Britain: A different – and riskier – country

The Britain that emerges after the referendum will be a very different one, regardless of how Scotland votes.

As the Scottish referendum campaign entered its final stretch, the polls suggested a narrow No vote, tempers frayed, and the markets seemed paralysed with nerves.

The media has been chewing over the three party leaders' vow to maintain the Barnett formula (which ensures public spending per head stays higher in Scotland than in England) if Scotland chose to stay in the UK.

That came on top of devo max, which would transfer far more autonomy to Scotland, including full tax-raising powers.

What the commentators said

Regardless of Scotland's decision, this is "the end of the United Kingdom as we have known it", said The Independent. This is a "new, looser kingdom". New constitutional arrangements "lying somewhere between a properly federal system and the old unitary model, will develop". But get set for a bumpy ride, said Dan Hodges on Telegraph.co.uk.

Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg drew up a constitution "on the back of a fag packet" by promising the Scots home rule and an English "blank cheque" to go with it. Already there are calls for autonomy for English regions.

This mess is due to the "fools and charlatans" who govern England and Scotland, said Sean Thomas on Telegraph.co.uk. The prime minister "thinks he is cleverer than he actually is", while Miliband is "a gormless muppet". Alex Salmond, however, is a serial liar who trumps both.

All these people may soon be gone or marginalised. But the basic problem for investors will remain, as Merryn Somerset Webb pointed out in our free daily email Money Morning: uncertainty, volatility, and a severe dent in our reputation as one of the world's investment safe havens.

Recommended

Inflation is now at its highest since 1982 – is this the peak?
Inflation

Inflation is now at its highest since 1982 – is this the peak?

At 9%, UK inflation is at its highest for 40 years – and it’s not going anywhere soon, says John Stepek. That means you need to be much more active a…
18 May 2022
Which house-price index is the best?
Property

Which house-price index is the best?

Britain is obsessed with house prices, and we have at least four house-price indices to choose from to measure the rate of increase in the value of ou…
18 May 2022
The UK jobs market is still red hot – but will it last?
UK Economy

The UK jobs market is still red hot – but will it last?

For the first time ever, there are more job vacancies than people to fill them, and wages are rising at a decent clip. But that might just be a tempor…
17 May 2022
Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall
UK Economy

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall

Despite the fuss about rising interest rates, they’re falling in real terms. That will blow up a wild bubble, says Matthew Lynn.
15 May 2022

Most Popular

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall
UK Economy

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall

Despite the fuss about rising interest rates, they’re falling in real terms. That will blow up a wild bubble, says Matthew Lynn.
15 May 2022
Is the oil market heading for a supply glut?
Oil

Is the oil market heading for a supply glut?

Many people assume that the high oil price is here to stay – and could well go higher. But we’ve been here before, says Max King. History suggests tha…
16 May 2022
Value is starting to emerge in the markets
Investment strategy

Value is starting to emerge in the markets

If you are looking for long-term value in the markets, some is beginning to emerge, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Indeed, you may soon be able to buy tra…
16 May 2022