The White Paper

So, the day is finally here. Alas, server issues stopped me from getting a copy earlier, but now we can all download a copy of that heft bad boy right here. Also, enjoy a Q&A page here.

Of course, I won’t be able to provide any coverage of it, since it will take me a long time to digest all 670 pages of it. And, unlike professional journalists, I don’t have the time to speed read it.

Still, here are a few bits and pieces that have been revealed include scrapping universal credit, married tax allowances, increasing child care, protecting pensions, reforming taxes,

Of course, the white paper has opened up the yes campaign to a number of criticisms. The most contentious one is the currency union, which would include joint provisions for a bailout, along with some tough talk from Nicola Sturgeon. Gordon Brown has slammed the plan. Which is nice, because Alistair Darling, head of Better Together, did previously say that a currency union would be logical. Also, UK students would still be charged for studying at Scottish universities after independence. I can’t really understand the unionist’s arguments here. Are they, for once, not in favour of the status quo? Are they mad that, if Scotland became independent, that UK students would now be able to study at Scottish universities for free? The SNP’s child care plans have come under fire for holding child care to ransom. Alistair Darling has stood by the party line and denied that the 670-page report provided any information, a position echoed by Ruth Davidson. Hopefully, the white paper will provide the no campaign with some more original criticisms.

As far as reasonable criticisms go, their is this article. In all of this white paper talk, we haven’t heard much say on spending cuts, which if you recall the IFS report, are something Scotland will need to make to balance the budget.

Both campaigns have released handy infographics for the intellectually-challenged people like me. Check out Yes’s Scotland’s got what it takes Scotland in numbers, and Better Together’s the benefits of the UK. Yes have also come up with this rather asinine one. There have been many elections and referendums in which I have not received what I have voted for. You don’t see me casting myself adrift from the polity.

Now, in order to prove that I can get my information from more than just Twitter, I finally had a chance to catch up on all The Economist action I missed whilst on holiday. There was a great article about Britain’s future in their November 9th issue. A shortened version is here, along with two videos, here, and dealing with Scottish independence here. The article in the magazine makes a brief, direct, and unfavourable reference to Scottish independence, claiming that an independent Scotland would be too vulnerable to fluctuations in the oil market and the currency union would hamper Scotland’s freedom.

The real reason for posting the article is that it asks questions about the state of British politics. As I have previously stated, I feel that the UK political scene is stagnant, and would rather see some serious political reforms for the whole UK rather than split up the union. When one considers the problems facing Britain currently, is secession really the answer? America is held up as an example of politics gone mad, where divisions are so deep and so wide (between the slightly-more right wing and the slightly-less right wing) that the government can no longer physically work. But even there, nobody is seriously talking about splitting the country up. Is Britain really so broken that the only solution is to break it apart completely?

I can’t help but feel the answer is no. But still, like I said before, Scottish independence seems to be the only option that is talking about a complete national overhaul. This is why I am prejudiced towards it. The idea of meeting new challenges, even the all the ones the no campaign likes to scare us with is more than Westminster is offering. Business as usual is no longer the tempting offer it once was.


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