Aug 292014

“Just the way I see it” writes Keith Marley.

scotland2As I understand it the Scottish Government is currently responsible for 7% of taxes raised in Scotland. However it does have the ability to reallocate some, if not all, of the funds it receives from Westminster.
As a result we have a superior education system at all levels, a not perfect but superior health service, free university places for Scottish students, free prescriptions, free travel for the elderly and have even done away with toll bridges, yet despite all these benefits I am not aware of any services or standards which are in any way substandard to the rest of the UK.

Our country has massive oil reserves with enough oil discovered in the North Sea already to ensure prosperity for at least the next 3 generations.

We are at the forefront of renewable energy technology with 25% of Europe’s tidal and wind potential. All this in addition to our successful, established industries in Whisky, Tourism, Manufacturing, Construction, Agriculture and the Creative industries from fashion to computer games which is enough to make us a wealthy country even if we didn’t have oil.

Here’s the bit I don’t understand……If we vote ‘Yes’ we will have complete control over our whole economy, but if we vote ‘No’ we may be given some more powers such as raising taxes.

I don’t know about anybody else but the promise of paying increased tax hasn’t swung my vote yet. As for these other ‘powers’ there seems to be much shuffling of feet and unconfirmed mumbled answers. Of course it will all depend on who is in power if and when Scotland actually becomes independent.

It seems to me that just as many in Westminster will take a ‘No’ vote as a good enough reason to put an end to the Barnett formula resulting in a decrease in money coming back to Scotland as well as fewer M.P.s which means less representation for Scottish interests.

If we vote ‘Yes’ we are told we will lose the pound, but I think, and I suspect the majority of Scots also think, that this will also be detrimental to the rest of the UK and simply political posturing. If not, there are other options many of which are becoming more appealing as time goes on.

We are told that an independent Scotland will no longer enjoy the status of ‘being a world power’ influencing international politics. That suits me just fine, I didn’t agree with getting involved in Iraq or Afghanistan any more than I agreed with the conflict with Argentina over the Falkland isles. If we are no longer a nuclear force then I am confident we will be no longer a nuclear target either.

We have been told by the ‘No’ campaign that we will be out of the E.U. which frankly, seems to be strange threat for 2 reasons.

Why would Europe not welcome a country with a strong economy, which already meets all the standards and criteria for acceptance as well as having Europe’s main oil reserves, wind and wave potential and is Europe’s main provider of fish as well as being an existing trading partner with strong import and export links already established? It seems to me that there will be a rush to ‘fast track’ Scotland as quickly as possible.

The second reason for my doubt about this being a potential threat is the fact that the UK government has already promised (if re-elected) to hold a referendum about staying in the EU which judging by the recent U-KIP wins could well result in Scotland being pulled out of the EU like it or not along with the rest of the UK.

I am not affiliated to any political party and my hope is that come independence and Scotland’s first general election I will be able to vote for a party that truly reflects my own opinions and desires.

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  15 Responses to “A View On Independence”

  1. Nice article, well said.

    Only those with a fear of the unknown will stop the people of Scotland being in a position to govern themselves.

  2. Hi Keith,

    I believe it would serve the interests of the Scottish people better, regardless of voting intentions, if we tried to stick to the facts rather than adopting the extremely tiresome strategy of presenting opinion and assertion as fact and misleading people.

    It is a fact that the vision of “independence” we are being offered is based on adopting the currency of a foreign country and allowing the central bank and lender of last resort of that foreign country to take full control of our entire monetary policy. A Yes vote, according to First Minister Salmond, would be sufficient to present such a position as the “sovereign will of the Scottish people”. To suggest, therefore, that a Yes vote would provide us with full control over our own economy is simply untrue.

    Your assertion that all of the countries of Europe will be rushing to break existing rules by fast – tracking a membership application from a new nation which would, depending on the outcome of negotiations, either have no currency of it’s own or have no lender of last resort and, if the threats of the Yes Campaign are to be believed, may have just defaulted on it’s national debt is, in my opinion, fanciful at best. Your notion that member nations, threatened by separatist movements of their own, would not think twice before approving an application from an independent Scotland is, in my opinion, nonsensical.

    To lobby for a Yes vote is entirely legitimate but to do so on the basis of what, in my view, amounts to wild and unreasonable expectation makes a mockery of the entire debate.

