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Wings Over Scotland


The limitations of GERS

Posted on November 06, 2015 by

Last week the BBC treated viewers to a Question Time hosted in Edinburgh, where a right-wing economics journalist from MoneyWeek magazine called Merryn Somerset Webb explained to a somewhat disgruntled Scottish audience why the government were right to bail out the bankers, but not steel workers.

It capped off an interesting week but to see why we’ll have to rewind a few days and revisit the work of an amateur Unionist blogger of our unwelcome acquaintance.

petshopboys

The amateur blogger in question has been garnering a fair amount of attention lately from straw-clutching Unionist hacks for his “analysis” of the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures, in which he purports to show a sizeable deficit in the economy of an independent or “full fiscal autonomy” Scotland.

In essence, the analysis amounts to dumping all the GERS summary tables into a Microsoft Excel graph, adding the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast for oil revenue, and pointing to a resulting £9.1bn gap between Scotland’s public spending and its total revenue.

This, he asserts, is in addition to Scotland’s share of the hefty deficit the UK currently runs. His conclusion, shouted loudly and often by every angry Unionist on Twitter, is that the government of an independent Scotland – which tellingly they always assume to be an SNP one – would either have to drastically cut public services or raise taxes to fill this “black hole”.

It’s an interesting piece of analysis. Or it would be, if it wasn’t total nonsense.

First of all, the OBR’s somewhat less than stellar forecasting track record might lead fair-minded observers to believe that it couldn’t reliably predict what it’s going to have for lunch, let alone what oil revenues are going to look like two years from now.

(As this site has pointed out many times before, you might as well try to predict next week’s lottery numbers by standing on a tall building blindfolded and throwing a dart in the vague direction of a pub which may – or may not – have a dartboard.)

It should also be noted that whilst the OBR is an “independent” body, it’s hardly an impartial one, having been set up by George Osborne in 2009 and formalised as a non-departmental public body’ (a quango to you and me) by the coalition government in 2010. It’s Tory from its top hat to the tip of its brogues.

Indeed, no less esteemed a figure than Alistair Darling – a man not widely noted for his sympathies towards the Scottish independence movement – said in 2010 that:

“Right from the start the Tories used the OBR not just as part of the government but as part of the Conservative Party. They have succeeded in strangling what could have been a good idea at its birth.”

But in fairness everybody on all sides got the oil figures wrong, so we won’t hold it against them. In this article we’re more interested in the GERS data itself.

GERS is quoted virtually daily by unionists and nationalists alike. (Admittedly less so by nationalists recently as – let’s be honest here – the current oil price is not exactly to our liking.) It’s basically the only data source we’ve got in terms of the Scottish Government’s income and expenditure, and that’s why everybody references it.

All of the pre-indyref numbers you heard about Scots paying more tax than the UK average (true), and Scot Gov spending more that the UK average on public services (also true) comes from this dataset – as do, of course, our amateur blogger’s shiny, journalist-dazzling Excel graphs.

As we’re about to see, Scotland’s income and expenditure as documented in GERS has fluctuated wildly since its inception, not only because of changes in the Scottish economy, but also because of changes in how they’re measured. But where does this data actually come from, and what does it actually show?

gerscover

Scotland’s finances breaks down into two basic chunks; there’s the block grant assigned to the Scottish Government essentially as its operating budget, and then there’s the reserved chunk which is composed of apportioned UK government expenditure on Scotland’s behalf. Things like defence, foreign policy, and a good deal of infrastructure fall into the reserved category. The split is roughly 60% block grant, and 40% for Westminster “reserved matters”.

The block grant is calculated based on UK government expenditure with the (in)famous Barnett Formula applied, which gives Scotland slightly (about 10%) more for provisioning public services than a straight population share would.

(Barnett recognises that delivering devolved services can cost more because of regional or geographic challenges that affect the expense of provisioning, so it’s meant to level the playing field.)

How the Scottish Government spends its block grant is entirely up to it. If it wanted to blow the whole lot on pizza and ice cream it could – although obviously not without some very angry (but very full) voters.

The obvious outcome, though, is that the Scottish Government’s expenditure patterns will loosely follow the UK’s government’s on the basis that, by and large, we have to provide the same public services as you’d expect elsewhere in the UK.

(We say “loosely” because the Scottish Government tends to spend proportionately more on health and education than the UK average.)

But because the block grant figures are derived from UK expenditure it follows that, even though an area may be devolved, there’s a direct relationship between what the UK government has budgeted and what Scotland will receive in the block grant for provisioning that same area within Scotland.

So if the UK government decides to cut the NHS budget in England by 10%, then the NHS allocation in Scotland’s block grant will be cut proportionately, although Holyrood can choose to divert money from other parts of its budget to fill the gap if it wants to. Similarly, if Westminster increases NHS spending, then the Scottish Government can expect a cash bonus, and it isn’t obliged to spend it specifically on health.

These are what are referred to as “Barnett consequentials”, and as you’d expect, it’s a contentious topic. Take the 2012 London Olympics, for example. The UK government decided that the UK as a whole would benefit from the sporting fiesta, and so there should be no Barnett consequentials triggered for the three devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the £9bn of London 2012 expenditure.

olympicjack

This meant that areas such as Stratford in London received huge sums of money for regeneration paid for by the UK taxpayer – including Scots – which would normally have triggered consequentials in Scotland, but didn’t because the UK government determined that “everybody” would somehow benefit from them, despite the obvious fact that the investment was highly regionally concentrated.

But later on, the UK government wasn’t interested in contributing to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the Scottish Government had to find 80% of the money itself, with Glasgow City Council providing the other 20%.

And this is one of the serious problems with the current devolution settlement; it’s the UK government that determines how and where expenditure is made, and if Barnett consequentials are triggered.

A more current example is the proposed Heathrow airport expansion. As Alex Salmond has pointed out, it depends on (currently proposed) £5bn of public money which Scots are expected to contribute to via taxation, but are unlikely to see a direct benefit from – unless it triggers a proportionate Barnet consequential for infrastructure improvement in Scotland. The UK government, no surprise, disagrees.

(Indeed, it may actually draw business AWAY from Scottish airports.)

How UK expenditure is initially classified and subsequently apportioned in relation to Scotland has historically been a serious problem, as renowned economists and GERS experts Jim and Margaret Cuthbert have pointed out in a series of publications dating back to before the Scottish Government even existed.

In 2011 they reflected on the creation of GERS itself:

cuthbert0

Yes, you read that right: GERS was originally created specifically to be used as a political tool by the Tories against their opponents in Scotland.

The Cuthberts go on to highlight some of the more devious accounting practices and downright erroneous data those early GERS reports used to that end. The article is very enlightening and well worth reading in its entirety, as are the two papers they wrote underpinning these arguments in 2005 and 2007.

Most of the figures fed into GERS for reserved matters come from the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA), a detailed breakdown of the UK government’s departmental budget and expenditure. When preparing GERS, there’s a complicated set of calculations required to determine what portion of government expenditure pertains to Scotland.

This is a lot harder than it sounds, since you have to go through the budget line by line and figure out whether individual policies and projects affected Scotland, and to what degree. A lot of the historical calculations were hotly disputed, as we’re about to see, not least because initially the statisticians compiling GERS did not have access to PESA, and were therefore presented with figures as a fait accompli, with no indication as to how they were arrived at.

The Cuthberts documented many of the more serious concerns in a series of articles and papers. I’ve picked a few of my favourite highlights – these don’t represent the worst accounting methods or the most fiscally damaging, but are chosen more as illustrative of the UK government mindset.

The first two come from “A Constructive Critique of the Treasury’s Country and Regional Analysis of Public Expenditure” (2005):

page 8 :

cuthbert2

page 11:

cuthbert3

(Our emphases.)

Then from “Time to Stop the Abuse of GERS” (2007):

cuthbert4

And finally from “GERS: where now?”, penned in 2011:

cuthbert5

So, let’s have a quick recap:

– GERS was first established in 1992 by the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland, Ian Lang. He envisaged it explicitly as a political tool, rather than a serious set of accounts.

– In 1999, as part of the delivery of a Scottish Parliament, GERS was enshrined as the primary tool for identifying income and expenditure relating to Scotland.

– the effort to ascribe an accurate share of UK expenditure to Scotland between 1999 and 2007 was at best farcically incompetent and at worst a deliberately disingenuous effort to cook the books and load Scotland’s balance sheet with “costs” it didn’t incur, and credit the UK government with expenditure in Scotland that was never actually spent there.

Any calculations painting a gloomy picture of Scottish finances which are based on pre-2007 GERS should therefore be treated with the greatest of suspicion. But what about the figures after 2007?

By the time that the SNP took power at Holyrood, it was clear that GERS was fundamentally flawed and needed serious overhaul. That overhaul was carried out by statisticians working for what was now called the Scottish Government, and the first set of revised GERS figures came in 2008.

It was a significant improvement over the previous effort, but still far from perfect, as the Cuthberts go on to note. Indeed, the need to improve how both revenue and expenditure are assigned to Scotland continues unabated. There’s currently a 23-page consultation paper on how the calculations need to be updated for to account properly for, among other things, corporation tax and the Crown Estate.

This is all very interesting in historical context, but to bring things back to the present day we need to take a look at something the Cuthberts said in that 2011 article:

cuthbert6

(Again, our emphasis, not the Cuthberts’.)

But, most importantly, they point out:

cuthbert7

And:

cuthbert8

This really is fundamental. GERS relates only to the current devolution settlement. It says absolutely nothing about the economy of an independent Scotland, or indeed anything about what it might look like if and when the Scotland Bill 2015 is eventually enacted. And in any event using GERS to “prove” that Scotland would be worse off if it were independent is absurd because:

  1. GERS doesn’t represent a full set of accounts;

  2. Currently 40% of the costs (and the policies which drive them) aren’t under Scottish Government control because they’re reserved to Westminster.

(If you want to summarise this entire article in 50 words, use those last three lines.)

Last week it was suggested to the amateur blogger that his conclusions were suspect because he wasn’t “an economist”, and perhaps had failed to consider the larger picture in his haste to use GERS figures for political ends.

What happened next was interesting. In a characteristically frantic quest for approval, he tweeted several prominent economic journalists with two questions:

needyboy

Some of them ignored him, while Frances Coppola gave the supremely non-committal response “1. Anyone can say they are an economist. 2. Anyone can do statistical analysis”. But here’s where our old friend Merryn Somerset Webb comes back in.

merrynsw

The blogger triumphantly retweeted her rather ambiguous answer, presumably taking it as vindication. Which was a touch unfortunate, because in an article she wrote for MoneyWeek last May, Somerset Webb had concluded – just as the Cuthberts had done – that due to the way GERS is compiled, you simply cannot extrapolate an independent Scotland’s economy from it.

merrynsw2

The amateur blogger had crowingly cited as backup a Tory economic journalist who a full four months before the referendum had already casually destroyed the entire foundation of his GERS-based argument against independence. Whoops.

Nevertheless, almost all countries run a deficit, and even with all the flaws in GERS it seems beyond much doubt that Scotland would too. So could an independent country plug up its “black hole” without those famous and beloved broad shoulders of the UK lending a generous helping hand (cough)?

Next year the Scottish Government gets increased income tax powers delivered under the Scotland Act (2012), which finally delivers (most of) the recommendations of the Calman Commission, a mere eight years after they were laid down – but it can’t do so selectively. It can’t raise the top rate without raising the basic rate.

That power doesn’t come until we get the goods in the Scotland Bill 2015, currently scheduled for April 2017 (but don’t hold your breath just yet).

Even then, it probably wouldn’t want to. As Prof Andrew Hughes-Hallet pointed out in this 2013 interview (13m 35s in), raising the tax “take” doesn’t necessaily mean raising the rate of income tax. Independence would give Scotland the full set of fiscal levers to apply to the Scottish economy, and you have a number of options there.

For starters you can shut down the thousands of loopholes and exceptions which currently allow the rich and corporations to drive truckloads of cash through the UK tax code perfectly legally. HMRC’s most recent figures estimate these “tax gaps” cost the UK £34bn a year in lost revenue (of which a proportionate share for Scotland would be just under £3bn).

You can expand the tax base by, for example, encouraging increased immigration – or indeed, just creating the kind of economy where young Scots don’t have to leave as thousands do every year.

You could easily revise the tax shelter limits for ISAs (Individual Savings Account, currently £15,240 per year) and SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pension, currently £40,000 per year) – both of which disproportionately benefit those on high salaries (ie those with more than £15,000 of spare cash every year).

And of course, it goes without saying that you can make entirely different choices about that 40% of the budget still under Westminster control so that perhaps you don’t even need to raise additional tax revenue. Below, for example, are some comparably-sized European countries and the proportion of their GDP they spend on defence. Spot the odd one out.

defencespend

Saving our share of the recently revised estimate of £167bn over 40 years on nuclear weapons would beyond any reasonable doubt be the First Minister’s immediate port of call. Closely following that might be the downsizing the huge £3bn defence allocation to something a bit more appropriate for a country our size with no imperial ambitions of “punching above its weight on the world stage”. Then there are the fat subsidies for the nuclear and other polluting industries – they can go tout suite.

The list goes on – or not, according to your own political inclinations.

But the entire point of independence is for Scotland to make its choices for itself, for us to determine our own priorities (and make our own mistakes) rather than having the consequences of somebody else’s foisted upon us.

To deem that goal an economic fantasy based solely on the flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content of GERS is, therefore, to miss that point in the most spectacularly short-sighted and wrong-headed way possible.

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    1. 06 11 15 09:43

      The limitations of GERS | Speymouth

    2. 06 11 15 13:42

      The limitations of GERS | Politics Scotland | ...

    3. 09 03 16 13:56

      We Need To Talk About: GERS (2014-15 Edition) | The Common Green

    4. 25 08 16 10:03

      The Price of Independence, and the Value of Independence | A Wilderness of Peace

    292 to “The limitations of GERS”

    1. Janet says:

      The relatively modest £300m Borders Railway, paid out of the Scottish budget.

      London Crossrail at £6bn, not identifiable under Barnett, since duplication of the Central Line is deemed to be of UK-wide importance, and therefore doesn’t “up” the money available to Holyrood. Tell me that’s right?

    2. Grouse Beater says:

      In a nutshell:

      “The entire point of independence is for Scotland to make its choices for itself, for us to determine our own priorities (and make our own mistakes) rather than having the consequences of somebody else’s foisted upon us.”

    3. Chitterinlicht says:

      Good analysis

      To understand a nations macro economy at an estimated micro level is meaningless. Things change fast.

      Most countries run a deficit or overdraft to balance cash flows. Its NORMAL.

      Very glad you covered bit on defence. It is not just what you earn that will make you financially sound it is what you spend.

      Called balancing the books.

      And its why we need independence. Responsibility and full powers.

    4. caz-m says:

      ALL Unionists who want to talk Scotland down, always base their forecasts on Scotland being run like a mini UK. That everything will be run along the exact same lines as they are right now.

      Same old, same old.

      For some reason they can’t visualise things being run differently.

      I have every faith in an SNP Government taking us forward.

      Hope Over Fear!

    5. Wulls says:

      A long read but well worth it…..
      There is a general acceptance among all but the most rabid unionists that Trident is something we don’t need, would never use and whose very existence is am embarrassment to any civilised society.
      I love the word “foisted”
      It concisely explains an awfull lot of policies in existence in Scotland.
      Keep it up Rev.

    6. Jules says:

      I made it all the way to the end.

    7. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Thats a keeper! Great article, one to be bookmarked and printed out.

    8. Hamish100 says:

      On Question Time last evening broadcast to Scotland no snp representation. QT comes to Edinburgh we have to import in some twat from down South. To save money she appears on BBC radio the following day with “haud on a minute” Brewer. Dimbleby tells the Scots we cannot discuss just Scottish things on tele as his programme is broadcast across the UK but somehow it is ok to talk about English education etcetera — to the whole of the UK!

      Of course for both radio and Tv the host production is BBC Scotland Glasgow ( just a name to kid on we produce from the North of the Norh)

    9. Les Wilson says:

      Wow, what a brilliant anaysis.What you are basically saying we are being robbed and deceived.
      I guess we know that, but to see how they do it, is so deep and nasty. Bear in mind that there are many other things too. The better together rubbish is exposed as just crap.

      However, it is easy to see just why they are so desperate not to lose their cash cow, and will do anything to undermine us.
      Utterly shameful,much more exposure required across Scotland in bullet point form to make it all easier understood for the non politically minded.

    10. Colin Church says:

      Just… OOFT!
      You on what Nicola was having yesterday?
      Great piece.

    11. Fairliered says:

      Another great summary Stuart. You are far too clever to be a Scot. Are you sure you’re not a Brit?

    12. BabsP says:

      What a fantastic article – as ever thoroughly researched and referenced and setting out clearly and logically (yet again) how we are being stitched up. This was posted very early today – if you stayed up all night to finish it Stu, it was well worth it!

      Re possible other ways to raise revenue – this is astonishing
      http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2015/10/30/in-2013-14-just-3000-people-got-tax-relief-of-at-least-600000-each-at-a-total-cost-of-at-least-1-8-billion/

    13. Golfnut says:

      Brilliant, just brilliant.

    14. Mark Sorsa-Leslie says:

      Brilliant work Rev. So point 1 on winning the economic argument is simply to do our own books. Perhaps the Scottish Govt would be wise to employ the forensically minded Cuthberts to lead this and ensure we have them well in advance of the the next indyref.

    15. rigmac7 says:

      A good read, many thanks for time well spent

    16. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Fairliered, you might want to double check the author, hint, its at the top in blue

    17. Christian Schmidt says:

      That’s a long analysis. And well done. But never forget that in essence, the No-case amounts to declaring that whatever Scotland’s current performance as part of the UK is, Scotland would be too stupid run its affairs like any other medium-sized country in the developed world (insert your favourite here).

      That suggestion is offensive in its own right, which is why going on about the numbers will never convince anyone on who has voted yes to vote no (or to vote for any one the unionist parties).

      At which point it makes me wonder whatever happened to Labour (rightly!) recognising that many of their (ex-)voters now refuse to listen to them. I mean we just had Denis Healey’s death, what bigger reminder do you need that when you’re in a hole…

    18. Iain Hamilton says:

      Great piece Lindsay.

      This site doesn’t want for talented writers who can explain complicated subjects to the numerically challenged like me 🙂

    19. Dr Jim says:

      Deeply flawed analysis, typical Nationalist Fantasynomics and rejected by every reasonable economic nobody Spokesgit for the BBC and it’s affiliates the Yoonys

      This article completely ignores the FACTS which are, Scotland owes it’s very existence to the benevolence of the great and powerful Yoonion and without those broad shoulders and experts of every Yoonionist hue, little tiny whiny Jockyland would be a complete and total basket case

      Now isn’t it time the SNP told us what they are going to do with these new and mighty powers that WE the Yoonionists have bestowed upon little tiny whiny North Britain instead of caterwauling constantly about Independence which we know you don’t really want anyway, and the people voted overwhelmingly against last year showing how much they love and respect the judgement of their betters

      We the Yoonionists are taking great steps to ensure the stability of England with our low tax low wage economy and Jockyland will derive the trickle down benefit of this serious long term economic plan
      Cereal time, now get over it

    20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Folks – as Alan’s already pointed out, I don’t get the credit for this one. It belongs to the estimable Lindsay Bruce, Operations Director of Team WBB and all-round right-hand man.

    21. Macart says:

      I was on my second cuppa by the end of that, but so worth it.

      Many thanks Lindsay.

    22. Ken500 says:

      £466Billion is raised in taxes in the UK. Scotland raises £54Billion. Take £54Billion from £466Billion = £412Billion. Divide £412Billion by 11 (rest if the UK 11/12 of pop) = £39Billion (pro rata). The rest of the UK borrows and spends £90Billion more. Scotland gets £9Billion of (UK) debt

      Scotland raises £54Billion and gets back £50Billion? £30Billion Block Grant + £16Billion? (UK) Gov pensions/benefits + Defence/debt repayments.

      If Scotland cut Trident/illegal wars, banking fraud, tax evasion and paying repayments on debt it doesn’t borrow or spend. A tax on ‘loss leading’ cheap alcohol. Develop Oil in the West. Scotland would be £10Billion better off. Cutting Oil sector tax when Oil prices are low, would save thousands of jobs.

      If abolishing APT brought in £1Billion. That would make up the lost tax revenues and the welfare/tax credits.

      Ian Lang was Thatcher henchman. The GERs figures were a cover up. Thatcher illegally and secretly took all the Oil revenues off the accounts and spent them on Canary Wharf, Tilbury Dicks etc.Then cut Scotland’s revenues. Thatcher wrote ‘this must be kept secret’, on Official documents released last year. The official Westminster economic policy was unemployment in the North was a price worth paying for jobs and prosperity in the south. (still is). Labour kept the McCrone Report secret for 30 years and squandered the Oil revenues on illegal wars and banking fraud. £220Billion.

      If the truth had been known Scotland would have been Independent long ago. Norway, Switerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden are the most prosperous countries in the world. Small countries with natural resources. Scotland could be the same.

    23. Les Wilson says:

      The SG should be producing their own GERS equivelent,
      Something that can be laid against the English one.
      For a comparison that would no doubt expose how we are cheated.

      We also need some kind of ready reckoner that we can use, that lays out ALL the ways that Westminster are screwing us.
      The Cuthberts would be the ideal compilers. Something that could be used by all Scots to see how this corrupt “union”
      Uses and abuses Scotland at every turn,

    24. Derek Moore says:

      Brilliant read. It is exactly the kind of information that should form the basis of the next referendum campaign.

    25. R-type Grunt says:

      Wow! Thanks Lindsay.

    26. Grouse Beater says:

      The notion the UK Treasury plays open and fair with England’s territories is risible. It fiddles the books, and loads the accounts.

      The ever-present stumbling block in our path to regain autonomy is that so many of our citizens know it yet are content to accept the situation. They are British, ergo, the accounts are manipulated in ‘everybody’s’ favour.

      Prove to them incontrovertibly – over and over again until they cannot deny it – and we might swing that critical 10% to vote Yes.

      Until then …

    27. Martin says:

      You never cease to amaze me Rev. Fantastic article!

    28. Slackshoe says:

      Outstanding work. Let’s see the unionist trolls “demolish” this.

    29. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Magnificent piece.
      And making major points which should be the touchstone of every argument we use.

      The GERS figures only deal with a carefully selected percentage of spending and in fact could be similarly skewed for any part of the UK if you wanted to indicate a deficit for political reasons

      They are essentially irrelevant judgements as they are drawn from a Scottish economy trapped in a bust UK economy and bear no sensible relationship to how Scotland would run an independent Scottish economy.

      In a few words. If we do well its because we are a part of the UK. I we do badly it’s because we are part of the UK (No, That can’t be right,can it?)

    30. manandboy says:

      You deserve an award for that, Stu; they’re piling up. Only in an Independent Scotland will you be properly rewarded and acknowledged. In the meantime, you’ll just have to settle for knowing that you are the best journalist in the UK.

    31. Nana says:

      Thank you Lindsey. Excellent work.

      Have read it twice, going back for a third time and then printing it off for sharing.

    32. john king says:

      Wulls
      “A long read but well worth it…..”

      Jules
      “I made it all the way to the end.”

      Is it me?
      I devoured this article and found it not at all the sort of turgid shite you’ll get from reading GERS itself,
      this was a tour de force!

    33. Johnny says:

      Great stuff. Not only incisive analysis, but written very clearly.

      You can be sure that, despite this clarity, some will still honk their nonsense about how correct GERS is. I only hope that a few more people (at least) see that these things have been manipulated and that you need to know how figures are arrived at before you can judge whether they are correct or not.

      Well done, Lindsay. Sterling work.

    34. Finnz says:

      The biggest single bugbear for me with reference to Scottish expenditure is the share of the interest on the UK debt mountain.

      With a per capita share of the interest presently C £4 billion a year, you would have expected a per capita share of the actual debt having been of benefit to Scotland.

      However, the doubling of the debt by the Tories and the deficit now running wild yet again despite 6 years of ‘austerity’, has led to a bill for services not rendered…

    35. Fireproofjim says:

      Great article.
      Obviously we will take a radically different method of tax and expenditure with independence. Why do Unionists always assume that we will continue down the same failed route as Westminster?
      By the way the 2014 deficit comparison figures showed that the UK had the highest deficit in the EEC except for Cyprus. So much for economic competence!

    36. skozra says:

      Excellent article, a great read – thank you !

    37. Dave says:

      I always ask Unionists this – If GERS are so right, he come there’s no GERW, GERNI or GERE? Haven’t had an answer yet. If fact the Welsh Assembly rejected a motion to produce a GERW. Seems Labour in Wales aren’t as daft as up here.

    38. manandboy says:

      @ Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      6 November, 2015 at 8:50 am
      Folks – as Alan’s already pointed out, I don’t get the credit for this one. It belongs to the estimable Lindsay Bruce, Operations Director of Team WBB and all-round right-hand man.”

      I take it all back Stu. Lindsay Bruce is my true and new hero. It is clear now that you are nothing without Lindsay. I’m wondering why we keep you on, probably just sentiment and force of habit. Do try and help Lindsay a bit more in future. A review of your t&c’s might be appropriate.

    39. Ruby says:

      This is not spam!

      My comment keeps getting blocked by spam filter. Why?

      All I wanted to say is this is a long article I’ve have to read it later all I can say at the moment is that the picture at the top of the article is a cracker.

    40. galamcennalath says:

      Excellent.

      Is it not possible to adjust the 40% spent on reserved issues to remove our share of (at least the big obvious) projects which clearly have no significant benefit to Scotland?

      If GERS is supposed to be the best we have, surely GERS+ with obvious mods would be better?

    41. john king says:

      Colin Church
      “Just… OOFT!
      You on what Nicola was having yesterday?
      Great piece.”

      I’ve just finished watching FMQ’s
      she was amazing,
      it was like watching a bruce Lee film!

    42. Capella says:

      Brilliant article. Must be added to the forthcoming Compendium of What Every Scot Should Know. Thanks to Lindsay for writing and Stu for publishing.
      Why not release this disguised as a Tory Party press release and send it to Severin Carrell for publishing in the Guardian? They only do press releases nowadays.

      But WoS has a much bigger readership so perhaps not.

    43. Brian says:

      A great piece of analysis Lindsay, thankyou. I struggled with it at times, but got the drift for the most part. Perhaps you could suggest to Stuart that you provide some kind of Blue Book summary for the next edition?

    44. ScottieDog says:

      Scotland’s current position is pretty irrelevant so long as post Indy it has its own sovereign floating currency.
      The biggest lie in history is that fiat money is somehow scarce. It’s a throw back to the gold standard and folk need to realise that money nowadays amounts to nothing more than an accounting process – an electronic scoreboard.

      So Scotland or UK runs a deficit. So what? What that means is that the private sector as a whole quite rightly is managing to save. This is a good thing because unlike the government I cannot buy up my old debts like the Bank of England did in 2010. So in essence the UK govt can never be bankrupt however WE as individuals and businesses CAN, and will again if Osborne goes trough with his kamikaze cuts.

      As a nation with our own currency we will be limited only by our resources (vast) and what we can import and not by keystrokes in a computer.

      As Nicola is all for girl power, maybe she should enlist the help of Stephanie Kelton, Chief Economic Advisor to the U.S. Senate budget committee…

      http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2011/05/what-happens-when-government-tightens-2.html

      She has various brilliant YouTube presentations which don’t work here when I post.

    45. Fran says:

      Thanks for that Lindsay. Brilliantly put.

    46. galamcennalath says:

      Finnz says:
      “The biggest single bugbear for me with reference to Scottish expenditure is the share of the interest on the UK debt mountain.”

      Indeed. My understanding is that Scotland has paid in a surplus. It can’t be our debt, so why are we paying interest on it? Presumably it’s an accumulation of historical English ‘black holes’.

    47. Doug Daniel says:

      Nothing to add here, other than congratulations to Lindsay for a great piece of work. Well worth your time researching and writing it (and ours reading it!)

    48. MJack says:

      Another area where Ruk benefits and Scotland doesn’t is in basing government departments in England mostly London. This leads to employment and well paid jobs in that area which benefits the economy in that area, even the Scotland Office is based in London.

      How much does Scotland pay towards these departments which, after independence, would be jobs in Scotland? We’re basically supporting London to our detriment.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Departments_of_the_United_Kingdom_Government

    49. No no no...Yes says:

      I tip my hat to Lindsay Bruce for writing this most excellent article. It clearly demonstrates that the UK Govt doesnot have Scotland’s best interests at heart, and the quote from Merryn Somerset Webb utterly bursts a certain Unionist’s balloon.

      Although Indyref2 is some way off, new foundations need to be put in place now, and in my opinion, this article is the most solid economic argument for self determination yet. Indeed the whole GERS position needs sorted out before then anyway.

      I’m sure an edited version for WBB2 is already under way. Well done again.

    50. David Agnew says:

      Project fear just never stopped. Ironically it is largely responsible for creating the conditions for a SNP landslide. They may have scared folk into voting no, but it cost the relevance of the UK parties in Scotland.

      I remember the Tories constant attacks on Scotland be it Thatcher or Major. All that achieved was to render the conservatives unelectable in Scotland. As toxic now as they were then. It’s quite something to see the entire UK establishment and the media making exactly the same mistake.

      There may very well be a political sectarianism emerging in Scotland. But it is entirely the invention of the UK.

      The UK. Its political system. Its media. and lets not forget all the little zoomers and snpouters. The whole wretched lot of them, are operating outwith the bounds of common decency or honesty and I also fear are quite, quite insane.

    51. Dervheid says:

      You seem to have that completely Kevered, eh, covered, yes, covered.

    52. Les Wilson says:

      MJack says:
      Every scam they can find,they use against us. Really, that is it in a nutshell.

    53. Bob Mack says:

      Great piece,and it also confirms why EVEL is going to be determined by the Speaker rather than in debate and concensus. The Speaker has become the administration side of GERS and the gatekeeper to continue the deception. They are trying to keep us away from the real accounts of this country,which we have long suspected are rigged..
      They sure want to keep hold of Scotland for a very strong reason.

    54. Tony Little says:

      Full consensus on this article. I have read other papers, such as the ones by the Cuthberts and Naill Aslen, which convinced me that GERS is at best a decent approximation of Historical information about Scotland’s fiscal position under the Westminster / Treasury regime, but that’s all.

      It is NO guide at all to what a future Independent Scotland could be. This is one of those issues that it seems worry the soft NO voters. I can understand it – no one (usually) votes for something that will make you worse off.

      I suppose the next step would be to try to show a more accurate fiscal position – but where to get real information from. the Treasury for sure won’t offer this. Can our MPs dig into this? They should have more access to ‘hidden’ information based on being the third party in Westminster?

      If we are able to finally rebut the scares about Scotland’s ‘failing’ economy, then Indy2 should be in our hands.

      Thank you Lindsey

    55. Gillian_Ruglonian says:

      Thank you Lindsey (& you too C.G. 😉 )

    56. caz-m says:

      Hamish100 8.30am

      “To save money she appears on BBC radio the following day with “haud on a minute” Brewer.”

      Brilliant LOL.

      Or Hamish, it could have been,

      “I don’t understand what you mean”, Brewer.

    57. gerry parker says:

      Reminds me of the eldest of 3 brothers sharing out sweets when we were young.

      “Two to you two, and two to me, Two to you two, and two to me…..”

      We twigged quite quickly, wonder if the Scottish people will ever twig?

      Up to us to spread the word. Conversations, letters to local papers, letters to national papers.

