Economic arguments fueled by pandemic will dominate indyref2, academic says

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MAINSTREAM newspapers focused on the economics of independence in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, and there were a disproportionate number of articles examining “speculative and negative consequences”.

And academic Dr David Patrick said that if people believe the arguments then, they are likely to believe it if there is another indyref in the next few years because the “scary” message that Scotland cannot stand allowing independence would be the dominant “factor” – and would be linked to Covid-19.

Patrick, who wrote “Front-Page Scotland Newspapers and the Scottish Independence Referendum” told the Scotonomics – the Scottish Economics Show on YouTube, that between 2010 and the first indyref, the country had already gone through four years of austerity led by conservatives.

This has led to the closure or removal of libraries and other services, as well as financial safety nets that have helped people.

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“People entered 2014 because of it [2008] crash, and due to government policies, clearly in trouble, ”he said.

“It meant if you were going through a time when you were already worrying about your household bills, how are you going to pay for it, how are you going to cover this, that’s the news.

“But if the press then says almost collectively: ‘if you go for independence, all these things will get worse’, you can fully understand why some people may be receptive to this kind of alarmism, because it plays on the … people’s anxieties. ”

Patrick said people struggling to make ends meet were told in 2014 that independence could mean their household bills would go up by £ 1,300 a year, mortgages by £ 2,000, which was ” very real concerns ”for people at every stage of their lives.

“This apocalyptic style reporting would have made an impact anytime it still does,” he said. “But given the historical context of when it happened… the post-2008 period, especially the post-2010 period… it was something that most people had been living for almost five years or more.

“As long as you have governments of all colors that stick to this austerity program, it will tighten household budgets, it will make people more desperate if you make them more receptive to this type of negative economy. . messages. ”

He said he would be “pretty sure” that if there was another referendum in the next few years, the economic issue would once again come to the fore.

However, he added that the 2014 arguments would be presented as having “even more weight” as Britain is collectively in so much debt that Scotland could not afford independence.

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“The UK is collectively infinitely more in debt in 2021 than it was in 2014, so if people believed that argument or accepted it then, it’s going to be more compelling to them now.

“It is common knowledge that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic – having to fund health services adequately to combat it, the holiday plan, rebound business loans and various things – this whole process has cost a lot of money. UK money and that’s what a lot of people know.

“So that means there should be another referendum, it’s very simple, but for some people the scary message of ‘Scotland just can’t afford independence because of recent history “… I can almost guarantee that it will be a dominant narrative factor if there is another referendum in the years to come.

“They will link Scotland’s poor economic outlook to the coronavirus pandemic. ”


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