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Wings Over Scotland

Ghosts in the machine

Posted on November 10, 2013 by

TWO indy-positive stories in the Sunday Times? In the same week?

That needs preserving for posterity.



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120 to “Ghosts in the machine”

  1. Endless_psych says:

    I wonder how Brian Ashcroft (husband of Wendy Alexander and originator of the analysis that shows Scotland would be £64bn better off) feels about being called a “pro-Indy economist”?

    Possibly ambivalent because although someone else is getting credit for their original work at least he can take succor in them trying to present it implicitly as a biased analysis.

  2. Richard Cain says:

    It still rankles when they always stick in those couple of “balancing” paragraphs at the end of an article, so that even a pro-independence piece leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

  3. creigs17707repeal says:

    “Scotland contributed £57bn of the UK’s taxes, but received about £65bn in spending.”
    I am aware that not all of the spending attributed to Scotland is actually spent here and I am aware that the BritNats like to promote that £1200 more is spent per person in Scotland than the UK average and forget to inform that Scotland raises in taxes £1700 per person more than the UK average thus a surplus of £500 from every person in Scotland to Westminster.

    But how do these figures add up? Obviously they can’t both be right (or can they?). On the one hand the BritNats are saying there’s a black hole in Scotland’s budget of £8bn (65bn – 57bn) and on the other hand YES campaigners are saying Scotland is giving £2.5bn more per year to Westminster than it receives. Can someone clarify this in a simple and meaningful way or point to articles that explain this?

  4. TheGreatBaldo says:

    2 Positive (or at least neutral) independence articles in the Observer/Guardian too…..
    Years from now will folk…’Remember, remember the 10th of November’ ?

  5. Andy-B says:

    Why is it every time a positive outlook about Scotland punching above its weight economically, in the oil sector, as it has done in the past 30 odd years or so, that the cannae dae it mob, alway refer to oil, and volatility in the same sentence.
    No mention of the loss of the UK’s triple AAA credit rating though, which under Osborne has been more volatile than the Icelandic volcano,Eyjafjallajokull.

  6. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Richad Cain
    I rather enjoy the wee “A spokesperson for Better Together said” bits at the end of positive articles. They always sound very feeble, pathetic, and straw clutching to me. Just look at them with the thought in your head. “Is that the best they can come out with?” 😉

  7. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ creigs17707repeal – Dont know if this helps but try this thread.

  8. Cankert Callan says:

    I know we’ve heard before that Scotland’s oil could be a hinderance to our economy due to volatile prices but the first article said “the volatile impact Scottish independence would have had on oil prices and production,” serisously?

    Have I missed this, are we now being told that had we been independent we wouldn’t have been capable of producing the stuff and that our production alone could have had a huge effect on world prices?

    Still thanks for the articles, might be a turn in the right direction, let’s hope the media is slowly waking up. I never read the printed press, or their sites, unless someone points one out to me.

  9. RedStarTrout says:

    “Scotland contributed £57bn of the UK’s taxes, but received about £65bn in spending.”
    Scotland paid in 9.9% of UK taxation but only got back 9.3% of UK spending. (Yes)
    9.3% of UK spending is more money than 9.9% of UK tax. (Bitter Together)
    Both of these statements are true, but  the second one is only true because Westminster spends money like a drunken teenager cutting loose with their parents credit card.

    It works out that Scotland does have a deficit, but it is much less than for the UK as a whole. Also that deficit includes a lot of spending on stuff that we wouldn’t want if we were independent, like Trident and Crossrail.

    Take Housing Benefit as an example. The UK spends over £20 Billion on that so our 9.9% would be about £2 Billion. What actually gets spent in Scotland is only £1.5-1.6 Billion, so we are adding in £400 million to the UK costs with no return.

    London, with its high rents going to buy to let investors, gets £5.5 Billion of the UK spend, but they aren’t subsidy junkies, so that’s OK, isn’t it?

  10. Les Wilson says:

    In both these articles there is no part of labour’s role divulged, it is all anti Tory but labour has played the deceit game for many many years. It was a labour MP that cheated us out of a win in the last referendum, nobody should forget that.

    Also just look at the dirty tactics they employ in Council elections, the joke or rather not a joke that was the Dunfermline Council election leaflet. This had one aim only, that was to deceive the voters, which it duly did.

    They are absolutely full of bad eggs, we all could name so many of them, while they all proclaim the in fashion line, that they are “proud Scots”, and at the same time join hands with the Tories and Lib Dems in downing Scotland to appease Westminster. They have nothing to be proud of, not a thing.

    They are beyond shame and should suffer in 2014 for what they are doing, not least employing Tory policies with gusto, at the same time trying to put the blame on the SG. I will NEVER vote labour again and I just wish they would have some decency and stop calling themselves” proud Scots” they are an affront to our peoples and our land and do not derserve the accolaid they give themselves. Ditto the Torie and Lb Dem co -conspiritors.

  11. AnneDon says:

    In fact, both of these stories have originated from unionists, Brian Ashcroft and Henry McLeish? Interesting. And might explain why the information found its way to The Times. 🙂
    I suppose they didn’t see how The Times would spin it?

  12. velofello says:

    It is a funny aspect of balance sheets that, if you deduct £4 billion from contributions and add it it to receipts what showed as parity at £61 billion contributions and £61 billion receipts magically becomes an £8 billion gap of £57 billion contributions, £64 billion receipts. A deficit of £8 billion looms!
    Of course it would be fair and honest to clearly define contributions and receipts. For example, a newly appointed management accountant to a power generating company that exports of 25% learns that there are no recorded receipts for this exported power and that indeed a surcharge is placed by the customer, not the supplier note, on this exported energy as a cost to send the power down the jointly funded transmission facility? And what advice would the accountant provide to his directors upon further learning that this customer in fact provided a subsidy to his home-based power suppliers for the use of this self same transmission facility?

