The Political Economy of Independence: Perspectives 32

Now available for download here.


“We promised in the last issue of Perspectives to “raise the questions and tease out the answers” in the independence referendum debate.  Of course, with a projected voting date of autumn 2014, we have two and a half years of discussion ahead of us. But you have to wonder if already some of the interventions from the pro-unionist camp don’t belong in the ‘you-couldn’t-make-it-up’ category.



One noble lord has advised Scots to vote no on the basis that if Scotland were independent the Royal Air Force might need to bomb Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. To be fair, this would likely only happen in the event of war.


So, we are all thinking, does Alex Salmond have a cunning and as yet unrevealed plan to invade England after we become independent?


Probably not would be my guess. So we are left with some other (unnamed) country or countries who would want to use Scotland as a bridgehead to invade England. Hence the need for the RAF to pre-emptively bomb the central belt airports to scupper that possibility.


The argument might have a little more force if the noble lord could identify the potential source of the threat: Ireland, Iceland or maybe Norway or the Faroe islands?


As I said, you couldn’t make it up, but it does give an insight into one of the imaginative minds that populate the UK’s unelected upper legislative chamber. However absurd some of the flak in the debate might be, there are serious questions that need to be clarified before, rather than after, the vote on independence,

devo-max or devo-plus, or whatever configuration that finally gets put to the Scottish people.


As the SNP are the Scottish government, they are making the running on this. But, argues Michael Keating in his article on page 5, there are fundamental inconsistencies in the SNP’s view of how our national economy would function in an independent (or devomax’ed) Scotland.


At the moment they appear to want to follow neo-liberal policies (low taxation) on the one hand and a classic social democratic model on the other (substantial public investment and services). But, as Michael Keating points out, we need to know what model the SNP believe in: “it is an integral part of what independence actually means in the modern world.”


Also in this issue we have the fourth part of Riddoch’s Scotland (the next piece will be on Edinburgh), an account of the fall of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, an assessment of John Lennon and an important wide-raging conversation between two artists. There’s lots of other stuff too. Thanks as ever to our contributors. If you don’t already subscribe, fill out the form on the back cover.”


Sean Feeny


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