Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Scotland - what of the future?

Independence - the debate is hotting up. It will never be a cut and dried decision, but the hard evidence points to staying with the bigger unit, the U.K. Emotionally, for many Scots an independent Scotland is a tempting choice, but really, is it economically sustainable?  Sure, we have the oil, for now. But we won't have it forever. And what else do we have? Tourism, banking, light industry, a mini silicon valley? However, all that is I suppose is debatable. I would not want us to vote for the Union because we were frightened of the consequences of becoming independent. We are a resourceful resilient lot after all. But staying within the Union does not change that. Nor does staying within the Union diminish our sense of identity. We are taking up our emblems of identity as Scots with ever increasing fervour. The wearing of the kilt is growing in popularity, as is our folk music and the Gaelic and Scots tongues. We have devolved government with strong powers, and will probably accrue more in time to come. The ceilidh as a musical and social event is also a strong feature of the Scottish scene. We don't need independence to enable any of that, and independence won't bring increased prosperity or economical benefits to us. Whatever the SNP are promising, and they are making some attractive promises, will need to paid for. Revenue from oil may pay for some of the carrots being dangled, for a while, but in the long term, taxation of the working population must foot the bill. I don't mind paying taxes for social benefits, and would be willing to vote for higher taxation for an improved NHS and Educational and Benefits system even within the Union. The problem with an independent Scotland will be that there just won't be that many of us working to be able to foot the bill for increased quality and quantity in the area of state benefits. Our small population would not be able to generate the quantity of cash required for generous funding of state provision for our pensioners, our children and our sick. I believe we are better together, although if someone could show me a cash projection sustainable into the far future and tell me why currency, defence, and our trading relationship with Europe will all be fine, then I would be open to reconsider. 

No comments: