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Why vote Yes to be much more dependent?

For 20 years in Scotland the constitutional debate has consumed the political classes.

Now it is dominating the entire agenda. Whither education, health, local government, or any of the other services for which the Scottish Parliament is responsible, and which impact enormously on the people of this country and their future?

Jobs do, too, so we must hear what Scotland's major employers and the Governor of the Bank of England have to say. The future economic health of Scotland and our children and grandchildren depends on them, like it or not. Some Scots say: who cares, we want to break away from the UK regardless and to march to the beat of the nationalist drum. Others will tick the Yes box in the hope of making politics more relevant, more able to deliver their hopes and aspirations.

But the question that has been unanswered to date is why more of these hopes and aspirations are not met at present. It is not the lack of power that is the problem in Scotland; it is a lack of political will and imagination. The Scottish Parliament has had tax-raising powers since it was set up. They haven't been used. The health budget is devolved completely, as is the education one. On present evidence, why should we believe the population will be healthier or better educated after independence?

Even if a majority did vote to break away, Scotland would not be independent. None of us is independent, able to stand on his or her own two feet without the support of friends and family, decent schools, a reliable health service, sensible infrastructure, and employment.

Most families, and women in particular, know as they strive to make ends meet that shared costs are lower costs, that the bigger the loaf the greater, and often the cheaper, the share. Grandparents, mothers and fathers, mostly look out for one another, do what's best for each other and their children and grandchildren in an uncertain and competitive world.

Countries are no different. If nations wish to trade, counter international terrorism and crime or travel in each other's air space, for example, they are dependent on each other sharing information, granting them rights, and being willing to co-operate.

Nowhere would independence be more of a misnomer than in an "independent" Scotland signing up to a currency union with the rest of the UK. Let's suspend reality and say that Scotland could use the pound. Immediately it would have to sign up to a common set of tax-and-spend rules.

The monetary policy committee of the Bank of England takes into account a rounded view of the UK's overall economic situation before voting on interest rates. If influence was distributed on population an independent Scotland would have one vote and the rest of the UK nine. Would Scotland ever be the dominant voice in that scenario?

Of course, there would be the siren voices of unfairness; that each country should be entitled to the same vote. It is hard to imagine what persuasive arguments could be deployed from Scotland to win over the rUK: please support us, we opted to separate from you but we want to be treated as if we hadn't. That position is simply neither tenable nor credible.

Even worse might be the impact of fiscal rules. Scotland could be told how to spend its money. So, however much taxation was raised in Scotland, the Bank of England could constrain how it was spent. That cannot be independence in anyone's book.

And there is no certainty at all that current levels of public funding will prevail if Scotland becomes independent.

So why vote to be more dependent or less independent? At present, a Scottish government of whatever political hue can already spend its money entirely as it likes, unlike the rest of the UK.

When money is allocated to education, health and transport, for example, in England and Wales, it has to be spent on education health and transport.

In Edinburgh, MSPs can prioritise as they wish. It is their choice alone to fund free bus travel rather than child care. That's independence. Why throw it away?

That is a positive reason for not voting Yes.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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