29 reasons to Stay in the Union – Numbers 21-29

Here is the last post in our series of reasons to stay in the United Kingdom.

article-1333924-0625E4250000044D-913_468x286 21. Continuing commitment to build RN warships on Clyde. -The UK defence budget is massive. And a lot of it goes into defence procurement. Scotland has a lot to offer geographically to the defence of the western world. We have deep sea lochs ideal for submarine bases and we have some of the best ship building expertise in the entire planet on the River Clyde. Naturally the UK government would prefer to keep shipbuilding for the RN on the Clyde. However, if Scotland were to be governed as a separate state with a ruling party that made no secret of its dislike of all things British, especially our brave armed forces, denigrating them as fighters of illegal wars etc, why would the UK government place sensitive defence contracts into the hands of that government?  The UK government does not build complex warships outside the UK. They have made that clear.  The BAE chairman, clearly expecting a No vote, has no contingency plans for a move but says they would ask their customer, the UK government, how to deal with the situation if it arose. Vote NO to keep military shipbuilding in Scotland, protecting expert jobs on the River Clyde and the entire engineering industry that benefits from them.

22. Continuing UK subsidy for Scottish renewables industry.  – The UK has a National Grid and a single market energy supply; the Scottish government does not and never has controlled it.  Late in 2013 there was a danger that energy costs for the consumer would soar.  Alarmed by this the UK government consulted the industry and altered the contracts of supply which forced the energy suppliers to purchase set percentages of their power from renewables.  In particular the suggestion was made in the Lords and confirmed in the Commons that the 15% of supply from onshore wind be removed because it was expensive. The effect of this was to drive the price of electricity down which benefitted the ordinary householder.  The SNP objected loudly that they had had a power stripped from them.  They had not – they had been applying subsidy money from HM Treasury= which they had applied for- but it was not an entitlement.  The Treasury diverted the subsidy money from on-shore wind to offshore wind and announced this on Dec 4 2013- and some for fracking.  All the SNP has to do is apply for them, if they wish to fund onshore wind, expensive as it is, then under the tax increasing powers endowed by the Scotland Act 2012 they will be free to charge the people of Scotland more tax to fund their wind-mills. or they can borrow the money which they will have the power to do. ‪http://bettertogether.net/…/working-together-to-unlock…

23. Orientation towards wider world rather than focus on wee-bit-hill-and-glen.–  The SNP are always telling us that they want Scotland to have a bigger profile in the world. But the biggest profile is achieved by working from the massive springboard that is the UK. Ever since the Act of Union, Scots have been listened to around the world because they are British. From David Hume onwards, Scotland’s ideas have crossed the globe, on the back of British presence. It is not unusual to find a Scot at the head of a multinational company or of a major international organization, or winning a Nobel Prize. Long may this continue, and the best way to ensure it continues is to stay within the UK, to be able to use the massive resources of the UK to promote Scottish talent and ideas across the world.

24. Greater clout – when dealing with hyperpowers of 21st century. The world is going to be dominated by China, India, Indonesia and other countries with populations in the hundreds of millions over the next century. The best way for the Western World to uphold its liberal values is to stick together and stay strong. This doesn’t just mean finding sensible ways to make the UN and EU work, it means staying close to our North American allies through NATO and also keeping intact our own successful alliance – the UK. Every negative fragmentary impulse that comes from the micro-nationalist movements of Europe is a tiny dagger in the heart of the Western World as a whole. We Westerners still constitute around 700 million people, across Europe and North America. Our time isn’t quite over yet, and we can use what time we have left to persuade the rest of the world to come round to our way of looking at things, guaranteeing a tolerant liberal world for centuries to come. 10% of the entire western world is made up of British citizens. Soon there will be 70 million of us. The best future for the 5 million of us in Scotland is to stay true to our Britishness and make sure we contribute to the next two centuries as much as we have to the last two. To sit on the fringes and congratulate ourselves on the fact that “we are different to the English” is to fiddle while Rome burns.

25. Access to top G20 power structures for Scots. – Because Scotland is in the UK, we are also represented in the G20. If Scotland leaves the UK, we will have no voice at the top economic table. The positive future for Scotland is in the UK, where we know that we can punch above our weight. The G8 was hosted at Gleneagles a few years ago. That would be the last time that happens if the SNP get their way. When Alex Salmond asserts that we will have a place at the top table, it is pure assertion, and no more. 352091_155331_Family_with_HM_edit

 

26. Adequate balance of powers – between local, Scottish, UK and EU governments without too much power concentrated in too few hands. The Scotland Act of 2012 is the greatest transfer of power within the UK since 1707.  All main parties are committed to further devolution. The federalization of the UK is going ahead, yet by preserving the Union preserves the muscle of the Union with Europe and on the International stage.  By voting Yes and placing Scotland’s finances under the control of the BOE with no reprsentation in the UK Parliament, or by being at the beck and call of Brussels or Berlin, Scotland loses the ‘independence’ she has now.  There is more actual ‘independence’ on offer in an increasingly devolved UK than there is in leaving it.

27. Access to the UK’s invisible earnings-  The reason the UK is recoverin from the recession so well and why the economy is growing is because world investors have complete confidence that Britain can deliver on what she says. `so they invest in Britain and th strength of the pound, up by 10% against the Dollar since July 2013, continues to rise. Much of the reason behind this is the UK’s invisible earnings which earn her nearly £100bn a year.  Nationalists tend to think in terms of tax revenue and point out that Scotland pays more as a percentage of UK tax income than she gets back. As a percentage of spending.  This might indeed be true if the UK relied on tax revenue alone, but the Treasury derives income from other sources.  If you look here; https://www.nao.org.uk/highlights/whole-of-government-accounts/ and click on Total revenue, you will see that the UK does indeed derive a lot of revenue from Direct tax, indirect tax and local taxes. However she also gains from sales of goods and services, and other revenue.  These include such things as taxation on money transfers, legal fees, interest on assets abroad, arbitration services and UK investments abroad. The UK gets this because of the size of her economy. Scotland would be cutting herself off, with independence, from a stream of revenue which dwarfs North Sea oil production, and which there is no guarantee she could replicate to scale on her own.  Instead of large profits from a large company, if she made a profit it would necessarily be smaller – and not in proportion to her needs. How wise is that?

28. The British Broadcasting Corporation – At present, every UK household pays a licence fee if they have a TV or watch BBC-iPlayer-BlockedTV online. This gives us access to BBCs 1,2,3 and 4, BBC Alba, numerous BBC radio stations and BBC News. While good TV is made up here is Scotland, it is generally the type of TV that appeals more to Scots. The money that is not returned to us to make River City and Burns’ Night specials is used to make programmes that are bought all over the world, such as Doctor Who – which has become a huge franchise and brings money back into the BBC. By splitting the cost of programming with everyone else in the UK, it leaves BBC Scotland/ BBC Alba free to make more indigenous programming. However, if we split from the UK, we will have to pay the retail price rather than a share of the cost price for these programmes. This will leave less money for Scottish and Gaelic programming.

29. End of the divisive nastiness – that has riven our nation since the disastrous events of May 2011. Not really much to expand there, it’s self-evident…But let us not, in the name of doing Scotland good, deliver her to a bad place where bad things happen.  What we have is not perfect- but in the great world we inhabit, it’s not so bad.  Vote NO!

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29 Good Reasons to Stay in the Union – Numbers 1-10

If you spend any time at all on Facebook you will see the same request again and again and again. “Give me one good reason to stay in the union.” One of the regular Better Together posters made up a list of 29 reasons to stay in the union. This list has since been expanded upon. it is a lengthy list so we will split it into three. You never know, by the end of the week we may even have a 30th reason.

