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Wings Over Scotland


Going forth and multiplying

Posted on June 12, 2013 by

It’s like they’re actually writing the jokes for us.

alistairdarlingnns1

This was Alistair Darling on last night’s Newsnight Scotland:

“It is far better to share those burdens [of welfare] across the shoulders of the whole of the UK, rather than take them on a population of only six million.”

And it wasn’t just a casual slip of the tongue, because he’d said the same thing only minutes earlier on Scotland Tonight:

“The entire burden of [paying pensions to an ageing population after independence] falls on the six million people living in Scotland.”

Here it is again, back in April at the COSLA conference:

“The absorption shocks will be spread across the UK, whereas with independence, this will fall on the shoulders of a population of six million.”

And in March in the Scotsman:

“Risk is currently shared by the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions. With independence, this burden would fall on six million Scots.”

The actual population of Scotland is 5.29 million. If you wanted to round it off to a short soundbite, it’s an awful lot closer to five million than it is to six million. And as that 5.29m figure has grown by just 0.5m in the last 100 years, it seems safe to say we’re still a very long way away from Darling’s estimate – at that rate of growth, Scotland won’t break the 6m barrier until somewhere around 2162.

Alistair Darling is a Scottish MP and a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, so it’s a bit worrying that his grasp of such basic statistics about Scotland is so far off the mark. And the really weird thing is that he’s not even misrepresenting reality in the “right” direction – if his goal is to make Scotland’s population seem small compared to the UK’s, thereby emphasising the benefits of spreading the burden wider by staying in the Union, the smart (and less inaccurate) move would be to round DOWN to 5m, not up.

The only explanation we can think of is that as the chairman of “Better Together”, the wild inflation of figures is so ingrained and habitual that he just can’t help himself.

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62 to “Going forth and multiplying”

  1. Juteman says:

    I think you forgot something Stu.
    He is obviously including the 700,000 North Koreans who will invade Scotland the day after we vote Yes.
    Give the man a break.

  2. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Alternatively he is saying, on the first and second quotations that is, it is better that the whole UK absorb the whole of the UK’s burdens rather than Scotland paying for the lot?
     
    Is he a closet CyberNat?

  3. Marcia says:

    Mr Darling is good at counting when he is making Capital Gains Tax elections under S222 (5)of TCGA 1992.

  4. Erchie says:

    You are forgetting the 750,000 applications for a postal vote come the Referendum

  5. john king says:

    Juteman says:
    how could he forget when theyre all sitting on Muckle Flugga waiting for the go signal 
    and do you know how  wee Muckle Flugga is? it’s no very muckle

  6. Robert Bryce says:

    Rev,
    You forgot to add the extra 700,000 Labour postal voters silly!!

    Beat me to it Erchie!!

  7. john king says:

     
    Robert Bryce says:
    12 June, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Rev,You forgot to add the extra 700,000 Labour postal voters silly!!

      now you see this is the sort of thing the MSM leap on, when we cant all come up with the same story, 
    this’ll be headline news tomorrow 
    “Nats cant agree on misleading claim by Darling” or
    “splits in indie ranks”
    and it’ll be all your fault robert, sorry erchie

  8. Juteman says:

    How about we agree the extra 700,000 are all postal votes from North Korean Labour party members living on muckle flugga?
    See, no split.

  9. AlexMcI says:

    If Scotland does vote yes, I propose that someone is employed to gaffer tape Alistair Darling to a chair and repeatedly kick him in the baws. In fact we better employ 2 or 3 incase of an injury to one of the employees sustained during the work day. 
    The successful applicant will be supplied with the correct PPE (a dirty big pair of steelies) and although the remuneration package would be shit (you would have to pay to do this job) I would expect to be innundated by interested candidates.

  10. john king says:

    Juteman says:
     
    show o hauns fur jutemans proposal?

