Scottish independence: the economic long and short of it

Scottish independence: the economic long and short of it






BuxCPOgIgAA2FeYIf Scots vote in the upcoming referendum with just their hearts, it will be an easy win for the Yes campaign.  However, we are deep thinkers and understanding the logical case for or against independence is critical.  Getting beyond rhetoric, spin, and snide remarks to get to a robust rationale from each side has been complicated.  With decision time fast approaching, rationalizing the intertwined arguments is key for every voter.   So here’s one way to look at Scottish Independence that focuses on the ultimate driver that affects all other issues – the economic rationale.

Scotland is a nation with strong pragmatic creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit that has enabled us to turn new ideas and inventions into practical applications and economic value.  We have a deeply held belief in creating a robust social safety net that protects our people.  We believe in balanced government services available to all who need them: national healthcare for all, social programs that support those in need, and robust education and research that creates future business and industrial leadership.

Indeed, our universities are recognized globally both for education and research, with companies and students traveling from around the world to benefit.  Unfortunately, more of our Scottish-born young people with that education and leadership leave Scotland than we would like, looking for opportunities in the rest of the UK and beyond.  Few come back.  With a strong vibrant economy, we can leverage our thought leadership to support the social system we believe in, create opportunities for those young people who wish to stay in Scotland, and create opportunities to carry the flag abroad, but to the benefit of Scotland and not someone else.

A short term transition is worth a better future

Scotland-independence-economyIn the short-term an independent Scotland (iScotland) will most certainly face challenges: currency implications, EU negotiations, defense transitions.  All solutions to these questions may be a challenge compared to the inaction of a No vote, but are in no way insurmountable challenges.

In the event of independence, a currency union with the rest of the UK (rUK) actually is in the best interest of all UK member countries, but will require compromise in policy. Today’s opinions denying a currency union are presented by leaders without consultation with government or the people.  With a strong mandate, iScotland can negotiate with rUK for a currency union or alternative that is in the best interest of all parties concerned.

iScotland will retain membership in the EU.  Otherwise it would send an unthinkable signal to the rest of Europe for a willing 40-year member of the community to be effectively expelled.  We will need to negotiate for continuation of the rebate and Euro opt-out, but even Westminster experts have stated that membership and its benefits will continue during the negotiation process even if it stretches beyond 2016.

A Trident free Scotland replaced by a reasonably robust defence force is a worthy and appropriate goal.  Stable defense capabilities are in the interests of UK and NATO alike, requiring a well-planned and negotiated transition that protects not just jobs and local economies but the critical integrity of the defense of all our nations as well.

Vote Yes to build a better economy

20589324But these are the underlying enablers of economies, not long-term goals in themselves.  Currency is the vehicle by which we drive commerce, the EU enables more efficient trade and operations between members, and defense protects our economic way of life rather than becoming our way of life.   The lifeblood of a stable and prosperous society is the industrial economy we create providing jobs for our people, funding for our society, and giving us a clear role in the world. Hence, we must look at the long-term view.

Over several centuries, Scotland has been at the forefront of practical application of breakthrough technology for economic value generation.  From economic thinking in the Age of Enlightenment, through industrial labor revolution, steel and shipbuilding and most recently high tech, life sciences and software.  We’ve always been punching beyond our weight in the creation and application of new ideas.  Our steel and our ships were the best in the world, our electronics manufacturing was second to none, and we have shown continuous thought leadership in health and life sciences.

But when economic times get difficult, instead of taking action to continue the competitive nature of Scotland’s industries, the last 40 years has seen those industries eroded by a lack of effective investment and incentives to build a robust competitive base.  Steel and shipbuilding are all but gone, and Scots continue to drive electronics manufacturing but not on these shores.  When times get tough, Scotland has borne the brunt of economic decline without adequate forward planning to protect and evolve the next competitive alternative.

Independent Scotland will have all of the necessary powers to invest and grow our presence in the international economic community in a way that we can’t today.  With full leverage of the tax revenue Scotland generates today, combined with cohesive directed investment and tax and subsidy incentives to drive inward global investment, we can grow and sustain our industrial and thought leadership in the sectors the Scottish Government has already identified:  Life Sciences, Food and Drink, Software and Digital, Electronics, Energy (Carbon and Renewables) and of course Tourism.

It is not in the interest of rUK to devolve job generating powers to Scotland for fear those same jobs will be lost from itself.  That’s why we have control over spending and the ability to increase taxes on our people, but will never get the devolved ability to create greater competitive incentives for inward foreign investment.   The only way to achieve those powers is through independence.

Scotland has an abundance of natural resources, the most controversial of which is Oil.  Whether you believe in the most conservative or the most liberal estimates, it is an asset that will eventually run out.  Scotland cannot be an economy built on Oil forever, but as other oil-rich countries are doing, we can use the revenues while we can to invest in the next generation of industries that will help our economy and society endure.  If there is more than we expect, or new assets are discovered, then it will be all the better to build an even stronger economy.  But if not, then the quicker we use the assets we have to invest in future economic growth sectors, the better.

Conclusion

‘No’ supporters will say the economics don’t add up.  And if we continue with the status quo, they are right.  We won’t make the investment to grow Scotland’s economic base to the full, and the trade-offs will rarely be in Scotland’s favour.  In the short-term there are economic questions that can only be resolved after the Scottish people have demonstrated their will and desire to be independent.  If we don’t seize the economic finances, powers and assets we have within our grasp through this referendum today, Scotland’s long-term economics will never add up. We will continue to see gradual decline of our core industries, a drain of intellectual capability from our shores, and erosion of the values of the society we believe in.

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Category: Economic Strengths


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Original Source: BusinessForScotland

Jemma Neville: Journey To Yes

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On a recent journey, I read the historical romance ‘Winter in Madrid’ set in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 – 1939, where the central character, Bernie Piper, fights against fascism in the International Brigades. A chance conversation with my grandfather about the book revealed that three of my own ancestors – three brothers from Glasgow – also served in the International Brigade and all survived to tell the story. Except that their story wasn’t heard or retold down the generations because of the fear of association with perceived left-wing extremism in post-war Britain.

But here in Scotland in 2014, we aren’t shying away from our views. We’re starting to look around, at one another, and at ourselves and saying ‘Aye, yes’ a bit louder than ‘Aye, but’ or ‘I dinnae ken’. Aye to welcoming new people to Scotland, aye to living in harmony with our natural environment, aye to free childcare, aye to ending the gender pay gap, aye to rural land reform, aye to better mental and physical health, and aye to a rich and diverse expression of self through arts and culture.

Personal narratives are complex. We all have many. And feeling at home is an imagined construct of all these overlapping, interwoven and sometimes conflicting lived experiences. I want to live in a home country that welcomes multiculturalism, internationalism and generations of new Scots born of diverse heritage; not weighted down by the flag-waving, little-Scotlander tat of Brigadoon and Bannockburn.

My own journey to Yes has been one of slow, tentative steps. I went to my first National Collective session in April. An evening of poetry, beat-boxing and storytelling with young and old alike is my kind of politics. It is a creative, playful politics where 5 minute plays and Lady Gaga spoofs can attract those of us that are instinctively turned off by aggressive, masculine party politics and the debating chamber.

Yet this is serious stuff. Voting will be a head over heart decision. The Yes Scotland campaign momentum has won over the skeptical undecided like me to Yes with pragmatism over patriotism. It has been overtly Scottish in character – canny, cautious and creative. Contrary to how it is reported in the media, the Yes campaign is much broader than the SNP and a smug Alex Salmond, and includes the Green Party, many from Labour and those of no party political affiliation.

Among most declared ‘yes’ voters I know, the journey to get here has been a gradual one full of surprises and by no means a foregone destination. Scotland has changed forever in confidence, positivity and learning to let go since the start of the Referendum debate. But the Westminster bubble just doesn’t seem to get it.

