By Rab Bruce’s Spider

Time is running out for the UK to get a deal from the EU. I have always thought that No Deal was the most likely scenario, but even if there is a late breakthrough, you can be sure the UK will be at a disadvantage. Come January, a lot of people are going to get multiple shocks as the true impact of Brexit takes hold.

However, that’s not what this post is about. That’s because I’ve seen some Tories starting to push the notion that Scotland should not vote to become a normal, self-governing country because of the threat of leaving the UK with no deal from Westminster.

Where do you even start with this. For one thing, it’s the sort of comment an abusive partner would make, threatening to cast you adrift with no help at all. "See how you like that!" seems to be the thinking behind it. It’s a stupid notion, of course, because England needs Scotland, so the only way they’ll agree to us leaving the UK with no official agreed deal is out of pure spite. Some may say, with justification, that Westminster has always operated on a spiteful basis, and they are forging ahead with the highly damaging Brexit despite the damage it is going to do, so why wouldn’t they sever relations with a newly independent Scotland?

This is where we come to the other major problem with the "No Deal" threat. That’s because the EU and the UK are two very different types of union. The EU is a trade bloc, and any deal done with the EU is about trade. Any deal between a normal Scotland and England will be about how to split an equitable share of assets and liabilities. Things like using UK embassies, how many ships, aircraft, tanks etc would Scotland get? Would Scotland agree to bear a share of the UK debt? (I hope not, but it seems the SNP are content with that ridiculous suggestion).

Scotland would also need to establish new agencies to take over responsibility for a host of things like border control, full social security, collection of taxes, administration of driving licences and road tax, etc. It may be that they would wish the UK to continue to administer some of these things in the short term until the Scottish Government has been able to establish its own agencies.

So what if there’s a threat of No Deal on those things? As I said, that will only happen if England decides to really cut off its nose to spite its face. Because Scotland produces an awful lot of the electricity England needs. We also provide a lot of their food, and we have more water than we need, while England has a shortage. And that’s not even taking into account their precious nuclear weapons which have no other home to go to, nor their new blue passports which are issued from Glasgow.

As for trade, if Scotland re-joined the EU, we would automatically have trade deals with every other country in the world, which may even include England if they ever get their act together and strike a deal with the EU. There will inevitably be delays and adjustments needed to cope with the hard border England will insist on erecting because … well, because foreigners, but those will be short term compared to the benefits Scotland would accrue from joining the EU. If we develop our ports and establish ferry routes to places like Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, Scotland could become more connected to Europe than ever before.

And if England insists on slamming an iron curtain border down and letting us do our own thing, I’m sure they’ll do just fine without our food, water and electricity. Oh, yes, and the oil. They don’t want that either, do they?

Speaking of oil, there’s one thing that nobody ever seems to point out. The price of oil is important because that’s what generates the massive profits of the oil companies, but what is just as important is the level of taxation levied on those profits. The major oil companies pay virtually no tax to the UK Treasury, yet they pay taxes to other countries. So don’t get fooled into thinking that the low tax revenue would be a major problem, because the UK deliberately keeps that revenue low.

So don’t be scared by the No Deal threat. Like so many Tory threats, it’s built on sand.