  11. Marcia says:

    john king

     
    Still split  – it is in fact 701,707 Postal votes. 😯

  12. john king says:

    AlexMcI says:
     
    ahd like tae express ma interest in the post, and tae support ma case a hiv a big pair o steelies wi reinforced toecaps 

  13. john king says:

    Still split  – it is in fact 701,707 Postal votes. 

      oh cumon were no workin the gither here folks kin we no try tae get some coheshin on this please 

  14. Peter Macleod says:

    Deary me, you’d think he’d know. Perhaps we have an extra few hundred thousand hiding in Brigadoon?

    The ultimate tax haven; only appears once every hundred years.

  15. AlexMcI says:

    @ John King
    ah an enterprising man , willing to provide his own equipment . That should save the scottish treasury a bit of dough. Congratulations with your interview you are on the shortlist

  16. john king says:

    oh ho the first time ah’v been oan a shortlist in ma life thanks very much ah’ll treasure this moment fur the rest o ma life 

  17. Tinyzeitgeist says:

    AlexMcI says:
    Might I be so bold as to suggest that one of the candidates should be the current shadow chancellor.. the one and only Ed Baws.

  18. Adrian B says:

    From My Skool daze,
     
    Rugby boots with sharpened plastic spikes were always useful 🙂 Just sayin’.

  19. Juteman says:

    My steelies are size 12. 🙂

  20. john king says:

    Tinyzeitgeist says:
    noo ye canny hae ed baws kickin alistair in the baws it seems jis wrang somehow, kindalike self abuse

  21. Jock says:

    “It is far better to share those burdens [of welfare] across the shoulders of the whole of the UK, rather than take them on a population of only six million.”

    Or…

    “It is far better to place the burden of 55million unproductive Englishfolk upon the shoulders of the 5.29million wealthy and productive Scots.

    Nuff said.

  22. AlexMcI says:

    Ah as I expected there is a phenomenal interest in the aforementioned post. Maybe we will have to look a a job sharing scheme or something.
    @ Juteman a size 12 FFS  that’s just the qualities I was looking for. I suppose it’s too much to ask that you used to be kicker for the local rugby team ? 

  23. AlexMcI says:

    Adrian B says:
    12 June, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    From My Skool daze,
     
    Rugby boots with sharpened plastic spikes were always useful  Just sayin’.

    come on now Adrian we are not savages, that would need to be a special occasion thing. Only on days ending with a Y

  24. HighlandMartin says:

    Juteman says:
    12 June, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    How about we agree the extra 700,000 are all postal votes from North Korean Labour party members living on muckle flugga?
    See, no split.
     
    Would that be the Popular North Korean Labour Party or The North Korean Popular Labour Party because they are definitely splitters.
     

  25. john king says:

    HighlandMartin says:
     
    noo ye see, ye jist took it too far
    theres always wan isnt there 
    ahm off, organise yersels , if ye can

  26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Readers! That’s probably enough about kicking Mr Darling in the plums. Have we forgotten Calmangate already?

  27. Juteman says:

    How about we get thon North Koreans on muckle flugga to tickle his plums?
    In a non threatening way?

  28. Adrian B says:

    Readers! That’s probably enough about kicking Mr Darling in the plums. Have we forgotten Calmangate already?
     
    Yea alright then. Nothing serious meant by it, it was only a bit of O/T joshing about. Point taken.
     

  29. Vronsky says:

    “Mr Darling is good at counting when he is making Capital Gains Tax elections under S222 (5)of TCGA 1992.”

    True, but I must chastise you: don’t mock the afflicted.  The puir wee mannie is the victim of a particulary Unionist disorder, dangerously virulent, no known cure: Selective Discalculia.

  30. Stevie says:

    Well, he and his innumerate chums did bring the economy to its knees.
    Born in London and screwed us from there – didn’t even vote against the bedroom tax because he had to see the British Legion folk.  The full numpty.

