Scotland, the Union and the UK economy


I am often asked how bad would a Scottish exit be for the UK economy?

I reply by stating that I would like Scotland to stay in the union. It is important it is their choice, and even more important that they then unite behind the democratic decision they are about to make, whichever way it goes. I still expect Scotland to vote to stay in.

The facts are straightforward. Scotland has 8.3% of the UK population. At current rates of economic growth it would take three years to replace the lost Scottish output. At current rates of inward migration it would take  a generation to replace the lost numbers of people,  but as the aim is to bring the rate down more it would take a  couple of generations. I am not recommending that we have to seek to replace the lost people, merely trying to give a sense of relative size.

Scotland receives 9.3% of total UK spending. Whilst the Scottish government and the UK Treasury disagree about some of the detail, they say that Scotland receives somewhere between 122% and 116% of the public spending per head of the rest of the UK.

Scotland contributes 7.3% of the Income Tax revenue of the UK, 2% lower than her share of the public spending. Other taxes are variable, from the 14.1% of total UK spirits duty the Scots pay, down to  5% of Stamp Duty.

The SNP point out that Scotland contributes the lion’s share of production and company taxes on oil and gas output. As we have seen , these tax revenues are now in decline, reducing the Scottish total tax contribution.

One of the big arguments is over how quickly this will decline. If it does so with no obvious replacement, then Scotland in the UK will need to draw more money from the rest of the UK to make up the shortfall.

The English case to keep Scotland in  the Union is based on history, politics and sentiment. It is not an economic necessity from England’s point of view.


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  1. Richard1
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Other relevant statistics are the state dependency ratio – the proportion of the population dependent on the state for most of their income, either through employment or benefits, and the share of the economy taken by the state. Both are well over 50% for Scotland, which is not viable on an independent basis. An independent Scotland would therefore to find a Scottish Margaret Thatcher to sort this out or risk bankruptcy.

    There is an argument that the oil and gas so far discovered belongs not to Scotland but to the UK, and would therefore have to be divided on a pro rata basis – 8.3% to Scotland, like other assets and liabilities. Obviously any future finds post indpenedence in Scottish waters would be Scotland’s. This should be the negotiating position taken by the rUK govt with Scotland in the event of independence, and would receive strong international support as other countries will not want to set a precedent for a particular resource rich region to grab resources and go independent.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Can you cite even one precedent where a country has claimed over 90% of the oil which is clearly owned by a neighbouring country under established international rules, and that has meet with strong support from other countries?

      Absolutely typical English Tory thinking, the same thinking that over the decades has now led us to the situation where even if most Scots do vote for Scotland to remain part of the UK there will be maybe a third who actively hate being part of the UK with the possibility of again being ruled by the English Tory party.

      • Richard1
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the point is a very simple one and a war was fought over this principle in Biafra / Nigeria in the 60s. The point is Scotland today is not an independent country, its part of the UK. So oil and gas is no more ‘Scotland’s’ than say the Yorkshire coal seam is Yorkshire’s, should Yorkshire wish to become independent, or say the Crown Jewels ‘London’s’ should London start an independence movement.

        Scottish nationalist may not like it, but the legal a basis for such a claim would be very strong and people in Scotland should not be fooled into thinking they will get a soft separation deal if they do vote to go. They will get a pro rata share of assets, no more, and apro rata share of debt.

        Do you agree with me an independent Scotland would need to move redically to the right to be economically viable? That’s another consideration.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          There is no legal basis at all for such a claim, it’s quite absurd. As an English Tory you may feel inclined to grab what you can from wherever you can grab it, on whatever pretext however specious; and that is one reason why so few Scots will vote for the Tory party and so many don’t even want to be in the same country.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:10 am | Permalink

            So few scots will vote for lower taxes across the UK as so many live off state sector jobs, benefits, or from uk defence contracts. Clearly post a separation vote details will have to be agreed on currency, oil, RBS, defence and millions of other matters. There is no reason to assume the existing oil is Scotland’s it is like everything else currently a common resource and with rights already granted to extraction companies. A deal will have to be struck it is likely to be worse than the current over generous deal.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic, there are many ways in which the party which got more than half the votes cast in Scotland in 1955 foolishly threw away that strong support so that now it is lucky to get even a single Westminster MP elected, leaving the field open not only for its opponents but for separatists.

          • Richard1
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            Denis Cooper you have not answered my points at all, you have just said they absurd, which is not an argument. Obviously you don’t like the conclusion but Scottish voters need to know the potentially ruinous outcome of a separation deal. Remember at the moment UK politicians are queuing up to offer more special deals to Scotland. Once Scotland has voted to get out, if it foolishly does, that will change in an instant. Suddenly it will become about who can drive the hardest bargain for rUK taxpayers.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 21, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            Richard1, I’ve said that your claim that the rest of the UK could retain rights over more that 90% of the oil is absurd because that’s what it is, absurd, and while you say there would be an argument for that you haven’t produced any such argument because there is none. Can’t you get it into head that if the Scots vote for independence then Scotland will become a foreign country, and all your assumptions about how English Tories can make use of the Scottish territory, waters and airspace, and dispose of Scottish natural resources, will come to an end?

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink


          A small island like this being broke up into ever smaller countries. How ridiculous !

          51 states bigger than the UK make America. Are you seriously saying we can’t remain a single country here ?

          The true motivation is not being ‘ruled’ by England as they are not ruled by England at all – they are ruled from England by a parliament and city made up of a large proportion of Scots.

          What ‘English’ ? They went long ago. Have you not seen multicultural London recently ?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 21, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            I’m strongly in favour of NOT breaking up the country.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Thatcher alas did not really sort out the size of the state or even the absurd levels of taxation she just helped a bit then pass the buck to Major who by taking us in to the ERM as chancellor then destroying the party’s reputation for economic and indeed general competence. No victory since and now another major think leader. Albeit one who can at least speak in full sentences.

      About 20% of GDP is about right.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Says who? You? Tell that to the million who rely on the state directly and indirectly. The private sector in a modern society could never fill the gap leading to a tailspin. You are not about fact though as your posts and failure to answer any questions shows.

        • Richard1
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          Says the evidence looking around the world to see which countries generate growth and prosperity. compare eg Singapore,Hong Kong, Switzerland the US etc over the last few decades with eg France, Cuba Venezuela. 20% might be ambitious,but 30% is eminently achievable,and a balanced budget.

          The days of big state socialism are over,its only in Europe and a few basket cases elsewhere that this sclerotic model continues.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            Excellent post Richard.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            Singapore with its dubious democratic record is no comparison. The USA has 40% corporation tax we have 20%. You need to check out the living standards for the average person in these countries and as we have found out Britain cannot be a middle class Switzerland. Hong Kong is very expensive for the average person with low wages. Deluded simplistic comparisons leading to poverty in the UK for many.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          Well says me, as it was my post, but supported by the logic, history and evidence from around the world. Is spending nearly 50% of GDP on very little useful output, plus having countless lawyers, tax accountants, greencrap specialists, hr specialists and endless other parasitic activity likely to make us richer?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Is having a duff, low quality inefficient & virtual state monopoly in health and education likely to make us richer? By what mechanism?

