Such is the binary nature of political debate in Scotland that views on the economic prospects for an independent Scotland to join the European Union are overwhelmingly Manichean.
Either the country will sail through the accession process in a matter of months post-independence. Or the economic, fiscal and monetary obstacles will be so high it may never happen – and Scotland will forever be saddled with outsider status. A North Sea Belarus.
It should go without saying that neither of these extreme positions – ultra-independista and nec plus unionista – is based in reality. What matters is less the current state of the Scottish economy – hard to disentangle from a 313-year-old economic and monetary union – than what it might or could be x years from hence when or if Scotland is an independent country. And that is a big unknown.
One reason for this uncertainty is that (at the moment of writing) the UK government has published a negotiating mandate for the talks with the EU on future relations that puts the accent on divergence.
The more a post-Brexit UK, including willy nilly Scotland, pursues deliberate divergence the harder it will be for an independent Scotland to meet the criteria for (re)joining, although the Scottish government hopes to stay aligned to EU law in some devolved areas of policy including the environment. As a sub-state, albeit with devolved powers, Scotland has limited room for manoeuvre economically. It could easily be dragged down in any UK-wide recession.
And the longer this economic uncertainty goes on, and the lengthier the process of seeking and winning independence, it will become even more difficult to meet the specifically fiscal and monetary criteria for EU membership.
The State of Scotland
The Scottish Fiscal Commission delivered its latest 5-year forecasts for the Scottish economy in early February (post-Scottish budget, pre-UK budget), showing GDP growth a shade over 1% per annum. Tax revenues, however, show a much healthier upward trend, largely on the back of sustained wages growth bringing a higher income tax yield. But no forecast for the budget deficit is given. Equally, other neutral commentators such as the Fraser of Allander Institute are sceptical about the degree of wages growth forecast (3% a year roughly).
The budget deficit is a key number when it comes to accession to the EU but not as determinant as some commentators (disingenuously) suggest. In 2018-2019, the deficit, including a share of North Sea revenues, was 7% when the UK’s was 1.2%. The OBR forecasts it will hover around 6% up to 2023-24 – or the period when, on a generous time horizon, Scots might be waking up to being in an independent country. In comparison, the current eurozone government deficit is 0.7% and that of the EU28 0.9%, with the suggestion that this is an inappropriate straitjacket imposed by the Germans and other “frugals” when the eurozone economy faces recession. In Scotland, meanwhile, there is considerable debate over the true scale of the deficit upon independence and whether or how to bring it down to such low value.
The Scottish Government, drawing on the report of the Sustainable Growth Commission, estimated[i] an inherited deficit in 2021-22 of 5.9% of GDP, assuming lower spending on defence, debt servicing and “some other services”. It says: “An independent Scotland would need tight public spending rules to bring the country’s deficit down from around 6% in 2021-22 to below 3% over a period of 10 years”. The 3% target is that set by the EU’s Stability & Growth Pact (SGP) aka Maastricht criteria. So far, there has been no credible indication of what policies, let alone concrete spending measures or cuts, would be put in place to achieve such an outcome. The Growth Commission proposed that total public spending should increase by 1% less than GDP for the first decade post-independence. As it assumed GDP growth of 1.5% a year, spending on public services and benefits would increase annually by just 0.5%. The Institute for Fiscal Studies observed: “Such an approach would see spending on public services and benefits fall by about 4% of GDP over that decade. Add on the growing amount the Scottish government would have to spend on servicing its increasing post-independence debt, and overall public spending and hence the deficit would fall by 3% of GDP. Together with some assumed but unspecified efficiency savings (0.3% of GDP), that brings the forecast deficit down to 2.6% of GDP one decade after Scottish independence.”[ii] Of course, the Growth Commission is targeting 3% annual GDP growth which, if attainable (a big if), would imply a softer fiscal regime and easier path towards a sustainable deficit.