    • Bruce, you seem somewhat confused , First of all, Scotland will not be adopting the currency of a foreign country. The pound is as much ours as it is for the rest of the UK. The terms and conditions of a currency union will depend on negotiations between Edinburgh and Westminster – and the governer of the BoE.
      Having a lender of last resort is not a requirement for joining the EU. Some would argue that by not having a lender of last resort it would make bankers act more prudently which would reduce the risk of another banking crisis.
      I am already an EU citizen and have an EU passport. There are no rules to break concerning an Independent Scotland becoming a member – it is a unique case with no precedent in the history of the EU.
      Scotland is not responsible for the UK’s national debt. This has already been acknowledged by the Westminster government who have announced that they will underwrite the entire debt. The SNP are prepared to accept a share of the UK’s debt as an act of good will but in the event of the Westminster government refusing a reasonable division of the UKs assets, there will be no reason for Scotland to be so generous.

      With our track record and assets, there is no doubt that Scotland will gain acceptance very quickly.

      • HI Denis,

        This is exactly the kind of misleading information I was referring to. An independent Scotland would, of course, have every right to use any existing currency they so choose, including the US dollar, Australian dollar or rouble should they so wish. A problem with this is not only would there be no lender of last resort but those who would be representing Scotland in negotiations with the UK have already declared that currency union with the UK, in the event of a Yes vote, would be the “sovereign will” of the Scottish people and therefore no other option or Plan B is on the table. To achieve this, they would have to convince all three UK mainstream political parties to enter a domestic election campaign on the basis of an extremely high – profile and unpopular u – turn. Should they succeed in performing this miracle of biblical proportions then they would, I must tell you, most definitely be in a position in which their monetary policy would be dictated by a foreign country. There is no confusion here whatsoever and even the SNP leadership have conceded this point.

        With regard to EU membership, you have failed to address the points I raise and I don’t blame you for that as these obstacles, according to knowledgable and experienced veterans of the EU Commission, are most likely insurmountable.

        Notwithstanding the opinions of such experts, your suggestion that a new applicant state, as Scotland would be, could be accepted as an EU member whilst shadowing the currency of an existing member who had successfully negotiated an opt out of the Euro, whilst reneging on an acknowledged share of national debt thereby expecting that same member, whose vote would be required to enable our membership, to pay the bill on our behalf, whilst having no central bank to guarantee the value of our currency or bail out our banks in the event of a financial crisis and whilst setting a precedent which would encourage separatist movements in Catalonia, Pays Basque, Flanders and Corsica is, in my opinion, straight out of the SNP book of self – delusion.

        Good luck with the campaign Denis but please do not try to fool people with such illogical and ill – informed contributions. The UK will decide if an independent Scotland will be permitted currency union and the UK will decide whether or not to veto our membership of the EU. They have all the cards whilst those in whom you have placed your trust are not only bluffing but are not very good at it.

  3. Some interesting notes.

    I`m still 50/50, I truly believe Scotland is more than capable on standing on its own feet. We are a proud nation of Engineers, Inventors and Warriors.

    When a man has to take his son to Spain for better treatment, maybe this shows what a mess the UK is in.

    For me the NHS is the barometer of how we are doing. I just hope all the doctors and Surgeons dont decide to move South if things improve in the Scottish NHS

    I think whats important here that regardless of what happens over the coming months, we must all stick together and respect the views of our fellow Scots. Voting YES or NO is neither a good or a bad thing. Nobody knows for sure what will happen next.

    Can we de-privatise the postal service? 🙂

    (Still 50/50, if I vote no. it wont be out of fear)

  4. I’m genuinely surprised to read that a “proud warrior” like yourself is undecided but would agree that we should be voting on the basis of fact rather than fear and fantasy. Claims by SNP MP’S that only a Scottish Government can save the NHS and that we will be governed by UKIP, unless we vote Yes, amount to ridiculous scaremongering. As for their claims that an independent Scotland will have free childcare for all, free education for all, free medical treatment for all, free care of the elderly, index – linked pensions for all and will ban austerity, poverty, inequality and food banks whilst remaining debt free, well what can one say?

  5. Interesting comments.

    But why should we stick with Westminster which has not seen fit to save our assets? And I mean English assets as well as the rest of the UK’s assets. Over 50% of gas production lies within English maritime waters and yet Westminster (under both Labour and Conservative govts) has not seen fit to set up a sovereign wealth fund – here’s the evidence –

    I’m not an economist but it seems like a sensible thing to do but the UK is NOT on the list. Nearly every oil producing country has set one one up – and can use the money to invest in infrastructure and their country’s future. I wonder where Westminster has put the cash? I reckon a sovereign wealth fund is a good reason to vote Yes it will go on sensible spending instead of bankers and privatisation and illegal wars- and by the way, 90% of oil production lies in Scottish waters.

