To the list of things that are wrong with Better Together, we can now add premature ejaculation. There we were, lying back and thinking of Scotland and expecting a love bomb, it lasted 2 minutes and the only person who spurted was Dave. And the bastard never called. It’s back to the scares and the threats.
It’s the currency again. They’re going to keep on at this one, because they reckon it gives them some traction. Sharing the pound is the only thing that Scotland is asking Westminster for after a yes vote, so Westminster wants to do its utmost to make out we won’t get it.
Better Together operates on the unspoken assumption that many Scots traditionally had about our country, it’s a relic of the cringe. This is the belief that Scotland is weak and powerless and holds no cards of its own. But that is very far from the truth. The truth is that there is far more that Westminster wants from Scotland than Scotland wants from Westminster. Better Together knows this too, which is why they’re doing all they can to scare us.
Think about it logically. Let us suppose that Scotland has nothing that Westminster wants or needs. If that were the case, then the scare stories and hysteria being whipped up by Unionist politicians and their media hangers-on can only be motivated by a deep, selfless, and charitable concern for the well being of Scotland. They know us better than we know ourselves, and have only our best interests at heart. Stop laughing at the back there.
OK, having a low opinion of the altruism of Westminster is highly subjective, even if true and based upon many years of witnessing and suffering what passes for their altruism. However we need to be logical here and remove all personal feelings from the equation. This involves imagining that you are in a universe where George Osborne really does put Scotland’s interests in his wee box of precious things – alongside his signed photie of Maggie Thatcher, his bank details and his gimp mask – so mind bending drugs may help.
Right, so Scotland is poor, weak, and helpless, kept afloat solely by the good graces and financial acumen of the UK Treasury, steered through the choppy waters of the big scary world by captains who love us and cherish us and let us on the boat for free. See, sometimes drugs do work.
We’re a charity case with nothing to offer. But this is the condition Scotland is in after being governed by Westminster for over 300 years. The Union has left us as damaged goods, a basket case reduced to pleading for free passage. And that’s despite the industry we no longer have and those we still do, like the oil and renewables and the whisky and all the rest. It happened even though we have a highly educated and skilled population who inhabit a country with an embarrassing excess of natural resources.
Someone must have mismanaged those resources terribly. Who could that have been then? Oh… And we’re supposed to be Better Together with these people?
If you accept the premise of Better Together’s case, it doesn’t take long before you find yourself mired in logical contortions and confusion. There’s more logic in a Tennessee school textbook that says we can’t be descended from the apes because Ian Davidson is still around.
So let’s be logical. An independent Scotland wants only one thing from Westminster – for them to stop being dickheads about a currency that’s as much ours as it is theirs. The reason we hear so much about the currency is because it’s the only card they have, so they want us to think that it’s a high value card.
What do they want from us? Scotland has far more going for it than Westminster or Better Together want us to believe. We have some very strong cards indeed.
There’s Trident, Westminster needs a new base for it and they can’t just stick it in a multistorey carpark in Reading for the time being. They need us to be obliging about Faslane and Coulport until they can sort out an alternative. Or they could just abandon it and leave Scotland with the clean up and disposal costs. Which we could afford, since according to the time honoured legal principle of quisquilliae defutatae tuae sunt, eas purgabis tu* we’d simply deduct the money from the amount of debt Westminster expects us to take on. Whatever way you look at it, we’ve got them by the ballistics.
And talking of that massive national debt that they want us to take a share of. That will be the national debt that Westminster has already conceded that it and it alone, will be responsible for after Scottish independence. £1.4 trillion of it. That’s a lot of maxed out credit cards. Scotland could, if it wanted, walk away debt free. Sure, our international credit rating would be low for a couple of years, but since we’d be starting off with zero debt and an ocean’s worth of assets we’d manage just fine. More than fine. We’ll only take on debt in proportion to the assets we’re due. Nae assets, nae debt. The pound is a shared asset too. Apparently it’s one that Westminster values very highly, which must mean not getting our share in it must be worth oodles of debt we won’t be taking on.
There’s the status of the rUK as the sole successor state to the UK. There is a very strong legal case that Scotland could make in international courts that the rUK was not in fact the sole successor state. There is no guarantee that the rUK would win the argument, not all nations love Westminster the way that we’re supposed to love David Cameron and Alistair Darling. Westminster requires Scotland not to object to its claim to sole successor state status.
And neither last nor least there’s Scotland’s substantial contribution to the UK’s balance of payments. Without Scotland, the UK’s deficit would double and they lose one third of their international exports. Business for Scotland has detailed the figures for those of you who can cope with figures. The bottom line is just that. If Scotland didn’t use the pound the arse would fall out of it, because it would no longer be backed up by Scotland’s massive contribution to the UK’s balance of payments.
As if all of the above were not enough, Westminster cannot actually stop an independent Scotland from using the pound if we wanted to. What are they going to do, send hit squads to every Scottish branch of Tescos to stand by the till ensuring shoppers pay in euros, Canadian coins left over from visiting their auntie, and an unidentified token they found in their granddad’s shed? Scotland can use the pound without any agreement with Westminster. Naturally that means Scotland won’t have any control over the currency it uses – which is exactly what we have now. The difference is we’d also have an independent Parliament that controlled all the other economic levers. And this would be terribly bad for Scotland because … ? Nope, I can’t think of anything scary either.
But this scenario also means that Westminster has no control over when Scotland decides to stop using the pound, and switches to its own currency or adopts another existing currency. This would be bad for them because the demand in Scotland for rUK sterling would vanish overnight, and the currency would suddenly lose value. Scotland will be free to make that decision when it suits Scotland, the Scottish Treasury will not be constrained by any agreements with the rUK Treasury. Scotland could switch to a new currency at a time of its own convenience, without having to concern itself with the effects on the pound or the economy of the rUK.
But hey, we give them the same degree of consideration they give us right? Mutual respect and good neighbourliness and all that…
The point is not to make threats. Better Together provides plenty of those all by itself and the independence cause isn’t served by adding more. The point is that Scotland is not powerless against the threats from Westminster and Better Together. The threats they make prove only one thing – they need us more than we need them.
They’re in no position to make demands, and they know it. The growing hysteria and mounting threats are because they’re realising that more and more people in Scotland know it too. But it’s not working. We’re not scared.
* It’s your fucking mess, you clean it up.