The Scottish population is the same as the Greater London area (6.8 million) spread over an area of approximately a third of the main island of Britain. The country has excess resource in re-usable energy and on current projections will have a surplus of light crude oil for around 50 years or more; before any attempts are made to access the oil lying off the Western Islands. Scottish forestry is booming and all the related harvesting, transporting and production units are at full capacity. Tourism is at an all time high in terms of bed occupation. The banking sector has taken a hit but the CBI’s own figures showed that the Scottish financial sector had 1.5% growth overall in the last quarter. Currently 50% of all power from Scottish nuclear plants is exported to Northern Ireland or the North of England to keep the lights on, power shortage in the SE is backed up from Scottish coal fired plants and hydro schemes. The people are resourceful with the majority of employment (outside Government) in Scotland coming from SME’s. An independent KPMG survey indicated that an independent Scotland would show greater economic growth and inward investment if freed from the fiscal policy of Westminster.
This all raises the question – who is actually dependent on whom?
The site’s tame Tory is always ready to spout the “scrounging Scot’s” line yet the question begs to be asked, what would happen if an independent Scotland switched off its power provision south of the border? How badly would the electrical and oil shortages hit the English economy? Last year we know that a failure of Longannet Coal Power station in Fife to come on line, in time, caused Oxford Police’s computer to burst into flame, nuclear plants at Dungeness to trip, power failure at London Bridge Station stopping all the trains, amongst other consequences.
In Carol Craig’s book, ‘A Scottish Crisis of Confidence’ this Labour Unionist has great difficulty in supporting the premise that Scotland is well looked after in the Union, accepting – as she does - that the neo-colonial nature of Scotland’s relationship with Westminster has been damaging to the Scottish nation. Like many colonies, Scotland has been ransacked over the last 300 years for its resources, especially in terms of intellect, skills, military and educated people in support of the British Empire. Yet Michael Lynch in his ‘A History of Scotland’ argues there is no economic evidence that Scotland would not have benefited the same, if not more, from the industrial revolution as an independent country outside of the British Empire.
Now we have the Calman Report, Brown’s attempt to muddy the waters, to bring Scotland to heel, to prove once and for all Scotland is too wee, small and stupid to run its own affairs; except it hasn’t.
The main finding of Calman is the need to end the Barnet agreement (for doling out Scottish pocket money) and replace it with a degree of fiscal autonomy, clearly not what Gordon and Millbank wanted to hear as a suggestion. Surprisingly for our tame Tory, the majority of Scot’s are happy to embrace this concept. The problem for Westminster is where do you draw the tax line; general taxation, VAT, company taxation, excise duty, extra territorial income ......? With out Barnet how do you control a Holyrood run by the SNP, as you have lost the major levers of fiscal control? What will be the further political impact in England of a left of centre government in Scotland bringing forward and implementing social programs that Westminster says England can not afford yet the English populous like the look of?
Tony and Donald opened this devolutionary Pandora’s box – neither Brown nor ‘Call me Dave’ will not be able close the lid. Whither now the Union of Parliaments?