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If Ed Miliband is the Union’s saviour then the Union is doomed

28 April 2014

With apologies to John Rentoul, Can Ed Miliband save the Union? is a question to which the answer is God help us all.

I admit to a blind spot vis a vis the Labour leader: Looks like Gussie Fink-Nottle, thinks like a Marxist Madeline Bassett. Clever enough in a droopy kind of way but, ultimately, a gawd-help-us kind of fellow.

I wasn’t very impressed last time Mr Miliband came to Scotland and so I wasn’t inclined to be impressed by his most recent trip to Glasgow. Which is dandy because I wasn’t.

I dare say Miliband’s belief that Scottish independence would be a bad idea – for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom – is sincere. That this belief is in his own narrow, strategic, sectarian interest is beside the point. And, sure, we all know that Labour-minded voters in western and central Scotland are a vital constituency in the referendum campaign.

But I rather approve of Miliband’s simpering thunderous warning that an independent Scotland might be the kind of rogue state in which taxes were cut. I’d like to believe in it a little more than I do. Time – and hard learning – might bring us to that point but not before an awful lot of expensive mistakes had been made.

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Nevertheless, Miliband’s view of devolution, far less of independence, is revealing. The Labour party has proposed that the Scottish parliament should henceforth enjoy greater tax-raising powers. Not, please note, tax-varying powers but tax-raising opportunities. If Mr Miliband disagrees with the idea Scotland should be able to increase income taxes but not, by virtue of statute, be permitted the opportunity to reduce them he has not said so.

Which is telling, not just because of what it says about Miliband’s idea of devolution but also because of what it reveals about his likely approach should he ever become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In other words, what Miliband says about Scotland is not simply a matter of Scotland but of the rest of the UK too.

And, unfortunately, Miliband’s position is quite spectacularly incoherent. Independence is bad because it might foster “a race to the bottom” if the Scots were to cut, for example, corporation tax. Or, one supposes, any other tax. In the same way, presumably, that different levels of council tax are a more modest race to the bottom too. Tax cuts are bad, bad, bad because they inject competition between rival jurisdictions. And competition is wicked. (But in a bad way.)

Logically – if such a luxury be indulged – this might be the case regardless of the size of the jurisdiction whether it be local, national or even supra-national. It is all rather French. If taxes should be uniform within nation states, why shouldn’t they be uniform across the countries of the European Union too? Aren’t George Osborne’s corporation tax cuts also a race to the bottom unfairly penalising countries sensible enough to levy such taxes at higher rates? And if not, why not?

Still, if you could just about maintain this line on the basis that the EU is not actually a super-state it is rendered utterly ridiculous and, as I say, spectacularly incoherent by Miliband’s acceptance that a newly-empowered Scottish parliament be able to increase taxes while remaining a part of the United Kingdom.

That is, he approves of tax competition within the United Kingdom after all. A tax increase in Scotland is, in some respects, a tax break for England (or Wales or Northern Ireland). A tax advantage, certainly.

Labour, of course, are just making it up as they go along. But, again, the logic of Scottish Labour’s position – and since he does not dissent from it, presumably of Miliband’s view too – is that Westminster should not be able to reduce taxes – any tax – to a level lower than that applied in any other part of the United Kingdom. Because doing so would – must, in fact – begin a dismal race to the bottom just as surely as if that tax were cut in Edinburgh or, in time, even Cardiff or Belfast.

To sum-up then: Miliband’s Labour believes in uniformity across all the British jurisdictions. A one-size-fits-all approach to taxation. That is fine as far as it takes them but it also, logically, demands that Westminster restrain itself just as surely as it requires the devolved administrations to be hand-cuffed. Which in turn makes a fresh nonsense of Labour’s claim to believe in devolution and notional concern to make it work.

In any case, one other thing is pretty clear: Miliband believes tax increases are virtuous and tax cuts iniquitous. A useful reminder of where Labour stands as the next UK general election looms. You will pay more under Labour, wherever you live.

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Show comments
  • Anton Le Grandier

    “Labour, of course, are just making it up as they go along” see J.Lamont.Assuming of course Lamont is involved in any policy decisions at all.

  • john

    I’m delighted if the “Union” is doomed. It’s long past its sell by date and serves only to underpin the Tory/monarchy oligarchy. Let the people go! Then the Aussies and Kiwis can quit the Commonwealth and cut the umbilical to the monarchy. The people’s revolution may (just) be beginning.

  • smilingvulture

    Horrible Histories


  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    2010 election Scotland.

    Tories: 1 seat
    Labour 41 seats

    Lib-dems 11 seats

    • robertsonjames

      2010 election UK-wide.

      UKIP: 0 seats

      By-elections 2010-14 UK-wide:

      UKIP: 0 seats

      • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

        And your point is?

  • CraigStrachan

    Aye, but his father was stationed at Inverkeithing during the war, remember.

  • Kitty MLB

    Maybe Milipede should remind them that if Scotland were to become Independent
    they will be doomed to live in a 70s socialism in perpetuity.
    Whoops ! that would be Milipede’s utopia. And unfortunately the Utopia for a lot of Scots. Promised everything under the sun, because they do not give a toss about
    what happens after the election and use insults as a shroud to hide behind whilst they deceive. Everything is about winning and afterward game over. I am making Labour
    and the SNP sound very similar- will they see his visit as a omen.
    Mind you this is Ed Miliband, the most incoherent, befuddling, foolish and pointless
    leader possible. Also not only do we English not get a say but proud Scots who just
    live over the border have no say over their country. Salmond , is taking no chances.

  • Wessex Man

    I suspect that the Scots are quietly amused at this, poor old Ed!

  • FF42

    I would say Mr Miliband’s position is extremely coherent, even if you disagree with it. Unlike the SNP’s independence so-called whitepaper that simultaneously promises tax cuts and massive boosts to welfare spending.

    Mr Miliband won’t cut through the nonsense and win the argument for the Union, however.

    • anyfool

      Tax cuts have always raised more revenue in the long/medium term, his position is a standard and will work as long as he does not spend more than the revenue raised.

  • RavenRandom

    Miliband’s a fool, he believes in some sort of weird 20th century prices and incomes socialism. It’s shocking that he is the best the Labour party can do.

    • Robert_Eve

      Why is it shocking?

      After all we are talking about the Labour Party.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Uh no. This is the Labour Party whose entire philosophy is a mass of contradictions, economic fantasy and paranoia.

  • MichtyMe

    So, Scotland cannot be allowed to reduce a tax to its advantage but will be permitted to increase a tax, presumably to, its disadvantage, Thanks chum.
    Internationally tax rates vary but is there any evidence of a “race to the bottom” If a Scottish government were to reduce Corporation Tax by 5% would a London administration be compelled to do the same, I doubt it.

    • Richard T

      An independent Scotland can do with its tax policy whatever it desires and the markets will allow.

      It can’t really do so while insisting that the UK backstop its finances through a currency union though, that would be manifestly absurd.

      And planning on cutting corporate taxes while crying to the heavens the need to be freed of Westminster shackles to march towards the progressive moral high ground looks a bit queer too.

  • LeoLeo

    “Miliband’s position is quite spectacularly incoherent”

    I don’t disagree, but you can say exactly the same about Alex Salmond’s position on Scottish independence.

    • The_Missing_Think

      Apart from the 600 page white paper, you make an excellent point.

      Are these toys on the floor yours?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        I think Leo has a point. A few hundred pages of waffle are no substitute for coherent realistic policies in respect of the EU, Currency etc. The unwillingness to consider an alternative to the ludicrous suggestion of a currency union with the UK is a case in point. Miliband is terrified at the thought of losing all those Scottish MPs and Labour policy will always be an incoherent, contradictory mess but Salmond is hardly a model of clarity when it comes to policy.

        • The_Missing_Think

          ‘Vote Yes to end the union.’

          Seems fairly coherent and clear, I understand it.

          ‘Currency Union… share it and the debt, or keep it and the debt‘.

          Again, seems very clear and fair to me.

