Can Scotland afford independence?

by Elias Blum

Let us put this in terms of an analogy. There’s a house, with a householder and a lodger. The lodger has a job, and they pay all their wages to the householder in return for food, board and pocket money. The householder gets a good deal out of this, and sets out to convince the lodger that they are getting a good deal too – mostly by keeping the real accounts under wraps. But the householder is actually taking the lodger’s money, spending it on vanity projects, fancy toys and pointless squabbles, and is making both of them liable for the debts he’s running up. Now the lodger thinks about leaving, and the householder says, “But look at the debts I’ve run up, how can you afford to go?” and “What will you do without your pocket money?” But the lodger shouldn’t fall for that. They do their own work and they’ve got their own job, and they can afford to make their own way – and, they don’t have to waste money keeping up a big old ramshackle house, or spending money on the things that their former householder wanted, but which were of no use to them. And so the lodger moved out, stopped being an awkward tenant, and became a good neighbour.

I’d like to say they all lived happily ever after, but it’s sadly not true. The lodger did well enough, hanging out with his new Scandinavian, Baltic and Beneluxy friends, but the old householder – who was always living in the past, and was a proudful and arrogant man – became a cantankerous loner, and joined UKIP.