It is again the guardian that calls my attention to events happening (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/22/independent-scotland-startup-costs-200million). It is important to know that I have nothing against Scotland becoming independent. I think that the timing is not great as we are in a massive economic downturn, but the Scots will correctly ask when would be the right moment? Anyway, as this independence is becoming more and more of a reality, we all need to look at what happens after.
The Scots have a few advantages. As the Scots seem to be members of a conservative party with its motto “Let’s not trust a computer farther then we can throw it“, we are set with the positive part that not trusting computers is not at all bad (Yes, as an IT person I am stating this). The downside is that the average Scot can throw a log really far, so tossing a computer might not be such a challenge after all. The issue is in the headline of the article. “Independent Scotland’s start-up costs ‘could be as little as £200m’” and “Leading academic says that could cover duplicating core Westminster functions, but millions would be needed to build necessary IT systems“. I have an issue here. There is an underestimation of requirements here. Yes, overall the costs might seem low, but when Scotland realises that the costs go beyond initial costs and they get to deal with infrastructures, at this point the costs will not be contained that easily.
Why do I care?
Caring is not the best word here. I think that in this case it is more that I like to see goals succeed, even if I do not completely agree with them. Only a real loser is trying to do what they can to make others fail, making others fail is fair when you are at war and we are not at war with the Scots, or with Scotland. The fact that about 3-4 generations ago, my family was from Perthshire (as far as I could tell) does not work in either direction either.
The other quote is “the final tally would be decided in a ‘poker game’ of post-referendum negotiations, according to the leading economics professor who last month criticised the UK government for inflating his figures on the subject“. Since when would anyone decide certain matters in a poker game, is also beyond me. Becoming independent is either tactical or on principle and one should not gamble on the Achilles heel that the people could create in this manner. In that same matter I am not sure if I can agree with the setting that this professor sets. The reference is towards Professor Patrick Dunleavy at the London School of Economics. A person who very likely knows more than 10 times more about economics then I ever will, even if I started to study economics full time at this point.
As stated, I have issues. Scotland will need an infrastructure, services and other matters. Several Scotland, as part of the UK already has and I think they should just be given them, yet Scotland will now need a proper economical system and set up. A national bank, a defence structure and these things all cost money, often a lot more than most imagine. There is however the ‘other’ side. The quote “In May, the Treasury published a detailed analysis of the financial risks of independence which claimed that a previous report by Dunleavy put Scotland’s start-up costs as high as £2.5bn” feels equally overstated. In my view the truth is in the middle and leaning to the cheaper side. In my untrained mind the costs are well over 500 million, but remain steadily under 700 million. This all makes me wonder why the numbers of the treasury are so far off as well (remember, me is a non-economic).
It is this quote that gives a few insides into the views that are shaping within me “In a leaked Scottish cabinet memo, the finance secretary, John Swinney, estimated the costs of a new Scottish tax authority alone at £650m. The Institute of Chartered Accounts Scotland had put those costs at £750m, while other experts suggested a new welfare system would cost £560m“. Is this about independence, or is this about certain people getting ‘their’ greedy fingers in the Haggis called ‘the Scottish economy‘. This is the part I do partially get. We all seem to forget that Scotland represents an economic power in the books of someone, when that falls away into independence, some people will not feel too comfortable and they are all looking for keeping themselves involved.
My question becomes, what can be done and does not cost?
In the age of computers and millisecond decision, I at this time remember my old dentist. He was a Dutch dentist called ‘van Charante’. In the age of computers, this man had the most advanced filing system I ever saw. He had used folders and colour indicators that opening his drawer showed a multidimensional top line table in colours. He saw in seconds something half a dozen tables produced in any analytical system would not tell him in 5-10 minutes. I had heard some IT wannabe’s wanted to convert him. I do not think anyone ever succeeded there. Perhaps that is the direction Scotland should face. It might not be done within the 200 million imagined, but perhaps they could steer well clear of the 2.5 billion someone speculated.
What if the Scottish system reverted to the old systems, not just becoming one Scotland, but in many cases reverting to the 33 counties? Thirty-three areas of ‘almost’ self-management, with a few exceptions, like one police system. They would get a buddy system where the area does what it needs to do and the neighbours come to aid when needed (emergency services). In that case Orkney and Shetland would feel a little isolated, but that might be business as usual for them. The question will remain how to IT some of this, but a system consisting of 33 self-regulating satellites are likely to be more effective, then systems like taxation, healthcare and welfare trying to become three Scottish national systems. If my train of thoughts are correct, then once this is approach is solved, the Scottish system could be an actual WORKING template to fix the failed IT NHS system that has currently costed the UK 10 billion and counting and still not working that well.
Yes, in all this I left out Scottish defence. By the way, has anyone seen what they do with logs and hammers? You really want to run up their hills whilst they smile at you and throw you a gauntlet or two? I for one ain’t that stupid to begin with, but that might be just me.
A final quote from the Guardian is “The debate with Darling, which broadcasters say privately has been tacitly agreed for some time, is now expected to take place sometime after the Commonwealth Games, which end on 3 August. It would potentially be a defining moment of the campaign“, no matter what will be discussed on that day, the truth remains that with two approaches being so far apart, both sides have unresolved issues, without a proper light on both sides these talks will not be the marker of any beginning independence, it could end up being an acceptance on how far views leading to independence are still apart.
So, is my view the correct one? I honestly cannot tell, but I am in all honesty looking for solutions, like any puzzle, an independence remains a logistical conundrum with plenty of loose ends, solving the puzzle is at times the best challenge that can be faced. Getting others to see the puzzle the way I did is the next challenge and implementing that puzzle is another challenge still. Three links in a chain that leads to a solution. Micromanaging these events like the BBC did with their 5 questions (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26836126) seems a little too trivial an approach. Yes, these questions will need a solution and it will be up to Scotland to find them. I reckon the views we seen in regards to the disagreements between Theresa May, the current Home secretary and the European Court of Human Rights shows that the UK has its own puzzles to figure out and they have been at it a lot longer than Scotland.
May we all be one Commonwealth, supporting each other, fighting for each other and at times disagreeing with one another, especially when Scotland is playing England, at that time the disagreements must be loud, jolly and with a few better Scottish players on the Rugby field.
Go Wallabies! 😉