I think Better Together’s biggest miscalculation when it comes to their scare stories is that they think we’re scared of the same things they’re scared of.
It never seems to occur to these people that maybe, just maybe, these are not dangers or warnings against Scottish independence, but actually arguments in its favour.
An independent Scotland would have to spend up to £400 million creating a new IT system to run its separate welfare policies, Westminster analysts have predicted in new report which spells out the impact of separation on social security.
It would be against the remaining UK’s “interests” to shoulder additional costs and risks that would come with adapting the vast welfare system to accommodate two separate countries, UK Government experts said.
Instead Scotland would have to set up its own system which is unlikely to be completed by independence and could trigger spiralling running costs thanks to the loss of economies of scale, it was claimed.
The stark warning came in a Department for Work and Pensions report – the latest in a series of Scotland Analysis papers released by the Coalition – which paints a bleak picture of the implications of the SNP’s welfare proposals.
Ian Duncan Smith – of all people – proclaiming that the vulnerable people of Scotland “stand to” (read: could) lose their benefits:
Vulnerable people stand to lose their benefits if Scotland becomes independent, the Work and Pensions Secretary has warned.
Iain Duncan Smith said that an independent Scotland would require a new IT system to deliver benefits which could take years to develop and cost up to £400 million.
He accused the Scottish Nationalist Party of making pledges to spend more on welfare “without saying how they will pay for it”.
And of course, the old canard about Scotland being unable to bail out the banks if there was another crisis – presumably these are the same banks which threatened to leave Scotland in the event of independence:
ONE of the world’s largest credit ratings agencies has warned it would be difficult for a future independent Scotland to bail out its banks.
Standard and Poor’s said rescuing institutions after a Yes vote would be “challenging” .
It also warned that many banks could struggle to cope with the SNP’s target of declaring independence by March 2016.
Earlier this year Standard and Poor’s assessed an independent Scotland’s financial standing saying that it faced “significant, but not unsurpassable” challenges.
The idea of Scotland having to spend a good deal of money to upgrade its welfare system’s IT being a problem is predicated entirely on if you think the current UK welfare IT system is fine the way it is, and not worth the expense of replacement. It isn’t – it’s a scandal, unfit for purpose, a national disgrace. The idea of more Scottish people losing their benefits in an independent Scotland when the Scottish government has enacted legislation specifically to combat the financial punishment of the UK government’s welfare reforms – which have seen tens of thousands of people in the UK already suffering – is insanity. And naturally, the prospect of Scotland being able to bail out the banks only matters if one is willing to bail out the banks at all, rather than refusing to support reckless financial ruination by saving them when they fail.
Nearly every other scare story concocted falls to this trap: this assumption that the people of Scotland are remotely interested in things continuing as they are now under Westminster – and, more pertinently, the assumption that the government is too.
Vote No or lose your spot at the top table of the UN – I don’t care. Maybe the people of Scotland aren’t actually that bothered about throwing their weight around on the international stage, in sad denial of their clearly diminished role as a world power?
Vote No or your soldiers will no longer have the “clout” of the UK military – I don’t care. Maybe the people of Scotland don’t actually want to send their young men & women off to the other side of the world in illegal wars while leaving the country woefully undefended?
Vote No or Scottish banks could suffer – I don’t care. Maybe the people of Scotland wouldn’t want to be enablers for the disastrous gambling culture wreaking havoc on our finances?
Vote No because the oil’s running out – I don’t care. Maybe the people of Scotland would put their efforts into renewable energy sources and other alternatives, rather than simply sucking up the oil without even bothering with an oil fund like nearly every other country which has found oil?
Vote No or England & Wales might shun Scotland’s brand – I don’t care. Maybe the people of Scotland don’t want the custom of those chauvinistic bigots, and would happily do business with the many more people of England & Wales who would be perfectly fine dealing with an independent Scotland?
Vote No or you’ll have to leave or reapply to join the EU/NATO/the UN/the Commonwealth – even if any of those things were true, I still don’t care. Plenty of countries, the vast majority of nations in the world in fact, manage to do perfectly well without being in the EU, NATO, the UN, or the Commonwealth – and most of them aren’t the 4th richest countries in the world.
The only reason things like the EU, the pound, international clout, immigration, and the like dominate the news is because the UK considers those things important – and demands that the people of Scotland think so to. They’re framing the debate – not the people of Scotland. They deign what is important to the future of Scotland – not the people who live there. And over time, that has affected opinion – inevitable, given the power the mass media has over the populace, especially one that doesn’t reflect the local culture. Manufactured consent, as Edward S. Herman and Yes Scotland’s latest advocate Noam Chomsky has it.
Case in point, I just today received a UKIP leaflet through my letterbox. UKIP is a party with practically zero presence in Scotland, and not too long ago had negligible presence in England & Wales. They don’t even have a single MP at Westminster. Yet Nigel Farage has been all over the television – Question Time, Have I Got News For You, the BBC news. UKIP has been promoted to a level approaching third-party status purely by the power of media saturation. The media has created the UKIP monster, make no mistake – and if they can create an entire political party’s rise to the forefront of UK politics, what can they do for the cause against Scottish independence? Right now, UKIP has been an abject failure in Scotland. But up until last year, the same could be said for England & Wales – who’s to say the media’s constant exposure of Nigel Farage will not have an effect even in Scotland?
Those who dwell in the metropolitan London bubble not only don’t understand the desire for Scottish self-determination, they cannot understand it – not as long as they remain in that environment. And given the BBC is almost entirely focused on London, is it any wonder they can’t really get a handle on it? So while they continue to return to the EU, the pound, international clout, immigration etc, the things which do matter to Scots – jobs, welfare, health, education, etc – will either be handled with comic ineptitude, or not at all.
The people of Scotland are only human. They too voted against the Alternate Vote, because of the massive opposition within the establishment and the anemia of the pro-AV campaign. But when sufficiently inspired and trusted, they make good decisions despite constant warnings and lies from the establishment. I can only hope that they will make the same choice they made in 1979 and 1997 – the path of self-determination.