Sunday, 17 November 2013

For what its worth: my jaundiced and tendentious thoughts on Scotland's cheeky bid for independence!


Scotland's independence might just cut England down to size - but I doubt it!!
Scotland: Stop subsidising England's excesses.  Get your independence, Scotland!

I know that, from all the opinion polls and from even voting against fair votes, Scotland distancing itself further from England seems a hopeless cause.  However, for what it's worth, these are my:
interesting/alternative/tendentious/horrifying/warped/unpatriotic/treacherous (delete as you wish)
thoughts on why I think Scotland would be sensible to separate from England and be its own sovereign nation within the EU and UN instead of the UK.  A UK that goes its own way in foreign policy, regardless of what the UN or, even the majority of the twenty members of the Security Council, thinks.

It seems the big-hearted Scots* are subsidising London as the hub of the UK with continuing plans for Heathrow expansion, the very expensive Cross Rail and Thames Link project that opens in 2019 and, last year's London Olympics and Paralympics.  Each costing many billions of pounds.

After more than one hundred years of an "essentially a Victorian rail network" (Chief Executive of Network Rail, Sir David Higgins on 8 January 2013 on the 'Today' programme), England has decided, rather late in the day, to modernise it, with the Scottish taxpayer helping to foot the bill.  Does Scotland have even one Victorian signal box?  England has 500 dating back to Queen Victoria and 300 are 1960s vintage! (same interview)

The Scots subsidised HS1 and, now, they generously help us out with HS2 that, again, gets nowhere near Scotland, even when fully completed.  However, to keep Scotland on board the mighty ‘USS Great Britain’ (the United States largest  aircraft carrier), there is now talk of HS2 being extended into Scotland.

Scotland should be most upset at subsidising England's armed conflicts on 23 nations since 1945 (Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day' slot in the 'Today' programme.  Repeated, on another occasion, without disagreement from the other team members, by the Green Party panelist on Radio 4's 'Any Questions').**

No doubt, there are some in the English Defence League (from the knife attack on the soldier in Woolwich) calling for pre-emptive, unmanned drone attacks of self defence on the Muslim militant extremists - and, in England - before they kill another of our brave soldier heroes.  Heroes home in barracks, on leave from protecting the people of Afghanistan from the real and lawful killers - us.  Scotland should disassociate itself from this barbarity by no longer funding England's unappreciated occupation of, and drone attacks on, foreign lands (a total of thirteen years, in punishment for 9/11, when we finally leave Afghanistan in 2014).

Scotland provides a most convenient haven for England's submarines carrying its independent nuclear deterrent.  The Scots should be livid at being used to house London's anachronistic and immoral machine of nuclear annihilation.  The Clyde workers might be redeployed in future proofing your nation from the accelerating, enhanced greenhouse effect and the exhaustion of the planet's oil and gas reserves. The subs and nuclear missiles might be sent off to Barrow to give employment to us English, who will be left with digging a little deeper into our pockets with the Scottish taxpayer no longer bailing us out.

With independence, Scotland would no longer be contributing to the very many billions of pounds for the replacement for the Trident subs. Preliminary work on the replacement began when either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown was PM.

Scotland's power from water, wind and sun could be used just for themselves or sold to the English at great expense! A golden chance for you Scots to become Great Scot - instead of the phrase being used simply as an exclamation! Great Britain, minus Scotland, would be just a little less 'Great' and a little less able to act, in tandem with the US, as the continuing great power and policeman around the world to get its way.  And, always knowing better than the Security Council, of course

We English, have such an over-inflated view of our importance to the nations of the world, that we cannot possibly do without Scotland to enhance our prestige and weight! Without Scotland, how can we possibly continue to punch above our weight in the world?  Even more crucially, the US might not regard us quite so highly with only little Wales and littler N Ireland in tow.  Our special relationship might be that little less special without Scotland.

For us English, all this independence malarkey is diminishing our size and greatness. Great Scot, it might even threaten our place as a permanent member of the Security Council. We certainly can't have that!

Let Scotland raise its own taxation for its own spending - that is all independence is - like the fifty other countries that have gained their independence from London since 1945 "and not one has expressed an interest in coming back under London's control." Alex Salmond on 21 May 2013 on 'Today'.