          • Bazman
            Posted July 21, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

            You assume that private is efficient when mostly they seem to be inefficient parasitic and rent seeking. As we have seen from past privatisations. You also assume that infrastructure such as road can be on a toll bias. Something you have little to say about as you want them to be ‘free’. At least for you.

  2. Mark B
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    But it is NOT real independence the people of Scotland are being offered though, is it ? The power, ie Sovereignty, has been handed over to Brussels from Westminster. Hollyrood will still be taking orders via the EU, so no change.

    Independence is NOT about economics. The settlers who founded the USA did not claim independence because they would be economically better. They saw that they were being taxed and governed from afar, and had little or no say in such.

    “No taxation, without representation !”, was their cry.

    The Scots are represented in Westminster, as are others. In fact, they are over represented, as without their votes, combined with those of the Welsh, England would have a majority Conservative Government. Not that would necessarily be any better, but I digress.

    For me, independence cannot be reduced to pounds, shillings and pence. Gandhi never made the case for Indian independence based on such ridiculous ideas.

    Independence is about FREEDOM. Freedom to express your national will and accepted the consequences from that.

    The SNP talks about independence but is not prepared to accept the consequences from such an action. Because our own government has equally surrendered our independence, it can hardly level this argument too the SNP. That is why, I believe, the SNP and the Better together discuss, what is to me, an non-issue that is economics. And those that also discuss independence in those terms, clearly do not understand the meaning of independence and sovereignty.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink


      But one can see why they might vote for out, why have both the EU and England bossing you about. If we get a divorce it will be another result of the EU insanity but why do they want to stay in the EU, they must be mad.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      “The Scots are represented in Westminster, as are others. In fact, they are over represented … ”

      In fact, they are now only over represented to the extent of 2 seats out of 59, there being 59 Westminster MPs elected in Scotland rather than the 57 there would be on the strict application of the same electoral quota as in England.

      • JoolsB
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Except that unlike the MPs elected in England, at least half of the workload of the 59 Scottish MPs regarding their own constituents is done by 129 MSPs in the Scots Parliament. If they couldn’t meddle in English only matters to fill their days, they’d be twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do most of the time. They are part-time MPs with a much lesser workload than their English counterparts which makes them over-represented surely!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          Obviously you and I have very different understandings of what is meant by “over-represented”. My understanding of the term is the usual one, that there are too many representatives for the number of citizens to be represented, or conversely that there are too few electors per representative, while yours is a highly unusual version based upon your perception of their workload. The fact is that for the many important matters which are still reserved to the British Parliament a British citizen resident in Scotland has just as much right to his say as a British citizen resident in England, and there is no reason why he should be under-represented as you would wish. I’ve no idea why people in England keep blaming the Scots for their own failure to elect MPs who will look after the interests of England and the English. If the English don’t like the way they are treated by the British Parliament then that is their fault, not that of the Scots, and the solution lies in their hands at every general election.

          • JooksB
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink


            WHO is blaming the Scots? The only ones I blame are the anti-English Lab/Lib/Con parties. You’re right of course, England needs to elect MPs who will look after the interests of England and the English but unfortunately such MPs do not exist. Not one of the 550+ MPs currently squatting in English seats give a toss about the rotten deal England gets post Labour’s dog’s dinner of a devolution act which is why ex-lifelong Tories like myself will be voting UKIP at the next election, the only party willing to address the English Question and the undemocratic and discriminatory manner in which England is governed.

        • Richard1
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          The outrage is not just the number of MPs its the fact that Scottish MPs vote to impose laws on the rest of the UK which don’t apply to their own constituencies, making them completely unaccountable. If Scotland votes to stay the Conservatives need to go into the next election with a proper solution to this unfairness.

          • JooksB
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            Sadly despite winning a handsome majority in England in 2010 the Tories will not put an end to the present unfair situation. Every Tory leader since devolution has promised to do so including Cameron and now he has the chance, he has reneged on his manifesto promise because he doesn’t want to upset the Scots. The Tories are Unionists and will put the union first and foremost before England every time despite the bulk of their voters/constituents residing in England. They are also deluded because the union they fight to maintain no matter what cost to England ceased to exist in 1998 when Scotland, Wales & NI were given their own self determining legislatures and England was not.

            England might just still vote Tory again in 2015 but could end up with a Labour Government with their Scots & Welsh MPs/Ministers dictating policy which will only affect England and the Tories will stand idly by as they have done ever since devolution and not utter one word of protest.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            The obvious “proper solution” to that unfairness would be a devolved parliament for England with powers comparable to those of the Scottish Parliament; but the Conservatives have already made it perfectly clear that they don’t believe the English deserve to have their own parliament. The Scots do, the Welsh and the Northern Irish also deserve to have their own devolved assemblies, but the English do not.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            JoolsB, there is no reason to believe that many Scots would be upset if the UK government agreed that there should also be devolved parliament for England. There will always be a minority who look to see how they can work up objections to any proposal from London, but most Scots can see that the present situation is unfair just as well as we can. And quite reasonably their view is along the lines of “Well, if it bothers you, why don’t you do something about it?” Which of course we could, given that 82% of Westminster MPs are elected in England, but obviously not by voting for the candidates of parties which are adamantly opposed to what we want.

  3. Bazman
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    We should let them stay.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Who is, ‘we’ ?

      • Bazman
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Just though I would do a drive by shouting like many others on this site. The facts belonged to me.

        • Mark B
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Well then, you are clearly firing blanks.

          • Margaret Brandreth-J
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t realise he was armed ;I hope he has a license!

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Three years to replace the GDP yes but at current dreadful growth rates. Indeed but we could have growth rates to replace it in one year if we just had a sensible government for once (which we might get without all the lefty MPs sent down from with their begging bowls Scotland). It might also help Scotland become less lefty as a country especially if they lost the BBC indoctrination department in the process and had no one else to blame for their woes.

    English and Welsh growth could easily be increased hugely with: free trade only relationship with the EU, cheap (non Ed Davey) energy, no nonsense HS2 type of project, selective immigration only, pay/pensions in the state sector reduced to private sector rates, half the numbers in the state sector, lower and simplify taxes hugely, pay less to augment feckless (generations of) so they get a job, sort out the NHS and the poor education system, deregulate, simple free contract employment laws, stop green subsidies, bus subsidies, bus lanes, train subsidies, CAP subsidies, electric car subsidies (and all the rest) and stop all the pointless and counter-productive warmongering.

    Oh and sort out the BBC from dripping Paten/Cameron, Blair, Miliband lefty propaganda.greencrap to the nation.

    It would clearly work wonders very quickly but we have Cameron and Clegg think in charge alas.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Simple free contract employment laws. Do you mean contract free? You have yet to answer the question of how to make hire and fire more easy than it already is and I have pointed out you that the average state sector pension is at the most 7k or a 140 quid a week. You want this to be lower to match the private sector. You need to try reading something ‘sensible’ and ‘intelligent’ instead of just ranting about a race to the bottom being the answer and thinking you own the facts.
      Try this.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Workers and employers making free contracts without idiotic interference from government just as they both choose or choose not to. Just as the self employed do.

        • b
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          You really mean the employee has no contract or rights. You cannot say what ‘interference do you mean? Health and safety, holidays, minimum wage, discrimination, harassment and so on?