For the year to end-March 2019, UK government debt stood at 85.2% of GDP, a shade below that of the eurozone (EA19) at 86.1% in Q3 2019, and above that of the EU28 at 80.1% compared with the Maastricht reference value of 60%. Central government gross debt stood at £1.8 trillion at end-March 2019, but we have no idea what Scotland’s share of this would be. The 2013 Scottish government white paper, before the 2014 independence referendum, suggested this could be either via population share or aggregated fiscal deficit (starting arbitrarily at 1980-81 in that report or just prior to when North Sea oil revenues kicked in.)[iii] Another suggestion[iv] in that period was to follow the example of the Czechs and Slovaks during their ‘velvet divorce’ of 1993 and divide assets on a geographic basis (oil, say, in the Scottish case) and debt via the share of population. The Growth Commission suggests – somewhat airily – that national debt should “not increase” beyond 50% of GDP and stabilise at that level.
Meeting the criteria
Political commentators, often across the binary divide, confuse the criteria for joining the EU with those for adopting the single currency, the euro. There is no demand for an extant budget deficit of 3% or debt-to-GDP ratio of 60% for entry to the EU: these are, once again, the Stability and Growth Pact reference values, not a barrier as the Croatian case underlines and are more relevant (though not absolute) for adopting the euro. The Croats joined the EU in 2013 when their net government deficit was 5.3% after falling to as low as 2.4% in 2007 and rising to 7.9% in 2011 as the financial crisis and economic slump took their toll.
In other words, they had to show they were on a downward path and indeed the country registered a small surplus (0.2%) German-style in 2018, with similar ones projected for this year and next. The crucial point, however, is what happened post-accession. Croatia was rapidly, after its first 6 months only, put under the EU’s Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) and then carried out a fiscal squeeze to comply with the deficit conditions. So, an independent Scotland could ask for a transition period during which it would work towards meeting the Stability and Growth Pact targets, pointing out any progress already made but the Commission and the member states would decide whether progress towards the targets was adequate. And it and they could insist on a tight schedule.
Here the question is whether the Scottish polity, let alone populace, is aware of how severe the spending squeeze might have to be – coming not that long after a decade of austerity. Would an independent Scottish government and civil society be both able and willing to accept strict spending controls/cuts? The typical answer that independence will, by itself, trigger an entirely different set of (positive) economic outcomes may be wishful thinking. As matters stand, we simply have no way of knowing whether that’s likely or not.
Equally, there is no doubt that an independent Scotland would have to indicate its willingness to join the euro – at an unspecified point. Eight EU countries, including Denmark, which has an opt-out, and Sweden, which does not, are not in the single currency. In this case, the five convergence criteria – on inflation, deficit, borrowing costs – are stricter than for entering the EU per se.
What matters more is the currency question itself, arguably the one that undermined Alex Salmond in the 2014 independence referendum. His successor, Nicola Sturgeon, simply asserts that “… it is not true to say that we would have had to have established an independent currency before joining the European Union.” She abides by the Growth Commission process of ‘sterlingisation’ or sharing sterling before adopting an independent Scottish currency further down the line. That may be problematic. Initially, at least, the Scottish Central Bank (as proposed by the Growth Commission) would not set its own monetary policy, including interest rates – unlike, say, the Slovenes which set theirs up as early as 1991 in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Slovenia entered the EU on January 1 2004 and joined the euro exactly three years later. But, two decades later at least, a newly independent Scotland might face a different – and very political – interpretation of whether it met the economic criteria, including the key one of “macroeconomic stability (including adequate price stability as well as sustainable public finances and external accounts)”.
The national debate about an independent Scotland joining the EU, broken off to all extents and purposes in 2014, has been rebooted but at a low energy level within the Scottish Government and Holyrood. If it is to be meaningful, there needs to be far more active engagement by both the political class and civil society. At the core of this national debate must be the economy and whether it can be brought to a position where Scotland can and will meet the criteria for accession if it so wishes. So far, it does not meet those economic criteria in their entirety – notably monetary policy as well as exchange rate, as set out in Chapter 17 – but the true state of the economy if and when the Scottish government embarks upon the EU accession process may be more favourable then.
Ultimately, this will be a political decision. And the EU holds many if not most of the cards. As the latest iteration of enlargement policy spells out: “The Union’s capacity to absorb new members, while maintaining the momentum of European integration, is also an important consideration. The EU reserves the right to decide when a candidate country has met these criteria and when the EU is ready to accept the new member.”