      Our drip drip drip is as powerful as theirs.

    58. MJack says:

      Tony Little, 55% of Scotland did vote to be worse off, under Westminster though instead of an independent Scotland!

    59. Black Joan says:

      Thank you Lindsay for this outstanding analysis.

      Pitiful that the corpsemedia tries to ignore work of this calibre, dismissing it as online chatter and noise.

    60. AndyH says:

      Excellent work.

    61. Tamson says:

      One of the best articles I’ve read on the subject. Many thanks Lindsay.

    62. Almannysbunnet says:

      Like a good book I just couldn’t stop reading until I had reached the end. Excellent article. It puts an extra spring in my step knowing that we have people like Lindsay Bruce on our side. Big thanks for all the work that went into this.

    63. farnorthdavie says:

      Forget the Ferrari and Lamborghini posters on the wall. That article should be hanging in every bedroom throughout our country.

    64. Taranaich says:

      Going straight in the Big Yellae Binder!

    65. Onwards says:

      Great article. When Scots do have the confidence to vote for self-government, I suspect a large amount of hidden cash is going to come out the woodwork.

      You would think the way in which UK governments tried to cover up Scotland’s oil potential would give people a clue on how much reserved expenditure figures can be trusted.

      I always thought something is suspicious when you see similar sized countries in Europe with higher GDPs and higher standards of living.
      And the strange thing is,, many of them don’t have the huge natural resources that Scotland has.
      They don’t even need that.

      Just think of the extra infrastructure that could have been built up if we had gained independence in 1979 instead of being cheated out of devolution.

      Not just from oil, but big savings on defence and other areas, and the ability to target our taxes to Scotland’s benefit.
      The A9 could have been dualled years ago for example, and such projects then bring extra economic growth in their own right.

      Even small percentages in extra spending can mean huge differences over a few decades.

    66. Flower of Scotland says:

      Thanks for this. It’s so good to have this all written in a way that I can understand.

      This is one to bookmark, print out and share!

    67. msean says:

      This is a great piece,blows all that black hole stuff away. Everybody realises that every country will have a deficit at some point,but by using dodgy data collected for political ends,unionists try to make an independent Scotland look as if it is unsustainable when it isn’t.

      If costs are placed on the Scottish ‘accounts’ that have not been incurred by or for Scotland,that must make someone elses’ accounts look worse when those costs are properly allocated. I’m just wondering whose accounts are possibly short of a few costs. 🙂

    68. Blether says:

      “It’s basically the only data source we’ve got in terms of the Scottish Government’s income and expenditure”

      There’s this, too, from HMRC:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/464199/HMRC_disaggregated_receipts_-_Methodology_Note.pdf

    69. Angra Mainyu says:

      I don’t like the argument that the article supports. I actually think the emphasis on economics is counter-logical too and plays into the hands of our opponents.

      I’d be much more enthusiastic about independence if it worked out we would be worse off. Can you imagine how annoying those smug pigs in Westminster would be if we really were sponging?

      In actual fact, because it’s clear we would be much better off through independence, the prospect of dumping the rest of the UK makes me feel slightly guilt-ridden.

      If we use the old dysfunctional family analogy, well, all else aside, it would be quite reprehensible and nonsensical for a wife to inform her husband that she was leaving purely because she worked out she would be better off without him. Granted, in this case the husband is a nasty bastard, but the scenario underlines the weakness of the economic argument on its own.

      Anyway. The unionists want us to discuss independence purely in economic terms. That isn’t so much their strong card, it’s really just their least weak card. I think we should counter that flimsy argument with morality and politics — it’s immoral to impose your will on a population against its will and it simply doesn’t make sense for a people not to control its own affairs.

      PS. Once we get independence, just about everybody that comes here will suddenly become my political enemy. I’m not into the luvvy-leftist crap. Just so we are all clear.

    70. David McCann says:

      Brilliant and forensic.
      Suggest you offer it to The National

    71. KennyG says:

      That’s one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time. I’m printing that and keeping it on me at all times.

    72. Al Dossary says:

      To quote one of the Engineers I had offshore, when talking about the Head Tax Accountant in Halliburton / KBR that he became friendly with in Aberdeen.

      “My job is to minimise the amount of tax that KBR pay in the UK…… In fact, if KBR pay ANY tax in this country then I am not doing my job correctly !”.

      Rather galling that when I was self employed in the UK I was paying almost a full 23% to HMRC on all profits, and the likes of Amazon etc pay as little as 0.5%.

    73. Tony Little says:

      @Angra

      I think after Independence there will be a realignment in Scottish politics, perhaps not immediately but within two parliaments. I also suspect that the posters here represent a cross-section of political thought and reason.

      For myself, I would look closely at the manifestos of the parties offering their vision for Scotland (something missing from all the main UK/London parties based in Scotland, IMO) and cash my vote accordingly.

      This is highly unlikely to be for a Conservative party as presently constructed, but you never know. I suspect there are many YES supporters who want to win that prize first and then let the cards fall as they may.

    74. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      This article makes the major point. Why do we engage in fruitless, mind-numbing, time consuming arguments on facts and figures produced by our enemies (who hold all the books)?

      We must decide to fight the right battles and arguing about UK government figures designed to undermine Scotland’s economic is not one of them.

      The immediate response to this should be “Surely you don’t think we want to be independent so we can mismanage Scotland’s economy the way you mismangage Scotland’s and the UK’s economies. Your figures are irrelevant”

    75. Craig P says:

      Ken500

      If the truth had been known Scotland would have been Independent long ago.

      The McCrone report was ferreted out by Davie Hutchison, what, nine years ago? Yet if you polled Scots, I reckon most *still* believe that Scotland is subsidised by the UK. (And unionist Scots don’t want to know otherwise as they take a perverse pleasure in believing it.)

      For me this false narrative is the biggest hurdle to independence, and failing to combat it by far the biggest mistake of the Yes campaign. OK, it is difficult to get the facts in people’s heads because the subsidy junkie narrative is relentlessly promoted and taken as axiomatic by *all* media pundits. But combat it we must. Get that one truth embedded and the next referendum is already won. Fail to do so, and it is lost.

    76. Little Rick says:

      The one fatal flaw with your argument is the constant.

      GERS is, without a doubt, flawed. There’s no way to provide an exact number of what Scotland would be like if FFI/Independent. What we have is an extremely good estimate which satisfy all official parties, including the Yes campaign. It was universally agreed the numbers reflected the fiscal balance, to the point of being declared National Statistics. This is why GERS is quoted.

      My problem with this article is this: The information you’ve provided ALL precedes the White Paper and the WBB, yet you chose to not scrutinise the numbers. Why is this only coming to light now? Because (and you know this), there is no longer an economic case for Independence.

      You would be far better to just say ‘I want Scotland to be Independent because I hate the UK. There’s no financial ground for doing so and we would be making ourselves poorer from day one. I don’t care’. At least it would be a statement with integrity. Instead, you’ve simply attempted to take the ball home because your team is losing.

    77. Callum says:

      there’s a real opportunity to win over some Tory no-voters with this argument; especially those that own or have owned businesses who maybe deep down liked the idea of an independent scotland (for many industries it would be a huge opportunity to grow) but were worried about the financials and the currency issue.

      Deep down, Tory’s have a deep sense of financial injustice – i.e. don’t like being ripped off financially. If this story can be played at the right level; then I would think there would be some right wing movement to independence by not-unionist tories.

      All we need is another 5% or so.

    78. AndyH says:

      You still need to convince people the economics are sound.

      Not everyone who votes is a socialist.

      There are many potential Yes voters out there who could be persuaded by excellent articles such as this.

      The SNP/Yes movement were needlessly weak on economic arguments last time and we should not make the same mistake again.

    79. tartanfever says:

      Wow, what an article. Thanks Lindsay for this, and a big thanks to Jim and Margaret Cuthbert who for years have been trawling through data to give us an insight.

      My immediate thought is to ask whether we can crowdfund to pay for three or four economic researchers to work with the Cuthberts on producing a more realistic set of Scottish accounts.

      It wouldn’t be perfect as the data is incomplete, but that in itself will highlight further exactly how we should collect information.

      So, lets say 4 researchers on a years contract at £30k each – thats £120k.

      Is this this an option ?

    80. Clootie says:

      We are playing football and they are playing rugby and the fact that we are using an oval ball gives them a distinct advantage.

    81. Angra Mainyu says:

      Here’s how I expect it to go. We win independence and on day one we share a few hugs and slap a few backs. On day two I start my new party and declare war on you all.

      The way I see it, if we were all on a big ship you wouldn’t want to vote on who acts as captain. No, call me old fashioned, I think the guy who knows how to navigate etc. should be captain.

      Throw in a bit of Pol Pot and some Jean Michel Jarre and you get a flavour of where I think we should be heading on our big ship…

    82. Mike says:

      I think this site obtained an FOI request from the Scotland office highlighting the Barnett income over a period of 10 or 15 years? Perhaps somewhere in your archives? I am sure it showed that Scotland received up to the year 2012 approx. 30 to 28 billion via Barnett now reduced to about 24 billion. Is this not closer to 40% of Scotlands total income rather that 60%? And therefore Scotland contributes closer to 50 to 60% on reserved expenditure?

    83. Colin Rippey says:

      Some guy on the Internet:

      To deem that goal an economic fantasy based solely on the flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content of GERS is, therefore, to miss that point in the most spectacularly short-sighted and wrong-headed way possible.

      The SNP White Paper on Independence:

      The starting point for this analysis is the National Statistics
      publication, Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland
      (GERS). GERS is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s
      public finances.

    84. Little Rick says:

      Reading some of the comments on here. Brilliant stuff. You guys will cling onto whatever you can, despite two major factors:

      1. Scotland chose to remain in the UK, despite the lies in the WP and WBB. Think of it as an IQ test where 44.7% failed.

      2. None of the above changes the fact our public expenditure is the biggest cost on our balance sheet. Argue the income all you want, but unless you’ve found a way to serve a country with a population density of 71/SqKm for less, go right ahead. Maybe we should just move everyone to the central belt. That’ll save a packet.

      Yeah, please share this as much as you possibly can. Share and make sure you illustrate that where newer data and adjustments were made to GERS, the Rev has chosen to ignore and instead use information which predates it because, let’s be honest (unlike the Rev), if it wasn’t in support of Independence he wouldn’t have bothered writing it at all.

      I’m patiently waiting for the next historical piece from the Rev, which will too have been amended in coming years (he won’t want you to read that either).

      I’ll patiently wait for him to remove all fiscal data from the WBB since he’s saying it’s ‘guff’ (as his stuff is based on GERS too – when it was in Scotland’s favour). I won’t be holding my breath.

    85. Marcia says:

      An article that all readers should bookmark.

    86. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The SNP White Paper on Independence:”

      And?

    87. Onwards says:

      I think when you consider the finances of an independent Scotland, people also have to consider the massive boost in international visibility that will come from being a normal nation state, rather than a small region of the UK.

      It’s hard to put a figure on the economic growth that will bring, but it is sure to be a factor.

      Tourism, exports, inward investment.. All are likely to receive a nice boost just from Scotland’s upgraded place in the world and the increase in the Scottish ‘brand’ in the global media.

      That will include our own increased media spending on TV and film output that is sure to result from having a real SBC, even if still contributing a smaller amount towards the BBC as is likely.

      There is a lot of goodwill abroad that wants to see Scotland succeed. That will be reflected not just in business and tourism but people too. I have a friend in Canada that intended to return if Scotland voted for independence. Perhaps there are many others like that. Emigration is likely to slow down, as some individuals will want to stay and contribute to the success of our new country.

      I think the YES campaign missed a trick here, by not estimating an extra percentage point or two of added growth potential for this overall ‘independence bonus’.

    88. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’ll patiently wait for him to remove all fiscal data from the WBB since he’s saying it’s ‘guff’ (as his stuff is based on GERS too – when it was in Scotland’s favour). I won’t be holding my breath.”

      There is one paragraph in the WBB which references GERS, and nobody – absolutely nobody, on either side – disputes the fact it cites, namely that Scots have contributed more tax per head for the past three decades.

      This article does NOT say that GERS is completely wrong or worthless. It says that as a guide to an INDEPENDENT Scotland’s finances it’s basically meaningless, because its figures are (a) flawed in some quite serious ways and (b) entirely based on Scotland inside the UK.

    89. Grouse Beater says:

      Rippey: The starting point for this analysis is the National Statistics publication, Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS). GERS is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances.

      There is no alternative composed by the UK Government – and to be accurate, it lays out ‘dependence’ statistics – the UK government never will produce the economic argument for independence!

    90. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “There is no alternative composed by the UK Government”

      I think the key words Colin’s choosing not to read are “starting point”.

    91. Dcanmore says:

      Excellent article!

      Never underestimate what the British Establishment will do to keep Scotland in the union, and we haven’t even seen the extreme measures yet. Cooking the books, fiddling the figures, massaging the ledgers, political and cultural divisions… “if you want to do well in life you have to leave Scotland” … Everyone knows Scottish history began with the 1707 ‘bailout’. Roll up roll up learn about all the great Scottish failures and don’t forget a bit of cringe on the side, know your place Billy big boots, ‘ah kent his faither’ so on and so on it goes for decade after decade. Scotland has and always will be an abused colony simply because it is a cash cow that keeps on giving.

      Scotland is wealthy, but don’t tell the natives!

      The military is a good case point in how we pay for everything twice. We pay it through personal taxation (income tax), and then we pay for it again by having money removed from our bock grant. Another point is innovation on a national scale, that is not allowed in Scotland unless it is directly tied to a London controlled entity. For instance Cameron intimated by his recent trip to Iceland that it would be great if the UK tapped into Icelandic renewable energy for the benefit of the UK grid, at the same time doing his damnedest to make Scottish renewables untenable, an industry with much invention, drive and projected runaway success for decades to come.

      During indyref I said on several occasions on this site and others about how think tanks and institutes come to the conclusions they do, especially when they are paid the King’s shilling to come up with an answer (and to show the working). I used to be employed by the communications and campaigns department of an inner London borough local authority (I was there for three years). During that time I saw how the correct outcome was decided upon well before anything major went to consultation. In other words the consultation process (with residents or local businesses, housing associations etc) is only smoke and mirrors and the role of the hired independent body to look into a particular subject have really been been given the task to make the ‘correct’ outcome seem legit. This could mean public land sell offs, council housing transferred to private developers and so forth. And so it came to the independence referendum, the UK government trotting out think tank after think tank coming to the same conclusions that Scotland is ‘too poor, too small and too stupid’ to look after itself. *Reality check* the answers were already given to said think tanks with payment to come up with the background working to make the conclusions seem legit.

      You can never win with loaded dice folks.

      Scotland must achieve independence by 2021 or Scotland will be shackled forever.

    92. Dan Huil says:

      This is why we need WOS and contributors like Lindsay Bruce. This is why the lying unionist media is doomed.

    93. DerekM says:

      So true Rev even the onions know this ,one other thing you didnt mention and i feel it should be said ,is even your figures are based on the current known budget,but once you start adding in all those revenue streams currently marked as UK revenue that should rightfully be ours oh like oil and whiskey,electricity and water and god knows what else they have diverted to make us look poor and in need of hand out.

      It changes the picture completely but it is all so well hidden that you have to dig through piles of mumbo jumbo to get to the real figures.

      And the big question every Scot should be asking themselves is why do we need to dig to get the real figures and just what have they got to hide if all they tell us is true and we are a basket case in need of being looked after.

      It all stinks and misses the most important part of why we want independence ,its so we can finally see just how much a basket case we have become inside this UK and try to fix it.

      And there is only one way to fix this and that is now clear and that is independence,Westminster you got your last chance ,time is up you failed miserably,we Scots will be taking back what is ours you thieving bastards

    94. Muscleguy says:

      I’m with John King I devoured this. Because it was written as a logical coherent narrative, a story that could be followed.

