Several friends posted an article on Facebook this week that related to the Scottish independence referendum – Why an independent Scotland could become the richest country on Earth. Some of them don’t often post on politics so this article would appear to have struck a chord, the title does surely attract some intrigue even for those who have only been following the independence debate from a distance.
I had a read myself and was happy to see how it captures some key points on the merits of Scotland being in the UK or being independent. In the UK we are part of one of the most centralised government systems in the world – this system is failing us in Scotland, much like it is failing people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Essentially the article articulates 2 key points – firstly that size matters and that in the case of governance, small is better: ‘This is because there is a direct correlation between the size of the state and the wealth of the people – the bigger the former, the smaller the latter. The more power is concentrated, the less wealth is spread.’ I agree wholeheartedly with that observation and I’ve made various points to that effect in previous blog posts, a couple of examples:
- From my post on Trade & Business: ‘A major development in the modern globalised world is that businesses from small countries have equivalent access to the global market that was previously dominated by global superpowers (a net effect of this being reduced influence for the UK, as demonstrated by the deconstruction of the Empire). The list of countries with the most global trade per capita is dominated by relatively small nations with Germany being the only country in the top 20 with a population >15 million. The UK actually appears at 36th on this list, 1 place behind Gabon – an African country with a population of 1.5million, making a mockery of the claim that the UK is somehow uniquely placed to enable global business. I call this conclusive evidence that it is possible for smaller countries to have global business influence and I do not believe there are any barriers that would prevent Scotland from very quickly joining this list.’
- From my post on the opportunities that the Oil & Gas sector presents for Scotland: ‘Not only is Oil & Gas the UK’s single largest industrial investor but one third of all UK industrial investment is in Oil & Gas! This is fundamental and very significant, but the media have neglected to provide this context in the regular reports on Scotland’s potential in the event of a Yes vote in next September’s referendum. The UK economy isn’t as diverse as the anti-independence campaign claim, but that’s part of the problem with our big central UK government – it is so massive that very few people know what’s what and the result is that our politicians have become unaccountable and therefore perpetual failure from Westminster is tolerated.’
The second key point in the article is that Scotland has all of the required attributes to be a major success as an independent nation. We’re an optimal size to strike the right connectivity between government and society; further to that we have an abundance of natural resources – water, a healthy balance of urban and rural land, mild climate (with wind which can be harnessed for energy purposes), oil & gas and whisky. Just this week, the Business for Scotland site provided the statistics showing that Scotland’s export business was worth £100billion in 2012. I’ve been lucky enough to have circuited the planet many times – part of the reason I’m so passionate about the need for change is because I know that Scotland is better placed than any other that I’ve seen to prosper.
This September Scotland will appear at a crossroads – one that will allow Scotland to use the vast wealth that we have to transform our society… we can ensure that public schools have class sizes that are closer to 20 than 30, we can create a minimum wage that allows every working person to enjoy a good standard of living rather than rely on food banks for their daily meal, we can have a system that trains people to gain the skills necessary to get a job that they’re proud of rather than force them to take a zero hours contract. We have a lot to gain with a Yes vote: