Regardless of the First Minister’s impressive victory over Andrew Marr’s dishonesty yesterday, ‘giving him and his researchers a doing‘ as Ruth Davidson claimed Andrew Neil had done to her last year, the MSM will now put all of their efforts into persuading voters that the SNP is somehow weakened by the dodgy predictions of the IFS and the need for a hard border at Berwick should we become independent within Europe, as a clear majority of us desire.
I’ll leave the deficit for another time and just repeat the First Minister’s point that the IFS report makes the case for independence and for making better decisions than Westminster.
As for the Border, there is, of course, the obvious example of a smooth relatively unproblematic ‘smart‘ solution close at hand in the Norway/Sweden border, with average waiting times of only 8 minutes for checks affecting lorries (10 times as many as at Dover), scanned by an x-ray system, and with only sporadic checks of cars:
This type of ‘smart’ border is explored in a paper by the Scottish Independence Commission in March 2021, not read by the Marr show researchers. This section makes clear the possibilities and may be the source for suggestion that such a border will create income generation through more efficient collection of taxation:
The paper highlights how creating ‘smart borders’ will mean that 90% of import customs
revenue and legislative controls can be collected and legally enforced within our authority –
giving Scotland clear evidence of fulfilling EU membership requirements (EU Acquis). This
dispels the notion that when independent, Scotland will be forced into accepting a border
arrangement that England decides. Scotland can create and manage a border of its own
making and it will be up to England to do likewise.
A Scottish Customs Service will prioritise the training and hiring of custom staff, in contrast
to the job losses experienced under the governance of the UK. This paper suggests that
whilst the UK has cut customs staff over the last two decades, Scotland can benefit by doing
things differently. Currently HMRC costs 1p for every pound collected but as this paper
shows, this impressive efficiency is undermined by the small number of dedicated staff. For
example, whereas the DWP has approximately 3,000 investigators, the HMRC has only 300
spread across the whole of the UK to deal with massive revenue frauds. An independent
Scotland will aim to maintain this collection ratio while increasing the number of staff.
Since HM Customs and Excise closed in 2005, there have been no Customs officers at Glasgow or Edinburgh points of import. This is something that Scotland can choose to rectify and ensure there are highly trained staff at our ports, airports and bases across our country. This will bring well-paid jobs to many rural centres.
Full report here: