Phone charge paranoia

Another front has been opened in the “debate” over Scottish independence. It sees the lib dems (aware that with Scottish independence they’ll loose alot of their MP’s) putting together a report that presents various spurious arguments for economic “chaos” if Scotland gets independence. They specifically highlight the fact that as its a different nation Scot’s phoning England (or visa versa) will suddenly be making international calls, and how expensive that will make it to do business.

My response to this is to say Bollix to that! :crazy: Certainly it is true, that in Ireland having a border up north is a complete pain in the butt sometimes. I’ve heard stories of people making calls near the border who walk a few feet, the system decides they’re now the other side of the border, and they’re suddenly making an international call. Has this stopped cross border trade? No not really, people get around it, by either buying phone cards that provide cheap calls both sides of the border or getting a 2nd mobile.

Indeed, the EU has long had a bone to pick with mobile phone providers ripping people off in this regard. Consider that most European countries share quite convoluted land borders. Consider how awkward it is for someone who lives in Germany, but works just across the border in Masstricit…then goes down to Strasbourg every couple of weeks! The EU has therefore been arm twisting the mobile companies to get them to lower cross border charges for quite some time. The EU would in fact rather just do away with such charges altogether.

But again do all these separate mobile phone charges stop EU states trading with each other? well no! It’s an inconvenience yes, but that’s it. No one (save some Braveheart’s in the SNP) is saying that independence and putting up a border won’t have some impact (both positive and negative), but the gates of Hell are unlikely to open, as the opponents of independence would have you believe. The only situation where trade might suffer is where one or other country chooses (rather foolishly) to impose such trade barriers, but that would harm both countries and be against EU, as well as EEA & WTO rules, so that’s probably unlikely.

I’m largely neutral on this issue of independence, but this sort of cheap sloganeering and tabloid friendly scaremongering is certainly something I oppose as merely demonstrates signs of desperation for the coalition government on this issue.


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