The downsides of independence

According to the Herald, Angus Robertson in his pitch for the deputy leadership said that the potential downsides of independence must be acknowledged. He thinks that the last indy campaign was too rosy and happy clappy, and he’s got a fair point. In its desire to present a relentlessly positive campaign, YesScotland didn’t speak much about the downsides.

And there are many of them, many things that we’d no longer benefit from after we’d become independent. Our cultural life would be severely diminished. After independence we’d be deprived of the reporting genius that is Nicholas Witchell and no longer would your news reports make a Brylcreem salesman seem shiny oil free. The Royal family would become avoidable instead of an obligatory imposition into our consciousness. How can we survive without daily updates on what Kate is wearing, and on all the work that they do for charridee. How will you get through your day without knowing about the travails of a guy who is married to someone who is related to someone who is married to someone who is somewhere in line for the throne?

We’d lose out on wall-to-wall telly coverage of the England cricket and fitba teams and the progress in international competitions of Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant. Since bakery is Great British, we’d no longer be able to bake cakes, except for the Dundee cakes, of course. And the scones. And the Kirriemuir Gingerbread. Imagine the very horror of an entire nation that had forgotten how to bake a sponge. This would surely come to pass without the soggy bottom of Britain.

In the sphere of politics, we’d miss out on the foresight and forward planning of the Conservative party, as so ably demonstrated in the aftermath of their EU referendum galactofuck. We’d no longer benefit from the impeccable sense of timing of the Parliamentary Labour Party which invariably chooses a time of Tory weakness in order to turn on itself in another of its spats of internecine warfare. Worse of all, instead of allowing the wise heads of a Brexit voting rest of the UK with its peculiar fascination for the politics of UKIP to choose our governments for us, Scotland would have no option but to pick a government for itself. That’s a weighty responsibility that most of the Scottish Unionist media firmly believe we are not capable of.

We’d no longer benefit from the wit and wisdom of the House of Lords. Michael Forsyth would become just a failed Tory politician who managed to lose all his party’s seats and not an elder statesman. George Foulkes would no longer be the star of Strictly Dancing with Polis and Michelle Mone would be just a bra saleswoman who is lacking in support. None of them would be held up as national treasures, it’s not clear how we’d survive without their sage advice and expenses claims. But most seriously of all we’d no longer be able to rest upon the broad shoulders of the UK, the ones that have no head on them.

We’d fail to benefit from an economy that’s run in the interests of the financial sector of the City of London. The one that’s about to lose its passport to trade services in the rest of the European Union. We’d no longer make our happy contributions to building the London transport infrastructure that the global city demands. Instead we’d be forced to spend the money on our little parochial railways and roads here in Scotland. How awful that would be eh.

Scotland would lose the protection of Trident missiles, which our current Chancellor Phil ET-Call-Home Hammond informed us when he was defence secretary are the only thing standing between us and a potential threat from outer space. Somewhere, deep in a dark cold vacuum other than the one between the ears of a Tory MP, there’s the interstellar spaceship of an ancient and technologically advanced race of aliens just waiting for Scottish independence because the only thing deterring them from conquest is an Astute submarine that failed to make an orbit of the Isle of Skye and Type 26 frigates that haven’t been built. Instead of spending our 10% share of the £200 billion cost of Trident and losing the 500 odd jobs that depend on it, Scotland would be forced to spend £20 billion directly on creating jobs that didn’t contribute to the potential destruction of the planet. Imagine how awful that would be.

But downsides cut both ways of course. And the next time we have an independence referendum we need to speak more forcefully about the downsides of remaining a part of the United Kingdom. Our jobs and our pensions are not going to be safer if we leave Westminster in charge. Outside the EU the Tory party sees Britain’s future as a low wage low skills and low tax economy, where a small number cream off the wealth of the country and the masses grow increasingly impoverished. The NHS in England is already being privatised by stealth, and if we stay in the UK it’s going to be increasingly difficult for a Scottish government to resist the pressures to do the same as budgets are slashed. Our employment rights will be disembowelled, our retirement age will recede ever further into the future, and we’ll have to continue working away at our zero hours contracts non-jobs until we finally drop.

As Angus Robertson pointed out, establishing a new independent state is a big task. We’ll have to start to clean up the mess that we’ve been left in by the dysfunctional UK. That’s going to be a challenge. But the point of independence is that we will have the tools and resources to be able to do so, to start to build a better country that is fit for all, to create a dignified life for all of Scotland’s inhabitants. If we remain in the UK, things will only get worse. Our future is less secure, more uncertain, if we allow Westminster to continue to make decisions on our behalf. The downsides of independence are as nothing by comparison.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of @lumi_1984,

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24 comments on “The downsides of independence

  1. 2p3rf3ct says:

    You might have missed something there …

    But I cant think what.

