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By Alan Bissett

We’re used to being told about the apocalypse which might visit us after Scottish independence, but what’s talked about far less - deliberately, of course - are the enormous risks of a No vote.

While the No campaign can only speculate about what might befall an independent Scotland, we can be fairly sure about the future of the UK based on its current climate.

Economically, the UK is going through a slump more protracted than the Great Depression. While we should not place much faith in the prognosis of ratings agencies, it is still telling that the UK has just lost the AAA credit rating which affects its international borrowing rates and which we were told by George Osborne the ‘debt reduction’ was supposed to protect.

Evident failure


Moody’s, the agency which downgraded the UK, has predicted that the UK’s economic growth will remain ‘sluggish’ for the foreseeable future. Despite this evident failure, Osborne has promised to ‘stay the course’, which in the real world means further savage cuts to the public sector and the living standards of ordinary people.

Labour, it’s worth noting, have also pledged to ‘ruthlessly’ pursue cuts, so there’s no point looking to them, or the busted Lib Dems, for an alternative. So the future of the UK is one of bleak austerity, of which the stealth privatisation of the NHS and the coalition’s hated ‘Bedroom Tax’ are only the beginning.

It’s worth pointing out that 91 per cent of Scots MPs voted against the Bedroom Tax - which alone shows our inability to protect ourselves against Westminster - but that Labour’s Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown and Ian Davidson, major voices in the ‘Better Together’ campaign, were not among them.

Politically, Westminster is heading to the right. UKIP coming second place in the Eastleigh by-election, ahead of the Tories, will mean a great deal of anxious re-positioning by the other parties before the next election. Cameron’s promised referendum on an EU exit is a sign of things to come.

It also means, of course, that Scotland now has less chance of staying in the EU if it votes against independence than if it votes for it, the very opposite of what Better Together has been saying all along!

So while the Tories chase UKIP voters, Labour chase Tory voters. Ed Miliband’s recent pledge to help the ‘squeezed middle’ is carefully packaged Tory language, designed to appeal to Daily Mail readers.

References to low-earners, the working class or the unemployed are absent from Labour rhetoric, meaning that it’s inconceivable that we’ll see a party in Westminster which can deliver for the majority of working people.

Finally, we should ask ourselves why neither Westminster nor the Better Together campaign have revealed an alternative to independence, despite the neutral Electoral Commission insisting that they do so.

There have been veiled references to ‘enhanced devolution’ with absolutely no detail about what this will involve. This means Westminster has no intention whatsoever of granting Scotland anything in the result of a No vote, for the simple reason that it won’t have to.

Cameron fought to exclude Devo Max from the ballot paper for a reason. At the moment, the threat of independence is the only bargaining chip that Scotland has with Westminster. If we vote No, the sole message that London will hear is: do whatever you like to us, because we don’t care enough about ourselves to stop you. This could actually mean a reversal in devolution.

The West Lothian Question, whereby Scots MPs can vote on English-only affairs, and the Barnett Formula, which determines the extent of Scotland’s ‘grant’ from the UK, have long been bugbears for right-wingers in Westminster.

Pressure

Feeling pressure from UKIP, it’s very possible that the Tories (or even Labour) may seek to ‘correct’ these imbalances. At the very least, Scotland will see a lowering of its block grant - under the guise of ‘deficit reduction’ - meaning there will only be so much Holyrood can do to protect Scotland’s NHS and public services.

Whatever might happen, at least with independence Scotland can control its response to a crisis. With a No vote we cede that control to a government in another country which does not have Scotland’s best interests in mind.

That is not democracy and it does not make sense.

Courtesy of the Scottish Socialist Voice

Comments  

 
# pamspets 2013-03-12 09:00
pamspets

well spoken but: how do we REALLY get this message across to the Daily Mail readers? On saying that, I am trying but its NO easy!!
 
 
# Kinloch 2013-03-12 09:15
"That is not democracy and it does not make sense"

Keep spreading the news folks, the more people that read this message and others like it the nearer we get to Yes in 2014!
 
 
# farrochie 2013-03-12 09:58
We don't know what will happen in the next General Election. However, we at least see the possibility that Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Theresa May and Michael Gove will be among the leadership. UKIP will be a willing coalition to this cabal.