      A tour de force Lindsay to have taken such a dry subject and made such a compelling story from it. I’ve downloaded the Cuthberts’ 2011 paper for later perusal at leisure, thanks for the link.

    95. Clootie says:

      Where did all the Trolls come from today?
      The article must have really got under their skin 😀

    96. Grouse Beater says:

      “Where did all the Trolls come from today?

      They’re all over Twitter mewling and puking. The usual suspects.

    97. heedtracker says:

      1 GERS doesn’t represent a full set of accounts;

      2 Currently 40% of the costs (and the policies which drive them) aren’t under Scottish Government control because they’re reserved to Westminster.

      (If you want to summarise this entire article in 50 words, use those last three lines.)

      Travel around England and marvel at just how far in advance of Scotland their whole transport infrastructure is for starters. Scotland’s probably never going to catch up or at least never in this farce union.

      Looking forward to see this author invited on to BBC Scotland’s horrendous “Scotland 2015” very very soon, just like that ameuter hard core unionist blogger was last week. Ha bloody Ha

    98. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “My problem with this article is this: The information you’ve provided ALL precedes the White Paper and the WBB, yet you chose to not scrutinise the numbers.”

      Stand by for a shock: I don’t know everything. I’m just some idiot who wrote about videogames and then got sick of lies in the media and decided to put some sort of little blog together. I had no reason to have any clue who Jim and Margaret Cuthbert were. I’m still running to catch up with the politics of the last 30 years just like almost everyone else, which is why Lindsay wrote this article.

      “You would be far better to just say ‘I want Scotland to be Independent because I hate the UK.”

      I don’t hate the UK and nor does Lindsay. Until a few weeks ago we both lived in Bath and had done for many years. People here are lovely. We just don’t want them choosing our country’s government.

    99. Macart says:

      @Clootie

      Apparently. 😀

    100. Ian Brotherhood says:

      ‘They were nothing more than people, by themselves. Even paired, any pairing, they would have been nothing more than people by themselves. But all together, they have become the heart and muscles and mind of something perilous and new, something strange and growing and great.
      Together, all together, they are the instruments of change.’

      Keri Hulme, The Bone People

      🙂

    101. Ian says:

      It’s not ‘Hope over Fear’.

      It’s ‘Trust over Deceit’.

      Maybe need to get a list of the top 10/25/100 proven lies from Westminster/MSM for the next referendum?

    102. DerekM says:

      oh and thanks for the great article Lindsay 🙂

    103. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      As soon as Colin Rippey is sent in we know they’re in trouble.

      We need some devastating one liners and not mind numbing arguments that tie us up and stop us promoting the new country we want to build.
      “So we’re too stupid to do what Finland,new Zealand and Ireland do?”

      “So after three hundred years of a union we are reduced to poverty? You say lets continue with it?”

      “So the UK is hanging onto us to subsidise us? Get real.”

      “Your carefully selected figures have nothing to do with how an independent Scotland will manage its finances. I’ve got the complete real figures here.”

      Lindsay’s report is a good start to completely undermine the economic spin we are attacked with all the time. The economic argument is the only one we still have to win. If we discredit the unionist’s economic argument we free the field to argue on the huge strengths of Scotland and we win

    104. Accountants and Lawyers,

      if you have the money/power they can let you get away with anything.

    105. heedtracker says:

      Colin Rippey says:
      6 November, 2015 at 11:13 am
      Some guy on the Internet:

      To deem that goal an economic fantasy based solely on the flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content of GERS is, therefore, to miss that point in the most spectacularly short-sighted and wrong-headed way possible.

      The SNP White Paper on Independence:

      The starting point for this analysis is the National Statistics
      publication, Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland
      (GERS). GERS is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s
      public finances.

      Hi Keverage! Starting point, keverage, starting point!

      You were awful on tv by the way but last word to future PM Bojo Keverage

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjFboRwGiqc

      ‘A pound spent in Croydon is far more of value to the country than a pound spent in Strathclyde’

      Makes you proud to vote NO.

    106. RogueCoder says:

      @Little Rick

      We pointed to serious flaws that were well-documented by the Cuthberts over a prolonged period. We also pointed out that GERS was fundamentally re-written for 2008. We also noted that there are continued efforts to properly attribute both income and expenditure to Scotland – the current GERS methodology still has issues.

      But you’ve completely missed the fundamental point which the Cuthberts repeatedly made; GERS is NOT a full set of accounts, and only describes Scotland’s finances as part of the UK with the current devolution settlement. You simply cannot take these figures as an indicator of FFA or independent economic performance.

      So if you want to attack the article, you’ll need to attack the Cuthberts’ analysis – and they have a great deal more experience and credibility than your unionist blogger.

    107. louis.b.argyll says:

      I don’t hate the UK.

      The people of its Kingdoms are as close as siblings.

      But we don’t want to live under the same roof FOREVER..

    108. Fred says:

      The Unionist argument that Scotland is a basket case after 300 years of this glorious Union speaks for itself.

    109. Anagach says:

      Little Rick says:

      Think of it as an IQ test where 44.7% failed.

      None of the above changes the fact our public expenditure is the biggest cost on our balance sheet. Argue the income all you want, but unless you’ve found a way to serve a country with a population density of 71/SqKm for less, go right ahead.

      Rick everything you mention is just as much a problem inside the Union as outside.

      Except of course the insults, they are pure Union.

    110. Dan Huil says:

      There will be lots more unionist misinformation, especially about Scotland’s finances, in the lead up to indyref2. The unionist media will of course splash the scare stories on their front pages and in the tv “news”. As in the first indyref they will quickly move on to the next scare story without allowing pro-indy supporters to counter unionist misinformation. The people of Scotland, I believe, have had a gutful of unionist scare stories, yet still the unionist scare stories come.

    111. Colin Rippey says:

      @Rev Stu. Campbell
      And?

      Merely pointing out that there are two sides to every story. On the one hand we have the case for independence that the Scottish Government produced, and on the other we have this article.

      Both sides differ in what they consider the value of GERS to be. It is up to the readers of this website to decide for themselves who’s opinion on GERS is more authoritative: The authors of the Independence White Paper or the author of this article.

      Here’s a quote from another WoS author on GERS:

      The GERS report, despite its own best efforts, provides empirical evidence that Scotland can afford to look after itself – even in an emergency – better than by handing over all its money and entrusting itself to the “charity” of the UK.

      So it would appear that in the years when the GERS numbers “look good” it’s okay to use them, but in the years when the numbers are “not so good” well, we get this article.

    112. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Jackie Baillie’s on-air as I tap this…Brewer trying to tackle her, looking for an angle…

    113. asklair says:

      As this is the latest topic I have copied a response from britishjournalismawards [at] pressgazette [dot] co [dot] uk in connection with
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/humbled-and-inspired/

      “Thank you for getting in touch.

      All I can say is that the judges in that session were impressed with the Telegraph article. They looked at and took into consideration the IPSO adjudication. I think they felt that the criticisms made by IPSO did not detract sufficiently from the original story to take it off the shortlist. Ie. The Telegraph did report on a genuine memo, notwithstanding the flaws pointed out by IPSO. Our judges are completely independent, in order to uphold the legitimacy of the award process, it would therefore be unethical to tamper with any results or conclusions they draw regarding the shortlisted entries. We must respect these and honour them.

      We appreciate your feedback and thanks again for taking the time to get in touch.

      Regards

      Dominic Ponsford “

    114. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So it would appear that in the years when the GERS numbers “look good” it’s okay to use them”

      It’s fascinating that you ACTUALLY QUOTE the words “despite its own best efforts”, yet totally ignore what they imply.

    115. heedtracker says:

      Colin Rippey says:
      6 November, 2015 at 12:11 pm
      @Rev Stu. Campbell
      And?

      Kevarage this is a direct debate challenge with your chocablog so get stuck in dude. Quite the silly bitch slap stuff and pick something concrete in this one WoS article alone, is what I would do, if I was Super Unionist Man:D

    116. louis.b.argyll says:

      The UK is a parent government.
      We are all siblings.

      But, the region of London (and it’s Establishment) has been adopted, as if a prodigal child.

      The real brothers and sisters get pocket-money, while the prodigal son takes over the family business and becomes a greedy bastard.

      Nothing too illegal in that descriptio per se…in a medieval sense.

      … but WHY should those who are shunned, and who lose their inheritance continue to pay towards the housekeeping…?

    117. Swami Backverandah says:

      Help me out here (I only read it once, and it took 2 cups of tea, a mid-point nap and a phone call to ObiWan) but does it say that:

      a) GERS figures are no reliable basis for the figures for an Independent Scotland – for all the reasons mentioned above; but also that

      b)It’s the 40% figure that’s the Unionist’s big scary monster.

      For example:
      5 people give you 100 chips.

      You add them to the chips pile to be shared equally among 75 people.

      You separate out 60% of the chips pile and divvie them out with a slight 10% loading for we 5 people – (call it delivery cost)

      The other 40% of the chips you basically piss up with your mates however you like.

      You then claim that you have subsidised we 5 people by 10% to the detriment of the others(leaving aside any consequentials argument for the moment).

      But it’s really only 10% of 60%?

      Is that the lie exposed?

    118. Les Wilson says:

      Angra Mainyu says:
      It has been said before but I will say it again. What we are in is tantamount to an abusive marriage, where the wife is constantly beaten. No one will believe her.
      Does she stay or does she go?

    119. Jimmur Phymp says:

      Has anyone else noticed that a lot of the more vocal and high profile twitter unionists are actually English nationalists, living in Scotland and telling us we’re incapable of running our own country and that we need England to do if for us?

      The ‘amature blogger’, Kev Average, George Foulkes, Prof Tomkins, JK Rowling, Hothersall, Effie Deans. Screaming “Nationalists” at us all day every day?

      I’m half English, by the way, but definitely NOT an English (or British) nationalist, I’d like to make that distinction clear. Nor a Scottish Nationalist for that matter.

    120. louis.b.argyll says:

      Being creatively absurd, reactionary, eccentric etc are fine “British ” traits, when it comes to music, arts, entrepreneurship, invention etc as.the rest of the world will attest to.

      But basic good governance needs to be based on a fair system.

      We don’t have one.

      That’s why most of the time, foreigners see us as bloody weird…

    121. wee sandy says:

      Excellent article. Added to my folder for future debate.

      Thank you Lindsay.

    122. Doug Daniel says:

      9/10 for the updated captions, Stu. They’re excellent, but you should have looked at the tracklisting of Pop Art if you needed more Pet Shop Boy song titles.

    123. Graf Midgehunter says:

      That was a very, very good article Lindsay, it’s done a lot to increase the knowledge of the “Wingers” and other newer readers of the site.

      Looks like the “magicians apprentice” is up to the same high standards as the Boss. 😉

    124. Glamaig says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill 11:51am

      Add to that:

      ‘So why, exactly, is the UK Establishment fighting so hard to hold onto Scotland?’

      Is it cos they loves us? Awww.

    125. Richardinho says:

      Good article, but why the picture of the Pet Shop Boys?

    126. mogabee says:

      I see Colin fae the chippy is here to tell us we are What?

      Too Wee?

      Too Poor?

      Too Stupid?

      Unable to read an article which contains facts and figures, which we can check, that make it plain we are being denied the right to see the books?

      Aye, good one Collie dog!

    127. Another Union Dividend says:

      @ Jimmur Phymp 12.22says:

      You can add regular Scotsman trolls Martin Redfern and wealthy “Ordinary Man” Keith Howell http://wingsoverscotland.com/ironic-timing/ to your list

      P.S. My Dad is English and now votes SNP

    128. ArtyHetty says:

      Excellent read thanks Lindsay. I will also print it out.

      UKOK have had a long time in which to conjure up all kinds of little schemes to keep Scotland fully tethered and poor.

      The westmonster cuts to the poor in Scotland will also impact on our economy as it removes money from our local areas.
      The article here must be taken out there for people to understand, as someone pointed out earlier.

      You don’t have to delve too deeply to see how Scotland has been ripped off by ukok for a very long time.

    129. Robert Peffers says:

      I’ve known the GERs figures been con-job since it was first used. It was, and still is, designed to tell the lie that the English subsidise everyone else but the truth is, as usual, they confuse England, (which is both funded directly and recorded accounts, as The United Kingdom which of course includes when it suits them Scotland.

      As the Rev points out above Westminster decides what does and doesn’t count and it is not just Olympic games.

      Here’s just a few off the top of my head. National galleries, museums, ballet, opera, The National Greenwitch Observatory, The Chunnel, the Chunnel infrastructure Heathrow, all London rail & bus terminals, the New London Sewerage system, The London Cross-rail, Transport for London, Grace and Favour residences. HSS rail links. Much of the Whitehall Civil Service buildings and national monuments.

      Do not forget that under museums comes those ex-navy ships berthed on the Thames and the old wooden ships like the Mary Rose dotted around London and England to attract the tourists in. As, of course are the National Railway museum and many more that while classed as British or UK are seen by the Establishment as English.

      There are so many such costs that the Scots, Welsh and N.Irish contribute to but get nothing back from. For example Shakespeare’s birthplace and the Globe Theatre.

    130. Quinie frae Angus says:

      Wow, I absolutely love this ship, and all who sail in her.

      It really is a fine collection of some extremely intelligent and well-informed people. I have learned so much from Wings, his trusted writers and many of the below-the-line commenters.

      I know others have suggested this already, but we really need a crowd-founder to get the “Best of WoS” published in a book form, so that we can get the real stonking articles out to that wider circle of soft Nos. It would be great if a book shop chain would have the cojones to stock it, but if not we can use our secret cloak-and-dagger WBB distribution system (!!) to get it out there.

      Such a feat of funds donated and efforts volunteered by Wingers would really get up the noses of the Unionists and the media. That in itself would create a stir and demand to read the book.

      The WBB2 is of course still an absolute essential, and we should crowd-fund that separately.

      But I still think there is also a place for wider, printed copy distribution of these longer in-depth articles as well. Especially for the non-internet reader. This could be a “long-term” project, with the aim to have this info out there, newly updated at point of publication, and digested and discussed by people well in time for IndyRef2.

      True grassroots action at its best – with the added humorous twist in the tale that it will all have been orchestrated by the Cybernat General and his “Acolytes”!!

      Oh man, let’s do it.

    131. gus1940 says:

      When Thatcher introduced her Right to Buy legislation every penny raised by the sale of council house went straight to HM Treasury in London instead of being retained by the councils to build new council housing.

      Given that 10s of thousands of council houses were sold in Scotland the amount realised and sent to London must run into billions.

      If that isn’t a case of blatant asset stripping or robbery I don’t know what is.

      Is anybody in possession of the numbers of houses sold and total amount stolen?

    132. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “you should have looked at the tracklisting of Pop Art if you needed more Pet Shop Boy song titles.”

      It’s not a question of “Pet Shop Boys song titles”. I have Google. It’s a question of “Pet Shop Boys song titles anyone would recognise”.

    133. heedtracker says:

      I don’t hate the UK and nor does Lindsay. Until a few weeks ago we both lived in Bath and had done for many years. People here are lovely. We just don’t want them choosing our country’s government.

      MOST people are nice everywhere, the Dutch, Germans, Poles, the French, Scandinavians, Americans, the Japanese, but none of them take offence when Scots say they want Scotland to be run by the people of Scotland and they don’t shriek racist either, when they spot anyone being critical of their socio economics.

      Its only UKOK unionistas what do it.

    134. Foonurt says:

      Fuck me, that’s thoan in ah nutshell.

    135. Chic McGregor says:

      Great stuff Lindsay.

      Would just mention that accountant Niall Aslen, back in the days of the Cawin Thigither group also did a similar dissection and critique of the GERS report (as was) and at least in the on line community, such as it existed then, enjoyed a high level of penetration and effect.