          • Margaret Brandreth-J
            Posted July 22, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            well said ‘e’

          • Margaret
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            I am not being flippant here. Whilst underlining my agreement and going to the reply, I mentally took a note of ‘b’ but psychologically transposed into ‘e’.It must be the music in me.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Free contract means both employees and employers are free to decide what goes into the contract, then both have to stick to that. What is the problem?

      • Edward2
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Your statistic on the State pension is a false one Baz, as it includes those who have worked for the State sector for just a short while to give this odd low average pension figure.
        The real comparison should be between those who have worked their whole career (or at least for decades) and then you would see how State pensions are superior.
        This is before we include being able to retire in your 50’s after 30 years service in many public sector jobs and final salary schemes and inflation proofed schemes which are rarely avaiable to workers in the private sector.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Nor the public sector these days except for the very high positions. The numbers include those on pensions of more than 40 k that actually pushes up the average. The number is between 5-7k Whether you believe it or not. Your idea that this should somehow be lower to be in line with the private ones is wrong.You need to come up with some facts Edward2 and stop believing you own them.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            Pension statistics should be transparent and they should reflect people that have full service not just one year, otherwise averages are just a false representation. Or just show the number of people that are calculated to arrive at the £7000pa pension average cost.

            To get a final salary pension in a private sector scheme you have to pay in around 31-33% of gross earnings for about 35 years, maybe more years now annuities have been stalling and falling as tax grabs have been made.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Facts show that pensions in the public sector are superior.
            We in the private sector are paying extra tax to create this unfairness.
            One minute you believe in equality the next you are telling us this is fair.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            However you spin it public pensions are quite low for most with private ones being worse. Your main point is to make public pensions worse to somehow improve the system in which both are subsidised by the taxpayer to bring up the incomes to liveable levels.
            You are like the work colleague who sees a pay cut for a fellow worker as a pay rise for himself forgetting that he might also be in line for a pay cut too in that case.and quite how he can spend pay cuts is lost on him. The manager forcing a 10% pay cut on everyone and getting a 10% pay rise for doing so. Small minded views from regressive thinking people out of touch with technology and reality.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            Your original post Baz, claimed that “average public sector pensions are £140 at most”
            I pointed put this is a very dodgy statistic put out by public sector unions as it included all those who worked for just a very short period.
            A proper comparison would be between those in the public and private sector who worked for a similar period.
            Then compare pension contributions made.
            Then compare numbers in final salary schemes.
            Then compare those having inflation proofed pensions.
            Then compare those who can retire early.

            To try to claim public sector pensions are inferior is a nonsense.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

            This estimate of 7k is in turn is based upon a National Audit Office (NAO) report into public sector pensions, which calculated the average annual payment to be £7,388, The true figure really depends on what you include; the NAO data only includes the unfunded pensions, and not the local government scheme, so come up with some sources and stop telling us what you think.
            The average pension is between 5-6k. It stands.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 21, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

            I agree your average figure is as calculated by the NAO but to use it to say how poor pensions are in the public sector compared to the private sector is wrong for the reasons I have already set out.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 21, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            I have never said that how poor pensions are in the public sector compared to the private sector? You are now making up your own argument. What I am saying is how poor they are in general and this idea that the public sector workers receive generous pension payments is wrong. Private is even worse with both subsidised by the state in benefits. Where is lifelogics answers here. Conspicuous by their absence as he know he will have to provide solid facts and not ranting nonsense.

  5. ian wragg
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    maybe I’m thick but why would the remaining part of the UK wish to make up the percentage population lost by Scotland’s exit. I realise it is CMD’s policy to flood England with foreigners, will Scotland’s independence be given as a reason to increase immigration.
    With the loss of the socialist tribe of M.P’s which would give the remaining UK a Conservative advantage, are you frightened you may have to start servicing those that elect you for a change.
    Without the anchor drag of Scotland I’m sure England could be a strong and dynamic country. With the nuclear subs stationed down here and all the government jobs associated with Scotland cancelled, there is room to pay off the debt and reduce taxation. Still, that wouldn’t suit CMD who is a big government advocate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      “Without the anchor drag of Scotland I’m sure England could be a strong and dynamic country.”

      Historically Scotland has contributed some of the best and most useful people in the UK in many different fields and in numbers which were out of all proportion to its share of the UK population, and now it’s become an “anchor drag”?

      What about the northeast of England, which like Scotland was previously a power house for the UK economy, but unlike Scotland is now actually being subsidised by the wealthier parts of England, is that also an “anchor drag” which we should dispose of like a failing subsidiary, maybe flog it off to the Saudis?

      • James Matthews
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Few, if any, people in the North East of England claim that it is a separate nation, nor have they (yet) demanded an independence referendum. If that ever changed and a substantial minority wanted political separation, while the middle ground made it clear that they would go along with independence if they were convinced it would gain them a few hundred pounds more a year, then yes, I would conclude that the rest of us would be better of without them. Fortunately, they overwhelmingly have more sense and less ambiguous loyalties than the Scots.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          So you would not only warmly welcome the break up of the United Kingdom, you would also view the disintegration of England itself with equanimity.

          • James Matthews
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            I don’t view either with equanimity. I just think the first is now the least worst option. The North East of England seems to me to be in no way comparable to Scotland (the parallel came from you), but if it became so I would have to draw the same conclusion.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    JR: “At current rates of inward migration it would take a generation to replace the lost numbers of people”
    Why should we want to replace the lost numbers of people in Scotland when we shall have also lost the land mass on which they live? Looking for yet another excuse to allow unbridled immigration?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      I him he was putting it in perspective order of significance not suggesting we did make up numbers.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        I think ~ sorry

  7. Iain Gill
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I note the SNP plan to give anyone living in Scotland on the day of independence a Scottish passport. There will be a large number of people from overseas given passports as they happen to be there at the right time, indeed I expect large numbers to engineer their place there to get that passport.
    Rather like when the Berlin wall came down, and lots of Russians engineered being in East Germany to claim a EU/unified German passport.
    Another large chunk of immigration the whole UK will inevitably end up saddled with as many of these people once they pick up their passport will move to South East England, as they will be entitled to on a EU/Scottish passport.
    Is anyone looking at this?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Good point, but many EU countries are effectively selling EU passports already. Many knowing they will not stay in that country long.

      • bigneil
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        I would amend your last bit to – -having NO intention of staying there at all.

  8. Old Albion
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    JR. I used to be British until 1998, when Blair and his party decided to give Scotland devolution to “stop the Scottish nationalists in their tracks’ That was the day i dumped British and reverted to my birth nationality of English.
    Since then the Lib/Lab/Con have continued to hand out devolution to anyone except England. The Westminster EU puppet government continues to ignore the existence of England. It will not utter the word in parliament, even when discussing English only affairs. It continues to permit non-English constituency MP’s to vote on English issues. It seems to still believe England and Britain are the same thing.
    I welcome the Scottish referendum and hope they vote to secede. For then Westminster will be forced to acknowledge England (though no doubt in Westminster’s twisted world England, Wales and N.Ireland would still be ‘Britain’ or (dis) UK)
    If as seems likely, the Scots do not vote to leave, they win anyway. Your leader has promised them further devolution. So Salmond will get what he always wanted. Full control of Scotland but retains the Monarchy and a currency union, luvvly jubbly.
    Many English are sick of this un-democratic and shabby treatment of our proud and historic nation. I suspect many, like me are now sitting back and waiting for the referendum result. When it is known, Westminster had better start thinking about England and what the government is going to do to give fairness and equality to us. This does not mean chopping us up into convenient EU sized chunks. It means recognition of England as a nation, by the creation of an English Parliament within a new UK federation, with or without Scotland.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear.

