Figures from opposition parties have joined forces to lay out a future vision for Scotland, should voters reject independence.
They will set out how a devolved Scottish Parliament could raise most of its own money by 2020.
The group, which also includes the Reform Scotland think tank, said the parties should agree a common position before the 2014 referendum.
Labour, Tories and Lib Dems are campaigning against independence.
The Scottish government budget is currently funded by the UK Treasury and many financial powers are reserved, leading some to argue that Scotland is not properly accountable for the money it spends.
The group includes Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson, Labour’s Duncan McNeil and former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott.
They are launching a blueprint for a “new union”, along with Jeremy Purvis, of the “Devo Plus” campaign, which is looking into the idea of increased powers for Holyrood, short of independence.
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The Scottish government is to confirm the wording of the question it plans to put to the people of Scotland in the independence referendum.
People will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” to the question: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”
The question will now be scrutinised by the Electoral Commission watchdog.
Critics of the question say it encourages a “yes” vote by not mentioning an end to the Union.
Scottish ministers first announced their preferred wording for the question in January.
They will confirm on Friday they have decided to stick to the wording and will formally submit it to the Electoral Commission.
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Scotland ponders whether independence and separation are the same thing
SHOULD Scotland be an independent country or not? In negotiations concluded on October 15th, David Cameron secured the single in-or-out question that he wanted. But the choice facing Scottish voters in 2014, and the campaigns to influence them, will not be nearly as simple as the words on the ballot suggest.
John Curtice, a psephologist at Strathclyde University, says that Scots divide into three roughly equally-sized camps. The first lot want independence. The second prefer the status quo. A final group, accounting for about 30% of those polled, would like to stay in the union but also want more powers for Scotland. In effect, they are the swing voters. With two years to go until the referendum, the campaigns are already converging on them.
The separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) will try to woo them by making independence seem trivial. The party has already underlined its enthusiasm for the queen, the BBC, the pound, the Bank of England’s interest rates and British opt-outs from irksome European Union rules. Its leader, Alex Salmond, talks of a “social union” between England and a newly-independent Scotland. But he will have a hard time convincing Scots he can deliver these things. Independent Scottish participation in sterling, EU opt-outs and the BBC are not, and will never be, in his gift.
Read more at The Economist
BBC News | Andrew Black
A deal setting out terms for a Scottish independence referendum has been signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond.
The agreement, struck in Edinburgh, has paved the way for a vote in autumn 2014, with a single Yes/No question on Scotland leaving the UK.
It will also allow 16 and 17-year-olds to take part in the ballot.
The SNP secured a mandate to hold the referendum after its landslide Scottish election win last year.
The UK government, which has responsibility over constitutional issues, is expected to grant limited powers for the Scottish Parliament to hold a legal referendum, under a mechanism called Section 30.
It is understood the deal will also commit both governments to working together constructively in the best interests of the people of Scotland, whatever the outcome of the referendum.
Mr Salmond said the agreement would mean a referendum “made in Scotland”, while the prime minister said keeping the United Kingdom together was his number one priority.
Read more at BBC online
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Brian Wilson | The Scotsman
SALMOND’S plan to ditch the Beeb and replace it with an ‘RTE model’ is not in the interests of Scottish people, writes Brian Wilson
ALEX Salmond’s address to the Edinburgh Media Festival contained an important statement of principle. A post-independent Scotland would still be able to see EastEnders on television, even though we will have divorced ourselves from the BBC.
It’s not exactly Declaration of Arbroath territory and I don’t think anyone had anticipated being deprived of that particular cultural offering, so he wasn’t conceding a lot in return for his declared intention of splitting up the BBC and establishing a Scottish Broadcasting Something in its stead.
Much more interesting was the alternative vision that he has in mind. The model under consideration is Radio Telefis Eireann, the national broadcaster of the Republic of Ireland. Ye gods! I have heard of setting the aspirational bar low, but this really does take the shortbread. “Cry Freedom! Our telly will be like RTE”!
The proposed trade-off should serve as a wider metaphor. We will be invited to give up our stake in one of the world’s great public institutions, the BBC, in order to be like RTE.
Read the full article at The Scotsman website
What do you think- Should Scotland have its own public service broadcaster?