          EU… it’s not down to Salmond, once the Scottish people are in control, they’ll make that decision in the ballot box, instead of having to beg a deaf Westminster for another decade or four.

          • telemachus

            We need to enlist Spain in the EU debate (Catalonia)

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Simplistic rubbish in respect of a CU. Were Scotland to repudiate its share of the national debt the international debt markets would be closed to you at anything but a ruinous price. The reason Salmond wants a CU in the first place is to avoid a large premium on Scottish debt absent Underwriting from the UK Treasury. The problem is that the UK has no interest in being required to underwrite the newly issued public debt of a foreign country without a full fiscal, monetary and political union. Or do you actually believe all that rubbish about avoiding foreign exchange translation risk between the UK and Scotland?

            • The_Missing_Think

              I replied to you via MichtyMe by accident, but the answers still the same, no risk, see the reply. And Tele… 31%… thanks for all your efforts.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Well you just keep deluding yourself but there will be no currency union with the UK.

                • The_Missing_Think

                  “”Of course there would be a currency union,” the minister told the Guardian…”

                  “The minister, who would play a central role in the negotiations over the breakup of the UK if there were a yes vote, added: “There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote, with many moving pieces. The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal.””


                  I guess the… er… cough… minister directly involved, is ‘deluded’ as well.

                  I suppose you think ministers repeatedly waving confidental documents in front of telephoto lenses, is accidental as well?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  All of which was robustly refuted immediately after whatever idiot reportedly said it. Why would the UK taxpayer want to guarantee the newly issued public debt of a foreign country without being able to restrict the amount borrowed or for what term? If that was a good idea why didnt we join the Euro, the largest currency union going in these parts? Why doesnt Salmond want to join the euro having declared the pound a millstone around Scotland’s neck? And rational answers came ther none. You will not be getting a currency union with the UK.

                • The_Missing_Think

                  “You will not be getting a currency union with the UK.”

                  Good to see you’ve tacitly accepted Scotland is leaving. In time, you’ll also eventually accept that a currency union is the best option for all. (the debt).

                  Blocking a currency union was just a component of Project frighten the horses… so calm down dear :-)

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Absolutely delighted you will be leaving although I am under no illusions and I am sure you will keep blaming the wicked English for whatever misfortunes come your way. A currency union would be an absolute catastrophe for the UK unless we retained complete and impregnable control of fiscal, monetary and spending policies in Scotland and that would hardly be independence would it. None of you nationalists ever answer the question : why would a currency union benefit the people of the UK? You just make fatuous assertions that it would be an expect us to accept that 8.7% of the population is going to dictate terms to the other 91.3%. You will not because it is not in our interests to guarantee the debt of a foreign country without limit as to how much that country borrows or for how long. So stop obfuscating for one moment and answer the question: why is it in the interest of the UK taxpayer to underwrite the debt of a foreign country?

                • The_Missing_Think

                  “Absolutely delighted you will be leaving although I am under no illusions

                  Yes you are… unfortunately, I don’t have a drop of Scottish blood in me, and worse, I currently live in Fruitcakeshire, Nutland.

                  “why would a currency union benefit the people of the UK?”

                  For the last time, the shared accumalated responsibilty of The Debt.

                  Do you do runners from taxies, leaving the less nimble to pay?

                  Why not?

                  Join the dots, and Check moral mate.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Ok I accept that you are not particularly bright but for the benefit of anybody sensible here goes. The UK already has responsibility for all existing public debt even if Scotland becomes independent and takes its per capita share. The UK remains responsible for that debt – got it. It made that commitment to calm market fears that Scotland would not be able to meet its obligations post independence. The existence of a currency union is therefore irrelevant to the existing national debt – the UK is stuck with all of it come what may. A currency union is designed, in Salmond’s mind, to keep that arrangement in place for any NEW debt issued by Scotland. Thus he wants the English taxpayer to keep on underwriting any new debt Scotland issues while those same taxpayers will gave no say in how much money is borrowed by Scotland and for how long. Unsurprisingly, the Chancellor of the exchequer and his Labour etc equivalents said no thank you to that idea. We have responsibility for all existing debt up to the date of independence including the 8.7% that would normally fall to Scotland on a per capita distribution. There is absolutely no benefit to the UK taxpayer for entering into a currency union with Scotland and any party advocating such nonsense would be thrown out on its ear. Now I recommend that you stop trying to understand matters which are clearly to complicated for you and just make you look foolish.

