I spoke yesterday in a debate at Aberdeen University. The panelists were:
Prof Igor Guz, Head of the School of Engineering, Aberdeen University
Gillian Martin, Women for Independence (me)
Prof. Hugh Pennington
Dame Anne Begg MP (Lab)
I figured that everyone had seen all the TV debates and people are fed up of the old currency, EU type back and forth so I decided to ask the audience to imagine that Scotland had always been independent and that Westminster wrote us a letter. Below are the Westminster letter to us, and our reply.
We have a proposal for you to consider. in short, we would like you to join the United Kingdom. Here's the deal. First off, we'd like you to give us ALL your tax revenue and in return we'll give you a proportion of it back for you to spend on whatever you want. Things might get tighter if the proportion shrinks, I'll grant you, but you'll be able to counteract that by getting rid of free prescriptions, charging for University Education and selling off bits of the NHS.
In addition to that, the Americans have kindly given us a fleet of submarines with nuclear warheads. Now we don't even have the codes for them, but we're thinking that you could keep them for us. There's a place in the mouth of the Clyde about 30 miles from your most heavily populated area that we think would be ideal. How about it?
And don't worry about our enemies attacking you- we can get a naval vessel up to your shores from Portsmouth to check out any Russian subs in the Moray Firth in a matter of 18 hours. No problem.
Also, let us take care of that burdensome oil. It can be hard to know what to do with all that tax revenue. Let us take the strain.
In terms of representation we propose to give you 59 MPs out of our total of 650. That obviously will make it difficult for you to have an impact on the government that gets elected but occasionally the rest of the UK might vote with you if the Labour party lurches to the right in order to get elected.
Now those MPs will have to stay in London most of the year. But they'll love it. There's heaps to do and many of them will never want to go back to basing themselves within driving distance of their constituency. I mean, has Le Mis even been to Dundee? Didn't think so.
You may have noticed we're also big mates with the USA and they let us join in their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan amongst others, where we can pretty much do what we like. You surely want a part of that action, don't you? Don't worry about the legality- we've got that covered.
In addition we have a once in a lifetime offer to open up your NHS to something called the Transatlantic Trade Partnership. What this means is that American private healthcare companies can start running our NHS for us. Great, eh? We've some private companies in England who are tremendously excited about the revenue that will earn them. Some of your top businessmen could get a slice of that pie too if you join us.
Hey, I forgot to mention- we're also going to give you the chance to vote to come out of the EU. Don't say we're not good to you. I mean, your votes might not stack up to as much as UKIP voting Surrey, Kent and Essex but that's democracy for you!
Finally we'd like to remind you that our Olympics team did rather well at the last Olympic Games and really that's all the man in the street cares about. So how about making the people happy and joining team GB?
I've attached a petition of millionaires, pop stars, light entertainers and unelected embers of the House of Lords who used to be Margaret Thatcher's cabinet who all would like to encourage you to join up.
We eagerly await your reply
Now for the reply from Scotland...
Thanks for your letter. We would have answered sooner but we get a lot of mail from people in your country asking how they can affect change like we did, so it must have got buried in all of that.
We've had a good look at your proposal and must politely decline. Here's why.
We have a constitution that does not allow us to privatise our NHS or charge any fees to students attending Further or Higher education establishments. We decided that it was a good idea to protect institutions by having their protection outlined in this national constitution, so that they would survive no matter what flavour of government was in charge of them. You should think about doing the same. you do realise everyone else has got one. The people of Scotland really got involved in helping us write ours.
We are also not particularly interested in becoming a country which aggressively involves itself in foreign countries under the guise of liberation of peoples when you and I both know it's more about the money that can be made from exploiting their oil reserves. We prefer in fact to use our armed forces for defence, and to be engaged in our communities in times of need, perhaps helping internationally when there are human rights abuses or natural disasters to contend with.
Thanks for the offer of a block grant but we are fine controlling all our tax revenues ourselves. This means we can eradicate child poverty, invest in our schools, hospitals and universities and put a great deal of money into the development of renewable energy. We're involved with a lot of our Northern European partners in that and we'll be back in touch when it's ready for other countries to purchase. Mates rates for you guys, of course.
As for the nukes. We're fine without, thanks. In fact we're more than fine. We use the money we save on things like that to fund our defence force and patrol our waters, getting help to those who need it and watching out for anyone who may want to cause us harm. Why don't you just get rid of them yourselves. The Cold War is over, you know. Why don't you ask your people if they want to keep them- you might find out that they don't.
As for the MPs- we're already good with what we have, thanks. We've got our own MSPs representing every area of Scotland and the people of Scotland can easily get in touch with them as they are close-by. We've also decentralised a lot of our government so it is shared around the country. Aberdeen for example hosts our Energy, Farming and Fishing Ministries. People seem to think that makes sense. We also have proportional representation which our people think is more democratic than first past the post. We don't have a two party system like yours, and we've lots of parties representing a multitude of different political agendas. People are particularly politically engaged. Do you know we have over 80% of our electorate voting at the polls?
So on reflection, thanks but as someone once said "No thanks". We'll pass.
But be assured of one thing, we might not be part of team GB but we will cheer you on with every race you run and every medal you win, my dear friend and neighbour.
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