  31. AlexMcI says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    12 June, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Readers! That’s probably enough about kicking Mr Darling in the plums. Have we forgotten Calmangate already?
    my fault Rev I’m sorry, but you have to admit the guys a fanny

  32. Juteman says:

    There is only one Westminster party.
    They change the name every 5 years.

  33. Alan MacD says:

    “Have we forgotten Calmangate already?”
    Indeed i have good sir.

  34. Christopher Gray says:

    What’s the betting that Mr Darling has seen secret government predictions that after independence around 700,000 people will move from England to Scotland because of Scotland’s booming economy.

  35. EphemeralDeception says:

    What he means is that it is important that Scotland shares the burden of too many potential jobs. It is much better they are shared with London.  Such as the 90-100 thousand oil and gas jobs that are in Londonshire.  (Source oilandgas.co.uk).
     
    Darling knows that a large volume of jobs will be created (move) in/to Scotland in both private and public sectors with indy.  I think 700,000 extra is exaggerating but who knows? 
    In any case since employment is higher in Scotland, balance of payments is better in Scotland, debt to revenue ratio is lower in Scotland, life expectancy is lower in Scotland.  Scotland is no burden only the UK monkey on our backs.
     

  36. HandandShrimp says:

    I am not sure he has much of a head for figures. 🙂
     
    I know this will come as a bit of shock to Alastair but the 5m in Scotland will be paying for the 5m in Scotland. The 64m in the UK currently pay for the 64m in the UK. His argument sounds suspiciously like he is saying Scots take far more out of the pot than we put in. In short, we are too poor. 
     
     

  37. Red Squirrel says:

    Are the 700,000 those tartan furriners currently in rUK that Mgt Curran is so worried about? And Mrs May is going to make sure they’re furrin by taking their UK passport away.
     
    Maybe they’re really telling us to make room for the 700,000 who are about to be displaced slightly northwards come the independence vote.
     
    Of course, it could also be that our dear departed (but not far enough) chancellor who steered us all down the proverbial creek just cannae count. Honestly unionists, if you can’t be bothered to get the population right, what hope is there for any other guff you’re trying to sell us.

  38. Jiggsbro says:

    Perhaps they’re planning to give us back Cumbria?

  39. Boorach says:

    Aye Jiggsbro and let’s not forget Berwick

  40. CameronB says:

    I think Christopher Gray had it @ 12 June, 2013 at 6:54 pm.
    We can only keep our fingers crossed that the bulk of the expected economic migrants from rUK, turn out to be ‘settlers’ and not ‘colonists’.

  41. velofello says:

    Note the background in the photo of the Darling interview, looks like a nice cafe or garden centre. The Nicola Sturgeon interview on the same TV programme has her with a background that looks like the backshop of a linoleum sales outlet.
    A wee bit more care needed by her aides I think.

  42. Sapheneia says:

    Inflating numbers?  What do you expect from:
    (a) a lawyer
    (b) an MP who changed the designation of his second home four times in four years thereby enabling him to claim for the costs of his family home in Edinburgh, and to buy and furnish a flat in London including the cost of stamp duty and other legal fees.

    Why on earth does anyone believe this person?

  43. Jim Mitchell says:

    Alister does have problems with numbers, at least when it comes to money.
    In May 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that Darling changed the designation of his second home four times in four years, allowing him to claim for the costs of his family home in Edinburgh, and to buy and furnish a flat in London including the cost of stamp duty and other legal fees. Darling said that “the claims were made within House of Commons rules”.[26][27][28]
    Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, criticised him by saying: “given that very unique responsibility that [Darling] has [as Chancellor], it’s simply impossible for him to continue in that role when such very major question marks are being raised about his financial affairs”. A former chairman and treasurer of the Scottish Labour Party described Darling’s position as “untenable” and said that “[Darling] certainly shouldn’t be in the Cabinet”.[29]
    On 1 June 2009, Darling apologised “unreservedly” about a mistaken claim for £700, and had agreed to repay the money. He was supported by the Prime Minister, who referred to the incident as an inadvertent mistake.[3

  44. Luigi says:

    Perhaps the additional 700,000 was what he made on his last house flip?