      I would also like to see a shift in emphasis, no wait, that is not quite correct, we still need to point out the ‘irregularities’ present in the intra-national accounting system and indeed expand it into pointing out inconsistencies in the calculation of regional ‘value added’ and do more to highlight inconsistencies in the designation of ‘infrastructure’ spend as well.

      So, without dropping emphasis on those important ‘accounting practice’ areas I would like to see additional elements of the macro economy brought more to the fore which IMV are of greater value in getting over the strategic economic advantages an independent Scotland would enjoy.

      In particular the massive advantages Scotland enjoys in terms of resource to population ratio compared to England.

      For example, the UK (read England) has a huge net food and drink deficit. Over £20 billion per year. A must-pay-before-anything-else annual bill in which Scotland of course has to ‘pool and share’ (pro rata or sometimes more) even though Scotland is in net food and drink surplus. By comparison that bill dwarfs all current North Sea revenue. An independent Scotland would not have that inbuilt trades balance deficit and without Scotland the rUK trade deficit on food and drink would be much worse.

      Similar story for energy resources. The rUK is a net energy importer to the tune of £billions another net annual bill Scotland has to ‘pool and share’ (read, pay more than pro rata) even though Scotland is again in energy surplus.

      Ditto timber production and others.

      Emphasis should also be placed on the solidity in terms of fundamental national economic viability of those compared to relying on the casino financial services of London where it is just a matter of (not much) time before China takes that over.

      [China was the world’s biggest steel importer a few years ago and now is an exporter of cheap steel. One can argue that their entry into the WTO should have come with a proviso that human rights and infrastructure spend targets be part and parcel of a trade tariffs calculation.

      Such an arrangement would have simultaneously protected the hard won social advances in the West while optimizing progress for the ordinary Chinese people themselves. Whether, through sheer stupidity on behalf of Western leaders or the malevolent influence of some neo-liberals who saw it as a nice big reset button that could be pressed on 200 years of social advance, this did not happen. (Ask Nick Clegg).

      Manufacturing done and dusted, next up, financial services.]

      On food and drink there would be immediate advantages for Scotland in the form of first and second tier CAP grants for Scottish farmers, which are currently at a very low level for the UK and where some grants intended for land development in Scotland are mostly purloined for English farmers and at twice the per hectare rate Scottish farmers get just to rub salt into the wound.
      Also there would be substantial value added economic advantages from the separate distribution and packaging systems which would quickly ensue.
      ‘Brand Scotland’, already with a premium value, would probably be enhanced simply through being somewhat more meaningful.

      On energy, with Trident removed the West coast hydrocarbon resource could be fully explored and developed. The North sea cable links to Norway could be built opening up Norway’s surplus pumped storage for Scotland’s vast renewables resource and providing Scotland with an alternative potential customer base to England. Finally at long last Scotland’s large tidal resource could be properly exploited (although I am not impressed with the approach taken so far, limited as it is).

      Of course, resource and trade balance accountancy, Westminster style, is just as prone to fiddling whether through point of export, HQ allocation or local value added calculations, but in the case of resource to population assessment those can be more easily circumvented by utilising harder to fiddle raw production to population ratios.

    136. galamcennalath says:

      I see STV have a programme called Stopping Scotland’s Scammers. Do doubt they will focus on small time con merchants and not go for some of the really BIG scammers.

      You know who I mean! The ones who have scammed Scotland out of billions!

    137. The Isolator says:

      Ach Lindsay you were doin that well tae,it wis aw lookin guid tae, but I have tae tell ye I’ve run your sums back in through Westminster’s MacGlumphy Mcnumber scruncher thingy and a huge Black Hole appears FFS.

      Whit tae dae eh?

    138. ArtyHetty says:

      O/T
      sorry.

      I happened to walk through St Andrews square in Edinburgh recently and saw some photos displayed by Shelter, portraying Scotland’s housing situation in the 1970’s. I was shocked, it looked like the 1800’s. I was brought up in the 70’s in NE England and we were very poor, but nothing like that in terms of the state of the houses.

      You know I suppose it is no surprise, that was all happening under Labour and Tory watch as well.

    139. David Wardrope says:

      @Colin Rippey

      “Some guy on the internet”

      Do you mean “some guy on the internet” who has posted a reasoned piece with sourced research from at least one person or group who are experts on the subject, or do you mean “some guy on the internet” who does their own amateur analysis on the subject, where his own findings amazingly match his unionist views…

    140. Bob Mack says:

      The situation boils down to this

      Westminster is in charge of all the money. It alone knows the full extent of revenues, and it alone ,creates the books ,allocating various revenues coming in, to whoever or whatever they see fit.
      On top of that they also allocate charges to whoever they see fit.

      Do you remember during the days of Al Capone when his accountant kept two sets of books? That is what we have here.
      One set based on fact,and the other set based on whatever you want an inspection to see.

    141. Colin Rippey says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell
      Here’s my prediction. The next few years GERS numbers are going to continue with the current headline figures of “an iScotland would have a big giant deficit compared to the rUK and would have to initiate huge spending cuts at the point of independence”.

      But by sometime around 2020 (maybe 2021) the GERS figures will “look not too bad” in terms of the perceived deficit an iScotland would have at the point of independence. Why? Because the Tories planned spending cuts haven’t been reported yet.

      By 2020 the full extent of the Tory spending cuts will be reflected in the GERS numbers (specifically the apportioned Expenditure) and by then there’s a pretty good chance that the perceived deficit an iScotland would have at the point of independence would be somewhere around 4% GDP (it’s currently projected to be about 4.8% GDP but that’s predicated on the oil price staying as it is).

      At a perceived deficit of 4% GDP it will be a very simple argument to state that an iScotland only need to “tweak” around 2% of it’s expenditure to get to a position where sustainable borrowing could be achieved until the (ahem) economic miracle of an iScotland can come to fruition.

      So I do wonder exactly what the “position” of this website will be when the GERS numbers reflect more favourable numbers? Will we see a change in attitude at that point? Will we see all the contributors suddenly embrace the numbers again like we saw in March 2013?

      Here’s a reminder of times past (some WoS comments from March 2013):

      I was looking forward to the release of the GERS figures, so I’m glad to see that they’ve lived up to expectations.

    142. Camz says:

      One of the overriding arguments for indy was that Scotland could compete with England (or London) in certain sectors where it does well.

      Or it could settle for being handed the scraps of contracts that are doled out to the various ‘regions’ as and when Westminster deemed Scotland ‘worthy’ of reward (which means the decision making passes through the various London finances, Shires MPs, establishment parties, and civil service filters.

      In short, Scotland would compete well in some areas, and the those who hold the power fear that. If they did not, it would mean that indy could not harm their aims at all. Federalism used to be my preferred option if indy could not be achieved, but now I’m convinced that indy is the ONLY way forward, if Scotland is to prevail.

      No other small, oil producing country has our problems, and we don’t make out own political and financial decisions to move forward in the world. It is obvious to all. Only those with a unionist agenda say it is not so.

    143. Les Wilson says:

      A real assessment should be done giving as accurate, as much as possible, on the what our savings would be on the current arrangement, on Independence.

      All payments that would stop going to Westminster and detail them all.

      People out there who are not aware would be shocked at how much they bleed us dry, while maintaining the subsidy junkie line.

    144. Fran says:

      OT

      BBC back on SNHS bashing, man dies on trolley in £825m hospital, quoting DR reports of blood transfusions in corridors.

      Aye , they have taken heed of the BMA request of not using them as a political tool.

      Blood transfusions in corridors. What will they think of next? Open heart surgery in basement?!

    145. Camz says:

      As an aside, I noted your blog has the text:

      “Include paragraph breaks or I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.”

      I understand the need for correct textual layout, and appreciate that a lack of such layout will incur consequences. However, I am slightly perturbed that my Danish friend will be punished for my crimes.

      :-p

    146. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Here’s a reminder of times past (some WoS comments from March 2013):

      “I was looking forward to the release of the GERS figures, so I’m glad to see that they’ve lived up to expectations.””

      I searched for the first few words of that quote in both articles and comments and couldn’t find it anywhere. But I have no idea what point you’re trying to make.

      By 2020/21 GERS should hopefully be in significantly better shape, because of the review discussed in this article, but even then it’ll still be a measure of the finances of a dependent Scotland, not an independent one.

      (Also, are you really trying to hold us to account for what COMMENTERS say, rather than what we write ourselves?)

    147. Jack Murphy says:

      gus1940 asked at 12:39pm:-
      Right To Buy Council Housing Scotland.
      “Is anybody in possession of the numbers of houses sold and total amount stolen?”
      BBC,June last year:—
      “The right-to-buy was brought in across the UK by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1980, with 455,000 tenants buying their homes in Scotland under the system.”

      I don’t know the total amount of cash that went to the Westminster Treasury. 🙁

    148. Capella says:

      O/T Shocking news – apologies. Just heard the top story on Radio Scotland news.
      “An elderly man has died in Scotland’s newest hospital.

      Who ever heard of elderly people dying in hospital before now? Sturgeon must act.

    149. galamcennalath says:

      Just thought about the very first post and what that means to individual Scots …

      Janet says:
      at 8:13 am
      “… £300m Borders Railway, paid out of the Scottish budget.

      London Crossrail at £6bn …. is deemed to be of UK-wide importance …”

      So, we paid for £300m for the BR and ~£550m for LCR.

      NO voters, wake up and smell the shite!

    150. David Wardrope says:

      @Colin Rippey,

      Becoming almost farcical your argument is, blaming WoS for something they might do (according to your own head) in the future using a scenario you think might happen with no reason to back up your claim.

      How about you try to offer some valid critisism of the article, which is real, unlike your wild soothsayeresque predictions?

    151. galamcennalath says:

      Stu says

      “are you really trying to hold us to account for what COMMENTERS say, rather than what we write ourselves?”

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/gers-between-the-lines/comment-page-1/#comment-322429

      … It was indeed in a comment, not an article.

    152. Martin Wood says:

      @Jack Murphy says:
      “The right-to-buy was brought in across the UK by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1980, with 455,000 tenants buying their homes in Scotland under the system.”

      I don’t know the total amount of cash that went to the Westminster Treasury. :(”

      My parents bought their 2 bed semi with a 75% discount – it cost them £8000 at the time.
      Scaling up the semi was worth £32,000

      an average price…rough scaling up by 455,000 gives a gues of £3.6 billion lost in value to scottish hopusing

    153. Colin Rippey says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell
      I searched for the first few words of that quote in both articles and comments and couldn’t find it anywhere. But I have no idea what point you’re trying to make.

      Here’s the article:
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/gers-between-the-lines/

      The point is simple, in times of GERS reporting favourable numbers this website is gleefully happy to use them. But, when the numbers don’t present favourable numbers we get this type of article with the ridiculous hyperbole about GERS which it TOTALLY at odds with the politicians.

      So what will we see in the future when the next GERS report comes out? Will this website publish a similar article attempting to “rubbish” the numbers?

    154. msean says:

      Always seem to be some bettertogether types trying to bear down on positive writing about Scotlands’ finances,that is when we know the we’re on the right track.

    155. Good article Lindsay.

      John Jappy was underused by the Yes campaign as he had a lot of inside knowledge.

      http://scotlandowntwofeet.blogspot.co.uk

    156. Kevin meina says:

      I worked in engineering for 34 yrs never been unemployed CNC Turners were always in work.With downturn in oil and gas we had no work.Job centre plus is just a building where people are employed to deprive others of benefits.The first question I was asked was do I want to relocate as over the border there are thousands of CNC jobs and looking at government gateway website there are loads of jobs in England.
      If we are better together why all of a sudden do we have no work but England has.

    157. HandandShrimp says:

      The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

      John Kenneth Galbraith

      Scotland is a modern European country with a strong brand image, a good record in tertiary education, research and development, rich in resources and products and with few barriers to trade (social, cultural, economic or geo-political).

      There is no reason why Scotland could not be successful or as successful as any other similar sized Western European country. We could gain independence and in a moment of madness make David Coburn FM. That could go badly, just as making Farage PM of the UK might. On balance though I think there is more chance of the latter than the former and even that is not high.

      There would of course be good times and bad times as with any country but all of those times would be our times.

    158. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “this website is gleefully happy to use them”

      The views of random commenters are not the views of this website. Otherwise yours would be too.

      And the article in question notes, as I’ve already pointed out to you, that GERS illustrates the conclusion “despite its own best efforts”, clearly indicating the author’s view that GERS was not to be trusted without question or qualification.

    159. AndyH says:

      I ain’t no economist.

      However, even someone like myself can see that this GERS malarkey is at best only semi-relevant to a future independent Scotland, based as it is on a UK specific range of variables.

      There are so many levers of potential income unavailable that an independent country would have to grow its collective wealth.

      The ‘Black Hole’ only exists in a Unionist universe.

      A Unionverse in fact.

    160. galamcennalath says:

      Scotland. We feed ourselves and export food. We have a skilled and educated workforce. We have a wide spectrum of industries and services. We are a tourist destination. We have an embarrassment of natural resources. We have a massive energy surplus.

      Scotland is situated in a safe part of the world neighboured by similar small countries doing exceptionally well.

      Perhaps obsessing over how many coins are in the piggy bank is missing the big picture.

    161. mr thms says:

      When I started reading this excellent article I knew where it was going, as I recognised the excerpts by the Cuthbert’s.

      “GERS: where now?”, was the Cuthbert’s contribution to Reform Scotland’s “Scotland’s Economic Future” which is available in pdf format. It is the whole of Chapter 4

      http://www.johnkay.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Scotlands-Economic-Future.pdf

      This bit, included in the excerpts used above, needs to be highlighted –

      “We would argue that the GERS debate will not go anywhere else until a balanced set of accounts is produced for Scotland along Pink Book lines.”

    162. heedtracker says:

      Colin Rippey says:
      6 November, 2015 at 1:34 pm
      @Rev. Stuart Campbell

      Keverage your link links to this nightmare too, which may or may not boost the relentless you’re too small, poor, stupid chocablog.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/how-black-gold-was-hijacked-north-sea-oil-and-the-betrayal-of-scotland-518697.html

    163. One_Scot says:

      Seems to be a common problem with unionists, they don’t really cope well with facts.

    164. Ravelin says:

      Imagine my disappointment at finding this article wasn’t a story dissecting the on or off field limitations of a certain west coast football team.

    165. tartanarse says:

      Ricardinho at 12.34.

      Ref the Pet Shop Boys picture. My guess. I love you, you pay my rent.

    166. Iain More says:

      To me MoneyWeek is a right wing loony rag. Another of its pet attack subjects is the British State Pension System
      and how it will reduce the whole of the UK to begging on its knees.

      They are very much an Ultra Right Wing Project Fear rag. You can well imagine the huge Black Holes that exist around its favourite subjects to attack and it isn’t just the Black Hole that looms in front of them when the topic is Scots Indy or FFA.

      There is a devious method at work in their tactics though

      They start of with an attack on whatever to justify a certain position or to just plain scare the gullible or economically illiterate who will then they hope purchase certain financial products, products no doubt that they or their friends have an interest in.

    167. Iain Hamilton says:

      @ Colin Rippey

      Please suggest other sources of figures Colin.

      We use them because there are no others.

      Many articles on this site have pointed out that there are “missing” monies.

      The great Gingerbread Robbery was one of my favourites.

      We don’t know what we are worth because the people who are ultimately in charge of the budget won’t tell us.

      There, that’s sorted it for you.

    168. heedtracker says:

      http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/06/scottish-man-used-twitter-as-part-of-failed-stock-market-scam-says-us-jury

      Someone died in Scotland’s newest hospital, a non Britsih Scottish man gets nicked in the US. Another day of UKOK teamGB attack propaganda farts along.

    169. manandboy says:

      At the end of the day, Westminster isn’t bothered by facts and figures, even when they are presented as brilliantly as Lindsay Bruce has just done. An open and shut case for Independence won’t cause the Establishment to blink.

      For they have only one thing on their mind – survival.
      At all costs.

