Should we really be bribing the Scots to stay in the UK?

George Osborne doesn’t strike me as a particularly emotive or soft-headed politician, but even he – in fact, especially he – was falling over himself today to promise the Scots whatever they wanted short of full devolution if they voted no in eleven days time.

The realisation that Scotland might just vote to leave the Union – and thus effectively bring it to an end – seems to have concentrated a large number of English political minds, all bent on seeking to persuade the Scots to stay at almost any price. 

But should the English really be working so hard to keep Scotland? 

If Scotland were to decide for independence, we might perhaps expect the following consequences:

1.     The removal of the estimated £3,150 per head subsidy that the rest of the UK currently pays to Scotland

2.     The removal of the 41 Labour MPs who can vote on English matters such as health, education and transport, but have no say on those issues in their own Scottish constituencies

3.     The stemming of the flow of Scots men and women into English jobs, as they presumably fall foul of the same rigorous immigration restrictions applied to other European countries.

4.     A final cessation of the constant Scots whinging about how all their problems are the fault of the English

5.     The excitement of a new constitutional experiment

6.     More jobs in the north of England as we man the northern border with shiny new customs points

7.     The need to re-think – and possibly abolish – the hugely expensive and largely useless nuclear submarine deterrent, on the grounds that we’ve nowhere to put them

8.     The departure of Scottish politicians like Gordon Brown and Douglas Alexander from English politics (although we are sadly doomed to keep George Galloway, who cannily moved to English constituencies – but see point 3 above as a promise of no more similar Scots’ politicians in England)

9.     A boom in English business and financial industries as firms exit Scotland and relocate to England

10. An end to Sean Connery’s persistent witterings about Scottish independence.

Quite a few positives there, I’m sure you’ll admit, and a full blooded ‘Yes’ vote would also have the advantage of at least providing a clear solution – something an anaemic ‘No’ vote absolutely wouldn’t.  So perhaps we should stop promising the earth, and just wait on the Scots to make their own decision about a brave new world; one which perhaps might benefit England too.


Anonymous said…
Excellent points and I agree with all of them. Of course another 10 reasons could be, talk to the first 10 Scotch people you meet.
Anonymous said…
Won't be easy - no such thing as "Scotch people"...
Anonymous said…
Your point 2 is wrong/ There are absolutely no immigration / selection restrictions on European citizens/. It's only non-EU immigration that we are allowed to have restrictions on.
The Meissen Bison said…
Anonymous @ 11:06
No, it's you that's mistaken. Scotland once independent would no longer be in the EU and would have to reapply in the face of Spanish opposition.

A Scottish passport holder (when such a thing exists) would have no right to remain in rUK unless we were daft enough to allow him dual citizenship.

Let's hope for a resounding "YES" from these ghastly scrimshankers.
Anonymous said…
And if they do vote NO - I propose that we hold a referendum in England to vote on whether we actually ought to kick Scotland OUT of the UK. They don't really want a union with us so let's just get rid of them, otherwise they will drone on and on. And besides I just want to see Salmond's face when his riduculous policies turn pear shaped and the Scots demand his head on a platter.
Anonymous said…
Salmond and his cronies keep on wittering on about how much better things will be in an independent Scotland. And they will be, for Salmond and his cronies.
Anonymous said…
Anon at 10.30 - if an egg can be Scotch, so can a person. Try and keep you Scotch tw+t.
Anonymous said…
Markets hate uncertainty. A yes vote means well over a year of uncertainty while arguments are thrashed out. Both a semi-independent Scotland and a budding rUK will pay the price of this uncertainty. The value of the pound will drop and interest rates will rise though rates rises will be more for Scotland. It's expected that the uncertainty will have a bigger impact on Scotland.
Even a close no will be destabilizing.
Anonymous said…
TBH I am confused why the markets are sensitive to this. The two worst basket case banks were Scottish. The economically illiterate MP's who oversaw the disaster were Scottish. Scotland outside of the UK is worth billions to the long suffering English who have subsidised the experiment in Eastern European Socialism that is Scotland. Much of what is left of the oil belongs to Norway, and Scotland will have to thrash out a new agreement on the oil fields. It only lands in Scotland. Much of the Gas fields are in teh Southern end of the North Sea, i.e. will go to England.

There is also the question whether the treaties with the UK still stand since the reference point for the UK being the UK are the treaties with Scotland, so by default the English, Welsh and Northern Irish countries will no longer be part of the EU, or the Commonwealth for that matter.
Anonymous said…
Another reason is that we can repatriate all the central government jobs that have been sent to Scotland over the years.
Anonymous said…
Point 4. is completely wrong for rather a new wave of whinging would be unleashed just citing slightly different reasons in its justification.
Anonymous said…
Shame you've not written this from a more serious point of view really as there are some interesting points, but here are a few thoughts.

1) OK, so an independent Scotland probably wouldn't be in the EU from day 1, but a deal would probably be found to get it into EFTA - same rules and freedom of movement (more or less) but no real power or voting rights. So no need for customs points.
2) If the Scots are iffy about nuclear submarines, the bits that can't be done in Plymouth will probably be outsourced to the French and/or the Yanks.
3) It's not entirely clear what the effect on tax and spending would be, but I think we can safely say that the residents of Scotland are largely poorer, unhealthier and enjoy a higher than average spend on public services, so shorn of that the rump UK should be better off. The large banks and financial institutions are likely to have to relocate their head offices to the UK, meaning more corporation tax. And of course there's always the option of the UK offering the Shetlands and the Orkneys a Jersey-type crown dependency status with a revenue share on oil royalties.
4) You neglect to mention that it might encourage the Welsh and Northern Irish to devolve.
5) It will seriously annoy the rest of the large EU members as it will undoubtedly encourage their rogue provinces to go it alone.
' such thing as "Scotch people.'
"Scotch" is a perfectly good English word, even if Scotch people no longer wish to use it.
Anonymous said…
On point 4, the Scots and Scotch will just whinge about how the dastardly English cheated them when the spoils are divided between the UK & the rump of Scotland.

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