31/08/2014 Sunday Politics Scotland


31/08/2014

Gordon Brewer has the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland.

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People have come here for hundreds of years sharing

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their culture and skills, but would an independent Scotland attract

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the number of immigrants it needs - and what number should that be?

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No currency deal, no debt - that's the threat from Scottish

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But what level of risk does that carry and how

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We'll be putting those questions live to the First Minister,

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who's one of our guests today and to Willie Rennie, the leader

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of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who's in our Edinburgh studio.

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Wanting more or less divergent views in the independence debate

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David Cameron's policy of cutting immigration to under

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100,000 was said to be in tatters this week when net migration to

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As the UK government tries to stem the surge, the Scottish Government

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take the opposite view for an independent Scotland wanting

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more and more younger workers to support an ageing population.

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As Andrew Kerr reports, behind the figures there's an age-old story

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Drolet Hills Italy a later will lead. A brave move further slant

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stepping out into the world to open a cafe in Glasgow that is still run

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by his grandson. He started in the shipyards. He worked as a carpenter.

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From there he built us money together and opened a shop. The

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Italians were part of Scotland's stories and then other waves of

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immigrants from Pakistan to Poland. Emigration is a positive thing.

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Migrants tend to be young, the draw unless public services, public

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spending, the increased tax receipts. That is a good thing

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compared to the older population who in fiscal terms require extra

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spending in terms of pensions, health care and social services.

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Originally the family here were strangers to this land but they

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worked hard and became fully integrated, they became part of the

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fabric of the city. That is the hope of many people who come to the

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shores, but sadly not the reality. The latest figures worry the UK

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government. Net migration into the UK totalled 243,000 in the year to

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March, up from 100 and 73,000 in the previous 12 months. -- 173,000. The

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UK Government promised to reduce net migration to tens of thousands and

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that has proved impossible for a number of reasons. That opens it to

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critique from UKIP and anti-immigrant groups. One of the

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mistakes made by the Conservative government is that they have

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responded to that by responding to a populist and symbolic policies

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designed to restrict access to welfare and health services. A

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points -based system would be used to attract workers and keep students

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on a post-IDV 's. They have a net migration total of 24,000. The

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policy could face the resorts of hurdles. The first one, would

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Scotland attract that level of immigration. Around 24,000 a year?

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If it were able to attract that level of attraction, a lot of public

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opinion? Would it be able to pursue that liberal policy within the rest

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of the UK and Ireland? Back at the cafe, the coffee is on but there is

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trouble brewing over the numbers. A keen insider from the Labour years

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thinks that the figures are over the peak. We will have to get them from

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outside Europe. What does that mean? It means Africa and Asia. That

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is what we do not want to let us know. The SNP now it is deeply

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unpopular amongst working class mail undecided voters. They should have

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the honesty to tell the truth. He is a nice man, he is also our spin

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doctor. I know I can tell what he is stretching, the average is just a

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little bit. This Scottish government is not concealing anything, it is

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trying to do its best to calculate the number of skilled workers that

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we need. 1 million is a bit of nonsense. As arguments by all over

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it as the people who are here in Scotland know who face tough choices

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on how they want their communities to look and how they want them to

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survive. In a few moments we will speak to the first Minister Alex

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Salmond. And Willie Rennie. leader Willie Rennie. But first, the

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UK's national debt - and what would happen to Scotland's share of it in

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the event of a Yes vote has been With both the first minister

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and Finance minister John Swinney insisting Scotland could walk away

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from its share if the UK government Here's a reminder

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of what the Finance Secretary had to We support our currency union in

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which we would take our fair share of the debt which has been built up

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over time. But if the UK is going to seize the assets then it is welcome

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to all the liabilities and we will not be having any of them.

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So what would it mean for us as investors and consumers to walk

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away from Scotland's share of the UK national debt?

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Well, in the short term it would save us money - but what impact

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would it have on international markets and future investors?

