We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Thoughts about possible Scottish independence

I might as well add my two penny-worth on this issue (or whatever currency the Scots might end up using, Ed). Scottish independence is now a very real prospect, not just a distant one. There is a flurry of commentary in the media at the moment about how any divorce could be painful and bitter: rows about how to divide up responsibility for the National Debt; relocation of defence forces from Scotland; North Sea oil rights; EU and Nato membership (Scotland could arguably be kicked out of both and might not be able to reapply soon), etc. Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, has a bit of a weepie on the subject.

The classical liberal in me says that so long as Scottish people who want to be fully self-governining do so for broadly pro-freedom reasons, that is not at my expense and I wish the new, separate nation luck. I will, however, take a far less benign view if there is any nonsense from Edinburgh about how the evil South must pay it off, by shouldering all accumulated debts, or demanding continued financial disbursements from the rest of the UK, or controls over matters not in its purview any more. I feel no very great emotional attachment to Scotland these days (I am about one-fifth Scottish through my mother’s family), although I certainly do respect and admire the great contributions to human civilisation from Scotland, as demonstrated in this excellent book published a few years ago by Arthur Herman.

It is perhaps naive to think that an independent Scotland would take its cue from the pro-market traditions most gloriously established by the likes of Adam Smith and other figures in the Scottish Enlightenment. (The Adam Smith Institute has had smart things to say about an independent Scotland, by the way.)  There is no reason in principle why that cannot happen, of course, but looking at the sort of political figures who are prominent in Scotland these days, the picture is not encouraging. Perhaps the Scots, free of the ability to blame London for their ills and forced to rely on their own resources, might experience independence as a bracing learning experience and an understanding of the need to be pre-enterprise will take hold. As long as SNP leader Alex Salmond is around, the prospects don’t look good. He comes across as a bit of a thug and a bit too pleased with himself.

A final thought: if the Scots do break free (will that mean lots of visa queues at the border? Ed) it could galvanise separatist movements in other parts of the world, such as in EU member states such as Italy (Lombardy) and Spain (Catalonia). And even in the US, Scottish-influenced parts of the country will take a closer look. When countries break up, it raises possibilities. The Scottish independence vote is not just a private matter for these islands.


56 comments to Thoughts about possible Scottish independence

  • Ideally I would far rather see Scotland remain in the Union and the Scots happy to do so, but realistically if so many of them are vehemently against the status quo then I don’t think it is worth trying to stop them from leaving. In which case, and if they do end up leaving, good luck to them: provided they don’t come back blubbering and complaining when you find Braveheart replays do little to help you govern the almighty mess you’ve created for themselves, which they surely will as the noises coming from Scotland sound more like Chavez railing against the US than the careful, measured tones of the Norwegians setting up a responsibly managed oil fund.

  • Mangled syntax there, sorry.

  • Mr Ed

    If the vote is ‘Yes’ and the Scottish government refuses to take the Scottish share of National Debt (although I say we should all be entitled to repudiate it as lending money to governments and expecting it back with interest is a form of tax-farming), then the obvious answer is to impose independence on Scotland by expelling it from the UK at a couple of days notice, and cut off all funds to the Scottish bureaucracy and welfare payments from the UK Treasury, withdraw the Armed Forces, establish a frontier from Berwick to Carlisle and port controls in Northern Ireland and watch the fun.

    The State of the UK is so bad that frankly, it needs to have something drastic happen to it. The level of ‘debate’ in the independence referendum is lamentable to say the least. The Yes campaign is offering Norway but has what would be Venezuela in mind, the No campaign is saying ‘Don’t mess it up, we need English money to pay our pensions’. However, as is always the case, the media give the impression that the more disgusting side is more popular than it really is.

  • It is no secret I am very much in favour of Scottish independence (or English independence as I prefer to call it). I take the view that the political cultures are sufficiently different I cannot see any compelling reason for them *not* to be separate. Indeed I have long taken the Mencken position on such matters:

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard

  • I watched the SkyNews news-loop through twice last night while my newborn son studiously examined his array of toys.

