Don’t Know 1

imagesWe asked people who Don’t Know how to vote next year to share our concerns in 500 words. All this week we’ll be publishing their entries. By Jamie Thomson (Aberdeen)

I don’t know and this is the first time I’ve had the chance to vote. I don’t know because I can’t quite tell what the financial implications are going to be yet, I’m hoping these will become clearer in the next few months?What sways me to Yes is the idea that we don’t elect the government that rule us and the fact that England seems to be hurtling to the right. Every time you turn the tv on it seems to be another twist whether it’s UKIP, the Tories or even Labour outbidding each other in a race to the right.

What sways me to Yes is the idea that I’m being told a lot of lies: “Oil will make you poor” seems such a hilarious thing to try and put across I  can hardly believe that is what’s being put over by Better Together.

I’m further swayed to Yes by the sleaze and corruption that seems to centre around Westminster (I’m sorry there’s no other word for it). I don’t know ho we can make this better at a Scottish parliament but maybe by starting afresh you could build in checks to stop the sleaze?

So the main thing that stops me from being a definite Yes is the economic uncertainty of the currency and what impact that would have on the economy. Very little else of the stories that seem to come out daily bother me at all.

 

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9 replies

  1. Hello Jamie

    I think its worth remembering that Scotland contributes 9.9% of the UK treasury’s income but receives only 9.3% of UK government expenditure.

    If you add to the above that much of that “expenditure” is our proportional share of Defence, Trident, Foreign Affairs etc, much of which we disagree with and wouldn’t be involved with in an independent Scotland, then there is great savings to be made to spend on the things that do matter to us, such as health and education.

    Our economy is strong. Scottish GDP is higher than UK GDP.

    These, and more, are the reasons why Westminster doesn’t want to lose Scotland and why they expound scare storiy after scare story.

    The Bank of England is the UK central bank and belongs as much to Scotland as it does to England, Wales and N. Ireland. Sterling is our currency and no-one can stop us using it.

    Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are UK “dependencies” but not part of the UK. They quite happily use sterling and have done for years. They, unlike the UK, also have a triple AAA rating.

    George Osborne might be making threats to introduce the fear factor but he cannot stop us using sterling. However, he knows that Scotland is a positive thing for a sterling zone due to our higher GDP and proportionate wealth.

    Alex Salmond has said, quite rightly, that if an independent Scotland does not get a share of the assets of the BoE and sterling, then an independent Scotland will not be contributing to pay off the UK’s £1.5 trillion debt. It is simply brinkmanship on both sides.

    We will be part of the sterling zone and spending our wealth on things that matter to us.

  2. Uncertainty over the pound and the economy already exists because of mismanagement by Westminster. An independent Scottish Government has three immediate options, firstly, to remain with the pound as a shared currency. This is the preferred option of the SNP. Secondly to create a Scottish currency but to peg the rate to the pound Sterling. This has similar advantages to the shared currency in that cross border transactions will be at a stable rate but there will be the added cost of exchanging currencies. Another advantage to Scotland with this arrangement would be that the Bank of England will have to pay over to the Scottish Central Bank/Currency Authority the billions of pounds which it is holding to support the note issues of the Scottish banks. If the pound Sterling should go into freefall then it would be relatively simple to decouple the fixed exchange rate for the Scottish pound and turn it into a floating exchange rate based on the market, which would be the third option. The disadvantage of this would be to raise the cost of Scottish exports to our biggest single market, England. All in all the option chosen by the SNP seems to be the most sensible one, as a transitional arrangement since it will prevent speculative raids on Sterling by currency dealers which would be to the disadvantage of both England and Scotland. Scotland is the country with the options here, not England. Reason will prevail when they get to the negotiating table.

  3. Jamie, you should come down to the Yes Aberdeen stall outside the St Nicholas Centre which is there every Saturday (10am – 2pm) and have a word with the guys there. They’ll try to answer your concerns about the currency and anything else you’re not sure about.

    But in the meantime, look at it like this: it’s true, we don’t know exactly what the future holds for the Scottish economy if we vote Yes; but we know exactly what it has in store for us if we vote No – austerity cuts, and plenty of them. Ed Balls has just confirmed what we already knew, that Labour are ditching the concept of universalism, meaning that whoever wins the election in 2015, we’re in for more of the same austerity cuts, only worse. Economists say Britain won’t recover until 2020, but there’s no guarantee it will even be that quick.

    When the only certainty on offer is certain doom, surely uncertainty’s not that scary?

