Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ex Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown issues a dire warning on the cost of independence, SNP Govt need to start public sector reform sharpish

Dear All

Awhile ago I went to the Big Debate held at the BBC in Glasgow, very interesting since I had never been in the BBC before.

The debate was centred on should Scotland be independent, speak for the unionists were Anas Sarwar and Ruth Davidson, opposing them Patrick Harvie and Nicola Sturgeon.

Surprisingly or maybe not, Patrick Harvie emerged form that debate very well indeed when he said that no one could foretell the future, it was refreshing honesty.

The greatest weapon in the independence debate is the truth, for example, Nicola Sturgeon was blown out of the water by Ruth Davidson when Davidson produced a letter that the SNP hadn’t as a government or opposition contacted the EU about Scottish membership.

She used the truth.

Jaws dropped in some quarters of the nationalist community, except mine, I knew for sometime that there was something entirely wrong going on behind the scenes.

Just as I was able to state prior to the election the SNP won’t win Glasgow, I am able to state they aren’t going to win independence, not the way they carry on at present.

As a side issue, Gordon Brown has returned to the political fray to stick his ten cents into the debate with an impassioned warning that independence after a referendum in 2014 would mean either higher taxes or cuts to public spending.

You may have noticed that George Laird was saying that the second term of this SNP Government should be about public sector reform.

In politics it helps to be visionary.

George Laird, humble Glaswegian pottering around the place.

Gordon Brown is as an ex former Prime Minister seeking his fortune and his career continuing by attending the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Tony Blair does something similar to earn a crust….. only his is a bigger crust.

Brown says that it is important to keep the Scottish and English qualities that had made Britain; one of the most fair countries in the world.

Britain isn’t fair; the gap between rich and poor is growing, high unemployment, social deprivation and it’s corrupt.

Recently some SNP Ministers have said that independence would end poverty in Scotland.

I don't know anyone serious about politics who takes that seriously, no country that is independence has ended poverty. I am to believe Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon has a plan?

If they do could they please send me a copy, so I can go through every nut and bolt!

Brown has also dismissed the suggestion that the SNP could keep the monarchy, sterling and Nato membership if the country goes it alone and "pretend this would somehow soften the blow".

To look that these specific claims, an indy Scotland could keep the monarchy, personally I am in favour of it, we could use sterling but the Westminster Government wouldn’t give us lender of last resort status, so that a real problem if trouble hits. Then there is the issue of Nato, Scotland would have to join Nato, at present there is said to be a change in the anti Nato stance by the SNP.

And not before time, 30 years of getting it wrong, week in week out.

Anyway Brown said:

"If you break up the political union and the pooling and sharing involved in that, it's clear you will either have to cut public expenditure massively or tax people more. There is no escape from that."

He added:

"My worry about fiscal autonomy, which is now being proposed as the next stage of devolution, is that fiscal autonomy means more taxes in Scotland, not in a progressive way at all but simply to fill the gap that's left by not pooling and sharing the resources of the UK."

It is a reasonable point to make, however problems can be solved, the SNP Government hasn’t prepared for independence; all the stuff that should be done and any reasonable person would expect doesn’t exist.

If I said what would the make up of the government in an independent Scotland look like?

No one knows, no one has a blueprint, and no white paper or consultation documents naturally.

Brown’s argument is in part true, things in Britain are better than a banana republic, but he wobbled when he said Scotland brought to the Union its own qualities of justice and community rooted in the democratic intellect.

Try saying that in Pollok, Possil, Drumchapel, Castlemilk, Easterhouse and the numerous other sink estates where people have been abandoned and treated appallingly.

He cites the "pooling and sharing" of risks and resources, highlighting the crisis in Scottish banks RBS and HBOS in the same breath as Scots-born gold medal-winning Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who represented Team GB.

But less we forget, the taxpayer got stuck with bill, services suffer and the effects trickle downwards. True, Scottish Olympic athletes have benefited from the funding, but does Joe Bloggs to the same tune?

I think not.

He further added:

"Break up the pooling and sharing and we will not be able to do what we have done with the Olympics."

That isn’t a reason to argue for independence………….. games!

Gordon Brown has done very well out of the Union, and of course his job depends on it continuing which is fair enough, self interest. There are good reasons for independence and there are good reasons for remaining in the UK. It will be for people to present their case based on fact and not fiction.

At present Scotland isn’t ready for independence.

And it will not be bounced into it either.

Finally, Gordon Brown sunk the UK, many people know he sold off Britain’s Gold at a reduced rate below market price, he failed to regulate the banks and generally his record was based on allowing ponzi schemes to run in London which spectacularly burst.

Hence we are all up shit creek without a paddle.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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