READERS of this column may have noticed I am a Yes man when it comes to independence.
I admit to being slightly tempted by this week's offer from George Osborne and his Treasury. You may have seen the headline: "Scottish households £2000 better off if they reject independence."
I read on avidly to see if the £2k will be added to my pension. Or deducted from the tax on my pension. Or sent as an annual lump sum for a sunshine cruise. After I have blown my winter fuel allowance on a month or two of the two-bar electric fire.
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You could wade through the Treasury document and never find out how, when, or even if you can collect the £2000 a year. But you will find statements such as: "Scottish independence would create 'significant headwinds' to economic growth and could see exports to the remainder of the UK drop by 80%."
The Treasury quotes academic research which says "trade between the US and Canada is 44%lower than it would be if there were no international border between them." The experts could have added that if there was no border then Canada would not be its own country but part of the United States. This is on a par logically with the proposition that if your auntie had a different genital configuration she might be your uncle.
Sadly, Mr Osborne's offer of £2k a year in everyone's sporran is not genuine. Which is a shame, since this would be a welcome change from the Union debate of 1707 when only a parcel of rogues got to pocket the English gold.
It is yet another bit of Westminster scaremongering. The warning is that if we choose independence, by 2044 this "border effect" will have reduced our trade with England by £5bn a year. Equivalent to a small part of the Trident budget.
I would risk my hypothetical Osborne windfall for a bet on Scottish trade post-independence. The rest of the UK may be the loser, since Scotland exported £36bn of goods and services to the rest of Britain in 2011 and imported £49bn worth.
Scotland will just have to stop buying British and get busy selling to the world our whisky, Aberdeen Angus beef, fish, and shortbread with maybe some technology as well. And whatever oil and gas is left.
l No economic brain cells were expended in the making of this article.
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