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Friday, 13 April 2012

The Positive Case For Union

It is perhaps time to hunt down the mythical beast. Like Big Foot or The Yeti, we hear a lot about the 'positive case for the Union' but none of us have yet seen it. Despite a veritable conveyor belt of anti-Independence politicians assuring us they are about to reveal these arcane secrets, it seems that none of them have yet been given permission by the Grand Wizard to reveal the self-evident truths of the Westminster Lodge.

So, I'm going to do my damnedest to do their job for them. In the interests of informed debate (rather than scaremongering) it might be helpful to both sides. Using the various pronouncements of the 'Positive Case' Parties and other commentators and experts, here's what I can come up with. I'm also determined not to be facetious. So even where I can see huge arguments against any particular point, I'll let it stand for others to decide if this 'manifesto' cuts it.

1. The UK has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. We are major world players. Scotland wouldn't be.

2. The UK has one of the world's biggest defence spends. We are major world players. Scotland wouldn't be.

3. The UK has 29 votes in the Council of the European Union. Scotland would only have 7 if allowed to remain a member.

4. The UK was able to borrow the money to refinance failing banks. Would Scotland?

5. Scottish shipyards were able to competitively tender and win some orders from the Royal Navy.

6. Scotland virtually breaks even in terms of contributions made to and payments made from the UK Exchequer.

7. Remaining in the UK will protect some jobs at HMNB Clyde.

8. The UK is a nuclear power. Scotland wouldn't be.

9. We have 300 years of shared history.

10. Our soldiers fought and died together against Frenchmen, Spaniards, Germans, Hungarians, Jacobites, Italians, Swedes, Indians, Russians, Native Americans, Americans, Dutchmen, Poles, the Irish, the Swiss, Sierra Leonians, Sri Lankans, Turks, Danes, Norwegians, South Africans, Egyptians, the Burmese, Canadians, Uruguayans, Argentinians, Maoris, Bulgarians, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Chinese, Persians, Abyssinians, Afghans, Zulus, Sudanese, Tibetans, Nigerians, Austrians, Somalis, Arabs, Jews, Japanese, Romanians, Finns, Thais, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Malayans, Koreans, Kenyans, Cypriots, Iraqis, Yugoslavs, Liberians and Libyans. Independent Scots probably won't.

11. We're stronger together, weaker apart.

12. We share the risks and rewards.

Scotland, it's over to you.

NB: I'm happy to add further positives to the Unionist case should anyone wish to give me them.

11 comments:

  1. "1. The UK has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. We are major world players. Scotland wouldn't be."

    What benefit accrues to Scotland from the UK having a seat on the UNSC? The claim that this makes the UK a "major world player" is, at best, dubious. And there is no difficulty in identifying the downside of the British state hanging on the coattails of US foreign policy.

    Scotland might not have a seat on the UNSC, but we could have our own voice in the world.

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  2. "2. The UK has one of the world's biggest defence spends. We are major world players. Scotland wouldn't be."

    To which Scottish taxpayers contribute disproportionately. We would inevitably be better off controlling our own defence budget rather than entrusting it to the corrupt incompetents at Westminster.

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  3. Points 11 and 12, dealt with extremely briefly here, are to my mind the only substantive points in the list, and deserve more examination. On 11, Solidarity, workers' rights, collective bargaining and so on are all enhanced by the breaking down of borders, and damaged by the creation of them. If we build a metaphorical wall we are saying to those outside it that we don't care about them. That's a big issue for me.

    And on 12, I've made the point before that we Scots have invested enormously in the creation of the south east as an economic hub for the UK, and I want to keep reaping the rewards of that rather than give it away.

    I think it would be quite possible to construct a multitude of individual arguments based on the broad premises in 11 and 12. I'm glad you at least included them.

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  4. @Duncan "we Scots have invested enormously in the creation of the south east as an economic hub for the UK, and I want to keep reaping the rewards of that rather than give it away."
    Could you detail what rewards we have reaped?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Taxes raised across the south east are spent throughout the UK.

      Delete
    2. "Scots have invested enormously in the creation of the south east"

      Would we not be better investing enormously in Scotland? If we'd had any say in the matter perhaps we could have considered that.

      Delete
  5. "3. The UK has 29 votes in the Council of the European Union. Scotland would only have 7 if allowed to remain a member."

    It is not a matter of how many votes you have but how those votes are used. Nations tend to vote in blocs. With independence we would have the choice of voting with the RUK when this is in our interest but lending support to other blocs as we see fit. The important word is "choice".

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  6. "4. The UK was able to borrow the money to refinance failing banks. Would Scotland?"

    Yes. Or at least we would be no less likely to be able to borrow appropriately than any other nation in similar circumstances. The real question is whether the UK will be able to retain its credit rating.

    Besides, wasn't the failure of the banks supposed to be a one-off that could never happen again?

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  7. "5. Scottish shipyards were able to competitively tender and win some orders from the Royal Navy."

    Why would independence make them less competitive?

    ReplyDelete
  8. "6. Scotland virtually breaks even in terms of contributions made to and payments made from the UK Exchequer."

    We could do better.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A brief point about the banks: the more evidence I see, the more convinced I become that Iceland has provided a template which smaller countries could copy for dealing with bust banks.

    ReplyDelete