Last week, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the U.K. will either become a “failed state” or be “reformed” as he urged politicians to counter support for Scottish independence.
Brown’s intervention comes after a Sunday Times poll found people in all four nations of the United Kingdom believe Scotland will leave it in the next decade — with Brexit and the U.K. government’s response to the pandemic seen as having accelerated the trend.
Writing for The Telegraph, Brown said the U.K. “must urgently rediscover what holds it together and sort out what is driving us apart,” and warned that the “world’s most successful experiment in multinational living is under greater threat than at any time in 300 years.”
“I believe the choice is now between a reformed state and a failed state,” he said.
We asked two of our writers in England whether its time for the UK to support Scottish Independence
Much like Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream musician), I support Scottish independence despite being critical of nationalism in general. As someone based in Manchester (North of England), I sympathise with the desire to not be associated with the rest of England. Over the past 5 years, we have given the impression that we are nothing more than a petulant little child in the form of a former empire. You may have guessed (though I’m not exactly secretive about it) that I am a remainer. Even though we have now actually left the EU, my heart doesn’t believe it. For Scotland to want back into the EU and want to separate from us, should we really stop them?
The last Scottish referendum in 2014 was before the Brexit vote. Things have massively changed in the UK since the 2016 referendum to leave the EU. Interesting to note is that every council in Scotland had a Remain majority.
This week we also saw that Nicole Sturgeon polled as the most popular politician across the UK. Scotland is actually doing really well and we are forcing them to be associated with us. It’s unfortunate really how we are dragging Scotland into our mess. If Scotland wishes to leave then they should. Or, at least they should be able to vote on it.
While the Scottish Government is only partly funded by the UK government, it is also partly self-funded through raising revenue from devolved taxes and borrowing. we have seen how Scotland has handled the pandemic and while it has not been the best approach, it is certainly better than the way Westminister has handled it. My Northern solidarity, in this case, trumps my jealously that Scotland may actually be able to separate from the rest of the UK. It’s not that I want them to leave, its that we shouldn’t be forcing anyone to deal with our terrible government.
The numbers don’t add up.
A new economic study into trade concludes that the costs of Scottish independence would be two to three times greater than the impact from Brexit and that joining the European Union would do little to offset that cost. The report, from the London School of Economics, is set to fuel the post-Brexit debate about independence. Of course, as it has been the SNP response is that there is no reason why Scotland cannot emulate the success of other countries of a similar size.
Brexit and indeed, the global response to COVID19 is teaching Britain a lot about borders and trade barriers and it is proving so far to be quite a painful lesson. After years of lessening friction, we’re seeing the impact of paperwork, the need to prove where products came from, and, in some cases, tariffs. There were lessons also from the USA, where Donald Trump showed how tariffs can be used as an economic weapon, wielded by strong economies against weaker ones. In these perilous times, companies need certainty and stability.
The report from the London School of Economics and City University of Hong Kong discussed earlier found that quitting the UK’s common market would hit the Scottish economy two to three times as hard as leaving the EU, just counting the impact on trade alone.
Suggesting that the worst economic effects would take several decades to take hold, the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance said the impacts on its trade with both the UK and the EU would shrink Scotland’s economy in the long run by between 6.3% and 8.7%.
That was equivalent to a loss of between £2,000 to £2,800 per capita a year: with Scotland’s population estimated to be nearly 5.5 million, that puts the losses at between £11bn and £15.4b.
In the middle of a pandemic, entering into a debate about the Scottish referendum is just redundant. Supporting Scottish independence during a time like this is tantamount to gutting the country