Saturday, 8 February 2014
Off-Topic: Scottish Independence
I'm not Scottish. I was born in England, and so were my parents, my grandparents, and probably many generations before them. But if I were Scottish, I would vote to leave the United Kingdom and become an independent nation.
The arguments for independence are plain and simple. Scotland is a small country (about five million people) with enormous natural resources. I'm talking primarily about gas and oil, but there's also fishing. This will make Scotland Europe's richest country, comparable only with Norway.
David Cameron has already stated that if Scotland becomes independent the remaining countries of the UK (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) will inherit 100% of the UK's national debt, currently £1.3 billion. Scotland will be debt free. This will give the Scottish economy an enormous boost.
The first thing that the Scottish will notice after independence is the prices in the shops. Leaving the UK means leaving the European Union, so VAT (Europe's sales tax) will be abolished. The UK's VAT rate is 20%, so prices will drop by 16% overnight, including fuel and alcohol. Some Scottish politicians say that Scotland should apply to join the EU after independence, but when the Scots see that their whisky is £5 a bottle cheaper they'll rebel against EU membership.
Leaving the EU also means that Scotland will be able to deport any unwanted EU nationals by pushing them over the border into England. Scotland currently has higher unemployment than England, so the presence of European workers is resented more strongly than it is in England.
It won't be an overnight process, but Scotland will have to start handing out passports to its residents that it considers to be Scottish. The criteria haven't been fixed yet, but it will probably be something like "To be Scottish you, at least one parent and at least one grandparent have to be born in Scotland". Anyone who is unemployed and British but not Scottish will no longer be entitled to unemployment or sickness benefits. They will be forced to emigrate to England, lessening the burden on the Scottish economy.
Scotland can also look forward to a future as a tax haven. The lack of VAT will lead to companies setting up offices in Scotland. It will be just like the Channel Islands are now, except that it's closer. There will also be a lot of cross-border traffic of people in northern England taking advantage of the cheaper Scottish shop prices. I already mentioned that Scotland has higher unemployment than England. The new liberal taxation will create new jobs at all skill levels.
Those are the advantages of voting Yes in the Scottish independence referendum on September 18th 2014. Are there any disadvantages? Unless England builds a wall to keep the Scots out I can't think of any. Not for Scotland, anyway. Scottish independence will harm the English economy, which is why David Cameron is panicking. Whether the effect will be large or small is something only economics experts can speculate. But Scottish independence will be good for Scotland, and all Scots should vote Yes in the referendum. The only possible reason for voting No is if you live in Scotland but intend to move to England.
I'm not Scottish. I wish I were. The new independent Scotland will be the most exciting country in Europe.