The SNP’s private views on its own Scottish budgetary projections in the event of them succeeding in breaking up Britain were inadvertently disclosed in a leaked memo from SNP Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney to Alex Salmond earlier this year. The memo revealed that its own projections had as many holes in them as a sieve.
Since then Swinney has been on the back foot, and Salmond has tried to make light of the fumbled disclosure with his usual verbal flatulence. On 19 June Swinney tried to regain some financial credibility by making a statement on pensions in Scotland, saying they would be protected by a “triple lock system” in the event of the SNP breaking up Britain.
Even leaving aside the SNP’s phoney budgeting, the notion of getting bogged down in cross-border pension arrangements, as Swinney proposes, when state, occupational and private pension provision are already overcomplicated, needs to be firmly stamped on.
The fact is the benefits of pension economies of scale are maximised if they are organised on a national basis. That means Britain. Any other approach is an inefficient economic duplication of effort.
The attempt to break up is not, of course, about economics but is instead about the politics of division. It was the united response by trade unions north and south in 2011 to cooked-up pension deficit figures that prompted Cameron shortly afterwards to give the green light to the Scottish referendum and let the SNP have a go at dividing us up.
Responding to the attack on pensions is among the many tasks the British working class is coming to grips with, and is part of the desire to get of out of the EU and to rebuild Britain. The SNP and its Westminster sponsors are clearly desperate to prevent this from coming about. ■