'May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears' Nelson Mandela...
 

 

 

 
indy 2
 

The case for Scottish independence looks stronger post-Brexit

The decision to leave the EU changes terms of debate north of the border, writes Nicholas Macpherson

The EU referendum last month has raised existential issues of nationality across the British Isles. Applications for Irish passports are at a record level, with even Ian Paisley Jr, the Democratic Unionist MP, tweeting: “My advice is if you are entitled to [a] second passport then take one.” Meanwhile, the pressure for another referendum on Scottish independence is mounting.
With the UK leaving the EU, there is a golden opportunity for proponents of Scottish independence to reappraise their economic prospectus. Clearly, membership of the EU will lie at the heart of it. That will enable Scotland to have access to the biggest market in the world without the uncertainties that are likely to face the rest of the UK for many years to come. It would also provide a historic opportunity for Edinburgh to develop further as a financial centre, as London-based institutions hedge their bets on the location of staff and activities. If Royal Bank of Scotland, the state-backed bank, relocates its headquarters as part of that process, that would strengthen the long-term sustainability of the Scottish financial sector. How quickly an independent Scotland could join the EU is of course highly uncertain. Spain is unlikely to agree to automatic membership because of concerns about secessionist pressures in Catalonia. All the same, the EU has a huge interest in fast-tracking membership for a country whose citizens have been members of the bloc for 43 years and have voted to remain by 62 per cent to 38 per cent. Then there is the question of currency. In the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, the Scottish National party government missed a trick by advocating a unilateral monetary union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK. The Treasury had had enough problems with fixed currency regimes in the 20th century without wanting to enter into one in the 21st. The history of monetary unions teaches us that they require more political integration rather than less — as the eurozone has discovered to its cost. In any case, an independent Scotland would have no interest in seeking to tie its currency to a country that wishes to put more distance between itself and the EU. It is surely time, therefore, for the Scottish government to commit to creating a Scottish pound supported by its own central bank. That would not preclude the monetary authorities of an independent Scotland from shadowing sterling, just as the Danish central bank shadows the euro. In the longer term, there could be a case for tying the Scottish pound to the euro. And a long-term commitment to joining the single currency would almost certainly be a requirement of EU membership. But that does not mean Scotland would have to adopt the euro — at least not straight away. Sweden is theoretically obliged to join the single currency. But more than 20 years on from joining the EU, the prospects of its giving up the krona seem vanishingly remote. One of the Treasury’s worries in 2014 about the putative monetary union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK was the impact of the oil price cycle. With its own currency, Scotland would be much better placed to respond to an oil shock on the scale of the one that has taken place in the past two years. Interest rates and the Scottish pound could take the strain smoothing any adjustment in the real economy. The fall in the oil price from $100 a barrel to under $40 earlier this year is a reminder of the importance of sound public finances. There is no reason why small countries cannot be very successful economically. But generally those that are — Norway and Singapore come to mind — put great effort into establishing fiscal credibility. That generally means running fiscal surpluses in the good times, the better to insure against shocks in the bad times. The Treasury was concerned in 2014 that the Scottish government’s prospectus relied on over-optimistic oil price projections. But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s administration has since worked to bolster its fiscal credibility. John Swinney, Scottish finance secretary until earlier this year, was cautious about using the borrowing powers available under the existing fiscal arrangements. More importantly, he has taken steps to set up Scotland’s own independent fiscal council. There is now a much better opportunity for informed debate about public finances, taking into account changing North Sea oil production levels and wider demographic trends. The Scottish government can strengthen its credibility by setting out long-term plans for public services, public investment and social security, in particular pensions. It also has a chance to set out a tax policy for the longer term. An independent Scotland committed to the EU would have an extraordinary opportunity to attract inward investment as well as highly skilled migrants. But, since it will be competing with Ireland, it needs a tax system that is equally competitive. That points to low corporate taxes and keeping marginal rates of income tax down. It may also point to a smaller, more efficient state. The aftermath of the EU referendum contains many lessons. Perhaps the most important is that without a plan for what happens next you risk months, if not years, of uncertainty and drift. The Scottish government is in a unique position to take a more far-sighted approach. If it can develop a clear and coherent economic strategy ahead of any future referendum, it not only stands a better chance of winning it will also increase the probability that an independent Scotland inside the EU can hit the ground running. The writer was permanent secretary to the Treasury and is now visiting professor at King’s College London FT.com FT  

RSS Guido Fawkes.

