Tuesday , July 17 2018
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The £ of flesh

There is an interesting scenario that Scottish nationalists haven’t thought about. Let’s imagine sometime in the future there is a referendum on Scottish independence and the Leave side wins. There would then be negotiations between the United Kingdom and the representatives of the soon to be independent Scotland. The negotiations would be about how Scotland was going to leave the UK. What if the UK decided to negotiate in exactly the same way as the EU has been doing in the past two years since Leave won the vote in 2016?

At present Scotland is part of the UK Single Market and we don’t charge tariffs between the various parts of the UK since we are all part of the same sovereign nation state called the United Kingdom. But Scotland would cease to be part of the UK and so there would need to be a trade agreement. The case would be analogous to the one the UK finds itself in relation to the EU at present.

The Scottish negotiators would, no doubt, want free trade to continue between Scotland and the UK. What if the UK said you will have to pay a leaving fee? As well as paying your share of the UK’s national debt, we intend to charge you a one off fee, let’s call it £10 Billion, plus an annual subscription off say £2 Billion so that you can have continued access to the UK’s Single Market. Failure to agree to this price would mean that the UK wouldn’t even begin negotiations.

Failure to pay the fee and the subscription would mean that Scotland would have to rely on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. This would mean that the UK would charge tariffs at the border between England and Scotland.

Moreover if you fail to pay your debts, fail to pay the fee and fail to pay your subscription we will charge a toll for every Scottish vehicle driving through England and we will make it as difficult as possible for Scottish planes to land in the UK.

Furthermore if you don’t pay up we won’t help you in any way whatsoever in setting up your new independent Scotland. You won’t be able to use the Inland Revenue to raise revenue in Scotland, nor will we help with health, welfare or security. Our embassies will be closed to you and in fact we won’t even throw you a life belt if we see you sinking, not unless you first pay the ransom. Let’s call it the £ of flesh.

Now in order to continue to trade freely with the UK it won’t be enough for you merely to pay us. The UK also will demand that Scottish law is subordinate to UK law. Although you will have no representation at Westminster, you must apply our rules with regard to trading standards, agriculture, fisheries food and anything else we care to regulate. You must allow our ships to fish in your waters.

You must continue to give our citizens the same rights as they have at present to live and work in Scotland, but we’re not sure yet if we want to reciprocate. If you are very good we might do that, we’ll let you know later.

We intend to do everything possible to make Scottish independence a failure. We are going to make an example of you so as to discourage the Welsh from having any similar ideas. We think your voters were stupid to have dared to vote to leave and we intend to show them the error of their ways.

Perhaps in a few years you will crawl back on your knees begging for mercy. Please let us back, please.

Imagine after two years of such negotiations the Scottish leader, said yes we give in to all of your demands. We submit. All we care about is trade. We will pay the £10 Billion and accept whatever rules you tell us to follow.

How would people in Scotland react to this finding that instead of independence they were still ruled from Westminster but without any representation? My guess is there would be riots and revolution. I would join them.

We voted to Leave the EU. We didn’t vote to be half in and half out. There are benefits to being in the EU and there are benefits in leaving, but there are no benefits at all failing to do what the British public told you to do.

In order to leave the EU properly we are going to have to seriously promise the EU that we intend to leave without a deal. Our self-respect as a front rank power and the fifth largest economy in the world demands this. We should do this even if there are short term costs. There are always short terms costs to doing the right thing. It would be worth it. We must do whatever it takes. It would be worth a recession, it would be worth a dip in trade. Nothing that would happen would be anything like the problems we faced in 1914 or 1939. This is a battle that is worth fighting and winning. The alternative is muddle, fudge and mediocrity.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2018/07/the-of-flesh.html

About Effie Deans

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Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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