Monday, 8 September 2014

Independence for Scotland

I don't get to vote. But I do get to have an opinion. So what is it?

When looking at whether something is better or worse, sometimes it's hard to see. One way to make it easier, is to apply a bit of amplification. So let's do that.

Suppose Scotland becomes independent. And that this is followed by Wales, Northern Ireland, Cornwall, Kent (a two state solution there; Men of Kent and Kentish Men), the three Ridings of Yorkshire and Rutland - all independent countries, with their own parliament, central bank, taxation system, currency, police force, military ... you see where this goes. Daft.

There are economies of scale in larger countries. If you divide a country up into small pieces, you lose the economies of scale.

In the 1975 referendum, I voted to stay in Europe, mostly for that reason. The other reason I had was that it would remove the absolute power that parliament had. But mostly because a larger economic unit is more efficient and effective than a smaller one.

So what happens if Scotland goes it alone? I think it would be pretty bad for the Scots. Despite what Salmond is saying, Scotland would not automatically be part of the EC, they'd have to apply for it. And they might be rejected; countries that have spearatist movements (Belgium, Spain) wouldn't want to encourage them.

And what currency will they use? Obviously, the UK pound; that's what Salmond keeps saying. And he's right, I think, we can't stop them using pounds, any more than the USA could stop them using dollars. But if they do use pounds, then it means that a significant part of their economy is being run by London; they'd have no say in the amount of money that got printed, no say in interest rates.

And what about North Sea Oil? Who does that belong to? It's easy for Salmond to say "us" because he lives near Edinburgh, but I'd like to dispute that; I say it belongs to me, because I live near Amersham. So what are the arguments? Just because something is nearby, doesn't mean you own it. And you don't have a Navy, we do.

And what about credit? Scotland will be a complete unknown, as far as creditworthiness is concerned. So anyone lending to them (and all governments have to borrow) will apply a high rate of interest to compensate for the risk.

And what about exports and imports? There will be customs duty to pay on anything crossing the border; that will be a pain. I bought electric bike stuff from a company in Scotland, and one of the advantages was not having to worry about paying extra VAT and import duty. The Scots will lose that advantage, unless they can join the EC.

Divorces are often messy, and since this will be worked out between *politicians*, I think this one will be messy, with lots of arguments over who owns what part of the CD collection, and whether the Schmidts are your friends or mine.

The population of Scotland is 5 million. Going from a nation of 63 million to 5, is a big step for them. For the rest of us, going from a population of 63 million to 58, isn't going to be noticeable.

So I think that if the Scots vote for independence, they won't do as well as if they'd stayed in the union. And they'll be taking one big risk, for a reward that I can't actually see.

But I think the rest of us will barely notice.

1 comment:

  1. The Scott's don't know when they are well off. Most Scott's have a chip on their shoulder regarding the English, just look at the football. When England play they support the other team and hate to see them win. I only hope if the do go independent they will no longer be able to access "British " products this would include the BBC. Recent local job losses at MOD Portsmouth jobs were given the Scott's these should be re instated to the English.
    If they go they must suffer the consequence's