  • McGinn Whipped Labour MPs to “Keep Up the Pressure on JC” July 22, 2016
    Labour whip Conor McGinn has created some headlines today by accusing Corbyn of threatening to call up his dad. McGinn over-dramatically says this is “bullying”. It’s not really though, is it. “Just wait till your father hears about this” is said by many mothers… McGinn was fingered a while back as a key anti-Corbyn plotter, despite supposedly serving […]
    WikiGuido
  • Victoria’s Secret Lingerie and 5 Star Hotels: Welsh Govt’s £7.5 Million Credit Card Spend July 22, 2016
    The Welsh government spent £7,508,490.17 of taxpayers’ money on credit card transactions over the last Assembly, including purchases from lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, iTunes subscriptions, Yachtwear, and items from IKEA, as well as stays in luxury five star hotels. A Freedom of Information response reveals that in total, ministers and civil servants spent an average of […]
    guidobard
  • UK Taxpayers’ £245 Million Loan to Corruption-Hit Brazilian Oil Firm July 22, 2016
    Scandal-hit Brazilian oil company Petrobras received £250 million from the UK taxpayer last year, extending its credit line to over £1.1 billion. While loans to companies buying British goods is fairly standard practice, the government decided to extend Petrobras’ line of credit after it became embroiled in a huge corruption and bribery scandal that led to the impeachment of […]
    guidobard
  • Friday Caption Contest (Taxi for Nick Edition) July 22, 2016
    Entries in the comments please… The post Friday Caption Contest (Taxi for Nick Edition) appeared first on Guido Fawkes.
    guidobard
  • Owen Smith Hires Top Pfizer Lobbyist to Run Campaign July 22, 2016
    Owen Smith has hired a leading corporate lobbyist who works for Pfizer to run his leadership campaign, Guido can reveal. John Lehal is the smoothie MD of lobbying firm Insight Consulting, and boasts among his clients Big Pharma giants Pfizer, Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Lehal’s dealings sparked controversy when he was signed up to run Andy Burnham’s doomed leadership bid last year. Smith used to spin for Pfizer himself and has […]
    WikiGuido
  • Hammond Fibs and Saudi Slavery Slipped Out on Dumping Day July 22, 2016
    Over 300 government documents were quietly slipped out on “dumping day” yesterday, the traditional Whitehall operation where dozens of embarrassing stories are slipped out all at the same time on the last day before recess. Among the worst revelations are the admission that Philip Hammond repeatedly misled parliament about Saudi human rights abuses in Yemen […]
    WikiGuido
  • Trump Accepts Republican Nomination July 22, 2016
    “Friends, delegates, and fellow Americans: I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination for the Presidency of the United States. USA! USA! USA! USA!” A week of Déjà vu… The post Trump Accepts Republican Nomination appeared first on Guido Fawkes.
    guidobard
  • Matthew Elliott on Why Leave Won July 21, 2016
    Referendum-winning Vote Leave boss Matthew Elliott recounts how the campaign was won on today’s Daily Politics: “At 10pm on the 23 of June, the consensus was that Vote Leave had lost. A contact of mine at Number 10 texted me to say, ‘You’re toast'”. And the rest is history… The post Matthew Elliott on Why Leave Won appeared […]
    guidobard
  • Oona King Quits Politics For Silicon Valley July 21, 2016
    Oona King has ended her 25 year career in politics to work for YouTube in Silicon Valley, citing Jeremy Corbyn as one of the reasons behind her decision to leave Westminster. At a send off with Labour MPs last night, the Baroness was asked if the current state of the Labour leadership had made it […]
    WikiGuido
  • Paul Mason’s “Corbyn’s Not Rubbish” Rant Against “Torture & Rendition Ultra-Blairites” July 21, 2016
    Paul Mason laid out his loony left vision for the Labour party in a series of bizarre rants targeting Blairites: “For the Blairites, for the twenty or thirty ultra Blairites, you know, the torture, rendition and Iraq war brigade, they might feel happier in a centrist party.” He also manages to throw the Greek Syriza […]
    guidobard
  • Shami Chakrabarti: I Wouldn’t Accept “Honours” in “Exchange” for Silence July 21, 2016
    Labour’s anti-semitism inquiry author Shami Chakrabarti yesterday refused to answer in a J-TV interview whether or not Corbyn had offered her a gong. A far cry from April this year, when she directly told Owen Jones she thought it wasn’t “flattering” to be offered gongs “in exchange for your silence”: “Yeah sometimes people will try […]
    guidobard
  • Osborne Given “Sh*t” Room With No View July 21, 2016
    George Osborne has been given a less desirable office in Portcullis House after moving out of Number 11. The former Chancellor has decamped to the fourth floor of PCH and will take residence in the room previously used by Boris. The move is being seen as another humiliating slap by the new regime – the office is usually given to mid-ranking MPs who have only been around for […]
    WikiGuido
  • 5,000,000 Signatures: Few Policy Changes July 21, 2016
    Parliament’s petition website is one year old today. The site, aimed at encouraging ordinary members of the British public to have a say in the workings of Parliament, has received 19,018 petitions since it’s inception. Of these 258 have reached the 10,000 signatures required to trigger a response from the government (1.36% ). Just 30 have […]
    guidobard
  • Corbyn Threatens Mandatory Reselection July 21, 2016
    “The first [boundary review] report will be out this autumn and it will finally be implemented in 2018. If this parliament runs to full term then the new boundaries will be the basis on which elections take place. In that case there would be a full selection process in every constituency but the sitting MP […]
    WikiGuido
  • Corbynistas Used Code to Hide Cash-For-Votes Plot July 21, 2016
    Members of a private Facebook group which organised £25 payments for people to vote for Corbyn used an unsubtle code to disguise what they were up to. Thousands of Corbynistas signed up to the secret “Gimme 25 page” yesterday, all asking for the exact same sum, £25, to pay their “internet data” and other necessities by the exact […]
    WikiGuido
  • First Lady Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke July 21, 2016
    The post First Lady Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke appeared first on Guido Fawkes.
    order-order
  • Diane Abbott Attacks “Lobbyist” Owen Smith July 21, 2016
    Watch @HackneyAbbott attack “lobbyist” @OwenSmith_MP, comparing him to “PR man” David Cameronhttps://t.co/YpVB6J4elb — BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) July 21, 2016 UPDATE: There are many reasons to vote for a change of Labour leadership. Not having Diane Abbott on the radio every morning is just one of them… — Michael Dugher MP (@MichaelDugher) July 21, […]
    order-order
  • Seumas Fails to Support Corbyn July 21, 2016
    Around the country Constituency Labour Parties are holding votes endorsing candidates and expressing confidence or no confidence in Corbyn. Last night in leafy Richmond the local Labour Party supported Owen Smith for Labour Party leader. Richmond CLP is of course Seumas Milne’s own Labour branch… The wraith-like commissar for Corbyn did not show up last […]
    order-order
  • Exaro Closing Today July 20, 2016
    Hearing @ExaroNews closing down today, everyone sacked. — Media Guido (@MediaGuido) July 20, 2016 Board meeting agreed it and then the staff were told. All @ExaroNews staff have had their keys taken and told not to come in tomorrow. — Media Guido (@MediaGuido) July 20, 2016 The controversial site which broke some of the more […]
    WikiGuido
  • Theresa May: Thug Life July 20, 2016
    Theresa May: Thug Life https://t.co/QJRHXRuzzF pic.twitter.com/5Dvin4fROy — Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) July 20, 2016 Via @laughwriter The post Theresa May: Thug Life appeared first on Guido Fawkes.
    WikiGuido

