At a studious pensions lunch at the Cargo Business Lounge in Edinburgh, Gregg MClymont and an assortment of pension and policy people sat down to lunch and debated the impact pensions could have on the current debate over Scottish independence.
As the token Sassenach, I consider myself ill equipped to provide an intellectual analysis of the discussion. However these observations may provide an unhelpful but irreverent perspective .
The argument for independence seems to be emotional and not to have connected with hard economics
No proper analysis of the pension implications of a breaking of the union appears to have happened.
The Scots appear a sickly lot with higher levels of morbidity than the rest of the UK, this would suggest they are expensive to care for in older age.
Due to the national obsession with deep-fried Mars Bars (and macaroni cheese if luncheon choices are a yardstick) the Scottish lifestyle can be characterised as “nasty, brutish and short”. This suggests that though their elderly are expensive to care for, the caring is short-lived.
In terms of tax, Scottish independence could be a pensions nightmare and the prospect of differing basic rates of tax for the Scots and the English may not be as far away as Independence. Cross-border arbitrage opportunities look a racing certainty as does administrative melt-down
Judging by the large numbers of lawyers present, the current debate may well be sponsored by the Scottish legal profession who will find themselves with several billion of chargeable hours sorting out the mess referred to as “unravelling”.
I can only conclude, like Samuel Johnson, that the Scots are nuts to be even considering a breakaway from the Union.
I had thought if might be in the interests of the English Welsh and Northern Irish to let the Jocks jock off but the arguments of the clever people in the room have convinced me that a severance of Scotland from the United Kingdom is in nobody’s interests.
A huge thankyou to Susan Mcdonald for making this happen. Good on you Edinburgh- even if you have the climate of Reykjavik.
- Mail Opinion: Scottish independence debate should start now (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Scottish independence: Poll drop in Yes backing (scotsman.com)
- William Hague: Scots independence plan not my job (scotsman.com)
- Into the heart of darkness – ooops Midlothian! (henrytapper.com)
- Survey reveals that support for Scotland to stay in the UK is at highest for two years (dailyrecord.co.uk)