I met a Scot the other day who offered me some good investment advice. Buy property just below the England-Scotland border, close enough so you can commute across it to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
He believes that when the Scottish Parliament is given the chance to set its own taxes, it will automatically increase them, to pay for its absurd ambitions to become a Sandinavian-style high tax social democracy. It will be cheaper to move to England, where taxes will remain as they are, and commute.
The flaw in this argument, though, is that corporate taxes will almost certainly go up, probably before personal ones. Companies that can move out of Scotland will do so. A number said they would, had the independence vote gone the way of the SNP. There won’t be that many jobs to commute to.
My canny Scot also suggested that the plan was an English one, to give the Scots enough rope to hang themselves. Raise taxes, run out of money, and see where it gets them.
Except that under the devo-lite arrangement promised to the Scots, the English will be the rescuer of last resort. This would mean the third bail-out. The first created the Act of Union in the first place, after the Scottish middle class foolishly sank its money into the failed colony in Darien, on the Isthmus of Panama. (Though this collapsed, in part, because the English Navy blockaded it.)
The second was the rescue of the Royal Bank of Scotland, at a cost of £45 billion, by the British tax-payer when the financial crisis hit. The other bank to be rescued, Lloyds, only needed this because it was strong-armed by the Labour administration to buy the other big Scottish lender, HBOS.
I reckon you could date the third rescue to about 2021.
Incidentally, the conspiracy theory is gathering ground that it is all a plot by the Tories to persuade the Scots to make the idea of a high-taxing SNP so unpopular in coming years that Scotland swings wildly to the right. So making the Labour Party unelectable. It is a theory I suspect we will hear again.