Scotland independence finaldraft


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Some slides about Scottish Independence giving some reasons and links as to why I think it is not the answer to the democratic deficit, but may even make change harder to achieve.

Just my point of view, no campaign support. I believe the 'yes' campaign have Scotland's best interest at heart also, we just differ on how a greener, fairer, more peaceable future might be achieved. I believe we can still achieve it for the whole UK and will find it hard to achieve otherwise.

Published in: News & Politics
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  • A few spelling mistakes in the English, but a pretty good piece all the same. Salmond has all of the makings of one of the politicos he goes into berating as if at a mirror.
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Scotland independence finaldraft

  1. 1. The ’Democratic Deficit’ Is Independence the Solution for Scotland? By A Fellow Wee Beastie
  2. 2. The political demography of the UK Much of the pro-independence support seems to be based on the belief that an independent Scotland would be a socialist Scotland – freed from the right wing ’English’. This is partly perhaps due to seeing lots of maps looking like the insert to the left, showing England as almost entirely blue. Land doesn’t vote, people do. The large map shows hexagons of equal population. The country is finely balanced at present – hence the hung parliament. The government might be acting like they have a mandate for a its agenda, but many (most?) who voted Liberal Democrat feel completely betrayed by their support for that agenda. Even 77% of Tory voters want a publicly run National Health Service!! The long term direction on the ground accross Britain, is for more people who need public services such as afforable child care, social housing, or affordable care holmes for the elderly. The largely rightwing media may sound like people are losing faith in a welfare state but the demographic change is reflected in a trend away from voting Conservative as the next slide shows. Why now? Why after 300 years is a Conservative government agreeing to a referendum on independence when the Conservatives opposed devolution in 1997 and ignore massive public outrage at their other policies, smashing the welfare state without any apparent regard for re-election?
  3. 3. The positive case is that Scotland can help accellerate that process within the UK and what happens in the UK still has significant impact in the EU and beyond. A Wind of Change Even after three terms of a Labour government and the greatest economic crisis since the 1920s the Conservatives still couldn’t win a majority. The UK is now less blue than it was in the 1950’s. Yes, much of that change has been in Scotland, but it is not only Scotland, North East, North West and South West England have also moved leftward while most of Wales has never supported Conservatism. The blue is being pushed back into rural South East England. The trend reflects demographic changes, not short term party politics (see the link under the graph above). This demographic change is long term and has big implications. Whoever controls Westminster has huge influence over the City of London and one of the worlds largest currencies and trading economies. http://www.theguardian.c om/commentisfree/2013/ mar/05/tories-will-get- next-general-election
  4. 4. -After Scottishindependence the left wing power base will be splitbetween parliaments, but not that of the right, for whom Parliamentis just one way to exert their power. -Independence means Westminster is more likelyto see Conservativemajoritiesor centre-right coalitions(and the Liberal ’Democrats’ have shown their true colours in coalition). 1) If an independentScotland retains the UK Pound (with a currency union or otherwise), economic policy will still be set by Westminster. Thatcherite monetary policy killed production industry in the UK and it would continue to damage Scotland after independenceas Chancellorswith no political interest in Scotland would set interest rates and borrowing limits. Even if a Scottish Government deliveredbetter welfare policy, it could then only be a band aid to Tory monetary and fiscal policy. A Scottish Pound is risky, as my ’timrous cousin’ explains here: 2) Scots may still wish to go to find work in the rest of the UK - 800,000 live there already. These Scots need England to retain decent employment rights, health care and housing benefit. They and other ordinary people in the UK need Scottish votes at Westminster. 3) Scots needing welfare in rUK will become political footballs, as will British people moving to Scotland (oh no? ’English’ students already pay Scottish University fees? EU ’Health tourism’ is alreadya hot political issue. So what happens if some one wants to be treated near family on the other side of the border, or to benefit from a medical specialism in London?) 4) The rUK will be a very similar, but more powerful, economycompeting to be the lower tax, more ’business friendly environment’ for big corporations. That is a beggar thy neighbour spiral – just what the tax cutting Tories and SNP would love : ’Sorry, we can’t raise corporation tax to fund healthcare because the [Scottish/English] will under cut us and then come [Down/Up] here to use our services!’. Raise the Climate Change Levie or Air Passenger Duty? ’No can do, we have to remain competive with the [Scottish/English]’. 5) Even if Scotland some how manages to use oil to buy its way out of globalisation for a while, a socialist Scotland can’t change the global system . A centre-left UK, within Europe, can make a global difference. Hold the course and we can achieve that. Divide and Rule The SNP claimthe ’UK will never be foriegn’.. yet that is the very definition of national independence. But why should Scots care?