    And then there is the factory alarm system, a joint facility shared by the accountant’s company and the customer. The accountant learns that whilst his company has been remitting £3.1 billion per annum to maintain the system, just over £1.7 billion are actually spent on his company’s alarm system!
    Next up, non-executive directors! Paid by daily attendance, all 800 of them!No need to stay all day, there is an appointments book to advise of ex-office meetings.

  13. scottish_skier says:

     “the volatile impact Scottish independence would have had on oil prices and production,” seriously?
    Yes, an interruption to supply (which would presumably be the imagined issue) causes prices to rise.
    Unless of course what is going to happen is a massive new find of utterly gigantic proportions – more so than Saudi Arabia has – is going to be discovered off Glasgow, driving down prices (but of course volume makes up for the drop for Scotland so…).

  14. Albert Herring says:

    Alternatively, rUK paid in 90.1% of UK taxation but gets back 90.7% of UK spending.

  15. Doug Daniel says:

    I love the way the Better Together spokesperson is not named in either article, but each quote has all the hallmarks of McDougall.
    My favourite line is about who people should believe: experts, or “nationalists and their facts”. Ooh, those terrible nationalists and their facts, eh? What are we like?!

  16. Bill Fraser says:

    Creigs 1707, the difference between the figures occurs because the UK government spends money ‘on Scotland behalf’ debt interest, defence, the cost of Westminster and the lords, embassies, borrowing to meet the cost of foreign wars etc. 

  17. Ken Johnston says:

    O/T Chaps.
    Just reading an article on the Arc of Prosperity Scandinavian viewpoint blog, talking about getting renumbered phone numbers after Independence. 0141 0131 etc. dropping to 04 03 maybe.
    But, here’s a thing, and I think Better Together should be consulted, will we have ANY phone numbers at all if separation happens. Will the lines just go dead. Somebody, Rev, tweet Blair McD and ask.

  18. HandandShrimp says:

    The Better Together litany of woe wildly overplays its hand most spectacularly on the economic case. Scotland is a small modern European country with a diverse economy, excellent education facilities and abundant natural resources. To make his case Darling is reduced to obfuscation lying such as saying there are only 2 billion barrels of oil left.
    There are ties with the UK and I can understand those of a British persuasion feeling that they would lose something if we vote for independence. There will be work ahead to re-establish Scotland’s place in the world and there will undoubtedly be run ins over the EU and other international relationships but they are far from insurmountable. However, the economic case is not one of these issues. When pushed Darling and Co concede that of course an independent Scotland would be fine. If that were not the case there job would be so much the easier.

  19. creigs17707repeal says:

    @Bill Fraser
    Thanks Bill. I understand that but (and I probably didn’t make this clear) I was looking for somewhere where these figures were broken down in detail (GERS?). The reason I ask is that I fully intend to get myself into some BT meetings and ask these awkward questions. I just don’t want to go in without all the facts. They say we are in the red by £8bn and I say, “No – you’re wrong. Scotland actually pays Westminster 2.5bn per year more than we receive.” Who then does the audience believe? I want to nail these liars with hard facts that people can go away and look up themselves from a reliable source.
    What does the HoC & Lords cost Scotland per year? Worldwide embassies? Defense I think is £3.5bn? Interest on our share of the debt around £4bn?  BBC 325million raised in Scotland but only 100 million spent here etc, etc.  If we were no longer part of the UK how would this affect Scotland’s balance sheet? I hope I am not asking too much here because this £8bn black hole espoused by the BritNats simply MUST be put to bed once and for all. The economy is the thing that concerns most of the undecideds and we must win this one. Is it -£8bn or +£2.5bn and how can it be shown in a simple, informative way?  Ideas?

  20. Monty Carlow says:

    “Scotland contributed £57bn of the UK’s taxes, but received about £65bn in spending”

    The trouble with such a statement given by the No camp is that it comes with the tacit implication that the difference, £8bn, somehow represents a subsidy by rUK to Scotland. 
    It doesn’t – it’s just our fiscal deficit.  Darling and the rest know this perfectly well, and omit to mention that the rUK runs a deficit too, as does virtually very developed country (Norway being the significant exception), and that rUK’s deficit is larger than ours, per capita.   Hence, we subsidise them.
    The equivalent figures for UK  are

    Tax    £573bn;    Spending   £694bn;    Deficit   £121bn

    For rUK only, the figures are

    Tax    £516bn;    Spending   £629bn;    Deficit   £113bn

    This is a typical “Better Together” technique – just give half a fact, and invite the general public to draw an erroneous conclusion.

  21. creigs17707repeal says:

    @ Monty Carlow
    Thanks Monty. If Scotland, in line with most other countries in the world (with the exception of Norway) currently is running a deficit of £8bn per annum, how would this be reduced to £0 ? Surely we would want to (eventually) be like Norway with no annual deficit and no national debt?

  22. Ivan McKee says:

    Both these statements are true because both Scotland and the UK both run at  a deficit (they spend more than they generate in taxes in that year).
    The UK deficit in 2011-12 was £121billion (7.9% of GDP).
    Scotland’s deficit in 2011-12 was £7 and a half billion (5% of our GDP).
    So while BT want you to believe that Scotland’s deficit is funded by the English tax payer the reality is that what happens is that the UK treasury goes to the money market and borrows a shit load of money, most of it stays in rUK and some of it comes to Scotland.
    Key facts to remember :
    1. Scotland’s deficit  (£7.6bn) includes £4.1bn of Debt Interest charges (our population shore of the UKs annual £50bn interest payments on its monster debt.
    Based on the Sunday Times article (and the great work done by Gordon at Business for Scotland) Scotland shouldn’t have any deficit so this interest payment shouldn’t apply.
    2. All Western countries have a deficit in the current phase of the economic cycle (except for Norway – funny that isn’t it).
    The OECD countries average deficit is 6.5%; the UK’s is 7.9% Scotland’s is 5%. If we include our population share of UK debt interest). Without that debt interest charge (which we shouldn’t have based on the fact that we didn’t generate any of the debt) then Scotland’s deficit to GDP ratio is only 2.3%. Which puts us amongst the best of the Western economies in the current climate.
    (And that’s still including our share of Trident and the UKs illegal wars)
    In summary the UK acts like They borrow a bunch of money on the international money market, lend a small part of it to Scotland and charge us twice the rate we should have to pay it we borrowed it ourselves.
    “Ruth, don’t argue numbers with me”…
    (from 37:00)

  23. Linda's Back says:

    Has the Rev seen copies of the Sunday Times Falkirk emails which were published online and were copied to Tom Watson and Pat Rafferty.
    They mention the using of members political levy fund to pay for Labour Party memberships and mention Unite’s position on Scotland “not coming into play”  and ask if Gordon Brown could help to  sort out the “membership problems”.

