This has nothing really to do with Muscat, or Oman, except in a very loose way - and some people will disagree with what I'm writing here, and maybe some will agree - but I'm fascinated by the entire debate raging in the UK currently regarding the independence vote for Scotland due to take place next Thursday on the 18th September. And because I'm fascinated by it, I'm going to write about it.... sorry ;)
A few facts first: I'm English by birth, Canadian by choice and so its very easy for a Pro independent Scottish person to say I'm bias. Perhaps I am, but more than that, I honestly am amazed at the Yes campaigns stance, and how it intends to operate as a separate country should it win next week.
The Scottish National Party's mantra, under Alex Salmond and those before him for that matter has been, "It's Scotland's Oil". Salmond has consistently gone on and on about hydrocarbon tax revenue being Scotland's ticket to riches and that Scotland would be better off alone. Except, he's been lying about just how much oil is left in the North Sea basin. World leading oil services outfit, Wood Group came out yesterday, along with Shell and BP and stated that Salmonds figures are up to 60% inflated. The North Sea oil gravy train is coming to an end.
Oops, that's just put a cramp in Scotland's independence. Next up, SNP have stated that they want to retain the Pound once becoming an independent sovereign country, except, well that's just stupid as Paul Krugman pointed out in the NY Times earlier this week. The crux of this concept is this: Scotland can't print currency if it doesn't control it, and should Scotland find itself in a fiscal crunch, they're on their own with few tools to get out. Case in point... look at Spain, it's forked. Read the article it's a good 2 minutes. One could capture Scotland's stance on monetary union as this: "We want independence but we want to keep the pound, so the UK pays if we cock up". Salmond has even been reported by ITV as saying, "what are they going to do? Invade?" in reference to the national debt, and Scotland's share of it (some £111 billion) - should they default on it. Thats a really responsible person who Yes voters are backing.
Right, so SNP don't have as much oil tax revenues as they say they have, in fact half as much. They're prepared to run away from their fiscal responsibilities, which will mean a crap credit rating, and harder access to world funds. Looking great for Scotland so far. SNP believe that it would automatically join the EU and would not be forced to join the Euro - except that the last president of the European Commission clearly stated that Scotland would have to apply to join the EU, and new member nations are required to join the Euro. No problem, Salmod will just fix this with his imaginary oil revenues. And IF that happened, there'd need to be passport control on the border with the UK, as the UK have their own entry requirements and are not part of the Schengen agreement in Europe.
Next, the very fact that this referendum is a democratic farce right from it's outset. Only those over 16 years old, currently living in Scotland get to vote on Scotland's independence. We'll just skip over the fact that the UK has been investing and funding Scotland for the last 300 odd years. According to one article English tax payers subsidize Scotland £17.6 billion a year according to the most recent Treasury figures - Scottish government figures for 2012-13 estimated that £65.2 billion was spent that year in Scotland against £47.6 billion raised in revenues. As an example of inequality in Scotland versus the rest of the UK: Scottish students get free university tuition, no one else in the UK gets that.
So why exactly can't everyone who has paid into Scotland decide on what Scotland does? Or forget that, what about Scottish men and women all over the world who are living abroad currently (and thus my loose link back to something to do with Muscat in this post)? If Scotland votes yes, suddenly loads and loads of Scottish people around the world will have to get new passports (granted the UK has stated that Scottish citizens UK passports will remain valid until they expire). The UK has embassies around the world, Scotland have none, and would have to establish them very quickly.
Furthermore, Scotland would lose it's access to the UK security services, MI5 and MI6, exposing it, and the UK by extension to potential threats. Then there's the NHS, Armed forces, BBC, State pensions and so much more.
I could go on and on but I wont. Scotland's Yes campaign has its roots, I feel, in this mindset: It's our oil money, we don't want to share, why should people in London control what we do?
And my answer is simply, because they are democratically elected to do so.
It amazes me that so many people are still prepared to vote Yes next week with so many unanswered questions about their future hanging in the balance. Are you still reading this? Do you even care? What's your take on the Scottish Independence referendum?