On The Doorsteps - Part Three - The 'Aye, But...'
"Aye, but..." is the most common start to any sentence when discussing your referendum argument with a NO/Undecided voter on the doorsteps, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at a recent meeting I attended. And she's right.
I've got some replies to the most common arguments I get thrown. Here are a few:
"Aye, but... What are we going to do about this currency thing? They're nae going to let us have it, are they?"
Well, for a start it isn't theirs to give. Scots have as much right to the pound sterling as anyone else in the UK. Westminster definitely will negotiate in the event of a YES vote - they'd be committing economical suicide if they didn't. I mean - can you honestly see David Cameron informing half-a-million pound Tory party donor and Wonga boss Adrian Beecroft (who obviously does a lot of business this side of the border) that he'll suddenly be paying an extra exchange rate on top of his considerable income from poor Scots? (I'd actually have pay-day loan firms banned, if it were up to me) He'd probably have to kiss bye bye to that welcome cash in the run up to the 2015 UK general election. And that's just one of the many Tory (or even Labour, more than likely these days) donors that do a vast amount of business with Scotland. If they actually carried out the idiotic move of no currency union, which they won't, it would place the rest of the UK economy in dangerous grounds. Mark Carney, the director of the Bank of England (which does't belong to England by the way, it's an independent entity) said they could make it work. And Cameron and Salmond both signed an agreement that they'd both work towards what was best for both the UK and Scotland - no matter what happens - or does that not count any more?
"Aye, but... What aboot Europe, we won't get into Europe..."
We're already in Europe. We already conform to all the European legislation necessary to make our continued membership of the European Union a seamless one. I get the distinct impression that President-elect Jean Claude Juncker is sympathetic to the Scots' European Union cause as well, I mean why do you think David Cameron was so against his appointment? To be honest, it's more likely we'll be dragged out of the EU against our will (most Scots favour European membership, unlike our southern neighbours, it seems) when the Conservative UKIP alliance (which is looking very much on the cards at this stage) hold their in-out referendum on the subject. And anyway - even if most Scots suddenly decided they no longer wanted to be a part of the EU, don't you think it better that we decide for ourselves whether we want to be in or out?
"Aye, but... How are we going to pay for all this? We're subsidised by the UK already..."
We are not subsidised by the rest of the United Kingdom. Yes, we get slightly more per head through the Barnett formula than some other parts of the UK, but last year (2012-2013) we paid £800 more tax per person into the coffers. So technically we're subsidising the rest of the Union. And have been doing for the last thirty three years. With our income from tourism, whisky, fishing and agriculture etc. without even taking in North Sea revenues we'd still be able to go it alone. (Here I usually pass a leaflet for them to have a look at the Business for Scotland website. All the facts and figures are readily available there.
Those are just three of the most common ones and you'd think by the amount of times they'd been debunked that no one would still be using them as an argument against Scottish Independence. But still they do, believe me.
Like a stuck record, they do.