                • The_Missing_Think

                  “The existence of a currency union is therefore irrelevant to the existing national debt – the UK is stuck with all of it come what may.”

                  Factually, completely 100% wrong.

                  Salmond has offered to pay Scotland’s share, on the condition of a currency union, therefore, the rUK Govt isn’t stuck with it, it could do another one of its u-turns.

                  “There is absolutely no benefit to the UK taxpayer”

                  Apart from the wee tiny detail, for the millionth time, of Scotland paying its share of The Debt.

                  As you’ve repeatedly proven this concept is well beyond your paygrade, I’m going to have to leave you to it.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Pay grade? I could buy and sell you without inconvenience. Are you suggesting that the UK government did not give a formal undertaking to the markets to stand behind all UK public debt? Salmond has also threatened to repudiate Scotland’s share of the national debt or did that not happen either. You simply cannot answer these questions: why does Salmond want a currency union and why is guaranteeing the newly issued public debt of a foreign country a good idea for the UK taxpayer? All you can manage are insults.

                • Bob Waugh

                  Who is this “UK taxpayer” to whom you refer? In the event of the dissolving of the 1707 Union, the UK will cease to exist in its present form.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  The taxpayers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We will continue to call ourselves the UK whether it is technically accurate or not. The vote by the Scottish electorate determines whether or not independence negotiations commence. What the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland call ourselves is emphatically none of your business.

                • Bob Waugh

                  What people call themselves usually shows how they are likely to act, so it is of concern to the people of a newly-independent Scotland, and as a resident of England it is of concern to me.
                  The purblind assumption that “things will go on as usual” is not only intellectually incoherent, it suggests a worrying mentality of denial erected into a political force (UKIP) that has the capacity to make a post-UK EWNI (or new UK) a very unpleasant place for its inhabitants.
                  That would include most English people, of whom you, with your evident anti-Scottish venom, are in no way typical.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Well thank you for the cod-psychology and character assassination. You sound woefully insecure. I have absolutely no animosity to the people of Scotland whatsoever and love my Scottish relatives without condition. What I am fed up with however is the attitude of cybernats on these threads that they will get to dictate to the 91.7% of the population who do not live in Scotland on such matters as currency union(ludicrous), nomenclature, transition costs (all for the Scottish taxpayer) etc etc. They get to vote on the commencement of independence negotiations and that is it. Incidentally, I am under no illusions that things will”carry on as usual” and foresee growing animosity between Scotland and England in particular. Nationalist causes throughout history rest on the demonisation of a particular country or denomination, in this case the English. Salmond will use anti-English sentiment to explain away any misfortune that befalls an independent Scotland. How ironic that you blather on about “denial” (more cod psychology) and yet it is the cybernats who are in denial with their ludicrous dreams of currency unions, untrammelled prosperity etc etc.

                • Bob Waugh

                  I am content to allow your text to stand as evidence of the sort of mentality to which I refer. No one in Scotland is “seeking to dictate” to anyone. What has happened is that an elected government has made a set of proposals to another elected government for managing a likely political contingency and has been met with astonishing mendacity, intellectual confusion and arrogance.
                  Astonishing that is until you note that the response has come from the political and social elite of a pre-democratic state who see the basis of their power eroding and are losing the capacity to dissemble their anger that anyone should have the temerity to see the world differently from themselves.
                  What English people have to decide is whether they want to continue to be led by this crowd, or to live in a rationally-constructed democratic society. No-one in Scotland would find such neighbour threatening,any more than the ordinary folk of England should find an independent Scotland threatening.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  I simply do not have the time, energy or patience to argue the toss with sanctimonious boors such as yourself. We do not feel threatened or any of the other emotions cooked up by your vivid imagination. We are indifferent as long as we are not financially inconvenienced. Do what you like but do not expect us to pick up the tab. You incur the costs, you pay for them and all will be well on this side of the border.