RSS Bella Caledonia.

  • Scottish Govt – Act Now to Stop “Catastrophic Impact” of Cuts on Disabled Community July 23, 2016
    Disability campaigners and their allies are urging the Scottish Government to act NOW to stop the horrendous benefits cuts being inflicted on disabled people. Following a demonstration at the Scottish Parliament activists from Black Triangle and Disability History Scotland presented a petition with this demand to be considered by the First Minister. “We are hopeful […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • Robo-Marxism Grand Luxe July 23, 2016
    The machines are coming for your job. Do not doubt that for a nanosecond. They’re also coming for your entire skill-set, rendering you a ponderous bio-relic of the post-agricultural, post-industrial, dia-feudal blip that we call ‘nowadays’. Having recently read futurist entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan’s Humans Need Not Apply, I was interested to see a contrasting take […]
    D.J. MacLennan
  • Narrow Nationalism and the Missing July 21, 2016
    “One by one the pillars of support for the Union have been removed” notes Paul Kavanagh. As the very credibility of Britain slides into disrepair let’s just reflect on three of the issues driving this change. Defence – nuclear or conventional – is a shambles. ‘Security’ was a key meme of the Better Together campaign, […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • How Trident could prove the British state’s Waterloo July 19, 2016
    In 1815, harried across continental Europe, driving on through rain and storm, suffering the beginnings of a fatal stomach cancer and facing improbable military odds on the field at Waterloo, Napoleon, once the proudest and most brilliant leader of his age, had finally exhausted a very good run. A few years ago, this article could […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • The Rand Corporation, Nuclear Weapons, War, Torture and the Scottish Funding Council July 19, 2016
    The body that funds Further and Higher Education in Scotland, The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) has been providing public funds to the Cambridge based UK/European division of a US military think Tank, the RAND Corporation, that has been implicated in every US war since 1945, including Vietnam and Iraq, and as […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • Trident is a Strange Beast July 18, 2016
    A perverted potlatch, snake oil, charm to ward off evil. Like a protection charm that is worn around the neck while leaching poison into body and brain. No one can think straight when they have been sold such a squandering of billions, such a harmful waste. If it were just an embellishing charm that did […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • Dreams of Normality July 17, 2016
    Several years ago, in Inverness’s fabulous church of second hand books, I found what became my favourite (3 line) poem. Three lines that (you may or may not agree) now require a 3 line sequel. The poem is in ‘The Road North’ by Finlay and it asks: “What is a glen?” Water where once there […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • Tommy Sheppard for Deputy Leader July 15, 2016
    Tommy Sheppard MP has announced tonight his candidacy for the Deputy Leader of the SNP, joining Alyn Smith MEP, Angus Robertson MP as well as Christopher McEleny, leader of the SNP group on Inverclyde Council. An experienced political activist, Sheppard is a relative newcomer to the SNP and represents both a figure from the left […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • Resisting DWP Pyschocoercion July 15, 2016
    Benefit sanctions, workfare, cuts to disability benefits, cuts to benefits for migrants, cuts to benefits for young people…… To the long list of vicious government attacks on benefits claimants, we must now add ….pyschocoercion. The Tribe of Moles thanks Dr Bruce Scott for his illuminating article on this sinister DWP strategy. Encouragingly he concludes by […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor
  • Dh’fhalbh Siud is Thàinig Seo July 15, 2016
    Sin soraidh slàn dhan Chamshronach ma tha (uill, soraidh co-dhiù). Prìomh mhinistear a tha a’ fàgail mar dhìleab aon aonadh a tha gu cinnteach marbh agus aonadh eile a tha air an t-slighe a-mach. Nach e a rinn math. Ged a bha e duilich uaireannan uidhir de mhi-chiat a ghabhail ris a’ Chamshronach, bha e […]
    Bella Caledonia Editor

