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Thread by @simon_brooke: "The GrowthComission report (yes, I'm struggling to read it, too) says: "3.88 Maximising frictionless trade and market access with the rest o […]" #GrowthComission #EW #EU #GrowthCommission

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The #GrowthComission report (yes, I'm struggling to read it, too) says:

"3.88 Maximising frictionless trade and market access with the rest of the UK and with Europe is of critical importance to the performance of the Scottish economy in the short and long term."
This is almost certainly not possible, and absolutely certainly not in our gift. England and Wales (hereinafter #EW) seemed destined for a very hard crash out of the #EU. >>>
Given that that is so, there will be a hard border between #EW and any country which is in either the EU or EFTA. >>>
Scotland will have to choose which side of that border to be on. Do we choose the UK side, which makes independence virtually meaningless, or the EU side, which puts us into a community of 27 other nations many of a similar size to our own? >>>
This decision is made harder by the fact that England sits squarely across our main trade route. Trade war with #EW is precisely what undermined the Scottish economy before the 1706 union; it is a major risk. >>>
Scotland urgently needs its own Brexit Buster, like Ireland's. That means not just ships, but new port infrastructure (and transport links to it) at Grangemouth, Rosyth, possibly Aberdeen. >>>

irishtimes.com/news/ireland/i…
The #GrowthCommission report covers port facilities only in paragraphs A183 and A190; it doesn't mention the risk of trade friction in using #EW as our main trade conduit. That seems to me pretty remiss. >>>
Related is the matter of currency. The report urges the idea of continuing to use Sterling for what seems to me a remarkably long period (10 years). >>>
As @KirstyS_Hughes persuasively argues, using Sterling prevents us rejoining the EU during that period. If she's right (and I believe she is), shouldn't the #GrowthCommission have considered this? >>>

scer.scot/database/ident…
But even if @KirstyS_Hughes were wrong about EU membership, for a country which wishes to remain part of the European family to hitch itself to a currency set to diverge rapidly from it doesn't seem like a good plan. >>>
I'm also bothered by the 'Annual Solidarity Payment'. It looks a lot like tribute; or like paying off a blackmailer. We shouldn't do this. >>>
Article 38 of the Vienna Convention reads:

"1.When the successor State is a newly independent State, no State debt of the predecessor State shall pass to the newly independent State, unless an agreement between them provides otherwise..." >>>

legal.un.org/ilc/texts/inst…
So Scotland is not obliged to, and cannot be obliged to, pay a share of the UK debt. This doesn't mean we should not, but it does mean we cannot be forced to. >>>
The #GrowthCommission report compounds this problem by suggesting that we should continue to 'buy services' from #EW as part of the 'Solidarity Payment', specifically including military services. >>>
For me, making a break from the UK's military traditions of bombast, adventurism, gunboat diplomacy is one of the most important reasons for #independence. I don't think I'm alone. >>>
Again, UK foreign aid is increasingly being used to pursue the UK's geopolitical and commercial ambitions. Scotland should not be supporting UK foreign aid programmes (para B2.3). >>>
But there's a more fundamental issue about the #GrowthCommission report: growth. Sustainable growth is physically possible only if you assign artificial financial values to intangible things. We currently do do this, but we shouldn't assume it's beneficial. >>>
Does the Scottish economy need to grow? I'd argue it doesn't. According to 'Wealth and Assets in Scotland, 2006-2014', the total household wealth of Scotland is £865.6 BILLION - almost a trillion pounds. >>>

gov.scot/Publications/2…
I own ten acres of land, a car with 130k miles on it, a 55 year old tractor, five cattle, a little sailing boat, several computers, a lot of books, a home-built house you would call a hut, and some tools; total value £70,000 if I'm lucky. >>>
(Oh, and several bicycles).

Apart from mental health, I have an extraordinarily good life. I work about ten days a month. I eat well. I'm secure. There's nothing I need I don't have,
The average household wealth in Scotland - the arithmetic mean - is £360,666.67. You don't have that much? I'm not surprised. The problem isn't that Scotland is poor, the problem is that Scotland is unequal. >>>
Worse, Scotland is still steadily getting more unequal. >>>

gov.scot/Publications/2… Chart of household wealth per decile over time, showing increasing inequality.
Yet more than half of all households have no or negligible net financial wealth. >>>

gov.scot/Publications/2…
40% of all households have no or negligible property wealth (and you can bet those are mostly the same folk as have no net financial wealth). >>>

gov.scot/Publications/2…
In fact, overall, this is how badly wealth in Scotland is distributed. >>>

gov.scot/Publications/2…
So, going back to that average figure, £360,666.67. Suppose your household had that much wealth. Would you be able to live an extremely comfortable life?

I would think so.

If you couldn't, what is wrong with you? >>>
And if the overwhelming majority of us could live very comfortably indeed on a fair share of Scotland's wealth, why does Scotland's economy need to grow? Why is it seen as a political desideratum? >>>
We cannot grow by resource consumption without destroying the future of the planet for our children. We cannot extract all the oil from under the North Sea without far exceeding the planet's ability to cope. >>>
We need to use the resources we do extract more thoughtfully. We need to waste less. We need use less. All this can be done without hurting anyone's standard of living. >>>
(I should have said, earlier: if we shared Scotland's household wealth equally, 88% of households would benefit. Only 12% of households would lose. And that is before you count wealth held in tax havens and secrecy regimes) >>>
In summary, if we made our political objective to make people's quality of life better, rather than to grow the economy, we have adequate wealth and would have, with independence, adequate tools to do that. >>>
The question is, have we the will?
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