The risks of Scottish Independence are just too great – this might happen or that might happen and it will all be worse. Even if you don’t have a Unionist axe to grind, the uncertainty makes it all too scary. But what about the risk that Independence would make things better for Scotland? Who do we turn to for an accurate assesment of the possible risks and outcomes? Or perhaps lets have another approach:
The other big anniversary this year, along with the 300th for the Union, is the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. This was a stunning act of political change brought about by political and social lobbying. Wilberforce was the poster boy but he was part of an ad hoc group, the Clapham Set. They managed to unsettle the churches acquiesence in slavery and ran a campaign that changed the law.
But what were the economic risks of abolishing the slave trade? How did they calculate the risks? Glasgow was a big time beneficiary ofthe slave trade. Why didn’t Glagow merchants campaign in against the abolition? They did – I’ll bet you they did. “You can’t abolish the slave trade, they said, it will be bad for business; someone else will do it; the economy will be ruined. And they were (partially) right. But we don’t mourn the abolition of the slave trade however imperfect the legislation was. It represents something GREAT about Britain. We took a (pretty much) unilateral risk to do something because it was right. OH MY GOD – CONVICTION POLITICS.
And so it is, there is no-one who can accurately predict what Independence will do to to our economy. Does that mean we settle for the status quo?