      Vote SNP / SNP. Your future depends on it.

    170. Edward says:

      Slightly O/T
      Listening to the news about problems with Easy Jets flights being cancelled
      Well have just had a look and can summarise that that is bullshit!

      Easy Jet have re-organized their flights into an airlift
      currently there are 7 aircraft in the air heading for Sharm El Sheikh
      You can see this on Flightradar24, all have the flight prefixing all flights EZY90*** 5 are A320’s, 1 is a A319 and 1 is a chartered Boeing 767

      The problem may have been having enough landing and departure slots as the British are not the only ones flying in and out

      But as usual the media just love to hype up a bad story
      Thanks god we have internet 🙂

    171. HandandShrimp says:

      This was one of my favourite Moneyweek stories

      😉

      http://moneyweek.com/endofbritain/

    172. AndyH says:

      @Heedtracker

      Ach, maybe they are just coming to terms with calling us Scottish as they know in a few years that’s what we’ll all be 🙂

    173. Proud Cybernat says:

      @ Rippey

      “It is up to the readers of this website to decide for themselves who’s opinion on GERS is more authoritative.”

      Certainly NOT the OBR’s or the UK Govt.’s. Or do you really think the UK Establishment fought tooth and claw to keep an ‘economic basket case’ in the Union when they had the golden opportunity to offload it?

      If you thin the UK Establishment would want to hold onto scotland if it was losing them money then yer kiddin’ yerself, laddie.

    174. ClanDonald says:

      Great piece, Lindsay. We always hear about how Scotland gets more per head via the block grant but there’s never any mention of how spending compares with regards to Westminster spending. The block grant is only one part of The picture, what about all the rest?

      For example Scotland’s pensioners die younger, how much less is that in pension spending? Our unemployment rate has been lower, this will be less in benefit spending too.

      What about the disproportionate number of civil servants based in the south? What does that cost us. Or how much defence spending benefits the Scottish economy compared to the rest of the UK.

      What about the British embassies that we pay for who then charge us extra to promote our products. Or the extra charges that we pay to feed our energy into the grid, where the south receives subsidies instead.

      Why can’t we see an accurate breakdown of all these figures?

    175. heedtracker says:

      HandandShrimp says:
      6 November, 2015 at 1:46 pm
      The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

      Is it though? The above report tries to explain how money gets spent and accounted for in the Scotland region and how little control Scots.gov actaully has.

      Yet our chums in the south can make pretty conservative forcasts all the time and they can payoff scrounger Scotland too.

      London 2012 Olympics were charged to Scotland, Glasgow Commonwealth Games were not charges to England. Giant infrastructure spends in London like Crossrail, all charged to Scotland

      http://www.europeanrailwayreview.com/24983/rail-industry-news/new-research-highlights-economic-benefits-of-crossrail-2/

      The joint research, commissioned by TfL and Network Rail to inform discussion about the railway during the Government’s autumn spending review, has highlighted the economic benefits, homes, jobs and productivity that could result from a Crossrail 2 development.

      In addition, KPMG estimates benefits could be worth up to £102bn to the UK economy, generating extra tax revenues to help fund the scheme.

      By UK economy, they mean what? Take Scottish money, invest it England, tell us its all UK benefit?

      Red and blue tory unionists like keverage dont give a monkeys, they’re British.

    176. yesindyref2 says:

      Thanks to Lindsay for this. Many unionist posters recently on forums have been using the line “It’s the Scottish Government’s OWN figures”. I’ve researched this, and found a good few papers, even on the scot gov website. The problem is that they have no easy attribution to source, to whether they are UK Gov or Scot Gov originated. I did find the origins of GERS were Scotland Office rather than ScotGov, they were set up in 1998 – before ScotGov could even sit.

      I also found this:

      http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/20768/0095626.pdf

      from “Office of the Chief Economic Adviser 2010” which relates to these:

      http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Economy/EconDept

      who do appear to be under the control of ScotGov. The problem we have as Indy supporters is that we don’t know who is who, who controls who, and what comes from whom.

      This article goes some way towards that, but I think there’s a long long way to go before we can quote gov.scot links, know what they are, and have any confidence in them.

    177. Onwards says:

      Little Rick says:

      Scotland chose to remain in the UK, despite the lies in the WP and WBB. Think of it as an IQ test where 44.7% failed.

      Ah, the “too wee, too stupid” argument..

      Here’s the thing.
      Even without getting bogged down in figures, we simply have to look at similar countries to see we could do far better. And we can learn from the past.

      FACT – Scotland and Norway are the only 2 countries in Europe that discovered and significant amounts of oil and gas, and have extracted similar amounts.

      FACT – Norway is now absolutely loaded, whereas Scotland has huge amounts of debt. Scotland has a lower GDP than many similar countries with very little or NO oil at all.
      How on earth did that happen?

      So looking back and learning from history, anyone who doesn’t think Scotland could be in a far better position if we had been independent is clearly a fucking idiot.

      Now we can’t change the past, but we can learn from it.
      The very same ‘too small, too stupid’ arguments have been flying about for years. They have been proved wrong then, so why should we believe them now ?

      At the end of the day, we have a huge amount of natural resources, relative to our population size, even if there was no oil at all.

      We have huge tourism potential, a thriving food and drink industry, huge renewables potential, growing tech/biotech/software industries and a highly educated population.

      Our economy is hamstrung by being in an unequal union where the focus is on London and the south – which have huge natural advantages for many businesses anyway simply by being closer to Europe and major population centres, with good international transport links.

      At the end of the day, the UK government doesn’t want Scotland to have a sufficient range of economic powers to even level the playing field.

      And of course, we are stuck with the huge democratic deficit where that UK government lords over us with a single MP from this country. In a UK parliament where Scottish MP’s now have second class status.

      Who are the fools here, really?

    178. Colin Rippey says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell
      And the article in question notes, as I’ve already pointed out to you, that GERS illustrates the conclusion “despite its own best efforts”, clearly indicating the author’s view that GERS was not to be trusted without question or qualification.

      But it didn’t suggest in any shape or form that the GERS report contained “flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content”.

      You yourself have never taken this line. You know that there is plenty of “wriggle room” in GERS for challenges to be made on the “reserved” expenditure items apportioned to iScotland such as defence spending. The SNP White Paper specifically stated it would spend around £500 billion less on defence spending for starters.

      This is the first WoS article to take such as “tabloid” view on GERS, there’s been plenty of comments over the years that have gone even further than this article, but those are comments and as you say this site cannot be held to account for some of the extreme comments.

      Basically I think this article does not present as your typical article and I don’t think it will be “one to be proud of”.

    179. Colin Rippey says:

      @Iain Hamilton
      Please suggest other sources of figures Colin.

      We use them because there are no others.

      Yes, that is part of the problem. There really isn’t anything else we can use to “debate” the economic position an iScotland would be in.

      But this specific article has gone far beyond any past article in the way it has described overall report.

      The statement

      flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content of GERS

      I look forward to this particular piece of spin being echoed by all the “serious” figures in the Scottish political arena. I can just see the likes of John Swinney batting off opposition questions with “GERS is flawed and irrelevant”.

      Many articles on this site have pointed out that there are “missing” monies.

      The great Gingerbread Robbery was one of my favourites.

      Really? From the article:

      There are other ways in which Scottish revenues are invisible in the official statistics. Much of the alcohol duty paid by our whisky industry is not counted as revenue from Scotland. Alcohol produced in the UK which is exported abroad becomes subject to UK alcohol duty at the point of export, and a large proportion of Scotland’s multibillion whisky exports gets shipped out from ports in England. The UK Treasury counts the duty levied on this whisky as income from the tax region in which the port is situated.

      I do hope you don’t mean this particular snippet do you? The Gingerbread article was one of the poorer contributions to this site, it was written

    180. Angra Mainyu says:

      Les Wilson says:

      6 November, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      “Angra Mainyu, It has been said before but I will say it again. What we are in is tantamount to an abusive marriage, where the wife is constantly beaten. No one will believe her. Does she stay or does she go?”

      Yah, she goes but for the right reasons. It wouldn’t be right for a wife to leave her husband just because she worked out she would be better off financially if she did.

      That’s my opinion.

    181. yesindyref2 says:

      Just for interest, and “provenance”, who is Lindsay Bruce?

    182. Proud Cybernat says:

      GERS from the 1900s. Read it and weep, Unionists:

      http://www.scottcreighton.co.uk/GE2015/Scotlands-Historical-Surplus-to-the-UK.jpg

      Scotland, even historically, has always contributed MORE to the UK than we got back. Stats from The National Library of Scotland.

    183. ArtyHetty says:

      re A. Mainyu@2.58pm

      I think Angra you are confusing an actual marriage arrangement which would normally be based on
      mutual love and respect, to start with. The Scottish people resisted this sham marriage from the start, unfortunately it was not based on love or respect, and was beneficial to one side, in the main, both economically and psychologically.

      Anyway, ‘she’ would be wise to take advice and weigh up the pros and cons of remaining. Scotland has been doing that for sometime and the enlightened ones are ready to leave but are forced to stay against their will.

      When we have 51% for Indy, it’s goodbye and never look back, we will instead move forward toward a more modern, equal, fair and prosperous future for our country.

    184. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “But it didn’t suggest in any shape or form that the GERS report contained “flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content”.”

      I’d love to know what other interpretation you put on the words “despite its own best efforts”.

      And we’ve pointed out the “irrelevant” part about a million times, noting that any GERS analysis is not based on an INDEPENDENT Scotland’s spending choices. That’s been our consistent position for years, as you must know full well given your remarkable memory for obscure reader comments.

    185. HandandShrimp says:

      The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

      Is it though?

      Heedtracker

      My degree was in Economic History and I have a soft spot for Galbraith quotes.

      I think it is most certainly the case that most economic plans get overtaken by unforeseen events and get tossed on the bonfire of man’s vanities.

      Looking backwards is certainly interesting and can explain where we are at the moment but such records have limited value in directing where we could be in the future. However, like astrology, attempting to look into the future is both compelling and fun.

    186. yesindyref2 says:

      Right. Information, give me information. Does the ScotGov give us information? Yes, on scot.gov, more than on gov.uk for the UK Government, but it’s a mess. There’s no hierarchy to a lot of good information, no indexes, and no organisation.

      Take this: “The resource you are looking for has been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.”

      You get that from the link I gave earlier http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/20768/0095626.pdf if you remove the document name as in http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/20768/ and if you then go back one level as in http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/

      So what is that interesting document, that I found only via google on a few appropriate keywords, all about? And, just as important, are there more like it?

      The ScotGov website has a few cardinal sins of information presentation:
      1) It has no indexes or maps for much of its material
      2) It has many documents with no author or source (or at times date)
      3) No attribution or collection

      Any comments?

    187. Colin Rippey says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell

      Well maybe it’s just me but “flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content” is not *quite* the same as saying (emphasis mine):

      The GERS report, despite its own best efforts, provides empirical evidence that Scotland can afford to look after itself

      So something which has “flawed and fundamentally irrelevant content” can also “provide empirical evidence”?

      If your position is that the article from 2013 held the GERS report in the same regard as this article I don’t think there’s anything I can say to persuade you otherwise.

      But we both know it’s all about the numbers presented. In a few years time we’ll be seeing a different spin on the numbers.

    188. Angra Mainyu says:

      ArtyHetty, nothing you said there hinges on some cold economic analysis and that’s good.

      I think economics should be kept out of the independence debate. However much better or worse off we become, Scotland should stand on its own two feet.

      Anyone who argues to stay in the Union on the basis that we are financially better off, is being more insulting towards the English than any of us who want independence ever have been.

      Imagine the unhappy wife telling her husband that she has decided to stay, despite thinking he’s unbearable, because she worked out that she would be marginally better off.

      But how could we be worse off? Right now we essentially have nothing. Through independence we could have a whole country of our own and the freedom to enjoy it. It’s on that basis that we go.

    189. yesindyref2 says:

      The point of that posting by the way is that this really is something that can be done NOW for Indy Ref 2, getting information easy to hand and coherent. As an SNP member I’ve intended doing a wee report for my MSP on just such a thing, perhaps others of us could do similar? Make our Government work for us – and Indy?

    190. Cammy says:

      Any excuse for a pic of Chris and Neil!

      “While the bankers all get their bonuses. I’ll just get along with what I’ve got.”

    191. Les Wilson says:

      Angra Mainyu says:
      If you think that a woman would not leave because her husband constantly belittled her, deprived her of funds to the point of despair the you have a funny way of thinking about relationships.

      Somehow I am not surprised that you think a woman should be tied forever to such a cretin, and should shut up and put up with it.
      Made much worse by stealing what little she had,and constantly bad mouthing to boot.

      Cretin

    192. Proud Cybernat says:

      @ Rippey

      “But we both know it’s all about the numbers presented. In a few years time we’ll be seeing a different spin on the numbers.”

      In a few years time we won’t need these numbers. They’ll be redundant with Indy.

    193. yesindyref2 says:

      @Colin Rippey
      It’s been known for years that there are “accoutning differences” between the Scottish Government and the UK Government (specifically the Treasury). I’m sure we’d all like to work on the same exact accurate explicit and exhaustive figures on which we can put our own spin interpretation.

    194. Bob Mack says:

      This story reminds me of my father. On a Friday night he would come home and stop at the landing before our door,and performed what he called a stairheid balance.
      He would open his pay envelope and remove what he felt he needed for his tobacco and a few pints of beer.
      The remainder was put in a fresh pay packet courtesy of the wages clerk,and given to my mother.

      I do not know if she ever cottoned on ,but my father had the best of both worlds.
      A bit like the English,

    195. yesindyref2 says:

      @Bob Mack
      I’ve heard of many doing that one 🙂

    196. DerekM says:

      wow Lindsay has a bigger hammer than oor Rev see all the onion trolls she shook out the woodwork lol

      All going a but a but a but…….. there is no buts you idiots,read it and weep.

    197. yesindyref2 says:

      “It belongs to the estimable Lindsay Bruce, Operations Director of Team WBB and all-round right-hand man.”

      Thanks Rev, I should have read, before writing. Oops.

    198. Ruby says:

      I can’t read that article. I tried but my head is spinning.
      Sorry Lindsay. The layout is great and so are the pictures.

      I don’t do sport and I don’t do Excel spread sheets/economics

      I just ask myself some simple questions:

      1. If Scotland is such an economic basket case why are people in England begging us to stay, fighting with every fibre of their being to keep Scotland in the Union.

      2. If Scotland is such an economic basket case surely that would be a good reason to leave the Union. I find it strange that Unionist say after 300 years of the most successful union in the history of the world the universe and everything Scotland is an economic basket case but please stay ‘cos we are better together.

      3. Are people in Scotland so backward that they can’t survive like any other independent country?

      4. Do people on Islay have to fly to the mainland if they break a leg and does the Islay hospital not do laundry?

    199. yesindyref2 says:

      Back in 2013, when the Herald was a more professional paper even if with a unionist bias, the GERS 2012-13 figures came out, and Swinney was giving it “£4.4 billion better off with Indy, £828 per head better off”.

      Myself and a unionist poster sat down as it were and tried to reproduce those figures from GERS, which is a lot of pages long. I used mostly the executive summary and came out with £825. He did it a different way, and came out with £834. I should point out that it was about figures, not his belief in what they meant I don’t want to wrong him, it was all about where the figures came from, and how.

      I have huge respect for Swinney, one of Scotland’s best assets and about a whole planet ahead of Osborne. But the point is me and the other guy shouldn’t have had to do that, there should have been an accompanying article on scot.gov giving the base figures, source, and calculations. Including the exact population figure it was based on!

      The first rule of maths is “show your working”. Politicians don’t follow the rules.

    200. galamcennalath says:

      Ruby says:

      “1. ….why are people in England … fighting … to keep Scotland in the Union.”

