Following upon an initiative in November 2012 when Gordon Wilson and Jim Sillars raised the option of EFTA (The European Free Trade Association) as a solution to the wrangling over whether Scotland would be admitted to membership of the European Union, Gordon Wilson, former Chairman (Leader) of the Scottish National Party today announced the setting up of a referendum discussion unit OPTIONS FOR SCOTLAND intended to highlight constructive options open to Scotland with independence.
Gordon Wilson said:
Our raising of the issue of EFTA was surprisingly successful with a warm reception from EFTA and the President of Iceland to the concept of an independent Scotland.
For some time I have been concerned with the negativity of the debate and wish to raise the horizons of Scots to enable them to approach the referendum on independence in the knowledge that the people will have choices over major issues like Europe, the currency, energy and oil policy and the creation of a better society through the removal of the blight of poverty.”
This is Scotland’s referendum. It recognises that the people of Scotland are sovereign and that the Scottish people hold a diversity of political opinions. Also it poses a challenge to the unionist parties. Yes, they can oppose independence! But, what if Scotland says YES. In that case, all of a sudden they will find themselves in negotiations with London over transition when the people of Scotland will expect them to fight for Scottish national interests. It will be gross irresponsibility for them NOT to shape their policies now with Scotland’s needs in mind. Indeed, if they are not ready with Scottish policies, they will face defeat at the first Scottish election after independence. It will not then be possible for them to hold on to London’s apron strings.
Options for Scotland will publish occasional papers during the referendum campaign. Some of these will be by experts in their field; others by those with a vision for the future.
What is certain between now and the referendum is that Scotland is going to be an exciting place. This will be the primary goal. If Scotland votes YES, this excitement will increase as this nation is engrossed in the negotiations for transition and the Independence Bill which will set out the agreed political, constitutional and practical issues that will follow.
Before the Bill, there may be a multi-option referendum giving the Scottish people a say on Europe, defence and the currency. In itself, the need for such a post-independence referendum will be another source of debate.
If Scotland votes NO, the country will enter a political ice age and debate will cease!