Boris Johnson has continued to reject the possibility of a repeat vote on independence – five-and-a-half years after the Scottish people voted to remain part of Britain by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent. But the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has continued her independence calls, especially following Brexit, which she claims happened against the wishes of the Scottish people, who largely voted to remain part of the European Union in 2016. Last month a poll from YouGov, which quizzed 1,039 UK adults in Scotland from January 22-27, revealed support for independence led supporting for remaining in the UK by 51 percent to 49 percent – the pollster’s first independence lead since early 2015. But speaking to Express.co.uk, Eliot Wilson, who was clerk of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014, has destroyed Scottish independence hopes by outlining 10 huge stumbling blocks.
“The SNP’s line for years has been that economic policy is decided in Westminster, remote from the people of Scotland and indifferent to their particular needs.
“But leaving the UK, re-joining the EU and signing up to the single currency (a requirement of the application process) would surely transfer the levers of economic power yet further away to the Commission in Brussels and to the European Central Bank.
“If the circumstances and cycles of Scotland don’t coincide with those of London, they will do so even less with a bloc of 27 other countries.
“Equally, Scotland would be leaving a tariff-free single market with the rest of the UK, its biggest trading partner.”
“The Scottish Government simply hasn’t delivered a convincing policy on this.
“If it joined the queue for the EU, it would need to pledge to use the single currency, but Scotland does not yet fulfil the requirements for membership.
“The SNP sometimes says it would simply remain in a sterling zone, but to do so purely as a “customer”, the way some central American countries use the US dollar, would be to place yourself yet further at the mercy of outside economic factors.
“The residual United Kingdom would be under no obligation to consider Scotland and its needs when deciding interest rates and other levers of economic policy.
“Scotland is already much more dependent than England on employment in the public sector, which is therefore paid for directly by taxation.
“A contraction in public spending after independence (which has to be at least a strong possibility) would have a direct effect on the jobs market.”
“The UK is not going to tolerate Scotland simply walking away from the shared deficit and other liabilities.
“How these are calculated and divided is anyone’s guess, but they represent a serious burden for the economy of a small country (as Scotland, with a population of six million, would be).
“Again, the new independent state would have far less control over the economic weather, with no central bank, no independent currency, uncertain international alliances and a structurally outdated economic system dependent on public spending. You would be creating a small state with a pre-existing heavy debt burden.”
“Small countries can go it alone – Austria, Albania, Belgium, North Macedonia – but they are generally unable to maintain a full-spectrum-response military establishment, and big-ticket items like fast jets, main battle tanks and destroyers are extremely expensive.
“A Scottish navy would likely only be maintainable for the defence of coastal waters, an army would have very limited out-of-area expeditionary capacity, and a small, limited aviation capability.
“Additionally, the Royal Navy would almost certainly not buy from the Govan shipyards if they were in a foreign country, which would raise serious questions over their future and the BAE footprint in Scotland.
“Also, would Scotland want to be in NATO? Would NATO accept them if the UK nuclear submarines were expelled from Scotland on day one?”
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Accession to the EU
“The Commission has been projecting ‘mood music’ that Scotland would be eagerly welcomed back into the fold, but accession to the EU requires unanimity of all remaining 27 countries, each with different concerns, and some facing separatist crises of their own (like Spain, Belgium and Italy).
“Other states are already in the queue, and there are some financial tests which Scotland would probably not currently pass.
“It may end up as a collision between head and heart – in any event, Scotland rejoining the EU after independence cannot be taken for granted.”
“It is generally felt that the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) did not represent a fair deal for Scottish fisherman, yet this is exactly what Scotland would be buying back into if it sought to rejoin the EU after independence.
“Tell that to Leave voters in Peterhead and Fraserburgh.”
The future of financial services
“Edinburgh is a major centre for financial services, but it is based in no small part on access to the UK market and the educational and human resources the country has to offer.
“If that market suddenly contracted to become Scotland-only, with no independent currency or central bank and an uncertain relationship with the EU, it is hard to see all of the big financial services providers staying put instead of relocating either to London or to another centre like Dublin or Amsterdam.
“The loss of financial services would put a major dent in Scotland’s economic offering.”
Support to farmers and fishermen
“This all comes back to economics and regulation.
“An economically poorer Scotland would by definition be less able to provide financial aid for these vulnerable industries, but (re)joining the EU would put Scotland under strict state aid rules from Brussels, as well as the strictures of the CAP and the CFP.”
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