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A Scottish divorce... who gets the kids?

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posted on Dec, 6 2007 @ 08:53 AM

It's the divorce settlement from hell. With no pre-nuptial agreement in place, exactly how would Scotland withdraw from the UK, asks Chris Bowlby.
With the Scottish National Party in power in the Edinburgh devolved parliament, talk of independence is back on the agenda. Some remain sceptical that Scottish voters would back such a plan, but the SNP believes it will happen within a decade.

From carving up the family property to whose head appears on Scottish stamps, how might it work?

the SNP want a independent scotland
what would this mean for the UK in general?
they would have all the Oil in the north (95%)

mod edit: fixed tag issue.

[edit on 6-12-2007 by UK Wizard]

posted on Dec, 6 2007 @ 11:16 AM
I'm afraid it'd mean the end of the UK as we know it, which would be a dark day for the people of these islands.

As for the oil, nothing is certain over that. It might be off the coast of Scotland but it's British investment that got it pumping ashore in the first place (and given that North Sea oil is some of the most difficult in the world to extract, it will come as no surprise for me to say it's pretty expensive to extract compared to, say, Saudi oil) and, to further complicate things, the Shetland Islands don't want to break away with Scotland... so the oil rights aren't as clear cut as it seems.

This is, by the way, the central pillar of the SNP's economic argument in favour of Scottish independence. If you take oil out of the equation then there'd have to be cuts to public expenditure or Scotland would be in the red (and this isn't taking into account the share of the national debt that Scotland would have to take, too - it was £574.4 billion as of March 2007, so if Scotland takes 9% that'd be a £46.2billion black hole to start with). Would you stake your nation's economy on a resource that is:

a) Running low - output from North Sea oil has been declining for years and will continue to do so, thus making it more expensive as supplies dwindle and the remaining oil gets harder to reach.

b) Disputed - I hardly think the remainder of the UK will just say "The oil's yours" to Salmond. It's just not that simple.

c) Gradually being turfed out as the world's primary fuel source - renewables, hydrogen powered vehicles, hybrids, solar power, nuclear energy... these are the future sources of power. Demand for oil will shrink as these sources of energy become more and more common.

I really do think that separation would be bad for all concerned - the Home Nations have achieved so much together over the last three centuries. All the problems, stress and arguments over dissolving the Union (does anyone seriously think the split will take place overnight? It'll haunt us for decades, probably longer, as most divorces do)... and for what? So that a small group of Scottish and English nationalists finally get their own way. Shame on them.

I have yet to come across a convincing reason for splitting apart, and until someone comes up with one (which is extremely unlikely) then I shall remain a staunch supporter of the Union.

posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 02:22 PM
I might add that a sizable portion of the total producing rig's in the North Sea would be within an English Exclusive economic Zone, not a Scottish one. All the main Gas fields are within the "English Zone" and these are new. The Oil fields in the North have almost been pumped dry.

On the Northern sector map, if you draw a line from the English Scottish border equidistant out to the edge of the UK zone, you will see that they are left with perhaps 30% of the total North Sea operations, perhaps less when you factor in the reducing amounts of Oil being pumped, especially in the Northern sector.

The SNP seem to think that an independent Scotland would be able to maintain the level of public spending, based solely on the presumption that they would get all the North Sea rigs and that they would produce forever.

They lie to the Scottish people about the huge amount of cash sent North by Westminster, which is way above the actual tax revenue returned to London. The public spending per capita in Scotland is nearly £2000 more per head than in England, largely financed by English taxpayers by the Barnett Formula.

[edit on 7/12/07 by stumason]

posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 06:31 PM
reply to post by stumason

so this would be a good thing as we lose dead weight?
if we have less spent here and we send more up north the SNP would be doing England a faver

posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 08:04 PM
Not that I wish to ever see the end of the Union, I would like Scotland to go independent just so this argument would be laid to rest forever. Scotland is not self sufficient, at least at their current level of public spending and they'd be in for a shock.

What the SNP seem to forget is that it was the Scottish parliament in 1707 that voted to join the Union. due to their nation being in dire straights and it served them well.

Now they think because everything is rosy and they get free Uni and prescriptions. I'd like to see them finance that without the revenue provided to them by the rest of the Union.

At least the Welsh and N.Irish know where their bread is buttered. Don't see them clammering for independence and we actually conquered them rather than them begging to join us!

Also, for those that claim Westminster is a UK parliament, let me say this. Before the Act of Union in 1707, Westminster was the seat of the English parliament. With the Union in 1707, BOTH Parliaments were disolved to form the UK Parliament.

Now, with Scotland getting back it's Parliament, why don't we get back ours?

I hear often that we can't have an English parliament because it would be unconstitutional, but the current arrangement is also unconstitutional because if the Scottish Parliament is reinstated, then it follows that the English parliament should also be reformed, as was previously the case in 1707.

posted on Dec, 8 2007 @ 03:16 PM
reply to post by bodrul

But would England be really better off? The remainder of the UK might still end up paying a lot of money to Scotland even if they leave the Union.

Think about it. Let's say that, by 2017 (the suggested date by which the SNP believe Scotland could be independent), Scotland makes up 10% of the UK's population (since it's an easy figure to work with and it's quite possible that this will be the case).

That means that Scotland is entitled to 10% of everything. 10% of our armed forces equipment, Treasury funds, public buildings etc.

A lot of this is infeasible to give away (I can't see an independent Scotland being able to maintain 10% of the UK military equipment, for example, if it wants to keep levels of spending in education, health, social security etc. the same) so instead the remainder of the UK would have to give the value of those assets in capital rather than physically handing them over.

Divorces are never, ever quick or simple and the break-up of a country is just about one of the most terrible experiences its citizens can go though (I need point no further than Serbia, where Kosovo is once again in the news. Look also at India and Pakistan or Russia and the former Soviet states). And yet some people want this to happen... their thinking mystifies me when history teaches us how damaging it is and how it takes decades for the scars to heal.

A point I'd like to make directly is that it's important not to generalise. I think the latest poll shows that about 25% of Scots support independence, which is not nearly enough to win a referendum. Obviously this figure is going to fluctuate depending on the political climate of the moment (I imagine the figure will rise in the next poll due to Labour's problems with funding) but there has never been an overall majority of Scots that support leaving the Union. It seems to be a smaller group (the SNP et al) shouting very loudly and part of their plot is to cause dissent in England to help make breaking up the Union easier. Stu mentions, for instance, university fees - this is a myth. Scottish students do get their fees paid but they aren't entitled to any grants from the Scottish government to pay for living costs, travel etc. whereas English students are (and these were made more generous when top up fees were introduced). Some elements in the media like to roll out this 'fact' now and again... it's not entirely truthful, though

The Barnett formula too was worked in the way that it was because Scotland needs extra money (one of the perks of being in the Union) - the life expectancy in Glasgow Central is a decade below that of Kensington and Chelsea... this is where the extra cash goes. We have a moral obligation to make sure that hospitals and health education is of a decent standard and is accessible by all right across the United Kingdom, and I don't begrudge a penny that goes to Scotland. I honestly don't, since it's clear they're more needy than, say, the nicer areas of London.

[edit on 8/12/07 by Ste2652]

posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 08:21 AM

Originally posted by stumason
At least the .......N.Irish know where their bread is buttered. Don't see them clammering for independence and we actually conquered them rather than them begging to join us!

- Wow stu, I'd say you're ignoring reality on that one there!

I agree opinion is divided in NI (!?) but if the last 30 (or should that be 800?) years don't indicate that a major section of the people in N Ireland really don't want to be part pf the UK then I don't know what would.

But my own view is that this is all reactive.

Scotland's SNP are really a reaction to a fear of the days of old tory Britiain IMO, ditto all the other nationalisms.

We are currently evolving the whole concept of the 'UK', I think that is what underlies all of this.
The 'old way' was not messed with and wrecked, it was fundamentally unstable and unworkable.

All that is happening is that the new balances are being sought.
If we get it right and equitable we will still have at the end of it all a UK with benefit and meaning for us all.

If we get it wrong we will all be much the poorer for it.

The tory end of this debate is just the usual 'default' rich line of wanting to keep all the wealth for themselves.
They try to beguile the English people with nonsense about how much better off they would be.
It's a lie.

Today it's the Scots they don't want to pay for tomorrow it'll be the less well off English.

How much better off would they be if they cut out all the 'deadwood'
(what a charming way of looking at the nation that in the next breath they'd claim to 'love', huh?).

'Course unless they can egg-on enough of those less well off English to go for this their little plans go nowhere.

(and don't imagine they could care less whether England or anyone else ends up less well off because of a UK break-up, people in that kind of social strata aren't the ones who pay much tax these days anyways.......

......cos the rest of us are now so trained into 'thinking' that we daren't vote anyone who might actual undertake any serious redistribution of wealth/power into Gov these days, eh?)

posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 12:33 PM
Seeing how my heritage is a mix of English, Irish, and Scottish, i try to follow the polotics on the other side of the pond.

Is this the same as a state wanting to be indepent from the US?

Like if Vermont tried to leave the union...

So, England, Ireland, and Scotland are all kinda like states, and Scotland wants to leave the union, and just be Scotland, and not part of the United Kingdom...

PS, and i also read posts in this tread with a great english accent in my head, with changes for the irsh and scottish, based on location. It just adds more color.

posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 05:37 PM
Yeah, it's the equivalent of a US state wanting to break away from the United States and become independent. Proportionally (population-wise) for the UK to lose Scotland would be like the US losing 30,000,000 of its citizens (so probably multiple US States).

There's been some very interesting coverage in today's Telegraph, though ATS doesn't seem to like hyperlinks from their website so you'll have to do a bit of hunting on the Daily Telegraph website. David Cameron has come out in full support of preserving the links between the Home Nations and a whopping 69% of people in England wanting the Union to continue with just under a quarter wanting it to end (I suspect the election of the SNP in Scotland has something to do with this - in January 2007 just 16% of English voters wanted the Union to end). Only 20% of English voters want an English Parliament, too, which is an interesting statistic.

Interestingly, too, more younger people seem to call themselves 'British' than older ones (The Telegraph doesn't split the youngest age group [18-34] down enough... I think if you went from, say, 18-26 you'd find the proportion of 'British' people much higher) which suggests that support for the Union will increase as time goes on (I recall polls that show a similar result in Scotland... support for Scottish independence is higher amongst older people than younger people). This, again, is very interesting - why do older generations feel 'English' and younger ones feel 'British'? Education, maybe? Perhaps the fact that, prior to the 1930s, to say 'England' was usually accepted all across Britain to mean 'the UK' in its entirety.

I found today's polls in the Telegraph very interesting (since a lot of them are focused on Scottish voters, given the SNP Executive in Scotland) from the perspective of English voters. It seems there's a lot of life left in the Union yet, and that's very comforting that people can see the benefits of sticking together. It would be a sad day indeed if this great nation were to tear itself apart when Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler came up short in their attempts to defeat us.

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