Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Scottish independence and the "switcheroo"

In my view this thought experiment is one of the most compelling reasons to vote in favour of Scottish independence. I can't claim credit for having come up with it, I actually first heard it when a Scottish couple visited my local pub (yes I am one of those awful people who insists on talking politics down the pub - I just can't help it).

The thought experiment is to imagine that Scotland is already an independent country, and that this referendum is to decide whether Scotland should join the United Kingdom.

If an independent Scotland joined the UK as the result of a referendum these would be some of the consequences:

Control over the Scottish economy could be moved 400 miles south to London. 
Scotland could "benefit" from a government it didn't vote for imposed on it most of the time because their electorate is so massively outnumbered by the much more Tory sympathetic English electorate. 
These governments imposed on Scotland by the English electorate could keep doing things that Scotland that the Scottish electorate strongly oppose (Royal Mail privatisation, "Bedroom Tax", Poll Tax etc). 
Scottish laws could be ruled upon by a bloated, entirely unelected House of Lords, the largest upper chamber in world politics and one of only two to contain unelected positions for religious clerics (the other being Iran).  
Scotland's oil revenue backed sovereign wealth fund could be shut down, and the huge revenues used to prop up the hopelessly bloated and technically insolvent financial services sector in London, and to offer pre-election tax cut bribes to the gullible English electorate.
Scotland could produce 9.4% of the UK tax returns, but receive only 8.2% of the UK budget in return. Despite this, Scottish people would be constantly derided by the right-wing media and ignorant English people as "scroungers" and "subsidy junkies". 
Despite providing such an impressive contribution to the UK economy, just like all other areas of the UK, Scotland could receive a tiny fraction of the infrastructure investment that London gets, and several important Scottish industries (steel, shipbuilding, fishing etc) could be left to ruin.
Scottish taxes could be used to pay for London vanity projects like the Olympic Games and a high speed railway that goes absolutely nowhere near Scotland. 
Scottish taxes could be used to prop up a completely bizarre energy price-fixing scheme where the London government pays the French state (in the guise of EdF) double the market rate for electricity for 35 years in order to bribe them into building a nuclear power plant that the London government have an ideological objection to building for themselves!
Scotland could be dragged into participation in the invasion and occupation of foreign countries on incredibly spurious pretexts, making Scotland a much more likely target for international terrorism. 
Scottish taxes could be used to pay for the maintenance of a (privatised) nuclear weapons arsenal (that should never be used), and these weapons could be moved to a base just 30 miles from the biggest city in Scotland.
Scotland could gain an overbearing and unaccountable secret service that has just been given permission to continue trawling the communications data of millions of completely innocent people. (all six of the representatives of the Scottish government in London joined just 45 other MPs in opposing this outrageous scheme).
Scotland could "benefit" from the use of new Secret Courts, in which the defendant can have their fate decided in a courtroom that they are not allowed to enter, on charges that they are not allowed to know based on evidence that they are not allowed to see (Once again the six representatives of the Scottish government in London voted against this Kafkaesque attack on the concept of open justice alongside just a handful of dissidents from the Westminster establishment parties).
Scotland could be left totally reliant upon the will of the English electorate to decide whether they remain part of the EU, should the Tories get back into power again, or God forbid it a Tory/UKIP coalition.
These are just a few of the things Scotland could expect to "gain" from joining the United Kingdom.

Just thinking about some of the consequences of being part of the United Kingdom make it very clear why the Unionist campaign concentrated so hard in instilling a sense of fear in the Scottish electorate instead of attempting to build anything remotely resembling a positive case for Union.

They couldn't have people thinking about the consequences of being part of the Union, just in case they started thinking along these lines.

Thus the "Better Together" campaign was all about creating fear with the constant reiteration of themes like "you can't have the pound", "Your oil will run out", "your banks will do a runner", "your supermarket prices will rise by this percentage we've just plucked out of the air", "your social safety net will become unaffordable", "ISIS, ISIS, ISIS, ISIS, ISIS!".

If Scotland was an independent country right now, would you really vote to have her join the United Kingdom?

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Scottish independence: We don't need your pity
A letter to Scottish voters

Scottish independence: A tale of hope and fear
How Labour dropped the ball on Scottish independence
Who is to blame for the economic crisis?
Why the Unioist campaign is falling apart
Asset stripping "bankrupt" Britain with Gideon & Dave
The Tory ideological mission
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies