Wednesday’s World News Updates: My Views
Bringing you a rounded view of the news by collating stories from various publications and broadcasters, and sharing my opinion on this week’s top news stories.
1. What Independence really means for all of us. This week’s Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions were cancelled as David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg visit Scotland to campaign against independence.
If Scotland votes ‘Yes’ to independence, there will be many implications for the major parties, including the Labour Party losing the majority vote in the next General Election. The poll for The Independent newspaper suggests that ‘Ed Miliband will win an overall majority of 32 next May. But if Scottish MPs are excluded, there would be a hung parliament, with Labour three seats short of a majority.’ ‘At present, Labour holds 41 of the 59 Scottish seats at Westminster. Labour is on 35%, the Conservatives on 31%, UKIP 13% and the Liberal Democrats on 9%.’
What this translates to: the Labour Party may lose the majority vote in next year’s General Election which is why Ed Miliband is campaigning in Scotland today. David Cameron will go down in history as the Prime Minister that allowed the referendum which caused the Union to split and will be pressurised to stand down as Prime Minister if the Conservatives win the next election. So, there is some truth in the First Minister Alex Salmond’s comment: ‘“The message of this extraordinary, last-minute reaction is that the Westminster elite are in a state of absolute panic as the ground in Scotland shifts under their feet.”’ (The Independent).
But the question on everyone’s lips is: What do the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ votes mean? What are the implications of an Independent Scotland? Here is a breakdown (NB: all of the information gathered has been picked from various sources but all sources explain both sides of the situation):
The ‘Yes’ vote:
- Lack of superfast broadband in rural areas. (The Guardian)
- Long wait for a relief road round Aberdeen. (The Guardian)
- It is also that Scots see benefits from devolution and think they could do better with more power. (The Guardian)
- ‘The once in a lifetime windfall of North Sea oil – Scotland’s oil, in the minds of many – has not been used to alleviate the effects of the profound economic shock that led to the closures in the coalmines and the shipyards. Nationalists say the money that could and should have been used to rebuild and reshape the economy after the collapse of heavy industry has instead been blown on unemployment benefits, tax cuts and expensive wars.’ (The Guardian)
- ‘Scotland has a thriving biomedical sector, and a big defence, marine and aerospace presence. The food and drink industry has some strong global brands which have been helped by the attention on Scotland generated by the referendum. Much poorer countries than Scotland have gone it alone.’ (The Guardian)
- The White Paper, drawn up by experts on the Fiscal Commission, set up by the Scottish government, states rUK would have Scotland as its second biggest trading partner, after the USA. A common currency would ease complex supply chains, and the flow of workers across the border. (BBC)
- ‘The Scots deny being a burden on the English taxpayer, but Scottish government figures for 2012-13 estimated that £65.2 billion was spent that year in Scotland against £47.6 billion raised in revenues. When that £17.6 billion isn’t being doled out to the Scots, it could be used to give a tax cut to the English — especially since independence would increase the likelihood of an election victory in England by the party most likely to give such a cut, the Tories.’ (MailOnline)
The ‘No’ vote:
- Scotland won’t officially use sterling, ‘as to allow the Scots to use the English currency without the Treasury in Whitehall having control of Scottish economic policy would incur massive potential liabilities for the English taxpayer if the Scottish economy imploded.’ (MailOnline)
- ‘In the way that some Caribbean islands use the U.S. dollar despite being outside America, Scotland could choose to use the pound, but divergence between our two economies could make Scotland another debt-ridden Greece to England’s powerful Germany.’ (MailOnline)
- ‘Choosing to use the euro would bring similar problems, and besides Scotland can’t adopt it officially while it is still outside the EU, which may be the case in the first years of independence.’ (MailOnline) Scotland may have to apply for its place in the EU.
