A jobs warning has been sounded as the region is told of the risk of Scottish independence.
As Chancellor George Osborne set out why the UK would not let a breakaway Scotland keep the pound, Hexham MP Guy Opperman has warned of the regional impact of a new international border on the doorsteps of Northumberland.
The Conservative MP said: “If keeping the pound would not be possible as part of a formal sterling currency union; if the SNP no longer wishes to join the euro, which one can see; and if there is no prospect of an independent country with border control—my constituents are somewhat concerned that there might be a rerun of Hadrian’s wall—where are we?”
He said the situation in Scotland was clearly of concern to the North East, adding: “I am speaking as an MP whose area has a border that divides Scotland and England—my local businesses, the North East chamber of commerce and the local authorities have all indicated that there would be a negative impact on jobs, growth and the development of our respective economies in Scotland and England were the referendum to go ahead.”
> Would that be the same jobs, growth and development (or lack of) that makes the North East the area with the highest unemployment ?
He told MPs: “I speak as a Brit, a mongrel Englishman, a lover of Scotland and an MP whose constituency borders Scotland. Were there to be Scottish independence, I have no doubt that tourism and trade would continue, but it would be naive not to accept that trade on a cross-border basis would unquestionably be affected.
“That is not some Conservative Member of Parliamentspeaking; that is the opinion of the chambers of commerce, local authorities and business groups I have spoken to on both sides of the border.”
> All organizations with the welfare of the common man at heart…
In Edinburgh yesterday the Chancellor ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland after “strong” advice from the Treasury’s leading official, which was published.
Sir Nicholas Macpherson said that unions are “fraught with difficulty” and raised serious concerns about the Scottish Government’s commitment to making it work. Scotland’s banking sector is too big in relation to national income, the UK could end up bailing the country out.
> Perhaps the North East (and Cumbria, for that matter) should apply to become part of an independent Scotland. Until relatively recently the border was pretty fluid, the old kingdom of Northumbria took in chunks of both, and Hadrian’s Wall is nowadays a long way from the current border (although, of course, neither England or Scotland existed when it was built).
But who do we have more in common with – Scotland or the London city state ?
Source – Newcastle Journal 14 Feb 2014
According to the Newcastle Journal (04 Oct 2013), “the Conservatives have said their mission for the North will see them elected in Newcastle – but only within 20 years.”
Well, there’s nothing like optimism, I suppose. It could happen, though probably only after a few changes to the electoral system, such as removing the vote from the unemployed (far-fetched ? Maybe – but its an idea that’s been floated on right-wing blogs, and the Eton mafia do seem partial to anything that helps keep the poor poor).
Certainly Hexham Conservative MP Guy Opperman seems to think its a vision to believe in. Speaking at an event organized by think tank IPPR North, he claimed that “I had the joy of being what the call the candidate’s friend in the South Shields by-election – not a place you would think of as naturally ours. But on the doorstep, when you explain what we stand for, people say yes, I like those policies, when you tell them you want welfare capped or immigration down they like that and say that’s what they’d vote for.”
One can only wonder which parts of South Shields he did his doorstepping in. Certainly not the bits where the many people reliant on welfare live !
He continued – “But when you say, oh and I’m from the Conservatives, they punch you in the face and say ‘cap that, you bastard !’”
Sorry – wishful thinking there…
He continued – “But when you say, oh and I’m from the Conservatives, they say no, I could never vote for them. That’s the job ahead of us. That shows we need to be saying more about what we are doing, because the voter likes it.”
Sadly, some voters do like it, though inevitably not those actually being poked by the sharp end of the Tory stick. I’ve certainly come across plenty of (mainly) senior citizens who proclaim ‘I’ve voted Labour all my life,’ while espousing views somewhere to the right of the late, unlamented Thatcher.
They did alright in the relatively good times and with the support of the welfare state, but they’re damned sure no-one else is going to. Sadly for Opperman, they’re probably more likely to vote UKIP.
One thing I can’t quite get my head around – Opperman is on the one hand a supporter of the Living Wage, yet on the other hand appears to be supporting the Tory line that unemployment is the fault of the unemployed and they must be made to suffer.
Anyone existing on the basic Jobseekers Allowance of 71.70 a week, might like to consider the fact that Mr Opperman is a barrister who, not counting his MP salary and related perks, undertakes private work at rates of pay between 100.00 and 250.00 pounds per hour.
(source – http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24962/guy_opperman/hexham)
Now that’s what I call a living wage !