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Scottish independence referendum: Alistair Carmichael Twitter Q&A

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael took part in a Twitter chat to answer questions on the Scottish independence referendum.

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

Alistair Carmichael

How to explain UK Government policy in less than 140 characters. That was the challenge for Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael when he took to Twitter this week for an indyref Twitter chat.

There was a great mix of questions - some serious and some less so - and you can read them all here. This page will be updated when the remaining questions are answered.

How do the Scotland Office plan to unite the country after this deeply decisive referendum when we vote No?

By concentrating on building consensus for more powers. We believe Scotland’s better off as part of the UK and the indyref gives people the chance to decide Scotland’s future. We need to deliver on promises and more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Why didn’t you build consensus for “more powers” already?

We need to decide to stay in the UK before we build consensus for more powers.

If it’s a yes indyref vote, will you advise Orkney & Shetland to “do a Crimea” & leave Scotland or stay with UK?

No. I want Orkney and Shetland to remain part of both Scotland and the UK.

Do you think it’s OK for Scotland to be used as a nuclear dumping ground?

All testing is in accordance with procedures agreed with the Environment Agency and SEPA.

Which powers are guaranteed as per your adverts?

More tax powers and borrowing powers are coming to Scotland under the Scotland Act 2012.

Why, if devolution works for Scotland, would further devolution towards independence be inappropriate?

Independence would end devolution. As part of the UK Scotland has the best of both worlds.

If there’s a no vote, how do we know the Scottish Parliament will get more powers?

New powers are on the way already.

Do you see Scotland as a region or as a country unable to govern itself?

Neither. We’re a proud nation best served as part of a union with our nearest friends and neighbours.

Will the Scotland Office publish the full costs of the Scotland Analysis programme?

This work is routine government business so hard to give precise cost of keeping Scots informed.

Will the Scotland Office demand the Cabinet Office publish the taxpayer funded polls they’ve commissioned?

We regularly commission research as routine market research and this is not routinely published.

Why do you condone the UK Government not promoting Scotland abroad as well as it should and appealing to other nations to support no?

The UK Govt is four square behind Scotland at home and abroad. Obama, Clinton etc speak for themselves.

How many eggs do you think you could eat in one sitting? Just approximate, like 5? 10? 25?

Cadbury’s creme eggs = no limits.

If Scotland votes yes, do you believe we will prosper as an independent country?

I believe we will be more prosperous as part of the UK.

How are we more likely to stay in the EU in an increasingly Eurosceptic country with an imminent in-out referendum?

There is no imminent in/out EU referendum.

Do you believe that jobs at Rosyth dockyard are more secure under a Yes or No indyref vote and why?

As part of UK we have access to UK defence contracts. That’s good for jobs.

How will staying in the Union reduce the number of people in Scotland relying on food banks?

Independence won’t stop food banks. Scottish & UK governments should continue to work together to address underlying causes.

Why are the UK Govt persistently putting out lies about Scotland, the SNP & yes campaign?

We’re not. We’re providing facts, figures, research and info to help people make an informed choice on Sept 18.

Have you done the Facebook “Which Cabinet Minister are you?” quiz & who did you get?

I’ve done it three times - and I didn’t get myself once!

Where would you consider to be Orkney’s greatest hidden gem? Somewhere the tourists don’t know to go…

Probably North Ronaldsay but any of the outer isles.

If he thought independence was the best thing for Scotland would he vote Yes ?

I would - but I don’t so I won’t.

Do you honestly believe that EU-based Scots will be sent packing after the yes vote?

If Scotland leaves the UK we leave the EU - it’s not a matter of belief, it’s a matter of law.

How can you justify renewing Trident when so many people are in poverty ?

We are working to reduce poverty and we have a responsibility to protect national security.

How do you deal with argument that Scotland gets a Westminster government it doesn’t vote for?

Democracy doesn’t mean everyone always gets the govt they vote for. But the UK govt represents interests of whole UK.

Why do you want to call Scotland ‘foreign’ in event of yes as mentioned on #Marr show by you?

I actually said ‘if Scotland were a foreign country to the UK’. If we vote for independence that’s what we become.

Burning question, which would you consider to be the greatest Whisky ever distilled?

Tricky one - I’ve a great fondness for Highland Park and Islay malts, especially Ardbeg.

Don’t you think the Scotland Office should support all of Scotlands citizens and not just the no-voters in indyref.

The UK Goverment is not neutral on the issue of independence and I am always on Scotland’s side.

Do you get sick of Yes scaremongering claiming that we’ll be punished for voting No? Because I do.

