Make sure the costs of Scottish independence get into the media

The letter  below was published in the Times 10 May 2011. It is extremely important that the debate on independence for Scotland  is conducted on the basis that Scotland will not be allowed to walk away from the financial obligations of the UK.  Left to his own devices Cameron will almost certainly be willing to sell-out English interests, for example, by developing a formula which did not require Scotland to take a share of the UK’s financial obligations based on their proportion of the UK population but on some spurious calculation based on need (think Barnett Formula) or a continuation of the English subsidy to Scotland for years as a “transition” payment.

Cameron was asked at Prime Minister’s Question on 11 May 2011 to confirm that the Scotland would, in the event of independence, be expected to take on a share of the UK National Debt and cease to receive any subsidy from England.  He confirmed that this was the case – you could hear the reluctance in his voice – but then said that he did not want to campaign against independence by threatening the Scots, but by persuading them that staying in the Union was the best thing for all concerned.   It was very telling that Cameron thought that the mention of Scotland taking on part of the National Debt and the ending of the English subsidy  constituted threats.  This matter needs close watching.

Sir – I have no visceral objection to Scotland leaving the Union  provided the Scots meet their UK financial obligations. This means taking on a share proportionate to Scotland’s percentage of the UK  population of the UK’s  financial obligations existing at the point
of  independence. These obligations would include the National Debt; all public  sector pensions; all PFI/PPP  contracts  and any other public debt not covered by the previous categories.

The English subsidy to Scotland – currently around £8 billion a  year – should cease and the division of the UK oil and gas fields would be  decided on the UN Law of the Sea which defines territorial waters as those  within a line drawn at the angle of the border of two countries. That would  place a significant amount of oil and gas in English waters. In
addition, the  many English public sector jobs which have been moved to Scotland should be  repatriated.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

NB  On the day my letter was published, there were several other letters in the Times which also dwelt on the question of Scotland taking on a proportionate share of the UK’s financial obligations.  This may be a signal that the Murdoch papers have decided to push this issue.

This entry was posted in Devolution, Economics, Nationhood and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Make sure the costs of Scottish independence get into the media

  1. Pingback: Make sure the costs of Scottish independence get into the media (via England calling) « English Warrior

  2. Ian Campbell says:

    The costs should certainly be spelled out, as in any divorce – and there will then be one hell of an argument.
    Also, we have to consider that if the Scots left there is no ‘UK’. It was created by the Treaty of 1707. The negotiations would have to be between England and Scotland.

  3. A significant amount of the oil would be not less than 30%. A significant amount of the gas would be about 95%. The McLeish theft of English oil and gas reserves must be recompensed and don’t forget the fishing quotas (Northumberland fisherman must be reimbursed for their loss of mackerel rights to Scotland about a decade ago).

    There’s an ‘awfa’ lot moor’ to add to the list before negotiations can begin.

  4. PS: Since the oil and gas are ‘U’K assets, Wales and Northern Ireland, and all the otehr little bits, are entitled to a share.

  5. John says:

    That’s odd I was thinking the same thing, only that England would do their best to ensure they got everything and Scotland got nothing. After all, the last time there was a nationalist surge all tanks were removed from Scottish soil to ensure a ‘Scottish army’ would get none. Before the Scottish parliament opened a swathe of Scottish waters were handed over to Westminster. There are pipes from ‘British’ oilfields that were diverted from the Scottish mainland to the English mainland. Your fears are unfounded about Scotland leaving the Union with a bag of cash. The English started hoarding the goodies for themselves decades ago.

  6. revinkevin says:

    The Barnett formula should apply to the national debt.

    • I’m afraid that applying the Barnett Formula to the ND, although it would increase Scotland’s share beyond their proportion of the UK population, would not come close to meeting their debts to England.

      • Chris says:

        Think I may have just wet myself laughing at that. Who do all of you think you are? The leaders of some great empire, it’s gone, move on, get over it and grow up.

  7. Lee says:

    I consider myself English rather than British.

    If we had a referendum on Scottish independence I think there’s a reasonable possibility that England would vote ‘yes’ and Scotland ‘no’.

    Can you force a reluctant constituent part of an existing country to become independent?

  8. Pingback: The complete “Wages of Scottish independence” | England calling

  9. Pingback: The complete “Wages of Scottish indpendence” « Living In A Madhouse

  10. Pingback: The complete “The wages of Scottish Independence” « Living In A Madhouse

  11. James S says:

    Your concerns about your “fair” share of Scotland’s oil were infact dealt with in 1999 when the marine boundary was moved from latitudinal to maintaining the angle of the land border as it hit the shore.

    6000 square miles of North Sea was handed to England without a vote or consultation which resulted in Scotland losing it’s rights to 15% of it’s oil and gas reserves taking £2.2 billions out of the Scottish economy.each year. This figure doesn’t take into account the loss of fishing rights which are obviously additional.

    The diagram below shows the new maritime border.

    This action by Westminster was not heard by any chamber of any parliament, nor the House of Lords, and indeed breaks the Treay of Union itself. Many believe upon independence this action will be reversed as it was not conducted in a legal manner. We’ll see.

    With regards to the National Debt, the SNP have already agreed to take their per capita share of ENGLAND’s debt. The bulk of this debt was amassed by the English for the English. The GERS reports confirm Scotland has been subsidising England for years, most probably decades, so please bear this in mind before you spout the nonsense the likes of Kelvin McKenzie love to share. It is a blatant lie designed by Unionists to retain the Union and “her” assets.

    Why else would Westminster try every trick in the book to keep Scotland. To the fraudulent referendum under Thatcher to the bile and misinformation that has been repeated to the Scots for decades.

    Why would a conservative Prime Minister in 1974 commission a report on the impact of Scottish Oil on the Scottish economy, accept it’s findings then section it under the official secrets act for 30 years? 6 Prime Ministers were privy to this information yet continued to withold it from the Scots.

    Could it be that they did not want the findings to come out? The fact that the report said Scotland would have an “emabarassing chronic surplus” and have arguably “the hardest currency in Europe”?

    I cannot imagine why the English parliament would not wish to have a rich neighbour on their doorstep? Able to undercut them in both corporate and personal taxes and attract industries north from England and overseas!

    Even today, after having decimated the Scottish economy with their London-centric policies, Westminster still wont release corporation tax to the Scottish government, which has proven itself far superior to Westminster in economic management despite having minimal economic levers available to it. What are they really afraid of if we’re an economic basket case as you deluded Engs clearly want to believe.


    • Chris says:

      With regards to the sea boundary changes in 1999, you are absolutely correct to assume that this will be totally ignored by Scotland upon independence as it is totally and utterly illegal in UK, European and International law. It was a laughable error on the part of a still popular New Labour government to think that they would be able to do that for England and get away with it.

  12. dave says:

    Don’t normally leave a reply, but 4 God sake let by gone’s be by gone’s, this Island in it’s diversity is what makes it great. Should I apologies 4 things that my fellow Englishmen did 200- 400 years ago, thing is my dad was a Scotsman and my great grandfather was Irish….so technically does that mean i should actually apologies 2 myself…..shit I might b totally screwed. Dangerous ground when u go down the route of a pure race

  13. Pingback: All you could ever want to know about Scottish independence | England calling

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