1. Another Tory Government
Image from UK Parliament
Despite having hardly any support and only 1 MP in Scotland, the Tories won the last election and have since set about destroying the welfare state, wrecking living standards and persecuting the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, if Scotland votes to stay part of the UK, we’ll probably have to put up with them all over again. Polls show that the public don’t see Ed Miliband as Prime Minister material, and when you add in the prospect of David Cameron campaigning as ‘The Man Who Saved Britain’, things are looking grim for the 85% of Scottish voters who don’t vote Tory.
And even if by a miracle the Tories don’t win the next election, we’ll still have to put up with a system where they run Scotland half of the time while having practically no support here.
2. Huge Cuts – No Matter Who We Vote For
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Despite the huge damage austerity has already done to Scotland over the past 6 years, both Labour and the Tories are committed to more of the same after the referendum.
3. More Powers – at a Cost
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Boris Johnson – not a bad bet for future Prime Minister – has already complained about ‘ever more things we are giving Scotland’ and thinks there is ‘no reason’ for further devolution. Other leading Tories such as newly-promoted Priti Patel have argued that the referendum is a ‘good opportunity’ to slash spending on our essential public services.
The Unionist parties all have their own different and contradictory plans for further devolution after a No vote, but broadly agree that Scotland should have some more powers over tax. But, should Scotland vote No, why would English MPs vote for Scotland to be gifted more powers without asking for something in return?
The most likely scenario is that some limited control over taxes will be devolved – but at the cost of a cut to the Scottish block grant.
4. Tax Rises, or Worse Public Services
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Should a reform in Scotland’s funding happen, there are two likely scenarios – tax rises or badly funded public services. Any future Scottish Government would have to decide how to deal with an increasingly squeezed budget, and our public services could struggle under the pressure.
The alternative would be tax rises to cover the cuts to our budget, meaning workers in Scotland taking home less than those in the rest of the UK – just to keep public services at current standards.
5. Scotland Will Become Really Boring and Depressing
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All of the above could have the effect of making Scotland a pretty boring place to live after a No vote, all things considered. Governed by a party we rejected at the ballot box, putting up with austerity measures not supported by the electorate, and seeing our public services go backwards as their funding is cut, leading to an entrenchment of existing inequalities in health, education and income. One possible outcome could be the Scottish parliament becoming unpopular as it faces the choice of cuts or tax rises – killing off public support for further devolution or independence in the future.
After the most dynamic, exciting period in Scotland’s history, this might be a bit of a comedown. But hey, at least it was our choice.
The deadline for registering to vote in the referendum is September 2. Click here to download a registration form.
Main image from Patrick Down