Apparently, the UK Government is bullying Scotland, according to the First Minister and his deputy.
How acting in what would clearly be the best long-term interests of the taxpayers in the rest of the UK (rUK) – especially given that the First Minister has previously described the pound as “a millstone around Scotland’s neck” and the Deputy First Minister has stated that a currency union would be an interim arrangement – can be described as bullying escapes me.
What is bullying is demanding that after a Yes vote the rUK taxpayer must be the lender of last resort for a foreign country, must build its warships in a foreign country after removing its submarines from that country, must have an open border with a foreign country that has announced a loosening of immigration rules, must acquiesce in changing the nationality of many of its citizens who have been denied a vote and must accept that its students who want to study in Scotland will suffer racial discrimination and be denied their European Union rights. That is bullying.
(Dr) Roger I Cartwright
Despite the promise to deliver a “point by point deconstruction” of the rejection of a formal currency union, I fear our First Minister, in his speech on Monday, only touched on one of the four issues raised by Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the principal accounting officer of the Treasury (the lack of commitment to a permanent currency union, the overbearing size of the Scottish banking sector relative to the Scottish economy, the asymmetry of risk sharing, ie the rest of the UK could bail out Scotland but not vice versa, and the likely fiscal misalignment and divergence of the economies post-independence).
In attempting to address the issue of the size of the banking sector, Mr Salmond made the unrelated point that HMRC had assessed that Scotland’s share of the banking levy was only 7 per cent.
While this is true, unfortunately for Mr Salmond, the HMRC paper on which he relies specifically states that: “Disclosure rules prevent HMRC from using administrative data to apportion bank levy receipts. Instead, they are attributed by sub‐UK GVA within the ‘Financial and Insurance Activities’ sector.”
In other words, HMRC simply allocated the tax according to financial market activity in each of the four nations and made no attempt to allocate the tax according to the domicile of each of the financial institutions, which would be more accurate.
Such an apportionment would only reinforce the point of an overly large Scottish banking sector.
After failing adequately to address any of the arguments raised against currency union, Mr Salmond again raised the valid point that additional transaction charges would be imposed on cross-border trade. However, this is a much larger relative problem for businesses in a new independent Scotland as some 60 per cent of Scottish exports are traded with the rest of the UK.
In addition, any government of a new independent Scotland could largely eliminate these costs if it chose to use sterling without a formal currency union.
I fear that, despite Mr Salmond’s best efforts, the edifice of good reasons for the rest of the UK not to accept the SNP’s proposal of a sterling currency union remains erect and undamaged.
In his prejudicial statement on Scotland’s prospects, the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, shows a lack of knowledge of European history that is deplorable for one in his position.
We are one of the oldest states in Europe. The Union between Scotland and England of 1707 was an international treaty agreed after negotiations and passed by both parliaments.
It was signed into law by Anne, Queen of Scots, and Anne, Queen of England, Wales, etc, who then became Queen of a new state, the United Kingdom. This Union contained conditions, some transitional, some intended to be permanent.
Both Scotland and England will be successor states and it is on that basis that we will continue in membership of the European Union. Mr Barroso would do better to consider what the relationship will be between the rUK and the EU if the in/out referendum promised by Prime Minister David Cameron results in the rUK leaving the EU.
Also, business people anxious to stay in the EU should ask Mr Cameron what he proposes.
Experience makes one aware that you have to be nice to many an organisation, customer, or person that you may have to deal with over time, even if it grates. Insults and aggressive tones generally prove to be counterproductive.
While I can understand the SNP leadership’s strategy of trying to drive a wedge between “us and them down south”, even if this can only but be disastrous for the long term whatever the outcome of the independence vote, they cannot stop themselves extending it to others, too, including the hierarchy of the EU.
Everyone knows, too, how annoying is the know-all who is never wrong, and the steps you take to avoid dealing with them.
Wouldn’t it, therefore, be more constructive if the SNP was to accept reality, stick to facts and to use reasoned political debate in its arguments up to September, rather than insult everyone?
Calling the EU president’s views “preposterous”, debasing George Osborne at every opportunity, and treating the electorate of England, Wales and Northern Ireland with contempt is embarrassing for all us Scots.
Braveheart was a Hollywood movie and not a blueprint for a political campaign or for the future of our country. In the real world, we will have to deal constructively with many entities far into the future.
Small voices often don’t get heard. I just wanted to say, personally, how very sorry our family would be if Scotland left the United Kingdom – it would feel like a death in the family, or a very nasty divorce. My husband (a Cumming) is Scottish born and bred, but his mother was English (from Coventry).
My daughter is therefore quarter Scots, has Scots looks, and is proud of her Scots heritage. I am English (a Lincolnshire/Viking tribe) but spent my university years very happily in Edinburgh. In other words, there are so many intermingled genetic and cultural ties throughout this small island of ours.
If Scots voted Yes we would feel suddenly bereft of everything we took for granted. People in Scotland may have got fed up with the Tories and George Osborne, but so have millions of others elsewhere in the UK – so help us kick them out. We so need you.