Today the Scottish Government released its 670 page White paper, Alex Salmond’s blueprint for the break-up of Britain. In the first instance the Scottish First Minister paints a bold image of what an independent Scotland might be like, firstly promising voters they would be £600 better off in an independent Scotland in which the tax system would be fairer and childcare would be improved.
His long list of policy pledges, which would depend on the SNP being elected as the first government in a separate Scotland, includes free childcare for all preschool school children, no rise in general taxation and an end to the Coalition’s unpopular “bedroom tax”.He also pledged to remove Trident nuclear weapons from Scottish soil by 2020 and said the minimum wage would rise alongside the cost of living, with basic rate tax allowances and tax credits rising in line with inflation.
The document, entitled Scotland’s Future – Your Guide to an Independent Scotland, also said Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing would “still be available in Scotland”, although the BBC would become the Scottish Broadcasting Service on January 1, 2017. The First Minister claimed the white paper answered the key questions about separation, and urged voters to read it before deciding how to vote in next year’s referendum.
The white paper also includes 200 pages on which 650 different questions are answered. It proposes up to 90 new embassies and consulates, suggests cutting corporation tax to three per cent below the UK level, and promises a “transformational expansion in childcare” to encourage women into work – and in a bid to attract women voters who are known to be more sceptical about independence.
The paper states that, by the end of the first term of an independent Scottish Parliament, every three and four-year-old could benefit from 1,140 hours of free childcare – the equivalent of 30 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. This expansion would be done in a way that is “affordable and sustainable”, the paper states, adding that such a change would also require a “substantial increase in the workforce”, creating about 35,000 jobs.
HOWEVER.. I think we need to dig into this a little deeper. These are infact empty promises. Looking through the White paper you will see the words “we will” and “Scotland will” will in reality it should be “We want” or “We will try to” because in reality Alex Salmond won’t be able to do many of the things the Document says he will.
He says that “Scotland will retain the pound sterling currency” (Because nothing says “FREEDOM!” quite like letting the Bank of England set your monetary policy) yet both George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, have made clear they are not in favour of the proposal, and the Welsh Minister has said he would veto it if it was put to vote. Furthermore Salmond pushed the point of an improved childcare system during his speech and indeed in the document released today, yet as pointed out by Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign, that power is already devolved to the Scottish Parliament. They could in fact introduce this whenever they want, they could have done so when they were first elected. Essentially the White paper is a work of fiction, full of meaningless assertions.
“We will continue to be a member of the EU..” This really means Scotland will have to reapply for EU membership as it cannot just pick up where the UK was. This could take a long time as an Independent Scotland would have to get its economy kicking before it could be considered. “We will be a non-nuclear member of NATO..” But what good would Scotland be within NATO if it has nothing but a small defence force?
On R4 Today this morning Nicola Sturgeon threatened not to accept Scotland’s share of the national debt if they aren’t allowed to keep the pound. How can you negotiate with people who are that unprincipled? You can’t trust a word they’re saying. Debt is not something you negotiate, it is something you have. If they fail to shoulder their fair share they won’t be able to raise loans because lenders won’t trust them and Scotland, having defaulted on its loans, will start its new life bankrupt.
Another point i’d like to make: I love how they have already set a date for their independence, how ridiculous https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovT96IQDaz8 & secondly i love how they gave English & Welsh journalists at today’s Press Conference ‘Foreign Press’ badges – Believe it or not you are still part of the UK.
In the end only the Scottish people can decide their future BUT if they do then there must be a complete break from the UK including the UK Parliament. No half measures or cherry picking the good bits of belonging to the Union of the United Kingdom. Personally I hope the Scots see through Alex Salmond and his Party and stay with us as they have through thick and thin for 300 years.
Alistair Darling: “What currency would we use? Who will set our mortgage rates? How much would taxes have to go up? How will we pay pensions and benefits in future? It is a fantasy to say we can leave the UK but still keep all the benefits of UK membership. The white paper is a work of fiction. It is thick with false promises and meaningless assertions. They haven’t answered any of the fundamental questions to which Scotland wants the answers. Instead of a credible and costed plan, we have a wish-list of political promises without any answers on how Alex Salmond would pay for them.”