Our guest blog, today, comes from P Williams, a life time Conservative (from age 15) from the Labour stronghold of Rotherham, and now living on the Scottish borders.
In between, five years were spent living in France and discovering the French were no more enamoured with being ruled from Brussels as most Brits are. And, in England, as a factory owner, Williams repeatedly came head to head with debilitating EU red tape.
Thank goodness for a PM with the strength and commitment to stand up to the Scottish Nationalists call for yet another Referendum – mainly because they lost the first one. I have asked many people living here on the border what they would want and resoundingly the reply comes back that they do NOT want another horribly divisive time which many endured the first- time round. It became very hard to remain calm in the face of downright racist attitudes put forth by the Nationalists – but of course, in the UK, racism seems to be reserved to the colour of skin, and not the division of English and Scots. There are a lot of us English living in Scotland for many different reasons. Some of us came up here to be near to our families, and many just because they love the country and wanted to live here in peace and harmony – something which was in very real danger in the run up to the first Referendum. The Nationalists cannot accept defeat, and do not understand the word ‘Democracy’ as meaning standing by the majority decision of a poll taking purely in Scotland.
If you think of it in terms of a teenager wanting Independence it is a very good parallel. Ask any teenager if they would like their own flat or house and the reply comes very fast. Yes please. THEN tell them that Mum and Dad will not be paying anything towards their living in future – they won’t be paying the rent, the utility bills, or stocking the store cupboard with food, or indeed lending them the equipment to cook or clean with, and the reply starts to change. They suddenly realise just how much Mum and Dad pay for their nice comfortable life-style at home. All they have had to do up to the point of Independence is fund their entertainment, and any clothes that they feel they would like that Mum and Dad won’t pay for. This is exactly what happens with Scotland. Imagine, if you will, the taxation that would be necessary if not a penny that is collected outside Scotland is available to the Scottish Government.
With 5.5 million people in the country (and that is a lot less than live and pay taxes in London alone) the whole infrastructure would have to be maintained by Scottish taxation. Schools, Health Services, care of the elderly, roads, and all the thousands of things currently supported by the Barnett Formula (which is the division of money from the whole taxation income from the whole of the UK, the lion’s share of which (per capita) goes to Northern Ireland and Scotland). If the Scots want to be Independent, then this would mean total Independence, not ‘Oh yes, but the UK will still pay the bills, Independence’. It would not be true Independence to continue the farce that is the Barnett Formula. Pensions alone would face a huge black hole of enormous proportions, to such an extent that Scotland would not be able to pay the Old Age Pension. As for free prescriptions for everyone, that would be another impossibility. In fact, Scotland would be Bankrupt in the first month – and its tax-payers (less than 50% of the total population, since children and old people do not pay tax and they make up at least 50% of the population) would have to bear the whole burden themselves. At the first Referendum, which was voted by a clear majority against, the Nationalists argued that ‘Scotland has oil’. Well, what price is oil now, and being a diminishing resource, and exploited by foreign countries, and therefore most of the profits are not taxed in Scotland anyway, the income would not go very far to paying for all the other demands on the Scottish Treasury.
Such is the feeling in England, I fear, that if the Scots asked for a Referendum on their Independence and allowed the English to vote, they would be Independent and without a penny piece of support coming from England. Then it would be a Laurel and Hardy moment, as the Scots would be saying to Sturgeon "That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into"!
Scottish Nationalists claim that the majority of Scots wish to stay in the European Union. Of course, that was voted on against a backdrop, put forward by the Scottish Nationalists, of how many benefits the Scots might lose from Brussels, but the farmers have now realised that the rest of the UKs farming community could end up much better off post Brexit and now the farming community is having a serious re-think on that. Go and chat to farmers at the Marts up and down the country, and the majority now want to get out of Europe – and the main trade of all Scottish businesses is with England not Europe. I see more foreign lorries heading up the M6 to Scotland every day, and I cannot see those European companies wanting to lose their trade with the UK – after all, we import far more than we export so it would be brainless to want to lose our market, and if Europe (or rather, Brussels) wants to set up barriers to trade, the UK is actually in a much stronger position that Europe because they need us far more than we need them.
We have been governed for too many years by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels, under the guise of the European Parliament. The real truth is that the European Parliament is a toothless tiger, only there to enact the laws which have been concocted by the Council of Europe, none of whom are directly elected, and over whom not a single country in Europe has any jurisdiction. Indeed, there is an inner sanctum that meets and to which not even the Prime Minister of any of the member countries is allowed to attend (let alone have a voice in) and that is where the majority of our laws are formulated. Scotland claims it wants to remain in that club?
I don’t consider that Scotland would even be allowed to join as an Independent country anyway, because one of the main criteria for any country joining is its fiscal stability and Scotland cannot claim to have that with its main claim to income coming from such a volatile material as oil (in both senses of the word). Certainly, if it were to rely totally on taxation of the people it would sink beneath the weight of its burden like a lead weight dropped from a great height into water. All the rules currently in force from Europe can be vetoed by any one member state, and getting all 27 to agree to any one rule is a minefield of diplomacy and guile, to say nothing of corrupt dealings to get something passed that the other 26 do not like. Holding one’s breath and hoping would not be an option.
P E Williams