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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