RSS Wings Over Scotland.

  • Two men dealt amongst the chill July 23, 2016
    Chris Cairns
  • The quantum of bias July 20, 2016
    “Bias” is a word we hate. Other than in the article you’re about to read, you’ll almost never find it used on this site, for a string of reasons. It’s one of those words that – regardless of context or literal justification – simply makes people switch off instantly and dismiss your arguments. (See also: “Zionist”, “Quisling”, […]
    Rev. Stuart Campbell
  • Packing Scotland’s trunk July 19, 2016
    You can’t throw a brick at the Scottish media at the moment – however much you’d like to – without hitting half a dozen articles all repeating the same mantra: that despite the post-Brexit surge in support for independence, a Yes vote would be more difficult to achieve because the economics are now harder than […]
    Rev. Stuart Campbell
  • The Labour case for Trident July 17, 2016
    This is prospective Labour leader Owen Smith on the Andrew Marr show this morning, explaining why he’ll be one of the 65% of Labour MPs voting in favour of the renewal of Trident next week: Let’s just see if we can get this straight once and for all. 1. Labour wants to spend £200bn on a […]
    Rev. Stuart Campbell
  • In interesting times July 17, 2016
    Chris Cairns
  • The tantrums of fantasists July 15, 2016
    If there haven’t been as many posts on this site as people might expect at a time of such incredible political turmoil, it’s because Wings isn’t at heart a commentary blog. We don’t do a lot of flat-out opinion pieces, tending to concern ourselves more with measurable, empirical facts, and since nobody knows anything about anything at the […]
    Rev. Stuart Campbell
  • Into the briar patch July 14, 2016
    The Scotsman reports a “blow” to Nicola Sturgeon this morning: “The UK’s new Chancellor has said Scotland should not have a different relationship with Europe than the rest of the UK. Philip Hammond, who replaced George Osborne as new Prime Minister Theresa May appointed her Cabinet, said the vote to leave the European Union was […]
    Rev. Stuart Campbell
  • Fist brutally attacked by face July 12, 2016
    While we wait on tenterhooks to find out exactly how insane the Parliamentary Labour Party is, enjoy this jaw-dropping BBC Scotland news report on the trial of Labour MP Marie Rimmer for attacking a Yes campaigner at a polling station in September 2014. Coming soon: Shooting Victim Denies Deliberately Damaging Assailant’s Bullet.  (The Daily Record, amazingly […]
    Rev. Stuart Campbell
  • Our Friends In Europa July 11, 2016
    If your only source of news was the mainstream media, you could be forgiven for thinking that the consensus in the EU regarding an independent Scotland was bleak. Spain would, we’re told endlessly, veto Scotland’s place in the EU out of hand, and so, allegedly, would France. And when Scotland’s First Minister went to Brussels […]
    Al Harron
  • Dirty old pot attacks non-kettle July 11, 2016
    Some of you will have missed this over the weekend: Yes – Michelle Mone, of all the people on Earth, really did just go on TV and accuse Nicola Sturgeon of being all about ego. We’ll leave you to absorb that for a bit.
    Rev. Stuart Campbell

WP SlimStat