Now I know I am an education blogger, but honestly there hasn’t really been much in the education world that has caught my interest lately, mostly because of the hype around the Independence referendum in Scotland, so I decided that as it could have an impact on education, that I would give my take on what could happen and describe what I would like to see.
Now it has been a while since my Economics A level days, but economics has still been a minor interest of mine, so when it comes to looking at economic statistics, I’m always intrigued. I personally feel that Independence for Scotland will be fiscal and economical suicide, and here’s why.
Firstly, let’s look at the currency. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond MSP believes that they will be able to keep using the British Pound, to which Westminster have pretty much responded with ‘over our dead bodies’. This of course doesn’t mean that Scotland can’t go on using the pound without such agreement with Westminster, but they would have to build reserves of around £20billion. How would they do that? Well they would have to cut back on building ammenities such as schools, universities and hospitals, which could be disastrous for Scottish Education and Health, which are two areas in which Scotland are considered strong. If universities and school plans are cut, how can Scotland fund the free higher education that it currently has? It was made known recently that in order to achieve this policy in the first place, Scotland cut around 140,000 places. In short, this idea is far too expensive and can lead to disastrous consequences.
The next crucial point to look at is membership of the EU and other links. As it stands the whole of the UK pays billions of pounds to be a member of the EU. Again the question that needs to be answered is ‘How does Scotland intend to fund that?’ Well one way to do that is to increase tax and prices on everything, which is going to have a big impact on the incomes of families as wages still remain stagnant and below inflation as it is, so making the cost of living even higher will seriously slow down consumption, and slow down the economy even further. Losing membership of the EU and UK will mean that Scotland loses an awful lot of trade links around the world, meaning it’s import and export market will be affected, and that will cause price rises as well.
The next point to ponder concerns Scotland’s share of the national debt. Alex Salmond has claimed in an argument that if Westminster does not give an Independent Scotland an agreement to stay in the British Pound, Scotland will default on it’s share of the debts. Well that is a suicidal comment in it’s own right. If Scotland does indeed default on it’s debts, that will give Scotland a reputation of ‘sure give us money but we won’t give it back’. Does anyone else think that sounds like an Icelandic bank? What this will mean is that an Independent Scotland will be charged astronomically high interest rates on any loans they do take from other countries, which will not be sustainable for Scotland to pay back.
Here’s another thought which hasn’t really been mentioned. If Scotland becomes an independent nation, does that mean all Scottish people in the UK become foreign and would require a visa and English citizenship to work in this country? If that is true imagine how many people may find themselves forced to leave the country and head back to Scotland. That would certainly be a significant chunk of Parliament out. It could also mean jobs for English workers suddenly become available in England, but it would have the opposite effect on employment in Scotland. If thousands of people suddenly end up in Scotland without work, the unemployment statistics will go through the roof, putting huge amounts of pressure on the welfare state in Scotland. Not going to look good don’t you think?
So given all this, what would I like to see? Well you would think I would want to see the Scottish people vote No, and that is what my logic would argue. But actually I would like to see Alex Salmond suffer so in a cynical way I would like to see them vote Yes. I would like to see the result of them becoming independent, the SNP raising all the wages of his political party and then end up begging us to let them back in the UK.
If of course Scotland votes No, then what does that mean for Alex Salmond’s position? You would think all people who voted Yes but got outvoted would lose all faithin Salmond’s convictions and would find himself in a position where his own party’s standing is destroyed. I do personally think that Independence will benefit the SNP, not the Scottish people.
If any of you are Scottish, I would be interested to hear what your views on what Scotland should do are as you will have a say in it in less than 24 hours time.