UK network

The SNP (Nicola Sturgeon and others) frequently refer to Scotland’s “vast wealth and resources”. However, they never tells us in detail just how wealthy Scotland really is. Maybe they don’t know or maybe they do, but it might not be as much as they would wish to pay for all their promises. And while finance secretary John Swinney asserts that an independent Scotland would have all the necessary financial levers, he is never explicit as to what they are.

Let’s consider agriculture, fishing and distilling, which all make valuable contributions to the Scottish and UK economies. Our agricultural products find their way into the rest of the UK and into Europe. Scottish seafood is exported to continental countries and Scotch whisky is drunk around the world. 

However, representatives of the farming and fishing communities have expressed their concerns on the adverse effects an independent Scotland would have on their industry and their export markets. They don’t know what to expect in the way of incentives, subsidies, (especially if European Union membership is not forthcoming), fishing quotas and fishing grounds. It’s hardly surprising that in a recent poll, more than 70 per cent of farmers in Scotland said that they wished to remain in the UK, while only 10 per cent supported independence.

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Members of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) enjoy exposure to more than 180 countries where UK embassy officials work to promote valuable exports through their extensive contacts. The SWA is rightly concerned that an independent Scotland would have less than half the number of embassies than the rest of the UK and, therefore, less than half the contacts.

Why should these industries, like the rest of us, have to be subjected to the uncertainties and risks of independence? Scotland is pulling its weight as an integral part of the United Kingdom, with a single, internationally accepted currency, a uniform taxation system, no cross-border currency issues and no import or export restrictions. It’s plain common sense to keep it that way and to say No Thanks to independence.

Stuart Smith

West Lennox Drive