Better Together? Why? The alternative?

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Here are the 10 reasons, according to official Better Together, that we, Scotland, are better together in the UKOGB&NI, the comments in capitals and at the end are mine.

10 Reasons We Are BETTER TOGETHER:

1. A successful Scottish Parliament and a strong UK. We get the best of both worlds. A powerful Scottish Parliament with power over things like schools, hospitals, police and transport coupled with the strength and security of being part of the UK, one of the biggest economies in the world.

WE HAVE MASSIVE POSITIVE BENEFIT OVER ENGLAND BY WAY OF DEVOLVED SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT WITH TAX VARYING POWERS

2. Higher spending and Scottish priorities. In Scotland we have £1,200 more per person in public spending than the UK average. Most of this extra money is spent by the Scottish Parliament on priorities we decide like the NHS or our schools.

WE ARE BETTER OFF, MORE CASH RECEIVED AND SPENT PER HEAD OF SCOTTISH POPULATION

3. More jobs and more customers – Scotland is a country of 5 million but we get to sell our goods and services to a home market of 60 million customers. The SNP Government’s own figures show that Scots firms sell twice as much to the rest of the UK as we do to the rest of the world combined.

UNFETTERED ACCESS TO UK AND EU MARKETS, LOST AND VERY BAD FOR SCOTTISH BUSINESS IF WE SECEDE

4. Influence and impact. As part of the UK we are on the UN Security Council and we have 270 embassies and consulates around the world helping Scots companies and travellers. We are one of the big nations setting the agenda in the EU. The UK has been voted the most culturally influential nation on earth.

SCOTLAND PUNCHES WAY ABOVE ITS WEIGHT IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD, IT HAS FOR 307 YEARS

5. More security and a force for good in the world. The UK armed forces are the best trained in the world. As part of the UK we are protected by an army, navy and airforce far bigger than we could pay for on our own. We have one of the biggest aid programmes, helping in disasters and the poorest parts of the world.

SHARED ARMED AND SECURITY SERVICES WAY BEYOND WHAT WE COULD PROVIDE

6. Lower licence fee and more programmes. Scottish licence fee payers contribute about £300m but by clubbing together with the rest of the UK, we get about £3.6bn worth of programmes. Viewers outside the UK have to pay for things like iPlayer and other small countries pay a far higher licence fee for fewer programmes.

FREE ACCESS TO NATIONAL WORLD RENOWNED BROADCASTER, LOST IF WE SECEDE

7. Better Universities and more investment. With more universities in the world’s top 200 per head of population than any other country on the planet, Scotland’s universities are thriving as part of the UK. Our scientists and investors are backed by investment from the rest of the UK.

UNBELIEVABLE ACCESS TO WORLD CLASS EDUCATION FACILITIES AND IRREPLACEABLE UK INVESTMENT FUNDING

8. Lower fuel bills and more jobs. Scotland has massive green energy potential. Today the cost of building wind and wave generators is shared across the energy bills of 26 million households. If the cost of this had to be paid for by just 2.4 million Scottish energy bills we would have to choose between green jobs or much higher energy bills.

WE GET MOST OF THE UK GREEN ENERGY SUBSIDY, LOST IF WE SECEDE

9. Scottish NHS and the specialist treatment you need. We make decisions here in the Scottish Parliament about our NHS but we also benefit from cost-free, hassle-free access to the lifesaving specialist treatment we need anywhere in the UK NHS.

ACCESS TO UK VAST FREE NATIONAL HEALTH FACILITIES, LOST IF WE SECEDE

10. Keep the Pound (with a lender of last resort) and keep interest rates lower. Today the UK pound is our currency and are mortgages are backed by the Bank of England. If we leave the UK and have to join the Euro or set up a new currency from scratch it would cost us with higher mortgage bills and will make it more costly to trade with the rest of the UK.

FINANCIALLY SECURE WITH LENDER OF LAST RESORT AND WORLD CLASS CREDIT RATING, WITHOUT £ CURRENCY UNION INTEREST RATES AND MORTGAGES WILL INCREASE (yes we could “use” it, crap still happens)

My Summary.

In return for all the above benefits (and let’s not forget pensions) we get the White Paper, the most vacuous and detail free plan for the future ever foisted on an ill-informed Scottish electorate.

All bright and shiny, full of promises, without a shred of economic reality or peer-reviewed respect. As an economic blueprint for Scotland’s future prosperity it is up there with the Darien debacle.

Only those emotionally blinded by independence rhetoric, suffering from unjustified jealousy, base selfish interest or an anti southern inferiority complex will swallow such errant nonsense put out by Yes Scotland and the White Paper.

The argument for Scottish independence? Too full of empty promises, too short on fiscal responsibility. The most dangerous long shot gamble with our future and a one way ticket to mediocrity and an economic backwater.

Steve Sayers – We are really better off together.

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4 thoughts on “Better Together? Why? The alternative?

  1. To add to your list Steve, @talkstough

    —–
    I want to focus on solving existing problems not wasting time and effort creating new unnecessary ones.

    The UK offers us a more diverse, broad based economy that is better able to adapt to global economic changes.

    Our global voice is louder as part of the UK.

    Separating and re-establishing the bureaucratic apparatus of the UK/Scotland is a waste of time and effort. And will cost a fortune.

    Our nations are economically, culturally and social intertwined, and we are all better for the diversity and opportunity that brings.

    I want to dismantle barriers, not create them.

    The United Kingdom offers massive economies of scale.

    The Scottish Parliament offers us devolved decision making without abandoning the benefits we share with rUK. It is a counterpoint to Westminster too.

