Picking thru the requirements of what an independent nation needs, Scotland is already very well placed thanks to devolution and stuff left over from the 18th century
Here’s a brief list:
Legal system? Check.
Education system? Check (schools, universities and professional associations fer goodness sake)
Multi-party democracy? Check (plus independence would remove a tier)
National health service? Check
And so on and so on. Really, the existing infrastructure is so well developed and already sufficiently autonomous as to render many of the practical arguments against independence redundant. Hence, much of the pro-union chat focuses on the softer benefits of the union, like how we’re better together just because we are really, and how being in the union meant Scottish people got to wear British swimming trunks at the olympics. Now that’s all lovely I guess, except the union also means being part of an electorate that voted in the ConDems and appears to support punishing the disabled.
However, that’s another post. Getting back to the practical issues, there is one, glaringly big exception, which is the financial system and the economy more generally. This is accordingly where the more practical opposition to independence is going to town. Its also a big-big-biggie given the credit crunch and Scotland’s unfortunately disproportionate contribution to the British experience.
Except, the pro-union mentality on display really needs to get a grip. Following on from the HM Treasury propaganda, this blerk here has produced a less biased, more constructive analysis of “Scotland's currency options”. But, even then he just can’t resist the cute point scoring. Like when he talks about currency boards and describes the Irish experience as follows “Ireland chose to fix its exchange rates at parity when leaving sterling. The Irish central bank then spent the next fifty or so years defending the exchange rate until joining the ERM”, he forgot to mention sterling had a fixed exchange rate for much of the same period that HM Treasury also spent years defending i.e. the actual point here isn’t currency pegs are somehow intrinsically a bad thing, rather its what was ultimately a fixed exchange rates proved a serious constraint (by contrast a Sterling currency peg right now would be to a floating currency).
However, its when he says (in the 3rd paragraph) “An independent Scotland would have to move swiftly to create the necessary institutions and capital markets. This would include a central bank, a payments system, deposit insurance, prudential and conduct financial regulators, a debt management office, an exchequer, a tax collection agency, a fiscal commission, equity and capital markets and, of course, a currency mint.” I’m left thinking cool the beans there a minute bawjawz, cool the beans.