Scottish Parliament Marco Varisco CC License via Flickr

Spotlight on…Scottish independence

Published: 15 June 2022

Following the launch of the Scottish Government's first in a series of papers on Scotland’s independence, we’ve collected key reads from our experts giving analysis on borders, economics, Scotland’s relationship with the EU and more. 

Spotlight on...Scottish Independence

The Scottish Government has released the first of a series of papers setting out the case for Scottish independence.

Independence in the modern world. Wealthier, happier, fairer: why not Scotland?

Centre on Constitutional Change experts have examined and written extensively about Scottish independence, the process for another referendum, and what an independence Scotland might look like.

Here we pick out our key reads, but you can view all our blogs on Scottish independence from over the years here.

E-book: Independence after Brexit

Discussions around Scotland’s independence are undoubtedly different to the lead up to 2014, with the UK having left the EU.

Last year, the Centre on Constitutional Change launched its e-book, Scotland’s New Choice: Independence After Brexit, a guide to navigating the issues involved in holding a second referendum on independence in Scotland.

It looks at the process of independence; economics of independence; implications on politics and society; international aspects; and the view of independence from elsewhere.

The book is free to read and download.

The legal question

In chapter 1 of the e-book, experts Chris McCorkindale and Aileen McHarg examine why the legality of a referendum matters.

“If a second independence referendum is to take place and be effective as a means of achieving independence, it is crucial that it be conducted on a proper legal footing.

“We also consider the UK Government’s dismissive response to the request to hold a second independence referendum, and the options that may be open to the Scottish Government to secure a lawful referendum.”

Scotland’s finances

The debate over Scotland’s public finances will be at the heart of any future independence referendum.

In chapter 6, Graeme Roy and David Eiser of the Fraser of Allander Institute discuss what scope an independent Scotland would have to make different choices over taxes and spending, and what constraints it would face.

An independent Scotland in the EU?

In chapter 14, Kirsty Hughes, writer and commentator on Scottish, EU and UK politics,  examines if it would be possible for an independent Scotland to join the European Union.

“If Scotland became independent, could it and should it then join the European Union?

"Scotland already meets most of the EU’s rules – though by the time of independence that could change. Concerns have been expressed about the need for Scotland to have its own currency, to have a low fiscal deficit and to commit to joining the euro. If all these issues were dealt with, Scotland could re-join the EU probably within 4-5 years of independence."

Scotland as a small state

In chapter 20, Michael Keating of the University of Aberdeen discusses the two types of small states, asking whether Scotland would do well as a small state.

"Scotland could do well as a small independent state, but being small and independent are not enough. It would have to make difficult decisions about spending and taxes and long-term planning.

"External change – becoming independent – would have to be matched by internal reforms so that Scotland could match the successful Nordic states."

Report: Scotland’s borders

The launch of this new paper from the Scottish Government has reignited discussions around Scotland’s borders should it become independent.

In a recent report for UK in a Changing Europe, Professors Nicola McEwen (CCC Fellow) and Katy Hayward (CCC Associated Fellow) covered this in detail.

An EU border across Britain: Scotland’s borders after Independence

The report considers the prospect of an independent Scotland within the European Union, not as a prediction, but to illustrate how Brexit has profoundly changed the context in which independence is contested and could be realised.

Katy gives an overview of the report in this post on the CCC blog.

Podcast: Scottish Independence Then and Now

In a past episode of the CCC’s podcast, Constitutionally Sound, our host Allan Little, is joined by Professor of Territorial Politics at the University of Edinburgh Nicola McEwen, and Professor of Practice in the Management of Public Organisations at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, Ciaran Martin.

They reflect on the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 and how things were looking in 2021.

Listen to Scottish Independence Then and Now

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Image: Scottish Parliament Marco Varisco CC License via Flickr

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The tentative path to a date with destiny

WATCH: Pathways to an independence referendum

“The festering issue” – the legality of a second independence referendum

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