    I am not convinced my employer would retain a business in Scotland, it is worth it where there are few marginal costs and no administrative burden of doing so. Independence will ensure that different structures, requirements and legislation mean there are significant new costs and inevitable red tape.

    Any cross border differences in systems (legal, tax and regulation) will deter trade and limit jobs. Those are minimised as part of the UK.

    The UK is already ‘democratic’, as are elections to Scottish Parliament. You, individually, may not get the government you voted for, but collectively we do.

    I want interest rates set in my country, not by a foreign country.

    Changing your nation state should not be done for party political reasons. You don’t get to change your mind at the next election

    I want to retain the UK because I don’t want half my family considered foreigners (i.e. someone who comes from a different nation state)

    The UK internal market supports jobs, break that internal market, lose jobs.

    Monetary union without political and fiscal union, and between diverging economies, would leave Scotland weaker. See Greece for evidence.

    Challenging, questioning and demonstrating is not scaremongering.

    Independence is not the route to ‘banish the Tories from Scotland forever’, SNP polled 11.7% of the vote in the 1983 General Election, less than the Tories in 2011 Scottish Parliament election (12.4 (list) and 13.9% constituency). And it certainly won’t help banish them from everywhere else in the UK.

    We already have power over things like schools, hospitals, police and transport, what have the SNP achieved with that?

    Our Universities benefit from sharing research funding across the UK (and getting a larger per capital share of that research funding). And that is without investigating the SNP claims to still be able to charge rUK students.

    UK offers an integrates energy supply network that benefits from a diverse range of energy sources. Lights don’t go out when you balance base load supply and peak time supply sources.

    The UK, with a devolved parliament, has provided the platform on which Scotland has developed a leading edge renewables industry.

    Monetary union is a non-starter. Why? The rUK electorate won’t let it happen if Scotland chooses to reject the union we already have.

    The costs implications of separate cross border systems (tax, pensions, legislative requirements, registrations, regulators…the list is endless) cannot make doing business more attractive. Trade is stronger as part of the UK.

    The White Paper is riddled with holes.

    Being proud of Scotland, and belief that Scotland can improve and grow does not require me to believe
    that is best achieved through independence.

    I am not willing to jeopardise jobs. There is never a claim of Independence delivering an immediate jobs boost but there is significant risk of huge job losses. Worth the chance? Maybe you don’t think your job is under threat, but could it impact the job of your suppliers, customers, partners, friends? Ah.

    It is reasonable to expect that UK will retain a better credit rating than could be achieved in an independent Scotland. Keeping the cost of servicing our debt down releases more money for vital services. Any quote that Standard and Poor’s said “Scotland would qualify for our highest economic assessment” needs to be seen in context of the whole report (here: https://www.globalcreditportal.com/ratingsdirect/renderArticle.doarticleId=1264946&SctArtId=217545&from=CM&nsl_code=LIME ). That does not mean a AAA credit rating, it means greater than a BBB- rating. No matter how often the Yes campaign says otherwise.

    The pound is not an asset, it is a currency, it cannot be carved up.

    An independent Scotland, regardless of the currency it ends up using, will not be debt free. Not taking on a share of the UK debt (which was used to fund Scotland too) is a non-starter and any attempt to achieve this will be viewed negatively by the capital markets we will have to borrow from. And the impact would not just be newspaper headlines, it would impact every aspect of your personal finances.

    Tax competition between parts of the UK is a race to the bottom.

    I am fed up of Alex Salmond making promises he cannot (and could not) deliver – like his “guarantee” that “The Royal Navy will continue to order ships from Scottish yards” after independence. He’ll say anything for Indy.

    The removal of Trident is not sufficient reason for independence. Besides, it only moves down the road (eventually), rUK will not abandon the nuclear deterrent because Scotland becomes independent.

    Lower taxation but higher public spending is a claim that simply doesn’t stack up.

    We have a shared history of success, we can have a shared future of success too. A future we can shape together.

    And I could go on…..

    Like

  2. If I can counterpoint a couple of those…

    Defence. How relevant are UK armed forces to Scottish defence? The Astute-class attack submarines are excellent and relevant and would be iScotland’s loss, but there’s no maritime patrol aircraft and sparse patrol vessels, as emphasised by the Russian navy two years running. Do Scottish people (or UK people generally) really want to keep acting as an auxiliary to American invasions around the world? Scotland’s military role should be guarding the GIUK gap but the UK’s priorities don’t match this.

    TV. If iScotland kept the same licence fee arrangement, the Scottish state broadcaster could buy BBC programs under the same arrangement as every other nation and have plenty left over for locally-produced content. (It’s not ‘free’ access, you’re paying the licence fee… aren’t you?)

    Health. I find it hard to understand how anyone can look at Westminster’s handling of healthcare policy and see a bright future. Health is devolved, yes, but that’s only as useful as the ability to provide funds for the health service you want.

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    1. Of course you can counterpoint, that’s the point of allowing comments 😀 our defence is a UK one, when you phrase it like you have you show separatist tendencies (read Philosophy post). I actually think our defence capability essential in a changing dangerous world. Not everything is right and problems need resolving, but you don’t scrap the car just because it has a flat.
      BBC is a UK institution, any post indy commercial arrangements with Scotland would be less efficient for them and consumers, fact of business. They will want to capitalise and will have no loyalty to a separated foreign country, where else will we go for Doctor Who and Eastenders? 😉
      Devolved health is just that, we can make different choices, spend our cash differently, but pot is the same. Separation, in my belief, will reduce that pot.
      Not everyone agrees that a reformed health service or a reformed benefits and housing benefit system is a bad thing.

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