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Scottish independence: passion is no substitute for good answers

Scottish Secretary calls for answers as more questions are posed by Scotland's accountants.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Being passionate about independence is not an excuse to duck hard questions, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said today.

He pointed to the report today by ICAS (Insitute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) calling for more details on the costs and practicalities of an independent tax system as another very important topic where we have little or no information on how things would work.

Speaking to an audience in Glasgow, the Scottish Secretary said if the pro-independence side cannot provide convincing answers on matters like the Pound and our pensions then the patriotic decision is to reject leaving the UK.

Mr Carmichael also answered questions from an audience in the Albert Halls in Stirling where he called for both sides of the independence debate to treat the other side with respect.

Mr Carmichael said:

People on both sides of the independence debate feel very strongly about the referendum. That is entirely understandable as this is the most important decision we will ever make. A decision to leave the UK is irreversible and there is a lot at stake.

That is all the more reason that people in Scotland should get answers to all the questions that matter most. I am concerned that many on the pro-independence side of this debate believe that they care more about Scotland than the rest of us and that this gives them a license to duck legitimate questions or forget good manners.

The report today from Scotland’s accountants covers a very important topic where we have little or no answers from the pro-independence camp. We need to know how an independent tax system would work and how much it would cost. John Swinney told his Cabinet colleagues in private that it would cost hundreds of millions each year but they have never given an answer to people in Scotland.

Being passionate about independence does not make you more Scottish. It does not mean you are the only ones that care about Scotland’s future. People who care are asking questions about our pensions and the Pound and if they do not get convincing answers then the patriotic decision will be to reject the idea of Scotland leaving the UK.

I really hope that in these last four months we can debate the issues and we can debate them in a manner that makes it easier for us all to work together afterwards regardless of the outcome.

Published 20 May 2014