      London answer. – because we love you Scots and know what’s best for you

      Real answer – prestige, status, oil, exports

      “2”

      … as above, I suppose

      “3. Are people in Scotland so backward that they can’t survive like any other independent country?”

      London answer – we Eton Oxbridge types know only we are bred to rule.

      Real answer – the problem is, too many Scots have had their confidence shattered by centuries of misrule.

      “4. Do people on Islay have to fly to the mainland if they break a leg and does the Islay hospital not do laundry?”

      London answer – where?

      Real answer – evidence that public spending per person in Scotland will inevitably be higher given our geography.

    201. Robert Peffers says:

      @Mark Sorsa-Leslie says: 6 November, 2015 at 8:41 am:

      ” … Brilliant work Rev. So point 1 on winning the economic Perhaps the Scottish Govt would be wise to employ the forensically minded Cuthberts to lead this and ensure we have them well in advance of the the next indyref.

      Ah” Mark, the SNP SG are wise, very wise as it happens. There is great value in getting advice on economic matters from well respected independent experts. Which is exactly what the Cuthberts are.

      The fact they are not commissioned by the SG means their opinions are far more valuable but it also means that the SG civil servants are able to express them as a second opinion.

    202. yesindyref2 says:

      I said earlier: “from “Office of the Chief Economic Adviser 2010? … who do appear to be under the control of ScotGov.”

      But I don’t think that’s true, I think it’s the Civil Service? Help!

      Dr Gary Gillespie was appointed Scottish Government Director and Chief Economist in September 2011. He provides strategic economic advice to Scottish Ministers covering a range of areas including the macro economy, constitution, fiscal analysis, labour market, enterprise policy and economic statistics.

      Gary joined the Scottish Government in 2000 from the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde. He was appointed to the Senior Civil Services in 2006 and has provided economic advice in a range of policy areas over this time including Health, Enterprise and Finance.

      Gary was appointed an Honorary Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University in January 2011.

      So, a simple guide on who is who, what is what, and who appoints whom, would be a d***ed fine idea!

      I’m not casting aspersions on him and the dept by the way (same as Audit Scotland), but they work within remits – who sets the remit? Who makes the rules? Who decides the accounting parameters? I don’t have a scoobie.

    203. Grouse Beater says:

      Ruby :If Scotland is such an economic basket case why are people in England begging us to stay, fighting with every fibre of their being to keep Scotland?

      Ruby, that is the question no Unionist has ever dared to answer because it’s unanswerable.

      Lots of them admit, and a few academics amongst them, are honest enough to proffer evidence that Scotland can succeed as an independent nation again.

      Even the dire dour Darling said so, his rejoinder … the sentimental “But I think we’re better together.”

      No one has demanded estrangement from England. No one has ever suggested building borders, walls, or alligator pits. We are asking for a grossly out-dated Treaty to be junked and a new relationship formed fit for the 21st century.

    204. Grouse Beater says:

      The Anglo two fingers to Scotland – passport rant: http://wp.me/p4fd9j-2kp

      New essay this weekend.

    205. yesindyref2 says:

      Sorry to be a bore, but it’s becoming obvious to me thanks to this excellent article which I’ll re-read a couple of times at my lesiure, that some of the absolutely totally basic questions never really got asked or answered during nearly 3 years of the Independence Referendum campaigns. I.e. who is who, what is their potential systematic bias?

      Whose “rules” do the civil service follow, there were accusations from unionists of one or two “going native”, same as we do for Dover House.

    206. Philip Maughan says:

      Brilliant. Should be included in the WBB Mark2 for the next referendum.

    207. Famous15 says:

      A good test of how damaging to the Unionist Brigade a particular article in Wings is the number of comments made by them to try to humiliate Scotland. Too wee,too poor and too stupid is what they want us to believe.

      I am tempted to jump in to refute their insults to our intelligence but personally I do not put a price on independence.

      Are they saying that of all the nations,big and small,in the Western World that Scotland with all its resources would be uniquely problematical. Sheeeesh!

    208. Andy-B says:

      Well done Rev, a fabulous and detailed look at GERS.

    209. Colin Rippey says:

      @Grouse Beater
      Ruby, that is the question no Unionist has ever dared to answer because it’s unanswerable.

      The answer is very simple. The people of Scotland were asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?” and the answer by the people of Scotland was No.

      The people of the rest of the UK respect that answer.

    210. Ruby says:

      galamcennalath says:

      Cheers very helpful answers.

      I do have some more questions. Are you up for the challenge?

      What methods were used to shatter the confidence of Scots and are Scots still having their confidence shattered?

      Which groups confidence was most shattered YES voters or NO voters?

    211. Gods Country says:

      O/T Just caught up on yesterday FMQ’s and Nicola was on top form. Did anyone notice Baroness Goldie’s face when Nicola made the leering remark about Alex Johnstone – she was like chewing a wasp. So funny. If I had the know how or technology I would put a clip up.

    212. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Grouse Beater –

      I have been agitating for a practical project we can all work together on whilst chanting hymns about Rev Stu.

      ‘Alligator-pits’?

      (Hmmm…rubs chin…)

    213. Robert Peffers says:

      @Tony Little says: 6 November, 2015 at 10:05 am:

      “”Full consensus on this article. I have read other papers, such as the ones by the Cuthberts and Naill Aslen, which convinced me that GERS is at best a decent approximation of Historical information about Scotland’s fiscal position under the Westminster / Treasury regime, but that’s all.”

      Ever since I was a schoolboy I knew lots of things that Westminster was cheating Scotland with but I also knew there were lots more for there was obviously something wrong with the final totals.

      It wasn’t until 2005 that I saw the first real take on the matter by a genuine economic expert. Niall Aslen. I copied that one out and tried to get anyone I could to listen. Things have been getting progressively cleared ever since.

      The thing is there are so many nice little earners for Westminster going on all the time that I believe the sheer number of smaller scams, in total, may actually net Westminster more than the more obvious big ones do.

    214. Grouse Beater says:

      Rippey: The answer is very simple.

      Typical of an unionist to avoid the bloody question and give the colonial answer as if it puts an end to the debate.

      The question put bluntly is this: Why does England want to keep hold of a basket case full of disloyal, ungrateful drunks? (Unionists descriptions)

      If you can’t answer that, take a hike.

    215. Fireproofjim says:

      Grousebeater at 4.29
      ” no one demands estrangement from England”. Absolutely correct. We probably all have good English friends.
      As you say, it is just about updating our relationship to make it fit for the 21st century.
      After all, in the last 70 years there have been 54 British territoriess which have gone their own way and not one wants to come back to Westminister rule. Our English friends will soon get used to it.

    216. ScottieDog says:

      Sorry all this talk of deficits frustrates the hell out of me. Here is an article written by an neutral.
      Economist Bill Mitchell wrote this a year or so before the referendum…
      http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=25895

    217. Chris Baxter says:

      “The people of the rest of the UK respect that answer.”

      Maybe they should be asked, via a referendum, if Scotland should be a part of the UK. After all, Scotland being such a drain on England – which is what the largest part of the UK has been told for years – must be very tiresome to that populus.

      Many people in England would be more than happy for Scotland to be independent.

      And your intellectual dishonesty is sickening. To suggest that is the reason for Unionist politicians wanting Scotland to remain part of the UK is a pathetic lie.

    218. yesindyref2 says:

      Like it or not GERS is still going to be the main source of “debates” about Scotland’s finances, so it’s really worth reading the Appendices, even without the main detailed parts. For instance:

      “This is a relatively large revision to estimates of Scottish spending.
      The Scottish Government and HM Treasury have worked together to ensure that the estimates in the 2014 CRA publication are consistent with the latest provisional local authority spending figures for Scotland, to ensure that future revisions are minimized.”

      Just reading the explanations, not the tables:

      http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0047/00472877.pdf

      I remember from the 2011-2012 which I read cover to cover, that the ScotGov has been working hard to uncover I think it’s called “non-atrributable expenditure” or something like that (my then economist student son stole my printed copy), but it seems they’re also working to try to get unattributed revenue. Like that from the Commonwealth Games which just disappeared into the UK Treasury, and wasn’t attributed it seems, to Scotland in spite of Scotland paying for the CG. Another underestimate of Scotland’s geographic revenues, causing an over-estimate of our deficit.

      It fair makes you sick.

    219. ian says:

      Little Rick is typical of many unionists they turn up at a gunfight armed with penknife.He would rather wallow in someone elses shit rather than his own.

    220. frogesque says:

      @Colin Rippey

      That was then, this now and tomorrow is another day.

      Even the biggest mountain gets worn down eventually. Independence is inevitable and Scotland will be free.

      If I were Union minded (and I’m not), I would worry more about your precious RUK OK and plan for how you will fair post Indy because it will be rough when Britannia has nothing left to rule

    221. Dan Huil says:

      How many unionists in Scotland realize the majority of people in England couldn’t care less whether Scotland regains its independence or not. Fluffy Mundell loves being Dave’s Scottish lapdog; meanwhile Dave and company snigger behind Fluffy’s back.

    222. Ruby says:

      Colin Rippey says:
      6 November, 2015 at 4:42 pm
      @Grouse Beater
      Ruby, that is the question no Unionist has ever dared to answer because it’s unanswerable.

      The answer is very simple. The people of Scotland were asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?” and the answer by the people of Scotland was No.

      The people of the rest of the UK respect that answer.

      Ruby replies
      Here’s the question again sorry I should have typed were and not are.

      If Scotland is such an economic basket case why were people in England begging us to stay, fighting with every fibre of their being to keep Scotland in the Union.

      You claim people in the RUK respect the NO vote.
      Why do they respect that vote? How do you know they respect that vote.
      In view of the fact that it is being claimed that Scotland is an economic basket case do you from a economic point of view think they are correct to respect that vote? Why are the people in the RUK so willing to subsidise Scotland?

      PS Do people in Islay really have to fly to the mainland if they break a leg and does the Islay hospital really not do laundry?
      Is Islay a very backward place?

    223. Grouse Beater says:

      Ask unionist trolls that infect this site with their vanity and arrogance how they would feel if the situation was reversed – if Scotland demanded England remain its docile territory.

      Can you hear the cries of anger, can you envisage the riots in the streets?

      They would give Ukip’s answer to the EU:

      “We are a sovereign state! We must retain the right to govern ourselves!!!”

    224. Iain says:

      It’s a bit of give-away that the ‘amateur blogger’ felt the need to ask economists to back up his amateur analysis.

      You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to gather a great deal from his personal revelations in the Telegraph a while ago. At this point, I think some restraint and compassion would be prudent, Stu: you can’t assume that everyone is robust.

      Anyway, it’s so pointless: you can equally well construct – if you have the motive – an argument for an independent Scotland being poor, or very wealthy, but the bottom line is that countries of the same size as Scotland, or with the same population, with no greater resources (or, in many cases, fewer) govern themselves without widespread poverty, unemployment and social deprivation. And, in fact, they are prosperous.

    225. bjsalba says:

      @gus1940
      As far as I know, my council is still paying off the mortgage debt for the houses that were sold under the “right to buy” under Margaret Thatcher. I think the sum is about £50M.

    226. Robert Peffers says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell says: 6 November, 2015 at 11:24 am

      ” … I think the key words Colin’s choosing not to read are “starting point”.”

      You are, of course, wrong, Rev Stu. Colin is doing a Nelson, “I see no ships”, sort of thing.

      Only difference is that while Nelson actually had a blind eye to hold his telescope to. Colin has a brain. He just chooses not use it, on the grounds of political expediency and sheer bloody mindedness.

    227. gordoz says:

      @ Ropey

      Pretty sure that was the unquestioning ‘British airheads’ / terrified silent majority (just) of Mr Brown that went with No.

      Good comedy factor though 🙂

    228. Chic McGregor says:

      @Grouse Beater

      Amusing tongue-in-cheek rant there.

      Mind you Ada Lovelace was nearly Scottish though, not just through her famous dad but also because she was tutored by Mary Sommerville who introduced her to Babbage.

      Mary was the most prominent female mathematician/scientist of her era, her prediction of a new planet lead to the discovery of Neptune and the first recorded use of the word ‘scientist’ was in a description of her work. There was also an Oxford women’s college founded in her name after she died.

    229. Ruby says:

      Grouse Beater did we not see some signs of what we could expect with the outrage about the SNP having influence over decisions made by UK Gov. and also with EVEL.

      Some say it was the image of Ed Milliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket what won it for the Tories.

    230. Grouse Beater says:

      Chick: “Grouse Beater, Amusing tongue-in-cheek rant there. Mind you, Ada Lovelace was nearly Scottish…”

      I enjoyed that remark, Chic! 🙂

    231. yesindyref2 says:

      @Iain
      It’s a bit of give-away that the ‘amateur blogger’ felt the need to ask economists to back up his amateur analysis.

      On the other hand perhaps it means he genuinely believed his own figures and interpretations, has read the criticism, and now has doubts that he got it right.

    232. Onwards says:

      @Angra Mainyu says:

      “I think economics should be kept out of the independence debate. However much better or worse off we become, Scotland should stand on its own two feet.
      Anyone who argues to stay in the Union on the basis that we are financially better off, is being more insulting towards the English than any of us who want independence ever have been.”

      —-

      You might think that, but polls show the referendum was lost because of economics, and a concern we would be worse off.

      The Ashcroft polling is generally seen to be the most credible on the referendum because it was undertaken immediately after the vote, when reasons for voting were still fresh in people’s minds.

      http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2014/09/scotland-voted/

      Economic risks was the main reason for almost HALF of No voters.

      Why do you think the No campaign dubbed themselves ‘Project Fear’ and their whole campaign was based on negativity ?

      It’s all very well taking the moral high ground, but we are ones who got screwed out of our oil wealth whilst London built up massive infrastructure improvements. We are the one’s facing a Tory government that had no qualms in fighting Scottish aspirations with lies and propaganda, and begging favours from foreign leaders to speak out against us.

      Of course economics isn’t the only argument, but having the extra powers to grow the economy here is one way life can be made better for people who live here.
      Isn’t that ultimately one of the main points of independence?

    233. Grouse Beater says:

      Ruby: did we not see some signs of what we could expect with the outrage about the SNP having influence over decisions made by UK Gov. and also with EVEL?

      Absolutely correct.

      The hypocrisy of the ruling elite.

      They claim we are racist for wanting genuine democracy reinstated in Scotland, and then have the temerity to say full democracy belongs to them alone.

    234. Papadox says:

      @chris Baxter 5:05pm

      OIL, OIL OIL and a downtrodden wee country with a brainwashed elderly population who’s forefathers were bought and sold by the English/Sottish Establishment for their own benefit. It appears we are lumbered with that fraudulent slight of hand and all its results.

      Had we not produced a profit for Londinium over the past 300 years then we would have been given the elbow long long time ago plus they need somewhere to keep their atomic waste, anthrax blighted test areas and somewhere for the Lordies to come to so as they can see their serfs in a natural habitat and sneer.

      The snob pseudo Establishment scotch think they are equal with the real establishment. Poor deluded souls, they are just tools of the English establishment.

    235. Robert Peffers says:

      @ArtyHetty says: 6 November, 2015 at 12:36 pm:

      ” … You don’t have to delve too deeply to see how Scotland has been ripped off by ukok for a very long time”.

      Well the Rev Stu did make exactly that point when he posted this on April 03, 2014 :-

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-historical-debt/

      I wondered then why not too many saw it as important as I did.

    236. Ruby says:

      TUT! Has Colin scarpered?

      This always happens to me. I ask a Unionist a question and they vanish.

      What’s the matter with them it’s not as if I’m asking difficult question.

    237. john king says:

      Little Rick
      “You would be far better to just say ‘I want Scotland to be Independent because I hate the UK. There’s no financial ground for doing so and we would be making ourselves poorer from day one. I don’t care’. At least it would be a statement with integrity. Instead, you’ve simply attempted to take the ball home because your team is losing.”

