The upcoming Scottish independence referendum next year will have profound implications for Scotland and the UK as a whole. Up to now the debate from both sides has been negative and a strategy very much of attack the opposing side. This book attempts to break through that barrier and offer a comprehensive analysis of what awaits Scotland if it votes for independence or if the people of Scotland decide to remain as part of the UK. In truth, there is little in the way of certainty of what a vote for independence would mean as it would rely heavily on negotiations with the UK government on crucial issues such as currency.
A number of issues are touched upon in the book and particularly interesting are the chapters on oil and on welfare within the UK and the alternative, from a nationalist standpoint. I would use the book as a guide certainly and it does remain balanced throughout which is refreshing and adds to the value of the book. I would read further around the subject if you want to gain a better overview, because this doesn't tend to go into too much detail. Which is understandable and is one of the overriding purposes which is for the book to be readable.
Perhaps, Scotland's Choices is best viewed as part of a wider collection. I would recommend the book, but to get a more detailed understanding I would recommend additional reading.
on 22 April 2014
Essential reading maybe, but hard going, packed as it is with facts and statistics. The authors are careful not to come down either for the Union or Independence, remaining clinically detached in their analysis. The complexities of dissociation from rUK are so great that they alone would seem reason enough for staying united, and one option if the Yes vote succeeds, that of staying within a Sterling currency union, has already been removed. McLean et al also make it clear that whichever way the vote goes years of negotiation lie ahead either in detaching the two economies, or implementing futher devolution as recommended by the Calman Commission and set out in the Scotland Act 2012. But were the vote for independence to be NO, it seems clear that the Nationaists will hardly pack their bags and go away, but would be in the comfortable position of claiming the credit for future success on themselves and the blame for future mistakes on the Unionists; and biding their time for another bid.
Hard headed analysis,as set out here suggests the right option is No to independence, but we're not bloodless automata and there's centuries of emotional baggage in the relationship between the two countries. So perhaps better to say Yes and then the issue is finally out of the way, once ways and means are finally agreed, and the two countries will go on much as they have always done but in a more friendly and equable way.
on 21 May 2013
A brilliantly informative book about the pros and cons of independence for Scotland. The authors clearly and analytically set out what would happen and what needs to happen for Scottish independence to occur. There is no bias in the book one way or the other, just the facts. When you have read it, every utterance of a politician can be listened to and opined upon from a rational point of view, and i have to say its makes what pro independence politicians say very hard to believe.
My conclusion is that every one who votes in Scotland should read it, sadly 99.99% of them will not and will go the ballot box ill informed to make their vote on the most important occasion in their lives. Alex Salmond should read it as well.
on 9 January 2014
This excellent book is a study of the implications of the referendum for Scotland's, indeed Britain's, future. Iain McLean is a Professor of Politics at Oxford University. Jim Gallagher and Guy Lodge are both Gwilym Gibbon Fellows at Nuffield College, Oxford.
They point out that EU treaties oblige member countries to have a central bank. The SNP says the Bank of England would be Scotland's central bank.
The SNP says that its 3 per cent corporation tax cut would lift output by 1.4 per cent, jobs by 1.1 per cent (27,000) and investment by 1.9 per cent - by 2034! But to take advantage of lower corporation tax, all a company has to do is set up a shell company to move its taxable profit, not any jobs or actual production, to the cheaper country.
The Scottish government has made no effort to devolve labour market law. It clearly supports the present anti-trade union laws.
Under devolution, there are no UK-wide framework laws covering devolved matters, no insistence that citizens living in devolved territories are entitled to a minimum level of service provision or UK-wide common standards. Scotland has higher levels of public spending than the rest of the UK. Its domestic tax revenues per head are the same as the UK average. It relies on current oil revenues to support its current level of public spending. As the authors conclude, "with oil revenues at their 2009-10 level, an independent Scotland would have either to raise taxes or cut services, or both."