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How would they react to a country walking away from

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Since Scotland isn't legally responsible for the UK debt if it

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becomes a new independent state, it would not be in default. How

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international viewers would see it, there would be a number of issues.

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Maybe there is a sense of Scotland not living up to its moral

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obligations to shoulder responsibility for its share of the

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UK debt, people might consider that a reason to be cautious about future

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lending. On the other hand, Scotland would be starting with a new sheet.

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That could mean it would be able to repay any new debt it took on more

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easily. People might judge it as a better risky.

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An independent Scotland would undoubtedly result in changes to

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interest rates, but the extent of it remains largely uncertain.

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The most likely affect on the bills that the householder would have to

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pay for mortgage payments and other things, we would be looking of an

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increase of one percentage point. It could be a bit more or less and that

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is whether Scotland takes the debt with that. If it walks away with --

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from the debt, we do not know how much more or maybe even less those

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costs would change. It is really... It is very likely that the risks

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would be higher, that is the outcome.

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The First Minister Alex Salmond was listening to that and joins us

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from Strichen Community Park this morning.

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Can I ask you about immigration. These latest figures that we have on

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immigration to Scotland, your plans are for more than double that. What

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ever is still you have that people in Scotland are enthusiastic about

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such a substantial increase in immigration? Can I correct you on to

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raise. Over the period since Devil loosen the average net migration

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figure has been 22,000 into Scotland. But also the second

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correction is that we are talking about net migration and not

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immigration. There are more people who leave Scotland who are younger.

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-- devolution. The net migration figure takes into effect the job

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figures available to those people who are leaving. It is a good thing

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if people who have skill and ability who want to stay and contribute to

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our country. The difference between net migration and immigration is

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very important. I saw a headline saying that Salman and targets

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24,000 immigration. The journalist who wrote the article would be

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counted in their terms as part of that immigration figure, they have,

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from is England and Wales and our in our communities. They are not the

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same thing as was being suggested. If you do run a more expansive

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immigration policy which you do want to do, no matter how you define it,

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obviously the UK Government would have concerns about that. There

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would be nothing to stop people coming here and driving to London.

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How would you deal with British Government concerns about that? We

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are suggesting a points -based system. In terms of continuing

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employment, like the graduate employment scheme that we used to

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operate a few years ago until the UK Government stopped us from doing as

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they can do. If the UK Government thought people could take advantage

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of that, how would you stop them? Ireland has operated a different

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immigration system that is part of the common travel area, the Green

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card system. The Isle of Man operates a different immigration

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system. It is attached a points -based and to employment, that is

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the whole point of the system that we are putting forward. Every person

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watching this, every family watching this will have relatives who have

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had to go far from Scotland to seek employment in opportunity. We are

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suggesting a combination of attracting skilled people who can

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attract much to our communities, and opportunities are young people in

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our own land which will allow us to be a society that will meet the

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Democratic challengers meeting every country in western Europe. The UK

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Government kicks out people with ability and then we have the

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situation were young Scots have to go to London or elsewhere to find

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lifetime opportunities. Danny Alexander has written to John

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Swinney this morning asking the Ennis -- SNP to scrap plans not to

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take on the UK debt. Will you withdraw that idea? We will

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certainly not. The answer is in the Treasury note as to the markets on

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the 13th of January this year which the Chief Secretary is familiar

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with. The first sentence of which there is in the event of Scottish

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independence, the continuing UK Government will accept congrats all

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-- contractual obligations in its name. Danny Alexander, just as the

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new earlier, he is... He is not calling it a default. Interestingly

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enough Douglas Alexander did a BBC programme a few days ago and said

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that five times. Scotland... He says it is irresponsible and that

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financial markets would take a dim view of it. Whether you call it a

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default and not does not matter. It does matter because you cannot have

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a default which is a matter of fact we know is no default. The liability

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lies with the UK Government. We are putting forward an argument that we

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should share assets and liabilities. Danny Alexander is suggesting that

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he waltzed as having access to the financial assets to the Bank of

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England. 27% of the gilts that have been issued under quantitative

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easing. If he wants to take all of the assets, then he gets stuck with

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all of the liabilities. You say you have a sovereign mandate to

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negotiate the currency here. Can you hear me? We will have a mandate. We

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had a small technical problem there. We lost you for a second. Hang on a

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second, you say you have a sovereign mandate to negotiate a currency

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union if there is a yes vote. The Green party wants an independent

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currency. Jim Sellers described your plans on the currency as stupid.

