As a resident of lucky Scotland and the big ship UK I thought I would look at what would have happened if Scotland had voted for independence in the 1970s, instead voting over and over in each UK General Election to stay in UK (or being hoodwinked each time to try to get the Tories out before 1997).
Between 1979 and 1990 when Mrs T resigned or 1992 when the UK election took place
- We would not have had Mrs Thatcher in power during the 1980s as Scotland always voted Labour during this time.
- We would have had the advantage of having control over the oil revenues from the North Sea, setting up an oil fund to save some of it for the benefit of future generations, as opposed to it being squandered entirely by the UK state.
- With this oil revenue we would have been able to continue to sort Scottish society’s ills such as homelessness, deprivation, and poverty. We would also have been able to use it to assist the setting up of new businesses allowing the economy and people to thrive, rather than the direct opposite.
- We would not have a privatised Electricity industry and therefore there would be no danger of the lights going out across the rest of the UK because there would not have been such a great dash for gas in the 1990s as it was the cheapest energy source at that moment. Instead of profit being the primary motive, energy security would be the highest on the agenda. I therefore seriously doubt there would be a possible, even likely, energy supply problem.
- We would not have a private Gas industry. Private energy companies would not be having record profits whilst a significant proportion of the Scottish population have to choose to heat their homes or eat.
- We would never have had privatised hospital cleaners, which has led to the spread of hospital acquired infections.
- We would not have a de-regulated bus service. At the time this was done to ‘improve competition’. There are now fewer bus companies than there were at the time so there is now less competition. Traveling on the bus has also become very much more expensive in real terms with very few improvements in overall levels of service.
- We would not have such a deep seated housing shortage. A very large part of this problem was created by the Conservative Government’s selling off of Council housing at vastly discounted prices, and in addition the Councils were not allowed to build new housing with the money raised.
- We would not have had the relaxation of banking and financial regulation which this Government carried out in the 1980s, meaning we would not have the major ingredient for the current banking, credit and debt crisis.
- We would have student grants, not student loans. Even under grants it was the case that students were penalised for becoming a student as they would have been financially better off claiming benefits. However at least they could be sure that the country valued them trying to improve themselves by supporting them in some way. Now students are drastically penalised and have to pay back for their education through their hard work, through their taxes (which we assume will be higher as they are more highly skilled), through the repayment of the student loan, and through not having a life whilst studying.
- We would not have had the significant diminution of workers rights.
- We would not have had such a draconian cut to public spending during this period meaning there would be significantly fewer long term unemployed, and many people who have never been able to get a job since.
- We would not have spent a vast amount of money on a new version of Polaris nuclear weapons on the Clyde as Labour were against the renewal of this at the time when the decision as far as purchasing the Trident system was taken.
- We would never have had the disaster of the poll tax or community charge which was only voted out by the following Conservative leadership because of the marches on England and London on the subject.
- We may even have a car or motor vehicle industry still at Linwood.
- And we might even as a result still have a steel industry at Ravenscraig.
- Lots more I could mention.
To be continued...
Part 2 of 2 on 05.09.2013