Before all Scots jump on my back, I will let you know I am one quarter Scottish; I am also very fond of my Scottish ancestry. However, we must acknowledge that this is not the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The British union between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland has prospered in recent years and all countries have devolved governments. Scotland has the ability to provide free health care to older adults and free higher education to students etc. These are great social benefits but they come at a massive economic cost. Gordon Brown was the UK's most recent Scottish Prime Minister and was elected from his constituency in Dunfermline East, Scotland. If Scotland go it alone then there will be no longer be a Scottish Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Alistair Darling, who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer explains why Scotland cannot keep the GBP if they become an independent country. This means that Scotland will either have to develop its own currency or join the Euro. Either option is completely illogical in terms of economics. Take this simple example, someone who lives in Newcastle but works in Scotland would be paid in either Euros or the Scottish pound; however, would they be taxed under Scottish fiscal policy or under UK fiscal policy? How will the individual know what tax and national insurance is paid? What benefits will he be entitled to (if he is in the UK he will not be entitled to free care if he requires it his children will not be entitled to free higher education if they go to university in the UK, but will they be entitled to free higher education if they go to university in Scotland?)?
Let's speak economics for a moment...according to The Guardian, Scotland has a deficit of £12bn in 2014. It is true that Scotland has access to the large amount of gas and oil in the North Sea; however, these gas and oil fields are owned by multi-national conglomerates and it would be practically impossible to separate the fields that are owned by Scotland and those that are owned by the UK or Norway. Companies such as British Gas and Shell pay tax to the UK government in terms of corporation tax, income tax, national insurance etc. Due to Scotland's large deficits in government funding this would mean that there would be an increase in tax across the board for any work conducted in Scottish waters. Unfortunately there is no way that Mr Salmond could continue the expenditure on social care and higher education without raising taxes in Scotland. Apart from the fishing industry, Scotland has a significant lack of natural resources to bring into its GDP.
It is completely impossible for Scotland to retain the British pound and therefore there would be a massive loss in that Scotland must either accept the Euro or create their own currency (costing billions). An exchange rate must then be agreed with the Bank of England, and this would cost both countries a significant amount of money. If Scotland joins the EU and accepts the Euro as its currency then the UK has an immigration problem. The UK has a referendum whether to stay in the EU or get out. If the UK leaves the EU and Scotland stays in then we will basically need build Hadrian's Wall again and have strict border control. EU migrants will flock to Scotland and the Scottish economy will not be able to cope with this. They will not be allowed into the UK and this will cause massive tensions between Scotland and the UK.
The EU wants nations to be more interdependent and have closer ties. Therefore, why does Mr Salmond want to break away from the UK and risk bankruptcy? He has also ideas that all nuclear missiles will be returned to the UK so Scotland would be defenceless against a nuclear attack. Glasgow and other shipyards in Scotland thrive on building British warships but this agreement will obviously stop if Scotland become an independent nation; another economic loss for the Scots.
Finally, we have the drug culture and obesity/diabetes problem, which is higher in Glasgow than anywhere else in the UK. The NHS serves the United Kingdom, thus the cost of healthcare would need to be funded by Scotland and not by the UK. This economic and societal burden has not been considered in the financial repercussions of Scotland becoming independent. On top of this, Scotland would need to make their own financial funding to the EU and to foreign aid. In 2013, the UK net contribution to the EU was over £8.6bn and the UK pledged over £440 million to the Syrian crisis alone; this does not include agreements to countries such as India and other Asian, African, South American and Central American countries. The share of the expenditure must therefore be divided by the UK and Scotland, however can Scotland really afford that and keep up their social policies for free healthcare and no tuition fees? The answer is no.
In short, at best Scotland will become the new Greece; with high unemployment, crazy amounts of government borrowing and a mass exodus of highly qualified workers moving to the UK or other European countries. At worst Scotland may ignite radical separatists as seen in ETA (in the Pais Vasco). Europe needs to be more integrated and not separated, therefore Scotland must keep with the UK and not become an isolated country.Suggest a correction