Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Why independence doesn’t add up for the Scots


WE MUST be grateful to the Telegraph’s Liam Halligan for pointing out that the SNP gained only 45 per cent of the total vote in Scotland and that, despite Nicola Sturgeon implying otherwise, there is no overwhelming mandate for her to call for another referendum on independence

Sturgeon also implies that it would be improper for the Westminster government to prevent another referendum.

She is wrong. Westminster governs for the whole country, including the 55 per cent of Scottish voters who did not vote for the SNP.

If there is to be another referendum on independence, some time, the people of Scotland are surely entitled to see and understand exactly how Brexit pans out before they make such a momentous choice.

Choosing to leave the UK after Brexit will be astonishingly hard and expensive for the Scots. 

Expensive because to meet the terms of the acquis communitaire, the EU entry requirements, a lot of institutions Scotland does not have will need to be invented, organised and staffed. These range from a currency, a central bank, through customs, revenue and border sgencies to several other governmental functions. Finding the people, skills, buildings and equipment is no five-minute job, nor is it cheap.

I helped Lithuania do it: it took years.

After all that, there is no guarantee the EU would make entry easy; Scotland has a huge financial deficit once severed from the rest of the UK.

So a massive reduction in Scottish spending (real austerity) would need to happen and if they stuck with using the UK (English) pound as their currency, there would be limitations on borrowing and no control of their own interest rates.

Pensions and mortgages in Scotland would be problematic, and capital flight a strong possibility.

Then there is the border with England issue!

Will the Scots, with it all spelled out, go for that?

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David Raynes
David Raynes
David Raynes is a former international customs and anti-corruption consultant.

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