The Scottish Independence Referendum
The White Paper
I believe that if a Government appears to mislead its own people, it is time for ordinary men and women to speak up. I am an ordinary man. Not a politician. Nor someone who is important in any way. What follows is my opinion, a personal view…
How misleading is the White Paper that the SNP Government published in November?
- To read the SNP Government’s White Paper ‘Scotland’s Future’ properly, you need to read between the lines – to understand its true intent
- At its launch, it was described as the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published. But I believe it also seeks to mislead the people of Scotland on a truly industrial scale…
- …starting with misrepresenting it as a White Paper. It is not. It is more a ‘White Manifesto’.
- The White Paper represents a shameful use of public funds and resources for a slanted and biased nationalist view of independence and its implications. Time and again the document asserts as inevitable outcomes that are just a possibility – dismissing alternatives that do not fit the SNP agenda. Facts and figures are quoted selectively to support the SNP view, with less helpful facts ignored. This bias might be expected in a manifesto. But it is unforgivable to present this as an official White Paper, badly compromising the Scottish Civil Service in the process.
- What is the SNP ‘White Manifesto’ really saying? Nowhere in its 650 pages does it make its true purpose clear – that the SNP are against the United Kingdom and the people of the United Kingdom. The SNP aim to break up the United Kingdom forever. They want us to believe that we can become better by becoming smaller and, in so many ways, lesser, as we have to turn our backs on so many things and people we love and care for. The SNP’s cynical and divisive plan is for all of us in Scotland to benefit at the direct expense of the people of the rest of the United Kingdom.
- Where do you find this in the SNP’s ‘White Manifesto’? Take a look at page 73. Or rather what is missing from page 73. Unusually, two alternate approaches are explained there – in relation to Scotland’s share of UK debt. Elsewhere they imply they will accept the one less advantageous to Scotland. Why? Because they prefer to debate two options whilst avoiding any focus on a third, not mentioned at all.
- The SNP plan for Scotland to take the great majority of the oil (based on geography) and leave behind the great majority of the debt (based on population) – the second of the two options on page 73. By this economic sleight of hand the nationalists claim we will each be £600 better off after independence. But the third option for calculating Scotland’s share of the debt – what might be called the ‘fair approach’ – is ignored. This would involve the people of the rest of the United Kingdom not being disadvantaged by the division of the assets and liabilities of the United Kingdom. Scotland’s projected debt to GDP ratio would be exactly the same as the UK’s. Simply put, we should not gain so much as £1 at the expense of our fellow countrymen and women – the people of the rest of the United Kingdom. We should not accept anything else. Should we?
- Another example of misleading economics is on page 111, in the choice of currency. As with many matters in the SNP ‘White Manifesto’, the proposals are justified on the recommendations of the Fiscal Commission. Who are they? How did they decide a sterling monetary union is the best and most likely way forward? The answers are on page 5 of the Fiscal Commission’s Report, and page 1 of the special Annex to that report – you can find both on-line. The SNP never miss an opportunity to mention that two of the members of the Fiscal Commission have Nobel prizes in economics – and indeed all of them do have very impressive credentials – that does not take away from the fact that they are not remotely impartial. In fact they have all been handpicked from Alex Salmond’s economic advisers. So, each of the numerous reassuring references to the views of the Fiscal Commission in the SNP ‘White Manifesto’, might more fairly have referred to the views of ‘Alex’s mates’. The Annex itself is a very odd document. The introduction highlights the SNP Government’s preferred option and then the next 34 pages seem designed to support that contention. It appears the Fiscal Commission was formed to confirm the SNP’s preferred outcome and to provide a veneer of respectability to the economic and financial propositions throughout the ‘White Manifesto’.
- I believe a more general but equally significant attempt to mislead the people of Scotland is in so many of the policy proposals in the ‘White Manifesto’ that should properly be considered in the context of UK and Scottish Parliamentary elections, not a Referendum concerning the potential irrevocable break-up of the United Kingdom. These policies are included simply to tempt more people into the nationalist camp with a string of associated half-truths and half-promises.
- So what did the SNP forget to include in their White Paper? An honest title (White Manifesto?). An honesty of purpose (that they are against the United Kingdom and its people). An honest consideration of alternate outcomes across all the key issues. Any honesty in explaining the plan to gain at the expense of the rest of the United Kingdom. Oh yes, and a final thing they forgot to include, any assessment of the risks of the potential terms for an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU, including the perfectly possible and some would say likely demand for eventual Euro membership and participation in the EU’s ever closer union project, recognising this could undermine the whole point of independence. Unless of course the SNP’s main focus is not ‘independence’ at all, but rather the break up of the United Kingdom.