      I got it right this time ;o)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      If you want Westminster to recognise England then there’s a much better solution than breaking up the bloody country, the electors in England just have to change their longstanding and foolish voting habits and start choosing different MPs who will not treat England and the English with the same contempt.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        and world peace!

    • Bazman
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Interesting how someone can just stop being British and become English or Scottish. How would you go about this and what would it involve? Obviously you must refrain from doing something either in word, thought or deed. Obviously there is no need to move to another region to become English/Scottish, though there might be a need to change diet to a more nationalistic one, refusing anything with a British connection. Could be tricky in the case of pies and beer for example. Avoiding kilts/bagpipes or bowler hats/morris dancing more easy as most of us do. Now the Daily Mail to my best knowledge has not tackled this question. Maybe someone could tell me different as this paper writes to and for a England that has never existed and never will and would enlighten us all on how to become more nationalistic in an everyday non sectarian way without causing offence. Which etiquette would one use to signal ones nationality in polite society if you have no outward signs of that nations traits?

      • outsider
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bazman, I always buy British produce where feasible, including Scottish fruit, meat, vegetables and spirits, in preference to equivalents from the Irish Republic, Holland, Spain or France. It is painless solidarity with one’s fellow countryfolk. So I would automatically demote Scottish produce to the same status as Irish if Scotland ceased to be part of the same country. I expect the Scottish economy would survive but I would be sad.

      • Mark B
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Alter-ego Bazman said;

        ” . . . . England that has never existed and never will . . . “

        You are just plain bonkers !

        • Bazman
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

          Maybe for a thousand people in the 1930’s. Like Russia today.

      • Old Albion
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Bazman, i’m not quite sure what you are blathering about. But from my angle it is simple; I am no longer British, I am English. And you have no right to question that. Just as you wouldn’t question someone describing himself as Scottish or French or Indian or Somalian or German or Swedish or Australian…………………..need i go on?

        • Bazman
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

          What did you do to stop being British is my point? Maybe if you told us we could all become more English old bean!

          • Mark B
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            I stopped being British when I realised it no longer stood for the things that I believed in. The next step, was to recognize that which would. To that end, England and Englishness is my default position.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 22, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            How do you define English as a default position as opposed to Britishness? Have you changed the flag on your house? You are open to ridicule as you cannot explain what you mean.

  9. alan jutson,
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    So if Scotland leaves, you suggest we need to replace their population with more immigration !

    Can I ask why, given we are over stretched now with regard to housing, schools, NHS, infrastructure ?

    The more worrying aspect is that so little publicity has been given to any terms of separation, Percentage of UK Debt, Currency, and the bribery of giving even more power to Scotlands Parliament (for a no vote) before the result is even known.

    Time for an English Parliament which excludes all of the others.

    All four Parliaments could then have the same powers.

    The English Parliament could be held at the current premises and joined once a week/month by the other National Parliament representatives only when full UK decisions are to be discussed.

    Reply No, I am not proposing that, merely forecasting what may happen

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Could you please be a little more specific. Only he raised a number of issues and I am not sure which one(s) you are addressing.

      Than you.

  10. oldtimer
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Scottish voters are indeed, almost uniquely, fortunate to be able to determine their political future through this referendum. It would be good if the rest of us were given a say on our membership of the EU with its drive towards ever closer union.

    The consequences of separation on Scotland and the rest of the UK are unkown and unknowable rendering all the forecasts meaningless. Separation will rest on an act of faith in the competence of the SNP to cope with the gritty details of separation and the emotional appeal of the idea. No doubt Scotland will get along on its own, just as the rest of the UK will have to get along in the event of a Yes vote. The details of separation will probably be very messy, could cause some bad feeling and leave the Scots living and working south of the border with divided loyalties. My gut feel is that the rest of us will buckle down and get on with life without Scotland with little difficulty.

  11. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Although sentiment is a puller. The now free prescriptions in Scotland may alter the Scots perception when they realise that things won’t be as comfortable any more. Scotland’s main industries, which are on the decline , partly due to a finite source of fuel and partly due to lack of demand. For example whiskey is expensive for those out of work and the Islamic tradition demands tee total compliance. Small but significant factors.

    I know some think that Alex Salmon thinks there are more fuel beds,which there may be , but in a difficult situation he would sell more and more and the supply would quickly run out.

    The Royal retreat is historically an integral part of the UK .The Royals have done well promoting Scotland.Prince Charles has sunk money into housing and community projects and its highlands remains sentimentally linked with history and modern day sport.

    I hope we stay united and the power seeking individuals do not ruin things for the many.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Margaret said;

      ” . . . power seeking individuals . . . “

      I think you rather unwittingly hit the nail on the head.

      This is not about independence. It’s about who gets to taxation and spending. Nothing else.

      • Cliff. Wokingham.
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        I think you hit the nail on the head: it is all about power and control as well as ego.

        Here’s a question for you John:
        It was stated on LBC this last week, that Scotland has recently reduced their drink drive limit so that, one pint of beer, would render you over the drink drive limit. If a Scottish court banned you from driving, would that ban be UK wide or just within the borders of Scotland given that no offense would have been committed south of the border? Would a non Scottish resident of the UK just receive an endorsement banning them from driving north of the border?

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        There is no thing without wit about me

    • Margaret Brandreth-J
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      ie. Salmond. Scottish Salmon is a must

  12. JoeSoap
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    A very fair assessment and quite startling.
    Should the vote be to stay in, we really need to get these people moving economically.
    North Sea oil aside (this is an aberration), they are clearly 1/7 down on the average tax take and 1/7 up on the average welfare take. You might also have looked up the average square meterage taken by a Scot compared to the rest of the UK. No doubt they have the room there to take 1/7 of a quality-controlled immigrant input, to jettison their economy in that beautiful part of the UK. So we don’t do this by chucking welfare money there, but by re-directing entrepreneurial immigration through business incentives, ok?

  13. Bryan
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Er, if Scotland gets 2% more of total UK (mainly English) Income tax than it contributes why will it take 3 years of growth to make up for the loss of 8.3% of the UK population?

    By Internationally recognized border/sea relationships nearly half of what the SNP says is Scottish oil is in fact in English waters so that is a red herring also.

    Labour governments, for obvious reasons, bend over backwards to please the Scots, but why do the Conservatives do the same? After all most Scots think the Tories are toxic!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      “By Internationally recognized border/sea relationships nearly half of what the SNP says is Scottish oil is in fact in English waters so that is a red herring also.”

      Not so, and nor does the UK government argue that, and if it tried to argue that then it would make itself contemptible in the eyes of the world. Very little of the known oil reserves are in what could reasonably be claimed as English waters.

      • Richard1
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        This is complete nonsense. On a projection of the land border a good proportion is in England. In any event as explained above the UK could and should argue that Scotland’s share of the oil is the same as its share of other assets and liabilities- 8.3%. That might not be where a deal ends up but its a good starting point.

