Tiger of the Stripe Blog

Forget Fake News, Worry About Fantasy Politics

I thought Nicola Sturgeon was bad enough pressing for a new referendum on Scottish independence when Scotland is even less able to support itself than it has been for much of the last 300 years. Now Gordon Brown is proposing even greater devolution for Scotland. This would include setting VAT rates and the power to conclude international treaties. Fine, let Scotland set its own VAT rates, but why should England continue to subsidise Scottish extravagance? This is particularly obnoxious because every penny of subsidy helps the SNP look good to the Scottish electorate. As for the ability to conclude international treaties, this is pure nonsense. Only a sovereign state can do so.

Scottish independence would be extremely bad for the rest of the UK but it would be catastrophic for Scotland whose budget deficit is twice that of the rest of the UK. If Gordon Brown and the Labour Party in Scotland want to head off a vote for Scottish independence, they should come up with some sensible ideas not this game of Fantasy Politics.

Scottish National Party and Nicola Sturgeon must be Delusional

If Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party are serious about another independence referendum (which I very much doubt), they must be delusional. While Scotland's exports to the rest of the UK were £49.8 bn in 2015, its exports to the rest of the EU were just 12.3bn. If Scotland left the UK, either before or after the UK leaves the EU, it would be outside both the UK and the EU. It would then take years for it to rejoin the EU. The worst of all possible worlds.

Worse than that, the UK’s budget deficit was a worryingly high 4% in 2015–16 but Scotland’s was a disastrous 9.5%. Scotland could only afford this because the English taxpayer picked up the tab.

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