Alphen, Netherlands. 22 October. Listening to Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond on the the BBC Sunday morning one could have been forgiven for thinking he was in charge of Scotland’s destiny. That of course is precisely the impression he likes to give. His performance was the very epitome of the hubris and arrogance of which he accuses Westminster and which he says does so much damage to Scotland and its people. He also gave the very firm impression that not only will he and his fellow separatists win the September 18, 2014 referendum on Scottish independence but he will also dictate the terms of the political settlement with the United Kingdom thereafter.
As a part Scot let me immediately disabuse Mr Salmond of his political fantasy. Mr Salmond has successfully denied his fellow Britons a say on the most important constitutional issue facing my country for over three hundred years. Come next September I will insist on my say on Scotland’s relationship with my country should the Scottish people choose for secession.
So here are my terms for a political settlement between a Salmond-led independent Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom:
1. Scottish independence to mean full independence;
2. Her Majesty the Queen to be removed as Head of the Scottish state;
3. The Pound Sterling to be withdrawn as the currency of the Scottish state with the Bank of England no longer the bank of last resort for failed Scottish banks;
4. Scottish citizens to be denied the right to serve in the British armed forces as Scotland will be neither a Commonwealth nor NATO member;
5. Scotland to be treated like any other aspirant state to EU membership. That will mean should the new Scottish Government apply for EU membership Edinburgh must fulfil all the terms demanded of an Accession state and thus all 80,000 pages of the acquis communautaire;
6. Until Scotland accedes to the European Union Scottish citizens to have the same rights to work in the United Kingdom as citizens of any other aspirant state. That would mean all Scots would be required to have a full working permit or have to leave the UK like any other non-EU migrant;
7. The British-Scottish border to be established as an external border of the European Union.
There would of course need to be safeguards for those Scots working or settled permanently in the United Kingdom and for Britons living in Scotland. However, the Scottish people must understand once and for all that Mr Salmond's bogus claim that a vote for independence would have no negative implications must be seen for what it is; utter nonsense.
And just for the record – much of ‘Scotland’s’ oil is actually British. Under international law maritime energy rights are established by extending land borders. Just look at a map, Mr Salmond.
Being part Scot my respect for the Scotland’s people and culture is profound and heartfelt and it is my hope that a deal could be arrived at fair to all. However, I do not believe that possible so long as Mr Salmond is at the Edinburgh helm. So Mr Salmond, be honest with the Scottish people. It is the rest of us in the United Kingdom who will ultimately decide Scotland’s fate.
Independence for Yorkshire! That is much more viable.