First published by the Scottish Centre on European Relations as Chapter 9 of its report, An Independent Scotland in the EU: Issues for Accession
Keith Macdonald says
There are some useful points here but I do not think the article addresses the central problem of the effect of constitutional changes on Scotland’s economy.
Our overwhelmingly important relationship is with the UK (more than a quarter of the entire Scottish economy). This is currently within the legal framework of the United Kingdom.
The nationalists want to break up that union. If they had succeeded in 2014 the legal framework would have been replaced by the rules of the European Union, which would have guaranteed at least some of unrestricted trade and exchange which is so vital to Scotland. That has now gone.
If Nicola Sturgeon got and won her referendum, the economic and other relationships between Scotland and the UK would have to be negotiated from scratch. There is no reason to believe that would be easy or painless. It must be borne in mind that this relationship is much more important to us than to the UK because it is a much bigger proportion of our life. That gives the UK an enormous advantage in the negotiations.
If the UK does not have an open economic relationship with the EU (and of course we know nothing about that at the minute) it is very difficult to see how Scotland can have one with them both. Of itself that could rule out EU membership.
In a recent speech, Nicola Sturgeon drew attention to the need for Scotland to align its two most important relationships, with the UK and the EU. She was absolutely right. Her solution, to leave the more important union and join the less important one, looks decidedly unbalanced. It is time this dilemma was honestly faced.
Joe Mellon says
It may be that the question which Scots have to urgently answer is not “What are an independent Scotland’s economic prospects?”, but rather “What are Scotland’s social, political and economic prospects inside the UK?”.
The election of a serial incompetents and clowns as PM, the Brexit vote, the response to the CoViD crisis and many other events and processes (the involvement in wars of agression, the continuing Windrush scandal, the Universal Benefits fiasco, the Assange trial, …) point to a state in meltdown: politically, socially, juristically and economically.
It may not come down to “how problematic is a deficit of X% for …” but rather “How can we get out of this failing state?”
Can you say if there will be a hard boarder between England & Scotland if independence is successful.
William Brown says
Then why not come together and change for the better as opposed to adopt brexi2 for Scotland ? There are facts to be dealt with and like brexit, snp will not be willing for facts or to find facts if it goes against their narrative. Then we get to anyone talking about reality being branded a ‘traitor’ as I heard snp supporters in the streets of Stirling say last time. Not to mention the mindless vandalism of the ‘No’ banners. And I did not see a ‘Yes’ banner vandalised as much as some have tried to say.
Instead of spending energy on coming together, nationalism, as it has done throughout history aims to instil hate towards others who are not like them.
William Ross says
I thought that this was a useful and balanced article by David Gow.
I have been a life-long supporter of Scottish independence but on recently entering my seventh decade of life, I think that we must promote balanced views of the constitutional debate. 2014 is from another world.
We now know that there is no way that RUK would agree to share Sterling with Indy Scotland.
We have two alternatives: try to immediately launch our own currency or sterlingise. David rightly highlights how nasty sterlingisation would be but does not highlight its dangers. Would it actually work at all? Could we get enough sterling? Would we need huge foreign currency reserves to make it work ( Prof Ronald McDonald). Could we stop our sterling migrating to England. If it went wrong, we would have to launch our own currency in the worst possible circumstances ( ie let Scots Pound float– meaning it would sink like lead – devastating mortgages and pensions)
My good friend Michael Fry once wrote that currency options are like fetishes. What does it matter what currency we have? I categorically disagree with him. Currency is constitutional and currency is destiny. Look at Greece, Italy and Venezuela.
The SNP really does not know what its currency policy is. Is the Sustainable Growth Commision actually SNP policy? If not sterlingisation, we would have to rely on the tender mercies of MMT, Commonweal and George Kerevan. My fear is that we have no good currency option.
A huge problem for the SNP ( and even its opposition) is that the Scottish voters have no sophistication on how new currency arrangments work. Frankly, William Ross is no expert either. I have no answers but only questions.
