Friday, 24 July 2020

Falling for the Big Lie

Opponents of independence delight in regularly pointing out that an independent Wales would have a budget deficit. This, in their eyes, makes the country unviable. The first part is true – we would undoubtedly have a budget deficit, although there’s considerable scope for debate about the size of that deficit. They certainly (and entirely deliberately) inflate the figure to support their argument by adding in costs which an independent Wales would not have to pay; but the existence of a deficit isn’t really open to debate. The question is, though, so what? Most countries run a deficit most of the time; most countries have a national debt. Many think that that debt is owed to other countries but it isn’t – most of it is owed to countries’ own citizens.
On the criteria which the unionists demand that Wales should meet to be considered viable, the UK as a whole is not viable as an independent state. The UK should, on their criteria, immediately renounce its independence and throw its lot in with a country which is viable. The problem would be finding one, because most other states (including the USA and Japan) aren’t viable either on the same criteria. Most states borrow money (largely from their own citizens, but in times of crisis also from themselves by simply creating extra money). The idea that Wales would be uniquely unable to do likewise is a lie, pure and simple. It’s an attempt to apply one rule to us and another rule to them. Measured by GDP per head, Wales is closer to the top of the world league table than the bottom; if Wales were really an economic basket case, the same would be true of the majority of countries in the world. It’s only the Anglo-centric exceptionalist tradition which declines to consider that Wales could be an entirely normal country.
The UK Government is currently spending a great deal of money, albeit inadequately and half-heartedly, in order to overcome the current crisis (and, as we saw from Johnson in Scotland yesterday, attempting to claim that only the UK could do this). Some of that money is being borrowed by the UK government, mostly from UK citizens; but a lot of it is simply being created by the government and placed into its own account, effectively treated in the books as a ‘loan’ from itself. But miraculously, this newly-created UK money suddenly becomes ‘English’ money (and a ‘subsidy’) when some of it is passed to the Welsh government to spend. It's as though they regard it as their own private piggybank which they are ‘generously’ sharing with us.
The ability to amass public debt is not unlimited, of course, but public debt is a normal part of the financing of any state. When the implications are spelled out, few people would actually want to live in a state which completely eschewed public debt. The claim that Wales’ public debt would make an independent Wales unviable is not the killer debating point as which it’s presented at all, it’s a dishonest way of trying to shut down a debate which unionists find uncomfortable. Why are they so afraid of revealing their real reasons for opposing independence that they need to hide behind such an obvious and blatant lie? Worse – why do so many in Wales fall for the lie?

1 comment:

dafis said...

The bigger the lie the bigger the crowd of suckers who fall for it. Printing money, or issuing credit, without any restraint is not very smart but there again no-one is calling for that. It does however show that at least part of the 10 years of austerity inflicted on the 4 nations by Westminster is down to a meanminded approach to welfare and support for the disadvantaged, whether temporary or permanently so.

As soon as the corporate world looked like sliding down the pan a magic money tree was found and given a good shake. Don't kid yourselves, this bout of supportive behaviour had nothing much to do with caring for Joe and Jane Public it was all to do with keeping those UK PLC and UK Ltd's in some kind of survival mode, and helping out with wage bills was part of that mechanism.

When it suits them the bastards will start clawing back and you can safely bet that it will be ordinary people that will bear the brunt of that exercise while the corporates will keep on massaging accounts and shifting loot into "mitigation" schemes.