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After Scotland votes for independence next autumn and keeps the pound, the English will fall over themselves in their enthusiasm to stand guarantor for Scottish banks over which they have no control, and the Scots will be scarcely be able to contain their enthusiasm for having control of their interest rates and borrowing levels vested in the hands of the country from which they have just voted to escape – namely, the rest of the United Kingdom.  Their pleasure will be boosted by paying the £6 billion of extra taxes that the Institute for Fiscal Studies forecasts, if their country’s Government is not simply to borrow the money instead. But I was forgetting: instead of that happening, Scotland’s economy will grow at two per cent more than that of the United Kingdom in the next 50 years, an achievement that no European country has clocked up in the past 50 years.  And in any event, the decline in north sea oil will suddenly and inexplicably be reversed – and, of course, Scotland will hang on to the lion’s share of those handy oil revenues.  The new country will automatically be able to join the EU if it wishes. No Scottish defence jobs will go

Alex Salmond will today follow where J.R.R.Tolkien and J.K.Rowling have gone before him, when he produces a 670-page White Paper on Scottish Independence which “will include no fewer than 650 questions and answers, running to 200 pages” – an achievement to rival those groaning Tolkien appendices on Numenorian kings and hobbit family trees, and just as much a work of fiction.  No wonder support for independence in Scotland stands at about 30 per cent in the polls.  There will be a time to speculate about what might happen if they suddenly turn tail and the Scots unexpectedly vote Yes – though anticipating the cultural impact of the break-up of the United Kingdom is probably a mug’s game.  Instead, it is best to look ahead to what might happen after a No vote.  With Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom secured, both Scottish politicians and those in the rest of the United Kingdom would be free to concentrate on re-balancing the relationship between its constituent parts.  Justice for England would also bring advantages to Scotland – a deal whereby the latter gains more financial independence and the former gains more self-government.  David Cameron should be preparing for it now.

121 comments for: The Alex Salmond prize for fairy tales

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