As befits a blog called “Balkan and Carpathian Musings”, I’ve been writing a lot in recent weeks about the Balkans – but I am a Scot (through and through) even if I haven’t lived in that country for 23 years and have these days to draw attention to the large (670 pages in my pdf version) and probably unique document which was published yesterday by the current “Scottish Executive” on the subject of Scottish Independence – or, more literally and prosaically, “Scotland’s Future”. 200 of the pages deal with more than 600 questions which have been raised about the issue of independence over the past few years.
Ours may be a small nation (5 million) – but there is a large diaspora throughout the world (including me) which takes an intense interest in its affairs and development. The Guardian site gave good coverage to the publication of the document yesterday
The PM (Salmond) says the white paper is the most detailed blueprint any people have been offered anywhere in the world as a basis for becoming independent.
Scotland would become independent in better circumstances than almost any other country in the world.
This reflects Scotland's "vast potential". It has an outstanding natural heritage, and skilled and inventive people.
With independence, it could build a fairer nation, he says.
But, to maximise its potential, Scotland needs to be able to take decisions for itself.
It needs to be able to develop its productivity and competitive advantage. And it needs to create a fair society.
Salmond says the white paper answers 650 questions.
But there really is only one question: should Scotland take decisions for itself?
He says he wants a positive debate (before the referendum in September 2014).
The referendum won't be decided by him, or by the media. It will be decided by the people.
Scotland's future is now in the hands of the Scottish people.
The Deputy PM (Sturgeon) says the white paper also sets out the "seamless" process by which Scotland could stay in the EU.