The White Paper Project: Version 1.0

The White Paper Project: Version 1.0 is part of a iterative process to renew the case for Scottish independence

COMMON WEAL has published the first major attempt since the 2014 referendum to build a new White Paper for Scottish independence.

The White Paper Project: Version 1.0 can be read in full here

Version 1.0, based on a series of reports over a six-month period, is a draft – it is an attempt to explore the methodology, content and structure of a future White Paper that can replace Scotland’s Future, the Scottish Government’s 2014 White Paper for the first independence referendum. It is seen as a stepping stone in an iterative process with future drafts that will move closer to a final position, adding more expertise from wider circles of people along the way.

The aim of this project is much tighter and more specifically focussed in its aim than Scotland's Future. It is not an attempt to discuss or propose a list of things that Scotland can do once it is an independent country. Rather this project is limited only to exploring how to develop and build the institutions, functions and infrastructure which Scotland would require to be a successful independent nation but does not currently have in place. So entire subject areas such as health, education, transport and so on are not considered here.

The aim is to produce a 'consolidated business plan for the establishment of a new nation state' which would get Scotland to 'day one' of independence with the ability to collect taxes, defend its borders, negotiate with international partners, secure its energy supply and so on. How those functions would then be used are decisions for a democratically elected government once Scotland is independent.

Version 1.0 has therefore been written with the aim of doing away with the anachronisms of a nation-state structure like the UK’s which was established hundreds of years ago, and establishing a modern 21st century state. It aims to do this whilst, as far as possible, being ‘policy neutral’.


Given this, The White Paper Version 1.0 contains four sections:

- Process and Structures: This section looks at the means by which, after a vote for independence, an interim governance period would work to establish the structures of a new Scottish state and the processes by which this would be done. 

- Key Institutions of an Independent Scotland: The establishing of government institutions each require their own specific strategy and approach. 21 separate governmental institutions are looked at in this section, everything from a Scottish Central Bank to an international consular network to a media regulator.

- Negotiations: In establishing an independent Scottish state, negotiations with international governance institutions, including the rest of UK (rUK), will be necessary. This section therefore covers negotiating an allocation of debts and assets with rUK, EU membership negotiations, what international institutions to be part of and what Treaties to sign-up to.

- Budget, finance and borrowing: This section looks at how an independent Scotland will finance itself, examining the issue of borrowing and liquidity, the National Debt and a one year annual budget. Estimates are given for the national debt and a default one year budget.

The White Paper Version 1.0 is very much the start of this project, rather than the end. The establishing of a framework for developing this work will, we hope, encourage people with individual experience to get in touch and contribute. As the year progresses we will look to fill in the gaps and strengthen the weak areas in the White Paper, and publish another draft. E-mail if you would like to get involved.



Sun, 01/08/2017 - 07:34

Thank you for this interesting set of suggestions. A lot of hard work has gone into them and I look forward to seeing them develop. I have a couple of comments.
1. I suggest that the National Commission should come into effect sooner than the <3 months from a vote currently envisaged. A body of such importance really needs to be functioning sooner in my view. Perhaps within 1 month?
2. I suggest that The voting system created should be informed by the Electoral Reform Society which favours the single transferable vote system. It should also be created in such a way as to ensure that (as unfortunately happens in the Westminster system) wealthy individuals and corporations cannot wield undue influence through large political donations.

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Peter Dow

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 11:14

As a republican, I consider that only a republican state whose head of state, the elected president, is accountable to the nation, can strictly speaking be accurately described as a “nation state”.

Kingdoms to be pedantic are monarch’s states, not nation states.

So the UK, is a monarch’s state. Canada, Australia, New Zealand are monarch’s states not nation states.

Whilst the British, the Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders are without question “nations”, I would have to take issue with royalists trying to conflate their royalist monarchist kingdom state with a true republican nation state.

I welcome any attempt to found a true nation state – so I would welcome a Scottish, British, Canadian, Australian republican nation state.

However, the SNP White Paper recommended keeping the Queen and the Union of the Crowns. It was not an attempt to create a “nation state” for the Scottish nation. It was yet another dishonest attempt by SNP royalists to pass off their royalist plans as nationalist plans.

I was so exercised about Salmond’s presentation I produced an angry video denouncing him for what I consider to be treachery against the Scots.

Peter Dow says Salmond betrays Scottish independence for Queen’s united kingdoms

So I would beg to differ with Dr Craig Dalzell stating about his White Paper It is a “consolidated business plan for the establishment of a new nation state” UNLESS AND UNTIL a new draft of that plan puts front and centre the founding of a republican nation state at its core, the ousting of the monarch and the electing of a president(s).

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Peter Dow’s political defence blog

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Peter Dow

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 10:28

Here's a transcript of what I said in this video -

Peter Dow says Salmond betrays Scottish independence for Queen’s united kingdoms

"On the 25th February 2010, Queen Elizabeth's First Minister Alex Salmond presented a paper entitled "Scotlands Future: Draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill Consultation" and I quote -

"Scotlands Future: Draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill Consultation

1.19. Her Majesty The Queen would remain as Head of State. The current parliamentary and political Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland would become a monarchical and social Union united kingdoms rather than a United Kingdom maintaining a relationship forged in 1603 by the Union of the Crowns."

So there is Salmond's approach printed in black and white in his own paper - he intends to deny the Scots the sovereign right of an independent nation to elect our own head of state, he intends the head of state and the Scottish sovereign to be Queen Elizabeth and the reality is Salmond opposes the sovereignty of the Scottish people, preferring the sovereignty of the Queen.

