Yesterday, we discovered a rather curious anti-independence “listicle” on the popular viral-meme website Buzzfeed. Entitled “Scotland. The UK. 10 Myths. 10 Facts.”, it describes itself as “myth busting” by an author identified only as “YouDecide2014”.
It was shared or retweeted by a variety of Conservative Party special advisers, the 10 Downing Street Facebook account, and even the UK Ministry of Defence.
The crude, extremely biased article gives no indication that it’s written by the UK government. The closest it comes to doing so is right at the end, where it says “Get the facts at www.gov.uk/scottishreferendum“
We decided to find out more.
We all know there’s something strange about Britain. Germany and China have their factories, France and Japan their nuclear power plants. America has Google and Apple and the world’s largest navy. But how is it that Britain, a country that closed its mines and shuttered almost its entire manufacturing industry, is still a major world economy?
The answer is Britain’s best-kept economic secret. It links Grangemouth, the obscene cost of housing in London, the Royal Mail sell-off, Channel Island tax havens and George Osborne’s disregard for the poor, and explains why an incomprehensible financial crisis triggered by bad American mortgages led to the closure of municipal libraries and swimming pools across the UK and a programme of permanent austerity.
And more to the point, it explains why only London, not Scotland or Wales or Yorkshire or Wearside, matters to the British political class today.