  24. Darling and Cameron have both conceded that Scotland could be a successful, independent nation.  What then is their argument against it?  I still haven’t seen anything that doesn’t contain “a separate Scotland couldn’t…” or “a separate Scotland wouldn’t…”

  25. Monty Carlow says:


    The figures I quoted are from GERS, for 2012.

    The problem with these figures is that they ascribe to Scotland a proportionate share of UK “national” spending, on defence, foreign affairs etc, but also interest on the UK debt, resulting from the accumulation of these deficits.

    I previously posted that I had looked at these figures, going back to 1980, and from this.  I can broadly  match up many of these and other publicised  figures, such as the UK £1.1 trillion debt.  I can also identify the £64bn which Scotland has paid as its population share of  interest on  UK debt.

    The point is that if we look at Scotland’s figures going back to 1980, and the significant surpluses we were running, then we would have quickly extinguished our debt, had we run our own finances, using the GERS data.  Therefore we wouldn’t have paid anything like £64bn interest.  I calculate we would have paid about £2.5bn in the early 1980s, and nothing since, because we would have been in surplus throughout, even now.

    But that ignores the fact that we would have been earning on our surplus (our “oil fund”).  We could have lent our cumulative surplus to the UK, rather than just giving it to them free, which is what we actually did.  The UK government borrows by issuing Government Stock and paying interest on it, so that is what Scotland could have done with our surplus.  The article mentions that we could have had a £50bn surplus.  I think it would be much more than that.  Looking at the rates paid by the UK Government on borrowing over the years, which were typically 10-12% in the 1980s and early 1990s,   I calculate we would have earned £224bn interest on our growing surplus, and would have a surplus now of £230bn.

    I realise this is more than others have suggested, but I am happy to compare data and calculations.

  26. Jingly Jangly says:

    Last time I looked Norway had some debt, they were borrowing at about 2.8% to service it, They were earning over 7% on the money they were putting into their oil fund.
    Cunning plan borrow cheaply and make more back in investments.
    Figures may be out, but you get the jist….

  27. Papadocx says:

    The word guarantee should be challenged unless you are talking about death. All unionists use the word constantly when questioning Yes supporters. If a guarantee is valid then BT should be subjected to the same scrutiny. can they guarantee where the UK economy will be in 5/10/20 years. Of course not. However they slag off indy for the same answer. They shouldn’t get away with that open goal.  

  28. Thistle says:


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    Find out the real figures and have your say on independence..

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  29. creigs17707repeal says:

    @Monty Carlow
    Thanks Monty. I went to the BfS site and read some articles there which clarified some things for me, particularly the £4.1bn Scotland pays as its share in servicing the interest on the UK debt which the article states was debt on loans that Scotland didn’t need as Scotland (unlike the rest of the UK) has been in surplus for the last 32 years or so. (Which actually begs the question–if Scotland has always been in surplus, thereby subsidising the rUK, why should we be lumped with a share of rUK’s debt?)
    The thing is – when we become independent and take our fair share of the UK national debt (and assets), will our annual surplus in iScotland be sufficient not just to service the interest on our national debt but to also pay back some of the capital per annum and, perhaps, to put some away for a rainy day?

  30. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I was stopped in my tracks by the front page of the Sunday Post today and got a copy.
    Remembering the Post’s story a couple of weeks ago covering Neil Kinnock’s regret that an Oil Fund had not been set up,suggesting that that could be done anytime in the next twenty years I opened the paper with interest. Inside there was a double page spread about the MOD blocking a potential huge oil bonanaza in the Firth of Clyde and mentioning the extraction of oil about to start off the coast  of Northern Ireland.
    Sadly a couple of earlier pages had carried news of a couple, the Humphries of Inverurie, who were preparing to leave an independent Scotland due to anti-English sentiment. Anybody know them? I have found in many of these kind of cases before there is usually a lot of other reasons for the “anti” sentiment. 
    Further on in the paper was a page by columnist Donald McLeod. He finishes his pro Indy piece with these words
    “What we have at the moment is not working and anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or is a complete imbecile.
    Some one once remarked that when you’re dead you don’t know you’re dead, it’s everybody else who suffers – well it’s the same when you’re a fool.
    And Scotland has more than its fair share of them,believe me!”
    On you go, Donald (and the Sunday Post) as they say in Glasgow

  31. Edward says:

    Ivan McKee – Just listening to that ‘Any Questions’ I’m a tad pissed of that Lamont got away with talking about the ‘unions’ backing the ‘break clause’ When she says ‘unions’ she is actually just referring juts to Dolan of the GMB

  32. callum says:

    -Dave McEwan Hill
    I remember as a kid (in 1980/1981) watching a huge drilling rig between our house at Machrihanish and Rathlin Island off NI.  Even at that young age i wondered what it was doing there given that drilling rigs weren’t built on the Clyde and that they should be in the North Sea!
    At about the same time, there was an incident where a Russian Sub sailed pretty much all the way up the Clyde – a pretty serious event at that time in Cold War history.  So it wouldn’t surprise me if the Sound of Kilbrannan and all the way out to Ailsa Craig is littered with hydrophones to detect sub surface traffic.  i.e. the sort of thing drilling operations would cause a lot of problems with.

  33. Jingly Jangly says:

    Anybody got a copy of the Sunday Post article re oil?

