Could Nicola Sturgeon be using the Growth Commission report to damp down demand for Indyref2 and administer a dose of “economic realism” into Scottish politics? If so, she should come clean and say it.
We’re now in the fourth Scottish “groundhog” season, that period of exam results, GERS schadenfreude and upcoming SNP conference “will she, won’t she speculation” Indyref2 speculation which typifies Scotland’s paralysis.
It’s not just GERS or the GCR that highlight the hubris and false claims of the 2014 campaign and the risk-laden challenges of separation; the Commonweal How to Start a New Country book does an even better job. It outlines the effort and costs of the first three years of independence, in defence (£8bn), pensions and benefits, new currency and reserves (£14.5bn), IT, customs and tax.
The total comes to £25bn, funded by loans and a share of UK assets.
Many (more than 55 per cent, I’d bet) will question whether this massive upheaval is worth it. Where is the compelling event? We’re not facing a “reverse Darien” economic collapse.
Scotland needs a collective effort by all parties to fully leverage devolution and a Brexit dividend which gets the best for Scotland in terms of localised powers, jobs and new agency location.
For this to happen Nicola Sturgeon should call time on Indyref2 and start thinking about the 500,000 votes lost in 2017. This requires a statement that Indyref2 is off the table for at least ten years until we see the effects of Brexit and the hard-nosed policies required to fix education, health, housing and GERS deficit.