STEPHEN Tingle’s letter (August 6) on the issues rUK and an independent Scotland will have to address over the next decade or so raises some very pertinent questions.

GM crops are a problem that cannot be overcome short of a complete ban. Basically, insects pollinate the crops and you can’t stop insects crossing borders. Nor can you put a limit on the distance they fly. For instance, the emperor butterfly in America migrates for several thousand miles. So, if the insects bring pollen from GM crops then we could well end up with them ourselves. I just don’t know the biology of it all.

Fracking is different. It seems to affect the stability of the geological structure of any area where it takes place. There should therefore be a ban on it happening within say 50 miles of any international border without the express written agreement of the country whose border would be affected – in this case, probably us!

Cross-border policing is manageable. There are precedents. I remember travelling to Germany, by train, before the EU came into being. Passports were checked when we boarded the boat at Harwich (British), and again when we arrived at Hook of Holland (Dutch). At the German Border. the Dutch crew left the train and it was manned by a German crew who came round the train and checked passports again. That takes care of normal circumstances. There should be no hot pursuits if we do things properly. There is supposed to be a hard border between EU or EFTA countries and countries outside those organisations. So, if we are in one of them and rUK is not, there will have to be a hard border at our border crossing points. There are plenty of ways to stop traffic, like the thick posts that go down into the ground to allow vehicles to pass and come up again to stop the next vehicle.

Smuggling of NHS prescription drugs will probably be dealt with in the same way as generally smuggled drugs. This may present a problem in that if we are in the EU and rUK isn’t, there may be no intelligence sharing – as has already been suggested might happen.

Taxation for people working in this country should present no problem. If someone works here their employer deducts income tax and NI at source. If they buy something, they pay VAT. If they stay in a hotel or lodgings, a portion of what they pay will be part of what the landlord pays in council tax etc. There may well have to be some sort of reciprocal arrangement between the two countries regarding health treatment or to allow a portion of their health contributions to be passed to Westminster. But that happens already with the EHIC card.

The final point Stephen raises is energy. Just as it is possible to measure the energy used by every single premises in the UK, it must surely also be possible to measure the amount of energy we send across the Border. The difference will be that whereas we presently pay to be part of their National Grid system, after independence they would pay us to buy that energy from us.

There is one other problem that is not just ours but covers the globe. If a person works here but the company head office is in London, does their income tax go to Westminster through the head office or to Scotland from the local office? That would also affect profit tax as per the problem we now have with Amazon. In this respect, I think the time has come when there has to be an international agreement that any sales take place in the country where the purchaser buys them, and not somewhere in the infinity of the internet where the company says they are sold. Profit tax on those should be paid in the country where the purchaser buys them. For instance, our oil is in our ground and when it comes out it should be sold here in Scotland and not in a London head office, which only has a paper contact with it. So, the tax should come to us and not go from the London head office to Westminster.

All of these are problems that would need sorting out during the negotiations that will take place between the day independence is won in a referendum and about two or three years later on Independence Day itself. I have every confidence in a Scottish government – even an interim cross-party government – to ensure that they are dealt with to our benefit. After all, we will no longer have a situation where Labour, as they did with the Smith Commission, will be able to pick and choose which powers they bring to Scotland and which they leave at Westminster. After independence we get the lot and it should only be questions of the type outlined by Stephen, as above, that need sorted.
Charlie Kerr