SNP leader Mr Alex Salmond MP today welcomed an article by Crawford Beveridge, who was Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise for nine years to 2000, in which he endorses Scottish Independence.

In the article, Mr Beveridge says that during his days at Scottish Enterprise "our numbers about Scotland 's finances came down in favour of fiscal independence"; and that the claims about a deficit in Scotland are "illogical" and "offensive". He believes that "independence could focus the minds of politicians to create the conditions for economic growth, which would translate to better jobs, higher wages and stronger communities"; and his opinion on independence is based on his "confidence that Scotland is just as capable of running its own affairs as any other country."

He also writes: "But let me remind everyone that on May the 3rd what we are voting for is our confidence in one of the political parties to be in power for the next four years. The question is who will represent our hopes for the future and help lead us to a more prosperous Scotland . Personally, I believe that leader could be Alex Salmond."

Alex Sa;mond

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond said:
"There has been a seismic shift among business leaders towards the concept of independence. Clearly, the views of someone who had to grapple under successive governments with growing Scotland 's economy are hugely significant and will be influential.
"The SNP are accentuating the positive, and that is generating an extremely favourable reaction. We are being positive about building a more prosperous and fairer Scotland , and the right of the people to choose their own future.
"Crawford Beveridge joins a range of prominent business men and women who are engaging in the debate, and supporting Scotland becoming an independent country."
SNP Campaign Director Mr Angus Robertson MP added:

"As Crawford Beveridge says, the election on 3rd of May is about electing the next Scottish Executive. His positive remarks about Alex Salmond as a First Minister who can lead the country to prosperity are important and welcome."

SNP Leader Alex Salmond MP today welcomed the pledge of support by former senior corporate advisor to the Royal Bank of Scotland and one of Scotland 's most prominent business and property developers, Bill Samuel, who today announced a £25,000 donation to the SNP.

Writing in a newspaper, Mr Samuel stated that it was "well within our capabilities not only to rank alongside our neighbouring countries � Norway , Iceland Finland and Ireland � but to surpass them" and "that if the SNP wins in May, then in Alex Salmond the country will have a leader of real vision".

In his article, Mr Samuel said that he was against devolution but that he has "been persuaded that the only way forward is full Independence with its compelling economic case".

Alex Salmond said:

"I am delighted to have the support of such a successful and well respected member of the Scottish business community as Bill Samuel.

"The SNP are committed to a positive election campaign about how we build a wealthier, healthier and safer country for all. Mr Samuel's statement today is a substantial and significant contribution to the debate about how we achieve a successful future for our country, and about how we best provide strong leadership that Scotland needs to succeed in the future.

"While the momentum behind the SNP's campaign is continuing to grow, in contrast Labour Party's campaign is floundering and beset by problems on all sides.

"Voters know that it's time for a fresh approach to the challenges and opportunities that face Scotland today. It's time for the SNP."

This has been the writings and quotes from politicians and executives, this time we will look at how some ordinary Scots would view and decide on the issue of Independence . Here are 10 Questions as set out by a member of Siol nan Gaidheal, the Scottish fraternal society.


Question 1:

Everyone tells us that Scotland is too poor to stand on its own feet and we will always require an English subsidy.

Fact Scotland has 8.6% of the UK population yet raises 10.41% of all UK tax revenues. (Source Treasury red Book 2002) Go figure it out for yourself. Exactly who is subsidising who?

Question 2.

Scotland could not survive without the Barnet formula handout from England .

The Barnett Formula is nothing more than a device that gives Scotland some of its own pocket money out of Scotland 's pay packet, which is taken by England . In 2002, Scotland contributed £42.7Billions to the UK Exchequer and received £18.1 Billions doled back in return via Barnet. It would be a much better idea to keep the £42.7 Billions as an Independent Country.

Question 3.

North sea oil is running out fast and soon there will be nothing left......

According to Professor Alex Kemp, of Petroleum Economics at the University of Aberdeen . North Sea Oil and Gas production will still be present in 2050. There is as much known oil left yet to be extracted than has already been exploited.

Question 4.

Britain is becoming a net importer of oil and natural gas.

False. Scotland is a net exporter of Oil and Gas. Fact: An independent Scotland with 17.5% of Europe 's Oil reserves will be a net exporter of oil and gas for at least 25 years more years. Properly invested the proceeds will make Scotland the second richest nation on earth for its size. There will be huge social and economic benefits for all Scotland 's Citizens and public services.

Question 5.

Scotland is too poor and small to afford to defend itself.

Why not? Switzerland uses just 1% of its GDP to provide a modern efficient Army and Air force. Norway spends 1.9% and can defend itself adequately. The UK spends 2.32% of GDP on its armed forces (Including Trident) Scotland can afford 1.6% of its GDP and still have modern professional armed forces half the size of the present UK.

Question 6.

We have a huge balance of payments problem, Scotland cannot possibly hope to pay her way.

False. The UK as a whole has Balance of Payments deficit of £35 Billions per annum. Scotland however actually contributes a Surplus of £2.3Billions.

Question 7.

Scotland could not compete against the mighty economic muscle of England .

Untrue. Denmark has an economic superpower to her south ( Germany ) and she does very well indeed. Switzerland is surrounded by three great economic superpowers, France , Italy , and Germany , yet she is the most prosperous nation in Europe . Singapore is a tiny island of 4 million people right next door to Indonesia with a population if 201 Millions yet is the powerhouse driving the SE Asian economy. Scotland has more than enough expertise to compete and prosper.

Question 8.

Scotland is too far away from the centre of Europe to prosper.

Iceland with a population of only 400,000, is situated far to the north by the arctic circle yet has the third highest standard of living in Europe .

Question 9.

The City of London is too powerful a financial centre for Scotland to compete against.

Scotland is one of Europe 's top ten financial centres, supporting employment for in the region of 200,000 people. Financial Services accounts for 8% of Scotland 's GDP and generates more than £20 bn annually for the economy. Scotland is reckoned to be the 12th leading global financial centre.

Question 10.

Scotland does not have the financial expertise to run its own affairs.

Who says so? It's strange that the late British Empire relied on a preponderance of Scots to run their affairs. Scots bankers, economists and Accountants (reckoned the best in their fields) are to be found at all levels of Government. Therefore, the expertise is there.


More from pros and cons in a few weeks.

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