By Alex Robertson
Just imagine! Just imagine if Scotland could run its own finances, set its own budget and prioritise its own spending.
Instead of taking revenues from taxation on Oil and Gas and spending it on operating expense items, like education or health or policing, just imagine if some of that revenue, a large part of it, was saved in a capital fund.
This capital fund could then be used for funding the building of assets, like roads, or telecommunications infrastructure so that fibre optic broadband to the hearth was available to every home and office in the land. That would increase jobs, stimulate the economy, and the result would hold its value for generations to come.
Asset restructuring, balance sheet accounting, call it what you like, it beats spending asset realisation of Oil and Gas on expense items in a way no business ever would, like selling off the family silver to buy holidays, over in a few weeks.
The latter is what Westminster has done with our assets, in reckless abandon all to cover up their shameful deficit accounting and profligacy.
A very long time ago, the BBC aired a documentary, chaired by Richard Baker, which predicted the news headlines of decades later when it was ‘revealed’ that all the money had been frittered away and there was nothing left to show for it. How stupid, foolish and reckless that was, we were warned. Yet it is exactly what has happened, all thanks to the glorious Union and a series of Westminster governments.
Or just imagine if Scotland could keep the fines levied by courts in Scotland instead of sending it all to Westminster as it must do now. That money would fund an extra 1000 police officers per year in Scotland. Or just imagine what would be the effect on economic growth, jobs and inward investment if Scotland could reduce Corporation tax and thereby leverage the Laffer curve effect to increase the actual total amount of tax collected. Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan proved it works like that. And it still will if Scotland could have full fiscal control.
All of these things are opposed by the Unionist parties, Labour, LibDem and Tory alike. The ball and chain fixed round our ankle stops Scotland from acting in its own interests and forces Scots to behave to benefit the city of London and south east England. Just imagine if we could act in our own interests and only our own interests.
But there is more. Earlier this week, Alex Salmond was in Norway to explore and progress cooperation in renewable energy initiatives in both countries. And one of the initiatives is North Connect, the physical cable connection between Norway and Scotland to provide much enhanced energy provision exploiting complementary technologies in both countries.
And in the EU, the tide of the debate on recovery from recession is changing, at France’s urging, to add plans for growth to those in place already for deficit reduction. Just imagine if Scotland had the freedom to take an active part in the upcoming EU discussions on the issue of growth, because Scotland has a raft of interesting ideas and initiatives to bring to the table.
Right now, Scotland has more in common with its Auld Alliance partner than with Westminster. It is interesting that the Scottish government is so actively pursuing collaboration within Europe to generate economic growth and jobs and to secure Scotland’s energy needs for the future. Be sure, it takes political will to make these things happen, in this case Scottish political will.
A lot is happening. Now just imagine if Scotland were free to seek collaborative partners across the EU and the world in economic and commerce. In, for example, the putting of space stations to harness solar power for energy generation as Strathclyde University scientists are pioneering.
Of course, right now, we can’t. Apart from the capital funding, there is the need for political will to drive it and make it happen. All that has to happen through Westminster. It really is a hard way inside the Union. Just imagine if it weren’t like that and the Scottish government could really govern. For Scots and Scotland first and above all else.