- ‘Scotland could set up its own currency, but would have to expect a rapid and possibly steep devaluation, especially if it defaulted on its historic share of UK debt.’ (MailOnline)
- ‘Public spending is higher in Scotland than in the UK as a whole, and the population is ageing more quickly. Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, has said, pensions will be at risk. (The Guardian)
‘According to statistics from the BBC, the Union would lose 32 percent of its land, but just eight percent of its population. It (the rUK) would go from being the 45thmost densely populated country to the 29th on the list of countries around the world. It would be considered much more crowded than ever before.’ (Guardian Liberty Voice)
As well as affecting seats in Westminster, Scotland’s currency is another main factor in the ‘Yes’ ‘No’ debate. According to The Guardian ‘There are really only four options: a currency union with the rest of the UK; using sterling without a currency union in the way that Panama uses the dollar; joining the euro; or an independent monetary policy with a new Scottish currency and interest rates set by a Scottish central bank.’ To read more on Scotland the sterling, visit http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/09/10/1963991/scotland-and-sterling-whose-currency-is-it-anyway/
This is all about seats in Parliament and who wins the next election. Currently, Scotland receive free university education, free prescriptions and have low taxes. If they break away, we won’t be paying for another country. If they break away, they may receive more powers, greater sovereignty and an independent kingdom, but they leave with a weakened currency as the pound has weakened, and they will only be able to go for so long with the freebies. They will see a rise in taxes or cut to social services and experts make clear that even with the money from North Sea oil, an independent will still be in deficit. So essentially, they may have lost confidence in Westminster, which is the general consensus, but they will probably hate the rise in the cost of living and cut to services more.
2. Apple launches its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, and its first Apple Watch, in California on Tuesday 9th The Telegraph explains: ‘The The iPhone 6 will sport a 4.7-inch display, while its bigger cousin the 6 Plus will measure 5.5-inches, significantly larger than current flagship the 5s’ 4-inch screen.’
‘Each will come in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB configurations, with the iPhone 6 starting from £539, £619 for the 64 GB version and £699 for the £128 model. The iPhone 6 Plus will retail from £619 for 16GB, £699 for the 64GB model and £789 for the new 128GB model.’
Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Executive, ‘then announced the company’s first original product since the introduction of the iPad in 2010 – the Apple Watch. The Watch will come in three versions – the Apple Watch Sport in polished or black stainless steel, the standard Apple Watch in grey or silver anodized aluminium, and the luxury Watch Edition, available in rose or yellow 18 carat gold developed to be up to twice as hard as standard gold. Each model will be available in two sizes – 38 mm and 42 mm.
Reported by the BBC, James McQuivey, an analyst at the research firm Forrester thinks we all need these new gadgets. ‘“People know they need watches, they know that they need smartphones, and Apple has made a combination of those things that is better than each of them.”’ ‘However, he admits that there is no “killer app” on the device. Rather, the Apple Watch is a “collection of benefits”, which will appeal to those who already spend an awful amount of time checking their phones each day.’ ‘”This is not asking people who are analogue to become digital,” he explains.’ ‘”This is asking people who are already digital to take it to the next level.”’
3. Women and the Wage Gap. This week, I spoke to Tip TV about the issue of inequality between men and women’s wages in the city. Women doing the same work and working the same hours should be paid the same wage as men. The fact that it is a biological certainty for some women to reproduce should not cause discrimination against women’s pay packets. Decades after the 1970 Equal Pay Act, it is time that the womb is welcomed in the workplace rather than discriminated against. Companies need to feel responsibility and be transparent about their figures. And there should be shared parental responsibility where possible. Watch the interview here: TIP TV INTERVIEW – WOMEN VS MEN IN THE CITY
4. Boy bored by President Barack Obama. It is said that the most honest of society are children or the drunk. As President Barack Obama spoke with a departing Secret Service agent and his wife, the couples’ son can be seen face-planting onto a couch in the Oval Office!
The majestic dive, captured by Lawrence Jackson, was released as the White House revealed some candid behind-the-scenes photographs from June on its official Flickr account.