    Plus renewables are the future – and we have approx. 1/3 of wind and wave power in Europe – a country of 5 million has the energy capacity of 180 million. With carbon emission reductions Scotland will be at the forefront of a greener Europe.

    The “Jarrow marchers” of 2014 who are walking to London to try and save the NHS in England are telling Scottish voters to vote Yes to save the NHS here – speaks volumes doesn’t it? But don’t expect taxes or National insurance payment to go down in England. So with a privatised system they will be paying for the “NHS” twice over. It’s horrible for r UK but at least we have a chance to prevent that up here,

    • So not only are we to receive everything free but we are to simultaneously set up a sovereign wealth fund and, at the same time, invest our new found wealth in infrastructure for the future whilst paying subsidies to encourage the growth of renewables.

      You’re right, you’re not an economist!!

  6. More engineer than warrior.

    In my view an independent Scotland may need its warriors from the off. what with the English helping themselves to the oil* and the Russians helping themselves to the fish

    Looking at a little history, it was a Scottish King that United the Kingdoms. Does anyone know how many politicians there are in Westminster that are Scottish?

    I dont like the notion being passed around that if Scotland Vote no, then Westminster will Claw back some of the power currently being enjoyed in Edinburgh.

    Just now we have 3 goverments to appease. European,Westminster,Edinburgh, it would save us a few quid I reckon if we cut out the middle one, but still looking for another 1 or 2 good reasons to vote yes

    *directional drilling techniqes

    • Please don’t tell me our New Moral Army is to be fighting the English and the Russians at the same time. That’s been tried before you know and didn’t end too well in either case.

      I’m not quite sure what the invitation, from the English nobles to James the Sixth in 1603, has to do with the number of Scottish politicians at Westminster now but am sure you will let me know.

      You seem to be a very one – sided undecided and are extremely critical of anything remotely English/Westminster. What exactly is it which is preventing you from becoming one of Salmond’s brave soldiers?

      • Oh, your a no voter. Took me a while to work that out would you believe… 🙂

        The westminster thing, was a poke to see how much representation Scotland actually has, there was no real link with what happened hundreds of years ago. Doesnt seem that long since we had a Mt Brown at the helm. Sorry if I appear ignorant, but I`m working hard just now to pay all these taxes and dont really have time to catch up on news and stuff, would rather be at the park with the kids.

        3 months ago I was a definite no voter, but I cant help but think there is an important decision to be made here and I simply dont know what to do – along with a lot of other ppl

        we cant vote yes because of a Tory Gov, we cant vote no just because we dont like Salmond

        when i realised a yes vote doesnt automatically mean an snp gov, then it becomes interesting. for me anyway

        Couldnt give a monkeys about currency, I`m always overdrawn at the bank, so I dont have any money to lose.

        I do switch off when yes voters stick out their chest and cry freedom 🙂

  7. Bruce, Stop being so miserable in my opinion, and knocking every yes or undecided poster, we get it, you’re voting no. This doesn’t make you right and everyone else wrong. If you think the current system is serving you and the people of Scotland well then good for you, others like me think we could do it so much better, I don’t want the bedroom tax or people living on handouts from food banks, I want a fairer society which I believe a government local to us has a better chance of delivering.

    I ask one question of you if you don’t mind…why are they so desperate to keep us? according to them we cost them money in subsidies, why try so hard with their project fear campaign if that’s the case. Tia.

  8. I’m terribly sorry that I disagree with Keith, John, Denis, Terry and yourself but if someone uses a forum to make claims which I believe to be false and misleading then I am entitled to respond.

    You refer to “them” and “they” and a “project fear”. I assume from this that you are referring to the other members of the UK – England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Can you provide me with an example of this “project fear” campaign which you allege they are conducting so that I can respond to your question please?

  9. Mr Wood says – “You refer to “them” and “they” and a “project fear”. I assume from this that you are referring to the other members of the UK – England, Wales and Northern Ireland. ”

    I’m friends with “other members of the UK” as we all are. Most of my English friends are voting Yes (and there are still Scottish people on the No side.) So trying to frame this debate along national lines is wrong, misleading and divisive.

    The Yes side has got support from everywhere – Tories for Yes, Lawyers for Yes, English for Yes and even Celtic and Rangers fans United for Yes. Isn’t that unifying? This isn’t a national issue – it’s an issue of self determination, social justice and internationalism as Scotland wants to stay inside Europe. Attempts by desperate No supporters to say Yes voters are a bunch of insular racist types is a bit sad and pathetic.

    Question – why do you think that the only grouping that hasn’t got a pro-independence element were Bankers. I couldn’t find any “Bankers for Yes at all. That speaks volumes.

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