White Paper: Yes or No?

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon at the launch
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon at the launch
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There has been heated reaction from North- east politicians following the publication of the Independence White Paper this week.

The SNP-led Holyrood administration has set out its vision for what an independent Scotland would look like following a ‘Yes’ vote in next year’s referendum.

First Minister Alex Salmond declared Scotland’s future was now in Scotland’s hands at the launch last Tuesday (November 26).

The 600-plus page document aims to answer some of the key questions that would arise from the break-up of the 300-year Union between Scotland and England.

It promises a ‘revolution’ in childcare, a cut in energy bills, removal of nuclear weapons from the Cylde and the scrapping of the unpopular ‘bedroom tax’ north of the border.

Aberdeenshire West SNP MSP, Dennis Robertson, said: “This landmark document takes the referendum debate into a new phase.

‘‘No country in history is as well-equipped as Scotland is to move toward independence, and even the staunchest opponents of ‘Yes’ now accept that Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.”

But North- east Labour MSP, and Better Together director, Richard Baker, said: “This White Paper paints a picture of a Scotland in which the North-east will foot the bill for separation but lose out when it comes to public investment.

‘‘Alex Salmond has said that revenues from our oil and gas industry will be paid into a new energy fund even before a separate Scotland has managed to balance the books - which it can’t do without oil and gas revenue...”

He was backed by North-east Conservative MSP, Nanette Milne: “The SNP White Paper on independence as a whole is at best a wish list and, at worst, a total work of fiction – Alex in wonderland!”

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP, Sir Robert Smith, said there were concerns over the currency in an independent Scotland: “As part of the UK we currently get a say in how the pound is managed. By voting yes under these plans we would have no say in how our currency would be managed.”