (APD) in 2016 and beyond?

17. Why has APD not been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, as recommended by the Calman Commission on devolved powers?

18. Will a system be put in place to guarantee the minimum wage will always rise – at least in line with the cost of living?

19. What additional tax powers will be devolved to Scotland in the event of a No vote?

Economy

20. What additional economic powers will be devolved to Scotland?

21. What powers will be given to Scotland to combat – in Business Secretary Vince Cable’s words – the “giant suction machine” of London?

22. What will you do to narrow the huge regional differences in GDP per head, which are greater in the UK than in any other EU country?

23. What additional powers will be devolved to increase women’s participation in the labour market?

24. What additional measures will be devolved to Scotland to boost Research and Development?

25. Will additional competitive powers be devolved to encourage major firms to locate their HQs in Scotland?

26. Will corporation tax be devolved to give businesses in Scotland a competitive edge?

27. What powers will be devolved to encourage re-industrialisation and halt manufacturing decline?

28. Will the post-study work visa be re-introduced?

Social justice, families and health

29. Will the UK still be one of the most unequal countries in the developed world?

30. Will all current universal and pensioner benefits remain – or will some be means-tested?

31. In the event of a No vote, will you guarantee funding for fund a long-term expansion of childcare in Scotland to match the best provision in Europe?

32. Will Scotland’s age profile be taken into account when decisions over the state pension age are made?

33. What will be the state retirement age for people in Scotland who are starting work this year?

34. Will the bedroom tax be abolished?

35. Will the bedroom tax be extended to pensioners – as suggested recently by an MP from one of the No campaign parties? Julian Brazier – MP for Canterbury

36. Have you assessed the impact Westminster welfare cuts will have on Scotland’s NHS?

37. The NHS in England is being privatised. Given that cuts in funding for public services in England trigger cuts in the Scottish budget, has any study been done of the impact on Scotland of NHS privatisation in England.

Democracy

38. The Tories have just one MP in Scotland, yet are leading the Westminster government. How can Scotland get the government it votes for?

39. Nine out of 10 Scottish MPs voted against the bedroom tax. How can you ensure the views of Scottish MPs are not ignore in future?

40. Royal Mail has been privatised what guarantees can you give that other public services will not be privatised against the views of Scottish MPs?

41. How much money per year will taxpayers in Scotland be expected to contribute to funding the unelected House of Lords?

EU and Defence

42. When will an In/Out referendum be held on the UK’s EU membership?

43. If a majority of people in Scotland vote to remain members of the EU in an In/Out vote – going against the grain – what will happen to Scotland?

44. If the UK government fails to renegotiate the UK’s EU membership terms, will it recommend withdrawal?

45. Will Scotland get any direct representation in Europe to negotiate for our fishing and farming industries after a No vote?

46. If Scotland had been independent during the most recent EU farming talks we would have qualified for an extra €1 billion of funding. How will that shortfall be made up?

47. Scotland currently receives the lowest farm payments of any country in the EU. Will this continue?

48. What guarantee is there that Scotland will not be hit again by disproportionate defence staff cuts in the future?

49. Will the 7,000 service personnel promised to be returned from Germany to Scotland ever arrive?

50. How much money will be spent on the replacement of Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons?

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  1. Brian McGraw says:

    I’d be worried about some move to dissolve the Scottish Parliament after a No vote. We should ask them to guarantee that Holyrood will be made irreversible- Old Gordon Brown is clearly concerned on this point.
    Wouldn’t put it past them to attempt to dismantle Scottish administration and governance to put further attempts to achieve independence beyond reach – maybe my paranoia about Westminster is reaching new levels?

    1. David McCann says:

      Exactly! Since Westminster has the power to abolish the Scottish Parliament, at any time, regardless of what Scotland thinks, can you guarantee that any future UK government will neither reduce the powers, nor abolish the Scottish Parliament ?

      1. Cognitive dissonant says:

        I think in the event of a ‘no’ vote, the Scottish parliament SHOULD be mothballed. We wouldn’t deserve anything more. And why stop there? Let’s get rid of separate Scots judiciary, and have the church of Scotland merge with the Anglican Church, and the SFA should disband..

