The Scottish government is planning a drive across the country this summer to make the case for independence, but to tell the truth, the Tories have beaten them to it. Just a month ago making the case for independence looked like it was going to be a long hard slog, a slow campaign of attrition, but in the space of a couple of weeks the Conservative and Unionist party has managed to make the case for independence for us.
It was all very well answering the criticism that Scotland doesn’t get the UK governments it votes for by replying that there will be another General Election, and Scotland can have another chance at trying but failing to get a UK government that most in Scotland support. But Brexit is forever. There’s no coming back from that. Scotland voted by a large majority, by a larger margin than we voted to remain a part of the UK, to stay in the EU, yet we’re going to be taken out of it anyway. We don’t get another chance at voting on this, and the future of Scotland for decades to come will be determined by a choice supported by only a minority of its population. That’s an unsustainable democratic deficit.
Last night’s Trident vote was the stale icing on the shit-cake. The elected representatives of the rest of the UK voted by a very large margin to impose Trident on the part of the UK whose elected representatives voted almost unanimously against it.
Trident creates hundreds, no thousands, bazillions of jobs, cry the Tories and their apologists, citing a number that increases every time there’s a news report. Back in 2012 Labour’s Jackie Baillie was criticised for citing a wildly inflated figure of 11,000 jobs dependent on Trident. The true figure, revealed by a Freedom of Information request, is 520 civilian jobs. Yet this week the Guardian claimed 13,000 Scottish jobs depend on the bombs. Who knew that nuclear weapons of mass destruction were really altruistic methods of creating job opportunities eh? When Robert Oppenheimer set off the first atomic bomb what he really said was, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. But I do keep a medium sized Tesco Express open in the Helensburgh area.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel very safe entrusting my future and the future of my country to a bunch of innumerate eejits who don’t know the difference between a weapon of mass destruction that has the potential to evaporate the West of Scotland and a job creation scheme. Trident isn’t designed to create Scottish jobs. It’s designed to blow the planet to buggery. It just creates some work for a relatively small number of people as an accidental by-product, rather like the accidental by-product of nuclear contamination in the Firth of Clyde which it creates far more reliably. What all these politicians who scream about Trident’s job creating potential, as opposed to its people melting potential, forget is that if the government was to spend the billions it spends on Trident directly creating jobs, it would create a vastly greater number of jobs than Trident ever could. Let’s just cut out the middle-missile. It’s not bloody rocket science.
The political case for independence has been made, largely by the Unionist parties themselves. The economic case is also looking a whole lot stronger, despite some claims to the contrary from the usual suspects. Apparently it’s going to be a piece of cake for the UK to negotiate hundreds of trade deals with the rest of the world, but it’s going to be almost impossible for the rest of the UK to negotiate one with an independent Scotland that’s a part of the EU.
Ruthie, reeling from the realisation that her own party has just landed her with a Scottish independence referendum that she’s likely to lose, has taken to asserting that most of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK and not with the EU. It’s unclear from the figures just how much of Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK is promptly re-exported, because Scotland’s been systematically starved of infrastructure investment for decades and lacks the port facilities itself, but that’s by the by.
The point that Ruth doesn’t want us to consider is that if the rUK imposes trade barriers against an independent Scotland then it’s also going to face trade barriers with the rest of the European Union. The next indyref is going to be fought on the basis of Scotland remaining a member of the EU. So if the Brexiteer Tory government succeeds in its declared aim of negotiating unimpeded access for the UK to the EU single market, then an independent Scotland will also enjoy free access to the rUK’s market. And if the rUK’s government fails, and there are tarrifs on Scottish trade, there will also be tarrifs on the rUK’s trade with the EU, to which Scotland will continue to enjoy unimpeded access. That will damage the rUK’s economy immensely whereas Scotland will have other opportunities to explore and exploit. Ruth wants Scotland to remain in the UK so we can risk tying ourselves to a damaged and shrinking economy with a pound that’s plummeting faster than Ruth’s reputation and cut ourselves off from trade with the rest of the world. That’s not an attractive prospect.
There’s also the consideration that if Scotland becomes independent, many large companies which currently have their headquarters in London will be looking to relocate to an EU state in order to preserve their free access to the European single market. An independent Scotland that’s part of the EU and which shares the same landmass with the rest of the UK will be ideally placed to hoover up the jobs that the rest of the UK is losing. It will certainly create far more job opportunities in Scotland than Trident ever could. The next indyref isn’t going to be fought on the basis of the number of jobs it’s going to cost Scotland, it’s going to be fought on the basis of the number of jobs that it’s going to bring in.
And there’s another reason that an independent Scotland will prosper outside the UK. It’s not just that Scotland is blessed with an embarrassment of natural resources, with a highly skilled population, with a world class reputation for invention and innovation. It’s not even that with our own currency we’ll join the family of nations relatively unburdened by the rUK’s national debt. The rest of the EU will have a very strong incentive to ensure that an independent Scotland, a Scotland which has become independent in order to remain a part of the EU while the rest of the UK leaves, does far better economically than the rest of the UK. What better way to illustrate to the rest of Europe the advantages of remaining within the EU, and the disadvantages of leaving.
All I’ve done here is to put together a few stray thoughts over the course of an afternoon towards making a case for Scottish independence. When we all get our heads together, when we thrash out the details, when we develop firm plans, our case for an independent Scotland will be unassailable. We’re going to be faced with a Unionist opposition which shot its bolt the last time, made promise after promise that it didn’t keep. Its credibility lies in shreds along with the credibility of the UK in the eyes of the rest of Europe.
The Unionist diehards have been reduced to claiming that there is no appetite in Scotland for another independence referendum. What they really mean is that they have no appetite for one, because they know they’re going to lose it.
Audio version of this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://t.co/uuk6JfkcqE
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