Positive Reasons for staying in the United Kingdom

 By Scotswoman

1: Defence – by HM Armed Forces here and overseas. HM Armed Forces have a total of 251,240 personnel. That means that if all British armed forces came to Scotland and set up a camp, it would constitute Scotland’s third largest city. The UK has an army bigger than the population of Aberdeen and bigger than the population of Dundee and Paisley combined. At present it is not certain what our defence force will be. The White paper makes certain claims about how large a share of UK defence budgets we will be entitled to, but Prof. Tomkins of the University of Glasgow explains the legal situation

“On defence assets, the white paper states baldly that “we will inherit a share of existing UK defence assets” (p. 234). While the white paper acknowledges that the matter will have to be negotiated, it suggests that Scotland’s share could be calculated based on population, giving it a share of assets worth £7.8 billion (ibid). As we have seen, however, such a crude calculation overlooks the complexity of the fact that that which is integral to the defence and security of the UK as a whole might not fall to be apportioned with an independent Scotland at all. Working out what an independent Scotland’s share of the UK’s defence infrastructure would be is a more complex matter than simply dividing the UK total by Scotland’s population share and, moreover, is likely to result in Scotland’s share being markedly less than is assumed in the white paper.” http://notesfromnorthbritain.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/the-hidden-costs-of-independence/

 

2. Defence –  by the UK’s intelligence services: Scotland has already suffered one serious terrorist attack, at Glasgow Airport in 2007. The UK intelligence services are in the forefront of the international fight against such terrorism, in overseas intelligence gathering (MI6), domestic surveillance (MI5) and communications intelligence (GCHQ). Scotland also has very vulnerable offshore assets in the shape of its oil wells, currently guarded by the Royal Navy and with perpetual emergency forces on standby (the Special Boat Service). The SNP would have us abandon the protection of the British armed forces and intelligence services. Mr Salmond thinks that a declaration that “we will be the friendly neighbours of the world” will be enough to make our enemies think twice. I know who I’d rather rely on.

3. Guaranteed continued use of Sterling. –  A separated Scotland really only has 4 currency options. Plan A is to beg the UK to underwrite the Scottish economy via the Bank of England, letting us keep using the pound more or less as we do now, at the price of becoming a Crown Dependency. Plan B is to use the pound unofficially. This gives Scotland the advantage of trading in hard currency but without a central bank it means that the next economic shock could break us. This kind of unofficial currency arrangement is used by Panama, Zimbabwe and Kosovo. Does Scotland really want to join that club?

Pound-Sterling

Plan C is to use the Euro. Again this could be official or unofficial. Doing it officially will have to wait though, as Scotland first needs to jump through whatever hoops the EU set it to achieve membership. Plan D is Scotland’s own currency, the “millstone” (borrowing a word that Mr Salmond

once used to describe the pound, a currency he is now apparently so desperate to keep). The millstone is likely to be in for a rocky ride, causing unpredictable price hikes and interest rate fluctuations. Nobody is really going to want that. The best currency situation is found in full union with the UK.

4. International representation.  – The separatists propose to have 70 or so embassies around the world, as opposed to the 270 that the UK has. What is their reply to those who quite reasonably ask how Scottish citizens abroad will fare with far fewer embassies to access? Quite simply that Scotland will come to some reciprocal arrangements to share embassies with other countries, like…… the UK! So we have the extra cost of maintaining our own embassies plus the costs of sharing with the very embassies they propose to reject!

royalNavy_1700804c5. Defence of Citizens abroad. – HM Armed Forces constantly are available to defend the interests of British citizens who may find themselves in trouble in war zones. This happened in Libya and is currently happening in the South Sudan. The SNP have no replacement for this, and can only protest feebly that it would be childish of HM Armed Forces not to also help Scottish citizens in the future. These are the same British Armed Forces that they roundly condemn at every possible opportunity. As always the SNP’s position is cynical and untenable.

6. Access to UK top power structures for Scots. – The separatists’ dreaded Westminster government is apparently dominated by Tory posh boys who simply love to exclude Scots from all power. So how come there are 5 Scots in the Cabinet of 22? Yes, we have Gove, Alexander, Carmichael, Duncan-Smith and Cable (honorary Scot). Being Scottish doesn’t seem to have blocked their way very much. And let’s not forget Dr Fox, who was on the cards to be the 6th Scottish cabinet member. Let’s not also forget the various Scottish PMs of the 20th and 21st centuries: Arthur Balfour, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Andrew Bonar Law, Ramsay MacDonald, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Scots have always punched above our weight in the UK, and we shall continue to do so, as long as we don’t turn our back on it for the wee-bit-hill-and-glen mentality.