                • Bob Waugh

                  …nor do you have the information. It has now been clearly proven that Scottish taxpayers have for decades been paying over the odds into this UK state, helping fund all its delusions of “great power status”. Yet you prattle on in a self-pitying way about “picking up the tab”.
                  I only bother to engage in such exchanges to expose the true nature of such arrogan self-delusions. Job done.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  The transition costs will be enormous or are you going to deny that as well? Probably, you distort everything else. The cost of splitting defence, HMRC, ATC, pension funding etc etc etc will be vast. The voters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland get no say in these matters unless they live in Scotland. And these same people should not have to pick up the costs of a separation over which they will have had precisely no say. Yet arrogant people like you feel that we should be pleased to pay for the privilege because Scotland with its £235 billion of nominal GDP has been subsidising the rest of the UK with its £2.4 Trillion nominal GDP. I participate in these debates to expose arrogant, deluded wasters like yourself. Job done.

                • Bob Waugh

                  In the real world,transition happens all the time. Business organisations merge or subdivide according to circumstances without bankrupting themselves. As with all the imagined problems of winding-up the UK in its present form, all it takes is rational thought. There is no need for a panic unless it suits the ruling elite in London to create one for its own ends.
                  I note that self-government – which many may imagine to be a democratic right – is actually a “privilege” bestowed by a soi-disant benevolent elite with whom you are gratified to identify yourself.
                  The mask continues to slip.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  OK lets put this in language that even you can understand. I have no objection, resentment or comparably negative emotion to Scotland becoming independent. I simply do not want myself and my fellow taxpayers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to pay any of the transition costs associated with creating that independence. I can accept the loss of revenue accruing to an economy of nominal £250 Billion or so of GDP but I will still live in a community of nations whose economy will have a nominal GDP of around £2.2 Trillion. We should survive. All of that said can you please expalin to me why myself and my aforementioned fellow taxpayers should have to pick up costs over which we will have had no choice in creating having had no voice in whether or not the UK as it currently stands remains in place? The Scottish electorate will have had a say via the ballot box and that say will create those costs; why is it unfair for the instigators of those costs to pay them? This is not a corporate demerger or analogous proceeding it is the potential break up of the UK so please just address the issue of costs and where they fall. Become independent and good luck but please, pay for freely made choices yourselves.

                • Bob Waugh

                  I have no difficulty in comprehending the language you deploy, nor the arguments you utter.
                  You make a great deal of the supposed transition casts, saying that they must be “enormous” but offering no figures. In reality there is already a core of developed administration, since 1999 subject to democratic scrutiny, and many UK-wide departments are organised with distinct Scottish elements. Where there is a more UK-based operation there will be difficulty but none that need be difficult or onerous. All it needs in calm and rational attitudes, not the petulance you manifest.
                  You are wrong to deny the analogy I draw. Great Britain was formed (and I’m talking the “official” version here) from a merger of two entities. Like all such mergers a breakup is always possible, and although it can be difficult, a sensibly handed one can provide for a future of new relationships based on mutual respect., This is true of corporate entities as of personal relationships. Where however one party assumes an air of hurt and grievance, denies any part in the breakdown of the old relationship, and insists on the other party taking all the pain, then that is no basis for a good future.
                  Unlike you, I think that ordinary English and Scots folk will continue to hold each other as friendly neighbours. we will take our holidays in each other’s countries, form personal relationships work in each other’s country, and engage in joint business ventures.

                  Certainly most Scots have no difficulty in distinguishing ordinary English people from their rulers. I suspect that most English have no difficulty in that either.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Blah, blah, blah, blah etc etc. Who will pick up the transition costs instigated by a Yes vote from the Scottish electorate? No emotions, no holidays etc etc . Who will pick up those costs? Try and summon up some integrity and answer that question rather than offering endless paragraphs of vapid obfuscation. If you think it should be the taxpayers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland say so and make a valid justification as to why it will represent good value for us even though we had no say in the matter. I think these costs be they £1billion or £100 billion should be for the people who will incur them having exercised their democratic rights to vote to leave the UK. Those who do not get to vote should not have to pay for the consequences.

