Sunday, 14 September 2014

Thinking Inside The Box

During the Referendum as the date came closer it was intriguing to see not what was being said but what seemed to be absent from discussions.  In the land of the lairds who own vast lands they went strangely missing.  Why the almost deathly quiet on their part?

One reason may be the instinct for self preservation which has served them well down the generations.  This may be that during all the upheavals of the past they have mastered the art of staying on top when things mattered.

Another may be that the wealth they command is mostly located in Trusts and Tax Havens and has been for some time.  During the age of high taxation in the mid 20th Century the UK developed a network of tax havens linked to The City of London and the elites, especially the lairds, others and celebrities were quick to take advantage.

So when there is talk of the finance sector being a major feature of the new economy, what kind of finance is this and who is at the centre of it?  Who has been talking to and advised by persons from the RBS as it was in its heyday?

Another financial matter is the "Black Holes" in the many and various pension funds, notably of public sector employees.  There was a period in the mid late 20th Century when teachers, academic and some other salaries in Scotland were rather higher than in England and Wales and in final salary systems.

There are a lot of those pensioners around still and the UK governments of recent decades have allowed the liabilities to seriously out run the payments in for both funded and unfunded schemes.  There is a problem here which could turn ugly.

Another issue where almost little has been said except vague comments is immigration.  Possibly for tactical reasons related to voters at the margins it was felt wiser to say little or nothing to avoid annoying groups of recent migrants.  But it will be a major issue come Independence.

At present the SNP avow that they want Open Borders.  If this is assumed to be anyone from anywhere then how many will come and from what cultures can only be guessed.  What will bear on this is how active Scotland will be in bringing people in.  But we do not know what the thrust of this will be.

South of the Border it has become clear that there is an issue.  With London no longer being English and many urban areas having large migrant populations the political parties are having to deal with increasing resistance from many groups who are the ones directly affected and are resentful.  What the common factor is in all these and other issues is the structure of society you finish up with as a consequence.

Looking around the world at the oil states, the finance havens, the places with high inward migration etc. what you have is small wealthy elites above the law, a relatively privileged possibly corrupt and supine middle class, much in the public sector, a small entrepreneurial class avoiding tax as far as possible and a mass of poverty in which social breakdown and criminality are rife.

Welcome to the future of the Atlantic Isles, if it is not already here.

1 comment:

  1. "what you have is small wealthy elites above the law"

    I agree, but I've often wondered how much wealth places one above the law, or at least above the anxieties and concerns of ordinary people.

    Possibly a few million would do it, which may explain all the corruption.