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

Green finance is set to be the most powerful financial repression tool yet
Bonds

Green finance is set to be the most powerful financial repression tool yet

The government has launched its “green savings bond” that offers investors just 0.65%. But that pitiful return is in many ways the point of “green” fi…
22 Oct 2021
Equities are not a good inflation hedge
Economy

Equities are not a good inflation hedge

Institutional investors are definitely now worried about inflation. But they're not yet worried enough to flee to cash, says John Stepek
22 Oct 2021
Why fed-up workers are quitting their jobs
Economy

Why fed-up workers are quitting their jobs

Workers are leaving their jobs at an astonishing rate, especially in the US, leading to a shortage of workers. What will that mean for our economies? …
22 Oct 2021
China’s economy faces a triple shock
Chinese economy

China’s economy faces a triple shock

Power cuts, the pandemic and the property slowdown are slowing China's economy down.
22 Oct 2021

Most Popular

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy
Energy

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy

The government has started to roll out its plans for switching us over from fossil fuels to hydrogen and renewable energy. Should investors buy in? St…
8 Oct 2021
How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy
Energy

How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy

The UK’s electricity supply needs to be more robust for days when the wind doesn’t blow. We need nuclear power, says Dominic Frisby. And the future of…
6 Oct 2021
The after effects of the gas-price shock
Economy

The after effects of the gas-price shock

In the wake of the recent spike in the natural gas price, we can expect slower growth, an industrial recession – and a newly assertive Russia, says Ma…
17 Oct 2021