What if Scotland had voted yes?

Recent legislation to allow communities to own land for homes has been used to concentrate huge holdings in private hands.

A L Kennedy, author

This is bad news for the ecology of Scotland and for rural communities. A new independent government should have addressed this and rolled back some changes diluting the independence of the legal system.

I would have hoped for prioritised investment and job creation in renewable energy, weaning the country off the UK-wide addiction to fossil fuels and military spending. Scotland has a history of investment in public services.

Ramping up those commitments – to having an economy based on real money, rather than onerous and unstable debt income – would be very wise, particularly before the next major crash. Continued investment in health would lead even more clearly to social mobility and a public discourse based on more than punishment. Legislation to encourage ethical behaviour in finance would be essential. Billions saved from quantitative easing and corporate tax amnesties could then maintain a civil society.

It would make huge sense to invest even more in robust trade apprenticeships and primary, secondary and tertiary education that’s of high quality and freely available to all. Faked testing, teaching to test and closed doors to all but the wealthiest students damage any country and it would be great to reverse those UK-wide blights. Encouragement of parliamentary oversight and a diverse media environment would be essential. In short, we’d need the usual things that preserve democracy, but which we have been encouraged to believe we can’t afford.

Dr Richard Dixon, chief executive, Friends of the Earth Scotland

What if we had voted yes? Today I would be looking forward to escaping from the Tories’ obsession with nuclear power and unreasoning opposition to renewable energy of all sorts. Making our own way in the world would let Scotland play to our huge strengths in green energy, unburdened by an electricity market rigged to make nuclear power viable.

The realities of the low oil price would mean an independent Scotland would finally have to confront the reality of the approaching end of oil. Throwing billions of pounds in subsidies at the North Sea oil and gas sector wouldn’t be an option, so we would instead have to get serious about turning dirty energy jobs into clean energy jobs.

I would also very much look forward to throwing Trident out of Scotland. It might take a year or two but housing the whole massive enterprise somewhere else in the UK would be so expensive and politically difficult that Scottish independence could easily have spelt the end of the UK’s weapons of mass destruction.

Sir Harry Burns, professor of global public health at the University of Strathclyde, and former chief medical officer, Scotland

If you wanted to transform the health of Scotland you would increase the economic capacity and sense of purpose that does not exist in so many areas because they have been unemployed and without hope for so long, by focusing on economic inequality and lack of meaning in people’s lives.

With taxation and fiscal powers in general, if we had those 100% in our own hands, it would have allowed an opportunity for innovation that I don’t think we currently see. By that I don’t mean tax the rich and give to the poor: there would have been a variety of things which would have incentivised the Scottish economy.

On public health, alcohol policy could have been more directly influenced by taxation, rather than minimum unit pricing, but the most important thing for public health is to give people control over their lives, to make more informed decisions and give people a sense of the future.

Rev Doug Gay, lecturer in practical theology at the University of Glasgow

Given my interest in the ethics of nationalism, the priorities would always have been to make clear an independent Scotland’s desire for positive, friendly and co-operative relationships with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, as well as the rest of the EU.

The acts of reconciliation which the Church of Scotland took a lead on in 2014 would have been needed even more through 2014-16 in order to overcome perceptions of rejection and hostility from the rest of the UK. A key aim on Independence Day would be to launch a new social union of the countries of the isles, spelling out commitments to friendly co-operation in economic, military and cultural affairs. A new written Scottish constitution would give eloquent expression to these values and principles.

Within Scotland, the government would have to emphasise the challenges and costs as well as the opportunities and gains which come from being responsible for our own affairs. My case for yes was always that the prize of a more equal and socially just Scotland was worth having, even if we were not all always better off.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Severin Carrell, for The Guardian on Thursday 24th March 2016 06.00 Europe/London

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