If Cameron hangs on to power, he is already guaranteed Clegg's support in a new coalition, regardless of the EU in/out vote.

Alternatively, we could see Ed/David Milliband/Ed Balls leading a Labour Party that has swung to the right to capture middle England votes. Balls has already said that welfare cuts would not be reversed.

Either alternative puts Scotland on the back burner for a decade and more.

The Scottish Parliament can make better decisions for the people of Scotland. We have provided politicians, administrators, doctors, engineers, inventors and scientists to the world. We need to have confidence that we can manage our own affairs.
 
 
# bringiton 2013-03-12 11:01
The only thing which is certain in our referendum is that a No vote means that things are going to get worse,a lot worse,for each and every one of us.What we are seeing is not just the usual economic woopsie from Westminster but a catastrophic failure which will take generations to rectify,if ever.This will be our legacy to future generations of Scots.They will rightly ask the question,how could our energy rich country end up in such a desperate state of poverty?.Where did all the money go ?
 
 
# calummac14 2013-03-12 22:20
Good article. Economist also carries a good piece on the worsening state of UK:
www.economist.com/.../sterling
 
 
# alanski 2013-03-13 02:38
Alan Bissett is correct, voting no is like pleading to your jailers for an extra dose of punishment and demoralization.
 
 
# MAcandroid 2013-03-13 13:28
Or like turkeys voting for Christmas !
 
 
# call me dave 2013-03-13 08:06
Latest scare this morning is that Scots, if they vote no, will not get their share of the RBS payout estimated to be worth at least £400 per person.

Well that's a threat and errr! I thought that they were telling us it was a Scottish bank all this while.

It also seems a disgrace, according to the no camp, that Scottish soldiers based outside Scotland wont get the same deal as the 16/17 year olds in the referendum. Quite how that ties in I don't know.
@:[
 
 
# art1001 2013-03-13 15:04
i think the implications of voting NO are not yet understood at all by the electorate. This is the key to the referendum. Somebody needs to play bad cop to get this message out.
 
 
# theycantbeserious 2013-03-13 20:31
A NO vote means simply that:-

NO NHS
NO FREE EDUCATION
NO FREE HEALTH CARE
NO FREE TRAVEL FOR THE ELDERLY
NO REMOVAL OF TRIDENT FROM THE CLYDE
NO SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT
NO DEVOLUTION
NO SAY
NO POWER
NO OIL
NO TAX RAISING POWERS
NO SOCIAL JUSTICE
NO LIVING WAGE
NO PROTECTION OF PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS
NO PROSPERITY
NO RESPECT
NO CONTROL
NO SCOTLAND (IN THE MIND OF SOME WE
NO LONGER EXIST AS A
NATION SINCE 1707)
ETC.

YES IS THE ONLY OPTION IN 2014
 
 
# CharlieObrien 2013-03-13 22:48
One wee thing everybody could do is go to Douneray or as close as you can pick up a pebble or two carefully,maybe some sand,wrap it in tinfoil and an asbestos oven glove.People close to Helensburgh could do like-wise as close to those nuke subs,as legally allowed,some sand pebbles as above maybe some of the mussels that grow nearby,as many folk as possible and post they sand and pebbles to the Westminster government your local MP should be the one to receive the gifts,and if all is safe nobody should worry,but if its not safe then its their turn to worry.Might make an amusing story,as they have taken almost everything else they can have some contamination,o h almost forgot is it Dalgetty bay that also has a problem?
 
 
# xyz 2013-03-13 23:46
1 - Spreading potentially radioactive material around the country is of course a very bad idea.

2 - Asbestos as far as I know does nothing to block radiation. Lead is the stuff for that.

3 - You can buy a Geiger counter at amazon!: amazon.co.uk/.../...

4 - I don't think you are being serious :-)
 
 
# Caledonian Lass 2013-03-14 09:36
art1001 and theycantbeserio us - how very true.

Vote YES for Prosperity, Hope and Dynamism.
Vote no for Poverty, Despair and Stagnation.
 
 
# art1001 2013-03-15 08:49
You left out fear and terror. What NO will mean in detail with references. The cartoon is chillingly prophetic.

wingsoverscotland.com/.../

Plan B for me is to emigrate.
 

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