Why the Scots MUST vote for independence! The Daily Mail doesn't like them.

By Simon Heffer, our Trolling Unionist Arsehole correspondent.

salmondOver the next 12 months, it will be distressingly hard to avoid Scottish voices on TV and radio droning on about whether or not Scotland should vote in a referendum to leave the United Kingdom next year.

To make matters worse, it is increasingly a debate from which the English, who as taxpayers send a hefty subsidy to Scotland each year to keep that country afloat, are wilfully excluded.

In a true democracy we, too, would be allowed our say, with a vote of our own next September, since there are two of us in this particular marriage.

Since the mid-Nineties I have been convinced that England and Scotland would benefit from a divorce, or at least from a trial separation. Many Scots don't much like the English and appear ungrateful for everything that England does for them in showering them with money.

Thus my friendly advice to our Scottish cousins as they contemplate this great constitutional moment is this: vote 'yes', for independence.

It would be the equivalent of turning on a very, very cold shower, and would wake Scotland up to reality.

The truth is that those nationalists who argue that Scottish prosperity is retarded by their 'English oppressors' are in living in cloud-cuckoo land.

Furthermore, I believe that an independent Scotland would soon find itself unequal to the struggle of self-government, because the English money tap would be turned off. Its people would have to work, or starve.

Perhaps after a few years, when they realised what a pup they had been sold by First Minister Alex Salmond and his friends, they would be back with their begging bowls. It might not even take that long.

I am well aware there are deeply deprived parts of Glasgow or Edinburgh. But that is not England's fault. The Scottish nation as a whole, thanks to English taxpayers, has never had it so good.

jakeysEnglish money is propping up the most welfare, drink and drug-addicted nation in Europe.

Nowhere is public spending per head higher in the UK than in Scotland — where new road schemes, libraries, schools, hospitals and other state-of-the-art publicly-funded institutions are in an abundance rarely spotted in England.

Also, Scots receive a range of services free of charge, including prescriptions, long-term care for the elderly and university tuition — all of which attract hefty charges in England.

It is hard to compute exactly how much the Scots cost the English. But according to figures published today by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, total public spending was around 11 per cent higher per person in Scotland than in the UK as a whole in 2011-12.

Official figures from the previous year suggest Scotland spent £62 bn but raised just £45 bn — an annual subsidy from the English taxpayer of at least £17 bn.

Also, research in 2007 showed almost one in three Scots workers had a taxpayer-funded job.

Yes, there are some nationalists who say they could survive happily thanks to Scotland's enormous revenues from North Sea oil and gas.

But this view must be taken with an enormous pinch of salt. For a start, some Scots labour under the misapprehension of how much of the territorial waters would belong to them.

Their assumption that a new border would run north east along a line of latitude from Berwick-upon-Tweed into the North Sea has no precedent in international law. In reality, the English-Scottish border runs south-west to north-east, and that line would not put all oil and gas under Scottish ownership.

sinkingThere is another problem.

Much of the potential oil reserves lie in the territorial waters of the Shetland Islands, whose population would rather be part of Norway than of an independent Scotland.

Also, oil and gas reserves are past their peak and running down, so the cash will eventually run out and provide no basis on which to construct a nation's long-term fortunes.

One estimate suggests a decline in oil revenues could increase the Scottish budget deficit by a further £3.4 billion in today's terms.

The Scottish Nationalists complain about North Sea revenues going straight to the Treasury in London: but, by the same token, hand-outs from Westminster means Scotland has no debt of its own. What it owes after its annual spending binge and by living well beyond its means is included in the United Kingdom's national debt.

Scotland's welfare bill alone is huge, and utterly unsustainable without some form of external funding. Its pensions bill is £13.3 bn a year, health care costs £11 bn and social security £8 bn.

The Scots used to be a serious, entrepreneurial and pioneering people — and they can be again.

Large parts of the British empire were settled by them —not merely Canada and New Zealand, where the Scottish influence is evident to this day, but parts of Africa and India were policed and developed by Scots.

They were brilliant inventors, engineers and businessmen. Think of Andrew Carnegie, whose steel fortune made him one of the richest men in the world, or John Logie Baird, who invented the television, and Alexander Graham Bell, creator of the telephone.

They also (ironically for a nation now crippled by socialist government and dogma) produced some of the great liberal thinkers of the Enlightenment, and blazed the trail for free-market economics. David Hume and Adam Smith were Scots, and both believed in principles which, if only Scotland had learned them, would have led to its becoming a hugely prosperous nation in its own right.

Now, instead, the Scots plot a separate existence that appears not merely financially unviable — given the heavily subsidised style to which they are accustomed — but is ill-thought out in other respects, too.

empty-sporranWhat, for example, would their currency be? Mr Salmond has said he would keep sterling, but its status would have to be similar to how banana republics in the Caribbean use the US dollar — with no say over the economic policy that affects the value of that currency. A separate Scottish currency — (the bawbee, perhaps) — would be an immediate target for predatory international financial markets, which would smell its inherent weakness a thousand miles away and speculate on it. Very soon, the independent nation producing it would become bankrupt.

And, having seen the horror that other basket-case continental economies have gone through in trying to stay in the euro in recent years, joining the single currency would not be an option for the Scots either.

Mind you, it is far from certain Scotland would be able to break away from the UK and stay in the European Union.

Brussels says an independent Scotland would have to re-apply to join the EU. Given how many struggling countries the EU already has to carry, it is far from certain it would get back in.

Just as importantly, what would the Scots do if there was another financial crisis, like the one when its native banks, RBS and HBOS, almost went under in 2008?

Until then, Mr Salmond had boasted how Scotland's banks would make the country a great dollar-earning financial centre — but like so many other Scottish dreams, that one exploded, and the banks were rescued with billions of pounds of English taxpayers' money, which, of course, would not be available again under independence.

What Scotland is most short of, sadly, is hard-working, wealth-creating Scots. Those with drive and determination seem mostly to be in England, where they can escape the various degrees of state socialism that pass for government in today's Scotland.

men in_red_kiltsAdmittedly, the Union is not in great shape at the moment. However, that is partly because of the false hopes entertained by so many Scots for life outside the marriage to the English.

Give them a few years of independence and I'm sure they will see the error of their ways. They will realise how much better off they were inside the United Kingdom than out of it — as some married couples do when it takes a separation to make them realise how lucky they were to have each other after all — and the Union they ask to re-join will be stronger than ever.

The 18th century writer Dr Johnson, who had a shrewd estimation of the Scots, observed that the noblest prospect a Scotchman ever sees is the high road that leads him to England. True 250 years ago and, mark my words, it will be true again.

The only question is: when these 'independent' Scots eventually see sense and want to rejoin the Union that flourished for 300 years, will England want them back again?

This is absolutely the most definitive set of positive arguments and unarguable facts put forward in the debate so far. How can we possibly top that? ED




Related Articles


Daily Mail (London Edition) : Why the Scots MUST vote for independence! It'll save the rest of us a fortune


Due to the huge number of complaints, comments are no longer banned on BBC Scotlandshire News pages.

Comments or no comments, it's still OUR job to tell YOU what to think - NOT the other way around.



All of our Biased Articles