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Old 09-04-2019, 04:35 AM
Dead Cat is online now
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 4,268
Originally Posted by Stanislaus View Post
Economically, the only regions of the UK that generate more tax than they consume are London and South East of England. The East of England is revenue neutral. Everywhere else needs London and South East more than L/SE needs them. In that sense, it's misleading to say that Scotland needs "England". Scotland, like Wales, Yorkshire, Cornwall etc. needs L/SE. The people of Manchester are not propping up Scotland. (We talked once on these boards about a hypothetical secession of Remainia - London, Scotland, NI, some bits of the SE and a few university towns. Whimsical as hell, but as long as London kept its status as a global wealth haven it would be financially viable for all involved.)

But this is only a snapshot. Wind back 40 years to the era of North Sea oil and Scotland was a net contributor to the Union. Wind back to the industrial revolution and the North of England is too. The point being that over time, the members of the union are going to bring more and less to the table. The point of a union is precisely to pool and share these benefits over time.

But even this is missing the point. The framing of this debate over who benefits more in purely financial terms is very limited. To go back to the marriage analogy, I currently earn more than my wife but the idea that sums of the benefits and costs of our relationship is mad. If you want to talk about contributions to (and costs of) the union you have to also talk about our politics, culture, sport, business, leisure, media and all other aspects of life. The joke about Andy Murray being Scottish when he loses and British when he wins is hackneyed and inaccurate, but there's an underlying point there about what being a constituent member of the UK means, and how it goes beyond a balance sheet.
I agree with all of this, which is why it was originally a throwaway comment on a different topic. I apologise for the careless phrasing, but I maintain that describing it as a "fallacy" and a "lie" was rather harsh.

Anyway, as usual on the Dope, discussing it has been interesting and informative, thank you all.