Fantasy: Scots won't leave Scotlad because of higher taxes. Reality: Hundreds of years of Scots (including ourselves) leaving Scotland for better opportunities.— The Majority (@themajorityscot) September 26, 2022
You're not even a voter in Scotland, then. What a load of sound and fury from you, signifying nothing.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) September 26, 2022
Just to be clear: When we were young, we left Scotland for better opportunities. But, unlike us, few return.— The Majority (@themajorityscot) September 27, 2022
He obviously thought (rather optimistically) that he'd rescued the situation with that follow-up, although I'm still imagining him sitting with his laptop in a Winchester wine bar carping about the politics of a country that he can only dimly remember from forty years ago. But even assuming he's telling the truth about having returned to Scotland, let's just think through the implications of his original tweet.
First of all, he suggests (or at least strongly implies) that Scots have left their country for centuries because of higher taxes. That might make sense if Scotland had been a self-governing country for the last few centuries with the ability to set its own taxes. But in fact Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for the last 315 years. Between 1707 and 1999, there were no autonomous tax-raising powers in Scotland at all, and even when the very limited tax-varying power on the basic rate was introduced in 1999 (Michael Forsyth's beloved "Tartan Tax"), it went wholly unused by successive Labour-Lib Dem and SNP governments. It's only been very recently, with the introduction of the post-indyref powers, that the Scottish Government has had a meaningful ability to raise taxes and has actually used it. So if Scots have been leaving for "centuries" because of tax, the responsibility lies squarely at the door of the UK Government which actually set the tax rates in Scotland for the vast majority of that period. The obvious conclusion to draw is that it was a huge mistake for Scotland to ever become part of the UK.
Of course, if you were to challenge him on that point, he would claim that he wasn't talking about taxes at all, but just about the lack of opportunities in Scotland in general. But again, who can possibly be responsible for that lack of opportunities over centuries if not the UK Government, which was in sole charge of Scotland for centuries until 1999, and has continued to be in partial control even since then?
I can only guess as to what the hell he thinks he's wittering about, but my suspicion is that he reckons that Scottish culture is so ghastly that we're essentially not savable by our benefactors in London. They try our very best for us, God love them, but there's just a general malaise in these parts that stifles enterprise and ambition. So by insisting that Scotland must remain in the UK, "The Majority" is not actually offering greater opportunities to Scots, but rather more of the same. He's not really an advocate of the benefits of Union at all - his basic proposition is "Scotland is a disaster area and I hate it but please continue to colonise it so it doesn't get even worse."
And I must note once again the glorious irony of him doggedly sticking to calling himself "The Majority" during a period in which a sizeable number of polls have shown his views to be in the minority. It's a bit like Lenin's mob calling themselves "Bolsheviks" (the majority) when in fact the "Mensheviks" (the minority) were in the clear majority in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. Lost in the mists of time, the reason for the names was the outcome of a single vote in 1903 on an obscure matter of internal party organisation.
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