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When he votes yes to independence, why is he giving your man did it --

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a mandate to negotiate currency. That is why we published a White

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Paper, that is the mandate... Yes, but you do not agree with an

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independent currency. Millions of other people are as well. It is

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supported among the Scottish people. I am dubious about this. If I vote

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yes to independence and I give you a mandate for a currency union, what

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else are people in Scotland giving you a mandate for in your white

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paper? Take taxation, your mandate policy is to cut corporation tax in

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big business. If there is a yes vote does that mean it is the sovereign

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will of April in Scotland to cut tax on big business? Now. -- live.

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Please let me answer the question. There is a common-sense agreement to

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have a common currency. It will be subject to the will of the Scottish

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people. The idea is that the SNP have have been seen many times in

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the White Paper. It will be tested against whatever Willie Rennie has

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to see. The common-sense agreement will shape the advent of Scottish

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independence. I think most people watching will appreciate the

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difference. Thank you very much for that. We heard your golden words but

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your picture froze a few times. Thank you very much. Listening to

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that was the reader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats who is in our

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other studio. Going back to this immigration business, why not

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devolved powers so that the Scottish Government can do what they want to

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do? The issue here is whether you can have a common travel agent

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serving the British Isles with radical immigration differences

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between the different countries. You could see people coming to Scotland

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with a more liberal approach and then travelling down south to take

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up work. You can imagine the rest of the United Kingdom might have a

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problem. It has not been a problem with the isle of man on the Republic

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of Ireland. But it could be a problem if you look at the detail.

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In that case, having more immigration and giving the ageing

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palatial and in Scotland which your site is almost screaming about, one

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way is to have more immigrants. If we cannot do that within the UK,

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isn't that a good reason to be independent and have a completely

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separate immigration policy? The beauty of the United Kingdom is a

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broad population with strong working shoulders to support the economy. I

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think that is a good reason we should say no to independence. What

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we can do is stick with the UK and have that security for the future.

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If Scotland does become independent what do you think it's currency

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should be? That is an issue for Alex Salmond to spell out. Now, you are

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the leader of the Lib Dems and that I would have thought as a major

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political party you might have some idea what you would be advocating in

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two weeks time. I would pick from a range of tenable options. Alex

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Salmond is not spelling out the consequences. The cutting edge of

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the Lib Dems is moved to pick? Yes, if we look at the options presented

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to people it would be quite Draconian. You would have impacts on

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businesses, being able to support the leaders of the economy. These

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would be quite dramatic. So you don't know? I tell you what I know,

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I know we are Better Together in the United Kingdom. So, if there is a

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yes vote would you advocate a currency union? It is Alex Salmond

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that is proposing to put up barriers. If your side lose the

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referendum what will you argue? A currency union? What I will argue

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for right now, forgive me, this is what I am arguing for in this

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referendum, it is for the United Kingdom to stay together. You were

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leading me down the garden path there, I thought you were going to

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ask the question! What exactly is your evidence for the UK debt? The

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United Kingdom has never defaulted on its debt. That is widely Kingdom

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has credibility across the globe. Scotland is part of that, we have a

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good reputation for sound money. If, on the first day of independence, we

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were to walk away from our fears she of debt that would trash our

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reputation across the globe. -- their share. If it is walking away

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from ?100 billion of UK debt which it could then put into a

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stabilisation fund to deal with any problems of the sterilisation of the

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currency, then it would be saving. That is extraordinary, that they

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would be prepared to walk away from the Hundred years reputation of

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sound money for that. Crawford Beveridge set out quite clearly that

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if it smells like a default and looks like a default it is the

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default. I would not want an independent Scotland to start off by

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defaulting on its debt. Householders across Scotland would resent that.

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If you look at mortgage costs, they build everyone pays every single

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day, the cost would go up. This is astonishing. We are using sterling

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but we are not part of the formal currency union and we have walked

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away from UK debt, it is not clear to me why the cost of the car loan

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would go up? Because the reputation of an independent Scotland... There

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may be an issue for Scotland borrowing money but why would

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Barclays bank or RBS put the cost of the car loan up? People who were

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investing in Scotland would charge us more which would cost government

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more and individuals more as a result. That would be the cost, the

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price of this. I understand the cost of government debt, you may or may

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not be right, fiscal expansion might charge lots of money but why would

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RBS timely -- suddenly turned round to people and say your mortgage is

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going up? Because the ability of people in Scotland to GP that debt

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would be diminished. -- repay that debt. It is quite straightforward.

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You still have not explained why the mortgage would go up. Because the

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cost of borrowing would go up. But the cost of borrowing from big

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international banks would be exactly the same as before. The cost would

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go up, that is what the experts tell us. The other thing you seem unclear

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about is the argument that it financial institutions would not be

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bailed out but, on the assumption that RBS for example, where to

:25:10.:25:17.

become a UK company saw it were regulated by the UK, it is not clear

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why that is a problem. The majority of customers would not be in

:25:31.:25:35.

Scotland but elsewhere. They would want to operate in a financial

:25:36.:25:40.

regime that was consistent with the customers. It would be a gradual

:25:41.:25:46.

change over time but perhaps more dramatic in the short-term. This is

:25:47.:25:51.

what the yes people mean when they say you are just negative all the

:25:52.:25:56.

time. If there was a formal currency union and no lender of last resort

:25:57.:26:00.

one of the big arguments is the problem with the banks is the know

:26:01.:26:06.

if they mess up that governments will bail them out. That would not

:26:07.:26:13.

exist under sterling eyes Asian with financial institutions in Scotland,

:26:14.:26:17.

they would have to build up there on reserves and be able to take either

:26:18.:26:20.

of themselves if they got into trouble. That is arguably a good

:26:21.:26:28.

thing. That was argued last week but it was roundly criticised because it

:26:29.:26:31.

would mean a significant number of job losses here in Scotland. These

:26:32.:26:37.

companies want the security of a country behind them. The financial

:26:38.:26:41.

sector in Scotland is 12 times the size of our economy which is way too

:26:42.:26:46.

big for us to support in a time of crisis. Arguably lots of activities

:26:47.:26:52.

which have never been anywhere near Scotland but are in fact based in

:26:53.:27:00.

London. That is my point. The jobs would gradually drift southwards

:27:01.:27:05.

over time, even more. There are functions of RBS here in Scotland.

:27:06.:27:13.

There would be companies wanting to take advantage of the new regime. I

:27:14.:27:19.

do not think it is negative to ask serious questions about these

:27:20.:27:23.

chaotic plans that Alex Salmond has put forward. That is doing my duty

:27:24.:27:31.

as a Scot. I do not want to end up with a chaotic financial system. I

:27:32.:27:36.

would be letting down Scots if I failed to answer these questions, it

:27:37.:27:41.

is not negative, it is doing my duty. We have to leave it there,

:27:42.:27:47.

thank you for joining us. Now let's cross for the news. Good afternoon.

:27:48.:27:55.

The two sides in the independence debate have been discussing the

:27:56.:28:00.

future of immigration. Alex Salmond said he wanted a combination of

:28:01.:28:05.

attracting skilled people and the opportunity of keeping youngsters

:28:06.:28:11.

here. Willie Rennie raised concerns about how the Common travel area

:28:12.:28:17.

would work. Sunbed users are still at risk of skin cancer even if they

:28:18.:28:21.

do not burn according to researchers. It increases the risk

:28:22.:28:30.

of developing a common cancer is by repeated planning rather than

:28:31.:28:35.

burning. One fifth of skin cancers are said to be caused in that way.

:28:36.:28:41.

Health professionals are to step up the attempt to see minimum pricing

:28:42.:28:47.

for alcohol introduced here. A minimum unit price was passed at

:28:48.:28:51.

Holyrood two years ago but it has pleased -- faced legal challenges

:28:52.:29:02.

from alcohol producers. Now a look at the weather forecast. Hello, it

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is looking like a lovely day ahead for many of us with an abundance of

:29:09.:29:14.

sunshine on the cards and a load of dry weather as well. Plenty

:29:15.:29:21.

sunshine, especially further east, in the West it will start to cloud

:29:22.:29:26.

over with wet and windy weather by the end of the day. Temperatures

:29:27.:29:32.

around 16 Celsius, up to 19 further east. That is it for now. Back to

:29:33.:29:37.

Gordon. Now in a moment, we'll be discussing

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the big events coming up this week. But first, let's take a look back

:29:43.:29:46.

at the week that was The referendum campaign leaders went

:29:47.:29:59.

head-to-head in a BBC television debate. They both claim the momentum

:30:00.:30:06.

is with them but polls suggest that most felt the first Minister

:30:07.:30:09.

performed better. The first referendum votes were cast after

:30:10.:30:17.

postal votes were coming back. People were warned not to take

:30:18.:30:23.

photographs of the papers to post them online to maintain the

:30:24.:30:28.

integrity of the voting process. 130 businesspeople said leaving the UK

:30:29.:30:34.

would threaten businesses and jobs. The Labour MP Jim Murphy suspended

:30:35.:30:43.

his tour because of what he described as coordinated abuse by

:30:44.:30:48.

voters of independence. The yes campaign said it condemned all forms

:30:49.:30:53.

of offensive behaviour. It's time to have a look at what's

:30:54.:30:55.

happening in the week ahead. I'm joined by the writer

:30:56.:31:06.

and commentator David Torrance, and by Kevin McKenna, who is

:31:07.:31:08.

a columnist for the Observer. I think Kevin would say he wins the

:31:09.:31:26.

fashion stakes. That was all the rage in 1966. Maybe Kevin has come

:31:27.:31:35.

from church. What did you make of what you heard about immigration. I

:31:36.:31:47.

do not think it is an issue in this campaign but maybe you think it is.

:31:48.:31:51.

I think it is an important issue. It is important in terms of what we

:31:52.:31:54.

want Scotland to looks like whether it is a yes or no vote. We a

:31:55.:31:58.

population that is ageing more quickly than the rest of the UK. We

:31:59.:32:06.

do need skilled immigration. We also have a moral responsibility to look

:32:07.:32:12.

at depressed cultures economies to see what we can do to help them and

:32:13.:32:18.

also to take something of their skills. David Torrence, the problem

:32:19.:32:23.

with this for the first Minister is presumably, as I understand that

:32:24.:32:27.

every poll that has been done on this shows that immigration --

:32:28.:32:49.

attitudes to immigration, is very heated. There is a stronger argument

:32:50.:32:55.

that I have heard on a points -based system, pointing out that Ireland

:32:56.:33:05.

can do that. The point was you cannot have immigrants that are

:33:06.:33:09.

coming in from over the Channel in France. This would controlled thing.

:33:10.:33:16.

A much stronger argument. Where I think he is off is that by becoming

:33:17.:33:21.

independent that Scots will no longer leave Scotland. London is a

:33:22.:33:28.

global city and draws talent from several independent countries and

:33:29.:33:31.

will continue to do sleep. What do you think of this sovereign mandate

:33:32.:33:41.

for the currency union. It is a bit incoherent. The idea of having a

:33:42.:33:47.

mandate to impose policy within your own five Dom makes sense. The idea

:33:48.:33:52.

that you end up with a mandate to impose policy on another sovereign

:33:53.:34:01.

country... I think you made that difference clear. If it is a yes

:34:02.:34:08.

vote, it has been a popular mandate for him to negotiate over the next

:34:09.:34:15.

