YOU CAN VOTE FOR INDEPENDENCE

Difficult to believe: party born to gain independence not campaigning for it in this election Alba will put much independence backbone into the Scottish Parliament Jim Sillars Ian Blackford will have to await new instructions for what to say at the next PMQs. It is official. For the  governing party this election is not about independence. Who says?  Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader and First Minister. Replying to aContinue reading "YOU CAN VOTE FOR INDEPENDENCE"

YOU CAN VOTE FOR INDEPENDENCE


Difficult to believe: party born to gain independence not campaigning for it in this election

Alba will put much independence backbone into the Scottish Parliament

Jim Sillars

Ian Blackford will have to await new instructions for what to say at the next PMQs. It is official. For the  governing party this election is not about independence. Who says?  Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader and First Minister. Replying to a question about why she was dodging the economics of independence: ‘If I was asking people a week on Thursday to vote on the question of whether or not Scotland should be independent……..I am not.’ So what, for the SNP, is this election about?  Just   Nicola. Don’t believe me? Look at the ballot papers.

The SNP choosing not to fight an independence campaign,hitching itself to a seriously flawed economic policy which Nicola is either lying about not existing, or worse, ignorant ofits implications  (see below), make it imperative to get the maximum number of Alba MSPs into the Scottish Parliament, to put a parliamentary spine up the movement. 

The SNP, as presently constructed and led, is unfit for the task of advancing the cause of gaining sovereignty. Step forward spokesman Alyn Smith MP, stating that the SNP would ‘totally’ sign up to the euro as the price of re-entry to the EU.  That the SNP should declare such a supine negotiating stance is at a level of juvenile stupidity.  

What price in  sovereignty would  Scotland pay for this declared “euro  submission” economic policy? Surrendering it.  What marks Norway out (not in the EU) and Sweden (in  EU but not  the euro)  is that unlike the euro-membership states, they have their own currency, monetary policy and full fiscal policy.  Surrender control of those key economic levers and you cannot have an independent economic programme, because you don’t make the rules.  That is the lesson Italy, a much bigger country than ours, has learned. Greece discovered it earlier. 

Who were the economists who advised the SNP to adopt this policy?  Where are the papers setting out the analysis that would lead to such a decision?  Who was the skilled experienced negotiator who advised making such a foolish statement on such a fundamental, central, economic position?   We await their identities. A long wait, I suspect, because the Sturgeon/Alyn Smith euro position has all the hallmarks of policy made on the hoof. 

Let me remind you, that the SNP claims a membership of 100,000, among which there must be an abundance of talent and experience.  It has been the Scottish Government, with thousands of civil servants at its disposal. It has had 61 MSPs, and has 44.MPs. The latter with substantial research support in the House of Commons.  With all that in its favour, how is it possible for the SNP to stumble into the biggest and most important economic policy of all – joining the euro – without any consideration of its consequences?

Compare that with the Alba approach. The serious people’s approach. The tough pre-negotiating approach of declaring to the UK government that its debt is just that, it’s debt and its alone.  This isn’t policy on the hoof. The Alba paper, author Jim Walker, is a careful analysis of what is the UK debt, the issue of assets and liabilities, and why our negotiators must reject an independent Scotland being lumbered with a big share of Quantitative Easing (QE). Now, there’s a couple of words calculated to bamboozle the public.  QE debt is owed by the UK government to the Bank of England, which is owned by the UK government. Alice in wonderland stuff. In short, Alba is saying “the funny money is all yourswe’re not taking any share of it.” Read the Alba paper: intellectually sound. 

But there are other important comparisons between Alba and SNP which those with the second vote should consider. Brexit and the pandemic created a new paradigm in which Scotland now lives; and that calls for a new look at where we wish to locate ourselves in Europe – and Europe does not automatically mean the EU. It is a large part of that continent, but not the only part. 

Taking the SNP submissive approach to the EU on the basis of “let us in at any price you want us to pay” is not in Scotland’s national interest. We require a dual-policy: time to rebuild our economy to give us negotiation-strength, while at the same time gaining access to the EU single market, but in a way that gives us future options.   

That is the thought-out position of Alba on EFTA. First, even before independence, creating close relations with EFTA states in the Nordic Council by having the Scottish Parliament join it as an observer; building the case to join EFTA when independent, and then the EEA, and thus gain access to the EU single market; working on policy to make the “sterling transition” a short one as we create a Scottish currency and take full control of monetary policy, freeing up any constraints the sterling transition might have on our fiscal policy.  A grown up approach. And who in Alba is capable of such a policy development along with its membership?  Alex Salmond, economist, Jim Walker economist, George Kerevaneconomist. Critically important in the development of an economic policy pre-independence, is that Alba is not theclosed intellectual shop the SNP has become, but is open to others with the necessary expertise, as it has shown with its policies on education and housing. 

Here is a final question for supporters of independence with that second vote. If a general election for Scotland’s Parliament is not the time to urge people to cast their vote for independence, when is the time?   A question you need to ask the SNP.  One you don’t need to ask of Alba. 

MY COMMENT

Thanks to Jim for setting out in the clearest fashion the economic differences between the SNP and ALBA. Alba rejects the Growth Commission report and wants a Scottish currency quickly after Independence.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland

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