    Scotland will end up using the pound in the short term – it would be suicidal for rUK to try to snub us when you consider all Scotland has to offer (not just the oil!), so what Osborne and the likes say just now is nothing but political gamesmanship. From there, we can decide for ourselves what we do – as the rUK economy gets worse and Scotland’s economy soars, chances are it won’t be long until a Scottish pound makes the most sense. One thing we won’t be doing is joining the Euro, which requires a number of conditions to be met before a country joins up, and even then, the European Commission president recently confirmed no country would ever be forced to adopt it if its citizens didn’t want it.

  4. It is worth noting that economic uncertainty does not vanish with retaining the status quo. We pretty much know we face a choice between the (now) two main UK parties: Labour and the Conservatives at the ballot box (a Lib Dem revival looks vanishingly unlikely as time goes on but stranger things have happened).

    Economically this translates to a continuation of the flawed austerity project that Osbourne committed us to for fear of spooking the markets by looking like ignoring the deficit. This means more cuts. Deeper cuts. Who knows for how long? Who knows where that will leave the UK economy and the pound in the short-medium term?

    A currency Union would be business as usual. Though I suspect it would be untenable in the long run.

    A Scottish currency would be ridiculously strong and so it would be likely we would have a currency board or a pegged currency to control interest rates. It would likely need to be devalued to achieve this. Though as a sneaky bonus this helps solve the pensions crisis (that the UK and Scotland both will face eventually regardless of Indy Ref result).

    It is also worth noting that with a Yes vote there is at least the fact that ultimately the currency issue and the economic direction Scotland takes will be guided by the Scottish people. As it is an issue that will be determined in part by the circumstances after negotiations but also by the route Scots decide to take in the first post-referendum elections scheduled for 2016.

  5. The view that we can decide to have a Scottish economy if we vote yes at the referendum or vote no and retain the status quo is not valid. The present UK economy is very unstable and has no possibility of surviving long. The real choice we have is build a Scottish economy based on sound economic resources or rely on the UK economy dependent entirely on the private banking sector.

  6. The union offers no certainty either. Did the union predict the crash ?
    The future cannot be set in stone or avoided but it must be faced. Pick up the tool box & build the solutions.

  7. Not sure if this is exactly the kind of thing you’re looking at, but I am currently living in Australia. I need to know exactly what I will be required to do to ensure I get my vote. How long before the referendum do I have to return home? How do I establish residence? I’m assuming I need an address, will a family member’s do, or will I have to rent a flat? That sort of thing. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  8. BetterTogether strategy is to feed confusion, and do not want the Scottish public to be able to differentiate between Power and Policies. That is why people find it hard to differentiate and satisfy them of any answer.

    In the real world, party policies are ever changing – AKA Westminster now – and evolutionary in how a country functions, driven by the aspirations of the peoples elected representatives.

    So formalising and evolving future policies will be the duty of a new Scottish parliament, not the SNP now – and so cannot have answers now. BetterTogether are disingenuous is all these questions, as they will be part of any Independent parliament , so part of the solution, but now they are denying being part of the problem.

    The SNP and Scottish government papers are laying out are the Functioning framework of Scotland for the day of independence, i.e a country that “Works” – no more than that.

    This framework has a limited life, starting May 2016 – With the POWER then vested to the first ever elected Scottish independent Government, who then maintain, modify or change that framework to policies.

    This vested power, vested to the Scottish people, is what the referendum is all about – not minutia the party policies of some unknown government, of unknown parties , with unknown policies , on which the BetterTogether continually and mischievously demand answers.

    • I ran into exactly the attitude you’ve just described recently, on a Daily Record thread. I’m not usually a Record man, but some of the discussions have been remarkably interesting recently. And we do need to communicate with everyone, so I decided I didn’t want to be a snob about it. Anyway, this guy had a list of 25, count ‘em, twenty five questions he wanted the SNP to answer. Every single one was a policy question.

      I pointed this out to him, saying that the answer to ALL of his questions was, of course, the same – that they would be matters for the Scottish people to decide, post-independence. I remarked that I was surprised by his assumption (because he clearly wasn’t an SNP supporter) that the SNP would form the first post-independence government. They’d have to be elected first, by putting their policies before the people, who would then elect a government, presumably on the basis of the policies they put forward. I said I thought he was throwing the towel in a bit early for the 2015 election.

      I further offered to give him MY answers to all of his 25 questions, in detail, giving the policies I, personally, believe we should adopt, but pointing out that I do not speak for the SNP, nor they for me. He didn’t respond. In fact he studiously avoided addressing anything I’d said, or even mentioning me, despite the fact that several other people had quoted me back to him. Imagine my surprise to discover he wasn’t really interested in the answers at all, it was nothing but obfuscation. I suggest, when you come across this tactic, respond as I did, and turn the questions back at them. Point out that a vote for independence will give us, the people, the power to make such decisions for the first time in our lives, and ask them what THEY think the answers should be.

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