“Millions now living will never die”, the slogan coined by the Jehovah’s Witnesses a century ago, might now more appropriately be adopted by the SNP. It admirably sums up the millenarian, hallucinatory vision that the Scottish Nationalists are fervently promoting as their programme, in lieu of mundane policies predicated on real-life fiscal statistics.
Scottish nationalism is no longer a constitutional agenda: it has been transmogrified into a spiritual cult, an esoteric experience that elevates devotees far above sublunary considerations such as gross domestic product, public sector borrowing requirement or revenue inflow. Its dwindling essays into policy making are now a form of transcendental meditation.
Nationalism has become a Gnostic sect, its followers gifted with a special insight into matters that the uninitiated do not properly comprehend. Where the unenlightened see a massive fiscal deficit under independence, tumbling oil revenues, huge public sector pension liabilities and Third World economic status, the True Believers see a bulging exchequer, lavish increases in public spending, a cornucopia of welfare benefits and massively funded public services creating a universal quality of life formerly the exclusive preserve of millionaires.
This mystical Gnosis is what inspires SNP initiates. Their discourse is the catechism of a shared faith. A notional conversation between a couple of Nats – let us call them Alex and Nicola – would be conducted along the following lines.
“I must say, Nicola, I was pleased with what Martin Docherty, our candidate in West Dunbartonshire, said about Westminster and ‘the way they’ve treated us for 300 years’.”
“Too right, Alex. And they’re still at it, thanks to MI5 rigging the referendum result last year. Under the oppressive Barnett Formula the Westminster tyrants have imposed public spending per capita in Scotland of £10,275, compared with £8,678 in England.”
“It’s only 15 per cent above the UK average – not nearly enough for Scotland’s special needs.”
“Too little, too late. All that will change under independence.”
“When our two oil funds come into operation, Alex.”
“And we reverse all the Tory-fascist cuts that are hitting Scotland’s most vulnerable people, Nicola.”
“We can afford it; Scotland is the richest nation on earth – though, of course, we do have special needs that English governments have always neglected. When we hold the whip hand after the election we can skim a lot more fat off those tight-fisted English taxpayers.”
“I’d put reparations for the Highland Clearances at £30bn and that’s just a start.”
“We can make Ed scrap Trident.”
“Right, Nicola, a racist country like England can’t be trusted with weapons of mass destruction.”
“Ay, they’re all racists down there, not like us Scots. If there are two things I detest it’s racism and the English.”
Of course, a genuine conversation between nationalists would be much more extravagant than that fanciful portrayal. The prospect of holding the balance of power after the election – an expectation that might be deluded, if southern politicians close ranks – has unhinged the nationalists. Not only do they propose to insist on the abolition of the nuclear deterrent, leaving England helpless in a dangerous world where nuclear proliferation is a continuing reality, they also want to impose a £140bn increase in public spending across the United Kingdom.
The modest reforms in healthcare delivery involving the private sector in England would be reversed. Overall, the plan is to reduce England to the same level of state-controlled sclerosis as already obtains in Scotland, where devolution has blocked the health and education reforms introduced south of the Border. Scottish local authorities have incurred debts totalling £12.1bn as a result of prodigal borrowing to appease their client electorate.
Scottish central and local government were always addicted to spending, but the SNP is on a feeding frenzy, with wealth creators and taxpayers the hapless victims. So far as the independence issue is concerned, the fundamental facts are straightforward and, from the separatist viewpoint, intractably embarrassing. Scotland has three main revenue streams: oil, tourism and whisky. Since the country could not survive on whisky and even the tourism revenue may be threatened by the proliferation of windfarms due to the SNP’s crazed objective of generating all electricity from “renewables” by 2020, oil is the only game in town.
Critics have long warned the nationalists, even in the fat years of large oil revenues, that oil is far too volatile a commodity to base a national economy upon. That caveat has been realised with a vengeance. As recently as the run-up to the referendum the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast oil revenues between 2015-16 and 2019-20 would average £2.6bn a year; that prediction has now been revised downwards to £700 million. That represents a Scottish budget deficit for 2015-16 of 8.6 per cent of GDP.
The bulk of the Scottish electorate has lost contact with reality. Moronic socialist delusion is the blind faith of a political party that is unique in the developed world – the poorest Albanian peasant would laugh like a drain at the socialist fantasies that are routinely rehearsed at Scottish middle-class dinner tables where the state-employed nomenklatura congregates.
Any sane and informed person on either side of the Border knows the SNP’s fiscal posturings are pure fantasy. But now the Bolivarian politics of Scotland threaten to engulf English governance, importing Neolithic socialism to Westminster. The declared intention of the SNP to dictate regressive policies on English health, education, defence, etc, when English MPs have no reciprocal jurisdiction over Scotland is so provocative it suggests an undeclared agenda. By making themselves extravagantly obnoxious to the English electorate the nationalists may hope to provoke a backlash.
What if their nihilist policies so appalled the English that Scottish separatism became a more popular option south of the Border than north of it? Might the next referendum be one held within the non-Scottish UK electorate, desperate to unshackle their three countries from the dictatorship of Scottish Stalinists? That might be a far-fetched speculation, but it is an incontrovertible fact that the SNP is planning a scorched-earth campaign to devastate the governance and fiscal stability of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For Scottish nationalists the Clinton maxim “It’s the economy, stupid” has no relevance. For the first time in Europe since the fall of communism we are witnessing a political party with zero economic credibility, or even interest in economic realities, marching to a sweeping victory in its home base and threatening to create anarchy at Westminster.