The Scottish independence saga
I've collected here all my posts in various places on Scotland's quest for independence and related issues. It's quite a story - not least because my own views changed during that time. To start with, I was personally uninvolved: I didn't care whether Scotland stayed or went (though I wanted Nat West back). But as time went on, I became more convinced by the emotional arguments for independence - and less convinced by the economic case. In the end, head ruled heart and I came out in favour of "No". But it's not over yet.....

Scotland's currency conundrum
I was one of the first people to look at the currency question in some detail, in January 2012.  I realised that the currency could not be considered in isolation from other matters such as EU membership and even what "independence" really means in our globally interconnected world. All of those are therefore discussed in this post.

Scotland and the Banks
After the UK political parties ruled out a currency union, I looked at Scotland's remaining alternatives and the consequences for the banks. It was clear that Scotland's banks would have to leave Scotland.
Of Course Scotland Can Use The (Scottish) Pound
In this piece I argued that Scotland should convert its existing Scottish pound into a new Scottish currency.

Is an Independent Scotland Economically Viable? An Exchange
My debate with James Meadway of NEF on the economics of Scottish independence. By this time the banks had announced their intention to re-register in England after independence. The economic case fell apart at that point - though in my view the banks were always going to do that, so the economic case was always fatally flawed.

Independence and Union
My angry piece about the behaviour of both sides of the campaign in the run-up to the vote. And my head versus heart dilemma.

Splitting the Bank
Alex Salmond claimed a share of the Bank of England's assets after independence, including its store of gilts due to QE purchases, apparently with the intention of writing off Scotland's share of UK debt against them. In this post I explained why this would be impossible. (Wonkish).

What Scotland Should Have Done (And Still Should Do)
In this post I explain why the economic case for Scottish independence didn't hang together, and what Scotland now needs to do to make independence possible at some time in the future. 

In three posts (so far), I have also considered the consequences for the United Kingdom of the Scottish vote.

In February 2014 I predicted that a "No" vote would have far-reaching consequences for the UK. 

What next for the United Kingdom?
The promises made by the No campaign to win Scottish votes are already causing the UK to drift towards fundamental constitutional change. 

The English question
Towards a new federal model for the UK.....the case for an English parliament.

This isn't over either. Not by any means. I will add more posts here as I write them.


And so it begins. Update, 10th May 2015. 

The SNP has thrown the Smith Commission report in the bin and demanded "full fiscal autonomy", or "full fiscal responsibility", or "devo-max", or whatever you want to call it. The IFS has produced figures showing that full fiscal autonomy for Scotland at the moment would have horrible effects on its fiscal position. And what about the Barnett formula? Alex Salmond has a way out of the condundrum, of course. 

Richard Murphy proposes that the Bank of England should monetise bonds issued by a UK government agency to support infrastructure, housing and green energy development in Scotland. By agreement with Westminster, of course. Which is now predominantly Conservative. Yes, that'll work, won't it?

It is not possible for Scotland to have "full" fiscal autonomy while it remains in the UK's currency union. Attempting to introduce it would reduce the UK to a miniature version of the Eurozone.

There will be more posts in due course.


  1. One question I've been pondering:

    1. How difficult would it be to revise the Barnett formula so that all four home nations are treated on the same basis (which isn't the same as saying they're all given the same amount of money per head)?

    2. How difficult would it be to revise the Barnett formula in a world where all four home nations can independently set their levels of taxation?

    My own thoughts are that (1) is quite easy - and would probably be welcomed throughout the UK - whereas (2) looks incredibly hard. But you might have some cunning suggestions.

    It makes me start to wonder whether the devo max proposals were properly thought through... because IF there's a Barnett-like formula in place, what's to stop Scotland from lowering its taxes and receiving a subsidy? Or vice-versa? How could such a system be made fair?

    1. 1) Hate to say this, but that would be popular with everyone except the Scots, who would lose out.

      2) Total devolution of taxation would need fiscal transfer to be assessed on a retrospective basis using reported tax revenues. Not impossible, but complex and open to abuse. There is also the problem that if tax rates between the four countries became openly competitive, fiscal transfers from a country being undercut to the one doing the undercutting (say from England to a Scotland that was undercutting England's corporation tax rate) would be political dynamite. I think we need a two-tier federal model, rather than total devolution.

  2. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives - the not so memorable women whose name honestly escapes me stood up today at their conference and (according to the BBC) proclaimed today that the Tory party was not toxic in Scotland and that it stood up for the silent majority.

    As a no voter who has sympathy for the well being and prosperity of my fellow citizens of the UK, let it be clear that the current political class, in my eyes, is reaching a Marie Antoinette moment and to use a Scottish phrase " Hell mend them" if they don't start to recognise the sentiment of negative feelings towards them that is experienced by the average citizen.

    I don't claim any benefits in case my anger is blamed on me being a scrounger, I actually can afford plenty of cake but the UK could become a scarier place if they don't wake to their arrogant shortcomings.


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