The comentator above states that the UK is a “failed state”. You have to wonder about his ability to perceive the World. Last week, Rishi Sunak unleashed one of the greatest fiscal stimuli in history. A Scotland using the UK pound without permision would have been completely helpless. If he wants to find failed states let me recommend (not) a visit to Venezuela, Cuba or Russia.
Well done, David. This is the type of article we need. Now you should start getting realistic about the EU itself.
Karl Simpson says
This is a question now utterly irrelevant and improper in our current state of affairs. If and when we are lucky to get out of this crisis intact the question of Scottish independence will (or should) be the last thing on most people’s minds. When the time does come, it is more than likely that the EU will not exist in its current form. The Covid 19 crisis will have a profound effect on EU states and a huge knock on to the EU itself.
Me Bungo Pony says
Why is there this expectation that a newly independent Scotland would have to take on ANY of the UK’s humongous debt? No other country has had to take on this burden from the state they achieved independence from. If the UK decides to be a “continuing state”, thus making Scotland a “new state”, then ALL the debt remains with it. It is ALL in the UK’s name so it will retain ALL requirements to repay it. Scotland will have no obligation to pay a penny of it to anyone. If a lodger moves out of their lodgings, the householder cannot expect them to continue paying a share of the mortgage and bills; and the mortgage provider and utility firms will fully expect the householder to continue paying in full.
The SNP’s Growth Commission talks of “Solidarity Payments” to the UK govt to cover a “share” of the UK’s eye watering debt …. but the clue is in the name. “Solidarity Payments” would be, by their very nature, completely voluntary on Scotland’s part. There would be no legal compulsion for payment.
Unionists have claimed that this would entail the newly independent Scotland “defaulting on its debt and that this would make it a pariah state. This is nonsense. The debt is entirely in the UK’s (Continuing State) name so Scotland cannot “default” on it. Also, govts and markets would look askance at the newly independent Scotland taking on massive debt unnecessarily when it had no legal necessity to do so.
The removal of the £bns of UK debt servicing from the newly independent Scotland’s budget would probably bring the Scottish budget deficit below the “magic” 3% alone. The rest is largely a construct of having to live within the Westminster system and the ridiculous expectation Scotland would continue to mirror the decisions of the UK govt after independence. Most serious economists acknowledge that is not a credible position and the GERS figures it is based on do not reflect the position a newly independent Scotland would find itself in.
You are forgetting two things. The first is legally Scotland can not leave the UK without its agreement. If we did we would not be recognised by other countries, including the EU.
The second is that we need to trade freely with the UK since that trade is more than a quarter of our total economy and supports over 500, 000 jobs. Out of the EU, the UK has no commitment to a free trade agreement except that negotiated during the withdrawal process.
Perhaps you enjoyed the Brexit process, but even if you did, let me tell you that the process of Scotland’s withdrawal from the UK will be far more difficult and painful and no one in Scotland will enjoy it one bit.
William Ross says
I am afraid that Me Bungo Pony is into fantasy land here. There are only two ways for Scotland to become independent. Firstly, we could declare UDI, but that is not happening even in the wildest scenario. The second way is with the agreement of Westminster through an act which might be called the “Government of Scotland Act” or some such thing. MBP is quite right to observe that RUK will take on the LEGAL obligation to pay the UK national debt to the creditors. However, Westminster will simply insist that we take on at least our population share of the UK debt. That means that we pay Westminster, not the creditors. Anything else is simply a fantasy.
MBP thinks we are going to benefit from years of Barnett and then walk away from the debt completely? We need something to cheer us up!
A recent commentator made the good point that covid 19 may signall the death knell for the EU. Think of the situation of Italy. Italy needs a massive monetary stimulus as much as or more than the UK. However, it can only raise these gargantuan sums by borrowing which the EU will not allow it to do. What commercial lenders are going to Italy at this time. Only the ECB can do it but will the Germans allow this? Italy is a helpless giant. It is not a sovereign independent country. I greatly fear for Italy and twice devasted Greece. My family afre Venezuelan and I try not to think of Venezuela.
Me Bungo Pony says
First let me say I said nothing about “the how” of Scotland achieving independence, only the legal standing of the UK’s stunning national debt in relation to it.