It doesn’t get that devolution has brought internationally-recognised best in class policy making on human rights, climate justice and public health. The anti-immigrant, anti-disabled, anti-Europe blame culture of current UK politics that pits the poor against the prejudiced doesn’t resonate with our small, under-populated land of five million that famously boasts more pandas (2) than Tory MPs (1). And to northern England friends looking across the border with envy, you know that you’re welcome anytime.

It is time to recognise that small can be beautiful in a global, interconnected world. A new Scotland, free from the collective angst of democratic deficit could refocus its energies on the areas where we can truly make an impact – a socially just welfare state, universal education, sustainable energy – and to cut free of nuclear weapons, disproportionate military spend, and tax breaks for the privileged.

These are all things that I think Bernie Piper from the Winter in Madrid book would have agreed worth fighting for. As would my grandfather, but he’s voting no. And that’s another story.

Jemma Neville
@jemma_tweets
National Collective

Originally published on http://jemmajournal.com

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Jemma Neville: Journey To Yes
National Collective

Rory MacLure, Student: Yes – A Declaration, An Undertaking, An Opportunity

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With the most monumental decision in our history rapidly approaching, many Scots will be seeking information regarding the consequences of the options presented to them. Many will look to the two major campaigns to answer their questions and concerns. Unfortunately, in most cases voters will be presented with a pitiful squabble over trivial issues, which will only muddy the waters. The real problem is that the debate has been misdirected and is focused on minor issues rather than on ideology; on the short term problems, rather than long term goals. In an attempt to combat this, I have provided a brief summary of the reason I will be voting Yes, as well as try to dispel some of the major myths that have sprung up during the debate.

A rift has been growing between Westminster and Holyrood, one which is likely to continue expanding, even after the aggravation of this debate has died down. While the UK government has pursued a campaign of destructive austerity, the Scottish government has defended its public services and remained dedicated to the wellbeing of its citizens. Scotland has refused to introduce tuition fees so as to continue investing in Scotland’s youth. This has ensured that Scotland will remain a competitive nation; one which can rise to meet the challenges of the future. Westminster, however, has done the opposite and doesn’t show any intention of reversing their decision, regardless of who is in power. This move, introduced with the intention of cutting costs, may actually have cost more than it has saved. This policy has refused many of the UK’s best and brightest the chance to achieve their full potential, simply because of their financial circumstances. This has also diminished the health and strength of the nation as a whole; all the while costing the taxpayer more money. Scotland abolished prescription charges in 2011, further demonstrating its commitment to providing care to those in need, regardless of their circumstances, as well as their understanding of the most vulnerable in our society. Meanwhile, prescription charges have risen in England and are set to do so again next year. Once again, this shows the UK’s failure to care for those in our society most desperately in need of help; these people should not have to worry about how they will pay for their medication. These are just two examples of the UK’s failure to address the growing divides and stark inequalities within our society. In fact, economic inequality has recently risen to levels not seen since the 1930s. According to the Equality Trust the bottom fifth of society accounts for only 8% of the UK’s total income, whereas the top fifth accounts for 44%, illustrating a startling imbalance within our country. Of course, this is not guaranteed to be remedied in an independent Scotland, but there is virtually no chance of improvement in our present circumstances. Our system has stagnated, with all major parties rejecting any possible alternatives to current economic policy, still thoroughly dominated by Thatcherite economics. The stark contrast between the desires held by the citizens of Scotland and the policies enacted by the UK government, which claims to represent and serve us, reveals a near irreconcilable conflict between the two. It is my belief that for Scotland to fully embrace the hopes and ambitions of its people, we must reclaim control of our future from those who place so little value upon it.

