Fifty years ago, SNP strategists hoped to see left/right class politics in Scotland replaced by identity politics in which the issue of Scotland’s independence would become paramount. Two years after the Scottish Referendum, the dust has settled and in its aftermath, it is clear, there has been a radical transformation in political opinion.
Britexit for the UK? In, out and shake it all about for Scotland? Shortly after the uncertainties of thee independence referendum, the UK and Scottish electorates have to face up to another ‘generational’ choice on staying in or leaving the European Union. It is again not a simple decision. On one hand, there is Brussels greedy for a European federation, anathema to many and on the other hand, the problems of leaving the single market without a parachute!
THE POSITION NOW
With the security margin between generating capacity and peak demand down to a dangerous 2% in England & Wales forcing the National Grid by expensive emergency arrangements to an increased reserve margin of 5.1%, it is time to examine how Scotland will be placed. Given the existence of the National Grid designed to give security of supply, will our excess generation capacity be used to feed that part of the UK?
In response to your publicised request for comment, the following is restricted to three salient points.
1. UK Coverage
Rarely in the history of any police force, including London’s Metropolitan Police at its worst, has any force performed so badly as has Police Scotland. Scandal after scandal from excessive illegal stop and search to armed forces on the street, from excessive centralisation to plain disorganisation has exposed Police Scotland to justified parliamentary and press scrutiny. It has reached the stage of lack of credibility where when performing well it receives little credit. Morale in the force will have slumped under the onslaught of ceaseless criticism and this must be worrying if it impacts on efficiency.
On 18 September 2014, the Scottish people in an historic referendum decided by a margin of 55% to 45% not to become an independent country. Despite all the argumentation, the result was a decisive No. That should have been the end of the matter for a generation.
In his third critique of the Referendum Campaign, Gordon Wilson, Director of Options for Scotland and former SNP Leader and campaign strategist concentrates on what the Yes campaign should do to win the referendum on independence. There is no point in analysing the respective campaigns at this stage. That will come after September 19, when in any event attention will be focused on the aftermath, whatever the outcome.
Scotland’s education system is “subsidising” the English economy by £30 billion a year through Scots moving south, according to a pro-independence group.
Options for Scotland, led by former SNP leader Gordon Wilson, has called for control over tax and immigration to encourage families to stay and have children and foreigners to settle in Scotland.
An independent Scotland will need a coherent ‘population policy’ to provide financial incentives to discourage young Scots from emigrating and taking their children abroad.
Tax breaks, family support grants and much more help with pre and post school child care are essential to keep families from quitting the country.
“The Scottish Government needs to prepare a detailed plan for the negotiations with the UK Government over the timescale of transfer of civil service and agency functions. It should also start now with plans for the establishment of new ministries such as External Affairs, Economic Management, Defence and Energy including service agencies such as a Scottish Central Bank. The priorities should be to fill any gaps left by departing UK agencies in determining locations, spreading the employment benefits and decentralising functions to local government.“