Referendum : A Year To Go

Phil Welsh

19 September 2013

 

A year to go; a year to go until the people of Scotland participate in what could be the biggest constitutional change in living memory - Scottish independence.

Both camps, Yes and No, are busy preparing their arguments for what will prove to be an exciting political year.

Politically minded Scots are asking questions, as are the more politically apathetic and rightly so, they want to be completely informed before they place that all important cross on the ballot paper.

So what are the facts?

The SNP frequently informs us that post independence the country will be more affluent.

Sounds absolutely fine, however, is there any evidence which actually determines that this will indeed be the case?

The biggest carrot the SNP dangle under the noses of the undecided is of course North Sea oil.

The rhetoric of the SNP frequently insists that if independence is achieved the remaining `black gold` under our waters will pave the way for a Scottish utopia.

Alex Salmond himself has stated ,`that future (oil) reserves are worth £300,000 a head for every Scot.`

Salmond, himself a former oil economist, has been accused of grossly exaggerating these figures.

Oil revenue will of course be retained by Scotland should independence occur.

Figures have suggested that up to 80% of oil revenue could stay within Scotland.

However, as the First Minister is undoubtedly aware oil and gas prices are extremely volatile, currently falling annually, with a 17% decrease last year alone.

Salmond has repeatedly insisted that post independence an oil fund will be set up, a nest egg type fund which will ensure Scotland’s financial stability for future generations.

This in theory sounds fantastically progressive, however, if we look a little closer at this proposal we soon discover that by directing oil revenue away from the public purse we as the current taxpayer will have to foot the bill.

It is estimated that other taxes would have to rise by up 27% in order to prevent a massive decrease in public services, the alternative to this would be a massive cut in public spending of up to 19% resulting in near collapse for our already cash strapped local authorities.

The breakup of the UK could also have massive implications for business.

Companies trading within the UK are facing uncertainty in the event that a Yes vote is returned.

Scottish businesses are highlighting concerns about EU membership and whether the Pound will be retained.

It is estimated that exports to the rest of the UK are valued at around 40 million per year.

Meddling with this could result in a loss of trade, business and most importantly jobs.

Is this uncertainty and ambiguity worth the risk simply to fulfill the boyhood romantic aspirations of one man?

Scottish independence may look and sound good on paper; however there is no justifiable evidence to back up the claims made by Alex Salmond and the SNP that this is indeed the case.

Over the next year I believe that as the campaign develops more and more people in Scotland will be convinced that a stronger Scotland within a United Kingdom is the way forward.

 

 

 

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