This is a follow-up to my previous post on Why Scotland? The starting point is that Scotland is a distinct and separate jurisdiction with its own legal, education, health, local government systems etc. The simple and basic answer is that we need independence in order to extend and complete our democracy. Scotland’s future is best in Scotland’s hands. It falls into the category of these self-evident truths, namely that the people who care most about Scotland are the people who live in Scotland. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Scottish independence is not about ethnic nationalism. The proposition is simple. Collectively, we, the people who live in Scotland will be ones who will do the best job, over time, of making Scotland a stronger, fairer and more successful country.
Some people will ask why do we need to gain full independence, when we now have our own Parliament which is responsible for all of the areas mentioned above? It is worth noting in passing that most of those now championing devolution were among the most opposed to the creation of our current Scottish Parliament. While this has been a useful step towards accountability and democratic control, our Parliament has no real say in how much money it has to spend on these devolved matters. Scotland gets a sum of money, the famous block grant, from Westminster to spend as it thinks fit. But that block grant is at the whim and mercy of Westminster. If the UK government decides to spend more money on education in England, then Scotland gets a proportional amount of extra money. Whether we feel we need or want it at all. Conversely, when the UK government decides, as it is doing just now, to spend less in England, then we in Scotland get less. With no say in the matter whatsoever. A completely demeaning situation for a parliament and a government to be in. Yet this is the reality for us in Scotland.
For the people of Scotland to have real democratic choice and control over these devolved matters, such as education, health etc, then we need to have full fiscal control over how much money we are prepared to raise in taxes to pay for our choices. Only independence can bring us this. With independence it will be the people who live in Scotland who get to decide how much tax to raise and how to raise it. What balance of taxes to go for – income tax, corporation tax, VAT and any other tax, such as a land tax, property tax or even a wealth tax. The choice and the responsibility will be ours and ours alone.
While control over fiscal matter is for me at least the key issue, independence will bring many other advantages. In both defence and foreign policy for example, it is likely that Scotland would want to pursue a more co-operative and less aggressive approach to working with other countries. It is difficult to imagine a Prime Minister of Scotland lecturing and hectoring other countries. Or participating in illegal wars of aggression.
Independence is vital if we are to regain full control of our future for us and for our children and grandchildren.