The Hitch Hikers Guide To Scottish Independence
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We found this out in the s when they proved entirely incapable of bringing about a recovery from the Great Depression. The first thing to say is that we can of course use the pound, it is a fully tradeable currency and nobody could stop us using it. Even Alistair Darling has conceded that now.
Indeed, if North Korea or Outer Mongolia decided tomorrow that they wanted to use the pound there is not a single thing anyone could do to stop them. Now at time of writing we have learnt that the value of the pound sterling has already begun to slide on the international currency markets. But if my prediction is borne out you will know that it is the so-called leak that represents the true position. Because that is what this is, what it has always been, a stupid, empty threat.
Summary — Scotland has a range of viable currency options. England does not. This is offset by an asset, North Sea Oil, worth at least that much. No gold reserves and inadequate foreign currency reserves mean keeping that asset associated with sterling is vital. Credit worthiness, as anyone knows, is based on two things — income and assets.
Income is reason 2. Ours is big. Really big. Not only from oil, but also from whisky and many other exports. That can only end one way — hyperinflation and debt default. So there will be a currency union, because there has to be, because Westminster desperately needs there to be, far more than we do if the truth be known. The major advantage to Scotland of such an arrangement is that England will still be able to afford to buy our stuff.
That is the situation, plain and simple.
The Unionists are arguing that we have some kind of moral obligation to pay a proportional share of UK sovereign debt, but of course , that would be contingent on their being reasonable in the negotiations and agreeing to a fair and reasonable division of the assets of the UK and not just the liabilities. And their conceding our status as a successor state to the UK. Otherwise we would be a new state, and a new state, by definition, has no debt.
No doubt they would point fingers and cry foul, accusing us of defaulting on our debt, only that is a nonsense. It is not our debt. We could very easily use the latter as the strategic reserve to create our own central bank and issue our own currency more of this later. Now call me crazy, but I have a feeling the Chinese would lap that up without batting an eyelid! Unionists are very fond of proclaiming that the difference between these two figures represents a subsidy to Scotland. There is, however, a fatal flaw in this hypothesis. Who is doing the subsidising? Where is the money coming from?
You see Scotland, which represents about 8. More than our share. So who exactly is subsidising us? Certainly not English taxpayers, who generate considerably less revenue, on average, than we do. Nor is it the good people of Wales or Northern Ireland. Tell it often enough and people eventually just assume it must be true.
In this case the English electorate. Although even some Scots seem to believe it. Or on things which are of little or no use to us. And let me just take a moment to talk about Trident and its replacement. If we get rid of Trident from our waters we will lose all the jobs that go with it we are told. The Scottish Government usually counters by speaking of its own plans for Faslane as the main headquarters of the Scottish Defence Force which, they say, will create many more jobs than are currently created by Trident.
Trident has been described as the most expensive job creation scheme in history, and if we were to remain in the union we would see this played out once more, in the most graphic way imaginable. They deliver it to you, almost certainly late and over budget. You give them several tens of billions more to make up for that. When it eventually arrives you have spent tens of billions more upgrading and re-tooling facilities at Faslane and Coulport to take the new system, which you might think would create jobs, however most of those jobs will be temporary and will go to outside contractors anyway, not to people in the local area.
In the end you are left with, for Trident, some 8, jobs in total. Of these, three quarters are service personal, most of whom do not in fact live in the local area but are merely on the base when they are on duty.
Most of the remainder might actually be local jobs, in the form of civilian contractors providing services to the base such as catering and cleaning. As you can see the maximum number of such jobs would be around 2, but some estimates put it as low as a few hundred. Bargain, eh? We can never use it because if we used it against another nuclear power we ourselves would be obliterated completely, we would never need to use it against a non-nuclear power, and it would be completely ineffectual, as are all conventional military means, against terrorist threats.
So this begs the question, what is it actually for? Influence See Part 3 — Politics. We also need to touch on the matter of interest, specifically the interest payable on that massive UK national debt. Given the sort of things which that debt has been used to fund, which we have already discussed, many have suggested that Scotland has had rather a bad deal out of it.
It always has. Now since that debt has funded projects which in the main have not benefited us some have suggested that in any apportioning of that national debt Scotland should receive a discount for interest already paid on debt we did not accumulate, and have tried to calculate just how much that might be.
The first attempt to calculate it, looking at just the last 35 years, was made by Business for Scotland. However there was another, more detailed attempt to calculate it by two distinguished independent economists commissioned by the Jimmy Reid Foundation. They took into account some factors not considered in the earlier estimate. Remember, this is about interest that has already been paid.
This is because, as I mentioned before, the debt was not issued by Scotland in the first place. Accordingly the UK Treasury and the Bank of England have already guaranteed that debt, earlier this year. So once that amount is agreed no further interest would be payable on it by Scotland, and of course we would not be liable for the interest on any future debt the KoE might take out. This is because even taking into account the true cost of, for instance, a Scottish Defence Force and other costs currently attributed to us as part of UK-wide spending, over and above the Scottish Government budget, we would in all likelihood be in a position of fiscal surplus.
This is the real reason that the Scottish Government has had the confidence to make additional spending commitments such as their childcare plans. Once we control all of our own revenues we will be able to afford them, without incurring any new debt. That is the truth of our budgetary position. We are actually in a far healthier state than the UK currently is.