Much of this debate has focused upon the negative aspects of separation and unity, as political debates often will. Little time is truly spent illustrating the opportunities afforded by independence. For the first time in Scotland’s history the power to shape our nation will rest solely in our hands. There has never been a time in which Scotland has been ruled by an independent and democratically elected government. Imagine what we as a nation could achieve if we had that power. This would begin with the crafting of a written constitution, the first in the history of Scotland or the UK. Our constitution will act as the guiding light of the nation, both protecting and empowering the Scottish people. Ensuring that we are a nation dedicated to equality, human rights and the freedom of its citizens; one which treats these rights and freedoms as a gift, not as an inconvenience. This will serve as a strong foundation upon which we can construct our new country. A country which values and protects its public services, that provides care and assistance where needed, regardless of wealth or status. A country which will nurture and solidify its future through investment in its youth at all levels of education; allowing our best and brightest to thrive thereby enriching all levels of society. A country which treasures its natural heritage and works to preserve and defend our environment so that future generations may benefit from it, just as we have. These are just some of the possibilities presented to us by independence and, in most cases, only by independence.

Of course, opponents of an independent Scotland claim we cannot achieve the promise of independence, that we would wither and die without Westminster rule. This is simply not true. The idea that Scotland, a developed, wealthy, and educated nation could not sustain itself is as erroneous as it is manipulative. Besides our vast oil resources, Scotland boasts a strong tourism industry, five of the world’s top two-hundred universities, strong exports such as whisky, and many other strong, diverse economic assets. Naysayers argue that we would have to raise taxes in order to pay for our necessities as well as our aspirations, but is this a bad thing? The public doesn’t seem to think so. A recent poll by ComRes found that 49% of UK voters were in favour of raising taxes to pay for services such as the NHS, with only 33% saying the opposite. That being said, I concede we will not transform into a booming economic powerhouse the instant we become independent. There will, of course, be some turbulence following the shift of powers, as is only to be expected from such a transition. But it must be stressed that this would be temporary and we must focus on our long term goals and our shared ideology. However, even in this state of evolution, Scotland’s credit rating is predicted to drop only slightly below that of the UK and is predicted to rise again in the coming years. Claiming Scotland is incapable of sustaining itself without the UK is an insult to the people of Scotland. This allegation clearly demonstrates the disdain with which the UK government and Better Together views Scotland. Not only that, it demonstrates the ignorant and dismissive stance taken towards smaller nations and any alternatives to British politics. This close-minded attitude is the reason why politics in the UK has stalled and is why the people of Scotland are hungry for change. Scotland unquestionably has the resources, the talent and the will to enact that change and create a competitive and fair society.

There are a number of myths created in opposition of Scottish independence, particularly the relationship Scotland would have with the remainder of the UK. The most publicised of these is, of course, the issue of currency. The No campaign has asserted that Scotland would not be able to use the pound if we were to become independent. The UK government and all major UK parties have echoed this claim, but is there any truth to it or is this just another scare tactic? Frankly, not allowing Scotland to use the pound would be just as detrimental to the UK’s economy as to Scotland’s. Following independence the UK and Scotland would have strong trade ties as well as thousands of our respective citizens crossing the border on a regular basis. If the UK were to prevent us from using the pound we would be forced to create our own currency. This would mean that, as well as engaging in cross border trades, businesses would have to conduct cross currency trades. This will create a number of significant barriers to trade and damage what should be a strong and profitable relationship. The additional obstacles this would cause for businesses on both sides of the border, as well as our respective economies, is too great a hazard to the UK. They would not jeopardise trade with their closest and potentially strongest trade partner and the UK government knows this. Not to mention the problems it would cause for the thousands Scottish and English citizens that would be crossing the border on a regular basis, all of whom would direct their irritation at the government. For this same reason we will not be seeing border controls between our two countries, despite the claims of Theresa May. Indeed, many of the threats made by the No campaign and Westminster are utterly transparent due to the serious damage it would cause the UK if they enacted them. The UK is not going to harm itself in order to harm Scotland. No political party is foolish enough to sour relations with a new nation as well as the electorate simply out of spite. So, whenever claims are made that Scotland will face all manner of reprisals and restrictions from the UK government, remember this: the UK, like any other country, is governed by self-interest and would never weaken its own position for no benefit.

