"The Economy, Stupid"


“The economy, stupid” was the famous slogan coined for Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign.

Well, last week, it was the economy that was the clear focus of the Scottish political scene as the Independence debate stepped up a notch.

First up, the Canadian born Governor of the Bank of England – Mark Carney – said there would be a distinct possibility that the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters would have to re-locate to England if Scotland became Independent.

Next, two prominent economists who appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s finance committee, blew a hole in Alex Salmond’s claims that Scotland would form a currency Union with the rest of the UK upon Independence. One said: “Post Independence the only option I can see for Scotland is a separate currency. Nothing else will work, nothing else will be credible to the markets”.

The final blow hit the ‘Yes’ campaign when the Scottish Government spending and revenue figures were published showing that Scotland is in deficit to the tune of £12 billion, the equivalent of all our health spending. The figures also showed that Scotland’s oil revenues have gone down by over £4 billion in just one year, the equivalent of all our spending on schools.

It’s clear that in order to fill this gap in an Independent Scotland, the SNP would either have to cut public services or raise taxes.

The latest economic developments are significant in themselves, but they also illustrate the weakness of an SNP campaign that has overplayed the benefits of Independence and underplayed the risks it would have on the economy, the currency and our place in Europe.

No wonder the majority of Scots still believe that we are stronger together, sharing in the good times and spreading the risk in the bad times.