UK = Never Ending Austerity?

Clegg, Cameron, MilibandThe admission by the Labour party at Westminster that they too have now signed up for yet more and more austerity is unexpected, yet still a bit depressing. There is nothing very democratic about general elections in the UK when all the main parties have already signed up for the same policies. The only differences were those of degree and timing, though even that seems to no longer apply. It is not a very appealing prospect for voters in 1915. It is even more pertinent for those of us living in Scotland. We will, in the referendum in 1914 have the chance to blow this cosy Westminster consensus right out of the water. For it is now crystal clear that a No vote will mean more and more and more austerity. Not just in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but here in Scotland too. Scotland’s resources will be used once again to prop up the failed UK state instead of promoting economic growth in Scotland. Irrespective of how we vote in Scotland this is what will happen as a result of a No vote. Whether it is Labour, Conservative, LibDem or some coalition, never ending austerity is what awaits us. The people who live and work in Scotland will have no say in what happens to the wealth and taxes raised in Scotland. Once again we will be expected to meekly accept whatever Westminster graciously condescends to send up north. This is another example of the so-called Union Dividend. Some dividend after three centuries of Union.

At least we now know what a No vote means in terms of the economy – more and more austerity. This does not of course mean that an independent Scotland will become overnight a land of mild and honey. The point of independence is that these key decisions on taxes, economic strategy and welfare spending will be up to us – the people who live and work in Scotland. We will not be dependent on the choices and decisions of others. We will not be able to blame others. There are two key issues here. The first is that evidence from around the world indicates overwhelmingly that small countries are better governed and more equal than larger countries. Virtually all the global indices on economics, wellbeing, education, happiness etc show a preponderance of small countries at the top of the list. It is not really surprising. Governments that are closer to the people who elect them are much more likely to be better governments. It is much easier for the people living and working in Scotland to hold government ministers in Edinburgh to account than ministers way down in London. UK ministers are not just concerned with Scotland after all. The not just bit is itself an overstatement. There is precious little evidence that UK minister give any thought to Scotland when it comes to decision making. As we only account for less than 10% of the UK population we should not be surprised with this. So if we want a government that is responsible to and accountable to us and only to us, then we need independence. Breaking out of the UK austerity straight jacket is just one more reason for voting YES in 2014.

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