Niall Ferguson — a Scotsman vastly smarter and more knowledgeable than yours truly on just about everything (save perhaps Trek) — has confirmed my concern about Scotland’s descent into dirigisme (discussed by Iain here and elsewhere I can’t find links to). A former strong Unionist, Ferguson has decided that Scotland should seek independence. Relevant bit from the Times (London) story:
“Ireland and some of the east European countries like Estonia are showing that small countries which embrace economic liberalism can thrive.”
The expatriate Scot said one reason why he left Scotland was the sustained erosion of the “can do” enterprising spirit that he had experienced in the Glasgow of his childhood. Ferguson believes that an independent Scotland could flourish if it ditched its statist economic assumptions.
“What Scotland needs is a re-injection of the ideas of Adam Smith,” he said. “If economic liberalism has a birthplace it is Glasgow and I do wonder where that all went.
“It was part of the culture I grew up in, but increasingly it seems to have vanished and been replaced by a clapped-out socialist model of state intervention and hand-outs.
“There is a kind of dead hand gripping hold of Scotland at the moment and this lack of enthusiasm for market economics is causing the country to underperform economically.
“The future looks grim if, as present, Scotland maintains a demoralising gradual decline as little more than an extra bit of the north of England.”