        We also need to plan for a new referendum in the Orkney and Shetland islands if as expected there is a large majority there wishing to remain in the UK, in the event of a Scottish yes to Salmonds self serving drivel.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

          No, the nonsense is on your part, your greedy English Tory part.

          If Scotland does become independent then I might even consider moving there to get away from the English Tory party.

          • Bryan
            Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

            Mr Cooper you are wrong and Richard1 is right

            You really should check your facts before you pontificate.

            It has nothing to do with being rich, which I am not, nor a Tory which I am not also. I am sure my relatives will welcome you to Scotland but you will have to wise up first.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

            Denis–Are you so sure you would be welcome? Sometimes I too think of moving up there (the fishing is good for a start) but who knows what the SNP might choose to do to and for an English foreigner? Having observed what has happened on tuition fees it would seem appropriate to be wary.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink


            If as you say nearly half of the oil would lie under English waters with an Anglo-Scottish maritime border drawn according to international norms, then why is the UK government not pointing out that fact?

            They correctly point out that the oil revenues will inevitably decline, and they argue that as a larger economy it is easier for the UK to cope with the variability of the revenues than it would be for Scotland alone, but they do not argue that the maritime border should be drawn in such a way that half of the oil would lie under English waters.

            Why not? Is it because they are over-sympathetic to the Scots, or is it because they know that any such claim would be absurd and they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on?

            The split would be something around 90% under Scottish waters and 10% under English waters, it is your suggestion that it would be half and half that is the red herring.

          • Richard1
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            Readers should note that Denis Cooper is incapable of producing an argument supporting his claim that 90% of oil would be in Scotland. A spelling mistake has meant what he intended as an insult has past editorial review. A typical leftist – no coherent arguments just spitting bile.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 21, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

            Richard1 – even if you didn’t notice the arguments have been had years ago, see:


            It would not be your less than 10% for Scotland, or Bryan’s 50% for Scotland, it would be about 90% for Scotland.

            As for calling me a “leftist”, you’re barmy.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Lionheart–I have to say that the significance of the projection of the land border escapes me. I had thought that what counts, in principle what logically should count, is a line drawn at right angles to the tangent where the border meets the sea. And it is always a good idea to look at a Globe in this regard–the relative line of latitude (which of course, but speciously, looks attractive to SNP eyes on a flat Mercator projection), being obviously inappropriate once a Globe is consulted–as well take the line of longitude.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink


            You yourself produced this reference in February:


            and you will recall the expert Professor Kemp saying there that although lawyers could have long debates about the precise line to be adopted it would make little economic difference because so little of the oil is in areas where there could be any possible dispute over ownership.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

            Postscript and to Denis below–I did not say anything about who gets how much–What I said was that I did not believe (as you said and strongly but wrongly) that the negotiation was already complete.

            Also I wished to emphasize the importance of dealing with the Earth as a Globe, ie as it really is. Many people haven’t a clue about the effect of Mercator’s projection (ie flat maps of the World) on the size of areas at high latitude (Greenland in reality isn’t so large after all) and the irrelevance of the line of latitude.

            Where can one walk a mile South, a mile East, and a mile North and end up back where one started ?

            (…….Apart from the North Pole)

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            Leslie, I very much hope that there will be no need for any such negotiations, but if there is then they would only be at the margins of what the UK government and Parliament have themselves ordained in the past.

      • Bryan
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink


      • James Matthews
        Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        “If as you say nearly half of the oil would lie under English waters with an Anglo-Scottish maritime border drawn according to international norms, then why is the UK government not pointing out that fact? ”

        Well possibly because it would occasion cries of self-righteous outrage from north of the Border that the English were planning to continue to ” steal Scotland’s oil” even after independence. For those who don’t want a yes vote, better to leave that argument until after the referendum,

        There does seem to be precedent for the view that the division line would normally follow the angle of the border out to the fisheries limit. A 50/50 split is over optimistic , at best 70/30 (assuming Scotland retains Orkney and Shetland). Not nearly as straightforward an issue as the SNP claim though.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      It’s a mystery to us all Bryan but one which cost the idiotic Tories dearly at the next election. Despite the Tories winning a 63 seat majority in England in 2010 and having only one MP in Scotland, Cameron has also done nothing but bend over backwards to please the Scots mostly at England’s expense whether it’s the closing of English shipyards or re-directing EU funds intended for the poorer regions of England to Scotland instead.

      Like I say on my comments below, the Tories clearly have a death wish for both themselves and for England otherwise why would they of all the parties choose to ignore the English Question which would benefit both themselves and England and restore much needed democracy in the process?

      • William Grant
        Posted July 20, 2014 at 1:58 am | Permalink

        I suspect when the referendum has taken place that the real Conservative attitude to Scotland will become apparent. First of all, the coalition will split up and if David Cameron promotes more of the recent intake of MPs, who are as barely Uk-Unionist as they are pro-EU, then there could be trouble brewing for his leadership if he doesn’t crack down on Scotland.

      • ian wragg
        Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        CMD is not a Tory and he doesn’t want a working majority as he would have to implement Tory policy. Being in coalition with the shyster Clogg suits him as it gives him an excuse to renege on all manifesto promises.
        CMD will throw the coming GE rather than put himself in a position to give a referendum on EU membership.

  14. JoolsB
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Whichever way Scotland votes, they can’t lose. It’s a win win situation as all three parties have promised even greater autonomy and the power to set their own tax rates even if they vote no, which they will. Scotland will be virtually independent in all but name but no doubt with the block grant still in place and their MPs still allowed to meddle in English only matters.

    Wales too have been promised yet another referendum no doubt offering similar powers to Scotland so where does that leave England with the Con/Lab/Libs still blatantly refusing to offer any such powers to them? The three anti-English parties still choose to ignore the unfair and undemocratic effect the current set-up, never mind devo max has on England or the rotten constitutional and financial deal it continues to get from this so called union. Our self serving politicians still refuse to consider putting an end to the WLQ or the skewed Barnett Formula all of which discriminate against England so badly. The Tories have contemptibly abandoned their manifesto promise of addressing the WLQ for fear of upsetting the Scots, never mind upsetting the English who they’ve decided to stick two fingers up to instead. So there we have it, not only can Scots MPs (and Welsh & NI) already vote on deciding matters which only affect England but in future the Scots Parliament (and no doubt Wales soon after) will be able to set their own tax rates whilst their MPs will still sit at Westminster and decide tax rates for England.

    No other single country in the western world has unelected and unaccountable politicians elected outside of it making decisions for it and yet England, once (but no more) the Mother of all Parliaments, it seems is the exception. No voice or self determination for them. All three parties are determined this will not happen. All three are happy to continue shafting England and all three deserve England’s contempt, especially the Conservatives who but for the grace of England would not exist. They have proved they couldn’t give a toss about the discriminatory and undemocratic manner in which the majority of their constituents are governed.

    The deluded Cameron obviously thinks his bribing the Scots with English money and English jobs will pay dividends at the next election and all those nice Scotsmen and women will all vote for him in their droves so to hell with the English. Guess what John, Scotland will still hate the Tories and still not vote for them and hopefully England will also come to it’s senses and not vote for them either or the other two equally anti-English parties, Labour and the Lib Dums.

