18 Jun ‘No’ vote to independence risks population exodus
Ukip leader Nigel Farage has warned that Scots face ‘starving’ should
they vote for independence
Scottish News: ‘No’ vote to independence risks population exodus
Fear of food banks and a belief that Scottish resources have been squandered by Westminster may contribute to a mass exodus of people from Scotland in search of a better life should Scots vote ‘no’ in next year’s independence referendum.
Many Scots will leave Scotland for a chance of a better life should Scots opt to say ‘no’ to independence in next year’s referendum according to a survey of ST readers. Britain’s rapid economic decline and austerity appear to be behind these fears along with the belief that Scottish standards of living will plummet with food banks becoming more widespread should Scots’ voters elect to remain ruled from Westminster.
We asked: “If Scots vote ‘no’ to independence, do you think a lot of Scots will emigrate?”. Surprisingly, a full 48 percent of
respondents answered ‘yes’, followed by those who answered ‘Don’t know’ on 28 percent and those who answered ‘no’ on 24 percent.
The findings run contrary to received wisdom on the subject which warns of a potential exodus as a consequence of voting ‘yes’ to independence. The research reinforces the view of Nationalists that the fear of Scots emigrating after independence is scaremongering by the anti-independence parties.
Despite our findings being tempered by the fact that ST’s readers, on balance, are more likely to be in favour of independence than not, our survey is, nevertheless, an indication that the subject is not clear cut one way or the other.
One indication as to why Scots might leave should the nation remain subject to rule from London is that many of our respondents believe that their standard of living will continue to rapidly decline unless the prospect of independence is grasped.
As many as 84 percent of respondents answer ‘yes’ to the question: “If Scots vote ‘no’ to independence, do you think that your standard of living in Britain will fall?” Only 9 percent believed their standard of living would not fall while 6 percent did not know.
These concerns over the Westminster austerity programme and economic decline are now being capitalised on by the Yes Scotland campaign which is distributing literature sourcing Scottish Trades Union Congress figures, and warns: “The Cost of Westminster…The average Scot is £2,229 worse of than 5 years ago…Since 2008, real wages in Scotland have fallen by a tenth.”
Perhaps even more concerning is the number of respondents who worry that extreme poverty will become a more prevalent feature of Scottish life should there be a ‘no’ vote to independence.
Asked “If Scots vote ‘no’ to independence, do you think the rise of food banks across Scotland will continue to grow?”. Those who thought more poor Scots would be driven to access food banks if Westminster governance continues accounted for 88 percent of respondents. Only 6 percent said ‘no’ with 5 percent unsure.
These findings are highly significant after Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, today (Tuesday) claimed that independence would lead to a “bankrupt, starving Scotland”. Mr Farage’s case may have resonated more widely were it not for the fact that an increasing number of Scots are already impoverished and hungry as part of the Union.
North Sea oil: Fool’s Gold
Mr Farage’s description of an independent Scotland as a country that would be left “bankrupt” and “starving” – is far from the image conveyed by the ‘yes’ campaign of a prosperous and fairer country facilitated by an abundance of natural resources – namely oil, gas and renewable energy sources.
However, when asked, a staggering 92 percent of ST readers, believe that Scotland’s energy wealth has been systematically stolen.
The findings evoke memories of the McCrone Report which predicted that oil revenue would have conferred upon an independent Scotland one of the hardest currencies in the world as well as a large tax surplus – however the then Labour
government at Westminster slapped a D-notice on the report making the information classified over fears it could give a further boost to the SNP’s policy of Scottish independence, and presumably threaten a steady income into the treasury underpinning UK government debt.
Officially, the UK government took an estimated £6,530mn in direct oil taxes in 2012-13 plus £6bn in income tax, national insurance and corporation tax from supply companies in 2011-12. corporation tax paid by UK companies operating in Scotland’s North Sea accounts for circa 25 percent of the total UK corporation tax receipts.
However, nationalists argue that such benefits to the UK Treasury are systematically underplayed – an argument recently given credence by former Labour Chancellor Denis Healey, who in an interview withHolyrood Magazine admitted that Scotland’s oil and gas potential was deliberately underestimated – through Margaret Thatcher’s fears of a growing Scottish nationalist movement. Indeed, many believe that Mrs Thatcher’s ‘economic miracle’ was paid for by oil.
As part of the drive towards convincing Scots of the merits of independence, evidence continues to be unearthed surrounding Westminster’s role in misleading Scots over the value and forecasts relating to this abundant natural resource.
Further research by the SNP has now lead to accusations that the Tories misled Scots back in 1974 with promises to create an oil development fund which they subsequently failed to deliver.
With a UK that is facing austerity, increasing unemployment, financial sector fraud, and declining living standards – could an independent Scotland, equipped with its natural resources – as Prof Gavin McCrone stated – become a formidable economy?
With an equivalent population, similar geographical location and natural resources the obvious example is Norway, which thanks to North Sea oil and gas is the richest economy in the world per capita. When asked why their country is so prosperous, the automatic answer given by Norwegians is oil and gas.
Asked here how they would respond to the hypothetical proposal that their government give their natural resources away, the reaction by Norwegians is one of incredulity.
Had the McCrone Report become public knowledge, argue Nationalists, Scotland could have had access to the same opportunities and their citizens just as wealthy.
It is estimated that in the Norwegian oil fund there is enough wealth to give each and every citizen £50,000 each. Compared to Scotland’s share of UK debt, the Norwegian approach offers much to ponder.
Many independence supporters therefore argue that remaining within the Union would mean that Scotland’s oil wealth would never benefit the Scottish people, however under independence the opposite would be true.
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