YOUR headline on Thursday (“75% of Scots would vote for independence”, October 14) cheered me up – thank you.
I am also well aware that we must welcome every potential additional Yes vote. I have hitherto tried to “haud my wheesht” even after reading several self-justifying excuses offered by No-to-Yes switchers.
However, my current level of exasperation was increased to breaking point by that proviso to your headline (“… if they believed we would be better off”). Enough is enough. I can “haud oan nae langer”.
What is it that these people actually want? Do those Hesitant Yes Voters (or HYVs) think that anyone’s future is ever certain? If they want certainty about the future economic prospects of an independent Scotland, do they also ask for certainty about the future economic prospects of a Brexited UK or, indeed, of any kind of UK?
READ MORE: 75% of Scots will back independence – if the economic case is right
If we cannot have any certainty in these matters, we can at least have reasonable probability. How do HYV think that Denmark, Finland and Norway manage to survive without the “broad shoulders” of the UK to support them? I also wonder if they ask the question of how New Zealand, Switzerland and Malta manage to survive in reasonable comfort. I could add other very prosperous independent countries to that list, but I have restricted that sample list to countries with a similar or much smaller population size than Scotland (as is the case with Malta).
Further – do HYV listen to pronouncements (repeated ad nauseam in various UK media sources) that “the UK has the SIXTH largest economy (ie GDP) in the world”, and accept that statement without a qualm and without making simple and reliable checks for veracity?
Do they not realise that every time an extra person, or an extra family, is added to the population of a country, its GDP must increase? What is not so often stated, however, is that with every such addition there are of necessity extra expenditures which must be incurred – the cost, for example, of running health services, an education system, a public transport system, the police force, the military, local government services, and so on.
It follows from that, that GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is not an appropriate way to compare the economic prosperity of nations, because it does not take properly into account population size and those extra costs. Although it is not perfect, a much better measure is “GDP-per-person”. That gives us a figure which, if the wealth of a nation was distributed evenly (if only!), would be the wealth of each and every individual within that population.
If we do that calculation (depending upon which year is chosen), then Denmark, Finland and Norway are all within the top ten countries in the world (and most years they are within the top five). On the same measure, the UK tumbles down the rank order to the very modest, and very unimpressive, mid-twenties.
So I advise every Scot, when they hear anyone state that the UK has the “SIXTH largest economy in the world”, to think this to themselves: “Either this person is totally ignorant about economics, OR this person thinks that I am totally ignorant of economics, and is trying to deceive me into thinking that the UK is bigger and more important than it really is.”
Do those HYV ever ask themselves whether an independent Scotland could possibly afford to offer university-level education without charging fees? And when they ask themselves that question, do they do so without also asking themselves how it is that Denmark, Finland and Norway can do that – without the assistance of those (ever-so-generous) broad shoulders?
And finally a word of welcome and of encouragement to all HYV. The mistake you made in 2014 will be forgotten and forgiven if you vote Yes this time. But do not try to claim, or even to hint, that somehow what you did then was not a mistake – that somehow the evidence has changed. All the evidence I have offered here was available in abundance in 2014.
So just keep quiet about that, run along, and vote Yes, there‘s a guid lad or lass. But what a lot of trouble you would have saved us all and saved yourselves (and most especially saved future generations) if you had got it right the first time.
And puleeese … do not try to set up your own political party, claim to support independence, and then mess up the list vote. That would not be forgotten and forgiven.
— to www.thenational.scot