    How can I do indy in any state but euphoria? The alternative is the reality of being stuck with Westminster.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug The downsides of independence […]

  3. RBS ‘lost’ £2 billion during the first six months of this year, £1 billion of which was ‘payment’ to the UK Government, and most of the rest set aside for PPI scams etc.
    Libor, Money laundering, billions in bonuses for the Money Men for being criminal failures, and Cameron’s wife’s hairdresser gets a ‘- BE’.
    Nobody goes to jail in the Establishment. Bank fraud, child abuse, illegal wars. Nothing to see here, plebs, move on. WE are the Masters of the Universe, ye Sweaty Jocks. Back in your pens, ye Unwashed Rabble.
    The Child Abuse enquiry has just seen off its third Chair.
    What dark and Establishment rocking squalor must be contained in the evidence that terrified the wits out of three chairpersons?
    MP’s Lords, Royalty? How come the Dead Tree Scrolls covered it all up? They must have known, surely?

    The SE Establishment and the corrupt FPTP WM Government , puppets of their relatives in the City who will make sure they get nice little earners when their politics days are over, the obscene graft, the cronyism, the Honours scam, are beyond Redemption.
    I’m looking forward to Better Together 2’s campaign next Spring(?).
    Come on Blair, John, Clunking Fist, Lord Darling, Aspirational Ruth, Schizo Kezia, and Pointless Will, lie to me yet ahgain. Threaten me and mine with the Mighty Wrath of a Spurned SE Establishment again.

    By the way, where is this British Empire of which they talk?
    Long gone, and despite the Boris Johnson throwbacks’ wallowing sentimentality, not missed.

    I loved ‘galactofuck’, Paul. It should make next year’s OED neologisms, surely.
    Of course the Road to a stable Independent nation will be arduous, and yes, may require a realignment of tax revenues as we grow our economy, but it will all be worth it, of that I’m positive.
    I can feel it in my bones.
    The higher they build their barriers, the taller we become.
    Great bitter sweet piece, Paul. Thanks.

    • Jan Cowan says:

      I thoroughly agree with you, Jack. The flight of three chairpersons from the Child Abuse enquiry is horrifying. The abuse of children is always sickening but surely there’s an especially dark past to be uncovered in that quarter.

      • There has been considerable ‘smoke’ over the past few decades, Jan; there must be a ‘fire’ smouldering somewhere, lurking in the darky murky corners of the Establishment Oligarchy.
        I find it incredible that the so called gutter press knew nothing about the widely circulated on social media perversions of the famous.

  4. annelawrie says:

    As Angry Salmond so aptly described Saturday’s shenanigans – not marching, but strutting. This nonsense will have to stop. We must wander along desolately, with our heads down and tears in our eyes, as all the advantages of being ruled by our betters wither before our eyes. Still, needs must and we Scots have always been able to bear privation and punishment without complaint or anger.

  5. Craig Macfarlane says:

    A royal family with nothing to hide would not need “immunity from prosecution” …just saying

  6. bedelsten says:

    Ah! A missing words competition: “George Foulkes would no longer be…”
    Able to regale us with words of wisdom seen through a glass darkly, hic. Then there his chum the pyromaniac Watson; not having to contribute to his attendance allowance would be such a shame.

    Yes, the downsides, the downsides, a cornucopia of downsides not being bound and tied to perfidious Albion. As a nation we would have to make our own grown up decisions, might have to decide whether to upgrade the wobbly hand-held VHS-C camcorder for the cats at six team, might have to decide what the going rate is for renting a bit of prime, no quite city centre, deep water real estate (limited free-hold only) and, jings, crivens, help ma-bob, choose who, in the nation, bakes the best oatcakes. Unfortunately, about mid-August, when all the grown-ups are back at work, the cats at six team would still want to have an annual grovel-fest, pointing the wobbly camcorder at chinless wonders draped in Wally Scot creations fending off the continuing abundance from above and the midgies. Though, if Andy Whitman and co. may make their support of grown up decision making dependent on further development of land reform, there could then be downsides for some. Shame.