On the 18th of September the people of Scotland will be presented with the most important opportunity of this generation, perhaps of any generation. A chance to build a new nation; one based upon the values and principles of the Scottish people. However, with this chance comes a great responsibility, one which does not end at the polling station, nor will it at any point in our lifetimes. Voting Yes is simply the beginning of the journey on which we will embark. It is our collective declaration that we are ready to forge our own destiny, a declaration that we are ready and willing to rise to meet this undertaking. It is the duty of the Scottish people to ensure that their government and nation embodies the dreams and hopes which we all hold dear. This solemn democratic duty, is one which I truly believe we can realize. The spirit and passion that has been ignited by this debate must be carried forward into the future, must be kept alive within all of us, so that it may be passed on to future generations and to inspire the peoples of the world. This passion and dedication will be the lifeblood our new country and will bind us together as a nation and as a people. Remember, what we do with this chance will change not only Scotland and the UK, but the whole world. Let’s show the world we’re ready for this opportunity and vote Yes.

Rory MacLure
@RSM317
National Collective

Image from Simon Baker

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Rory MacLure, Student: Yes – A Declaration, An Undertaking, An Opportunity
National Collective

Assessing the earthquake


Assessing the earthquake


If anyone was still harbouring any doubts as to the significance of last night’s poll news, they would surely have been dispelled by this serious, thought-provoking and perceptive analysis on the BBC news channel’s “The Papers” roundup last night.

Of course, the poll might be a rogue. It might just be a temporary bounce from the second Salmond-Darling debate. And it still shows No in front. The Yes campaign will have to redouble its efforts in the last couple of weeks, not start congratulating itself.

But the one thing we can surely all agree on, right across the political divides, is that the most important aspect is whether someone might at some point have been slightly rude to Andrew Lloyd Webber on Twitter or not.

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Source: Wing Over Scotland

A surprising development


A surprising development


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The rather sour Times leader linked in the tweet doesn’t actually specify the numbers, and the poll isn’t officially released yet as we write this, but we’d been hearing rumours of a Y47 N53 (excl. DKs) for a little while beforehand, so it looks like they were true.

Less than a month ago, YG stood at Y39 N61. If these numbers are confirmed, that’s a colossal 8% swing in three weeks, from the most No-friendly pollster around.

Game, as they say, on.

mcsqueaky

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Source: Wing Over Scotland

Bringing the smackdown


Bringing the smackdown


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Source: Wing Over Scotland

Brass neck polished again


Brass neck polished again


The Daily Record, 27 Aug 2014:

“[Gordon] Brown said SNP proposals to cut corporation tax would benefit large companies, including energy firms.

‘The biggest beneficiaries of the SNP’s tax policy are the shareholders and directors of the privatised energy companies in Scotland,” he said. ‘”When you look at the Scottish National Party policies, inequality and poverty will survive until doomsday if Alex Salmond is all that confronts it.”

And Mr Brown again in the Observer, 31 August 2014:

“You’ve got to look at what the SNP is proposing. They’re dining out on Scottish traditions of equality to suggest that Scotland will always be more just in the policies we implement, but their only tax proposal is to cut corporation tax for the richest companies in the country.

They want to cut corporation tax by 3p in the pound. That’s less for health and pensions, not more.”

Veteran readers will know where we’re going next.

northrock2

The Telegraph, 1 May 2008 (eight months after the run on Northern Rock, and three months after the stricken bank had been taken into public ownership, and therefore well into the ruinous financial crisis created by the banking industry):

“Gordon Brown attempted to salvage some support from Britain’s business community with a pledge to reduce corporate taxation ‘when we are able’ and to simplify the tax regime.

The Prime Minister, making his first speech to the Institute of Directors’ annual convention since 2004, said he understood that Britain’s tax regime must remain competitive. ‘We have cut corporation tax twice and I want to go further,’ he said. ‘We will reduce the tax again when we are able.’

We know we mention this quite a lot. But it really is astonishing that Mr Brown has the temerity to keep flogging such bare-faced hypocrisy to the people of Scotland.

He’s protected, of course, by the fact that his speaking events are closed to the public (only invited and vetted Labour faithful are allowed to attend), and he never deigns to submit to anything that might remotely risk being a hostile interview. Instead, tame pseudo-journalists in the Labour/Union-supporting press unfailingly allow the former Chancellor to trot the line out unchallenged.

