WITH an unwritten constitution, a new unbalanced and unequal trade deal with Japan (worse in many ways than the one negotiated by the EU), non-binding international treaties, and forthcoming non-binding human rights legislation now part of the UK Government modus operandi, fundamental questions around indyref2 come to mind.

That the process around indyref2 and its outcome, whether via Section 30 (unlikely) or otherwise, will clearly be viewed as non-binding by this UK Government is now pretty much a given. That better trade connections between Scotland and the EU, via the Republic of Ireland and directly with the European mainland, will be required with some urgency is now also a given.

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It’s another given that post-Yes negotiations are likely to be extremely vindictive on the part of the rUK, but essentially simple for the national issues, as assets would likely be generally split as geographically located, national/local debt resides with the rUK, and revenue commitments such as pensions become the responsibility of the new free state of Scotland. A more equitable negotiation would require a competent UK Government, so is not a realistic option.

Trident submarines and partially decommissioned nuclear-powered subs would leave, when seaworthy or towable, for the USA. Financial hubs and similar need to have up to 12 months to set up hub offices in Scotland, in line with EU requirements. It is also absolutely clear that a memorandum of agreement between Scotland and the EU is going to be required, if the EU is to even consider being the umbrella for rUK (ex-EU)/Scotland (accession EU) independence negotiations/arrangements, at the behest of the formerly EU citizens of Scotland.

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As for the question of Royal Assent for legislation, it is currently considered by the UK Government to be obligatory on the monarch yet perversely non-binding on them, but what of Scotland and/or Scotland as an independent EU state? Perhaps this also requires a referendum, to be asked at the same time as indyref2, as might the question of a preferred currency for Scotland as an newly independent EU nation state.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

THE trade deal the UK Government has announced with Japan has been as heralded the UK’s “first major trade deal as an independent trading nation”, a symbol of the clout of “global Britain”.

The full details have not yet been released, but it’s already clear the agreement largely replicates the contents of the tariff-reducing deal that the European Union concluded with Japan in 2018. For UK firms trading with Japan this is not some kind of surge forward, but simply largely replicating what was already in place.

And while the government announcement highlights potential gains to the UK economy of £1.5bn over the long term, that represents less than 0.1% of our economy. Moreover, this is a gain relative to a future in which the UK had no trade deal with Japan, not relative to the UK’s current position as a participant in the EU-Japan deal.

Britain’s total trade with Japan in 2018 amounted to £29bn, while our trade with the rest of the European Union, by contrast, was £650bn. So as a trading partner the EU is 20 times more important.

When one considers the 0.1% of GDP support from this Japan trade deal, don’t forget the UK Government estimate that the long-term damage of a No-Deal Brexit would be around 7.5% of GDP.

With the disastrous events of this week in the EU trade talks, this trade deal with Japan is paltry in economic terms when compared with the looming threat of a No-Deal Brexit.

Alex Orr

IT was interesting to see the comments of Yanis Varoufakis about a Scottish currency.

As a forward-looking economist, it was encouraging to hear him promote a Scottish currency to protect the economy of an independent Scotland.

Many people in Scotland are coming round to this viewpoint, with the knowledge that a Scottish Government-controlled central bank and a Scottish pound as the domestic currency of Scotland would keep the fledgling economy safe from the predators within the international banking system who brought us to grief in the crash of 2008.

As we have seen, their culture has changed little and sadly few lessons have been learned.

Those who have doubts about how we could strengthen our economy should reflect on the legacy of Clement Attlee’s Labour government in the post-war period. Faced with a ruined economy and massive borrowing from the United States, Attlee’s government nationalised the central bank, coal, steel, road transport, rail and much else including our much-loved NHS.

With an independent government and a well-educated population we could develop a new green revolution with highly paid jobs in renewable energy; fund developments in research and innovation; and create many projects that would benefit other small countries that welcome support through education and innovation.

This would be funded initially by a government-backed central bank and paid for by the taxes from high-paid workers.

On Friday Liz Truss showed her excitement on BBC news when she announced a trade deal with Japan that could help the UK to access Asian markets.

If we are serious about climate change our aim should be to become more self-sufficient, moderate our need for luxury goods and trade with countries close by.

I hope that an independent Scotland will do things differently and give an example of kindness, moderation and consideration in the way we live in the future.

Maggie Chetty