The Mad Brexiteers shall, of course, dismiss this report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) as ‘scaremongering’. And, with its talk of soaring food prices, it certainly sounds scary. But is that enough to warrant regarding the analysis as unduly alarmist?
If anybody should know about malicious scaremongering, it’s the people of Scotland. The Better Together/Project Fear campaign amounted to little more than an incessant stream of often ludicrously woeful prognostications spiced with viciously unprincipled smears and transparently empty promises. In Scotland, we know a scare story when we hear one. And this IFS analysis doesn’t have the ring of a politically motivated effort to induce panic.
For a start, it’s too cautious. What distinguished the real scaremongering of the British state’s anti-independence propaganda was the absolute certainty with which we were assured of the dire consequences of voting Yes. There was never any room left for doubt that, on becoming independent, Scotland would be reduced to an impoverished hell-hole of a pariah state. No public services! No pensions! No trade! Nothing! Not even a functioning currency! A Yes vote inevitably meant collapse and catastrophe and calamity. Fact!
The IFS analysis has none of this sense of incontestability. It is hedged around with caveats and provisos. It just doesn’t sound like what we’ve come to know as scaremongering.
The other thing that distinguishes the IFS report from the product of Project Fear relates to the credibility of what is being assumed. Basically, the British state’s anti-independence propaganda asked us to suppose that all of Scotland’s wealth and resources would simply vanish overnight. A small army of economic soothsayers was mobilised to provide a barrage of figures and tables and graphs which scientifically proved that Scotland would be affected by independence in a way that no nation ever had been in all of recorded history.
This data overkill was necessary because the premise itself was so inherently unbelievable. People couldn’t be allowed the opportunity to stop and think rationally about what was being claimed. They had to be diverted using all the sensationalising powers of the mainstream media. If sensible, probing questions were being asked about the assertion that Scotland would be ejected and excluded from the EU, some ‘expert’ would appear with a report describing in lurid terms how Scotland’s deficit would instantly soar to the level the US defence budget.
While there is doubtless an element of exaggeration in many of the accounts of how we will be affected by Brexit, there is little sign of the fevered shock and awe and desperate dishonesty that characterised the anti-independence campaign. A degree of scepticism is always advisable. But if this warning from the IFS is meant to be scaremongering, then it has to be said that they’re pish-poor at it.Views: 2866
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