18 months that will follow and radius issues. It has been declared

:34:16.:34:18.

that one bit of the White Paper is the sovereign will of the Scottish

:34:19.:34:22.

people should be vote yes, despite the fact that many people on the yes

:34:23.:34:29.

I do not agree with the currency. I think those who have read the White

:34:30.:34:34.

Paper know enough about how politics is conducted. You do not get

:34:35.:34:38.

absolutely everything that you want are asked or. I think a lot of

:34:39.:34:43.

people will treat the 18 months following a possible Yes vote as a

:34:44.:34:49.

buffer zone. Yes, these are all the things that we understand are in the

:34:50.:34:53.

White Paper that our priorities, but I don't think anyone will be

:34:54.:34:58.

surprised that if at the end of the 18 months of negotiating, a lot of

:34:59.:35:02.

them will remain. Let's move on to what is happening next week. West

:35:03.:35:07.

Minister is back in session and it will no doubt be discussing the

:35:08.:35:12.

developing international situations. In the Telegraph, we can

:35:13.:35:21.

see it there, Platinum -- Vladimir Putin on the verge of war over

:35:22.:35:27.

Ukraine. And we have also got a story in the Daily Mail. This is

:35:28.:35:39.

comments from the former deputy NATO reader. Are we facing an alarming

:35:40.:35:47.

international situation at the moment? Is this alarming,

:35:48.:35:51.

particularly in Ukraine and the middle east? In all levels it is

:35:52.:36:00.

alarming. Whether the UK will get involved is another matter. It puts

:36:01.:36:06.

the Scottish referendum in to some degree of context. It is stuff that

:36:07.:36:12.

we consider important, it is not a matter of life and death as it is in

:36:13.:36:20.

other areas. The Telegraph are quoting Vladimir Putin on the verge

:36:21.:36:24.

of war with Europe. This is come from leaders of the EU. People might

:36:25.:36:30.

get worried. RB men to take that literally? There is an awful lot of

:36:31.:36:37.

rhetoric, there has been ever since the current escalation of the

:36:38.:36:41.

situation in the European developed... Vladimir Putin is seen

:36:42.:36:50.

as a bogeyman. If it was not Russia and collective memories of the Cold

:36:51.:36:53.

War, I don't think the rhetoric would just be as excitable. Putin

:36:54.:37:02.

himself has become something that represents a lot of negatives in the

:37:03.:37:06.

collective memory of European and British politicians and he knows

:37:07.:37:11.

that. Anti-riot ships that are only takes advantage of it any knows that

:37:12.:37:16.

certain types of freeze all a jig and those in the EU were dealing

:37:17.:37:29.

with -- he knows there is a fear. Do you believe, this is very dramatic,

:37:30.:37:38.

putting it on the verge of war with Europe. Do you think behind the

:37:39.:37:43.

rhetoric there is any possibility whatsoever that the European union

:37:44.:37:49.

or indeed NATO wants to get merit are involved -- millet had only

:37:50.:37:57.

involved? The airline incident, the plane being brought down would have

:37:58.:38:02.

been the flash point, the key moment for action. I think it seems

:38:03.:38:06.

unlikely that it will follow any time soon. A lot of this is

:38:07.:38:12.

predominantly rhetorical. Quickly on NATO, a story in the Independent

:38:13.:38:22.

Scotland online. The idea that you can apply to be part of a nuclear

:38:23.:38:29.

Alliance while getting rid of the key elements of that. Not entirely

:38:30.:38:36.

sure of where this is coming from. This is something that I would have

:38:37.:38:40.

expected to hear earlier in the campaign. I am surprised it has

:38:41.:38:49.

taken so long for this fear. It is not officially NATO. All right,

:38:50.:38:55.

thank you both very much. Thank you from all of us on the programme.

:38:56.:38:59.

Back at the same time next week. Goodbye.

:39:00.:39:05.

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