It seems more likely now that the Scots will vote to separate from the Union of this island. I wish them well if they want to be independent as opposed to pseudo independent, which will merely enable a few politicians to exercise greater power than at present, but make no bones about it, a “yes” vote in the referendum will be the start of what will be several years of acrimony, argument and legal cases. No doubt the Scots will readily agree a constitution for a new state and the legal framework is already in hand; the Scots will simply have to decide whether their appellate system will incorporate the Supreme Court, or whether they will be happy to see divergence on the laws of the two jurisdictions with all the economic effect that would entail.
There will be the major issues which have to be sorted out before decree nisi is made absolute:
- Currency and banking regulation
- Division of the off shore oil and gas resources
- EU Fishery and Agriculture Subsidies
- National Institutions; will Scots pay a licence fee for the BBC for example
- Energy – will Scotland be part of the National Grid or simply buy power from the rest of the grid, if the price is right
- Membership of the European Union
These are tough problems and some of them will not be sorted out for many years and most of them will never be satisfactorily sorted out.
I can propose a modification of Congreve’s old couplet:
Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure:
Divorced in haste, we may repent at leisure.