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Scottish Independence Referendum

Summary:
The SNP has just declared that it will move for a vote in the Scottish Parliament to hold another referendum on Scottish independence.  There are three reasons for this intention.The first is that the SNP are doing very badly in Scotland. The economy has a tremendous deficit (the largest in the OECD) and public services are failing despite massive spending.  Sturgeon needs a diversion. The second is that the SNP desires that the UK stays in the Common Market (known as the Single Market since 1993).  Of course, the UK originally joined the Common Market, not the EU, in 1973, confirmed with a referendum in 1975, and the EU Referendum in 2016 was to reverse this original vote.  Sturgeon was being very tricky about the Common Market, suggesting that Scotland stays IN the Common Market whilst the rest of the UK leaves.  Such a settlement would give Scotland a unique constitutional status that would end up in the transfer of Scotland from the UK to being a region of the EU.The third is that the opinion polls briefly suggested that the Scots might vote for Scottish independence this time: What is interesting about the opinion polls is that in the Autumn, when Scots voters were convincing themselves that the EU Referendum would be overturned and the UK would stay in the Common Market, they were strongly against Scots independence.

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The SNP has just declared that it will move for a vote in the Scottish Parliament to hold another referendum on Scottish independence.  There are three reasons for this intention.

The first is that the SNP are doing very badly in Scotland. The economy has a tremendous deficit (the largest in the OECD) and public services are failing despite massive spending.  Sturgeon needs a diversion.

The second is that the SNP desires that the UK stays in the Common Market (known as the Single Market since 1993).  Of course, the UK originally joined the Common Market, not the EU, in 1973, confirmed with a referendum in 1975, and the EU Referendum in 2016 was to reverse this original vote.  Sturgeon was being very tricky about the Common Market, suggesting that Scotland stays IN the Common Market whilst the rest of the UK leaves.  Such a settlement would give Scotland a unique constitutional status that would end up in the transfer of Scotland from the UK to being a region of the EU.

The third is that the opinion polls briefly suggested that the Scots might vote for Scottish independence this time:

Scottish Independence Referendum

What is interesting about the opinion polls is that in the Autumn, when Scots voters were convincing themselves that the EU Referendum would be overturned and the UK would stay in the Common Market, they were strongly against Scots independence.  The Common Market offers an independent Scotland a route back into the EU so that they can be bailed out if independence goes wrong.  The Scots seem blissfully unaware of the fact that the EU is governed by the Eurozone and will only allow Scotland 1% of any vote after it is absorbed.

Should anyone worry about this SNP posturing?  Probably not. Even if the Scottish were to vote for independence it will be excellent for the English economy, saving the English taxpayer about £10bn a year - as much as leaving the EU (this is just the expenditure the UK makes on Scotland's behalf - see  Scotland: A Case of Give and Take. - on items from overseas aid to submarines, the actual total is higher when the Smith Formula and a host of other items are taken into account.)

The simple truth is that the English are caught in a cleft stick.  If they pursue any policies that the SNP, or Scots in general, dislike then the SNP scream "Referendum!" and attempt to get special treatment. Obviously the whole UK should not be held to ransom by a region of only 5m people.   Perhaps they will be better off in the EU where they can gang up with other small regions - although finding anything in common with Slovenia might be difficult.
 

North Sea Oil - No longer a benefit for Scotland

Here is an interesting snippet from the BBC:

UK oil and gas production generated negative receipts in 2015-16 of -£24m, compared with +£2.15bn the year before.

Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) revenue was -£562m, following refunds to companies, while corporation tax revenue fell by 74% over the year to £538m.
The North Sea contributed £10.9bn to the Treasury just five years ago.

The UK's Scottish Secretary David Mundell called the latest figures from HMRC "particularly concerning".

The Scottish government said the North Sea continued to represent "a huge opportunity for Scotland with impacts that go far beyond tax receipts".

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