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Wings Over Scotland



Doublethink of a number 119

Posted on February 17, 2017 by

The one great pillar of the argument against Scottish independence – greater than not being allowed into the EU, greater than being forced to barter with beads and potatoes because we wouldn’t have a currency, greater than losing Doctor Who or having the Chinese take their pandas back – is the economy.

Scotland is far too wee and too poor to be independent, they say – while indignantly denying that they’re saying it – because we only survive now thanks to a vast bailout every year from the rest of the UK, by which they in fact mean England. (Because it’s sure as heck not coming from Wales or Northern Ireland, which by any measure you care to choose are far poorer than Scotland.)

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The name and size of this bailout vary wildly. Sometimes it’s a “deficit”, sometimes it’s a “black hole”, sometimes it’s a “fiscal transfer”, and it can be £8bn, £9bn, £10bn, £15bn, £28bn£32bn or any other figure up to a hundred and eleventy thousand million bajillion squillion depending on who you’re talking to.

(The last one’s probably either David Coburn or Jackie Baillie.)

And while there are a dozen separate and compelling reasons why that argument is complete rubbish, none of them have any traction with diehard Unionists determined to believe that one of the richest and most blessed nations on Earth couldn’t possibly manage its own affairs like, say, Latvia or Ireland or Kuwait or Slovakia can.

But it turns out there IS a – surprisingly simple – way to get Unionists to categorically deny that England subsidises Scotland. You just have to ask them.

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Junkies, tramps and thieves 342

Posted on September 02, 2016 by

Fear and lies work. Over many decades (and really for centuries) the Unionist parties and the media have succeeded in persuading a large percentage of Scots that they’re beggars, scroungers, vagrants and “subsidy junkies” dependent on the ever-generous charity of England to keep them from starvation.

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And in terms of the facts, that hasn’t always been an easy sell.

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GERS: The Movie 143

Posted on August 27, 2016 by

cringe

The SIX key facts about GERS 76

Posted on August 24, 2016 by

We originally wrote this article in March, in response to the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (better known as GERS) figures for 2014-15. We’ve updated it to take account of events since that time, of which there’s been one rather major one.

Today saw the publication (just five months after the 2014-15 GERS) of the 2015-16 stats, which are again triggering a convulsive orgy of “BLACK HOLE!” articles across the media, as every Unionist in the land falls over themselves to portray their own country as a useless scrounging subsidy junkie without actually using the exact words “too wee, too poor, too stupid”.

And once again, everywhere you look there’s a “Proud Scot” screaming about how the figures – showing an essentially unchanged “deficit” despite an almost £2bn fall in oil revenue – destroy a case for independence that those same people have spent most of the last four years stridently insisting never existed in the first place.

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So let’s recap the truth about Scotland’s financial books. Because for all the complex arguments, mad graphs ludicrously pretending Scotland is a less viable nation than Greece or Latvia or Cyprus or Malta and endless arrays of incomprehensible charts and tables, there are (now) only six things you really need to know about GERS.

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Here come the drums 265

Posted on August 21, 2016 by

Today’s Sunday Times didn’t bother with any subtlety in its signalling of how people should expect the Scottish media to handle next week’s GERS figures.

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So we’ll just leave these here:

The limitations of GERS

The five key facts about GERS

The wishful believers

Gazing into the black hole

There’ll be nothing but repeats of all last year’s articles in the papers, so there doesn’t seem to be much point in re-writing all the rebuttals. We’d advise readers not to expect to hear any of the facts or arguments in any of the above articles aired on TV or radio discussions of the new figures either. For the sake of your blood pressure, it’s probably best to stick to old QI repeats on Dave for the next eight days.

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Dirty old pot attacks non-kettle 437

Posted on July 11, 2016 by

Some of you will have missed this over the weekend:

Yes – Michelle Mone, of all the people on Earth, really did just go on TV and accuse Nicola Sturgeon of being all about ego. We’ll leave you to absorb that for a bit.

The five key facts about GERS 216

Posted on March 13, 2016 by

[EDIT 24 August 2016: This article has now been updated here.]

It’s Sunday, so there is of course one last convulsive orgy of “BLACK HOLE!” articles in all the papers, as every Unionist hack and pundit in the land falls over themselves to portray their own country as a useless scrounging subsidy junkie without actually using the exact words “too wee, too poor, too stupid”.

Everywhere you look there’s a “Proud Scot” screaming about how Scottish revenue this year being 1% lower than it was last year has comprehensively demolished a case for independence that those same people have spent most of the last four years stridently insisting never existed in the first place.

angryyoon

So before everyone moves on to a new “SCOTLAND BAD” next week, we thought it was worth a short recap of what we’ve learned about a devolved Scotland’s financial books this week.

Because for all the complex arguments, mad comedy graphs ludicrously pretending that Scotland is a less viable nation than Greece or Latvia or Cyprus or Malta and bewildering arrays of incomprehensible stats, there are only five things you really need to know about GERS.

Read the rest of this entry →

Better Together 1776 139

Posted on March 10, 2016 by

It turns out Scotland isn’t the first country to be too wee, too poor and too stupid for independence from the mighty and benificent United Kingdom.

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(Source.)

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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The shorter version 122

Posted on March 09, 2016 by

This year’s GERS figures will be published today, purporting to illustrate the financial relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK. With oil revenues down, they’ll undoubtedly provoke an orgasmic explosion of glee among Unionists crowing about “black holes” and how Scotland is too wee, too poor and too stupid to survive alone.

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We’ve already run an extremely detailed explanation of all the flaws and booby-traps in GERS, but of course we’re a pro-independence website and we would say that. So instead we’ll direct you to someone who’s very much NOT on our side.

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Truth and wrongs 284

Posted on January 25, 2016 by

Below is a 17-minute section of this afternoon’s John Beattie show on BBC Radio Scotland, featuring me and an amateur blogger with a keen interest in Pedigree Chum discussing the effect of the lower oil price on the Scottish economy.

(John Beattie Show, BBC Radio Scotland, 25 January 2016)
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Happily, by the end of the show everyone on all sides was agreed that the lower oil price will actually benefit the Scottish economy overall, with the positive effects driving growth and outweighing the downside of lower corporation tax receipts.

So that’s genuine progress – next time some frothing Yoon screams “OIL PRICE! BLACK HOLE! SNP LIES! TOO WEE, TOO POOR!” at you, you can direct them here for categorical agreement from the Yes and No sides alike that actually the falling oil price makes an independent Scotland MORE economically viable, not less.

Unfortunately you’ll have to put up with a condescending, patronising arse sniggering randomly throughout, but it’s a relatively small price to pay.

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Chiels that ding 251

Posted on November 19, 2015 by

The Unionist media has leapt on former SNP adviser Alex Bell’s blog post about the economic case for independence this week like a starving dog thrown a sausage.

It’s been wringing articles out of it for days, the latest being Torcuil Crichton’s column in today’s Daily Record, in which the unembarrassable hack (last seen trumpeting an entirely imaginary £20bn increase in Holyrood’s budget from the Smith Commission proposals) rather audaciously takes someone else to task over an economic “lie”.

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Bell’s article is such self-evidently weak sauce that we haven’t bothered with it until now. But as it seems clear that the papers are going to talk about nothing else for the forseeable future, we may as well point out the obvious.

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