On many issues I have an opinion. I like to hear the arguments and make up my mind as I’m sure everyone does. But I have to admit on listening to the various arguments for and against the devolution of Scotland I really am left with the “so what?” attitude. Not because I dislike Scotland, but in the grand scheme of things I think a few people in Holyrood will get more power, but will the typical Scottish resident see much difference? I don’t really much of substance will change, so why bother?
The idea is to enable the Scottish Parliament to have
full control over Scotland, to be able to set tax, generate its own income, buy and maintain its own assets and protect its own borders. Which in theory sounds all very nice, but would it all be that easy and what would be the real benefit to the Country? The undercurrent, I think, is North sea Oil income. Some analysts estimate that 80-90% of the North Sea Oil, should devolution occur, would belong to Scotland. A nice little earner one would say. But what else does Scotland do to generate income? It has a great reputation for Whisky, and Tourism, coupled with a modest manufacturing basis, it all could add up to a tidy package.
However, so could the costs of devolution. It would need its own defence force, with Soldiers, Sailors, Aircrew, guns, Jets and Ships, intelligence and hierarchy. Where would this come from, would the UK gift the Scottish regiments, airbases and submarines that are currently based in Scotland. could they afford the maintenance bill? Would they be part of NATO?
Would they create their own currency? If they kept the Pound (£) then they are linked to the UK and therefore that’s not devolution so would we see a true Scottish currency? It’s probably not the best time to join the Euro, and would they want that anyway?
Looking at Health, per head, Scotland has a much higher health bill than the rest of the UK, so that could be a plus from the English side, our NHS bill should reduce. I know that there are talks about a “Devolution+” option, where everything is devolved except a few items like Defence and Social Care, but surely it should be an all or nothing thing, not like a child leaving home but still getting mum to do all the laundry and cooking the meals.
Finally what about the border, will we need passport control (probably), how will it affect the working economy, cross border jobs and the like.
And a bit of food for thought, the UK Gov bailed a lot of banks out and some of these were Scottish, would the Scottish Government take on this burden and give Westminster its money Back?
Personally I don’t want to see devolution, I like the idea of the UK as it is, but by the same token, I don’t think it would change life dramatically in England if it did, I think the idea that Scotland is some sort of “cash cow” for Westminster is vastly overrated, and I woudl assume that if this happens and in a few years time if it doesn’t work as well as the SNP hopes, then there will not be an option to “kiss and make up”?
- Cameron is gambling with Scottish independence | John Curtice (guardian.co.uk)
- The New Braveheart? Scotland’s Salmond Eyes Independence from the U.K. (globalspin.blogs.time.com)
- David Cameron and Ed Miliband join forces to fight Scottish independence (mirror.co.uk)
- Devo-max isn’t a solution, it’s a whole new can of worms (leftfootforward.org)