Saturday, August 2, 2014

Scottish Secession: Early August Update

Alright, folks, here's your latest update on the Scottish secession debate. We're down to less than two months until the September 18th referendum, and here are some of the recent developments.

As I've noted previously, the SNP's financial forecast depends largely on Scotland's economy benefitting from steady or increasing oil revenues. The Chief Secretary to the (United Kingdom) Treasury, Danny Alexander, recently called the SNP's oil forecasts "fantastical", contrasting them with official forecasts. Those official forecasts predict a decline of up to a quarter between 2020 and 2041, specifically impacting government finances. These forecasts join repeated UK and independent forecasts calling the long-term future of North Sea energy production into question.

The BBC has also asked sort of an interesting question: Why does Salmond make referendum speeches in England? Also from the BBC, and it will only be available for a few more days, but the Newshour program did nearly a full show on the upcoming referendum. You can download it here.

In my last Scottish secession post, I noted that there had been a number of business leaders who had complained of bullying by the SNP. One such individual is Gavin Hewitt, former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association; a few days before I wrote that last post, his successor David Frost said that he hadn't been bullied, and claimed that he had been party to "vigorous discussions" on both sides of the debate.

In another development, two convicted Scottish killers lost their appeal to be granted the right to vote in the referendum. The Scottish Government welcomed the ruling. I feel like the jokes write themselves on that one.

As I may have noted before, a number of other European regions are keeping their eye on the Scottish referendum. These regions' designs on independence are one of the main reasons why commentators are so skeptical of First Minister Salmond's assertion that Scotland will enjoy abbreviated accession to the European Union. Some of the heavy hitters in the EU will have a vested interest in preventing that very thing from happening.

Finally, I wanted to share something I ran across the other day which takes us back to my beloved island paradise of Orkney. Earlier this year, the BBC hosted a debate on the referendum at the Pickaquoy Cent(re) in Kirkwall. It's about an hour long, and well worth your time to watch if you're curious about this topic:

First Minister Salmond and his political allies have less than two months to convince Scottish voters that they have a credible plan and, moreso, that Scots would be better off in perpetuity if inexorably liberated from their longstanding Union with the rest of the United Kingdom. The wait continues, and the time prior to the vote dwindles.

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