Saturday, March 18, 2017

Up to a point, Lord Copper ...

It is often suggested that it is difficult for a supporter of Brexit to make the case for Scotland to stay in the UK.

There is certainly a degree of truth in this: many of the arguments used by Scottish Nationalists and "Yes" voters in Scotland are extremely similar to those deployed by those who campaigned to take Britain out of the EU. Sinilarly many of the arguments used by "Britain Stronger in Europe and extremely similar to those used by "Better Together.

Which is one reason I find it absolutely astonishing that the SNP's official position has until now been so resolutely anti pro-EU, even though many of their criticism of London also apply to Brussels.

If there is another Independence referendum - and I note that Theresa May is not saying that she will veto any proposal from the Scottish parliament for one, just that she will not accept one at the present very inappropriate time - I would expect the internal inconsistencies between the positions of those who are pro-Brexit but anti-Independence, and those who are pro-Independence but also pro-Remain, to be a significant problem for both sides.

However, there is in fact one major "Leave" campaign argument which, when the same test is applied to Scotland, produces an argument for "No" to Independence - at least if you are North of the Border, though I suspect people in England might see it differently.

Remember that wretched red bus with "We pay the EU £350 million per week" on the side?

Of course, Britain does not in fact pay the EU that much - it's about half that, some £8 billion a year. Nevertheless Britain is a net contributor to the EU budget.

And here's the things: Britain is a net contributor to the EU but Scotland is a net beneficiary of the UK budget.

Under present arrangements such as the Barnett formula, the UK makes a net transfer of about £1,700 per person or circa £ 9 billion a year in total to Scotland.

So a person who was merely looking at net transfers would conclude that Scotland gets a much better deal from the UK than the UK does from EU membership


Jim said...

You are still thinking "central management".
Sage 6 of Flexcit (The Harrogate Agenda) solves this problem. See we figured that there is no point in returning power to Westminster, the very place that gave it away in the first instance. Instead it spreads power thoughout every citizen.

Now if one local authority wants to lend to another then that is fine, it just means that the people of both areas have to first be asked and agree to this deal.

Harrogate was pretty much our back up plan had the referendum gone the other way, we would not have called for a second referendum, we would instead have pushed harder on Harrogate, thus making ourselves incompatible with the EU. Its one the main reasons Switzerland is not an EU member state, its direct democracy is incompatible with the EU.

I guess you could think of it as Absolute devolution max.

Chris Whiteside said...

I'm thinking in terms of the structures in place now, yes.

The only way the Harrogate agenda is likely to come into place is if the House of Commons decides to adopt it.

That may happen in our lifetimes, Jim, but it's not likely to happen in the timeframe of the current debate about how Brexit should take place nor that about whether there should be an Indyref2 during Nicola Sturgeon's tenure as FM.