                • Bob Waugh

                  OK that’s clear. You don’t actual know how much these putative costs are, your are just blustering. In that bluster is the suggestion that the entire costs will be incurred from the taxpayers of EWNI – where did any pro-independence poster ever suggest this? Nowhere. Like the unionist campaign in Scotland, you make wild assertion without any basis in fact.
                  One more go in terms you cannot avoid comprehending. What we are seeing is the breakdown of a relationship. When that happens in a marriage – where one party usually initiates events – there is procedure called divorce in which both parties are usually expected to bear the costs unless one has clearly been utterly wronged. In the vast majority of cases there is an assumption of joint responsibility (no-blame”). Such a process can lead both parties to a better relationship as friends in later years. Essentially that’s what is happening here.
                  I suspect you’ll decry the marriage/divorce analogy as “cod”, reflecting your self-image as a rational man who deals in hard facts (money). Those who are still reading this exchange (respect, guys) will have no difficulty in seeing the emotional basis of your contributions and will see your need to come to terms with that.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  I am “blustering” to suggest that there will be costs associated with Scottish independence. Priceless absolutely priceless. I have set out why I believe those costs, which amazingly we cannot determine at this stage save that they will be substantial, should be borne by the people who have incurred them. The marriage analysis is fatuous because in a divorce, both parties get a ‘vote’ or have a ‘say ‘ in the outcome. That equality is not available here where only the Scottish electorate get to choose whether or not a ‘divorce’ takes place. You simply cannot summon up the honesty and integrity to answer a straightforward question but hide behind vacuous, inappropriate analogies and bluster.

                • Bob Waugh

                  So one party in a divorce can veto it? Which country do you live in again? I repeat – a divorce is usually the result of an initiative taken by one party; what then happens depends on how both parties handle it. It is not assumed that the initiator of the process is at fault. When one party reuses to talk about how things might be managed, then things get difficult. The Scottish government has suggested some things to discuss; The British government is sulking.

                  I do like the reasoning bypass behind the statement that “we cannot determine (the costs) at this stage save to say they will be substantial”..

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Are you suggesting that there will be no costs? If you accept that there will be costs are they more likely to be significant than insignificant? Who should bear those costs; the party that incurred them by choosing independence or the party that was minding its own business and had no say in the matter? This is not analogous to a divorce because different laws apply and the circumstances are, all but superficially, entirely different. Summon up some integrity and honesty and answer those questions.

                • Bob Waugh

                  The answer is simple. The 1707 Union is breaking down. Both parties to it will have to construct a new relationship and well as create new institutions. Therefore of course there will be one-off costs; no-one denies that – and “no-one” in this context includes me. You accuse to make a false assertion – a fairly typical unionist ploy.
                  I do argue – read it again – that these costs need not be too high given goodwill on both sides. (The term “significant” has no numerised value and is emotive.)So let us hope that folk like you – with a vested interest in disaster – are kept right way from the negotiations. For the sake of both parties, Scotland and EWNI.
                  Your view that one party in this breakdown had nothing to do with it and was just “minding its own business”, suggests an amazing ignorance of the history of these islands between 1707 and now.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  So no answer to some simple questions. Just character assassination, obfuscation and waffle. Regardless of how much these costs are; who will pay them? I am not a unionist and so I have no interest in their “ploys” or otherwise. I am just a EWNI taxpayer who does not want to pay for the independence of what will hopefully, soon be a foreign country.

                • Bob Waugh

                  So we do have something in common. I too am a EWNI taxpayer. I have no issue with my taxes funding democracy and the idea that Scottish independence will not require reform of EWNI’s geriatric institutions is myopic.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Incidentally, my point is that none of the costs should be borne by EWNI taxpayers.