    Aside from a slight preference for a giant yellow face, I was surprised to notice that the turning point in the polls the Yes campaign had a few weeks back was credited to the idea that they could use the pound whether Osborne likes it or not. They showed a clip of Alex Salmond calling it the “most important revelation of this debate”. That idea, as far as I can tell, seems to have emerged from the pen of Sam Bowman at the ASI.

  • David S

    Debates about tax avoidance and ‘aggressive tax avoidance’, the recent experience of the people of Cyprus, the demonisation of people whose lifestyle choices (smoking, alcohol, sugar, salt, processed meat, meat…) impose costs on the NHS, and so on make it clear that Governments consider that everything within their jurisdiction is theirs to dispose of. Private property is merely that which it has not yet pleased the Government to confiscate. That is pure feudalism.

    The choice being offered to Scotland is merely the exchange of one feudal overlord for another.

  • Allen Farrington

    The issue which is clearly of the utmost importance, and will undoubtedly cause the most bitterness and bickering, is what will happen to the blue in the Union Jack? I personally feel we should get it back; I mean, it is basically the best bit…

  • I agree, possibly the worst aspect of an independent Scotland is the lame, right-on PC flag that will be foisted on what remains. Just look at the Olympic logos, FFS.

  • In Australia, we occasionally have arguments about our flag, which has the Union Jack in pride of place and which was obviously designed as a colonial flag indicating that Australia was a British possession. Some people favour a new flag, and others like the existing one and think that these days the Union Jack on it just represents our history, which is fine or even good. (As a younger man I tended to the first view, but as an older one I have become rather fonder of the existing flag and have moved more to the second).

    However, if Scotland were to leave the UK and the blue bit (which I agree is the best bit) was removed from the British flag, then the Australian flag would have an archaic flag rather than a current one in the top left corner. That this is intended as a representation of history would be the only possible interpretation. This would work for me. I can’t really see Australia changing its flag solely by updating the Union Jack to a successor British/English flag. If any change at all is to take place, it will be to something else entirely.

  • Mr Ed

    On the flag issue, it is a useful test for fanatical Lefties in Australia NZ as if they get upset about a flag as a reminder of the British roots of the country, they probably have an agenda of sorts to get rid of the bits that really matter, like the rule of law and private property and any other vestige of freedom, but, OTOH, Canada’s flag is a great example of losing a ‘colonial’ flag and making an instantly-recognisable flag.

    The Union Flag should already have lost 3 of its 4 red stripes with, at latest, the formation of the Irish Republic in 1949. However, it would look rather silly. Perhaps we could simply swap the blue for the green of Wales to give Wales a look-in.

    And the Union Flag is a royal flag rather than a national one but ftsoa I would treat it as the UK’s flag.

    For Australia. NZ and Hawaii and the others, I would say leave it as it is, to emphasise the historical aspect and flag up Lefty loonies in your midst.

  • Simon: The pound is a freely traded currency, and there is nothing stopping anyone buying as much of it is they need and then using it as their preferred medium of exchange. At the most fundamental level, the answer to the question “Can Scotland continue using the pound?” really is that simple. If Scotland does this, they they lose the benefits of having their own central bank – setting their own interest rates, controlling the monetary supply, having a lender of last resort. On the other hand, given the way these powers are often used by governments, this might be a good thing.

    Sam Bowman does seem to have managed to have been the person who got this message across to everyone. Well done to him for that, but this is blindingly obvious.

  • Mr Ed: I think the message from Canada is that if you are going to change your flag, you should make sure you have a good one to change it to. This is relevant to Britain even more than Australia, if Scotland votes to leave.

  • Mary Contrary

    My ha’pennorth is that the problem of the EU will make divorce terms much easier.

    For the important stuff, London can sit on its hands until Brussels has worked out what terms to impose on Scotland, and busy itself with trivial things like how much to charge Scotland for watching Eastenders.

    One of the “No” arguments has been that Scotland can’t necessarily expect to be fast-tracked into the EU. This is nonsense; the Eurocrats will be delighted to welcome Scotland, if only to snub England. They will demand a certain quid pro quo though: Scotland will have to accept the same terms on fundamentals as other recent applicants. That means they will have to join Schengen, and they will have to promise to join the Euro (although they won’t have to do so). That imposing these terms on Scotland will offend Westminster will, of course, be part of the attraction.

