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?
SNP policies save -
£250 pa for the bus pass for over 60s
£233 pa for tolls on the Forth
£104 pa for free prescriptions for people with long-term conditions, compared to England
£9000 pa for tuition fees compared to England
The increase in childcare to 600 hours will save the equivalent of over £700 per child per year
An independent Scotland should use North Sea oil and gas revenue to set up a short-term stabilization fund and a long-term wealth fund, according to the Scottish government’s economic advisers.
A future government may be able to start making “modest investments” into an oil savings fund by 2017-2018 or toward the end of the decade assuming public-sector debt was decreasing, the Fiscal Commission Working Group, which includes Nobel Prize winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and James Mirrlees, said in a report published today.
Independence is the flagship policy of the Scottish National Party that runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, and First Minister Alex Salmond has said he wants to establish an oil fund similar to Norway. The SNP plans to hold a referendum on independence in September 2014, with British Prime Minister David Cameron and the opposition Labour Party both campaigning for a “No” vote to keep the U.K. intact.