              • Inverted Meniscus


          • Inverted Meniscus

            Incidentally, the UK Treasury has already agreed to remain responsible for all existing public debt in order to calm market fears that an independent Scotland (nominal GDP around £225 billion) being unable to service its share of the debt post independence. The threat to walk away is thus meaningless from a UK perspective because we are stuck with it come what may. As mentioned however, repudiation would leave Scotland unable to borrow. Best not to aim a gun at your own foot when making vacuous threats.

            • MichtyMe

              And just why would Scotland be unable to borrow, that depends on the strength of the economy and revenues it can generate.
              Ireland has been borrowing recently, 5 year bonds at a rate lower than the UK and even Iceland can borrow on the markets.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Ireland has not repudiated any of its debt hence it is able to access international debt markets. Salmond has publicly threatened to repudiate Scotland’s share of the UK national debt ( ridiculous because the UK Treasury has confirmed it will stand by all existing UK debt anyway) and thus Scotland would find it difficult and expensive to borrow. With no prospect of a CU with the UK he is in a bit of a quandary hence there is no ‘plan B’ and all his querulous talk of bluster and bullying. Finally, the UK has a nominal GDP of £2.4 Trillion and has never defaulted in its history. Scotland has a nominal GDP of £225 Billion and while no fault of its own, no credit history as an independent issuer of public debt. That is why Salmond wants a currency union. No currency union means no UK treasury support and no BOE as lender of last resort to banks which are 15 times the size of the Scottish economy. All that means very expensive public debt for Scotland and a huge rise in personal borrowing mortgage costs. Good luck with that.

                • MichtyMe

                  You cannot default on a debt you do not have. Scotland has no contractual obligations to repudiate and it is contractual obligations which concern the markets.
                  Scotland’s per capita taxation, excluding the oil revenues, is 99% of the UK, it is the capacity to service debt that the markets make their judgement on.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  The market will regard that dishonest rubbish for what it is, a cowardly piece of sophistry. Do you honestly believe that an equitable split of assets and liabilities would not involve Scotland assuming an element of the existing National Debt? You clearly have no knowledge of markets and how they work. None of which makes the problem go away viz you will not get a CU and debt will be very expensive even if you summon up the integrity to assume your share of the existing debt.

              • The_Missing_Think

                “And just why would Scotland be unable able to borrow, that depends on the strength of the economy and revenues it can generate”

                Yep… agreed

                “The paper concluded that Scotland had “more than enough resources” if it had the powers of independence.”


                Because of:

                Two tourist mountain ranges
                Huge surplus hosepipe water.
                Very windy, needs a new design…
                … invented TV and phone ^^design^^
                Whiskey Industry
                Fishing Industry
                Undrilled Oil & Gas resereves
                Nuke base for rent.

                Further, it’s not Salmond blocking a currency union, so Salmond isn’t to blame, so won’t be blamed. Also, with a clean slate and all those resources, the need to borow is minimal, it’s also not compulsary, or healthy. As the late 1990’s demonstrated, it can be done.

                What do you say to a fresh water deal / pipe for the SE?

                • LeoLeo

                  “Very windy”

                  sounds about right.

    • asalord

      Miliband will implement the tories’ welfare cuts if Labour gains power in 2015.
      Might as well vote Yes in September.

      • Kitty MLB

        You, our crusty old haggis features, remind us of why we should not
        trust any socialist country destroying government. Were you asleep
        when labour went on their country wrecking rampage. This Tory ranting and wishing for socialist oblivion is very wearisome, but at least , you will be happy with Scotland going back to 70s socialist heaven – as you would see it.

        • telemachus

          I think you have nailed the one benefit of divorce
          However the greater good is to keep the 41 Labour Westminster MP’s and so we must plump for Union

          • Inverted Meniscus

            It is the best reason for voting Yes. Reducing the influence of Fascist Labour in UK politics.

          • Kitty MLB

            May I ask you a question. If they voted
            for independence. Would the likes of
            Douglas Alexander have to go.
            And I didn’t realise we would be free
            of that many of them…

            • Inverted Meniscus

              And Brown, Darling etc etc. They will all be able to bring their ruinous focus on Scotland alone. Vote Yes.

              • terregles2

                We will. it is called killing two birds with one stone. Scotland benfits and England will have fewer Labour MPs. It’s a win win for both countries. I will do my bit for you by voting YES.

              • telemachus

                That is why we need the Union

            • telemachus

              Will not happen

              • Kitty MLB

                You mean the Queens shadow ministers will
                Stay, and I assume Danny ALexander. Scotland
                cannot actually interefere with governments
                and their shadows I am sure.

            • Bob Waugh

              Interesting question. Why might they “have to go”? They are Scots who have chosen to follow a political career in London. Were branches of the Labour Party in England to put them up as a candidate, and were they to be so elected, why should they not take their seats?
              But more to the point – who would say they “have to go”? It is not as if the SNP advocates compulsory repatriation of English-born folk currently resident in Scotland, so why should that happen to Scots in England?
              I ask as a Scot living in England.

              • LeoLeo

                Some foreign nationals are allowed to stand as MP’s and it is probable that Scottish citizens would fall into that bucket. However the independence debate has already caused a lot of ill will in England and in the event of a yes vote we would be looking at years of painful negotiations before independence. By the time any of this became relevant it would be insane for the Labour Party to put up anyone with a Scottish accent. They would be yesterday’s men and women. Electoral Kryptonite.

                • Bob Waugh

                  The independence debate has not caused “a lot of ill will in England” save among those who have limited capacity to cope with a changing world. Most English folk have no desire for the climate of festering resentment a few xenophobes seem to anticipate with glee.

                • LeoLeo

                  I expect you noticed some time ago that everyone who disagrees with you is a xenophobe or suffers from some other failing that can only be corrected by your wise counsel. It must be a great burden for you.

                • Bob Waugh

                  Not really. Xenophobia is not as common as anyone reading these threads might think. Most people in my experience are quite balanced in their view of life – and that includes those with whom I have differences of opinion.

          • Bob Waugh

            I suggest you have a close look at some of these Labour MPs and consider whether they are any kind of asset to anything worthy having. Most are vacuous salarymen.

      • LeoLeo

        “Miliband will implement the tories’ welfare cuts if Labour gains power in 2015.
        Might as well vote Yes in September.”

        The one way to guarantee welfare cuts that would be even more severe than those put forward by Labour or Conservatives would be to vote for an independent Scotland led by an SNP administration. There is no chance at all that they could maintain spending at current levels.

    • Kitty MLB

      Its all about bluff and bluster, pleasing the lowest common denominator with
      predictable insults to hide behind whilst you avoid answering rather a lot of questions. The most basic being what currency will Scotland have.
      They cannot keep the £ and why would they want to, being answerable to Westminster who will have the levers on the Scottish economy is not independence, and unfair on the rest of the United Kingdom.

    • Bob Waugh

      There’s a significant difference between the ability to make a point and the ability to justify it. You demonstrate the former.

      • LeoLeo

        “There’s a significant difference between the ability to make a point and the ability to justify it. You demonstrate the former.”

        Which in fact you also seem to have just demonstrated. The difference is that I wasn’t seeking to justify a point or calling attention to the failure of others to do so.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Well said that particular cybernat troll is cruising up and down this thread peddling his own brand of fantasy and nonsense.

  • HookesLaw

    Miliband is incoherent on everything. He is a dumb crypto-Marxist. He is no different on Scotland.
    And yet a load of intolerant homophobic racist mysogenist fruit loop nutjobs are happy to conspire to get him elected

    • Alexsandr

      if you don’t have anything intelligent to say why not say nothing?
      You second paragraph just makes you look like a m0r0n.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I think it is Cameron who will have conspired to get him elected by failing to attract more so-called “social democrat” voters than the huge numbers of conservative voters he has lost.

      The socialists still detest him despite his attempts to woo them and now half the conservatives do too. A good leader would have united the right.

    • Barakzai

      ‘. . . intolerant homophobic racist mysogenist fruit loop nutjob . . .’

      Ah, a flecked-lipped full house of insults from the site’s Cameroonian zealot.

      You’re a decidedly quare fellow, aren’t you?

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