    The Tory party really do have a death wish don’t they John?

    • bigneil
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      “The Tory party really do have a death wish don’t they ” – – it appears they have a death wish for themselves AND for this nation and it’s people. Many of us warned years ago what was going to happen with mass immigration from countries with a vastly different religion. We were all ignored, to end up as we are now, with the “Trojan Horse ” mess. If we complained we were told WE were at fault. and now we also have mass unlimited immigration, many from people who can’t even write, purely coming for a totally free life. All they are achieving is costing us millions every day, and causing massive resentment from the people who see the taxes from their pay, being handed over to the newcomers, many getting more in handouts, purely for getting here, than what the English workers take home after the govt have had its slice. If the govt cannot see what is wrong, then the govt should not be in govt.

  15. Kenneth
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    If the Scottish People vote to leave the union I don’t think things would be at all bad for England.

    We will still have a friendly northern neighbour while the remainder of the UK will at last not have to put up with left wing governments.

    This will make England a far more prosperous, fairer and freer place with a smaller gap between the rich and poor and will virtually eradicate unemployment.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I do not share this utopian vision, Kenneth. I also do not believe just because we may have dealt a blow to Socialism that we will necessarily get better government. For that, you might want to consider changing the system

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Totally delusional on every count, just as delusional as the SNP.

      • ian wragg
        Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Denis, I follow your posts because you are an educated and informed person. It would seem you have got out of bed the wrong side on this post and I do hope things calm down for you soon.
        Look forward to your historically educational submissions resuming again.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          It’s not a case of getting out of bed the wrong side, it’s a case of gently seething with anger at the stupidity and short-sightedness of some of my fellow Englishmen, particularly of the Tory persuasion, who delude themselves that it would be to their advantage to see the United Kingdom broken up. If you want history, here is some history: in 1707 English politicians wanted an incorporating Union with Scotland so that a Parliament dominated by representatives from England would have control of the northernmost third of the home island for the security of England, above everything else, and so far there has been no fundamental change which means that vital strategic consideration no longer applies. Of course if both England and Scotland were totally subjugated within a European federation, as some would like, that would be a different matter, as security and defence would no longer be matters reserved for the UK Parliament as now but instead would be within the exclusive competence of the European federal institutions.

  16. acorn
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    As an Englishman with a bit of Spanish ancestry, resident in England since birth; it would have been nice to have been asked if I wanted Scotland to leave the Union and possibly how I wanted them to leave. But the UK doesn’t have any direct democracy tools like most of the rest of the EU. I am now saying yes to Scottish independence for purely selfish reasons.

    I reckon, if the SNP gets a win, then the English should immediately file for independence on exactly the same contract terms that Alex Salmond got with Cameron. This would no doubt turn into a “federalising” type discussion for the three remaining countries of the UK. Naturally, the Scots would immediately apply to join the new federal structure.

    If the SNP doesn’t win, it still doesn’t lose; all three legacy parties will offer the Scots “Devo-More” if not “Devo-Max”. The Scots can’t lose; simples!!! Only we the English will lose as it will undoubtedly cost us more in subsidies all round. Again, the English should immediately file for independence. This would no doubt turn into a “federalising” type discussion for the now FOUR countries of the UK. The House of Commons would, exclusively, be the seat of the new English parliament.

    I might suggest the HoL become a tourist attraction with the UK federal government meeting there occasionally. The real UK federal government will remain seated where it has been for centuries; in the Corporation of London. The “square mile” is to London and the rest of the UK, as Monaco is to France.

    Nicholas Shaxson in his book Treasure Islands wrote, … the Corporation exists outside many of the laws and democratic controls which govern the rest of the United Kingdom. The City of London is the only part of Britain over which parliament has no authority. In one respect at least the Corporation acts as the superior body: it imposes on the House of Commons a figure called the “Remembrancer”: an official lobbyist who sits behind the Speaker’s chair and ensures that, whatever our elected representatives might think, the City’s rights and privileges are protected. The Mayor of London’s [Boris] mandate stops at the boundaries of the Square Mile. There are, as if in a novel by China Miéville, two cities, one of which must unsee the other.

    Reply The City of London is very firmly under UK law, which in turn in many areas is now under EU law.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      You make the assumption that our MP’s in England bat for the English. They do not ! They bat for the EU – mostly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      “the English should immediately file for independence”

      How could the English do that, another than through the ballot box in May 2015?

    • APL
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      JR: “The City of London is very firmly under UK law, which in turn in many areas is now under EU law. ”

      Which is a roundabout way of stating the fact, the British Political class has handed the City of London over the Bruxberg.

  17. James Matthews
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    There is no obvious reason to replace either Scotland’s (ageing) population or its contribution to taxation or GDP. What matters is GDP per head and taxation per head. The balance of imports and exports does matter though, since if you are in deficit you must sell long term assets to make up the difference Much has been made by the separatists of Scotland’s contribution to exports (or reducing imports) through, in particular, oil. What they never mention is Scotland’s contribution to the import bill, which would of course come of the UK books. It would be interesting to see what the net figure is. One thing is for sure however, it would not be sensible to increase the rUK import bill by continuing warship building in Scotland.

  18. The PrangWizard
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Firstly I do not understand your third paragraph. Why would anyone imagine that we, outside Scotland, would need to replace a ‘lost’ population. That population exists outside England anyway. Why would we need to replace the ‘lost’ output. It is outside England anyway and is consumed in large measure outside England. If we import some of the output would we not simply continue to import it? Do you consider Scotland as some kind of colony which exists to supply England? I think maybe you do.

    England will be better off without Scotland, not just financially; we will be able to pursue our national interest and identity without subsuming it to preserve the union, a practice which is forced upon us by the British Establishment. Frankly England will be worse off if they vote to stay because ever more concessions will be made to them at England’s expense to keep them sweet. Unionists are prepared to impoverish England and the people of England in their desperate attempts to preserve the Union. Personally I feel under no obligation to do the same.

    And what will you do about an English parliament? Could you still deny the people of England the right? Maybe that is also your problem. Without Scotland your philosophy is at an end. Your sky may fall in, but as far as I am concerned I look forward to the freedom to be myself – English.

    Reply Wrong on all counts. I do not see Scotland as a colony and do not think we have to replace the lost people if they go independent. I was merely trying to give a sense of relative size and remind people of how much population change we have been experiencing.
    As you well know, I do speak for England and am pressing for the English problem to be resolved immediately after the Scottish referendum when we know what we are then dealing with.

  19. acorn
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Let’s say Scotland goes independent and you are the Secretary of the Treasury, or whatever they will call such.

    You can play the numbers to say that an independent Scotland will export circa £100, billion per annum. £60 billion of that will come into the rest of the UK and £40 billion will be international, that is, not UK.

    What currency would you prefer to use knowing the above numbers? What are the risks of using a foreign currency, like the Euro or the US Dollar? What are the advantages of using your own sovereign fiat currency and allowing it to float freely on foreign exchange markets?

