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Measuring up the Tartan curtain

Visiting Scotland this week to see Alex Salmond sworn in as first minister, the newspapers were full of talk about  “independence lite”. The idea was that an independent Scotland would be free to choose as from a menu, selecting which issues to manage itself and which ones to pool with the rest of Britain.

Listening to Salmond in Holyrood and speaking to him afterwards in his official residence in Bute House,  there was little sign of soft-pedalling.

Elected unopposed as first minister by MSPs at the touch of a button in the modern parliament, Salmond stood up and promptly added demands for control of excise duty, digital broadcasting and a say in European affairs to the list of powers he is seeking from Westminster via  the Scotland Bill.

In our interview, Salmond stressed that an independent Scotland would have its own forces and foreign policy and expect control of almost all of the oil in the North Sea.

Should Scotland become independent?


As Scotland prepares to celebrate 10 years of devolution on July 1, the question of whether the nation should gain full independence from the Union refuses to go away.

An opinion poll has found that 58 percent of Scots support the Scottish government’s wish to hold a referendum on independence in 2010.