    Having to join Schengen means that there will be border controls on the A1. This isn’t just about England keeping out immigrants from Schengen: the Schengen Agreement demands that its members maintain an external border too.

    Once it is announced that Scotland intends to join the Euro, continued membership of the pound will be “temporary”. This will give London the excuse to continue to have the Bank of England underwrite the Scottish currency as part of a currency union, while pretending that they’re going to stop. This will last until the first major bailout, whereupon the political outcry in England will force the ejection of Scotland from currency union. You can call it the Spiderman Principle.

    As for the debt, phooey. If Scotland’s economy immediately crashes and burns it will be disasterous all round, and Scotland will blame England, and in particular the English government for “sabotaging Scotland with an unfair burden of debt”. The English Prime Minister won’t want that, and especially won’t want to be blamed personally. Personal blame will matter to him. Spending gazillions of taxpayer’s money won’t. So England will send Scotland off with a golden endowment; just enough of the join debt that Scotland can pretend it’s not defaulting, no more. Who cares? It’s only other people’s money.

    Meanwhile England will be concentrating on other things, like forlornly trying to persuade everyone to stop calling rUK “England”. The FCO will be desperately trying to hang on to the U.N. Security Council seat, which is useful as it’s the only thing on which the Foreign Office interest and the national interest coincide.

    All in all, quite a mess. Mind you, despite the recent panic, my money is still on a “No” vote. If you disagree with me on that, Ladbrokes is still offering you 2/1.

  • The Union Flag should already have lost 3 of its 4 red stripes with, at latest, the formation of the Irish Republic in 1949. However, it would look rather silly. Perhaps we could simply swap the blue for the green of Wales to give Wales a look-in.

    That would be my choice. Maybe with a sheep in the middle, too.

    Or a hippo.

  • Well done to him for that, but this is blindingly obvious.

    It’s a bit worrying (for them) that none of the blithering idiots who are agitating for prime positions in the government of an independent Scotland didn’t realise this. I wonder what else they’ve missed?

  • This is nonsense; the Eurocrats will be delighted to welcome Scotland, if only to snub England.

    Spain might well execute a veto, though. That’s the biggest stumbling block I can see.

  • Paul Marks

    The national debt is a key point – the Scots (if they declare for “independence” – although it would not be independence as they would continue to be ruled by the European Union) must take their share (share by POPULATION) of it.

    Also there seems to be an assumption (spread by the leftist establishment – for obvious reasons) that the Scots can vote to leave the United Kingdom and still take part in the General Election in May 2015.

    No, no, no.

    If they vote to leave the United Kingdom they are OUT – they can not (next year) then take part in the General Election (as all the BBC and university establishment types just ASSUME).

    “But then how can Mr Miliband become Prime Minister?”.

    Not my problem.

  • Indeed Newman yet again gets it right, the post-mutual independence flag should probably look something like this.

  • @Michael Jennings: so is libertarianism.

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT the EU the obvious solution is for the Scots to inherit the UK membership,leaving rUK out of the EU.
    This has the added advantage (for the Spanish gov.) not to encourage Catalan independence, since presumably neither Catalonia nor rSpain want to lose EU membership.

  • PeterT

    Spain might well execute a veto, though

    Erm..and rUK could too? At least until 5 minutes before we leave the EU. Probably after that there is no turning back and we might as well be ‘friends’.

    Agree with Perry that, sentimental issues aside, there is almost only upside to Scotland leaving, from rUK’s perspective.

    Also – remember that the Bank of England owns a big chunk (I think about a quarter) of the national debt, so the problem of Scotland reneging on its debt is a bit less bad than it seems.

    I think I mentioned before that we could extract the payment from Scotland by printing money and distributing it to rUK households only. Scotland would not receive the payment but rUK households would.

    As for the flag, removing the St Andrew’s bits and showing a red dragon in the top left field should do nicely (no green please).

  • RAB

    If Scotland votes yes for Independence, then their currency is going to be the Euro. The European Union will not let them back in otherwise. They have made that perfectly clear.

