Monday, April 21, 2014

The 19th Sept 2014 - a possible future

Good morning on the day the end of the United Kingdom has been set in motion.

The drama of last night is still reverberating around the world. It came down to the last votes to be recorded as the Yes campaign edged ahead of the No campaign by just 998 votes.

The No campaign is ecstatic. Alex Salmond's masterful use of the Commonwealth games has paid of as an idea that has never enjoyed a majority is Scottish politics at any moment except yesterday has lead to the end of one of histories key political entities. this morning CNN are comparing it to the sacking of Rome.

This morning is a morning of hangovers, though those who earned them celebrating can perhaps bare them better than those who learn today they will no longer be British, and indeed their country is dead.

Also this morning we have learnt that No 10 has asked for an appointment at the Palace, where the speculation is the Prime Minister will resign.

Today things have been set in motion that were never even dreamed of when the Coalition government thought it would be clever to call the SNP's bluff.

This morning there were riots in Belfast and calls from the Cardiff assembly for 'more powers'.

Tomorrow the painful divorce will begin. Already a number of No campaigners have spoken to accept defeat, and demand to be included in the negotiations.

There are calls from some not to accept the result.


Jim said...

I'll give you an alternative scenario - the Yes camp win, and everyone goes 'Sh*t, I didn't think we'd all vote Yes. I only did it to make a point. I don't REALLY want to go it alone'

And as the reality of separation starts to dawn on the public, as negotiations start, and hard decisions on sticking points have to be made, unpopular ones perhaps, the support for independence falls in the polls, such that by the time the legalities are sorted, perhaps 2/3rds are against.

What happens then?

Man in a Shed said...

Yes that's exactly the question. The problem is that there hasn't been enough exploring of the full implications of a 50% + 1 vote on one Thursday in September.

Remember the No side stands to lose its country.

I was in a room with a load of Czechoslovak teenagers at the moment the result of their referendum was announced. They just stared at the TV is disbelief.

The break up of the UK will create massive shock waves throughout our political establishment, with some unpredictable results.

Dan said...

To be honest, Salmond has already lost. If you were watching carefully, he didn't seem to have a specific plan for a currency for a post-split Scotland. Instead he first asked the EU, then asked the UK if he could kindly use their currencies.

Both told him to get lost, for very good reasons.

The nasty sticking point here is how on earth an independent Scotland would fund its citizenry in the luxury they have come to accept. Scotland is essentially a huge expanse of bugger all, with people living in the few small good bits round the edges and in a couple of fertile valleys. It is mostly igneous rock, which is of low fertility and lacks useful minerals to mine (in particular it lacks coal, hence the Industrial Revolution only happened a little in Scotland).

Scottish people used to be great engineers, and used to be great soldiers, etc etc. The phrase "used to be" tends to get used a lot in such discussions. As things stand Scotland has a miniscule industrial base, banks with a history of getting into trouble and millions of dole-dependent citizens. What it doesn't have is a convenient cash cow to fund its government.

North Sea Oil is here a complete red herring. There isn't enough of it to fund Scotland, and the recent retrospective tax taught the companies operating there not to be too extravagant in developing new fields; with a rapacious New Scotland on the hunt they would be even less inclined to help out.

No, Scotland's only hope was to become a tax haven, a sort of tartan Switzerland. Tax havens need to be stable, with rock-solid currencies behind them. London benefits from the strong, stable pound as does Berlin with the Euro. This is why Salmond was knocked back by these two currencies; they don't need the competition (and they especially don't need yet another tax haven).

So, basically Salmond's fucked. Yes, Scotland can become independent, but it'll go bust shortly afterwards and be forced to return to the UK fold cap in hand, on whatever terms the London parliament sets.