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A Brave New World ?

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

What will Scotland look like in ten or twelve years time if we decide to take the Independence path?

Don't want to be argumentative so just trying to stick with the likely, most probable bits.

We would have our own parliament. We'd have a group called the Scottish Conservatives; there would be Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberals, maybe some Scottish Greens. Perhaps we will be under a coalition government of Conservatives and Tories.

Likely the majority of the disruption caused by the independence process will be past and the dust will be settling.

Our new currency will be in its infancy along with our newly founded central bank. While the new currency would have been launched at parity with the English pound it will have established its own value within the International markets. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where it will not have lost a little ground, if only just due to the relative size of the economies.

There will be a hard border to our south. Trucks maybe having to pay some kind of transit duty to access the European markets. The rest of the UK is unlikely to allow us to utilise their road/rail system without some kind of contribution.

Our one refinery will likely be working hard. They will have undoubtedly extended their contract with suppliers in the United States for the petrochemical feedstock ethylene which is almost a waste product of the shale oil production.

Our exports of crude oil will continue, if slightly reduced, as the ever more difficult to access reserves struggle to compete with the global sources and particularly the excesses in the United States. We will also be slowly realising that the older fields will all need to have their sites cleared when they are finally closed down. Ensuring that the oil companies respond suitably to this will be quite a burden.

And yes there are new reserves to the West of Shetland but the recovery cost of this material will remain prohibitively high for quite a considerable time. A time, with the pressure to go green will be extended as demand for fossil fuels diminishes.

As we import a considerable amount of our food we will be noticing that prices in our Scottish Tesco and our Scottish Victoria Wines etc are slightly higher than across the border. There will be no political pressure for a parity of prices on the supermarkets so they will pass on the additional costs to the consumer. And, with the lack of parity in the currency, cross border smuggling will have to policed.

With ten years of uncertainty behind us we will be working hard to try to entice new investment from abroad and we will be hoping to lure some of the financial services companies back. The weaker currency and relatively cheaper workforce will be an asset in this, but ten years of continued brain drain caused by the uncertainty will have had an affect on our ability to offer skilled/talented blue collar workers.

The brain drain will have had an affect on education and on health. There will be competition for teachers and for doctors and nurses. The combination of a larger economy and a higher degree of certainty, south of the border, will have meant that the flow will be north to south and not south to north. Scotland's health service will also be coping with a burgeoning diabetes, heart disease and other weight related problems.

We will be getting closer to a deal on joining the EU. There will still be some resistance from Spain and some others but the spin will definitely be better. There will be a bit of a feud over fishing as Scottish waters will have been plundered over the last decade by EU trawlers as there will have been no available fishery protection.

Having put the new Calmac ferries in place, the cost of maintaining those of us who live in the highlands and islands becomes a much more obvious burden. The islands will have struggled more than others with the reduction in tourism. More obviously will be southern Scotland that relied really quite heavily on visitors from England. But then if you tell someone often enough that you don't like them, they start to look elsewhere for their friends.

"In 2013, for example, UK visitors made 18.5 million visits to Scotland, staying 64.5 million nights and spending £3.7bn. In contrast, overseas residents made 1.58 million visits to Scotland, staying 15 million nights and spending £806m." (Wikipedia)

Our independent country will be facing some challenges. But you could argue that it always does, at least we'd be making our own decisions. Well, if we leave divided we will still be divided in ten years time. The politicians from each of the political parties will all blame each other. The SNP will likely have eroded away as people realise that the original parties are quite capable of producing the appropriate level of incompetence. Perhaps we'll have a small group called the UK Unionist party, maybe with a small but active following.

It is difficult to imagine a new independent Scotland as little different to what we have now. But the likelihood is that we will be a little less prosperous and perhaps still struggling to unify ourselves towards a better future. What is guaranteed is that the politicians will be more expensive, more numerous and still unable to provide a cohesive answer to any of the increasingly complex and numerous problems that we will be facing.

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