Saturday 13 September 2014

To vote Yes would be worse than folly

I didn’t intend to write another blog about independence but as John Maynard Keynes said "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" The facts have changed. I passionately disagreed with independence a week ago.  But now it is absolutely clear that to vote Yes is an act of unpardonable folly. Here’s why.

There are two financial journalists I respect above all others. They are I believe two of the finest minds in Britain. Economics is not a science like physics. No one can predict everything, but that doesn’t mean they are witch doctors either. To suppose so is simply irrational.  Two pieces by Ambrose Evans Pritchard give very grave warnings from international investors and economists who probably had never heard of Alex Salmond a month ago. Credit Suisse and Nomura are obviously not controlled by the Westminster Government, nor are Asian Pension funds. To suppose they are is to succumb to a delusion and a paranoia that fed German nationalism in the years after the First World War. Andrew Lilico is someone who writes very deep commentary on economics. I frequently find myself struggling to understand some of his writing, but always know that the fault is my lack of intelligence rather than his lack of understanding. In this piece he shows that the SNP economic case is without foundation and demolishes each of their supposed arguments.

We have learned in the last week that every Scottish bank and many major companies would leave Scotland if there were a Yes vote. Imagine if any European country knew this was about to happen because of a vote in an election. Which of them would vote for it to happen? It would obviously damage Scotland economically and make us all much poorer. But more importantly if all of these companies, (who again unless you believe “Westminster” controls world economics are quite free to decide), believe that an independent Scotland is not a place they can do business, what does that tell you about what the SNP promises about independence.

Mark Carney the most respected central banker in the world has confirmed that Scotland could not be independent and have a currency union with the UK, moreover if we tried to use the pound unilaterally it would cost each of us up to £18000 pounds. Something the SNP haven’t even thought of in their calculations. Imagine what that would do to public spending plans in Scotland. Imagine how taxes would have to be raised or spending cut. Imagine how the poorest in Scotland would be hit.

Finally Deutsche Bank has just warned that a Yes vote would be a historic mistake having the potential to set off another great depression. These are Germans who are sober and perhaps a little dull. They don't tend to exaggerate. We’ve spent the last 6 years trying desperately to recover from the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s. To set off another is sheer folly. 

The world economy is tightly interconnected. The Eurozone which is still struggling is one shock away from a renewed crisis. Have you seen how poor the people of Spain and Italy are? In Spain many people get no benefits at all. How do you think these people will react if Scotland makes their situation worse?

The EU was set up in response to nationalism destroying Europe twice in the first half of the 20th Century. I know Scottish nationalists think their nationalism is different, but most Europeans will fail to see the distinction if their lives are blighted with a threat they thought they had seen off. It is for this reason that Europe’s top lawyer gave a warning this week that Scotland would not be allowed into the EU. JosephWeiler has been called the greatest lawyer in the world and he absolutely destroys the legal and moral case for an independent Scotland joining the EU.  There’s a reason for this. There is latent nationalism all over Europe. There are groups of nationalists quite small in number who would love to use the example of Scottish independence to resurrect their grievances about lost countries or boundaries that don’t include their people. If you doubt this read the following.

I have personally experienced what happens when Civic nationalism sets off latent emotions. I’ve known Ukrainian civic nationalists who just wanted to promote their culture, their language, who wanted to get on with their neighbours and create a prosperous western democracy in the EU. They told me all the same things that Scottish nationalists tell me. They also had the best intentions. But like so often their nationalism blew up in their faces.

I promise you if the sort of people who are warning now about the consequences of a Yes vote were doing the opposite and warning of the dangers of a No vote. I would vote Yes. It would be my moral duty to do so.

There are a lot of Scots who are either unable or unwilling to understand the economics that has been set out here. There are charlatans spreading lies who have no expertise about what they speak and not much education either. Nor are many Scots willing or able to understand Scotland in an international context. But it hardly needs to be said that if even a fraction of the damage that is threatened internationally happens because of a Yes vote, Scotland would hardly be welcomed with into the international community with open arms.

If you think all this is scaremongering, if you think the whole world is wrong and only you are right that "Westminster" is making them say all of this. I would seek treatment if I were you. The world isn't scaremongering, it's scared. So am I. 

I know there are thinking, intelligent Yes voters. Good people who have supported the SNP all their lives. If you understand the issues, if you realise the danger that Scotland faces, you have a clear duty to speak out. I know that you desperately want independence. But this goes beyond politics. It is absolutely clear that right now independence cannot be achieved safely. If you vote for independence knowing the damage it would do to Scotland, the poorest in Scotland most of all, you are clearly not a fool for you have the intelligence to understand what you are doing. If you put your desire for independence above the suffering of others, both here and elsewhere, you are obviously a fanatic who cannot be reasoned with. If you think it would be worth it you have lost all sense of moral values. To understand what I have just written and vote Yes is not an act of folly it is the act of a knave. 

If you like my writing, please follow the link to my book Scarlet on the Horizon. The first five chapters can be read as a preview.