16 August 2014
I vote to remain part of the UK
The approaching Scottish independence vote has focussed my mind and, although I won't be allowed a vote, if I was I would be voting to remain part of the United Kingdom. Why? Because I like the 'idea' of a 'United Kingdom' even if I don't think that our Kingdom is anything approaching 'united'.
Alex Salmond has gone to great lengths to explain how Scotland would be better off as an independent state, separated from the rest of the UK, and little that he has said convinces me. Why not? Because I've watched how Scottish parliamentarians behave and its just as bad as their English, Irish and Welsh counterparts.
If the Scottish Parliament building had been delivered for £21M, as the original budget for the conversion of the old Royal High School building proposed, then I'd be impressed. But the 'upturned boat' cost £457M the last time I looked. Then there is Edinburgh's tram project which seems to have cost the thick end of £1.2Bn for one line and stops which don't benefit many of Edinburgh's residents. Then there is the second Forth Crossing (possibly called the Third Forth Crossing) required by the problems encountered with the stay wires on the original Forth Road Bridge. So £200M is pointed at a second bridge when the engineers have been able to fix the problems with the first (or second) making the second (or third) redundant.
So, as far as fiscal probity goes, the Scots don't rate as highly as I would like and that is the major issue for me about Scottish Independence. Its more than likely going to end up being Bureaucratic Dependence (on the Scottish Taxpayer). There will be more and more layers of bureaucracy on top of existing bureaucracy and, at the same time, in the remainder of the UK, those layers of bureaucracy which dealt with Scottish matters won't go away. Those running those empires will just retitle themselves to keep their jobs. So, costs both north and south of the border will rise with no benefit to anyone but friends of the various parliamentary organisations.
I'd have a lot more respect for Alex Salmond if he had fought for decentralisation of the UK's existing and overbearing bureaucracies in order to deliver more services with less overheads. Had he managed that then he's have a real argument, not for splitting Scotland away but for applying those skills in Westminster.
Posted by niall connolly at 14:53