  5. 5. Then Divide Again Scotland is also divided. A majority of people live in the urban areas of the central belt and south west, would imposing their views on the rest of Scotland be democratic ? When the rUK undercuts Scottish business, will these other areas vote to maintain expensive public services and workers rights or to be competitive? Would the Borders prefer to join a centre-right rUK? After all the current border is rather arbitrary, and if they do can they take their share of oil revenue with them? The Shetland Isles, arguably more culturally distinct from mainland Scotland than Scotland is from Northern England, are already arguing that they are entitled to a greater share of oil revenue on geographical grounds: blog/2012/mar/19/islanders-threaten-salmond-independence-plans Where will the constitutional gerrymandering end? Why is oil revenue special, what about tax revenues from farming produce, tourism, IT services or manufacturing? What if Edinburgh claimed ownership of all tax revenue from itsfinancial services? Can London command all of itstax revenue? No, because we are all inter-dependent! Great Britain is one economy and a diverse blend of cultures. A border can’t isolate Scotland from larger socio-economic tides. So politicsin the British Isles’ most powerful parliament needs to reflect everyone’s opinion Just as the UK needs to be in the EU, Scotland needs to be in the UK and the UK needs Scotland.
  6. 6. ’But the UK is no longer democratic - look at all the surveillance!’ The issue illustratesthere are significantlimitationsto independence that go well beyond economics. As recent revelationshave demonstrated,the USA has been carrying out extensivemonitoring globally, includingits own citizens, while USA border controls are now infamous. Citizensof the USA, through congress, might finallystop the worst excesses of the NSA. UK ’independence’, delivers lessinfluence on this issue that would sending UK senitors to Washington. ’Independence’ will not save our liberaldemocracy. Many Scots would still be subject to rUK law when travelling to or via the rUK, but may no longer be protected as British citizens. The rUK would surely also negotiate tough Scottish border controls and a say on Scottish immigration policy in return for free movement over the land border. Given the relative significance to each others economy, the rUK would hold all the cards in that negotiation. Scotland can still tip the balance in Westminster back to liberal democracy - if it holds on to its democratic right to do so. ”That is ’Englands’ problem, Scottish voters would never allow it!” Really? The price would be border restrictions and an expensive intelligence war with a NATO allie. At present non-UK citizens may be detained indefinately at the UK border yet Scottish MPs have not been deluged with four million letters of complaint by outraged Scots constituents on their behalf. The ’English’ have no patent on political appathy. Further more The SNP record on Civil Service independence also raises questions for Scottish democracy : adviser-condemns-snp-spin-in-official-documents-1-2093518 Centre-left Scottish votes are an important part of the liberalvoice in Westminster without which things will get worse for everyone. Independence means allot less influence in Westminster, for only a little less interference from Westminster.
  7. 7. ’What about Iraq?’ In 2003 90% of UK voters either opposed the war entirely or believed a UN mandate was necessary before any military action would be legitimate. So, what ever the reason really was for the UK participating, it wasn’t the ”war mongering English.” 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Dont know Refused to Answer Wrong Right Even if it could, are Scots really less belligerant? An ICM poll conducted in 2007 showed that, even at the war’s end when no Weapons of Mass Destruction had been found, Scotland showed the most support for the war of any region in the UK – albeitstillonly 42%. To avoid the next ’Iraq’ we need politicalindependence from global oil-corporations.Hardly likelywith an economy heavily dependent on their buying Scottish oil. Grangemouth shows that its being ’oor’ oil would not put Scotland in charge. Werethe USAandBritain right or wrongto take military action in Iraq in 2003? Could Scotland, as a NATO member, have stood up to US pressure to participate, when other countries including Norway and Denmark could not? Public support was low in every country which participated. Even the USA had less than 35% public support for a unilateral attack.
  8. 8. ”The Name of the Game is Power..” ”..Together we’ve got the power, appart we’ve got the pow wow” Jesse Jackson, 1972 Why did Ineos not close the £800 million refinery afterall? A £9 million subsidy from Scottish Government or the £125 million in loan garantees from UK Government? Big business should not be able to demand such a massive public subsidy but the fact is they do. Only political action at European level could regulate such subsidies for big business and protect workers rights from global corporate power, and that needs Scottish votes at Westminster because without Scotland Westminster will surely block such action by the EU. The SNP slaited the UK goverment for apparent disinterest in the Grangemouth Oil Refinery.