    2. Consequences of a NO vote?

      Top of the list of certain outcomes are further Westminster-actioned cuts, into the foreseeable future, regardless of the party in power there (Labour, or the Conservatives)

      There will be a minimum a re-jigging of the Barnett formula leading to a substantial reduction in the block grant, further divesting Scotland of the monies needed to maintain existing services.

      This will mean an end to prescriptions free at the point of service.
      The end of at-home services for the elderly.
      The end of free tuition for university students.
      The end of free bus passes for the over-sixties.

      The Unionist parties will argue a no vote gives them a mandate to implement the following:

      The repatriation of key devolved competencies back to Westminster to neuter Nationalist power (curtailing “SNP mischief-making”) to put an end to the Scottish Question once and for all.

      A vote NO will mean the effective end of the Scottish Parliament stripped of power and its diminution to a wee pretendy parliament (thus proving Billy Connolly right after all).

      Scottish representation in the Westminster Parliament will be reduced to the already scheduled fifty (50) MPs initially, and will continue to decline as Scotland’s population continues to comprise a smaller and smaller portion of the greater English state.

      Per last year’s published legal opinion, and the scotching of the theory of “states within a state”, there will be concerted and coordinated efforts to dissolve the instruments and protocols of Scotland’s status as a country within the UK (AKA England), and to recast it in the public’s mind as just other northern region of Britain.

      That outcome follows necessarily since our English Government has given this learned opinion the imprimatur of THE official reference to be consulted when dealing with matters Scottish (Scotland ceased to be in 1707 when it was absorbed into England asserts HMG).

      Precedent gives cause for concern that if we remain part of England, and ever again become uppity, Westminster may retaliate with a policy of managed decline of this northern region’s economy a la Geoffrey Howe et Liverpool during the Thatcher regime (the 30-year rule, forced the publication of the minutes of cabinet meetings exposing these troubling narratives) .

      A NO vote risks an inevitable and inexorable descent of our culture into obscurity and obsolescence.

      Our legal system, unique education system, and our NHS, of necessity dismissed and rejected as incongruous anachronisms, predicated on the once-held delusion of our uniqueness as a people and a country.

      The unacceptable risk is that the country we love will be permanently subsumed as a neglected and reviled low-opportunity Celtic backwater of a Greater England. Again, this legal opinion from No.10 gives this scenario menacing credibility.

      These are the outcomes that reasonably might follow a NO vote in September 2014 and it will well serve Scots to remember it.

  2. Iain fraser says:

    I couldn’t find anthing about regional policy in Scotland after independence in the White paper – what are the plans?

  3. Abulhaq says:

    Question 51: What are the positive reasons for keeping the status quo?

  4. 18, 27 & 28 have run into the previous questions (well, on this browser anyway).

  5. I think they’ve given the answer to number 38 and it’s as follows…

    1. It can’t.
    2. But its not important.

  6. Actually, an overarching Question for the No/Bitterers/ProjFear camp is simply this:

    ‘What is you BIG IDEA’?

    We have ours; it is developing fast and in an ambitious and exciting way.

    Status quo may be an option, sort of; but it isnt a BIG IDEA.

  7. One thing is needed and that is to get the questions out there to everybody especially the “no” voters,must get them to think,when the Labour M.P.,s are saying that they “don’t have to answer any questions” I think it was A.Darling who said it.The citizens of Scotland need to ask the questions and tell Darling and his ilk that YES they do need to answer the questions.

    1. David Lister says:

      Since Scotland and England (only) are EQUAL PARTNERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, I suggest that the Westminster parliament should have elected members based solely on the percentage of party MP’s elected in each country. I.E. should England (and Wales and N.I.) elect 40% Conservatives and Scotland 80″ Labour or SNP members, seats should be allocated on that basis. So if Scotland (per capita) elect more MP’s than England (per capita) of any political party, then the majority takes power. After all, it’s an equal partnership, isn’t it? NO! Feck it then, it’s YES for independence on 18.09.14. Alba gu Brath.

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