  • Erm..and rUK could too?

    It could, but would come across as churlish on their part. Better to vote for Scottish membership with a smug, Cheshire-cat grin in the full knowledge that Spain will veto in a few seconds’ time.

  • This has the added advantage (for the Spanish gov.) not to encourage Catalan independence, since presumably neither Catalonia nor rSpain want to lose EU membership.

    Not sure it’s Catalan they’re worried about, but the Basques. And I don’t know whether the Basques are pro-EU or not.

  • As for the flag, removing the St Andrew’s bits and showing a red dragon in the top left field should do nicely (no green please).

    Actually, you make a good point about the green. With the exception of Lithuania, which I love, I have generally found countries with green in the flag to be disfunctional.

  • Mr Ed

    Sam Bowman does seem to have managed to have been the person who got this message across to everyone. Well done to him for that, but this is blindingly obvious.

    There is a wonderful irony in Mr Bowman’s lucid explanation of the currency matter, made under the aegis of the ASI, being adopted by the McChavistas of the SNP. A monetary policy that Mrs Thatcher would have thought far too radical is clearly not what the SNP have in mind for their ‘social’ Scotland. Most of the ‘Yes’ voters I know think that all the horrors of modern Scotland are due to UK membership and insufficient ‘social provision’ (and they don’t mean the fiat money bubble that is propping up London and sucking economic life out of the further reaches of the UK. Let’s face it, if you are in a full 100-seater aircraft low on fuel midway across the Pacific, and you need it to lose freight to get to a landing spot, if you can persuade to parachute out 7 lardbutts eating deep-fried Mars bars who squabble over football and blame you for their obesity, why would you be sad to open the hatch and count them out?

  • Does anyone have a link handy to Bowman’s article?

  • Mr Ed


    Here it is.

  • Laird

    From the perspective of a distant observer, what I find most interesting about this whole thing is the fact that you’re having a reasoned debate about the issue, the Scots are voting on it, and the rest of the UK* seems to be willing to simply accept their decision. All very civilized of you. No one is talking about armed insurrection or forcing them to remain a part of the UK if they don’t want to. It’s a far better approach than I’ve ever seen anywhere before; certainly better than the US’s unfortunate experiment with a separatist movement 150 years ago. Or, for that matter, what is going on in Ukraine today.

    If Scotland does vote Yes and withdraws from the UK, what effect is that likely to have on the referendum on EU membership which Cameron has promised for 2017? Since the Scots seem so intent on EU membership for their new country, that suggests to me that sentiment for remaining in the EU would be substantially weaker in the rUK, improving its chances for withdrawal. Does that seem correct?

    * Query: what does the “r” in “rUK” stands for? My first thought was “rump”, but I suspect you intend it to mean “remaining”. Or maybe “residual”? Or something else entirely?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I see in “The Mirror” (via Drudge) a headline “Don’t let me be last Queen of Scotland: Monarch in talks with PM over UK break-up”

    Regardless of the accuracy of the report, is that headline going to grate on the Scots as badly as it grates on this very democratic American? And if so, to what effect?

  • Sam Duncan

    Mary Contrary: Good comment, although I’m not so confident about EU membership. I have absolutely no doubt that the Commission would like nothing more than to see one of the Union’s biggest states broken up. But enough of the larger states would be opposed that it would be hard to persuade the Council.

    And the reason they would oppose it, in the EU context – of course they have local reasons of their own – is the reduction of power they would suffer in the Council. The UK, for example, would lose roughly 10% of its votes (Scotland, of course, would have 10% of the former UK’s votes; good luck trying to stop Brussels getting its mitts on “Scotland’s oil” with those).

    As for the rest, we can see what Scotland’s strategy for dealing with the repercussions will be already. They’re telling all and sundry that the UK would “punish” them for leaving. They know all Hell will break loose, and are gearing up to disclaim all responsibility. Having stuck a pile of dynamite under the UK, they’re going to blame England for the bang.

    The flag? Take a leaf out of the Czech Republic’s book: keep it. It’ll piss the Nats off no end.

  • George Tobin

    Still trying to determine how anyboby could be”one-fifth” scottish…

    From the US, it seems to me that many of my distant cousins in Scotland believe they will be able to vote themselves larger welfare payments without the annoying selfishness of the English getting in the way. Aside from the logistical, fiscal, administrative and legal nightmares of disentanglement, the prospect of a doing all that just to launch a Gaelic version of Venezuela seems depressing.

    I was born in the New World in part because my kin were in the midst of the disorganized rout of the left flank at Culloden. Doesn’t look like the organizational skills in the old country are much improved.

  • Mr Ed

    Laird: ‘rUK’ The term is ‘remainder’ I think.

    And yes, for the rest of the UK, losing Scotland would be like a swimmer losing a cannonball.

    George: If you have one Scottish Great-Grandparent (GGP), that is 1/8th, add in unrelated to that person a Scots great-great GP (GGGP), 1/16th, = 3/16ths or 12/64, then add in either another wholly unrelated Scots great-great-great-great GP to make it 13/64 or 0.203125 and you are just over 1/5th Scottish, take the last back a generation and you are 0.19921875 Scottish, so close enough, but I don’t find that my approximately 3/64 Scottish DNA (AFAIK) or 1/4 Irish DNA alters the way that I think, except a vague, occasional curiosity to see ancestral homelands that soon fades when I think of better uses for my holidays.

  • Regardless of the accuracy of the report, is that headline going to grate on the Scots as badly as it grates on this very democratic American?

    PfP, I doubt it. Queen is pretty popular even north of the border. I am totally hoping for a YES vote but I am sure if she did say that (which I doubt) I am alarmed, because it might indeed make a few people actually vote NO.

  • Mary Contrary

    @Tim Newman: Spain will threaten a veto. This won’t be serious, it will bea bargaining lever to extract concessions from Brussels, probably related to their own fiscal bailout.

    @Sam Bowman. I agree with you when you say that the European Commission would look forward happily to the breakup of the UK, and that some of the other countries’ national governments would not. But if you mean to suggest that, motivated by a desire to dissuade their own secessionists, these governments would seek to “punish” Scotland by refusing to let it join the EU, then I must disagree. Acting in such a fashion would only encourage their secessionists (“Look, Scotland got independence, so can we”) when their best argument is that Basque separatism has more in common with Irish nationalism in Ulster than with Scottish nationalism. Far better, from their point of view, to make friends with a new (voting Member) State than so lightly earn its lasting enmity.

  • Kevin B

    Never mind the flag, think of the bloody Anthem.

    Once the nationalistic fervour has died down and the bureaucrats in Embra have got hold of it there’s no way it’s gonna be ‘Scotland the Brave’ or that ancient, historic 1960’s song ‘Flower of Scotland. You know it’s gonna be ‘Scotland the Inclusive’, ‘Scotland the Socially Just’, ‘Scotland the Progessive’, ‘Scotland the Multicultural’.

    To the tune of ‘Australia, Ausralia’ or ‘Ireland, Ireland’, or ‘Oh, Canada’, or all three:

    ‘Oh Scotland, Scotland , you’re an awfy nice place,
    And we, the grateful peasants, like you very, very much, but not too much as that would verge on patriotism which is nationalism which is racism and not at all inclusive… ;

    Etcetera, Etbloodycetera.

    We can really do without yet another anthem in that vein. Especially in the Six Nations Cup.

  • Regional

    Remember it was El Gordo a Scot ran up a massive debt which included generous benefits to Scotland so if the Scots vote No, yous Englanders will not take this lying down and hold a successful Referendum to tell them to Fook Off. You don’t need Scottish sycophants for infantry battalions, you’ve got the Paras and Royal Marines.
    We will glass you.

  • Tedd

    Regarding Canada’s flag, I agree that we did a pretty good job of concocting our own. I think we missed the boat on one detail, though. One of the proposals was for a flag identical to the current one but with the bars in blue instead of red — the blue symbolizing the two oceans. I think that would have been a better choice.

    But it manages to be both instantly recognizable and “nicely inconspicuous,” which is quite an achievement.

