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Wings Over Scotland


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Out of the cave 223

Posted on November 24, 2016 by

Readers of this site will be well aware of the many failings and limitations of GERS, aka Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland – the document which serves as the informal accounts of a devolved Scotland but tells us next to nothing about the finances of an independent Scotland, as noted just a few weeks ago by the impartial multinational auditors Deloitte.

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An article I produced this week for the Common Weal White Paper Project – Beyond GERS – has generated much critical response from Unionists, though some of it has at least been constructive.

Spurred on by the mention of the article by David Torrance in Monday’s Herald, in a column containing several serious inaccuracies, I’ve seen various misunderstandings and misconceptions about it which ought to be addressed.

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An empty quiver 200

Posted on July 29, 2016 by

This week I published, through Common Weal, a discussion paper on the potential currency options for an independent Scotland in light of the material changes in circumstances caused by the Brexit vote.

This paper examines some of the options open to an independent Scotland and concludes that, on balance, the best option for Scotland would be a Scottish currency, initially pegged to Sterling but with the infrastructure and mechanisms in place to move, replace or remove that peg if and when it proves advantageous.

(As the UK did itself in the 1980’s when the pound was pegged first to the US dollar and then to the Deutschmark.)

One of the requirements of an independent currency is that Scotland would need its own foreign reserve fund which would act as a buffer against trade imbalances and would be used to counter movements in exchange rate (particularly if we were pegged our exchange rate to Sterling).

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It was on this particular point that yesterday’s Scottish edition of the Daily Express chose to focus, in its characteristically measured, balanced and thoughtful manner.

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Gazing into the black hole 93

Posted on March 09, 2016 by

Economics: The art of explaining why all of your models fail to accurately predict either the future or the past.

It’s the time of year again when everyone glances at the first page of a dense booklet of complex economic data and immediately starts using it to make wild forecasts and proclamations despite the long-known problems with doing so.

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So it’s also, once again, time to try looking a little further to tease out some details that others might have – let’s be generous here – accidentally missed.

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