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SAY What?

Two parts cultural commentary, one part personal ranting. Serve with a side of political debate. May contain sarcasm.

Scottish Independence Simplified- What's actually going to happen
17 September 2014 @ 14:41

There's a lot of "what ifs?" about the vote on Thursday. Should Scotland be an independent country? Most polls put the vote pretty much neck and neck. So what would happen if people vote yes? Most of this is educated speculation, but here's my best shot:
 
Economy:
 
  • Both Scotland and the rest of the UK would be economically worse off. 80% of FTSE chairmen say that there would be a "significant negative economic effect" (1)
  • The Economist says that an independent Scotland's "long-term economic prospects are dire: it would be a rich country, set to get poorer quickly" (2)
Conclusion = independence is bad for everyone
 
Business:
 
  • Many Scottish businesses are already planning to relocate out of Scotland if there is a Yes vote. These include the Royal Bank of Scotland (oh the irony). They say it's because being a bank in an independent Scotland would make it "harder to borrow" (1)
  • The head of John Lewis said that many big businesses "would be forced to put up prices" in Scotland, especially if they had a different currency. Asda, Waitrose and B&Q have said similar things. (1)
  • Then there are things such as The National Lottery, the Met Office and TV channels. Scots wouldn't be able to play the lottery and they'd have to set up their own weather forecasting company. If they wanted to watch British TV they'd have to do what other foreign people do; pay loads more to access these channels through digital packages. And no iplayer. (9). 
Conclusion = independence is bad for business and Scottish shoppers 
 
Money:
 
  • A question most people are asking. What would Scotland do about currency? Salmond's answer is that Scotland would try to form an official monetary union with the UK and keep the pound. Westminster says they wouldn't ever allow this.
  • Plan B would be to form an "informal union" with the pound. This basically means Scotland would have a "Scottish Pound" that copies whatever the British Pound does. IE if the British pound drops in value against the dollar, so too would the Scottish pound. Scotland would simply piggie back the British pound until it got on its own feet with currency. That would take years. (4)
  • Whatever happens, the value of both the British pound and the Scottish pound would drop. The value of the pound is already at a 10 month low due to the run up to the vote (4)
Conclusion = everyone loses out. 
 
National Politics:
  • The biggest political problem facing an independent Scotland would be legislation. It'd have to make up its own constitution. It'd have to make up its own Immigration policy. Its own Citizenship policy. And all the other policies. 
  • Salmond's stance on all of this is "let's get independence and then we'll sort out all the details later". What's certain is it'd take years for Scotland to come up with these details on its own. The Yes Scotland website says they'll design an interim constitution to last until 2016 and then they'll "begin to craft a permanent constitution, involving people from all walks of life" (6) This would be a long, difficult and time-consuming process. And that's just the constitution. That's not even touching on other legislation.
  • It'd also affect the rUK; 41 of Labour's seats in the Commons are from Scotland. Take these seats away and Conservatives have a run-away majority. They wouldn't even need to campaign to win the next election. (3)

Conclusion for Scotland = years and years of paperwork, probably more trouble than it's worth. 

Conclusion for England = if you're Tory, independence is good, if you're anything but Tory, independence is bad, very bad.
 
International Politics:
 
  • Internationally, Scotland is nothing without the UK. It's the UK that holds the Security Council seat in the UN. It's the UK that's in the G8. It's the UK that has the most votes in the Council of the European Union (together with Germany, France and Italy). The votes are based on a country's population; the higher the population, the more votes you get. An independent Scotland wouldn't hold any position of significance in the UN, wouldn't be invited to the G8, and with a population of 5.2 million, would have the same influence on the EU as Slovenia (which is pretty much nil). An Independent Scotland would be insignificant in world politics and international relations.  
  • Despite this, Scotland would probably want to continue to be a member of the EU. Whether or not it can be, no one knows. This situation has never come up and the chances are there would be lots of hoops for Scotland to jump through. Spain would probably oppose Scotland's application for membership (anything to stop Catalonia following in Scotland's independent footsteps) and it would confuse the heck out of people who think the UK should leave the EU. Why would Scotland so desperately want in and then the UK want so desperately out? (5) 
  • Also, North Korea is the only country that's actively supporting an independent Scotland (7). Is this an ally Scotland wants?
Conclusion = headaches, confusion and loss of influence all round.
 
Population:
 
  • Scotland has an older population (ie more pensioners) than the rest of the UK. It's also generally less healthy and more obese. The population is getting older, sicker and fatter and the birth rate is decreasing. This means that over the next 50 years the Scottish workforce will shrink. There will be less people working and more people claiming pensions and health care (2). 
  • This will screw up pretty much everything that makes Scotland prosperous and the only solution to this problem would be to have a very relaxed immigration policy. Let in a shed load of young, healthy foreign workers to fill the gaps in labour, to pay the taxes that cover the health service and pensions. That means a lot more of immigrants in Scotland.  
  • For the rUK, on the other hand, this is very good news. Scottish people get free prescriptions and as a percentage of the population, more of them take a pension. Last year Scotland spent £12 billion more than it raised in taxes (8) So without Scotland, the rUK would save more money in the Public Purse.
Conclusion for Scotland = bleak
Conclusion for England = good


 
General Conclusion
 
The only person who could possibly be in favour of an independent Scotland would be a die-hard British Conservative who wants rich Scottish businesses to move south of the border. Someone who's so rich themselves that they wouldn't be affected if the economy went a bit tits up. 


 
Wait.


 
 


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2 Comments


jdyerjay said:
17 September 2014 @ 22:28

last one out of Scotland turn the lights off


Hephaestus said:
18 September 2014 @ 12:01

The 41 Scottish Labour MP's effectively negated the choice of south of the border voters in favour of a Conservative government, they forced a coalition administration on us.

That's my reason for wanting the Scots to vote YES.


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