I understand that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has issued yet another suicide note on behalf of the economy of the rest of the UK (rUK) after Scottish independence.
If Scotland votes to become independent, people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland need to know NOW what is George’s Plan B if he continues to rule out Scotland continuing to use the pound in a currency union.
They need to know NOW because with all of Scotland’s vast assets no longer supporting the value of the pound after independence, the rUK economy would – in the short term – suffer very considerably.
So come on, George, people need to know NOW – what’s your Plan B ? (We all really know he doesn’t need one because after independence he’ll NEED a currency union in order to be able to make ends meet !).
In England, the cost of prescriptions has recently been increased to £8.05 per item. Anyone who thinks that this couldn’t happen in Scotland should consider this:-
The Scottish Parliament’s block grant from the London Treasury – its main source of funding – is a fixed percentage of total Westminster Government spending. As Westminster privatise more and more of the NHS in England each year in order to save money, so each year the Scottish Parliament’s funding is cut further. If Scotland remains in the Union, this process will continue until the Scottish Parliament can no longer afford to keep NHS Scotland “free-at-the-point-of-need”, despite the SNP Government’s desire to do this. It will be prevented from doing it by the constant erosion of its funding. If Scots wish to avoid having to pay large fees for prescriptions in future, they need to vote Yes for independence from Westminster cuts on September 18th.
What about UKIP’s headline-grabbing success in Scotland then ?
In Scotland, just 33.5% of those registered to vote did so, a minority. Of those who bothered to vote, just 140,534 – a minority – voted for UKIP.
So, as Ian Bell points out in the Sunday Herald, UKIP gained the support of a minority of a minority. How impressive is that ?
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The Scottish Parliament must be feeling quite flattered today, as David Cameron announces extra money for the childcare subsidy scheme. This appears to be Dave trying to play catch-up with the Scottish Parliament, which has previously set out plans to increase funding for childcare in Scotland.
But hold on – there’s a catch (isn’t there ever !) – the extra money from Westminster isn’t going to be made available until September 2015. Promises, promises ! It won’t wash, Davie boy, promises will not pay for the messages down the road at the supermarket and the last time we checked, the local council wasn’t accepting promises in part-payment of the council tax.
Anyway, chin up, chaps (and chapesses !) – with any luck by September 2015 we’ll be well on the way to independence, and not really caring much about Westminster politicians’ antics.
When Alex Salmond and David Cameron signed the Edinburgh Agreement not many weeks ago, both agreed that whatever the outcome of the independence referendum both sides would accept it and work together constructively and in good faith to make the new arrangement work. Already the likes of David Cameron, Alastair Darling and George Osborne are reneging on that agreement. They are refusing point blank to agree to enter a sterling currency union with an independent Scotland (we’ll wait with bated breath to see what they say on September 19th if Scots have voted Yes) but in the same breath they are complaining about Alex Salmond saying Scots will not help to pay the interest on the UK’s national debt if we don’t get agreement on a currency union.
They can’t have their cake and eat it ! If they refuse to share the assets, what right have they to demand that Scots share the liabilities ? So much for negotiating constructively and in good faith and, anyway, what’s suddenly happened to Cameron’s earlier “refusal to negotiate in advance of the referendum result”.
What lots of people in Scotland – especially Better Together supporters – don’t seem to grasp is that yes, we have the powers to extend childcare, but we don’t have the MONEY. The Scottish Government’s plan is, after independence, to encourage many more women into work, so that the extra income tax they would pay and the lower government payments for benefits would pay for the extra childcare.
What people can’t get their heads round is the fact that whilst we’re in the union this extra money would go straight to the London Treasury and would not be available to fund extra childcare. It’s a handy stick with which to beat the SNP and Yes Scotland, provided that you don’t tell the whole story. If you do, it just doesn’t add up !
Every year for 32 years (the entire available data) GERS includes a deduction from Scotland’s block grant equivalent to Scotland’s population percentage share of Westminster debt.
Over the 32 years, Scotland’s share of UK debt interest amounted to £64.1 billion.
However, during that time had Scotland been an independent country with its geographic share of oil revenues established under international law (as would be the case under independence) Scotland’s borrowing over 32 years would have been zero, nil, nothing, no pounds sterling at all.
Put another way, Scotland paid £64.1 billion (sixty-four thousand one hundred million pounds) interest on debt that Scotland had no need for, simply because we are not an independent country! As a result, on average, £2,000 million was ripped out of the heart of Scotland’s economy every year for 32 years, to pay interest on loans that Scotland didn’t take out and didn’t need.
How on earth does that make us better together?