An Independent Scotland? No Thanks!

As issues around Scottish independence dominate the political landscape, polling has found that independence is only the 8th most important issue for Scots. The Olympics showed that many remain comfortable with the dual identity of being both Scottish and British. Alex Salmond’s ‘Scolympians’ debacle was ignored by a country which has never been as narrow-minded as the SNP.

However, there has been a worrying rise in the number of attacks on English people in Scotland in recent years. Police recorded 1,295 ‘racist incidents’ in 2011/12 where the victim was white and British. Since the vast majority of perpetrators were also white, the inference is that many of the victims were English. Although the SNP publically denounce such attacks, this palpable rise in anti-Englishness is a consequence of the mindset of the SNP and their belief that Scotland’s problems are caused by England.

In Alex Salmond’s biography Against the Odds, it is revealed that he is fan of this passage from R.S. Thomas: ‘For it is England that has been the winter on our native pastures and we must break their grip, and the grip of all the Quislings’. This is the Nationalist philosophy in a nutshell.

Salmond

Despite the SNP tendency to blame all ills on England, it is worth noting that Scotland’s state spending/GDP ratio (roughly 53%) is higher than almost every developed nation. Scotland therefore gets a generous deal under the current system.

Since a separate Scottish currency would pose too much risk, Alex Salmond once saw the Euro as a way of achieving monetary independence from England. Unfortunately for Mr Salmond, the Euro crisis has forced a rethink. The SNP now wishes to remain part of a ‘sterling area’.

The problem with this strategy is that it shines a light on the bizarre contradictions of the SNP’s vision. Independence, without the ability to set interest rates and print money, is not really independence at all. It is little more than a tinkering with the constitutional law – and as polling shows, Scots have far more pressing concerns than that.

Furthermore, the Euro crisis has revealed that monetary union is vulnerable to collapse unless accompanied by political and fiscal union. Alex Salmond’s strategy is therefore not only a contradiction in terms – it is positively upside down. Throw into the mix the fact that an independent Scotland would have to negotiate entry into the EU – and that a condition of membership is adoption of the Euro – it becomes clear just how much of a tailspin the SNP are in.

But leaving this to one side, let us suppose that Scots do decide to separate from the UK in 2014. What would an independent Scotland look like?

The first point to note is that Scotland can make it alone. There has been much scaremongering in the press about an intrinsic inability of Scots to self-govern, or that it is not economically viable to do so. This is both disingenuous and, more importantly, it plays into the SNP’s hands. The question is not can it work, but rather, is it desirable?

If the markets (loathed as they are) decided that Scotland was heading for a Yes to independence vote, it is likely that there would be a significant movement of capital investment from Scotland to England. This may well be short term, but it would not get the ‘new state’ off to a good start.

Oil_platform

Mr Salmond has said he will fund Scotland’s spending through North Sea oil (there are an estimated 24 billion barrels of oil worth £1.5 trillion). This is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, it does not seem compatible with the SNP’s pledge of a ‘greener Scotland’ focused on renewable energy. Secondly, the wealth generated by oil drilling will be cancelled out by the end of subsidies from Westminster. Thirdly, a focus on oil is short-sighted, and when reserves run dry Scotland will confront the same socio-economic problems it has faced since the decline of shipbuilding. Independence may bring a honeymoon period, but what of Scotland’s future?

Perhaps most terrifying of all, we may yet see Alex Salmond ordained as Scottish President. Mr Salmond is too astute (and too much a sycophant to public opinion) to publically raise the monarchy issue. However, many SNP members have said they want a referendum on the monarchy, in the event of a Yes vote in 2014.

A sober analysis of the SNP vision uncovers more questions than it answers. Although Scotland could go it alone, there is nothing to suggest that it should.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Subsidies = funding from westminister, which is in turn funded by taxation in Scotland and as the oil revenues are not seens as part of Scotland contribution your assertions are lame to say the least…
    As is the “likely” significant movement of capital investment from Scotland to England.
    Soundbites nothing more.

    • Since the UK is a sovereign state, it is not logical that oil revenues would be considered a ‘Scottish contribution’. A state’s natural resources belong to the state (surprise surprise), not a region or country within a state. I find that Scottish Nationalists are often unclear on the difference between concepts of nation, state and country. Alex Salmond’s rhetoric does little to resolve this confusion (indeed, one suspects he actively encourages it). You are only correct insofar as the word ‘likely’ should be exchanged with ‘certain’.

  2. Oh dear! I am a nationalist who is typical of the SNP. I have many good friends an family living in England. I have been to many of the SNP big meetings in Scotland and have never heard a bad word against any folk in England. I think the author has watched the hysterical, Hollywood hype movie “Braveheart” too often. The wish for independence is nothing to do with Sporrans, Kilts and shortbread biscuit tins and is everything to do with the bad management of Westminster. Scotland is in an awful state and requires proper decisions made by people up here using our own resources to fix it. We do have a problem with Westminster and the people that are in it, and the majority of the one’s we have a problem with are usually Scottish.

    Scotland can make far better decisions for itself. Scotland will conquer the world, not with bullets, missiles and bombs, but with genius, Scots know-how and compassion. What’s not to like?

    And with regard to folk visiting here from England, you will always be treated with complete respect as our beloved neighbours. Even though we’ll take back our political powers, we will still be here for you into independence and beyond.

    Kindest regards,

    David Milligan – a very Sovereign Scot

  3. Andrew Thorpe-Apps very evidently enjoys the advantage of almost perfect ignorance of Scotland’s civic nationalist movement. This allows him to write the kind of shallow, bilious drivel that would be more appropriate to The Telegraph’s comments facility with an earnest conviction that a similarly ill-informed observer might mistake for erudition.

    But his rancid little rant is not entirely without purpose. It stands as a useful catalogue of the myths and fallacies about Scottish politics as promulgated by the British mainstream media.

  4. Racist ‘incidents’ are NOT attacks. Gutter journalism to say so. Many, if not most, racist ‘incidents’ don’t actually have a civilian ‘victim’. Not sure if you don’t understand the dataset you’re quoteing from, or if you’re deliberately trying to deceive.

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