As I usually do I surf through the various channels on SkyTV to see what the various international news channels have to offer in terms of news and analysis and once again we have the reheated Pravda doing the extension of soft Russian power by giving the appearance that these ‘poor down trodden people’ are ‘voting for freedom from the terrible English’ when in reality a fractured Europe and a weaker United Kingdom is ultimately in Russia’s own self interest to be able to act like a spoilt brat of self importance on the world stage with very few states with the ability to oppose such behaviour. The funny part is just how transparent their coverage actually is – honestly, getting random bloggers, conspiracy theorists (check out ‘Crosstalk’ where one ‘analyst’ trotted out the usual claim that the United States spreads corruption such as homosexuality world wide to undermine countries and their culture – yes, the same sort of crap is being trumpeted on the television station darling of left and far left) adding their input as if their views were something that is credible.
Then there are the journalists – good lord, some idiot pointing to some random radio station in the state of Bavaria and claim that the state had an informal poll where 88% of listeners wanted a similar referendum – question, what radio station? for all we know it could be an Alex Jones like crank operation with 1000 listeners and a dog which doesn’t tell you much other than, like any other country, there is a section of society who are complete and utter cranks. Then there was the interview of Dr Duncan Ross from University of Glasgo yet he fails to talk about the the economy, specifically, the fact that the public sector is the largest employer, the lack of diversification away from a dependency on oil (there is only so much oil left – it isn’t an unlimited resource) and that doesn’t even touch the other problem where the first minister was promising a world class welfare state whilst reducing taxation and believing that the gravy train of high oil prices would last for ever. I think deep down inside for many Scottish voters Alex Salmond promised more than what he could deliver in reality. What I thought was funny was a young adult talking about how independence would allow them to fix poverty – never quite explains why given that Scotland receives £10,000 per head of population vs. everywhere else receives £8,000 give to take a few pounds.
Jumping off that issue the biggest issues that come to mind were ones that Alex never addressed or if he did address it then it was nothing more than hand waving “we’ll sort it out later” as if “have faith in us” didn’t exactly give the Scottish much confidence in what they were actually voting for since independence is a package deal and not just getting your own country. Debt, currency, taxation, relationship with the EU and a whole host of other issues yet to be resolved and that doesn’t even touch the next big problem. The next big problem is the fact that the Scottish economy would be hugely dependent on the oil and Alex failed to have some sort of long term plan that would make the private sector (the public sector is the largest employer) the dominant provider of employment that was independently developing rather than being dependent on the success of oil sales and maintaining high oil prices on the global market.
With the ‘no’ voter being the winner there are now questions being bought up about further autonomy for Wales, Northern Ireland and England specifically that if Scotland is going to receive more autonomy then shouldn’t the Welsh and Northern Irish have that too? how about England – why should MP’s representing Scotland have any say over laws that will only effect England? Thus if there is any sort of benefits that have come out of the whole referendum then it has pushed forward with tidying up the union so that there isn’t this lop sided situation of Scotland being in a more autonomous position when compared to Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
There are some issues that do need resolving when it comes to more autonomy particularly when it comes to taxation and the inevitable effect where by decentralising the tax take within a union you end up in a situation here by each country would compete and there would be a race to the bottom. Imagine RBS turning around to Scotland and saying, “sorry, either you lower your tax or we’ll go over the boarder” and then once over the border then going to the English, “well, the Welsh are giving us a great deal – going to beat that?” and thus the whole system will be held to ransom by powerful corporates and politicians powerless other than the necessity to compete for the sake of either retaining jobs or creating new ones by luring businesses to their particular country. In the end you end up having the corporates winning and Joe and Jane Q Taxpayer being given the run around as those with the money can exert pressure on politicians to get what they want. Same can be said for labour relations laws where ‘he who has the most lax standards win’ and thus it keeps going down hill – so autonomy over such matters sound nice in theory but no one really addressed how it would work in reality.