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The Cato Institute on Scottish Independence

By Leslie Clark
December 11th, 2012 at 3:39 pm | No Comments | Posted in Scotland

The libertarian David Boaz has made a few interesting remarks over on the Cato Institute blog:

“…the land of Adam Smith has become one of the poorest and most socialist parts of Great Britain. So maybe a libertarian shouldn’t look forward to Scottish independence. On the contrary, I think it’s easy for Scotland to whine and demand more money from the British central government. An independent Scotland would have to create its own prosperity, and surely the people who produced the Enlightenment are smart enough to discover the failures of socialism pretty quickly if they become free, independent, and responsible for their own future.”

I’m not sure how such views would chime with the official ‘Yes’ campaign who are presenting independence as a bulwark against further austerity. Meanwhile, the independent Fiscal Commission commissioned by Alex Salmond is understood to be recommending a number of cautionary measures for a post-independent Scotland, including limits to borrowing and spending.

Before screwing things up, New Labour gained economic credibility by sticking to Tory spending limits during its first years in office. Similarly, if the Yes Campaign want to build their economic credentials they ought to abandon the easy-clap anti-cuts rhetoric and focus on the financial realities of an independent Scotland: that the state cannot keep on growing exponentially, spending will need to be kept under control and the growth of the economy is predicated on the success of private enterprise.

The independence vote won’t be won or lost on the basis of remarks by Commission President Barroso but whether one side can demonstrate whether Scots would be better or worse off come separation. But the only route for a prosperous independent Scotland would appear to be along the lines alluded to by David Boaz.

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