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      ‘If’ Scotland were to become ‘truly’ independent, then she would have to leave the EU. She can use any currency she so wishes or, print her own. The latter option has its pitfalls though. If the markets thought it both risky and the value of the currency not worth much, it will drop in value compared to Sterling and other major currencies. Remember, most of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK, but oil, which will I assume will be their main export, will be priced in dollars. So they will need to sell an awful lot of oil to get foreign currency and may have to borrow heavily on the markets. This may also lead to high interest rates and may stifle growth.

      Her only hope, would be to use another currency, and that means Sterling. But should she ever wish to join the EU, then Scotland must commit to joining the Euro.

      But this, and much, much more besides, should have been sorted out long ago. They, like UKIP, have no real plan for the day after. So why should anyone trust either of them with their our future.

      • Terry
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        They, like UKIP, have no real plan for the day after. So why should anyone trust either of them with their our future.

        UKIP, no plan? Check their website. I prefer them because I no longer trust the mainstream parties to deliver for the citizens of Britain. This country has been leaderless and rudderless since the diabolical live verbal assassination of Mrs T by an sacked Cabinet Officer, a big Europhile because she was being true British and thus anti- big EU. This country has never recovered from that despicable act.

        • ian wragg
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:47 am | Permalink

          Well said. As soon as Maggie got a smell of the EU coffee the establishment forced her out.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Look, for most of her time in Parliament Thatcher had no qualms about playing the eurofederalist game and she did much to advance that cause. Bear in mind that the Tory party was displaying the EC flag on the platform at its national conference AND giving it the position of honour as superior to the British flag, which is precisely what would be done with a federal flag and a state flag. The game turned sour for her at the end but her belated change of mind did nothing to undo the damage she had already done, we still live with the consequences of that.

        • Mark B
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          I am a great fan of Mrs. T, but I am no Sycophant. She did right, and she did wrong. And one of the things she did, was to campaign for the UK to remain in the then EEC. And you know what I think of that.

          Politicians go wherever the wind blows. Otherwise, they end up just spectators of the political process like the rest of us.

          UKIP has only just discovered Article 50. Many in the movement seem to think we can just walkout and all will sort itself out in the end.

          My web browser for some reason, does not like the UKIP website. It even has trouble with this one. My end, not theirs. So in the words of Uanime5, please give me a link. But I promise, unlike he/she, I will read it and comment on it, when appropriate.

  20. sm
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    So after devolution. All economic activity ceases in Scotland?

    Why does it need to be replaced? Are we planning on taking all the national debt and continuing to spend in Scotland with no income?

    Why does the population need to be increased in the rump UK to make up for the “loss”?

    Only the net transfer of economic benefits may matter. So i expect only a net change effect.

    For example -if the UK loses the income it also loses the expense.

    Who knows the UK may in the future decide on a different type of association within these Isles.

    Politicians are just running scared of its impact on them and their jobs. Of which there should be a vast cull. No revolting payoffs for those on the revolving door circuit please.

    Reply The population and lost output do not have to be replaced. I was merely trying to give you a sense of proportion on the size of Scotland relative to the rest of the UK!

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      sm said;
      “So after devolution. All economic activity ceases in Scotland?”

      I would argue, yes ! Since Scotland would no longer be part of the EU/EEA. And as such, would have to pay a tariff when trading with other EU Member States, including rUK.

      This would be a disaster for the Scots. So a solution, post any possible YES result would need to be found quite quickly. That in my view, puts the ‘Outers’ in a difficult position. As such, I would expect them to accept part of the National Debt. But since we will be dealing with people who are not particularly good at these sort of things, ie Dave, Ed and Nick, the rUK will be screwed by Alex, Gordon and Beaker.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe the Union is an economic necessity from anybody’s point of view, neither Scotland nor England nor Wales nor Northern Ireland.

    However obviously free trade, and also free movement of people, within the present UK is economically important, and that is especially the case for Scotland as about a third of its GDP depends on exports to the rest of the UK.

    Exports from the rest of the UK to Scotland are of similar volume, but as the economy is an order of magnitude larger they are less economically significant.

    And the legal basis for that internal free trade and free movement of within the UK is still the 1707 Treaty of Union which the SNP wishes to terminate; but unless that internal agreement was replaced by an international agreement when Scotland became an independent sovereign state then the consequences would be disastrous for Scotland and damaging for the rest of the UK, and that of course immediately brings in the question of whether Scotland would be able to stay in the EU and/or the EU Single Market and/or would be able to negotiate other deals from outside of the EU.

    I have always maintained that the UK government would press strongly for Scotland to be allowed to make a smooth transition from being in the EU as part of a member state, the UK, to being in the EU as a new member state in its own sovereign right, and in fact Cameron has said as much.

    So the attitude of the government in London on that question would not be a problem for the Scots; however the necessary EU treaty changes would have to be agreed by all the governments and parliaments of the other EU member states and it seems very unlikely that they would all agree to smooth the path for Scotland without any of them insisting on a price for their agreement, in the way that the SNP assumes.

    Only yesterday Merkel publicly stated her opposition to Catalonia breaking away from Spain and becoming independent:

    “German Chancellor Angela Merke on Friday was asked during a press conference what she thinks of the upcoming referendum on Catalonia becoming independent from Spain. “We are for the territorial integrity of all states. I am sharing the view of the Spanish government [who is against it],” she said.”

    Of course in the case of the UK and Scotland Merkel would probably have her price for overcoming her apparent general reluctance to see EU member states breaking up, the question being whether the rest of the UK would also have to commit itself to joining the euro or it would just be Scotland.

    I very much hope that the Scots will not vote to separate from the UK, but if they did the immediate consequence would be to reduce Cameron from somebody boldly talking about getting EU treaty changes to repatriate powers to a supplicant pleading for treaty changes just to cope with the effects of the disintegration of his country.

  22. BobE
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    With the EU now making the laws we no longer need a parliment. Just a civil service to impliment the new laws. etc ed

    • Mark B
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Yep !

      In fact, we don’t even need a Civil Service. Pass-go, straight to Local Councils’, and do not pick up you 200 Euro’s.

  23. Terry
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Politically, it would be in the Conservatives interest for Scotland to gain independence.
    Scottish MPs currently hold 59 seats but just 1 of them is a Tory (40 are Labour). A departure of socialist Scottish MPs would all but guarantee a Conservative majority in 5/2015.
    So I would ask the question “Why is our leader insisting that Scotland stay within the UK”?
    Is it because he has Scottish blood in him? Or is it because he does not want an overall majority so that he would be bound to carry out the true policies of Conservatism? Hmm!
    Economically it will make little difference to our country because of the net gain for England and who is to say that Big Oil will deal with a “new” Scotland rather than London”?
    All this, unfortunately, is academic.
    The canny Scots are not going to give up the support that the UK currently provides, neither will they accept a massive loss of jobs when UK Public Sector departments MUST relocate South of the border back into England and Wales. In fact if Scotland do withdraw then I believe Wales will be the major beneficiary.

    • Lithgae Dave
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      So, you are happy to dismiss over 300 years of shared history and experience. 300 years in which we built an empire together, were the first in the world to industrialise, in which we fought two world together against tyranny. Is all this is to be thrown away just for the sake of short term electoral tactical advantage?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 21, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Utterly disgusting, isn’t it?

        War memorials all across Scotland, in cities and towns and villages, but the present generation of Scots won’t vote Tory any longer so let’s get rid of them. Oh, but according to Richard1 there is an argument that while we get rid of the Scots we should keep most of their oil.