  34. Alastair Naughton says:

    How long will it be before Henry McLeish comes out in favour of Yes?

  35. JLT says:

    Noticed this in the Scotsman on Sunday. Apparently, England is getting a tad annoyed with Scotland getting everything …hmmmm

  36. gordoz says:

    Oil story does not appear on SPost website – had a look earlier.

  37. Macsenex says:

    As Helensburgh has 25% of it’s population English the YES campaign hop to hold a meeting especially for them

  38. ronnie anderson says:

    Im playing catch up today , went into words of weasels  I came back out JOHN MCINTYRE OBE is on WINGS site he,s on written media GUARDIAN / TELEGRAPH  annoys people on YES SCOTLAND site & other Independance sites be warned LADS & LASSIES  I wont be reading his posts our my LAP TOP will get damaged his comments make my blood boil  be WARNED 

  39. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Edward
    You’re right.
    The format takes  bit of getting used to. You think the programme is 50 minutes so there is plenty of time, but in reality you only get 1 or 2 minutes per questions if you’re lucky – its much more of a sprint than a marathon.
    I still had a list of killer point I didn’t get to fire off on Shipbuilding ,and on the EU, and believe you me it pissed me off to that JL got away with her lies without challenge (I tried to get in but the Dimmbleby told me to shut up and the sound guy turned my mic down)
    I figured out by the end of the show that you need to get in about them at the get go, hence I ignored the question on English NHS A&E and just got in about the economic case instead.
    Steep learning curve.

  40. liz says:

    creics@177707repeal – one of the best sites for these figures are Business for Scotland.
    I have used their figures lots of times to refute misinformation.
    Just google Business for Scotland and put in GERS or whatever you are interested in.

    Sorry someone else has already suggested this site

  41. Edward says:

    Just listening to ‘Any Answers’ from yesterday. The is the usual unionists calling up to offer their ignorance. Good one at 25 mins 35 sec , a Stuart Connell from Glasgow a complete idiot if ever I’ve heard

  42. muttley79 says:

    @Alastair Naughton

    How long will it be before Henry McLeish comes out in favour of Yes?
    I would not hold your breath on that one…I sometimes think he will come out for Yes, other times I think he will not.  Very difficult to say really.

  43. HandandShrimp says:

    Sadly a couple of earlier pages had carried news of a couple, the Humphries of Inverurie, who were preparing to leave an independent Scotland due to anti-English sentiment.
    I had a wee touch of the lurgy and took to my bed for a day, or so I thought. Have I slept through the vote? Did we gain independence or are these people simply psychic?

  44. Albert Herring says:

    NoScotland HQ evidently think he will, otherwise why the completely OTT reaction to his thoughtfully considered criticism.

  45. david says:

    How long will it be before Henry McLeish comes out in favour of Yes?
    sept 19 2014

  46. Albert Herring says:

    The Humphries taking the humph – who’da thunk it?

  47. Cankert Callan says:

    @ cynicalHighlander
    Thanks for the link, nice little read.
    Perhaps N.I. will follow us in a few years, if it holds up and there is oil.
    The future’s bright, the future’s orange. Oh, wait. Maybe not the right slogan to steal for that one. 😉

  48. Edward says:

    HandandShrimp – That article is also in the Sunday Post
    Are they being over sensitive or are their friends going a bit over the top with their ‘jokes’?
    Some of the comments by the couple are out of the better Together scare story book, such as needing passports and border crossings, splitting families up etc

  49. wee e says:

    Excellent article. Thanks to Edward for the link to Any Questions.
    Lamont’s dishonesty in that debate, constantly referring to “the union convenors on the Clyde” who she implies have inside knowledge of Westminster’s intentions — she is referring to two Labour backers, the Scotstoun GMB & UNITE convenors, who had already written articles for Better Togerther as union convenors — telling the same Ian Davidson fiction that the UK “will” not build warships in an independent Scotland and it “can’t” contract outside the UK for them.
    One of these men (at least) has himself stood as a Labour candidate in the past! By God, Labour have had a long study in inventing this strategy of spreading a story until it has become so big it has put UK media & public pressure on the Tory minister Hammond.  This blackmail threat has been planted, grown and cooked to a fine dish by the Scottish Labour Party and the unions hand in glove.

  50. wee e says:

    I should’ve mentioned – the convenor of the shipbuilding union, the CSEU, Jamie Webster was not at all minded this way when he was interviewed the other night. A dose of realsim and level-headedness that gives the lie to Lamont’s deceptive references to what her Better Togetrher/Labour pair of union convenors “are telling us”.

  51. lumilumi says:

    The Sunday Times stories…
    Are you sure, Rev Stu, that you haven’t hacked their production line at some point? 😉

  52. HandandShrimp says:

    Yes it sounds more like Better Together Bingo rather than a genuine expression of harassment. If Better Together are so confident of a No vote why are they leaving? Sounds like something cobbled together by a hack to me with or without the assistance of the couple involved.

  53. CR says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill, I agree that there is usually more to these anti English stories.  I have an English accent and have lived in Scotland for 25 years and have never had any prejudice.  I’m not afraid to speak my mind either, so it’s not like people haven’t had a motive. 
    The racist card is a great one for people to play, because it nullifies any arguements and immediately puts the accused on the backfoot.  I have found that people don’t raise the Independence issue with me though, in case I get offended and as soon as I tell folk that I’m voting yes we have some very interesting coversations
    @Ivan McKee. I thought you were brilliant on AQ.  Especially the finances bit. I was very impressed

  54. ronnie anderson says:

    Ivan McKee, Never mind Ivan plenty mair chances roon the corner, next time yer on a panel wie wee Ruthie ( dont argue numbers wie her jist gie her a £ shop calculator / wan a they plastic wans I ll send the £ tae you Give em hell

  55. Thepnr says:

    If you can only persuade one other then…….
    My wife who at this time is not remotely interested in the “debate” or lack of it asked me tonight while the news was on “isn’t all this carry on (about Govan) more likely to make people vote Yes?”.
    Absolutely I agreed, then she asked, “Are many Scottish business people supporting Independence?” So I showed her the Business for Scotland website and her eyebrows raised just a touch.
    Later on I suggested she look at this article on Wings, she was busy watching Strictly so said “can it wait till this is finished” I reminded her that this was the most important vote we were even going to take part in.
    I was told, “Strictly is happening now the vote is not until 2014”.
    I believe we should keep this in mind, not everyone want’s to get engaged in various discussions and arguments about the merits of staying in the Union or going for Independence at this point. They are listening however so keep plugging away. But gently!
    Keep in mind that I myself only switched from a lifelong SLab supporter to Yes voter barely six months ago. Right now I know she is undecided but very much leaning towards Yes.