7. Access to top UN power structures for Scots. – By virtue of being British, Scots have access to all the influence in the world that Britain holds. A permanent seat on the UN Security Council could be held by a Scot. In fact it was held by Sir Donald Maitland for several years. Pity that the Scottish government wants to deny future Sir Donalds (and Lady Donaldas) access to the same global status. Historically a Scot, Sir Eric Drummond, was the first Secretary General of the League of Nations, the first attempt to regulate relations among nations on a global scale.

8. Guaranteed continued membership of NATO. – The SNP as we all know used to hate NATO but now love it – rather like they used to hate Sterling but now love it, used to hate the Queen but now love her and so on. Apparently Scotland will be welcomed into the NATO defensive alliance at the same time as telling NATO to take its submarine bases out of Scotland. Not quite sure how that one will work, but they have to pretend to the people of Scotland that there will be somebody else coming to defend us once they have told the UK Army (bigger than the population of Dundee and Paisley combined) to get lost. NATO have received this with a level attitude and told them that independent Scotland would have to apply for membership.  One wonders what the terms would be?  The North Atlantic Treaty makes it clear that Scotland could be drawn into war by NATO membership.  So much for no more wars… NATO article 5: Article 5

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.‪http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm

9. Continued membership of EU on our own terms, – not those of Euro federalists. The position of Scotland relative to european-union-flag-1the EU gets more uncertain every day. The separatists maintain that we will not only be welcomed with open arms but that we will have all the same privileges in the EU currently enjoyed by the UK – a rebate, freedom from Schengen, our own strong currency. Apparently the fact the all new member states have to sign up to the full Euro federalist package of adopting the euro and signing the Schengen, has escaped them. This is all set out in black and white in the Treaty of Amsterdam which all nations acceding to the EU must sign. Better to stay in the UK and keep the EU in the position most beneficial to us.

10. No obligation to adopt Schengen. – This is the most awkward of the EU’s demands on Scotland. Since the UK and Ireland, by virtue of being part of the EU class of 1973, are exempt from Schengen, we can keep a fairly open border with our Irish neighbours. However, if Ireland were to adopt Schengen, things would get a lot more difficult. Since Ireland would have completely frontier-less exchange with the rest of the EU, the UK would have little option but to set up a border to prevent migrants entering Ireland via its Schengen portal, then simply passing through into the UK. Of course, Ireland know better. Like the UK, they’ll stay out of Schengen. But Scotland won’t have the option. The British government has made it clear  (January 2014) that a nation cannot be a member of Schengen (which Scotland would have to be) and be a member of the Common Travel Area at the same time.

The Jabberjock

Since it was Burns’ Night on Saturday we thought we would bring you a poem from a more contemporary bard

The Jabberjock

‘Twas dreich, and came the slithy tove

Tae greet and brag throughoot the wabe

Al’ snooty were the Cybernats

And the hame wrath ootgrabe.

 

“Beware the Jabberjock, ma son!

The gob which shites, the lies that catch!

Beware the Harpy bird – aye, her

The Shrieking Krankiesnatch!”

 

He tak’ his Union sword in hond

Lang time the fetid foe he sought –

So rested he by rowan tree

And stood awhile i’ thought.

 

And as in huffish mood he stood

The Jabberjock, wi’ een insane

Cam’ waddlin’ through the tulgey wood

And blethered wi’ nae shame!

 

Ain, Twa! Ain, twa! the sword o’ truth

With vorpal blade went snither-snack.

He left it deed, and wi’ the hied

He went galumphing back.

 

“And hast thou slain the Jabberjock?

Come tae ma airms, ma true Scots boy!

Oh frabjous morn! Wee Eck is gorn!”

He chortled in his joy.

 

‘Twas brilliant, and the slimy toe-

Rag no more gambolled in the glade

And all the mimsy Cybernauts

Their mome wraths had outstayed………

by Max Nix

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