The Scottish Independence Referendum
The Economics of Independence
- You do not need to be a Nobel prize winning economist to understand the potential pluses and minuses of independence for Scotland
- John Swinney often reminds us that there are two Nobel prize winning economists on the SNP’s Fiscal Commission which has given its blessing for the SNP Government’s plans and the SNP view of the world
- Pretty reassuring if they and the other very well qualified members of the Fiscal Commission are themselves truly independent and if they brought a balanced view to play in their analysis
- But when you look at who the Fiscal Commission are, and what they have to say, it seems they are not very arms length at all but rather simply selected from amongst Alex Salmond’s economic advisers
- That does not mean they are necessarily wrong, but it does mean you might want to look elsewhere for impartial economic experts1.
- Or, and perhaps more to the point, you might like to apply your own judgement because many economic and financial issues are not quite as mysterious as some might like to suggest.
- Take the SNP contention that if we break up the United Kingdom and split Scotland away from the rest, we will somehow get better and stronger, despite being smaller and in so many ways lesser
- Just how realistic does that seem – getting better by being smaller and lesser in so many ways? It doesn’t sound very likely does it?
- The SNP claim that the people of Scotland will be financially better off after independence – apparently through Scotland taking the great majority of the oil but leaving a disproportionate amount of the debt. They mention a couple of ways of dividing the debt but ignore the more obvious alternative of a fair distribution whereby the people of Scotland do not gain so much as a £1 at the expense of the people of the rest of the United Kingdom. Why should we gain at the expense of our own countrymen and women?
- It seems the SNP’s economics of independence are the economics of divisiveness and sleight of hand. Aiming for the people of Scotland to gain at the direct expense of the people of the rest of the United Kingdom. Is that fair?
1Perhaps various reports from the Institute of Fiscal Studies who are respected and independent, or the many economic experts responding responding to a recent Financial Times survey – with wide ranging concerns about the shortcomings of the SNP plans.