f. No Campaign, Myth Busting

The No-Campaign leaflets

Myth Busting


Here are the reasons the no-campaign have provided on one of their leaflets to why the UK is ‘better together’, they are at best misguided.



Point 1 – ‘Scotland exports twice as much to England, Wales and Northern Ireland as to the rest of the world’. OK, but why is this a reason to remain in the UK, post-independence Scotland will still be exporting to the rest of the UK.



Point 2 – ‘Scots are represented by over 270 embassies as part of the UK, the world’s biggest diplomatic network’. What is the point of this statement? After independence Scotland will have its own embassies or even share them.



Point 3 – ‘One in five workers in Scotland are employed by English, Welsh & Northern Irish firms’. Is the no-campaign really saying English, Welsh and Northern Irish firms are pulling out of Scotland after independence. Sure English, Welsh and Northern Irish firms employ Scottish workers, along with Scottish ones, Japanese ones, American ones.



Point 4 – 31,000 workers in Scotland have jobs with the UK government’, who would no-doubt be employed by the Scottish government when it gains full powers.



Point 5 – ‘Scottish banks were bailed out with £470 billion from UK tax payers.’ This presumably is suggesting under independence Scotland would have had to foot this bill. Here, words shall not be minced, this is not the case.



Andrew Hughes Hallett, Professor of Economics at St Andrew’s University states:



‘By international convention, when banks which operate in more than one country get into these sorts of conditions, the bailout is shared in proportion to the area of activities of those banks. In the case of the RBS…roughly speaking 90% of its operations are in England and 10% are in Scotland.’ (Joan McAlpine, 2011)



Hence, the bill would have been footed by England to the tune of 90% of the total cost of the bailout.



Furthermore, Andrew Campbell, Professor of international and finance law at Leeds University states: ‘It would be inconceivable that Edinburgh or Scotland as a whole could be held liable for that full bill.’ (Ibid.)



Moreover, ‘the figure [of £470 billion] is sometimes quoted as the cost of saving the banks. But this is completely misleading because it states the banks entire liabilities. All banks have more out in lending than they reserve in capital so by this calculation all banks would be technically bankrupt all the time.



‘The bailout of RBS and HBOS actually cost £66bn in shares and loans. Given that Scottish GDP at the time was £145 billion and our remaining oil reserves, using the American Energy Departments cost calculations, are valued at a trillion pounds, we’d have been well placed to negotiate a good deal on the international money markets – which was how the UK, and other national governments, financed the banking rescue. Indeed given our valuable natural resources, we might have negotiated a better deal. Either way, it would come right in the end. The Office of Budget Responsibility calculate that the Treasury is set to make a profit of £3.4bn on the entire UK bailout, thanks to buying bank shares at the bottom of the market and getting a very attractive rate of return on its loans.



‘So an independent Scotland could easily have bailed out our banks, but we would not have had to, according to Professors Hughes Hallett, Cambell and Walker.’ (Ibid.) There you have it.



Point 6 – ’800,000 Scots live and work in England and Wales without the need for papers and passports’. Passports will not be needed as Scotland WILL be in the EU, ‘for practical and political reasons they [Scotland] could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission’ (UK Parliament, 2012).



Point 7 – ‘The UK has the 2nd biggest aid budget, delivered by life-saving Scots from East Kilbride’. Scotland will still contribute to world aid.



Point 8 – ‘The UK means Scots gets a seat at the top table at the UN, alongside Russia, China and America’. Does Scotland really get a voice at the top table?



Point 9 – ‘Scots save billions on the cost of mortgages due to the UK AAA credit rating’. Is the UK credit rating really that stable? Don’t throw stones comes to mind.



Point 10 – ‘The pensions of 1 million Scots are guaranteed by the UK welfare system’. Scots will still receive pensions that they have paid into. Besides, one, how much will these pensions be worth? and two, are they really guaranteed?



By this I hope some myths have been expelled. Moreover these ten points really pale in comparison to those given by the YES Campaign to why we should be independent:



Point 1 – Being independent means that the people of Scotland will be in charge of Scotland’s future. Together, we care most about our nation, so nobody else is going to do as good a job of making Scotland a success.



Point 2 – If Scotland votes yes, the first independent parliament will be elected in 2016 – we will get the government we vote for, unlike today, with a government in London the majority of voters in Scotland did not support.



Point 3 – Scotland more than pays her way in the UK. We get 9.3% of UK spending, but contribute 9.6% of UK taxes. We are in a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK, to the tune of £510 per person last year – that’s over £1000 for each Scottish household. As an independent country, this money would stay in Scotland.



Point 4 – Scotland already pays for all the government services we need as an independent country – we don’t have to start from scratch. However, the money will be spent in Scotland, rather than London, creating thousands of Scottish jobs.



Point 5 – With independence we’ll save on some UK spending – so the initial start up costs will be met by the £250 million annual saving from the UK’s existing nuclear weapons and the £50 million annual saving by no longer paying for politicians at Westminster.



Point 6 – Scotland would remain part of the EU. EU law doesn’t allow for Scotland to be unilaterally kicked out on independence. And, EU law also makes clear that Scotland can’t be forced to join the euro. We will continue to use the pound, just as we do today.



Point 7- Scotland has 25% of the EU’s offshore wind and tidal energy potential. By 2020 our renewable energy could be generating £2 billion a year of exports and by 2050 our renewable energy could be worth £14 billion a year.



Point 8 – Scotland doesn’t need oil to become independent, but our oil and gas resource is worth over £1 trillion and gives us a safety net for the future. Last year saw record investment in the North Sea and in October, BP said they expected North Sea oil and gas to flow for at least another 40 years.



Point 9 – The UK government doesn’t include oil and gas when it talks about Scotland’s finances. But, if you do include oil and gas in our national accounts, we would be the 6th wealthiest nation per capita in the developed world.



Point 10 – Scotland has a wealth of talent – for our size we have more world-class universities than any other nation and our research tops world league tables.



A further point to make from this leaflet is the question they ask which is ‘Do you agree that Scotland’s best future remains as part of the United Kingdom?’ – If using ‘do you agree’ is a leading question as the no bloc suggests, then why is alright for them to use it on their leaflets? Hypocritical?







Joan McAlpine, (2011), ‘Scotland and the banking bailout – time for the truth’, [online],


accessed on 26/11/2012.



UK Parliament, (2012), ‘HC 643The Foreign policy implications and for a separate Scotland’, [online],


accessed on 26/11/2012



Yes Scotland, (2012), ‘Ten things to tell your friends and family about an independent Scotland’, [online],


accessed on 18/06/2012




Andrew Smith

Thurso and District SNP

Press Officer.




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