The Pound in Your Pocket, my Scottish friends……Whether postmortem or sober analysis of a very close shave, two question may trouble the advocate, remembering a more florid age. Where was the big speech? Where was the big speaker? The Lloyd George, Churchill or Bevin? Grimond, Hailsham or Michael Foot? The one who could hold a huge crowd in the palm of his hand and by sheer force of personality carry the day. One man might have done so, perhaps all others. Iain Macleod QC MP. The best speaker that I ever heard. Yet the substance of his speech would have been far more than a naked appeal to emotion and unity for its own sake. He would have seized the economic uncertainties of the Yes case and with withering analysis, destroyed it. The food for such a speech has been provided in the very last days of the campaign. For some very distinguished Scottish economists have set it out in detail. Now I am no economist, but some of their strongest points cry out for further circulation. And because it matters so much, it seems to me worthwhile to repeat them. I will leave aside the huge question of which currency and just repeat their other 9 points. 4 – The creation of an economic (and possibly physical) border between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be damaging for trade and jobs and, by diminishing the productivity of Scottish firms, would lower living standards in this country. 5 – On current trends,the Scottish Government would have to impose an even greater fiscal austerity than has been implemented by the Coalition Government in Westminster. This would be further exacerbated by the inherited debt of around £120billion. 6 – It is also likely, in the event of an independent Scotland reneging on accepting an appropriate share of the UK’s existing debt, that its credit rating would plummet and borrowing from international credit markets would become difficult and costly, if indeed we could borrow at all. As a result, we may have to borrow from the IMF, which would mean even more austerity for our people. 7 – The set-up costs for Scotland becoming independent, which on some estimates have been put at £2.5billion, would mean resources would have to be shifted from other hard- pressed areas of public spending such as health and education in the short and long term. 8 – Scotland’s public finances would be more exposed to oil price volatility and the secular decline of oil revenues, with little or no prospect for an oil stabilisation fund. 9 – Interest rates could well rise on Scottish sovereign debt, local authority borrowing, firm and household debt. Families will be impacted severely by rising credit card rates, car loans rates and mortgage rates. 11 – The recent announcement by Scottish financial institutions such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and Standard Life, that in the event of independence they are likely to move their HQs from Scotland to the rest of the UK, will mean job losses and loss of tax revenue to the Scottish economy. This would also damage Scotland’s balance of payments. 12 – Overseas banks such as Credit Suisse have also warned of dire economic consequences and a recession similar to that which followed the collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland. 13 – Demographic trends, notably the ageing population, suggest that spending on those of pensionable age would present a significant challenge for an independent Scotland. So they conclude ‘We are Better Together as part of a UK with a combined population of almost 65million people sharing the costs and benefits of a larger pool of tax revenues to fund our pensions, compared to an independent Scotland with a population of almost 5.3 million.’ Google Daily Mirror Scottish economists and read the whole thing. I am only too grateful to have been told the facts by the Mirror. Now imagine those sober responsible views in the hands of a true orator and the case would be over. I just hope that, young and old alike, there are are enough level headed Scots voters to accept the economic case, if no other. For those are not panic ridden scare stories. They sound to me like solid analysis. Then on top, let sentiment have its part. Stay. Nigel Pascoe QC

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Should auld acquaintance be forgot?

Members of the jury. Never in the course of your lives will you have faced a more important choice. Nothing less than the future of a nation as an independent state. As you know, I represent the status quo. Or if you like, leaving things as they are. Or improving the prospects of your fellow citizens very significantly, but not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

Now my learned friend has urged you, with all the fervour and intoxication that Nationalism can bring to the table, not to be intimidated or scared or browbeaten by the old enemy. You should be an independent people, ready to take your rightful place on the world stage, galvanised by the challenge, invigourated by the prospect. In short, a heady mixture of hope and anticipation. Let the economics look after themselves.

The stuff of dreams.

The picture which I seek to paint sadly lacks such primary colours. My instructions have not allowed me to advocate with anything like the same degree of enthusiasm the case for the old union to stand firm. It is almost as if those who instruct me have put a break on rhetoric, leaving only sober arithmetic to seek to carry the day. Sadly, we are a buttoned up people.

I suppose I should be faithful to my masters, but just for once I will risk another way.

My old friends, take heed. It is a bleak future for a small country building a future on little more than hope. As the North Sea revenues decline, as surely they must, where is the real prospect north of the border of dynamic industrial change? You have stood shoulder to shoulder with us in the gravest of conflicts. Your statemen, judges and your surgeons have brought us incomparable benefits. Your people are our people. Our Sovereign is yours. Stay with us and we can build together. Leave us and we shall be diminished.

So should auld acquaintance really be forgot? In my respectful submission,the price is far too high. Let head and heart decide as one.

Stay.

May I thank you for hearing me.

Nigel Pascoe QC

Incandescent

A child is dying or at the least very seriously ill. His parents are in prison. Forget recriminations. Put it right. The lamps should be burning and legal change follow. This is truly shocking.

I commend the excellent and balanced Times editorial. Whether the hospital or CPS.were at fault or the police wrong to follow due process is not the issue now. A tragic combination of judgements has produced a tragic separation. Bail is the priority.

Nigel Pascoe QC