So every time he repeats it, it falls to us to serve as their memory.

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Source: Wing Over Scotland

Top 10 Reasons Why Scotland Could Be Great On The World Stage

1. Nuclear weapons
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Image from Bob Bob

The example set by a nation voluntarily ridding itself of nuclear weapons cannot be underestimated. The United Kingdom, while publicly claiming nuclear weapons keep the country safe, essentially uses them as a means of maintaining international prestige and as a bulwark against any future move to remove them from their permanent status as members of the UN Security Council. In removing Trident from Scottish territory this is a tacit rejection of such 19th century power politics in favour of a more common-sense approach to disarmament and internationalism.

The current negotiations with Iran on her nuclear programme are slightly hamstrung by the hypocrisy of five of the six members of the contact group having nuclear weapons and making little or no attempt to disarm themselves, despite the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty explicitly stating that they should do so. With nuclear armed states on earth so scarce there are precious few opportunities for nations to set an example and stand up for disarmament. Scotland has this opportunity and should take it.

Is there a better way to announce your re-emergence onto the world stage?

2. Small is beautiful.
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Image from cometstarmoon

Ditching post-imperial notions of great power status and meaningless mantras such as “punching above our weight” will normalise international relations for the people of Scotland. Becoming a modest, constructive partner in world affairs allows Scotland the opportunity to aspire to emulate the likes of Norway’s diplomatic success in 1991 in getting Israel and the Palestinians to sign the Oslo Accords.

This example highlights the power of small independent states to make a telling impact on world affairs. Precisely because of Norway’s lack heft or hard power it is not seen as a threat and can therefore offer itself as an intermediary in conflict situations.

It is not about breast-beating prestige, it is about being effective.

3. A softer voice can be the one that is most heard.
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Image from Andy Wright

The UK’s delusions of grandeur and fight against post-imperial decline lead to a fairly arrogant and pushy foreign policy. Shedding ourselves of such pomposity will foster a far more amenable environment with other nations making beneficial co-operation more likely.

The UK is very keen to portray itself as a world power and takes a strong line on issues in order to maintain its influence, or perceived influence, with the United States and be seen to be a global force. By removing itself from this mindset and becoming a smaller, more internationalist actor an independent Scotland could become an important member of the global community.

4. The unique opportunity afforded by saying, “We are different”.
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Image from Simon Rutherford

Remember Iraq, the invasion of which was sold to us, amongst other methods, as necessary to keep us safe? The direct result of that folly has been to create a hornet’s nest of some of the most extreme anti-western fanatics ever witnessed. The recent raising of the threat level in the UK is a timely warning that the likes of Islamic State and Al Qaeda view the UK as a legitimate and important target in their global jihad. An independent Scotland would stand firm in the alliance against such forces of extremism but would have the opportunity to take a more respectful and less arrogant view of the world. This would serve to move the fierce glare of focus, currently placed upon the UK and US, from Scotland by these organisations.

A declaration of independence will be such a demonstrable distancing of ourselves from the US/UK axis as to almost instantly make Scotland a safer place. Furthermore, this act would immediately cause some nations to be more amenable to dialogue with Scotland thereby opening up the many positive outcomes that can spread from this.

5. This is how to do it without violence or bloodshed.
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Image from the Scottish Government

Following independence both Scotland and the remainder of the UK will stand as shining beacons to the world as to how to manage a peaceful transition to self-determination. Cross words, rather than crossed swords (the odd egg aside) have been the extent of hostility, the world should be, and will be, impressed.

We can, with our rUK friends, export this to the world with pride. While not necessarily a trouble-shooting double-act touring the world helping states manage calls for self-determination, the example set will allow both of us to speak with authority, both practical and moral, on such matters. For all of its problems and difficulties the manner in which South Africa transitioned from apartheid is rightly remembered and admired. While fundamentally different circumstances, the eyes of the world are on us and they won’t forget either Scotland nor our friends in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and how we have managed this process so magnificently.

