Independence? Is Scotland Ready?

March 21, 2023 Off By Mark Paul

Scottish Independence

This method of gaining independence without the so-called permission of Westminster seems easy on the face of it, and the obvious way to go.  So why hasn’t it been done?  There appears to be a contradiction between the desire for independence and bringing it about.  It is true that Scotland is very divided.  A referendum for example could consolidate the union!  In terms of control, who can the Scots trust, even in their own household?

Arguably, Scotland has one of the most appalling records in education, with promises made by Swinney never seeing the light of day.  Schools are outdated, teaching children stock answers to exam questions, replacing exams with downgraded assessments during the pandemic and beyond.  This alone causing even greater stress on students on whom impossible demands are made for career success, creating a growing number of drop outs.  The school curriculum is archaic. “Parrot-fashion” answers negate the need for children to learn to think or develop general knowledge, to understand argument, ambiguity, ambivalence or creative mind.

Technology too evades students from poorer backgrounds unable to take advantage of Zoom exams or extra-curricular tuition.  Given that our children are the future of Scotland, their education from the earliest stage is critical.  Given their ubiquitous assimilation of social media and general screen time, fake news and massive peer pressure, innovative and diversified school education requires a huge radical overhaul nationwide.

From the Spectator, “Perhaps most scandalous of all is Swinney’s decision not to release the findings of the OECD’s report on Curriculum for Excellence until after the May election. He says this is on account of ‘confidentiality rules’. Who does he think he’s kidding? Education is fully devolved. Scotland’s pupils aren’t guinea pigs. Scotland’s teachers aren’t load-carrying mules. Scotland’s public isn’t stupid. Those responsible for this mess ought to answer for it at the ballot box.”  This was in 2021, but there seems little change or improvement.  Of course the country is now wholly distracted by its journey towards independence for which it is arguably, not even close to ready.

According to the FT, “Few economists thought an advanced economy of Scotland’s size would be unviable on a standalone basis, but they cautioned there would be a difficult transition to stable public finances, as well as major challenges around currency and trading arrangements.”  Apparently, Scotland’s deficit is so huge as to be a cost that will burden any future self-rule for decades to come.

We have 3 candidates, but IMO, none show any meaningful power of leadership that can bring about radical tax reform, such as introducing AGR/LVT, which would go some considerable way to aiding Scotland financial burden, or inspire confidence within society at every level.  What is most apparent is that any politician will say anything that will get their foot inside the door, but how quickly that tune changes once inside the room.  Why should these 3 be any different?