Quotes of the day 28th August 2021

"There are no circumstances, no developments, however cataclysmic or earth-shattering, that could persuade the true believers of the nationalist movement to admit that the Union might be worth preserving." 

"Forbes" (Scottish government Finance minister Kate Forbes) "and her party insist that a massive structural deficit is merely another argument in favour of independence. Had the GERS figures shown a surplus instead of a deficit, you can be sure that she would have trumpeted the figures as – you guessed it – another argument in favour of independence. 

In other words, nationalism is not a rational political philosophy; it is an emotional conviction adhered to by the faithful. And faith, as we know, is belief without the need for evidence. "

"Last year, Scots enjoyed public spending levels that outstripped tax revenue by more than £36 billion.  That figure has more than doubled since the previous year’s deficit of £15 billion, largely because of measures to support the economy during the Covid pandemic. 

Essentially, this means that a newly independent Scotland would have to take two immediate actions: the first would be to implement colossal, eye-watering cuts to public services, something few independence-supporting Scots would have endorsed in any referendum campaign.

The second would be to immediately abandon, for the foreseeable future, any ambition to join the European Union, given that our structural deficit would not come within sniffing distance of the Union’s limit of three percent as a proportion of GDP. This probably wouldn’t cause many nationalists to lose any sleep; their party’s devotion to the European project was never more than a convenient weapon in the battle for hearts and minds following the EU referendum in 2016. Still, there are a significant number of Remain-voting Scots who would only be persuaded to support independence if it meant joining the EU. The GERS figures kick that prospect into the very far distance."

(Extracts from "As the economic facts change, the SNP simply recalibrates the truth," an article by former Labour minister Tom Harris on the CAPX site which you can read in full here.)


Jim said…
"Still, there are a significant number of Remain-voting Scots who would only be persuaded to support independence if it meant joining the EU"

Thats true, though one of my favourite stats is that more scots voted to leave the EU than voted for the SNP.

Although I will say at least now there is actually a logical postion to be in, that being a scot who wants to join the EU and figures its worth breaking up Great Britain to do so.
I never could understand the previous postion whilst the UK was a memberstate which was to declare independence then immediatly give it back to the EU.
Chris Whiteside said…
I see your point.

To be honest I think Tom Harris is right that the SNP are not really bothered about whether Scotland is in the EU or not.

They don't perceive the EU as imposing significant constraints on Scotland's freedom of action - I think if they did leave the UK and join the EU they would be horrified to discover how wrong they are about that - but complaining about Scotland being dragged out of the EU when the majority of Scots who voted backed Remain makes a really great stick with which to upset the great majority of Unionists who wanted to be in both the EU and the UK.

It was, in my humble opinion, a far more logical position to have voted Remain and No or Leave and Yes than to prefer to be in either union and not the other. The arguments for Scotland staying in the UK are very nearly identical to those for the UK staying in the EU, but, again in my humble opinion, much stronger.

But of course now that being in both unions is no longer an option, Scots have three choices rather than four - to be outside either of the two unions or to choose one to remain in or join.

If people were choosing rationally, those who want to leave the UK in order to join the EU ought to despise everything the SNP stands for. But sadly there is far more emotion than rationality involved.

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