In what may yet prove a knockout blow, Mitt Romney swept to victory in Florida on Tuesday with a huge 46% of the popular vote in Florida. Ask any SNP member how a big a share of the vote 46% is and they will tell you in no uncertain, glowing terms.

Given that no US President has won re-election with unemployment levels higher than 7.2% (current rate is ~8.5%), perhaps we should get used to seeing Mitt’s face in the papers, despite “having second place stamped through him like a stick of rock”.

We shall wait and see of course but a blue-blooded special relationship of Romney & Cameron will make Clinton & Blair look positively socialist by comparison.

The Tory/Republican/Tea Party/Libertarian (pick a branch, it’s the same tree) argument goes that people know best where to put their money and that open markets allow for capital to be allocated in the most efficient way for the greater good. Oh really?, I say. Oh really!?

Let’s take a few examples of why this is a wrongheaded approach to how to run a society:

– Much of the money made from huge incomes goes into second homes (or third, fourth, fifth etc) as this is one of the safest ways to guarantee a stable return on your cash and also ensures that wealth is kept within the family. The adverse knock-on impact of this is threefold – (1) the rich get richer and so the equality gap widens, (2) house prices increase (as more houses are held by fewer and fewer people) so people struggle to get onto a housing market that is the primary route for ensuring a decent pension and (3) the economy falters as money is being taken out of business and put into personal property portfolios. Low interest rates may well be boosting credit but it is simultaneously slicing capital out of the economy. A tax on second homes, or the more radical approach (as adopted in Sweden) of banning people from owning second homes domestically, is worth a look but neither Cameron nor Romney will bring this forward.

– Linked to the above, lower corporation taxes, as both Romney and Cameron favour, is the quickest way to take money out of the economy and into the micro-economy of the super rich. Would banks be paying out such huge bonuses if they had an extra few percent of tax to pay to the Government which, in turn, would help safeguard jobs in the public sector? One would hope not. There is a risk that small and medium sized businesses would have their lending cut to safeguard bonuses but that doesn’t mean that the three-pronged ideal of fair levels of Corporation Tax, minimal bonuses and high employment levels shouldn’t be the target.

– A recent example of what Mitt Romney spent his considerable income on is a $4m donation to the Mormon church. That is Mitt’s decision to make and I have nothing against Mormons of course, but the argument that people can direct capital better than Governments can for the betterment of society seems a little fanciful when this money, money that Mitt clearly doesn’t need, would arguably be better spent paying down the US debt or beefing up its economy. The same situation arises across the UK today from extra foreign holidays being unnecessarily taken or a new German car sitting in the garage. Disposable incomes feed the UK cash cow’s flabby underbelly that desperately needs milked.

– Train fares have increased 6%, rents have increased 4% (12% in London incidentally), food costs have increased 36%, public sector salaries have increased 0% and directors’ salaries have increased, wait for it, 50%. Where is the fairness there? Where is the progressive realignment of wealth? Will Cameron and Romney save us from this madness? Doubtful.

So, will Scotland be a buttress against this rather bleak regressive future? I am concerned that it won’t be. We’ve seen Alex Salmond slap down John Mason for merely suggesting that an independent Scotland could raise the top rate of the tax but the First Minister gleefully backed Sir Fred Goodwin on taking over ABN Amro. We’ve seen rail fares rise in Scotland just as much as they scandalously have in England & Wales, and we are seeing worrying signs over an SNP approach to fiscal control.

Alex Salmond is making control of Corporation Taxes his party’s prime argument as it pushes for the full range of financial levels for Scotland. That would be good news if Scotland intended to hold Corporation Tax rates in place, or raise them even, rather than copy or undercut the reduction in rates that George Osborne is currently presiding over.

The other argument that the SNP is keen to make is that Scotland can still build a fortune off the back of the oil that sits under the North Sea, despite clear evidence that the already drilled oiled reserves that sit above ground is more than enough to get us by while we wean ourselves off the black stuff. It’s a dilemma for Scotland, for sure – make a fortune off the drilling and burning of oil that the world doesn’t need and certainly can’t take or leave the oil where it is and be poorer for it financially but morally better off?

It would be a shame if the normally pleasingly principled SNP were to abandon reason and logic as the referendum drew nearer, if a rationale of ‘why shouldn’t we burn our oil if everyone else is’ will hold sway.

On top of this even, we have the much-boasted Council Tax freeze that still has another four years to go, despite the pennies dropping across Scotland that this is a regressive move as it is the richest who save the most. How is that driving Scotland forwards? As Kezia Dugdale MSP quite reasonably asks the Scottish Government, on behalf of the 80,000 unemployed 18-24 year olds, where are the jobs?

In his Hugo Young lecture, Salmond promised Scotland would be a ‘progressive beacon’ but I don’t see how that can be equated with an oil burning, low tax economy, particularly against a potential backdrop of UK-US relations revolving around Romney, Cameron and Osborne.

Perhaps the only way for Scotland to wriggle out of this depressing destiny is to vote Yes to independence and then swiftly vote a truly social democratic, progressive Labour/Green coalition into place?