And you were wondering why they are so desperate to hang onto us! As for interest rates, nobody can reliably predict what they will be in the future, that will depend on economic circumstances, but what has happened in the last six years must be examined. That is not a neutral setting. However we have seen an uncoupling of mortgage rates, credit card rates, etc. Take a look at your next statement. I guarantee you are not paying 0. However, if you are a pensioner say, with a savings account, you will probably be receiving a derisory amount of interest at the moment. Nice for them, not much use to everyone else.
The so-called quantitative easing QE , or as we used to call it, printing money, which has been pursued since then would, in better times, have led to inflation. Once more, the fact that it has not is a sign of the underlying weakness of the economy. What they did do was to start writing cheques to taxpayers, pensioners, etc. This stimulated the economy in the short term, and public works programs kept this stimulus going in the medium term. By contrast, QE also allows individuals to spend more, but by taking out more debt.
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The Australian model simply gave them the money without making them pay it back with interest. This has been the case in many western countries, with the notable exception of Iceland, which allowed banks to fail and even jailed the bankers who were responsible for the situation. These are resources which any country would be glad of, but apparently for us they are somehow a bad thing. This and the aforementioned McCrone Report which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were lied to about it in the s.
The report, classified secret at the time, was quietly released under the 30 year rule, and only came to light as a result of a freedom of information request. So what does that mean? Well, there have been many ideas about this. This makes every man, woman and child in Norway technically a millionaire. Now, the parallels are obvious, given that Norway has a similar population to that of Scotland. This is where we could be today had we chosen to become independent prior to Arguably we could be even better off, as we have a more diverse economy with other strengths lacked by Norway.
However, shared as it was by an economy ten times our size, which chose to use oil revenues to help to disguise a chronic structural deficit, that opportunity was wasted. The UK could have chosen to set up a sovereign wealth fund with at least some of those revenues, but did not.
They could have allocated some of them to alleviate economic deprivation in Scotland, but did not. In fact some would argue that they were used to fund the de-industrialisation of Scotland and other parts of the UK in the 80s and 90s. They could have used the windfall as an opportunity to restructure the UK economy, to put it on a more sustainable footing, but did not. However this is not the history section, and these events are in the past.
So much for what might have been, let us look at what still might be. The more optimistic estimates of North Sea oil reserves say that there may still be as much oil left as has already been produced. This, once more, does not take account of any new finds.
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And yet as things stand the UK still has no plans to improve their management of that asset. The silence on this issue has been deafening. It appears they intend to continue to waste this golden opportunity to put something away for a rainy day. But is there a better way? Some way to manage the resource both sustainably and profitably to the benefit of our people?
I believe there is. Should we not be pursuing technologies of the future, rather than those of the past? Green tech for example? We are, as everyone knows, the people who brought the world the industrial revolution through our many technological innovations. Now that it is clear that the industrial revolution has had, and continues to have, a profound environmental cost, should we not be looking to harness that innovative spirit once again to bring the world the antidote? The next step forward? The Scottish Green Party, an enthusiastic supporter of independence, is particularly uneasy with those who want to forge ahead with the exploitation of new oilfields West of Shetland, in the Firth of Clyde and further out into the Atlantic.
Older left wing politicians in Scotland seem particularly keen on this idea. They want to return to what they see as a golden age, rebuild the shipyards and drill baby, drill. I have a better idea.
Such a good idea in fact that I probably should precede it with this, to protect the intellectual property rights:. That is why David Cameron was so quick to emphatically rule out having such an option on the ballot paper from the outset. But even if we were to put that uncomfortable fact aside for the moment and imagine that such a thing could somehow be, the idea of Devo-max was for Scotland to get full fiscal autonomy, but to leave the Foreign Affairs and Defence powers reserved to Westminster.
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Why on Earth would we want to do that? Is it in fact so that London would retain the power to drag us into more illegal wars?
The Hitchhikers’ Guide To Scottish Independence (Part 3 – Politics)
So that they could keep their vanity seat, with its accompanying power of veto, on the UN Security Council? To allow them to declare, in our name , unconditional support for the Israeli government even as it commits war crimes and crimes against humanity by indiscriminately targeting civilian areas and killing children? What kind of internationalism is that exactly? How is that in any way a progressive thing?
How is it in any way a desirable thing? This brings us to the crux of the matter. We in Scotland are not one people with those in England. How can we tell? Because we are clearly and demonstrably not one electorate, not one body politic. This has become self-evident since we have been able to express our political views through the medium of a Scottish parliament.
Only the Labour Party is a significant player in both electorates, and as I said above, people in Scotland are not even voting for the same Labour Party anyway. And the policies that appeal to those South Eastern floating voters are not the policies that voters in Scotland would wish to support. It is highly likely that independence would see a wholesale realignment of politics in this country, we would in effect hit the reset button on where the political centre lies and a new politics would emerge.
Some of this has, of course, already begun due to the referendum campaign.
Political animals like myself have already been challenged to question old loyalties, and a huge swathe of people who never took much interest in politics before have become engaged in the debate. This can only be a good thing for Scotland and her people. Those of us who do have such detailed views are beginning to find a large new potential audience, eager to learn and hungry for information as they form their own political perspectives. This is simply unprecedented in my lifetime. Get involved. Maybe even consider standing for your local council, or for parliament, yourself!
And importantly, to take our place once more amongst the international family of nations. To follow our own distinctive path on the world stage. To speak once more with our own voice to the world! Let the Scottish lion roar once more! Why Scotland? You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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