To address William’s points; UDI not withstanding, it would not be a credible option for the rUK to negotiate a portion of its debt on to another state. The hit to its international standing and credibility would be significant. By effectively signalling to the international community it was unable to service its own debts in full, confidence would fall along with Sterling and the international credit rating.
Politically, by denying Scots the independence they would have voted for to allow this scenario to take place if the don’t acquiesce to “blackmail” would be catastrophic to rUK’s international standing. It would confirm the notion Scotland was being held hostage by rUK, leading to civil unrest with international sympathies firmly on Scotland’s side. The UK’s international standing is already in the toilet. It can’t afford to lower itself to pariah state.
As to Barnett, just before indyref1 Lord Ashcroft commissioned a report into how much Scotland “owed” to the UK thinking it would hole the independence argument below the water line. Disastrously for his stated aim it proved the exact opposite. To his credit he published the report anyway which showed Scotland had been net subsidising the UK for decades and even the recent GERS “deficits” won’t have changed that by much. The “subsidy junkie” trope does not help the rUK here. In any “illegal” negotiation as to what Scotland “owed” the UK would only confirm this.
As to Keith’s separation scare stories, trade between a newly independent Scotland and the rUK would not cease. The bulk of unionist arguments depend on the implication it would. It would continue though possibly under different circumstances. It would depend on what was negotiated and that could include a free trade agreement (at least until we rejoin the EU).
The fact 25% of Scotland’s trade is currently with rUK is not a strength; it is a weakness. It shows how being part of the UK is limiting Scotland. Prior to EU membership, 50% of Ireland’s trade was with the UK and it was poor. Now it is less than 12% and it is wealthy. That is what Scotland should aspire to.
As to the complexity of independence, please indicate what these would be. If small Caribean islands can manage it I’m sure “mere Scots” could give it a go. Brexit was only complicated because the UK would not accept the fact it could not enjoy all the advantages of EU membership while giving it the finger. Leavers promised the people of the UK it would be a life of wonder outside the EU while knowing they could not realistically deliver on it. None-the-less, they whinged and whined and tried to blame the big bad EU when in reality it was their own intransigence that was at fault.
C. Whyte says
Hahaha! Another fantasy dream for the separatists to ponder! Nobody buys a house with a mortgage they can not afford, let alone have nothing to furnish it or pay the running costs! Scotland does not have the revenue to pay even the most modest running costs. That is a fact. We do not raise enough money in taxes to cover or very basic necessities, where will that money come from? There is absolutely no reason that the E.U. Should want an independent Scotland to join with exceptional circumstances therefore Scotland will need to meet ALL of the criteria, then join the queue to get in, but will the EU want a new country, foundering in lack of funds, to join? I doubt it because that would mean being able and willing to help finance it. Between Greece and Italy at present the E.U. really doesn’t not need more poor countries.
You are admitting that a free trade agreement with the UK would likely conflict within EU membership. That is at least honest – far more than Nicola has been.
There is a simple way to test whether my worries are scare stories or not. Let Nicola promise to hold a confirmatory vote on the withdrawal terms if we vote to leave on the first one. That would be in line with what the SNP supported for Brexit and is demanded by every consideration of democracy, fair dealing and integrity.
Me Bungo Pony says
Did we get a confirmatory vote on Brexit???? I must have missed that. I mean, we wouldn’t want to have independence for Scotland on the back of one vote if we got two on Brexit. that would be wrong. Wait a minute …. !!!!
As to a Free Trade agreement conflicting with EU membership, of course it would. But a Free Trade agreement with the biggest market in the World (the EU) and through that advantageous trade agreements with most of the rest of the planet is easily a better arrangement than being tied to a relatively small market that is struggling to get good trade agreements with …. anywhere. Scotland would still be trading with rUK, just on different conditions. With EU membership, they would likely be good conditions.
William Ross says
Thanks for your reply MBP.
But I am afraid that you have not got my National Debt point. No one is disagreeing that RUK will be legally liable to pay off the accumulated pre -independence UK National Debt. In fact, George Osborne explicitly confirmed the point during the last Indy ref. The point is that Westminster will never agree to enact a Scotland Independence Act without the Scots agreeing to pay to Westminster ( ie NOT the creditors) a population share of the said UK National Debt. The international community and every fair-minded person would be fully in support of this position because if not the Scots would be free-booters. Alex Salmond agreed in last Indyref.
