Jim Murphy MP never answered that question on his visit to Nairn a few weeks ago. It’s a pattern with unionist MPs – Alistair Darling refused to answer direct questions from Alex Salmond in last night’s TV debate.
We hear all about the risks of being an independent country from the unionist side. Most of us in the Yes movement know what those risks are and do not hide from them when we are discussing the referendum. It is clear that independence won’t be utopia either – there will be bumps along the road and mistakes will be made.
However, it is not all risk and no gain as Alistair Darling and his troops try to frighten you into believing. Life is full of risk and full of opportunity too. Independence is a once in a life time opportunity and is not one that should be thrown away just because you are afraid of a little uncertainty.
But, what are the risks if we stay in the Union? We need to know what they are to balance the debate, something Better Together really does not want you to do. Let me offer a little help to Jim Murphy and his friends…here’s a few pointers…
Not always getting the government we need and want, no matter how we vote. It’s down to simple mathematics. There are more people in the south east corner of England than there are in Scotland.
Which takes me onto the 2015 General Election…what government will we see after that? UKIP/Tory coalition? A New Labour government with its commitment to continue and extend austerity? A Tory government with the likelihood of Boris Johnson becoming party leader and eventually Prime Minister? Boris has no love for Scotland…as we all know. Well, do you feel lucky?
Uncertainty…when I am out campaigning, I am asked why Alex Salmond has not offered any guarantees. Well, in life, there are none. We do not know what will happen in 24 hours’ time, never mind in three or five years time. The same goes for remaining in the Union. The 2015 General Election is a real lottery with the odds tilted against Scotland. One thing is for sure, the main political parties will be playing to middle England to be sure to get into power. The Scottish voter will not really count – not even those who choose to vote no this September.
An ‘In-Out’ referendum on Europe in 2017 or even as early as 2016 is a real risk to Scotland. This is a policy being driven within the main stream political parties by UKIP’s agenda. A party with no seats in Westminster. No matter if every voter in Scotland voted to stay in Europe, the old statistical monster appears once again. We do not have enough voters in Scotland to make any difference to the outcome of that referendum…middle England is likely to vote us out of the EU.
In a recent poll, it seems that there is a majority in England who support cutting Scotland’s block grant to the UK average – a difference of about £1400 per person. It does not recognise the considerably greater contribution to the UK finances that Scotland contributes, nor its geographic challenges. A cut of 5.2 million by £1400 does not bear thinking about…
£1.3 (or so) TRILLION pounds of debt…can this really be serviced? How will this impact on Scotland if the debt has to be rescheduled?
Cuts to the NHS south of the border will put enormous financial pressure on the Scottish NHS. It matters not where the policy is made; it will come down to hard cash and that is controlled by – yes, you have guessed ti – Westminster. There has been a 6+% cut in Scotland’s budget over the last few years…how will the much discussed future cut of £4 billion impact on the ability of Scotland to meet the future funding needs of the Scottish NHS?
There is an appetite amongst English voters to see Scotland punished for having the independence referendum. Power could be stripped from Holyrood and the UK government will be keen to imprint itself in Scottish politics once again. You can be sure that good old ‘British values’ will be the order of the day if the outcome is not a Yes. there will be no additional powers for Holyrood.
Want any more? Well, there’s Trident, not being properly represented in the EU and the UN, the loss of the chance to join the Nordic Council…I could go on. I think that’s enough to be getting on with for now. So, over to you Mr Murphy! In the meantime, how much better to eliminate the risks of remaining in the union and vote for an independent country where we can make our own decisions, decide our own policy and vote for the government we want every time?