Scotland would "gain little" by full independence, a key economic adviser to First Minister Alex Salmond has warned.Given that Scotland's GDP per capita is close to both the UK and EU averages I've always accepted that an independent Scotland would be "economically viable", as does Professor Kay. He goes on to say:
Professor John Kay said that while the move would "clearly be economically viable", increased financial power within the Union was more likely.
"Scotland can get many of the advantages claimed for independence if it negotiates for more autonomy, while still staying part of the Union," said Prof Kay.But that's only so if one is talking about economics. I have no doubt at all that most nationalists are motivated by questions of identity, not finance. Of course it helps their case if the economics look good but what they are working towards is for Scotland to be a normal country.
It really is rather unusual for somewhere to have its own national legal system, its own national Church, its own national sporting teams and representation, and almost all of the other attributes of nationality and yet not be independent. That's what motivates the SNP, not whether an independent Scotland would be richer or poorer.
If I could go back in a time machine to 1707 and change future history so that the words "England" and "Scotland" were never heard of again anywhere in the world and that both had been replaced by the word "Britain", Alex Salmond would not be First Minister. Indeed, there wouldn't be a Parliament in Edinburgh. Unless we'd sensibly decentralised Britain and moved its Parliament to the more civilised part of the country...