There are a few posts and comments that I ought to catch up with - but I think I might need a break from Politics for 24 hours
But with Nicola Sturgeon demanding another referendum following the SNP gains in Scotland and some 24% of Northern Irish holding Irish passports and applications increasing one thought which occurs is - just how robust is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”?
Because by my reckoning it might not last out the current parliamentary term.
The Scottish snp have always wanted independence but it was rejected, they get more money per head than the rest of the Uk, the schools and hospitals have underperformed. I think they should get their house in order. If they gained independence they don’t have the finances to run the country and to join the EU is just folie, and would have to accept the Euro.
You’d think Westminster would want rid of the burden wouldn’t you
My take on it FWIW is that Scotland would be better off out. At present it’s part devolved but it’s still bound by Westminster’s fiscal policies, which don’t suit it and are restricting its growth. I think that if Scotland was free to set out its own policies tailored to Scotland’s need it would prosper. Things will be tight while it adjusts but with support from the EU I don’t see it taking long to become healthy.
If Brexit results in tarifs on whisky Scotland will be shafted, and for that reason alone it would be better off in the EU. I don’t see a problem with it using euros. It already prints its own paper money and have you tried spending Scottish fivers and tenners shops in England away from the border? they don’t want to accept them.
I guess the main issue with it that other countries have experienced, is that you can not reduce the value of the Euro to stimulate growth in times of recession, this was a major problem between the Northern European countries who didn’t want to stimulate growth as the German economy was doing fine still and the southern ones Greece, Italy, Spain , Portugal who needed to devalue after 2008 to get the economies growing, Italy and Greece are still worse off now than before they joined the euro.
But between the Uk and Scotland for tourists and trading wouldn’t make a big difference,
A friend in our next village voted in Scotland and to vote against Brexit she voted SNP, they only needed another 20 votes, so a very marginal constituency. She really wants Scotland to stay in the Union, but if Scotland is taken out of the EU by a Westminster government, she feels that independence may very well be justified.
Greece’s economy is recovering but and a big big but they will never make enough revenue to service the debts they have.
The EU bailed them out several times and announced everything was fixed but it was not the reality. They gave Greece 5 years with no interest payments on the money that was pumped into the country to keep it afloat. Even in 20 years they can’t generate enough taxes to service this debt never mind pay it off.
When it was announce that Greece was fixed it was because Greece had a better economy and had done what was asked of them for the loans, and so could issue bonds to get their own money to run the country, and not ask the IMF again. So they have to pay interest on these bonds too.
So at some stage Greece is coming back to haunt the EU but it’s just been pushed out is sight.
As most countries smoke and mirrors.
But have they - given that English schools and hospitals are not hitting targets either.
Spend per capita in Scotland for 2017-2018 was £2368 compared with £2182 in England - or just 8.5% higher.
For that sum, Scotland has 76GPs per 100,000 population compared with the national UK average of just 60, it has more nurses and midwives per 1000 population than the UK as a whole (8.1 vs 7.9) it has more hospital beds per 1000 population at 4.2 compared with a woefully inadequate 2.6 for the UK as a whole (and do not forget that if you take Scotland out of the whole UK figures the latter fall even further).
Scotland also sees more patients within the 4hour A&E target at 91% compared with 82.4% in England.
Austerity has affected the NHS throughout the UK but by cushioning the blow a little Scotland has a service which, whilst not hitting all its targets is doing better than in England on multiple fronts.
This argument won’t wash in Scotland though Barrie - part of the independence case is precisely that monetary and fiscal policy, including fiscal exchanges and forex rates, are determined by London and are not appropriate to Scotland.
It also falls down with regard to Portugal - perhaps the most successful recovery in Europe from the 2008 crash, within the Euro, and certainly more like Scotland than Italy, Spain or Greece.
That’s certainly the argument but it is hard to know how well an independant Scotland would fare because, like so many things, the only way to know for sure is to run the experiment - you can make all the forecasts that you like but there are too many variables in play and you can push the forecast pretty much any way you like by changing your assumptions.
Scotland does run a budget deficit within the UK but there are always arguments about how much North Sea Oil revenues affect this and how they should be apportioned - that said as an independent nation I am not sure how much longer Scotland should be relying on revenues from fossil fuel deposits to balance its books.
I don’t know where they establish the Scottish territory in the sea and the English as I think it’s biased towards England, but Scotland has a large discovery off the Shetland this year in the Lancaster field I believe.
The EU fossil fuel conference was a bug bear to me as Germany paying 6 billion on a new pipeline from Russia to Europe and yet we are suppost to be cutting back and saving the planet. google it, Nord stream 2.
Scotland also has huge renewables potential, of course.
The other approach is to look at similar countries. An independent Scotland would not be a particularly small country by European standards - indeed it would be about halfway up the country-size-by-population-table, alongside such obviously viable countries as Finland, Norway and Ireland - which are also among the richest countries in Europe (richer than the UK).
But Scotland would be taking as big a gamble to secede from the UK as the UK is taking in leaving the EU.
It is not clear it would immediately be able to re-join the EU, it would have to make a fresh application and meet the economic requirements. The EU might well make the argument that it should prove it can run its economy satisfactorily first.
It is quite different from the Irish situation
Turbulent times ahead, I suspect, which ever route the Scots take.
Most of the independence-leaning Scots I know seem to be prepared to accept that things will quite likely not be rosy initially, but still better than being shackled by Westminster - pretty much in same the way that Englanders voted for Brexit. If Englanders feel hard done by being in the EU and being underconsidered within the Union (as that is indeed the thinking of some), then surely they can not reasonably expect Scotland just to sit there and not share the same aspirations to be considered as an equal, rather than the forced maintenance of the beggar ?