Nobody should be punished for exercising their democratic right. It’s important we all make an informed choice.

What are you going to do when you lose your Westminster seat?

I’ll fight to keep my seat at the General Election. Politicians should never take the voters for granted.

Do you believe that the debate through indyref in youth parliament makes case for Votes at 16?

Yes I’ve always supported votes at 16.

Even with North Sea Oil revenues, Scotland’s run a deficit in 20 of last 21 years - good economics?

Scotland does well from being in the UK & strength & scale of the UK absorbs shocks.

What is the timescale for introduction of new powers to Scottish Parliament, and will they be subject to a referendum.

New powers on the way already. No need for a referendum.

Why do u feel the need to charge £20 to attend your meetings, do you not claim enough in expenses?

That was a political party fundraiser in Helensburgh. There’s never any charge for a government event or Q&A.

Without resorting to the usual trite meaningless best of both worlds what is the positive case for remaining in UK?

It’s the optimum situation for global coadjacent cohabition

Very simple question, post independence can Westminster stop Scotland retaining the pound?

All 3 main UK parties have ruled out a currency union. We could use the pound like Panama uses the dollar – not a good idea.

If there is a yes vote will you be on Scotland’s side for negotiations?

I’m always on Scotland’s side.

I’m voting Yes for improved democracy and to get rid of Trident. Can you convince me not to?

It’s your decision – but I urge you to make it based on fact. It’s head as well as heart time.

What are you planning to do next given that you will be out of work after the next General Election?

I’ll fight to keep my seat at the General Election. Politicians should never take the voters for granted

Would you rather spend £100bn on Trident or on the people being pushed into poverty as a result of Westminster austerity?

We are working to reduce poverty and we have a responsibility to protect national security

Do you believe Scotland could survive as an independent country?

I believe we will be more prosperous if we remain part of the UK.

I’m undecided but can’t figure out why we should buy nuclear bombs instead of health and education.

It’s not an either or situation. We’re committed to both protecting public services and national security.

Which is more likely to get rid of Trident? The UK or an independent Scotland?

We have a responsibility to protect national security. The UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent plays an essential part in the UK’s overall defence strategy.

Do you think Scotland is wealthy enough to be an independent country? Or is it too small?

I think Scotland will be more prosperous if it remains a part of the United Kingdom.

Don’t you think Scottish independence is inevitable some day?

No – that’s why we’re working to keep Scotland as part of the UK.

Is Scotland wealthy enough to be a successful independent country?

I believe Scotland will undoubtedly be more successful and more prosperous as part of the United Kingdom.

How much tax take from whisky goes directly to the Scottish Government?

No taxes go directly to the Scottish Government.

Are you for or against trident? Do you support the retention of Trident?

We have a responsibility to protect national security. The UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent plays an essential part in the UK’s overall defence strategy.

Is it appropriate that the You Decide page presents itself as non-partisan?

It states on these pages that they are representing UK Government views.

The Scotland Analysis series has provided detail. Will the government also try to win hearts & minds in indyref? How/when?

It’s about hearts and minds – that’s why we’re providing a wide range of information, including a booklet going to every household. We also had a stand at the Royal Highland Show. More to come!

If a yes vote, what will be your priority for our newly independent country?

I’m working to keep the United Kingdom together – that’s where I’m concentrating all my efforts at the moment.

Has the UK government made contingency plans for a yes vote?

We’re working to keep the United Kingdom together. We haven’t made any contingency plans.

What will you do for the children who are living in poverty?

We need to continue to work with the Scottish Government to address this and improve the lives for children throughout the UK.

Following a NO vote, in what ways can a more powerful Scottish government improve the economy & still remain integrated with the UK?

The Scottish Govt already have powers to help improve the economy through transport, education and health spending. Being part of the UK means keeping the pound and remaining part of the UK’s large domestic market.

Scotland sits way behind England (&Europe) in many socio-economic factors yet you say we are better together. How so?

Scotland’s economy is growing and Scottish employment is at a record high. The Scottish unemployment rate in 2013 was lower than Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Portugal

Jobs have declined markedly while we are in the UK. Can you guarantee it will still be open 10 years after a No vote?

The Scottish economy has continued to create jobs, in the last year 76,000 more Scots in employment and 13,000 fewer in unemployment.

Are you for or against reindustrialising Scotland?

The UK Government wants to see a country that invents, designs, manufactures and exports more. Therefore we are helping firms to export more to emerging markets such as China and India.

Published 4 July 2014