"The Nineteenth century saw a great Springtime of Nations as the revolutions of 1848 saw new countries created the length and breadth of Europe. In our world today we are now seeing our own Spring Awakening with people and cultures that have long been dormant and subdued asserting their right to exist, their right to dream." Adam Price MP
Saturday, 14 May 2011
Paving the Way to Independence
show details14:04 (3 hours ago)
SNP 'to seize profit from the Queen's estates'
The leader of the SNP has laid claim for the right to millions of pounds of
profits from the Queen's estates in Scotland under plans for national
Alex Salmond declared his intention to take control of the hugely profitable
wind farms leased by the Crown Estate after his party's resounding election
It is just one of a raft of plans to transform the institutions of Scotland and
its relations with the monarch and the Royal Family, including having a
referendum on the Monarchy.
Other changes would see an end to BBC Scotland, a claw-back of North Sea oil
revenue and road signs in Gaelic and English across the country.
In his speech on Friday Mr Salmond talked of `control of the Crown Estate
Commission' and of Scotland getting `the benefit of its vast renewable wealth of
offshore resources in the way we never did in terms of our vast oil and gas
This will be seen as a bid to cut the Queen's earnings by taking control of the
Crown Estate in Scotland, which includes most of the seabed off the Scottish
The SNP wants to cash in on the £7 billion renewable energy sector, saying that
`Scotland should not have to wait any longer' for control over the country's
coastline and seas.
Mr Salmond's demands cut across the deal agreed last year between Chancellor
George Osborne and the Royal Family under which instead of receiving extra money
from the Civil List, the Monarchy is given payments linked to profits of the
Crown Estate's £6.6 billion portfolio.
This arrangement could net the Queen more than double the current £35 million
she receives from the Civil List, because of the massive boom in offshore wind
The Estate has rights to 6,000 miles of Scottish coastline and almost all the
sea bed out to 12 nautical miles, plus additional pockets up to 200 nautical
miles out. The Estate's most recent report for Scotland stated: `The marine
renewables part of our business is experiencing rapid growth and we expect it to
continue to grow over the coming years.'
Although the SNP say that they would retain the Queen as Head of State, their
2009 white paper says only that `current constitutional arrangements with the
Queen as Head of State would provide a constitutional framework in the
transition to independence'. The absence of a ringing endorsement of the Queen
opens the door to a future referendum to end the Monarchy in Scotland after
Mr Salmond has always insisted that independence would be far less disruptive
than many fear, but SNP plans for self-rule will strike many as being
far-reaching and radical.
In August 2007 the SNP published a document called Choosing Scotland's Future,
which made clear that an independent Scotland under Mr Salmond would leave Nato
and unilaterally disarm nuclear weaponry.
The creation of a Scotland defence force would still allow British Forces to use
key bases such as RAF Kinloss but the Faslane base, home to the Navy's nuclear
submarine flee, would cease to operate.
The controversial issue of North Sea oil revenue, where profits have been said
to have been disproportionately invested across the border, would be addressed
by the creation of a sovereign wealth fund to `insulate the economy in times of
economic instability and invest for long-term sustainability'. BBC Scotland
would be replaced by a new national broadcaster, along with a new Scottish
However, the SNP would encourage the viewing of BBC programmes by supporting the
service through Freeview.
Other SNP plans include the retention of the pound as the national currency –
but only until Scots decide in a referendum whether they want to join the euro.
Buoyed: In his speech on Friday Mr Salmond talked of control of the Crown
Estate Commission and of Scotland getting the benefit of its vast renewable
wealth of offshore resources in the way we never did in terms of our vast oil
and gas resources.
The SNP have also outlined their intention to seek full economic independence
and end the arrangement where taxes raised in Scotland are set and collected by
the UK Government and then reallocated back in a complex formula through the
Scottish Block Grant.
There are further plans to have a new system of financial services regulation
which could be modelled on Ireland's – even though that has been heavily
criticised in the wake of that country's economic collapse. There would also be
a new Scottish Stock Exchange.
SNP plans also include opening up the border and rejecting tighter regulations
set by England in the belief that Scotland needs many more immigrants. The 2009
white paper also makes clear that an independent Scotland would have a more
human rights-friendly system for allowing asylum seekers to find a new life
north of the border, raising the prospect of Scotland becoming a haven for
The recently published SNP manifesto pushed for Gaelic to be taught more widely
in schools and for road signs all over the country to be made bilingual, in
English and Gaelic. There would also be official recognition of Tartan Day in
April and a full public holiday on St Andrew's Day.