A BLUEPRINT for the creation of an independent Scotland has been drawn up by an influential think tank.
Common Weal’s White Paper Project aims to resolve issues such as the cost of the start-up of an independent Scottish state after a Yes vote, its currency, EU membership and defence.
It comes as Scotland prepares for the Scottish Independence Convention summit on Saturday.
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The aim is to produce a business plan for the establishment of a new nation state which would get Scotland to the first day of independence with the ability to collect taxes, defend its borders, negotiate with international partners and secure its energy supply.
The paper is more focused than Scotland’s Future, the Scottish Government’s 2014 White Paper for the first independence referendum.
“It is not an attempt to discuss or propose a list of things that Scotland can do once it is an independent country,” say the group. “Rather this project is limited only to exploring how to develop and build the institutions, functions and infrastructure which Scotland would require to be a successful independent nation but does not currently have in place. So entire subject areas such as health, education, transport and so on are not considered.”
The paper proposes that immediately after a Yes vote an Interim Governance Period will be triggered to last not more than three years from the creation of a National Commission. This would be established to design and implement the institutions of an independent Scottish nation state, to negotiate the terms of separation from the United Kingdom and to develop a constitution.
The constitution should be based on the European Human Rights Act and the International Declaration of Human rights, say the group, and include a prohibition on weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction including biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
“It shall also ensure commitment to the rule of Scots and international law and establish a democratic system of national elections to elect a parliament in proportion to the votes cast in that election,” the Paper states.
The rest of the constitution should then be drawn up through consultation with the public, in the process creating proposals on which international institutions Scotland should join, such as the European Union and Nato.
“For the interim period all existing constitutional conditions would apply, including maintaining the Queen as the Head of State,” states the Paper.
It goes on to advocate the creation of an independent Scottish currency which would initially be pegged to the value of the UK Pound Sterling (GBP) for at least the transitional period.
“The option to change the terms of the peg or to float the currency shall be considered as and when economic and political circumstances prove the comparative advantages of those options,” the Paper states, adding that the naming of the currency and design of the physical coins and notes should be decided via a public consultation.
A Scottish Central Bank would also be founded near the start of the currency transition period and would either take on, or be a part of, a supervisory body to ensure the smooth progress of the transition.
A Scottish Defence Force should also be established along with a Scottish coastguard service to protect Scotland’s sea lanes and support the work of customs officials in cracking down on smuggling activities on Scotland’s coastline.
“Scotland’s foreign policy will be based on the principles of peace and international solidarity. It will not seek to replicate the UK’s desire to project global military force, and will therefore not be seeking to establish a blue water navy and will dismantle the Trident nuclear missile system at Faslane.”
Issues which would influence the design of an energy system could include public ownership of an electricity company and of the grid.