But then Salmond tells his big lie when presenting that publication which surrenders sovereignty to the Queen when he lied to us all -

" but the important principle that underlies the approach of the SNP government and indeed the approach in this paper is of course the principle of our belief in the sovereignty of the Scottish people "

Salmond SAYS the approach of his paper supports the sovereignty of the Scottish people but the truth is the exact opposite - Salmond's paper's approach actually surrenders sovereignty to the Queen and to the "United Kingdoms" and the Union of the Crowns.

This man Salmond is a bare faced LIAR who has betrayed the Scots to his Queen and goodness knows why ANY Scot believes a word out of his mouth.

Salmond's treachery does not end there. Even the ballot paper he proposes is rigged to stop Scots voting simply for Scottish national independence without risking the appearance of agreeing to retain the Queen.

Never have the Scots been confronted with such a devious traitor as Alex Salmond.

The sovereignty of the Scottish people will be asserted when we Scots are allowed to elect our own head of state, a president of a Scottish republic and when our good president defends the sovereign rights and freedoms of the Scots to speak out, to protest and to govern ourselves democratically in a free country, with ALL Scots as part of the government and with no monarch as head of state. Only then will we have the sovereignty of the Scottish people truly respected.

There is no route to Scottish independence which includes following this traitor Salmond or supporting his referendum plan. Salmond's plan is a dead end which keeps the Scots in slavery under the brutal rule of the Queen's United Kingdoms.

The true route to Scottish national independence is to oust the Queen by banning her and the Windsor royal family from Scotland and to enforce that ban by any means necessary."

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Peter Dow

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 12:43

I reject a winner-takes-all referendum on the monarchy as profoundly undemocratic. Majority dictatorship and the enslavement of the minority is not democratic.

If royalists insist that there must be a vote on the monarchy in Scotland then it should be to divide the assets of Scotland into two respective states –
1. a true Scottish nation state with an elected head of state

2. a Scottish kingdom, presumably with the House of Windsor providing the head of state as per the UK

A 2-state solution for Scotland, each state respecting the rights of the other state would mean that there would finally be a true Scottish nation state to defend the Scots.

In all honesty, I do not consider those who happen to live in Scotland to be loyal fellow “Scots” if they would be content to vote for the Queen’s state in Scotland, which subjugates and enslaves the Scots in my experience.

Someone who votes for the Queen in such a referendum I would not consider to be my fellow national but a traitor to the Scots and I would not wish to be part of the same state and polity as such a traitor, but rather I would wish to go our separate ways with different states.

Meanwhile, in the absence of an agreement to establish a Scottish nation state, we Scots must absolutely insist that the Queen and family must be banned from the entire territory of Scotland and call on the military to enforce that ban by all means necessary.

Robin Barclay

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 14:23

I have dipped into your white paper for the first time, and cannot argue with most of its practical suggestions. However your aspiration to have a greater degree of decision taking by the "general public" is alarming since the Brexit decision (and Donald Trump election) indicates that you may get decisions based on reaction, which can be manipulated, rather than a balanced considered opinion, and I hope that you will not advocate resorting to referenda for major policy decisions.
At a more practical level, your aspirations for defence policy based on national rather than international needs needs further work. I presume that you expect Scotland to come within the defensive umbrella of NATO, but you do not put any detail on that. Would you expect some proportional partitioning of the UK's current defence assets and resources, not only in terms of conventional military assets but also intelligence and cyber assets? While I note the intention to have the nuclear bases removed, what is the position on strategic air defences particularly in the northern approaches to the Atlantic. I note you envisage beefing up coastguard cutters to police potential smuggling, but make no mention of policing our rich fishing grounds against unauthorised fishing (either by foreign or our own home fleet) which I envisage will be a potentially greater problem than smuggling.
Personally my greatest concern about independence is still the economic argument - and that will be where arguments against independence will focus, on the widespread perception that Scotland is economically weak and we will all be worse off with independence and our national debt will increase if we try to maintain our current standards of civic services, assets, amenities and institutions. You make some comment on state pensions but do not discuss the superannuated pensions of civic employees (civil servants, local authority, health service, teachers, police, etc) which might be perceived to be at risk, so influencing the voting intentions of a substantial part of the population in any new referendum. You need to have a solid case to reassure them that their financial security is assured.
OK-ish so far, but still lots to do. I will observe with interest.
Robin Barclay


Sun, 01/15/2017 - 00:42

You state that " A Foreign Currency Reserve of a minimum of £15bn shall be established to enable the pegging of the Scottish currency to Sterling. This amount shall be increased via available means towards £40bn over the currency launch transition period. The cost of establishing the Central Bank shall be deducted from any payment to the UK for public debt to offset loss of right to access the Bank of England and its assets.

Firstly, if £40bn is what is needed to back the currency - and that is the number that Prof. Ronald McDonald proposed in 2013 - then it would be suicidal to try to launch the currency with £15bn.

Secondly, if the country is running annual budget deficits, how is the reserve supposed to be built up to £40bn?

Thirdly, there is no "right of access the Bank of England and its assets". The Bank of England and its assets are and institution of the United Kingdom. If Scotland chooses to leave the United Kingdom, then it chooses to lose access to its institutions. If you seriously propose what you have written here in public, the response from Westminster will be exactly what it was to the currency union presumption in 2014. Namely, "no, never". And they would be right to do so. No plan that requires Westminster to pay for Scottish Independence will ever work.

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