Thursday, 20 February 2014

With their moves to try and block an Independent Scotland from sharing the pound, the ‘No’ Campaign have thrown their last dice in the hope of scaring Scots into voting against Independence, so what can we expect next?

First of all, it's worth recalling what Alistair Darling, leader of the "Better Together" campaign, said on 10 January 2013, namely –

“If you have independence or separation of course a currency union is logical.”

Can you ever trust a man who now says the very opposite?

Soon, however, the charm offensive will begin.  But beware of Greeks bearing gifts. The unholy alliance of Tories and Labour will cobble together a series of promises to try and woo the Scots into voting ‘No’.  I predict that this will be a massive own goal, following on from the procession of scare stories and dirty tricks which we have had to endure to date.  Whatever is promised, Westminster will move the goalposts (Let's not forget the 1979 Referendum and the 40% rule).

I believe that it is easy to predict what will happen if Scotland votes ‘No’.  The Tories will feel that they have got Alex Salmond and the ‘Yes’ campaign off their backs, and they will then proceed to do what they have long wished to do with Scotland.  To Scots it will seem like punishment for daring to challenge London dominance. 

First to go will be the Barnett Formula.  This "secret" formula does partly take into account the fact that, per capita, Scottish taxpayers pay more to the London Exchequer than do other parts of the UK, but not quite.  For example in 2011/2012, Scottish taxpayers paid £4.8 billion more to the London Exchequer than Scotland got back according to the UK Government's own figures (GERS Scotland figures for 2011/12 published in April 2013) which works out at every single Scot, with Independence, being £824 better off.  So whilst we are being cheated by the Barnett Formula; after a ‘No’ vote, the formula will be scrapped in favour of straight population based percentage. [1] 

This will result in a cut of at least £4 billion in the Scottish budget, on top of our share of the £25 billion of cuts already promised by David Cameron after the next Westminster election.  There will also be moves to claw back some of the powers given to the Scottish Parliament. 

How do I know this? 

Having spent my Civil Service career close to the seat of Westminster Government I continue to have my ear close to the ground as to what is really going on, as you might well imagine.

A ‘No’ vote will leave Scots bitter and disappointed and, apart from voting a few more SNP MPs to Westminster, it will be too late to do much about it. Westminster will be firmly in charge.

Thankfully, however, I have faith that Scots are ‘nae daft’.

[1] Please see my subsequent blog "GERS Report 2012-13" for an update on the GERS figures.

See also:  More blogs by John Jappy