  24. Trimperley
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    There are a lot of public sector jobs in Scotland that deal with English issues such as:-
    National Savings
    Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
    HMRC Cumbernauld and Glasgow

    It would be good to see these jobs brought to the west of England.

    • JooksB
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      The most insulting one of all was the Student Loans Company set up to manage student loans (debt) but only for those south of the border.

  25. formula57
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    You provide the most cogent and concise view as to why Scotland leaving the Union would be a good thing for the rest of us.

    Of the three factors you cite upon which rests the English case to keep Scotland in the Union of “history, politics and sentiment”, the first can be dismissed as bunk (with thanks due to Henry Ford) and the last as soft imaginings.

    You further say “It is not an economic necessity from England’s point of view” – but it might be a huge economic advantage to see Scotland exit before the oil revenues diminish further and it becomes a severe drain on the Exchequer.

    So that leaves “politics” – and to what does that amount? It cannot be for the good of domestic politics surely? Is it so Union representatives can being treated slightly less dismissively at international conferences because they come from a country with higher GDP than would be so with Scotland gone?

    The SNP (well only thanks to Alex Salmond’s adroitness) has engineered a golden, once in 300 years opportunity for England that the ruling elite here has spurned. It is a tragic waste.

    • bluedog
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      ‘History is bunk’, quoth Henry Ford, eh?

      A more realistic quote from Ford’s contemporary WS Churchill reads, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ George Santayana said something very similar.

      You say, ‘The SNP (well only thanks to Alex Salmond’s adroitness) has engineered a golden, once in 300 years opportunity for England that the ruling elite here has spurned.’

      How can you be so wrong? Scottish secession means that England has to return to the grand strategy of Elizabeth 1, whose foreign policy was almost identical to that of His late Majesty King Edward 111. The only difference being that in 1350, England was closely allied to Spain.

      Now what was that about history?

  26. bluedog
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    An excellent article, Dr JR, but you are thinking like an economist and not like a geo-politician. The potential departure of Scotland from the Union is a geo-political matter of the highest import.

    Within the UK, England is the hegemonial power and nothing can alter that fact, much to the fury of the SNP. It is essential to appreciate that Scotland dominates the northern approaches to England down both the west and the east coast. A hostile force lodged in Scotland could destroy the English economy. Far fetched? Yes, but with the US retreating into isolationism and Russia feeling its oats, one can not be too careful. And the hostile force does not need to lodge on the Scottish mainland.

    Assume Scottish secession (I refuse to use the word ‘independence’). Imagine a Russian task-force with the Admiral Kuznetsov and two of the new French Mistral LHDs, en-route to Syria, of course, when a storm causes a ‘mechanical breakdown’ in an LHD and the fleet simply anchors in the lee of Lerwick. Understandably, keeping 800 marines on board ship is not healthy, so they land to stretch their legs. Okay to use Sumburgh airport for liaison, Tovarich?…

    Now exactly what would the nascent Scottish defence force do about this? Precisely nothing, the proposed Scottish forces are virtually toothless, or at least would be in the face of this situation. If Scotland does secede, the UK must secure its northern approaches, it is not a responsibility that can be delegated to Scotland.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      No, it’s not far fetched at all; if the Scots vote for Scotland to revert to being an independent sovereign state, after three centuries once again free to set its own foreign policy and make its own alliances with other foreign powers, then that will be a strategic catastrophe for England. Unfortunately there are too many people in England who are so tied up with what are essentially trivial aspects that they can’t see the wood for the trees and haven’t yet grasped that all their comfortable presumptions about the future security and defence of England itself, even about its continued existence, would be overturned in that one vote.

      • formula57
        Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        But this sort of thinking – about military threats to England’s well-being made more potent by being possible on our door-step – that kept the UK from relinquishing Ireland. Military strategy has moved on and the usefulness of ground troops notwithstanding, if someone in Mr Putin’s place wanted to seriously threaten England, there would be no need to invade Scotland first. Were Scotland successfully invaded, then we should of course exchange ambassadors with whomsoever was in charge there then: it would be the right thing to do.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 21, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          Sure, during the unlimited future period that Scotland was a foreign country circumstances could never arise when the English came to regret that the Parliament in London no longer controlled the northernmost third of the island. Talk about complacency.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      What concerns me more, is the irrational hatred by all sides. Some very well concealed, others barely concealed.

      Added to the above, that this whole matter has not been thought through by anybody, or properly discussed or debated through out the UK. Its as if it is a Scotland only issue and, that it will effect them and only them. It will not !

      I tend to side with, Dennis. But overall, I consider the whole thing to be an orchestrated charade, with no genuine outcome. Just re-arrangement of the EU furniture.

  27. Graham Elliott
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The snag is that history, politics, and ‘sentiment’ are not good reasons for carrying on with something. Inertia is a force that causes people to stick in any vaguely marginal situation, but once the status quo is vigorously challenged then people start to think more objectively and even to think the ‘unthinkable’. The spotlight the debate has cast on the reasons for Scotland staying has not been good for English ‘sentiment’. For the Scots to be told that the patriotic choice is to stay in the UK so as to be paid better pensions is alarmingly insensitive to the English. Will things ever be the same again or are we now on a very long road to something distinctly different?

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I see that Juncker has now contradicted the UK government and the Better Together campaign by making it clear that he would welcome an independent Scotland as a new member state of the EU and would seek to smooth that transition:

    Maybe somebody ought to point out that under Article 48 TEU the required changes to the EU treaties would not be in the gift of the President of the EU Commission, despite Cameron having given the contrary impression during his supposedly valiant campaign to exclude Juncker from that post.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink


      Whilst I wound not disagree with you on this, these people do have a history of re-writing their own rules when it suits. To lose Scotland, would mean that rUK would have to pay less in and, on top of that, they, the EU, would lose all those fishing grounds we so kindly handed over to them.

      Also, what if Scotland chose the EFTA/EEA route and found it more to their taste ? The possibilities from that are almost endless.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 21, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Of course the eurofederalists would be very happy for the EU to take over as the direct overlord of Scotland, not only because of its natural resources but also its strategic position. There is just the problem of the precedent that it would set for the disintegration of other member states against the wishes and interests of their present national governments, and it is those other national governments that would all have to agree to the EU treaties being changed to fast-track Scotland in as a new member state. Not the President of the EU Commission, because while he could try to obstruct and delay the process of treaty change he could not prevent the member state governments changing their treaties in any way they pleased.

  29. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Our aim should be to increase GDP per capita, not GDP. In the event of a YES vote, we should not seek to replace the lost Scots but seize the opportunity to accelerate our exit from the European Union, regain control of our borders and implement a policy of zero net immigration. This would go some way towards unwinding the excessive immigration that has taken place between 2001 and the present day.

    I’m highly concerned about the basis on which the Scottish electorate is being asked to vote NO. Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown and all three main party leaders have been promising additional devolution of powers to Holyrood – unspecified, incoherent and without any mandate whatsoever from the people of England and the rest of the United Kingdom. In whose name do they speak?

    I’m Glasgow born and would be upset if the Union with Scotland were to be ended, but perhaps a clean break is preferable to an incoherent mess.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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