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September 17, 2014

Scottish Referendum: A British Perspective

By Julian McLeod, England via Wolf Street

By birth and upbringing I am English, but I enjoy the fact that through my Scottish and Welsh ancestry I am also British. So I like the fact that the Scots are rivals in sports such as rugby and football, that our histories and cultures are rich, intertwined and yet different, but they are still one of us in terms of a shared and complex nationhood.

But if I were Scottish and had the opportunity to escape the politics of Westminster, I would vote for independence in a heartbeat. The fact that some Scots are being offered an escape route from oppression but are reluctant to take it is akin to a battered wife refusing to leave her rotten husband.

Westminster has been a serial abuser of Scotland – like some drunk and manipulative bully, spending all his wife’s hard-earned income and then blaming her for not having enough money at the end of the week.

It was Scotland’s North Sea oil that bailed out Margaret Thatcher’s flawed economic policy of destroying the UK’s productive industry while financialising the economy and selling off national assets at less than half their value. The hardest hit were those in the manufacturing north and, in particular, Scotland. With North Sea oil, Thatcher could afford to carry out this folly without being called to account, using oil revenues to pay for the unemployment benefits claimed by those who might otherwise have been employed in manufacturing.

But today the oil wealth is declining and there is very little else of the national booty left to sell. We do not grow enough food to feed our population. We do not produce enough physical goods with which to trade with the rest of the world in return for our lifestyles. National debt is spiralling, and will have doubled since 2010 by the time the next general election takes place in 2015. The country is broke, and even more immediately so without those dwindling North Sea oil revenues.

It is this realisation that had David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband all scuttling north of the border to ‘save the union’ after polls put the ‘yes’ campaign in the lead for the first time. If anyone in Scotland was looking for a contrarian indicator in terms of what was in their own best interests, that was about as good as it could possibly get.

That this trio imagined they might do anything but persuade even more Scots they were doing the right thing by bailing out of the United Kingdom is just another example of how out of touch these bad actors in Westminster really are. They offer nothing but more of the same. Today all of Britain is paying for Thatcher’s legacy, as public services are cut to pay for the bailout of an insolvent, failed banking sector while we continue to pretend that our ever-increasing debts are repayable.
As a Scot, I would be glad to have my oil revenues back, so I could invest them in things that are progressive (and inevitable) such as renewable energy.

As a Scot, I would be glad to see the Royal Bank of Scotland – with all its fraud and toxic assets – up sticks and move to London.

As a Scot, I would be glad for the chance to repudiate the national debt and start again with a new currency, a new banking sector and a new monetary system made honest with a tie to oil, gold, silver and other real assets.

So it is with a heavy heart that I hope for their sakes the Scots take this opportunity to escape the United Kingdom.

That said, it looks very much like Alex Salmond is not the man to deliver the sort of independence to the Scottish that they would either want or deserve. For beyond his vision of freedom from Westminster, there appears to lie very little. He apparently sees no contradiction in cosying up to Rupert Murdoch, a corporatist who embodies nothing if not the utter corruption of the very political system from which Salmond is trying to escape.

And in his insistence that the Scots can continue to use the British pound, while paying their share of the UK’s debt, he fails to recognise that true freedom requires monetary independence, a return to honest money and the repudiation of fiat currencies and their inevitable, fraudulent debt.
What next for England, Wales and Northern Ireland should the Scots do the decent thing? What next even if the Scots vote to stay in the union?

Westminster is beyond fixing – the game of politics is played by a privileged, unrepresentative elite who are so far removed from reality it is farcical. Our political system and the civil service has been corrupted by corporate interests. Our economy has been hollowed out and financialised at the expense of the productive industry that might pay our way in the world. We have more debt than we can ever repay, and the need to service that debt – should we accept the legitimacy of paying interest on money that was loaned into existence by a private banking sector – will ensure we can never again thrive economically.

In short, we need to start all over again. England, Wales and Northern Ireland are no different from Scotland in their need to escape the political clutches of Westminster and the financial clutches of the City of London. 

About the Author: Julian McLeod, England. Journalist for 20 years, wondering how on earth we got here and how to get somewhere better. His blog: My Manifesto

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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