  45. Vronsky says:

    He sounds to me as if he’s suggesting that an independent Scotland would have to pay the entire welfare bill for the UK.  But isn’t that what we are doing at the moment?
     
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/anthony-barnett/thatcher-and-words-no-one-mentions-north-sea-oil

  46. Sapheneia says:

    Or the number of fictitious tenants claiming benefits he could locate in his various addresses?  Lawyers, while creative, ultimately come a cropper with greed.

  47. The Rough Bounds says:

    @Velofello
     
    I noticed that background in Nicola’s interview as well. I don’t think it affected the import of what she had to say but I do agree that it is US that should be selecting the background for face to face interviews.
     
    The dirty bastards in the unionist camp will use every trick in the book; we really must up our game and bloody well tell them where we will be filmed.

  48. Midgehunter says:

     
    Boorach says:
    12 June, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    “Aye Jiggsbro and let’s not forget Berwick”
     
    And why has Doncaster been forgotten if I may ask ..!

  49. bunter says:

    BBC QT have Farage and Galloway on the Edinburgh panel, anyone know who else. Looks like the BBC in Scotland trying to make UKIP relevant up here.

  50. Marcia says:

    from twitter

    Ruth Davidson
    Sarwar
    Angus Robertson
     

  51. Yesitis says:

    Scotland Tonight Donside By-election special, typical three unionist parties relentlessly ganging up on SNP.
    Labour candidate is a boorish mess of pure anti-SNP hatred. I fear this by-election may be used as an anti-independence gauge. Labour postal vote fraud worries me.
     
     

  52. CameronB says:

    Re. QT panel. I make that five unionists up against against Angus Robertson. You wouldn’t want to overlook David Dimbleby, who’s job it is to make sure everything follows BBC guidelines. The BBC has already stated they are not required to provide balance until the 16 week run-up, and these will be the guidelines Dimbleby will apply.

     
    Anyone know of any planned demos?

  53. dundee bloke says:

    E kens wit you dinnea, Carilse and Berwick want tae rejoin Scotland
     

  54. Dee says:

    I wonder what recent poll result Dimbleby will use?? I think it will be the 80% youth vote against independence.  Also why don’t the SNP demand a more balanced panel, or is it a strategy??
     

  55. BeamMeUpScotty says:

    Of course,what the Scottish Westminster MPs really worry about is that following independence,THEY will be foreigners and ineligible for the salary and benefits package.

  56. CameronB says:

    Re. QT; I think it might be fun engaging in a bit of notional spot betting, predicting what myths will be spouted, by whom and at what time. A follow-up competition could be “spot the audience plant”. Still, I suppose the BBC is a tad more civilised than slavers, royal charters and the British East India Corporation.

  57. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Re. QT panel. I make that five unionists up against against Angus Robertson.”

    I’m really not sure it’s either accurate or constructive to label Lesley Riddoch as such. Looks to me like four against one (including Dimbleby) and one neutral.

  58. CameronB says:

    I thought it would be Dimbleby in the chair, I don’t know about Lesley. Apologies to all if I have just offended, or missed the joke.

    My mistake. Must have caught that counting bug. 🙂

  59. pmcrek says:

    If you count all of us with two faces twice, its closer to 6 million.

  60. Hamish Burgess says:

    Can’t count to five and a bit million accurately. No wonder he left a debt of £1.2 trillion and had his own private accounts done by an accountant (the cost of whom he billed the taxpayer). He can’t even remember that he’s not Scottish by birth.
     

  61. Chic McGregor says:

    Be fair.  By his normal standards, that 6 million is extraordinarily accurate.

  62. Tris says:

    It appears that as our unemployment rates go down and theirs go up, they will need us to subsidise their payments.
     
    Darling’s interest is not Scotland, but his own future in the House of Lords, which would be taken from him cruelly after years of toadying, were we to vote YES.



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