Friday, February 21, 2014
The Economist, against Scottish independence
The Economist dedicates today three pieces to the debate on Scottish independence. In the editorial, it criticizes the Scottish prime minister, Alex Salmond, for underestimating the financial costs of independence, and for trying to convey the message that independence will be easy and smooth. In a specific article on monetary options, the magazine says that politicians from the main Brittish political parties plus the governor of the Bank of England are right to argue that a truly independent Scotland could not keep the pound because monetary union should go with fiscal and political union, as the euro crisis has taught. In the section on Europe, the magazine is very balanced, arguing that the president of the European Commission, Durao Barroso, was too tough when he said that Scotland would have it too difficult, if not impossible, to become a new member of the EU. But The Economist is clear at the end of the article: "Divorce means breakaways must live as singles, at least for a time. There will be no instant betrothal to the EU, no dowry from Brussels—and no cheques guaranteed by other central banks. Scary or liberating, that is the meaning of independence." I am no fan of a referendum to create new borders in a Europe that should proceed to eliminating what remains of the current borders. And I suspect that whatever is the outcome of the referendum, not even the Scottish nationalists want a truly independent Scotland (they wanted a third alternative in the question, but the UK primer minister imposed only two). After all, they want to keep the pound, the Queen, and the BBC. By the way, for the latter, you don't need a referendum and a 600 hundred page book explaining how independence would look like, you just need a satellite dish. I also want the BBC in Catalonia. Actually I'm watching it now, as I do every day in my apartment in Barcelona, one more sign that national independence in Europe, by the UK, Scotland, Catalonia or Germany in the XXI century is absolute nonsense.