  9. 9. ’Iraq and Grangemouth just go to show Westminster is Broken..’ In this Westminster parliament (some) Scottish Lib Dem MPs voted for student tuition fees against their campaign promise when it won’t even affect their constituents (until Scottish Universities lobby for an equal playing field to their English competition). The SNP are in government at Holyrood because Scottish Labour at Holyrood didn’t live up to their promises. But here is a list of the SNPs broken pledges, hypocritically compiled by Scottish Labour : We need to stop the corporate capture of politics. We need to stop MPs with a financial conflict of interest from voting. We need to stop ex-politicians getting well paid non-executive board positions within in industries they helped privatise. We may even need a law of ”High Perjury” for those who lie at a general election. It is tempting to see independence as an escape from right wing politics but independence will not help because the problem is not how the ’English’ vote, it is that politicalparties and politicians don’t listen, neither in Westminster nor in Holyrood. We don’t need the nationalist straw man that the problem is ’those interfering English/ Scottish/ Europeans/ foreign types who are different from us..’ It will be just as bad post independence, and the Socialist vote will be divided between Parliaments.
  10. 10. ’But look at Norway - A small country can be more democratic’ Size doesn’t matter, money matters Why is Westminster not more responsive to the wishes of voters? Any government must work within the reality of other power structures. For example ownership of land is a major influence on whether green energy policies, social housing or transport policy can actually be implemented. The government needs to able to insist that large land holders allow such developments on their land. In Britain often land is owned by massively powerful individuals and global corporations who use their wealth to buy political favour or frustrate govenment programs with legal challenges. Norway does not have the same problems of massively powerful elite interests as exist in the UK, especiallyin Scotland. The ownership of forested land, for example, worth £1.7 Billion Scotland, £3.9 Billion Norway, demonstrates the extent of the difference in such power structures to Scotland. Scotland has high concentrations of land ownership and absentee landlords which the Sottish Parliament has done little about since Labour passed the limitedLand Reform Act in 2003. Why? Land = Power. Norway is not democratic because it is small, it is democratic because it is equal. Devo-max and genuine land reform could give Scots greater equality and be an example to other UK regions. ’Independence’ will only cede power to an absentee Chancellor and divert billions of pounds away from the real problems. “In Norway,90% of forest holdings are family holdings and the existence of forest owners’ co- operatives makes it possible to manage small holdings efficiently.” 2012.pdf “91% of [non Forestry Commission woodland] is owned either by landed estates or by investment owners. • 55% is owned by absentees. • 32% of the private owners live outside Scotland. 55% of forest holdings in Scotland are over 50ha (Europe = 1.6%). • 59.6% of European forest holdings are less than 1ha in extent (Scotland = 6.3%). • Over 93% of Scotland’s privately owned forest area is held in holdings of over 100ha.” Global corporations will be lobbying both rUK and Scottish politicalparties to be the lower tax, lower employment rights environment. Scots need representation on both sides of the border too.
  11. 11. That is all as maybe, but things have got to change Scotland needs devolution from Edinburgh, just as England needs devolution from London. An independent Holyrood would be a mini-Westminster, imposing its views on the rest of Scotland from a city dominated by the same big financial interests which run Westminster. Same corruption, same arrogance, same cultural imperialism from a Capital centric metro-class. Vote ’No’ and unite for for a common vision, where Westminster serves the collective will of democratically constituted chambers accross the UK, rooted in history but relevant to today not bordered by the ambitions of long dead tyrants. Only a political earthquake - such as Scottish Independence - can prevent a Labour majority. Hold the course and they will. The Tories are resorting to ’scorched earth’ tactics on welfare. A ’Yes’ vote would act as a break on change which is already in the wind. Probability of Possible Outcomes – UK General Election 2015 Labour gave Scotland devolution, they will deliver ’Devo-Max’.. Infact they have to : (1/5/2014)
  12. 12. Wha’s Like Us? The ’parcel of rogues’ did not intend it but Union didn’t just open the border to trade, it opened it to ideas. People realised that the real problem wasn’t the folk the other side of the border but their own rulers. Scotland lead the way intellectually in the Englightenment. Yet England had the massive urban population to give unstoppable force to those ideas, or to crush them with cheaper labour. The struggle had to be a mutual one, and it took another 240 years to win. Real independence, freedom from tyranny through fear of destitution, is still but a spark in a long, dark, history. Could an independent Scotland stand alone against global capitalism? We are an integrated society with a tighly knit economy. rUK is ten times the size of Scotland, if the Welfare State falls there it will fall in Scotland eventually, independence or no. Powerful people have always ruled through division. The Laird of Elderslie, King Bruce and their ilk fought - mostly against other Scots - for their own freedom to tyranise Scotland unfettered.
  13. 13. ‘The working class have no country’ Karl Marx Robert Burns Then let us pray that come it may, (As come it will for a' that,) That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, Shall bear the gree, an' a' that. For a' that, an' a' that, It's coming yet for a' that, That Man to Man, the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that. Exmoor