Bluff and Bluster
Posted on February 4th, 2019
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
There seem to be only two arguments left for the Unionists. First is the one about Scottish independence obviously being too difficult because look at the mess we’ve made of Brexit; the second is the level of trade between Scotland and RUK.
What these two arguments have in common is that they are both designed to mislead by making false comparisons.
First of all, dissolving the Union will certainly pose challenges, but they are far from insurmountable. Plenty of nations have become independent, and over 50 have, in fact, become independent from the UK. It may have taken them a little time to establish all the institutions they required, but they have all managed it. Some, of course, remain poverty-stricken because of their own internal political feuds, but many are doing perfectly well. Given Scotland’s rich resources and the fact that we already have many of our own institutions, we should certainly be able to cope better than most when it comes to setting up a new nation.
Brexit is a false comparison because it is a highly complex trade and finance union into which the UK has become enmeshed. Separating out trade quotas from hundreds of trade deals is extremely complex, and issues over access to the single market and currency union are very complicated because of the Irish and Gibraltar border situations. The requirements of these border deals were always incompatible with ending Freedom of Movement, and anyone who was paying the slightest bit of attention knew this right from the start. Brexit is a shambles because of the clash between ideology and reality. Scottish independence will certainly require some negotiations, but they will not be nearly as complex as Brexit as many of the issues, such as identifying Scottish tax payers, a central Bank, a Stock Exchange, legal and education systems, NHS and other emergency services are already either in place or in hand.
As for the trade war claims and the level of exports, Craig Dalzell has already done an excellent job of pointing out that there is far more to the headline figures than meets the eye. In fact, were it not for the imbalance in the Scottish economy, with financial services being such a huge part, the situation would be very different. In most areas, if the figures are accurate, Scotland exports more to the rest of the world than it does to the UK. And a large part of the exports we do make to the UK are things like electricity, gas, whisky and food. Whatever bluster they put up, it’s hard to see the people of England refusing to import any of those things, especially as they barely generate sufficient power for their own needs as it is. Of course, we cannot discount the fact that Westminster may make a stupid decision which would harm the people of England. After all, they’ve already done that a few times, but there are another couple of reasons why this threat of reliance on exports to England is mere bluff.
For one thing, as many people have pointed out, the UK has never refused to trade with any of its former colonies except in a few instances like South Africa during the apartheid era, so why should they refuse to trade with Scotland?
Then there is the final point that, assuming an independent Scotland remains within or re-joins the EU, then England will have no option but to trade with us unless they decide they do not want to trade with any EU member state at all. The backing the EU have provided to Ireland over the past couple of years should be evidence enough that the EU will not countenance one of its member states being discriminated against when it comes to trade deals. There may well be a hard border in place, although Westminster’s ability to devise a workable system seems pretty poor. But, as things stand with Brexit, we are going to have a hard border with the EU in a couple of months and, if most sectors within our economy actually export more to the EU and the wider world than they do with England, that’s going to be more damaging than a hard border between Scotland and England.
So it’s all just bluff and bluster as you would expect, with the sense of British exceptionalism driving most of the rhetoric. The comments being made are, as many have pointed out, similar to those made by abusive partners, threatening all sorts of things if the other party leaves, but taking advantage of them if they remain. That’s the UK in a nutshell.
So don’t fall for it, and be ready when people who rely on the mainstream media for their news repeat the mantras as if they are true. They are not.
If you want to read Craig Dalzell’s article, the link is: