SCOTLAND is to lose nearly a million people over the coming decades according to the Scottish Fiscal Commission. That’s 16% of the population, far more than was lost during the Highland Clearances. This is a demographic catastrophe.

And not just because it will depress economic growth over the next 50 years to less than one per cent per annum according to the SFC, a Scottish Government think tank. Do we want Scotland to turn into an old people’s home? A country with nothing to offer the world except whisky and empty glens? No country for grumpy old men?

Environmentalists may celebrate the “rewilding” of Scotland, but depopulation is not in the SNP’s interests. Such long-term decline makes independence an even more difficult project. All those elderly Scots on pensions are unlikely to vote for a party that has no plans to fund them.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, was shot down in flames two months ago when he claimed that the UK would pay Scottish pensions after independence. Oh no we won’t, came the chorus from Westminster. Nicola Sturgeon was forced to accept that Scotland might be on its own pensions-wise.

Funding this gerontocracy, along with elderly care, means that an independent Scotland would have colossal overheads. You can’t pay for an economically unproductive population with endless borrowing based a depreciated Scottish pound. 

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