While the UK lags behind, small independent nations are thriving
The UK does not follow the Joneses, the Jensens, the Johansens, the Jacques or the Joyces.
Decades of control over Westminster – forcing austerity, Brexit and isolationist policies against our will – have taken a devastating toll.
This latest research published today in the Sunday National highlights just how badly the UK is behaving compared to neighboring countries.
The UK languishes at the bottom of the rankings on a host of crucial measures.
Yet an independent Scotland in equal partnership with its neighbors can do much better. Simply put, we’re the perfect size to be successful.
Countries similar in size to Scotland – as in the Nordic Council’s true equal partnership – are thriving.
In contrast, this devastating research detailing national wealth and income inequality shows how deeply unequal the UK is compared to our neighbors in northwest Europe in the 21st century – even before the pandemic hit. .
Despite all the talk about the “broad shoulders” of Westminster, it looks more like a long shadow when the facts and statistics are laid bare.
Under repeated Conservative governments which we have rejected for over 60 years, the UK also has the lowest pensions as a proportion of pre-retirement income in North West Europe, combined with the highest rate of inequality .
Scots should know that independent countries very similar to ours – countries like Ireland or Denmark – are investing in their people and building more just and equal societies. Independence works for them; it can also work for Scotland.
It is we who are backing down despite all the boasting of Boris Johnson and Douglas Ross or Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar.
READ MORE: Michael Russell: The real problem Scots have with the Union runs way deeper than the PM’s ‘jokes’
In the Holyrood election in May, the Scots elected a new Scottish Parliament. The result was clear: Scottish voters delivered a substantial majority of MPs who spoke out on the clear commitment to hold a new independence referendum – once the Covid crisis has passed. A referendum for the recovery.
It is therefore now a question of basic democracy. Because it appears Boris Johnson is seeking to block the democratic right of the Scottish people to decide their own future, free from the control of Westminster which holds back our country.
The UK was supposed to be a voluntary union based on the idea of ââpartnership. But the PM revealed that he and his Tory government did not believe the UK was a partnership between its various nations, but rather a means of asserting Westminster control over Scotland.
They demonstrate that they believe the democratic rights of Scots are subordinate to the control of Westminster.
In doing so, they are arguing for independence – for in an independent Scotland we will replace control of Westminster with a true equal partnership with our friends and neighbors across the rest of the UK.
This is the best future for Scotland – a future in which we cooperate with our neighbors in the UK and across Europe on an equal basis.
Too many Scots know the hard way that after the last financial crisis the Tories imposed austerity cuts – a choice, not a necessity. And we know they want to do the same thing again. Who should then be making the decisions on how we rebuild and recover – the Scottish people or Boris Johnson?
CONTROL of Scotland’s economic policy should be in the hands of Scotland – not Boris Johnson or Westminster. We know where his priority is. This is the same Boris Johnson who said that “a pound spent in Croydon is much more valuable to the country than a pound spent in Strathclyde”.
Independence, on the other hand, means we will be spending money on the priorities of Scotland, not those of Westminster, where the cost of replacing the Trident was estimated at Â£ 205bn before adding the cost. of the plan to increase nuclear weapons by 40%.
And the cost of renovating the House of Lords and Westminster is expected to reach Â£ 20bn.
Meanwhile, Brexit is hitting the Scottish economy hard and on top of that the UK is expected to pay the EU around Â£ 40bn in divorce.
Quite frankly, Scotland can no longer afford control of Westminster – and this research shows why. If we were like neighboring countries similar in size to Scotland – which are also, and most importantly, independent – we would benefit from higher levels of productivity, a key driver of living standards.
We would have the power to be more equal and richer per capita and to provide our old people with higher pensions in proportion to the pre-retirement salary.
The broad shoulders of the Union do not carry us, they cast a shadow over us and prevent us from prospering as we should.
The people of Scotland voted in May for their right to choose between these two futures – a future under Westminster control or a referendum for recovery in order to have a future as an equal and independent country. Independence works for our neighbors, it works for Scotland.
And so, as a simple matter of democracy, we have the right to make that choice – once the current crisis has passed.
After the 2014 referendum, all parties in Westminster as well as the SNP and the Greens signed an agreement that it was up to the Scottish people to decide whether Scotland should move towards independence. Not Westminster, not Keir Starmer and certainly not Boris Johnson.
The Scottish people have spoken in the election – parties in Westminster should respect that choice.