  • Rich Rostrom

    And even in the US, Scottish-influenced parts of the country will take a closer look.

    There are no such areas. The South has an undercurrent of “Scots-Irish” culture (combative honor, feuding), but it’s left over from 200 years ago. It’s about as politically relevant as the Danish influence in parts of England.

  • Michael Jennings

    Laird: everything is being done in a very civilized way with respect to Scotland, yes. On the other hand, the previous instance of separatism in one of the components of the United Kingdom (Ireland) involved bloodhsed, executions for treason, civil war, and decades of terrorism and other civil strife. It might be that something was learned from that. It might also be that Glasgow is a different place from Belfast for reasons that I cannot fully explain.

  • Tedd


    I think we may have one-upped the UK here in Canada with our Clarity Act, which defines the conditions under which any province may leave Canada. Whether or not that would actually be followed in a peaceful manner remains to be tested, of course.

    One outcome of the Clarity Act is that serious talk of separation by Quebec seems to have retreated to the fringes. Rhetorical use of the idea continues, but nobody takes it very seriously. I strongly suspect that one of the motivations for the act was the belief that it would stifle the separatist movement (by making separation seem too plausible).

  • Michael Jennings

    Her Majesty is Queen of 16 different independent countries already (plus a few minor things like Lord of Mann and Duke of Normandy with respect to the Channel Islands. The number of crowns she has worn as gone up and down quite a bit during her reign. Adding one more would be completely non-controversial.

    Another option in such circumstances is to give the new crown to one of the princes or princesses not in the direct line of succession. While King Henry of Scotland is a delightful idea, I don’t think anyone has brought the possibility up.

  • The Stuart claim to the Scottish crown passed to the royal house of Bavaria via marriage during the 19th Century. However the Wittelsbachs have always strongly discouraged any attempt to press this claim.

  • Runcie Balspune

    According to an article I read, the average life expectancy in rUK will go up when Scotland leaves, so I will live about 3-4 months longer, so I’m all for it!

  • lucklucky

    “If Scotland does this, they they lose the benefits of having their own central bank – setting their own interest rates, controlling the monetary supply, having a lender of last resort. On the other hand, given the way these powers are often used by governments, this might be a good thing”

    Precisely Many (leftist) parts of the world trade in dollars. Which is even double amusing. Looking at QE…

    We have here Socialists promoting it.

  • lucklucky

    “I will, however, take a far less benign view if there is any nonsense from Edinburgh about how the evil South must pay it off, by shouldering all accumulated debts.”

    That is fair, but then a part of Gold in BoE, part of the Government property: Tanks, Aircraft, Ships etc should be Scottish no? Hey a part of new carrier- maybe the elevator – might be Scottish. They can make a toll and get a nice income any time an F35 goes up and down 🙂

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    David S., whilst the power arrangements look similar, at least it is a smaller level of government, and thus more accountable.
    As for the Australian flag, I think we could have a mixture of the Southern Cross and the Aboriginal flag- a black background with a red cross with a white star at each end of the cross, and with a golden sun-disk in the middle. The mixture of both flags will keep both camps happy, and it is a striking colour scheme.

  • Nick: The accountability thing is allvery well in theory, but from where I’m sitting, being one feudal serf in 6,000,000 doesn’t seem all that much better than being 1 in 66,000,000,000. If we were talking about Glasgow or Edinburgh becoming an independent state, it might be different, but I’m not sure that accountability works on the basis of a linear continuum of population (or territorial) size. Once you get over about a million or so inhabitants (possibly even less) it doesn’t really make much difference whether it’s 10 million or 500 million; the accountability is much the same. Is the US government really any less accountable than the British, in the real world? It’s even arguable that it’s more so, thanks to its structure and methods.

    Indeed, the fact that the current nationalist administration in Scotland has been centralizing power for all it’s worth doesn’t help at all. I’d rather live in a large-ish country with local police, local fire brigades, local hospitals, and local councils with some autonomy, than a smaller, unified, state run entirely from the centre. The problem, in other words, is the size of the government, not the size of the country.

