I’ve just been reading, uncomfortably, the Labour Party’s Referendum brochure. It presents an avalanche of reasons for voting No: we can’t use the pound, our public services are subsidised by the UK, we can’t afford the NHS, we can’t afford pensions, we can’t keep the pound, the UK subsidises our public services, we won’t be able to pay for the NHS, we won’t keep the pound… Yes, it’s as repetitive as that.
And as empty-headed. ‘The Nationalists haven’t said how they would fund the NHS,’ it says; ‘the UK subsidy helps pay for NHS hospitals’, and ‘no one has explained to me how we can afford the health service’. This doesn’t actually say that we can’t afford the NHS – it just implies it, by saying that at the moment the UK pays for some of it; every point is made in the same way, by suggestion and innuendo instead of with facts. LIkewise, every point names some item that forms part of the Scottish block grant. By naming over and over again items in the block grant which an independent Scotland would have to fund for itself, this unsavoury brochure builds up a terrifying sense of doubt, fear and insecurity around the notion of leaving. That’s why all the happy Labour families pictured in it look frazzled out of their minds.
None of this doom-scenario is believable. We know that an independent Scotland would be the 14th richest nation in the world, four places ahead of the remainder of the UK. We know that we have world-beating universities and science skills, one-quarter of Europe’s renewable energy resources, a tourism industry worth £10billion a year, and a workforce fired by fair-mindedness, drive and innovation. The credit-rating agency Standard & Poor knows it too: We would expect Scotland to benefit from all the attributes of an investment-grade sovereign credit characterized by its wealthy economy, high-quality human capital, flexible product and labor markets, and transparent institutions. In other words, a triple-A rating from an observer with no axe to grind – not a basket-case, not a destitute region, just a fairer and more prosperous society for all.
The notion that Scotland is dependent on English charity for its jobs, its pensions, its financial stability, its health service and its continued existence, with no hope of ever standing on its own two feet, is a myth. It’s put about by the Westminster establishment to obscure the fact that Scotland is more productive per head of population than the rest of the UK, contributes more in taxes, and has a higher GDP, with the result that they’re now peeing themselves to conceal the truth and hang on to the profitable asset. Why else would they continue to throw billions of pounds each year down a black hole, if they’re not getting some return from it? Some of this is being made clear by the 200 leaders in Business for Scotland (http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/revealed-the-accounting-trick-that-hides-scotlands-wealth/) who understand what’s going on.
If over the next two weeks we don’t nail this lie that Scotland is a destitute dependency, we’ll be complicit in fraud, we’ll be traitors to ourselves, we won’t be able to look our kids in the eye again, and they’ll consider us, rightly, a parcel of rogues once more. It’s our choice.