The Bottom Line: The Price of Being Part of the UK

The price Scotland pays for being tied to the UK is huge. However, for too long, the debate about Scottish Independence has been dominated by the economic agenda set by opponents of Scottish Independence.

Whilst much has therefore been said about the speculated costs of independence, there has been insufficient attention paid to the very real costs of a lack of independence. Put another way; there is a price, we argue a heavy price, to be paid by Scotland for its dependence on the UK state and a resultant lack of “agency”.

Far too often, we play on the chosen ground of our opponents. It is time to turn the tables.

That’s why three of us (Myself, Professor David Simpson and Graeme Blackett) have taken on the task of analysing internationally sourced data covering over 40 years and reviewing thousands of commentaries. We wanted to undertake a thoroughly professional search for the very real Price of Dependence.

We launched on 3 August 2022, after a year of background research, and as I write – just over one month since our launch – we have already published five papers which you can access here. I encourage you to read our work and follow us on Twitter @BottomLineScot.

Our aim is to invigorate and elevate the debate on the economics of Scottish independence by setting out:

  • how and why independence will deliver economic benefits.
  • the costs to Scotland associated with economic dependence on the UK.

We explain how and why the UK as a whole is performing poorly – and why political independence for Scotland can be expected to deliver an economic renaissance. 

The common perspective of our papers is that when a community takes control of its own affairs, the outcomes include measurable improvements in the wellbeing of that community, as well as improvements in its output and wealth. These propositions are supported by an abundance of statistical and qualitative evidence.

Our purpose is to show how and in what ways agency by a community or individual has beneficial consequences in several dimensions. Our first paper indeed is a discussion of agency itself.  Just as individuals are more likely to flourish if they are in control of their lives than if they feel helpless and dependent on others, so nations that have the power to make decisions to shape the future can build thriving economies and societies.   

We then move on to a quantitative analysis; we have already published multiple papers using international comparisons to illustrate our arguments.

In future papers, we will present evidence that shows that small, advanced economies easily outperform the UK in measures of equity and happiness as well as in productivity.

The UK is a state in long-term decline. 

One factor contributing to the relative decline of the UK is the prevalence of corruption in its political system. Or perhaps, to be more precise, it is an unwillingness to acknowledge that the problem exists. We bring together the evidence and show its impact on Scotland. We published our paper on corruption in the UK in early September 2022.

As our analysis shows, small independent states have been able to use their agency to outperform the UK.  The chances of the UK matching the economic and social performance of advanced small states in the future are very small. As our papers will clearly show, the gap in performance of the UK in comparison with other advanced economies has been steadily widening for many years, with the UK increasingly left behind.

By being dependent upon a failing UK, Scotland is hugely disadvantaged, lacking the agency that would become available with independence.

The Bottom Line is entirely funded and developed independently by the three founders.  What we are seeking are readers and followers. As our analysis is read and disseminated, that will be reward enough.

More articles are available here.

Listen to the Scotland’s Choice Podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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