    Of course in this new utopia we are heading inexorably towards the media would present a fair and balanced view of the nation’s affairs and we would not be subjected to the endless torrents of Torrance. In my search for balance (well a different perspective perhaps), I came across this gem which you may wish to divert yourselves with:

  7. Dan Huil says:

    No more David Dimbleby, or David Starkey. What a shame.

  8. Gavin.C.Barrie says:

    Aye, following independence there would be so much to sentimentally reminisce over. I do hope that some Pathe News stuff is archived what with those rapid fire self-assured English accents, just to remind we oldies, and caution the young. And Z Cars, remember all the brick built terraced houses, where have they gone? Zapped to make way for phallic bank buildings?

    The “Royals”, granted immunity from prosecution, now why would they need that?

  9. Jams OD says:

    Wish I could send this to every household in Scotland.

  10. Dointhebiz 1 says:

    Fortunately, [like any good cook show] I’d prepared a list earlier of the 10 most obvious ‘disadvantages’ of independence:

    1)…… er!
    3)…..Gimme a sec!
    7)…….*scratches head*
    9)……….Bugger!, there HAS to be something?
    10)……We wouldn’t be British anymore… [Does that count as a disadvantage?]

  11. Robert Graham says:

    Aye well maybe a pause for thought Angus before you open yer gob of all the stupid comments to make , and i wasn’t convinced by his pitch for the second in command spot and i am looking forward to Tommy Sheppard’s presentation tomorrow on live stream tomorrow .
    Anguses comments are like a double glazing salesman pointing out the bad points of his product before trying to convince you to buy the self same product get a f/n grip this is basic stuff , and as for media appearances stick with proven speakers while Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh is probably a very nice person she lets herself get pushed around unlike Joanna Cherry or indeed Tommy Sheppard the SNP really need to employ a media savvy department not slick but straight to the point presenters because over the past few months the media have been kicking lumps out of them without reply.

  12. kat hamilton says:

    oh paul, wish you could televise this on prime time telly and sway lots of the no voters into seeing sense…stats and statistics are often given too much airtime in the debates and cloud whats really important, the fundamentals of who is in control of our destiny…all your bullet points are whats needed to clarify our lack of powers, and why its imperative to get these back or what the hell is going to remain for the next generation…the oldies in particular should be sent a letter asking them ‘to think carefully’ of their grandchildrens future as the alternative doesnt bear thinking about…

  13. Jan Cowan says:

    Thanks, Paul. Great post. You certainly know how to bring them right down to size……and give us laughter at the same time.

  14. Caroline J says:

    Agree with last poster Kat H “Authentic” is often ill-used to describe anything/anyone with even a smidgin of reality; in this case, you Paul are the proverbial ‘real deal’ and I do wish more people were reading and listening to you. Whether reasonable editorial control could be retained on the proverbial usual suspect programmes, am not certain; but the sensibility and genuine engagement on the likes of ‘The Full Scottish’ gives me hope.
    As an Irish person living in Scotland since 2003 was tentative to speak out re what I thought was right for another country – always YES, by the way – and even when invitation came to vote in referendum was slow to take it up until a Scottish friend put me right: ‘you’ve been invited!’ (Had always voted up until that point but felt that this was a particular question about the future of a country for which I did not hold a passport.) While respectfully remembering that Scotland was not my country of origin, I felt that what was happening was something transcendent and brilliantly political – a genuine new country. (I used to teach English as a Second language and gave every group an exercise: ‘Create Your Own Country’ and here I was living at a point in history where that was suddenly possible- wonderful). My only worries were that there was no outline constitution and no broadcast network – online radio in particular – to give air to the realities instead of the relentless pseudo analysis in mainstream media.
    Was devastated when that oh-so-negative and rejecting of a positive future arrived and your writing kept me going, as I imagine it did many, many others.
    Atmosphere is so much more positive now and just wanted to express thanks for you making it that way.

  15. Matt Seattle says:

    ee forgot the Selkirk bannock …
    itherweys, spot on!

  16. Matt Seattle says:

    … an the Melrose tart

  17. Patience is a Virtue says:

    I am sure we will all miss Gordon Brown’s business acumen and his periodic interventions and Kezia’s contributions to the betterment of Scotland: (6th Aug 2015): tweeting:-
    ‘Today we remember Hiroshima. It’s deplorable the the #snp policy on Trident would deprive the UK of its nuclear capacity’ ,,,

  18. arthur thomson says:

    I’m so glad you are getting out there and talking with Yes groups Paul. Our troops need their morale sustained and they also need your insights, to develop the narratives they need to hone their independence message.

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