Friday, 14 June 2013

Who doesn't want independence

Who stands to gain and lose if Scotland becomes independent?  A ‘Yes’ vote will result in many changes over time, so let’s consider both sides, starting with the ‘winners’.

Having a more representative parliament that is closer to the people will result in better governance, more jobs, less poverty and efficient public services.  This is to the benefit of the vast majority of us in Scotland.  Those of us in minority groups (through language, ethnicity, etc) will enjoy greater protection from the presence of a written and easily understood constitution.  Archaic laws which only entrench the wealth of a few will be swept away by reforms, allowing the most dynamic and imaginative amongst us to become successful.

Independence offers a fairer share from a larger cake

A modern, progressive Scotland can also lead by example, and help support movements for reform in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  This would be much more effective than our meagre 4% stake in Westminster.  Having a more ethical foreign policy will allow us to be more influential abroad, as we won’t be dismissed as hypocrites. (this one is particularly poignant as the UK’s policy is not in relation to speaking ‘a’ national language, but English.  Once again, Westminster ignores Scots, Welsh, Gaelic, Cornish and Sign Language).

 "Standard's are great, there are so many to choose from!" British Foreign Office (probably)

So who stands to lose if Scotland becomes independent?  Let’s start with politicians at
Westminster.  Scotland is a net contributor to the UK.  We provide 9.9% of all tax revenues but receive only 9.3% of expenditure, and this is including £17 billion (that’s 17 with nine ‘0’s at the end of it) per year which is classified as ‘Scottish Expenditure’ but isn’t actually spent here.  That’s a lot of money and a lot of jobs.  Could Westminster successfully compete without this subsidy?  They don’t believe they can.

Those who use warfare to advance foreign policy aims stand to lose too.  Anti-war sentiment in Scotland will be reflected in her parties following a ‘Yes’ vote, making it less likely that we’ll be dragged into unwanted conflicts.  Could those who want the UK to export war successfully engage in conflicts around the world without our unquestioned and uninterrupted support?  They don’t believe they can.

Many of those based in the City of London aren’t keen either.  If Scotland were to adopt tougher regulation on banks and financial institutions, for example, then we’d be able to gain more trust from investors.  Edinburgh, Scotland’s financial capital, could avoid the AIG, Madoff, MF Global, London Whale, Libor, CDS miss-selling scandals which have plagued London over the last few years, and become a real competitor for the South East.  Could the City of London successfully compete with a freed Scottish Economy?  They don’t believe they can.

"I say, old chap, the current system works rather well..." Lord Rupert 'Pongo' Threepwood, 12th Lord of Mocksbury

So who wins if Scotland becomes independent?  Primarily it is the majority of the people who actually live in Scotland.  Those who work hard in their jobs, those who need a little help through tough times, and those who have a real talent and skill can all expect to see life incrementally improve as successive Governments become more focused on our needs and wishes.

So who loses if Scotland becomes independent?  Primarily it is those who believe they cannot succeed on a more level playing field. Do the privileged few who attend the House of Lords genuinely believe they can match their current levels of wealth and power with their current level of effort and talent?  Do those who long for Britain to wage war to prove it is still a global power genuinely believe that their military campaigns can continue on the same scale without Scotland’s wealth and people?  Do those who currently profit from inherited wealth and power genuinely believe that they can still succeed when confronted by reforming Scottish Governments who have the support of the people?

"Blast it, I cannot do with any more working.  I was full up on the stuff years ago."

It is impossible to say what the future holds, but for the privileged few, their chances of holding onto power are much greater in a stagnating, and inflexible Britain, than in a dynamic, more proactive Scotland.  Many of the no campaign’s leaders are currently benefiting from the UK Government’s policies, either directly or indirectly.  Is it surprising that they speak out against changes and reforms that could force them to compete?

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This blog first appeared on the Disabled People for Independence blog in April

1 comment:

  1. An excellent article - I think it needs to be pointed out to anyone who'll listen that there are voices to be automatically viewed with suspicion - the voices of those who will lose their jobs, expenses, pensions, their way of life...the Scottish MP's and "Lords" at Westminster.

    If you take their voices out of the debate, what are you left with, arguing for No Better?