  56. john king says:

    Ken Johnstone says
    “But, here’s a thing, and I think Better Together should be consulted, will we have ANY phone numbers at all if separation happens. Will the lines just go dead. Somebody, Rev, tweet Blair McD and ask.”
    Jesus Ken what are you playing at, dont give them bloody ideas man, 
    I can see it now,
    You want some phone numbers? sorry their all taken,
     what all 60 billion of them?
    yes we had a surge in telephone uptake, sorry none to spare
    you’ll just have to back to signal towers and semaphore old chap.

  57. ronnie anderson says:

    Anecdote, git some red tape print Strickly votes yes for Independance take the battery,s oot the remote lol

  58. Jingly Jangly says:

    John King
    In the mid eighties I was on a Telecommunications  course at Aston University in Birmingham, One old guy in his 90’s gave us a talk on telephone numbering systems, he was the guy who designed the first ones for Automated Dialling exchanges, he told us that when he worked at BT (No not that one) they designed the numbering system so that it would even handle numbers for the Moon and Mars, so I don’t think Scotland will have any problems!!!!

  59. alexicon says:

    Thepnr says:
    10 November, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    If you can only persuade one other then…….
    My wife who at this time is not remotely interested in the “debate” or lack of it asked me tonight while the news was on “isn’t all this carry on (about Govan) more likely to make people vote Yes?”.
    You hit the nail on the head here.
    The stage show of the possible future orders is side-lining the fact that 835 Scots have lost their jobs under this union.

  60. Kev says:

    “The thing is – when we become independent and take our fair share of the UK national debt (and assets), will our annual surplus in iScotland be sufficient not just to service the interest on our national debt but to also pay back some of the capital per annum and, perhaps, to put some away for a rainy day?”
    Our share of the UK’s national debt could be reduced significantly almost overnight by offsetting it against our share of UK assets that Westminster has poured money into on “our behalf”, but which we get almost no use from as they are not located here. This is the most up-to-date list of these assets as far as I know:

  61. JnrTick says:

    Henry McLeish’s comments come as no surprise. His reading of the current political landscape is astute, informed and perceptive.
    What price he comes out and voices his support for a ‘Yes’ vote? I think it will be when rather than if and when he does, what a shot in the arm for our cause that’ll be! 

  62. msean says:

    Can’t believe Einburgh and Stirling castles included as HMG assets,(p 246) lol.

  63. Training Day says:

    When will Henry McLeish come out in favour of Yes?

    Well after other, more courageous Labour people like Charles Gray. And only when he thinks No is really, really, really not going to win.

  64. Thepnr says:

    Couldn’t agree more, I really do believe McLeish will come out on the Yes side, he may already be there and is just biding his time. This would be a powerful weapon used at the right time. Say like when the BT mob point out some deep flaw in the White Paper.
    Then,  McLeish, possibly along with others announce their shift to the Yes camp, a strong weapon to keep in the armoury if you intend to use it. As an ex-Labour man I would welcome McLeish’s outright backing for an Independent Scotland when the time is right.
    Keep your powder dry, I believe is the saying.

  65. Papadocx says:

    Does the scottish Labour Party run glasgow city council, unite, gmb, usdaw, bbc scotland, daily record, herald and scotsman. Or Are they in some kind of federation for mutual help and friendship society? They all seem very close. Does anyone know?

  66. Gus says:

    Seeing as Scotland doesn’t actually borrow money then our share of the deficit for 2011/12 goes from 7.5 billion to 8.4 percent of the UK deficit of 121 billion which is over 10 billion.

  67. Jamie Arriere says:

    OT  looking for more reportage of AS in China, since the BBC obviously can’t afford to send a correspondent with the country’s First Minister.
    Found this, including the reason for not meeting the Dalai Lama.

  68. Thepnr says:

    It’s known as not rocking the boat, many many of these ordinary shop stewards, conveners and councillors almost certainly will vote Yes.
    They are just not willing to say, it is through fear, pure and simple. However, some have the balls to speak out, Alan Grogan for one and Charles Gray for another.
    The dam is weakening, no finger in a hole will hold it back. Wait and see, as more and more of the grass-roots move to Yes so too will their “leaders”. They will have no choice if they wish to remain in their positions.
    In the event of a Yes vote ALL those that continued to preach the propaganda of the BT crowd will pay with both humiliation and the loss of their power, prestige and any respect they might once have had. They know this.
    Time to make your mind up.

  69. Edward says:

    Jamie Arriere – Good find Jamie, as regards the Dali Lama, it was always known that it was a pastoral visit which the Dali Lama’s office made clear at the time as he wanted to meet religious leaders. But the usual suspects in the unionist camp chose to manipulate the news in Scotland and tried to make out it was a snub. They even carried this on recently in parliament.
    As for Alex Salmond, he is becoming an old China hand as he knows how to work with the Chinese through respect and diplomacy.
    I noticed the naysayers have found the South China Morning Post as well, with some inane comments.
    Scotland will do very well in business with China and Hong Kong, now if only we can improve the transport links with direct flight………..

  70. The Man in the Jar says:

    @msean at 11;48pm
    If Stirling and Edinburgh castles are listed as assets of HMG perhaps we should just let HMG keep them, just for badness! Its not like they can take them anywhere. 😉

  71. BeamMeUpScotty says:

    I have been wondering what impact BT stealing a large part of Murdoch’s business would have on his editorial comments in the Times and Sun.

  72. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Apologies for going O/T, slightly. 😆
    Came across this article over on Newsnet which I thought was quite interesting.

    The article in the Sunday Post can be found here.

  73. Richard Taylor says:

    Somebody needs to point out to the “Unionists” that Scottish independence will have no effect on oil price and production. Production will change depending on a) how much oil is left b) the world crude oil price, as when it is higher there will be more production as it is in the producers’ best interests and also because it makes drilling and producing oil have a higher profit margin and so you can drill for oil in less ‘easy’ areas and still make money c) the rate of taxation decided by the country concerned if the oil companies are private (it doesn’t matter if you have a national oil company, obviously) and whether there is a stable business environment i.e. do you plan for a certain rate of production and 10 new exploration wells only to be told mid-financial year that the tax rate is going up. The oil price is dependent on the world market price for oil. This can be affected by world financial turmoil or instability in a major oil producing country – for instance if Saudi Arabia suffered a coup or if the USA decided to prevent new oil drilling one year. It will not be affected by a European country having a democratic change of government or constitution. There is not a separate ‘Scottish’ oil price. “Brent Crude” is a benchmark price for a certain quality of crude oil, not the catch-all price for Scottish crude oil whose composition varies reservoir to reservoir. Oil from Nigeria may be sold as comparable to Brent crude, then again it may not. 
    If you think about the countries that oil companies have operated in, which have undergone turmoil in some way but which has not prevented said companies from operating there…..oh well, here’s my career highlights:
    Algeria – during civil war.
    Libya – during Gaddafi regime and (in my case) through the revolution that ended it
    Tunisia – during dictatorship
    Kazakhstan – corrupt government
    Colombia – during civil war / unrest
    Venezuela – through constitutional change and coups / coup attempts, and nationalisation of state oil company
    Brazil – violence and crime
    Ecuador – despite attempts to fine oil companies billions of dollars for pollution
    Nigeria – rampant corruption, violent crime and civil unrest
    Angola – during civil war and in my case, the aftermath and corruption (and the current government effectively being communist)
    Sudan- was there during the civil war, now there is tension between North & South Sudan
    Italy – change of government every 10 months, followed by obviously corrupt media boss in charge
    Armenia – doesn’t have any f%^$ing oil to start with, tension with Russia and war with Azerbaijan.
    And so on. Change of government in a European country by democratic means  DOES NOT force oil companies to leave. They put up with a lot worse every day. They DO complain, and try to get a better deal – because they are businesses.

  74. sionnach says:

    Richard Taylor says:
    Scottish independence will have no effect on oil price and production
    Thanks for that, Richard, and the supporting arguments 🙂  I think “no effect” also applies to one sentence in Mark MacAskill’s article above that particularly caught my eye:
    “Furthermore, they argue that declining oil revenues will severely impact public spending in decades to come, should Scotland win independence.”
    Surely “should Scotland win independence” should read “regardless of what happens on Sept 18th next”?

  75. Thepnr says:

    There is a small chance that we know each other, that is if you worked  in Methil and are a good friend of Kevin.
    If so, don’t be shy.

  76. Richard Taylor says:

    Sionnach says:
    Surely “should Scotland win independence” should read “regardless of what happens on Sept 18th next”?
    Good spot Sionnach! 

  77. Thepnr says:

    Did you work in Methil?
    If you did I’m a friend of yours too. 

    If you didn’t I’m still a friend.

  78. Richard Taylor says:

    Thepnr – no, I’m a native of St. Andrews, lived in Edinburgh a long while, now in Houston, Texas. Never worked in Methil. Anyway, nice to meet you! Hoping to move back to Scotland next year sometime…….

  79. john king says:

    Arbroath 132 says
    @ 2.30am
    my reply
    Anyone think the story about oil/no oil has been put out there by agent provocateurs to make the yes campaign look like swivel eyed nutters (no offence Arbroath) who see a conspiracy under every stone and so discredit the REAL arguments and the REAL THEFT of Scotland’s assets, lets face if we can get people to focus on the known we’ll take care of the unknown after independence whats the worst that can happen? there’s no oil there?
    I would stick with known’s such as Ivan McKee’s potent destruction of the Better together campaigns fallacious and quite frankly vexatious  arguments,
    the veneer that separates these people from reality is becoming thinner and more opaque by the day by the vote next year their obfuscation and plain lies will be obvious for all to see.

    I wouldn’t trust the Sunday Post to tell me the time of day

  80. john king says:

    the man in the jar says
    “If Stirling and Edinburgh castles are listed as assets of HMG perhaps we should just let HMG keep them, just for badness! Its not like they can take them anywhere. ”
    Im liking your thinking 😉
    heres a brush get sweeping,
    you part o the close is a mess,
    bringin the neighborhood doon soin yea are 🙂
    an yea kin tak that bluiddy butchers apron doon while yer at it,
    where dae yea think yea are? Iraq?

  81. The Man in the Jar says:

    @john king
    Aye we will have to have something to complain about post independence. 😉

  82. john king says:

    jingly jangly says
    “they designed the numbering system so that it would even handle numbers for the Moon and Mars, so I don’t think Scotland will have any problems!!!!”
    That reminds me, anyone know the dialing code for Alpha Centauri?
    I want a word with Alistair Darling about how only in the union can Scottish universities attract international funding for research which will miraculously dry up under independence,

    yea because that’s the first thing in the cabinets mind when they go abroad “lets get funding for our world beating Scottish universities,
    in the words of Karen Dunlop
    I smell shite

  83. john king says:

    o/t sorry I cant remember if it was you rev who commented on the manipulation of that little girl, if it was apologies
    but that made my blood boil as rightly pointed out it was a cynical and opportunistic manipulation of a little girls emotions in front of cameras to reveal the royal navy (at our expense) had secretly flown her father from his ship  to be reunited with his child,
    now the easy thing for the hard of thinking is to immediately think this is a heartless attack on a little girl its not,thejoy in that girls face was real and heartwarming to behold, but nevertheless that was a private moment filmed for the edification of a voyeuristic public,
     but lets not forget, her father was a royal naval Lt commander hmm,who wasn’t press ganged into the navy,
    who was flown secretly from his posting in the Seychelles(what?)
    must have been hell,
     I wonder how many people lost their homes(bedroom tax)to fly him home?
    the depth of cynicism of these people is starting to get very sinister indeed.

  84. mealer says:

    Lets all work hard to make sure Scotland wins the referendum next year.We can do so much good with our wealth.

  85. Dorothy Devine says:

    Is building an oil rig more/less  difficult than building a warship?

    Would the BAE workers need fresh skills or are those they already have and  use capable of adapting to produce rigs?

  86. Macart says:

    Vis a vis Alex McLeish.
    Charles Gray Labour through and through. The cracks are now widening in SLAB and when Mr Gray depicts conversations with a good number of his peers in Labour as distinctly pro YES, you can believe that’s the case. They haven’t declared yet, but IMO not long now.

  87. Caroline Corfield says:

    @Dorothy considering a number of workers at BAe must have worked at Marathon rig makers next to John Browns, I suspect not. The first order of something different can go a bit slow, but if its bid for with learning in built and maybe a price sweetener for that, then it comes down to the client not changing the specs during the job- a thing many ‘problem’ builds on the Clyde can be directly attributable. 

  88. sneddon says:

    Richard Taylor- thanks for the info, although I have to say ‘violence and crime’ in Brasil is situation normal.  Hopefully when the oil fields are fully developed  they’ll be a more equal share of the riches by the govt (although I’m not holding my breath)  My brother has lived there for 20 years and some of the stuff that goes on is amazing.

  89. Tattie-Boggle says:

    Aye we wont fund any innovations so those jocks don’t get any more ideas like this

  90. Tattie-Boggle says:

    O/T The poor are too poor to phone up about being poor

  91. Illy says:

    You know, something I’ve never understood about today..
    Why do we need charities to support the disabled troops?  Shouldn’t the government be supplying for the people it maimed in its name?

  92. Robert Kerr says:

    @Dorothy Devine.
    Building ship’s hulls is not hard, Korea and Germany to name but two do it well. The hard bit is the extras for warships. The weapon systems and other special parts. Most of these are bought in from other countries. Google Type 26 frigate and follow links in wiki if you want to spend a confusing day. 
    I worked in Newfoundland on the “White Rose” floating oil production vessel (FPSO) for an extremely harsh environment.
    The hull was built in Korea but the oil/gas plant (topsides) was fabricated locally with design expertise from Aker, the Norwegian engineering Co.
    This split was a deliberate policy by Husky energy, the owner.

    Scotland could do the same, Hull build on the Clyde and topsides at Nigg or at Faslane. The heavy lift equipment is already in place.
    As an aside I watched the Armistice parade in St Johns and almost cried.  The Newfoundlanders suffered a lost generation in WW1. No gimmicks. Just remembrance.

  93. Harry Shanks says:

    McCart @ 8:21
    It’s HENRY McLeish’s position we are pondering on. 
    I fear ALEX McLeish is not for turning – they’d be buring his effigy down Ibrox way!

  94. gerry parker says:

    And why do the NHS in Scotland spend millions developing artificial limbs for those maimed in illegal wars, don’t the MOD have a responsibility here too?

  95. Juteman says:

    Ot. Dundee Courier print edition reporting angry exchanges, heckling and walkouts at GG’s Dundee panto.

  96. Illy says:

    @gerry parker:
    I’m comfortable lumping “government support” together when it’s the same government.  So the NHS supporting the crippled soldiers rather than the MoD isn’t a problem.  It’s the system working as intended.

  97. Bill McLean says:

    Illy – one of the biggest stains on the character of British Government’s is it’s treatment, or lack of it, of wounded service personnel! Shameful!

  98. Macart says:

    @Harry Shanks
    Predictive bloody text. DOH!
    Yeah, I know its Henry. Still in front of a keyboard now and still nipping. The thought of Alex though… (hah), bloody hell. Going to require hankies to clean the screen now. 😀

  99. Stuart Black says:

    @Robert Kerr: “I worked in Newfoundland on the “White Rose” floating oil production vessel (FPSO) for an extremely harsh environment.”
    You might know Sanders More (construction) fae Port Tomahawk, and his Newfoundland wife Jackie (welding, QA/QC) then?
    Sanders is a YES man. 😉

  100. Ken500 says:

    100 ships were built in Norway in 2012. Many were commissioned by Oil companies to work in the Scottish sector of the North Sea.

    £64Billion? The equivalent of £2Billion a year into an Oil Fund. How much would that be worth now?

    Thatcher was taking the equivalent of £20Billion a year in Oil revenues, to keep taxes low in London S/E and buy votes. While closing down every manufacturing facility in Scotland. Thatcher still left over 3million unemployed and interest rates at 15%.

    Scottish farmers are being cheated out of £Millions in EU funds.

  101. proudscot says:

    When the Humphries leave, just before Theresa May slams shut the big steel gates in the border fence – situated between the twin machine-gun topped towers – hopefully they’ll be right behind Michelle Mone’s bra-stuffed removal van!

  102. Bill McLean says:

    proudscot – hilarious! but don’t you mean Michelle Mone’s stuffed-bra removal van?

  103. Edward says:

    Juteman – here is a link to online version of the GG story

  104. beachthistle says:

    Re the Sunday Times sudden and unexpected rash of positivity – maybe something to do with having a sneak preview of the latest opinion poll they have commissioned from IPSOS-MORI?
    It’s been a while (May?) since the Sunday Times last published a MORI IndyRef poll (ignoring, of course, the IndyRef poll results ‘accumulator’ tosh spun by MORI and BT in August).
    So I’m wondering if even MORI have got to end of the road in trying to get as high a No % as possible (by my reckoning they include the highest proportion of OAPs of all the referendum pollsters), and that the next poll for Sunday Times will show things very close and this is Sunday Times starting to (re)position themselves? After all, Big Man Murdoch never wants to be seen to be backing a loser…

  105. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Re the Sunday Times sudden and unexpected rash of positivity – maybe something to do with having a sneak preview of the latest opinion poll they have commissioned from IPSOS-MORI?”

    The Sunday Times usually uses Panelbase.

  106. beachthistle says:

    The Sunday Times usually uses Panelbase.
    Oops. Sorry Stuart. Monday fuzzy-heid! Yes it  is the normal/daily not the Sunday Times which has used IPSOS-MORI – and apparently they did a poll for them in September, which I somehow missed – did MSM not give it the usual megaphone treatment? Or are even they seeing MORI as outliers?

  107. truescot says:


    So is there a poll coming out or not ?????????.

  108. beachthistle says:

    No idea. Seems to me there are less polls being published than during the same time period last year though…?

  109. truescot says:


    Do you think less polls are good or do you think that regular polls would show the decline of the No vote.

    Therefore BBC Scotland and MSM would try to stay away from polls.

    I wonder what the “nutty professor” (Curtis) does in the lean times between polls?.

  110. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I get the definite impression that Curtis is thinking seriously about things at the moment   

  111. Morag says:

    It’s a weird situation.  I’m sure Cassandra would have empathised.
    We have everything going for us.  Economically, independence is a no-brainer.  Scotland will be significantly better off as an independent country.  We have the activist base.  We have some very bright people in charge of the campaign.  We have the sentiment of the people, with most people in Scotland seeing themselves as Scottish rather than British.  We have the legislation, the Edinburgh agreement, and a definite referendum coming up.
    Everything points to a Yes vote as the obvious, smart move.  But we don’t have the opinion poll results.  Are the polls and the unionist press some sort of positive feedback loop, where the more the polls favour No the more the press are encouraged to rubbish the Yes position?
    I can’t see this continuing another ten months.  I mean, you can’t fool an entire population into acting against its own blindingly obvious best interests like this.  Can you?

  112. X_Sticks says:

    @ Morag,
    Couldn’t agree more. The polls just don’t seem to stack up with what I’m seeing and hearing from the street and the online communiity.
    The thing that worries me is that is has all been so easy, the Edinburgh agreement etc all went suspiciously easily.
    I’ve said before that I’ve heard so many from westminster, Ian Davidson, Tavish Scott, Dougie Alexander, Jim Murphy, Michael Moore, Alastair Carmichael, Phillip Hammond and other ALL saying they KNOW that the No vote is going to win. How can they be so sure, unless they are up to something underhand like they did in the ’79 referendum. That does worry me. I am suspicious (paranoid even!) that they are going to pull some sort of stunt next year that will screw the Yes vote in some way. We need to watch them like a hawk.

  113. truescot says:

    You seem a very educated lady, so use your knowledge to your advantage. The NO camp think the are still talking to some un-educated shower of up-starts who can be told any fear story and we are meant to believe it.

    Don’t let them insult your intelligence. We have far to many academics, business people and the majority of thinking people on our side.

    We also rule the internet, so any nonsense that they try to peddle is quickly shot down in flames.

    The White Paper will answer a lot of questions for the un-decided and so the Yes vote will grow even more.

    We will win this referendum and it will be by a lot more than +1%.

    Chin up Morag.

  114. Morag says:

    How can they be so sure, unless they are up to something underhand like they did in the ’79 referendum. That does worry me. I am suspicious (paranoid even!) that they are going to pull some sort of stunt next year that will screw the Yes vote in some way. We need to watch them like a hawk.
    Whatever they do, it won’t be that.  That ship already sailed.  I think, actually, all this stuff about a No vote being definite is just hubris.  They really can’t conveive of the possibility they might lose.  And if a little bit of doubt creeps in, then they shout about a No win even louder, in the hope of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  115. X_Sticks says:

    “I think, actually, all this stuff about a No vote being definite is just hubris. “

    I sincerely hope so. I just don’t trust them at all. Wesminster has screwed us so often in the past and there IS a lot to play for.

  116. Albert Herring says:

    The only weapon the naysayers have left is “nobody wants it – just look at the polls”.

  117. Morag says:

    We keep being told about the Canadian love-bombing of Quebec that allegedly secured a very narrow No vote in the referendum there.
    Does anyone think a similar effort here in late summer of next year would have a hope in hell of being believed, now?

  118. Sue says:

    I think it doesn’t matter whether it would be believed or not – it’s not going to happen. The MSM have been stirring up so much anti-Scotland feeling for months now, don’t think they would manage to persuade the rest of the UK to do the “love-bombing”.

  119. beachthistle says:

    I agree with you: it was BT’s primary strategy to maintain a continuous positive (sic) feedback loop with opinion polls showing high, and increasing, levels of support for No; which would then allow the MSM/BBC/commentariat to rubbish the Yes position on both detail and, crucially (in theory) for the sensitive-to-demographics publicly funded state broadcaster, the ‘numbers’ – enabling BBC et al to comfortably take a cynical/pessimistic line on Yes, and a matter-of-fact, positivist line on the No narrative(s), with regular scaremongering reports from pet think-tanks and ‘Analysis’ papers from London to keep the pot boiling/feedback loop going.
    For all the reasons you gave, that strategy is not working (any more) for BT/No, and the increasingly evident lack of progress for No in polls has thrown their Plan A into turmoil. One of their reactions has been to reduce the poll-numbers-based propaganda.
    The other, which is now taking shape, is to become even more brazen with falsehoods, threats and scaremongering, with MSM compliance secured and maintained by Labour PR bruisers (such as ‘not-negative enough’ McTernan). This is going to be painful, etc. to endure, but it is unlikely to win – and if it does ‘win’, it will be a pyrrhic and short-lived victory…

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