    Mary: Fair point, but they certainly wouldn’t want to encourage them, either.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    Sam I would certainly agree that the constitution of governments, and the laws and culture of the land, are important. But I feel that a smaller government is one of the steps to a freer society. It is not sufficient by itself, but it is a necessary step. (As a minarchist, I also feel that local governments should be composed of voluntary citizens, who spend some of their time in some branch of public services, like manning fire brigades, and/or militia and/or road patrols, etc., and get their birth-month off as the time when they can be a member of the council, and vote directly on old and new laws, etc. That should keep governments small, if it is not a ful-time career.)

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    As for the names, Why not Scotdom for the northern nation?
    And the United Kingdom of Greater Britain and Northern Ireland for the majority?

  • Pardone

    It is London that sponges off the rest of the country:
    New analysis of public infrastructure spending by IPPR North lays bare the gap between how much capital expenditure there is in the capital than the rest of England.

    Our additional analysis of the 2013 government infrastructure plan, the IPPR’s data source, showed that the £14.5bn total capital expenditure planned for Crossrail outmatches the £1.6bn earmarked for rail projects in Yorkshire and the Humber, the north-east and the north-west by nine to one.

    Other projects in the capital including tube improvements mean that £5,426 will have been spent on each resident of London compared to £223 on those in the north-east region. That’s over 24 times as much.

    On the surface of it, residents of the north west seem the most fortunate region outside London, with project spending at £1,248 per head. However, Guardian analysis found that more than half of that total was down to the decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria – necessary, doubtless, but hardly an infrastructure ‘improvement’ as most people would understand it.

    “We have established by looking at the 2011/12 independent Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland report that Scotland generated 9.9% of UK tax revenue but received in return only 9.3% of UK spending. If we had received 9.9% of the spend we would have been £4.4bn better off last year alone. The London-focussed No Campaign’s argument is that when Scotland runs a financial deficit the 9.3% of spend is a larger absolute sum of money than the 9.9% of revenue.

    Deficits don’t make you richer

    However, when Scotland runs a deficit the UK treasury does not send the extra money we need wrapped up in a pink ribbon with a card saying ‘Dear Scotland, here is a gift.’ Its is a loan with interest that needs to be repaid by Scotland. What the Treasury does is borrow from the international money markets on behalf of the whole of the UK (which needs relatively more borrowing than Scotland) and then guess what – Scotland gets 9.3% of that borrowing but has to contribute 9.9% of the tax revenues to pay the debt back which now has roughly 3% compound interest! Scotland as part of the UK has to pay more to borrow, than the rest of the UK. So once again Scotland gets a raw deal.

    Having someone borrow money in your name, spend more than their fair share of it and then force you to pay back a higher percentage of the loan than you were allowed to spend DOES NOT mean you are being subsidised! Applying the No Campaign’s logic in personal credit terms would mean a person who borrows £1,000.00 from Wonga is classed as £1,000.00 richer – end of story. Except the reality is of course quite different. That person would in fact have to pay back the £1,000.00 plus the interest on the loan which they have to pay back.

    So in a year where Scotland is in deficit we have to pay back a higher percentage of the debt than we get to spend and plus approximately 3% interest. This means we subsidise the UK more generously in deficit years than in years when we operate a surplus and that is a FACT.”

  • Mr Ed

    If Scotland does become independent, then they will be able to drop the tiresome ‘Scot’ prefix before everything. I couldn’t help noticing on a trip to Edinburgh in the 1980s how everything ‘Statist’ seemed to have a ‘Scot’ prefix, e.g. ‘Scotrail’, ‘Scotbus’, as if they would forget what country they were in if not reminded constantly.

    Of course, the Scottish National Party, having achieved independence, could then rename itself the ‘National Party‘, and carry on where its namesake got going in 1948 before running out of steam.

  • Ok, The fish people (Salmond and Sturgeon) can have their “freedom” under King Melanie* as long asthey carry the can for RBS. They can starve until the UN drops shortbread and Irn-Bru. Fuck ’em.

    *”They may tek our lives, but they’ll never tek us eeriously!”

  • Alastair James

    Pardone, if it’s any help I’d vote for independence for London and South East England if it was ever offered.