In the tumultuous world of international relations such civility will be admired, appreciated and welcomed.

6. Brand Scotland.
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Image from Dave Conner

The world knows who we are and, if you’ve been on holiday abroad you will know, the world loves us. Some of the imagery may cause a shudder at times but you can’t underestimate being instantly recognised from Beijing to Buenos Aires; we’ll be back and the world will welcome us with a smile and maybe even a trade deal or two.

The reason for this is probably complex but, rather than try to get to the bottom of why we find ourselves in this enviable position, we should accept it with wide-eyed glee and make the most of it. Clearly we must be careful as the smug wha’s like us attitude would wear thin very quickly. Instead, a modest approach that builds on this door-opening goodwill will allow Scotland to rebuild its international networks, conclude mutually beneficial trade deals and constructively engage in international organisations.

We may blanch at the tartan, shortbread and haggis view that many have of us but we already exploit that to great effect; as a full member of the international community we can take that a stage further before adding a modernising twist, perhaps with life sciences, renewables and education.

7. A seat at the top table in Europe
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Image from Yanni Koutsomitis

Paradoxically this is what unionists will have you believe we will be losing by gaining our independence. However, we will actually get to sit at the EU table rather than watching on TV in the next room (this actually happened to a Scottish minister when part of a UK delegation). We can participate in decisions that affect crucially important industries rather than asking someone to remember what we’d like when they go to Brussels. Unlike the UK’s grudging attendance we will actually be there as willing participants, something which will gain us great appreciation from our partners from day one.

Willing participants are much more likely to gain favourable compromises than surly malcontents constantly sniping from the sidelines. Current UK attitudes to the European Union only serve to irritate our partners making it less, rather than more, likely for decisions made for Europe as a whole to meet the UK’s wishes. An active, positive and engaged Scotland would start its renewed membership of the EU with many advantages over its current situation.

8. If the UK leaves the EU we are perfectly placed to pick up some juicy morsels
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Image from Global Panorama

The rest of the UK will have a referendum to decide whether to leave the EU in 2017. Without pro-EU Scottish votes they could well withdraw. Where will non-European multinationals look to relocate their London headquarters to when they lose access to 500 million customers? At present many US companies have their European bases in and around London. Should they find themselves suddenly cut off from the European single market they will very quickly start to look for a base within the EU. The advantage of speaking the same language cannot be underestimated; together with Ireland, Scotland would be in prime position to attract these companies to re-locate their EU headquarters.

Far from “throwing up borders” as unionists argue, Scotland’s continued membership of the EU could, in the face of the withdrawal of the rUK in a few years time, be an incredible advantage.

9. We have the brains, and some of the best brain factories
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Image from Asim Imtiaz

Per head of population Scotland has more world leading universities than any nation on earth. The likes of life sciences already attract world-wide expertise, with greater focus Scotland can become an intellectual hub, spinning off successful hi-tech companies to drive economic growth and diversifying our economy for future generations.

Furthermore, we already attract some of the world’s brightest to study here, if we have the power to convince them to stay and utilise their Scottish-honed skills to the benefit of our economy, and their personalities to Scotland’s wider cultural wealth, we will all truly benefit. California’s Silicon Valley shows what can be achieved if policies are set not to pander to tabloid fears of scary foreign scroungers but to attracting the world’s best.

Scotland already has the infrastructure in place, all it needs is the spark and the power to ignite a second enlightenment.

10. We’re on our way…
Esprit Arena, Dusseldorf 14 May 2011
Image from Ian Nichol

We will have our own Eurovision entry. The Proclaimers will win it.

Hello world!

Renton Wilson
@rents1974, @macator_proj
National Collective

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Source Article from http://nationalcollective.com/2014/09/01/top-10-reasons-why-scotland-could-be-great-on-the-world-stage/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-10-reasons-why-scotland-could-be-great-on-the-world-stage
Top 10 Reasons Why Scotland Could Be Great On The World Stage
National Collective

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