With the increasingly poisonous rhetoric on both sides of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns, perhaps the issue needs to be turn on its head – writes our mischievous secret columnist in Brussels Schadenfreude
As seen from the Brussels coign of vantage, the solution to British problems is clear. The United Kingdom should declare itself independent of Scotland. As the UK, it would remain a member of the European Union but Scotland would be out. If the Scots wanted to use the pound sterling, as in ‘dollarisation, they could do so but the UK would control the interest rate. It would be tidier if there were a separate Scottish currency based on the groat, which would have to find its own exchange value.
With the departure of Scottish Members from parliament, there would never again be a left -wing government in the UK. With the disappearance of the second largest party, the right wing – with its policy for a ‘settlement’ with the EU – would easily see off anti-EU factions. And UK finances would be healthier, with no subsidy for Scotland. In the light of the international rules on maritime definition, part of the North Sea oil fields would be in UK waters.
Scots would no longer be European citizens – the UK would veto any Scottish application to join – and would have to apply for permits if they wanted to reside and work in the UK. Any enjoying or seeking welfare benefits would be refused and they would have no option but to go back to Scotland. On a wider basis, all Scots living and working in the UK would be screened to establish whether they are depriving UK citizens of employment. Sending a contingent of them back to Scotland would increase the housing stock available for UK citizens. Scottish comedians would naturally be banned from stage and screen.
The Scottish Nationalists would be happy, having obtained the desired freedom from the UK without any effort on their own part. Schadenfreude recognises that some Scots might feel disadvantaged but this would be a small subtraction from the greater good. It is time for some serious statesmanship.