Is Scotland's taxation helpful for England to continue to fund her excesses; and, if not helpful, at least makes Scotland also responsible for the UK's most unfortunate, aggressive, domineering and provocative foreign policy in Muslim lands?  And, that certainly is an excess, to put it mildly!

Tim Weller

* "Over the last thirty years, in every single one of these last thirty years, Scotland per head contributed more in taxation than the UK average.  So that does indicate the financial and the potential financial strength goes over a long period of time."  Alex Salmond interview on the 'Today' programme, 21 May 2013.  

However, according to the Daily Telegraph (torn out cutting from my father in law in Sept, xx, 2013, headed "Separation would cost Scotland £5.9bn" - my comment: almost the same price that UK taxpayers are paying for two aircraft carriers in case of attack from who?) public spending per head of the population in Scotland is greater than the rest of the UK.  But by how much?  17%, as the DT says?

The Times (Tim Montgomerie, 28.11.13) maintains, “public spending per head of population is about 18% higher in Scotland than in England.”  However, he fails to tell us what is Scotland’s level of taxation per head of population, that is equally important to get a correct picture.

"Scotland generates almost 10% of the UK tax take from 8.4% of the UK population ... Scotland is better off economically from the public sector finance point of view and over each of the last 30 years."  Ivan McKee of 'Business for Scotland', on 'Any Questions', 8 Nov 2013.

In the same programme:
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson said, "Scotland gets £1,200 per head more in public spending than the rest of the UK."

Businessman, Ivan McKee sharply retorted with, "And Scots pay £1,700 per head more in taxes than the rest of the UK."

A man at the Wigtown Book Festival, in September told me, “Scotland contributes 9.9% of UK taxation but receives 9.3% of UK public spending.  “Check it out in the GERS report”, he said.  (‘Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland’)

Could 'More or Less' investigate, and say who is correct, please?

** "Since 1946, the UK has engaged in more armed conflict than any other country with a total of 23 if you include Libya.  Do we conclude from this that we are a nation of warmongers or, a country that values peace and justice?"  Rhiddian Brook on Thought for the Day on 25 March 2011.

  • Every nation, with an ounce of self esteem and spirit, has dreamed of independence!  It is something noble to aspire to.  Miraculously, unbelievably, they are  halfway there with what has already been granted with the narrow victory that gave them the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

  • It does seem that Scotland gets left out from the great public spending projects that are seen in London, in the southeast of England!  Although, no doubt it is true that the SE has a quarter (15 m?) of the UK population (63.8 m), with Scotland only 5 million.
  • Scotland is essential to England as a most useful Trident base.  Perhaps, Belfast might be a replacement for the Clyde and would help to keep any nuclear radiation well away from London.  A re-united Ireland might not come until next century, so that leaves England with plenty of time.
  • Every citizen of some integrity in Scotland, would want to distance him/herself from 68 years of the most dishonourable foreign policy in foreign lands far from our shores.  A shocking number of foreigners have been killed, injured and maimed as Scottish taxpayers have paid their fair share of the UK's wars - in only one year, since 1945, has a UK service person not been killed in the UK’s many foreign conflicts.
  • Under independence, Scottish military expenditure would, certainly, be proportionally much smaller than the UK's.  Scotland would not need an aircraft carrier or its very own independent nuclear deterrent to puff up its chest in importance around the world.  It would not be joining in England’s unnecessary, illegal and immoral wars or, helping to fund them.
  • Better for Scotland to do everything itself when it is the wrong end of the UK from London.
  • Independence simply means that the people of Scotland, from their earned income, would raise their own taxes for what they and they alone want to have their money spent on, in their country.
  • Anything to make one country in the UK following the example of Norway with its peacemaking instead of the warmongering England/London.  And, Norway with its wise stewardship of its North Sea oil and gas reserves.  The exact opposite of what London did and does!
  • Every country worth its salt, has aspired to conduct its own affairs - secure from outside interference.  That is the essence of independence.  In many centuries of empire building, interference and domination of others, England has consistently failed to understand that simple human fact.  Hence, UK English thinking means the ‘English’ Scots must hang on to their English Scotland at any cost.  And they seem to predominate in Scotland - unfortunately!

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