With the appointment of Nicola Sturgeon as the SNP Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for the independence referendum, we can only hope that the phoney war is finally over.
The indications are that there will be a single straightforward question asking whether or not Scots wish to leave the UK and set up an independent state. Having got his way on the question, Prime Minister David Cameron should authorise a Section 30 Order, giving Holyrood the power to hold a binding referendum in October 2014.
Then the debate can begin. The Yes campaign has to answer a raft of questions: What will Scotland's relationship be to Europe after independence? How will the assets and liabilities of the existing UK be divided? What influence will an independent Scotland have over interest rate policy, currently set by the Bank of England? How will cross-Border firms, and families, be taxed after independence? What relationship will Scottish regiments have to the UK army command structure?
Equally, it is for the Unionists to explain how it benefits Scotland to be governed by a Coalition in Westminster that appears out of touch with Scottish sensibilities. Why should Scotland be the only country or region in the world which has not directly benefited from oil discovered in its territorial waters? Why should Scotland retain weapons of mass destruction? And finally, is it not the principle of all accountable governments that a parliament should be responsible for raising, in taxes, the money it spends on services?
These and many other issues remain to be addressed. It really is time to get on with it.
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