There were years when Scotland did subsidise the UK through a geographic share in oil revenues but you have to pick your period carefully. Actually, it is irrelevant. The key fact is that on independence day, assuming we are using UK sterling, prices in Scotland should not significantly change and neither should the Scottish tax take. GERS shows that we would be in a sizeable ( massive) deficit. It is day 1 that counts, not 3 years down the road. Austerity or Carthaginian debt?
Unionists are not in the main arguing that trade between Scotland and England would cease.This is just as stupid a notion that trade between the UK and the EU will cease on Brexit. However, it will be more difficult for some goods and services. The SNP have foolishly argued that our exit from the EU will be devastating and catastrophic for Scotland. Well, if that is so ( which it is not) then our exit from the UK to transition to EU membership will indeed be far worse.
But look at the reality. We have unimagined gridlock across the frontiers and Europe and the World. And the effect on our food supply? Civil unrest?
It was all a complete Remainer myth.
Scottish independence will make Brexit look like a walk in the park. Firstly, there is no equivalent of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty so we can only leave the Union with Westminster`s blessing. They are the status quo power and they can wait. Secondly, we have the intractable currency issue which the SNP are not close to solving. They do not even have a policy. Thirdly, we have the EU problem which cannot be predicted in advance. How long does it take Scotland to get in? What does it do in the interim? Follow RUK or follow EU? Our only bargaining chip is international public opinion which was very helpful to Catalonia.
Let`s go for Scottish independence but let`s not build castles in the air. It is going to be tough.
Me Bungo Pony says
William, I understood your point perfectly well. I just fundamentally disagree with it.
The basic unarguable fact (which you agree with) is that a newly independent Scotland would have absolutely no legal obligation what so ever to pay a penny of the rUK’s national debt. End of story. Your fantasy of internationally approved extortion that would see iScotland paying “Tribute” to the rUK is simply not credible. What is the basis of this “Tribute”? How long would iScotland have to humbly pay it? Forever? Can you name just one other country paying ” Tribute” to it’s former state? Just one? Why is it only Scotland that would be expected to do this? Why is it different for Scotland …. yet again?
Currency is already decided. Retain Sterling for the shortest possible period of time and then move to a Scottish currency. Just as every country that has gained independence has done with no difficulty. Again, why should it be different for Scotland …. alone?
EU membership would be rapid. EU officials have already indicated this would be so. The access to markets of the World under advantageous Trade Agreements are a prize worth working towards. We cannot rely on the tiny rUK market, with it’s inevitably disadvantageous trade deals with whoever deigns to agree to one, to match the benefits EU membership would confer on us.
Any complexity in the independence process can only come from a rUK govt determined to make it so. As I said, the Brexit negotiations were only “complex” because the UK govt refused to accept the EU would not cave in to every ridiculous demand made of it. It’s down to them how “difficult” they want it to be. A surly rUK should not prevent Scots achieving the independence their country needs.
WM cannot make a profit from debt (re)payments. WM currently does not pay off/make payments on the national debt – no payments. That is unlikely to change. If Scotland is paying WM a share, WM will have to pay its debts. Which as we established it doesn’t currently and likely won’t in the future. This means then, that if WM is not making payments on its national debt, Scotland will nt have to pay WM its share -regardless of what “share” was negotiated prior to Scotland going independent.
It is revealing that the best argument you can come up with is that there was not one during the disastrous Brexit process. I thought one of the main arguments for leaving the UK was that we could do a lot better.
In fact the SNP supported the confirmatory vote until near the end and if there had been one Britain would still be in the EU, Boris Johnson would be nothing but a memory and a reforming government would be investing billions in the Scottish economy.
William Ross says
You are not getting it. There will be NO independent Scotland without Westminster`s agreement. And Westminster will not agree to Scottish independence without us paying Westminster for the Union national debt contracted for our benefit. You can avoid this result notionally by UDI. But UDI is not an option. Are we going to give the UK a haircut for hundreds of billions of pounds sterling?
You are evading the point on currency. No sophisticated modern western state has ever broken up. Such a state has high reliance on national and personal debt and social provision. The break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia is in no way comparable. Poor backward states can certainly launch their currencies easily. But we cannot. That is the sole reason why Italy and Greece are still in the euro. If they left the euro their massive euro denominated debts would become massively more burdensome as these would have to be paid in volatile lira and drachmas. You are living in a fantasy world.
You say that the EU issue would be easy. Who really knows. It will be in lap of the unelected elites who beat the living daylights out of Greece. I do not want to rely on them for anything.
Me Bungo Pony says
Sorry William, but you’re just making mountains out of molehills. Bottom line; a newly independent Scotland would owe the “continuing” rUK nothing in terms of its national debt. This idea you have in your head of rUK holding a financial gun to the head of the newly independent Scotland and saying to Scots “hand over your money or I’ll pull the trigger” is laughable. It would make rUK even more of a pariah state than it already is. International extortion is not an acceptable way for a civilised country to behave. As I said, NO other country has had to shoulder the debts of another country; why is it so different for Scotland …. alone?
Currency has been done to death. Unionists pretend it is some kind of unfathomable conundrum in order to frighten people. Just another lie to keep the Jocks in their place, The truth is it is not and more and more people are coming to realise that. The international community looks at us and wonders why on Earth we’re even discussing it. I have told you what the policy on it is. That that causes you to go into financial garbled mode to sound “experty” is your problem, not mine.
Similarly with the “scary complexity” of “breaking up”. Again, unionists pretend it is some kind of Gordian knot that is simply too difficult to unravel. And again, the truth is it isn’t.
As they say, the truth will set you free. Which is why unionists remain tied to mother’s apron strings. If the truth will set them free, then they will happily avoid it at all costs.
You are absolutely deluded.
You are of course correct in saying that the negotiations for Scotland’s withdrawal from the UK are likely to be far more difficult than Brexit. Once Johnson has got rid of the Scottish MPs he has no reason whatsoever to try to help us. I think you may have also forgotten about Faslane – which he is likely to want to keep. If Nicola stuck to her promise to close it we would be in for a very hard time.
It is also clear that there is no way the nationalists will tell the truth about this in the referendum campaign. Anyone who does will be shouted down as unpatriotic or scaremongering.
Does that not mean that there should be no question of another referendum unless there is a confirmatory vote on the actual terms of withdrawal so the Scots know exactly what they are getting.?
Me Bungo Pony says
Other than the sheer bloody-mindedness of rUK, why would it be more complex? Unionists never explain why it would be so complex. They just state it and hope it’s enough to put people off. “Independence is fine for every dot on the map …. but not you Scotland …. it’s far too complicated for you to manage”.
As to Faslane, it’s not forgotten about at all. I’ve no doubt the PM would love to hold on to the UK’s mighty phallic symbol. And, for a time, he would be allowed to. Obviously it would take time to relocate the services etc away from Scotland which would mean a transitional period when it still resides at Faslane. However, it would not be rent free. The rent for Faslane alone would knock a large chunk off the notional GERS “deficit”.
Confirmatory vote ……… zzzzzzzzz
You might think a confirmatory vote is a zzzzzzz but the Scots won’t because without one they are going to be conned by people like you who will promise anything to break up the UK. That sort of thing would get you driven off any respectable e-commerce site and I don’t see why we should put with anything less when it comes to the future of our country.
Me Bungo Pony says
Again, why would there need to be a confirmatory vote for Scotland only? There wasn’t one for Brexit, which is bizarrely your reasoning behind this demand. You also seem to assume independence would be rejected by a second vote. If the first vote was won with every scare story, smear and put-down unionists could come up with being flung at the people of Scotland, what makes you think further dissembling, threats and intransigence from rUK would endear them to the Union? I think you are basically conceding indyref2 is already lost to unionists and are clutching at the last desperate straw.
I’m not assuming anything but I am wondering what nationalists have got to hide when they won’t allow the Scottish people a proper vote on the vital withdrawal terms. I wouldn’t buy anything from Amazon if I couldn’t send it back and neither would you.