Several decades ago Johnny Nash reminded us of an unalterable truth when he sang, “there are more questions than answers”. Now, he clearly wasn’t thinking of the “no” campaign when he belted out this little ditty in the 70s, but this sort of encapsulates the early skirmishing in the independence debate.
Everything from the size of intelligence services in an independent Scotland to the exact size of the merchant fleet, the unionists demand a full and detailed response.
This, of course, is a calculated attempt to suggest that not everything is thoroughly thought through and that independence is some sort of leap in the dark. “Hah”, these cunning unionists conclude – “this is your lifetime ambition and you can’t even tell us what insignia the boy scouts will wear when you separate”.
When the answer to a particular question is given it is conveniently ignored and the next question is then posed, and thus it goes on, indefinitely!
The intention is to wear us down, sow confusion and invent erroneous answers – the more obscure and potentially unanswerable the question, the happier they are.
The only problem for them is that Scotland will make a decision about its future on the basis of the most detailed comprehensive prospectus ever presented to a nation considering its constitutional future. The white paper being prepared by the Scottish Government will detail, in an almost overwhelming totality, how Scotland will govern itself as an independent country. It is on the basis of this white paper that Scotland will make its choice.
And it’s absolutely right that the Scottish Government prepares this work and presents the Scottish people with a vision of an independent Scotland.
But independence as a concept is bigger than any white paper. What independence will do is return all of the decision making about Scotland to the people who live and work here.
Independence means that it’s all in our hands. After independence if the Scottish people elect a Government that wants large armed forces then that’s what they will get. Similarly if it wants a Government based on the Scottish Greens’ world view, then they will similarly also secure that. If a particular approach isn’t working the Scottish people can replace the Government of an independent Scotland with another one, which will do something differently. It’s what normal independent countries do and it’s actually quite a simple concept.
The Scottish people want answers to all those questions and they want to know how an independent Scotland will work. Our prospectus will offer just that. But it will be the Scottish people who will ultimately be in charge of all of the decisions about our future. It is the ultimate form of self Government and it is right that every nation has the self respect and dignity to take these decisions for itself.