Capability

From wikireferendum
Jump to: navigation, search
FOR INDEPENDENCE FOR THE UNION

Past contribution to civilisation

It has been claimed by American popular historian Arthur Hermann that “Scots invented the modern world” and in particular that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Scotland earned the respect of the rest of the world for its crucial contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, commerce, and politics — contributions that have formed and nurtured the modern West ever since[1]. Alex Salmond, in his speech to the Spring 2014 SNP Conference, referred the claim and added that it was "something we wouldn’t claim for ourselves but don’t mind repeating as often as possible!"[2]
Sir Winston Churchill once said that ‘Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.[3]'

Innovation

Dr David Hill. Chief Executive, World Innovation Foundation says it is not energy that is Scotland’s greatest asset but its creativity, inventiveness and innovative thinking. Studies by the Foundation and in Germany and Japan, he claims, have shown that the most innovation has come from Britain. But the most startling find was that per capita wise, Scotland had produced far more of the fundamental thinking within the UK than any other area of Britain and was in fact the most creative nation on earth. Therefore if Scotland left the United Kingdom they would most probably be far better off in the long run than staying in the Union[4].

The possibility of a renaissance in business

Some are convinced that independence will stimulate a renaissance in Scottish business that will increase business activity. What the economist J.M. Keynes called `animal spirits’ will be let loose on the Scottish economy. From this will come increased productivity and enhanced economic growth[5].

In 1965 Singapore was forced to leave Malaysia. Singaporeans were told of the dire consequences and many world `experts` said they would never survive let alone flourish. Professor Robert Chia[6] writes:
"We had no land, no natural resources and no rich history to attract tourism. Next year we will celebrate 50 years where the country has been transformed from a sleepy local trading port to become one of the most affluent countries in the world second only to Norway in terms of GDP/capita."
"From a sort of marketing, trade and investment point of view, I think [an independent Scotland] would mirror Singapore," Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the world's largest advertising group, told CNBC on September 11[7]

Capacity to govern

Mistakes by government or its agencies are to be found throughout the world. In the United Kingdom, one might mention in recent years Bank Regulation, the Birmingham Six, the Care Quality Commission, various child abuse scandals, financial products mis-selling, G4S security at the Olympics, the Guildford Four, Hillsborough, Ministry of Defence overspending, the Millennium Dome, MPs expenses, NHS specialist training selection 2007 (junior doctors), phone hacking, the Poll Tax, the Rural Payments Agency, the West Coast rail franchise and the Eurovision Song Contest. (The last item is joke).

References

  1. Arthur Herman The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots invention of the Modern World (2002), Fourth Estate, originally published in the US as How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It
  2. Speech to the SNP Spring Conference, 12 April 2014
  3. Education Scotland: Studying Scotland
  4. Liberal Democrat Voice 14 February 2014 10:50 am. In a subsequent blog on the Foundation's website he writes: I just hope that [Scottish politicians] have the intelligence and intuition to do something different and release Scotland's inherent creativeness that resides in the people's minds, not the university system that produces little in terms of relative economic dynamism for the billions invested every year. [1]
  5. Professor David Bell, Scotland's Decision: 16 Questions to think about for the referendum on 18 September (David Hume Institute)(Birlinn)
  6. Research Professor of Business, Adam Smith School, Glasgow University
  7. Yahoo! finance Singapore: A new Scotland, the 'Singapore' of Europe? September 12, 2104 (retrieved Sept 14).

Past contribution to civilisation

Arthur Hermann highlights the contributions which Scots have made during a period when Scotland has been part of the union[1]. He is a popular historian who has also written To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World.

Innovation

The possibility of a renaissance in business

The comment about "animal spirits" is speculative and does not constitute hard evidence[2]

Professor Chia also writes:
"Singapore has transformed itself through making hard and difficult decisions; decisions which were deemed inevitable and most importantly accepted by the populace. This is crucial as sacrifice is always necessary at least in the initial few years. The question is will the leaders pursue populist policies, like Westminster has tended to do, or will the people be prepared to buckle down and sacrifice for the future. Will they be prepared to defer immediate gratification so that future generations can live a better tomorrow?"

Singapore has been ruled by the same political party since Independence, and the press is not free by Western standards. For these and other reasons, the comparison is invalid.

Capacity to Govern

Certain events have indicated that our ability to govern is open to question. Examples of fiascos for which the government or its agencies were responsible in recent times include the marking of papers by the Scottish Qualifications Authority in 2000 (when several thousand incorrect Higher and Intermediate certificates were sent out and 5% of schools received none at all) the Holyrood Parliament Building construction contract, the Scottish Parliamentary election of 2007 (when 7% of ballots were deemed invalid), and the Edinburgh Tram Project.


References

  1. Herman The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots invention of the Modern World (2002), Fourth Estate
  2. Professor David Bell, op.cit