Scottish First Minister publishes independence proposals

Alex Salmond has today published the Scottish Executive’s white paper on independence,  Choosing Scotland’s Future, which is available from a dedicated National Conversation website.

The document opens with a famous quote from Charles Stewart Parnell:

No man has a right to fix the boundary of the  march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country, "Thus far shalt thou go and no further".   

Perhaps the passage with the broadest international significance is this one:

An independent Scotland could also develop its own voice, and its own distinctive contribution, in the area of defence. Scotland has a proud military tradition, which was represented in the historic Scottish regiments, and the naval, army and air force bases that have for many years provided a home in Scotland for the armed forces of the United Kingdom. With independence, Scotland could decide to continue with membership of current international defence alliances, principally NATO, or could opt, like Ireland and Sweden, for a defence posture outside a nuclear-armed alliance but within other co-operation bodies, such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Western European Union and the Partnership for Peace programme. An independent Scotland would also have to consider the role and scale of its armed forces, and might choose to emphasise international peacekeeping and disaster relief missions. Independence would allow the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government to have the final say in all of these matters, and in whether Scottish armed forces participate in military actions, such as Iraq. (Chapter 3: An Independent Scotland)

Another section that should be of interest throughout these islands concerns the British-Irish Council:

    The current arrangements bring together two sovereign states, three devolved nations and three crown dependencies to co-operate on issues of mutual concern. This could provide a model for future co-operation across Britain and Ireland following independence for Scotland, bringing together three sovereign states, including an independent Scotland, and the remainder of the United Kingdom, the devolved nations and island territories. This would provide a formal mechanism for the governments of Britain and Ireland to work together to complement other continuing relations across the islands in social and cultural fields, as well as a continuing Union of the Crowns. (Chapter 4: The Changing Constitution in the British Isles)







2 responses to “Scottish First Minister publishes independence proposals”

  1. wonkotsane avatar

    Still no plans for England to get represented at the British-Irish Council then. It’s only 50m people anyway, not as if it’s important.

  2. Tom Griffin avatar

    The Scottish paper does make this criticism of the UK Government’s paper:
    4.11 The green paper does not discuss, from a United Kingdom point of view, the issues raised in this paper: further development of devolution to Scotland, or to other parts of the United Kingdom (for example, there is no discussion of the West Lothian question). The paper reasserts the current constitutional arrangements for the United Kingdom, and that the United Kingdom Parliament remains sovereign.
    In any case, it’s not really the SNP’s job to speak up for England. It’s Labour, the Conservatrives, and the Lib Dems who deserve criticism on that score.

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