Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands now: Alex Salmond

EDINBURGH: The Scottish government has released a more than 650 pages White Paper to show as how Scotland could be established as an independent country following September 18, 2014 Referendum in which Scotland people vote for yes or no to “Should Scotland be an independent country?
Speaking at the launch of the 670 page White Paper titled as “Scotland’s Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland”, in Glasgow, Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said, “Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands”.
The White Paper addresses 650 questions that have been asked about issues such as the economy, how the welfare system would work and the implications for defense.
Launching the paper – titled Scotland’s Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland – in Glasgow, Salmond said, “This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation”.
The White Paper promised a “revolution” in social policy, with childcare at its heart, besides it also set out a series of policy pledges which would pursue if elected as the government of an independent Scotland.
The White Paper promised, thirty hours of childcare per week in term time for all three and four-year-olds, as well as vulnerable two-year-olds. Trident nuclear weapons, currently based on the Clyde, removed within the first parliament. Housing benefit reforms, described by critics as the “bedroom tax”, to be abolished, and a halt to the roll out of Universal Credit. It would be in Scotland’s interest to keep the pound, while the Bank of England would continue as “lender of last resort”.
BBC Scotland replaced at the start of 2017 with a new Scottish broadcasting service, continuing a formal relationship with the rest of the BBC. Basic rate tax allowances and tax credits to rise at least in line with inflation. A safe, “triple-locked” pension system. Minimum wage to “rise alongside the cost of living”.
This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation, Salmond said.
Scotland’s first minister and his deputy behaved less like excited midwives and more like low-key, well-briefed company executives launching a corporate re-branding exercise
“But more than that, it is a mission statement and a prospectus for the kind of country we should be and which this government believes we can be. Our vision is of an independent Scotland regaining its place as an equal member of the family of nations. However, we do not seek independence as an end in itself, but rather as a means to changing Scotland for the better”, Salmond said.
The Scottish government said Scotland’s finances were healthier than those of the UK, providing a strong foundation to put the focus of the referendum campaign on Scotland’s future.
Salmond said the list of policies would help address what he described as the “damage caused by the vast social disparities which have seen the UK become one of the most unequal societies in the developed world”. “We know we have the people, the skills and resources to make Scotland a more successful country,” he added.
“What we need now are the economic tools and powers to build a more competitive, dynamic economy and create more jobs”, he said.
Meanwhile, Alistair Darling, the former UK chancellor, who is leading the campaign Better Together, branded the document a work of fiction, full of meaningless assertions. But, he said the White Paper had failed to give credible answers to fundamentally important questions.
Darling said the childcare pledge could be delivered now, and raised concern about the viability of the Scottish government’s plan to keep the pound, saying SNP ministers needed a currency “Plan B”.
“They haven’t answered any of the fundamental questions to which Scotland wants the answers”, Darling said, adding, “We know that the terms of independence would need to be negotiated with many countries including the rest of the UK and the EU. An honest assessment of the challenges and uncertainties of leaving the UK would have seriously helped the debate between now and September”.