      Dear oh dear
      you sound a little like this guy Rick
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkM4cGfndVk

    238. Andrew Haddow says:

      “this website is gleefully happy to use them”

      Certainly it’s true that GERS is more favourable at some times than at others. It’s always rigged, though.

    239. galamcennalath says:

      Dan Huil says:
      “How many unionists in Scotland realize the majority of people in England couldn’t care less whether Scotland regains its independence or not.”

      Indeed. I am convinced that Union/ Unionists/ Unionism is a Scottish (and N Ireland) way of thinking.

      In England, the majority, as you say, don’t care. A minority in the London Establishment are imperialists and are motivated to keep Scotland in their grasp for reasons of prestige and status in the eyes of the world.

      I think Cameron isn’t quite sure which of the two he is.

    240. @BoatyJames says:

      Interesting stuff Rev. Hopefully lots of improvement to data before the next one. Keep it up ;

    241. Grouse Beater says:

      Ruby: It’s not as if I’m asking difficult question.

      Oh, yes you are! 🙂

    242. Robert Peffers says:

      @ArtyHetty says: 6 November, 2015 at 12:52 pm:

      “I happened to walk through St Andrews square in Edinburgh recently and saw some photos displayed by Shelter, portraying Scotland’s housing situation in the 1970’s. I was shocked, it looked like the 1800’s.”

      One of my abiding memories, as a boy, after moving to Edinburgh from a Pluchies Raw on a farm in the mid 1950s that had no piped services, no gas, electricity, water or indoor drainage, was standing in the St Andrew’s Square Bus stance and looking up at the high sooty buildings to the Leith Street side of the square.

      There wasn’t a whole pane of glass in any window and I saw no curtains in any window. There seemed no sign of life. It looked to me like an abandoned derelict site ready for demolition.

      To my utter horror I was to learn these were occupied dwellings. Perhaps those were the photos you saw?

      Believe me they were not the only such areas in our capital city. I was at an Air Cadet Camp outside Doncaster some years later and while taking a short cut to their bus stance I cut along the canal path. There was almost a mirror image in a large block of flats there too. So it wasn’t just Edinburgh or Glasgow that had such slums.

    243. Ruby says:

      Grouse Beater says:
      6 November, 2015 at 6:16 pm
      Ruby: It’s not as if I’m asking difficult question.

      Oh, yes you are! 🙂

      Ruby replies

      Oh dear! If he comes back I won’t ask him about the broken legs & laundry. I’ll keep it simple. 🙂

    244. Robert Peffers says:

      @Colin Rippey says: 6 November, 2015 at 1:34 pm:

      “The point is simple, in times of GERS reporting favourable numbers this website is gleefully happy to use them.”
      Pish!

      I’ve seen every GERs report since the first one and there has never been one that reported favourable numbers. They were all designed as a propaganda exercise to prove Scotland a basket case.

      I did not believe the first one and a don’t believe the current one.

    245. Colin Rippey says:

      One last wee thing. If you’re at all of a mindset of “is everything I read here true or is there any counter-argument”, here’s a link for you read and decide for yourselves:

      https://whytepaper.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/meme-busting-wings-over-scotland-infrastructure-spending/

    246. Colin Rippey says:

      @Robert Peffers
      I’ve seen every GERs report since the first one and there has never been one that reported favourable numbers. They were all designed as a propaganda exercise to prove Scotland a basket case.

      I did not believe the first one and a don’t believe the current one.

      Yep, some guy on the Internet.

      Robert “it all started with the Romans” Peffers.

    247. Phronesis says:

      A wonderfully informative read and should be in the WBB2 & printed off as a stand alone document for wide dissemination- a condensed version with would also be welcome.

      Embedded knowledge is power.

    248. Robert Peffers says:

      @Colin Rippey says: 6 November, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      “The people of the rest of the UK respect that answer.”
      Pish!

      It is very telling that you are so very, very desperate to retain Scotland under the UK, (de facto parliament of England).

      However, nothing succeeds like an idea whose time has come. The idea of Scottish independence is here to stay

      We are not going back in the box and the facts are plain. No matter that the English subjects of Her Majesty the Queen respect the result of the last referendum, the legally sovereign people of Scotland have a legal right to leave the union if they so choose.

      Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! Bang!

    249. yesindyref2 says:

      @Colin Rippey
      I saw that blog before, much better put together than Kevin Hauge’s, but was immediately put off by this on an article:

      “The first thing to clear up, then, is that the VAT bill has absolutely nothing to do with the overspend. Exemption from VAT would not free up any revenue budget for Police Scotland because the Scottish Government reimburse the VAT through a separate pot.”

      Ummmmmmm, didn’t the author stop to think that the Scottish Government’s budget is therefore cut by that “VAT reimbursement”?

      Oops. I didn’t bother reading on.

    250. Ruby says:

      Colin Rippey says:
      6 November, 2015 at 7:13 pm
      One last wee thing. If you’re at all of a mindset of “is everything I read here true or is there any counter-argument”

      Ruby Replies

      Great you’re back! Forget the question about the broken legs & laundry. All I need is an answer to my other very simple questions

      I pointed out earlier that I don’t read spreadsheets or blogs about economics so I wouldn’t have to ask myself anything other than the simple questions I asked earlier.

    251. Robert Peffers says:

      @Colin Rippey says: 6 November, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      “Robert “it all started with the Romans” Peffers”

      Trouble is with that poorly constructed retort, Rippey, is that all evidence proves it to be so and you have nothing whatsoever to disprove the facts. While I can quote several Roman reports that prove the Romans did indeed use their postings in South Britain to further their political status back in Rome.

      Frome that point there has always been, one form or other, of a Germanic Tribe in charge of running south Britain.
      The laughable fact is that modern genetics prove less than 5% of the people of the entire British Isles, far less England itself, are actually of Anglo-Saxon descents. You are of the same aboriginal Hunter Gatherers/farmer stone age Britons as the rest of us.

      Englanders have been a subjugated nation since the Romans arrived in South Britain. The remnants of those Germanic overlords still sit in the House of Lords.

    252. Ruby says:

      FYI Colin When someone directs me to a blog that has no comments I give it a miss.
      This thread has around 250 comments the one you suggested people read has 1 comment and it is dated 15th September 2015

    253. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi john king.

      Re: your Kezia/Brewer video link.

      I just LURVED her comment:

      “What does it mean to be a Labour Party member? Well, you get to vote for the leader and it just so happens that’s something we do quite a lot…”

      Yi kidnae mak it up…

      8=)

    254. Angra Mainyu says:

      Onwards, I get it. Your argument is shared by about 4 billion people and is everywhere. It’s wrong though. You’re fighting for ground that you don’t even particularly want if you try and win unionists over with an economics-centric argument. And if that isn’t the point of the argument then what is?

      Spin it around — would you give up hopes of independence if a Unionist directed a compelling economic case for staying in the Union at you? No.

      The economics battle, like the trenches of World War One, is a product of two sides repeatedly trying to outflank one another and it has resulted in an equally miserable stalemate. Nobody can ever win that argument and, even if they could, as I suggested above, it wouldn’t lead to winning the war.

      Hire a few top Scottish economists to come up with a positive once and for all answer to the question of Scottish economics and declare that particular argument over forever.

      Win the heart and the mind will follow every time. When all is said and done, It was our hearts that brought our minds here.

    255. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Rippey is bleating about how when the GERS are looking a bit better then they are lauded here and that makes it all different. Well, the thing is, given that GERS has its inherent flaws, when the figures occasionally show things in a good light, how much better MUST they be in reality without all the fudges built into them?

    256. Colin Rippey says:

      @yesindyref2

      Ummmmmmm, didn’t the author stop to think that the Scottish Government’s budget is therefore cut by that “VAT reimbursement”?

      Oops. I didn’t bother reading on.

      Why don’t you have a straight forward debate with the blog author? You don’t strike me as someone who cannot articulate an argument, and yet…

      @Ruby
      I’m not sure what question you want answered. I’m guessing you’re separatist mindset had rendered you incapable of understanding the simple notion that the people of the rUK just don’t want to see the nation they are citizens of broken apart.

      @Robert Peffers
      But Robert, good old King Billy I wisnae a German, he wis a Norman! (I hear Dan Brown is looking for some nutcase conspiracy theories that span millenia, he’s done the religious ones, maybe he’d be welcome a vast multi-century, continental spanning epic tale of “I am oppressed”)

    257. JLT says:

      The thing is …this is what quite a number of Unionists have failed (and continue to do so) when they try to understand the mindset of those who had a slightly ‘wider and worldly outlook’ to Scotland and her place in the greater scheme of things.

      The Unionists …from the years going on from the moment that the starting pistol was fired for the Referendum, scrambled to the internet pages, government websites, newspapers, Eddie Izzard, and found what they believed was the answer. They then pointed at us and shouted ‘it’s the economy, stupid!’

      To those of the independently minded persuasion …it was never about the economy. It was about choice. It was about having the ability, and the 100% control of all those choices that attracted half of Scotland to independence. It was probably the key feature to the whole debate. One factor that arose from the Referendum was moving from the thought of independence to what we would like. The argument shifted from ‘independence for Scotland’ to the more thought-provoking discussion of ‘what sort of country would we like to have’. Our thoughts became more focused on what would make us a better people …and people bought into it. Half of Scotland liked what they heard. Choices about ‘what could be’ attracted just under 2 million of us.

      Independence was the path to making those choices, but once Scotland became independent, then we had that greatest of gifts in our hands; the choices to do what we wanted, and take Scotland in directions that had only been dreamed off.

      That was what the Unionists never got.

      It was about ‘Choices’.

      And without being too insulting …our reply could easily have been ‘…it was never about the economy, stupid!’

    258. Patrician says:

      As you say, GERS was originally set up to obfuscate any debate about Scotland’s finances and still does the same job today. The use of GERS in any debate about finances, as far as I concerned, automatically marks that person as having no understanding of Economics.

    259. JLT says:

      @Robert Peffers
      But Robert, good old King Billy I wisnae a German, he wis a Norman!

      Eh!

    260. Ruby says:

      Colin Rippey says:
      6 November, 2015 at 10:38 pm
      @Ruby
      I’m not sure what question you want answered. I’m guessing you’re separatist mindset had rendered you incapable of understanding the simple notion that the people of the rUK just don’t want to see the nation they are citizens of broken apart.

      Ruby Replies

      Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    261. JLT says:

      Mr Peffers …just read my last post and it looks like I’m directing that comment at you. Just to say that I am not, and am actually directing it a Mr Rippey who seems to be appropriately named. William was a ‘Norman’. What?!?!?

      News to me! Never realised that the Netherlands was conquered by the Normans. That must have been the ‘really northern, northern part of Normandy’.

    262. K1 says:

      Ruby…LOL 🙂

    263. Colin Rippey says:

      @Ruby
      What an amazing response (did you do a wee copy/paste job or did you actually type all that out)

      Pretty much sums up your contribution.

    264. Colin Rippey says:

      @JLT
      Guessing that your school didnae teach you about the battle of hastings then?

      Probably not.

    265. K1 says:

      The ‘Patronising Mr Rippey’.

    266. yesindyref2 says:

      @Colin Rippey “Why don’t you have a straight forward debate with the blog author?”

      I don’t do tutorials.

    267. JLT says:

      Rippey my lad.

      First …there is only one King Billy and we know who he is. I have never heard of King Billy of Normandy.

      Now …William the Bastard …yes, heard of him. King Billy of Normandy …no.

      And Hastings …bugger all to do with Scotland. England was conquered; not Scotland. Why would we be taught it?

    268. Colin Rippey says:

      @yesindyref2
      I don’t do tutorials
      And here’s me thinking that all your talk about bottling was something to do with whisky, guess I’m mistaken.

      In all seriousness the more debate the better, but bouncing stuff around in here is preaching to the converted, maybe a wider audience would benefit from your wisdom?

    269. Colin Rippey says:

      @JLT
      Yes yes, I know we don’t really refer to William I as Billy, but Mr Peffers likes to wax lyrical that all our ills can be traced to millenia of “Southern Britain” rulers. Just pointing out the Norman conquest.

    270. yesindyref2 says:

      @JLT
      Ah, Hastings. Now he was really into Glam Slam dunks. Shame about his politics but it’s all free choice after all.

    271. yesindyref2 says:

      @Kevin
      This blog gets 300,000 views per something or other, day, week, whereas the other seems to be hardly even read. Why on earth should I bother imparting my gems of wisdom there?

    272. Chic McGregor says:

      @JLT
      “‘…it was never about the economy, stupid!’”

      I know what you mean, and I concur. Whether the Scottish economy is better placed or worst placed, both are equally reasons for independence.

      But the good news for us independistas it is the former.

      Ignore U-massaged accountancy sleight of hand, look at the basic resource, production and population facts.

      It’s obvious an independent Scotland would be a stellar pro rata performer economically as well as flourishing culturally in an atmosphere purged of the stench of imperial decay.

      The real and attainable prize, is a social structure more in keeping with the mores and cultural benchmarks of the Scots themselves and the learnings that could impart to others.

    273. Chic McGregor says:

      “The ‘Patronising Mr Rippey’.”

      More like ‘Rippey’s Believe It Or Not”

    274. K1 says:

      He fancies the cut of your gib yesindyref2, you’re too good fur us!

      ***sobs*** please don’t go over to the dark side yesindyref2… 🙁

    275. yesindyref2 says:

      @K1
      The Force is strong with you.

    276. K1 says:

      Very good Chic, had to look that up.

      Wiki: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is a franchise, founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims.’ 🙂 Apt.

    277. Angra Mainyu says:

      “Now …William the Bastard …yes, heard of him. King Billy of Normandy …no.”

      Heeee heeee heee

    278. Sandy Henderson says:

      Ant/Hetty;-
      Composed a reply to you response last night regarding problem children. It was quite lenghty, but, darn, I pressed the wrong button.
      Synopsis of same. Quote was true. Another stated that when advised to go home, his reply was that he couldn’t, he was locked out.
      Anyway , I somewhat agree with you & certainly respect your opinion.
      Your observation in St,Andrew Square was viewed. Re my reference of our returning to Victorian times. Take a look at Glasgow 50s/60s in the archives, Gorbals,etc. Unionist governments!!!
      I was lucky. brought up in the north – Scotland, of course. Clean air, healthy lifestyle but nothing to spend, area neglected, yet always found something to do.
      My point is, & I refer to a post already made this evening, we have the fundamentals to make this country a fit & proud place to live in. We have surplus of food, surplus of energy, skills, untapped resources, history of inventiveness, etc. & they are being filched away, same as Maggie’s top secret theft of hydrocarbons. Imagine how better off we’d be. That would in turn reflect on the welfare of our fellow citizens. We are in a reality at the moment & that reality is a RUT.
      Cotntrary to what you may think, I am on YOUR SIDE & have been for my 60+ years.
      Power to our elbows!!! & the rest.
      PS – I also have a sense of humour.

    279. Sandy Henderson says:

      Al Capone got the jail for cooking the books. Now is it possible that —–. No?

    280. Sandy Henderson says:

      Mr Rippey. who were the Normans?

    281. JLT says:

      Colin Rippey says:

      @JLT
      Yes yes, I know we don’t really refer to William I as Billy, but Mr Peffers likes to wax lyrical that all our ills can be traced to millenia of “Southern Britain” rulers. Just pointing out the Norman conquest.

      Ok. On a more serious note …Colin, I’ll admit that I have had the odd debate with Robert over the years, but his knowledge on history is pretty damned good.
      In one sense, he is right. England suffered for a good 1000 years through various conquests. First you had the Romans who conquered everything upto the Firth of Forth; then you had the Germanic invasions of both the Saxons and Angles, and finally, the Norman conquest (though I still believe William of Orange’s army that entered England in 1688 was an ‘invasion’).

      Whatever invasion hit England, somehow ended up affecting Scotland. Romans …yep; fought the tribes north of the Forth; Germanic invasions …yep; affected areas all along the east coast of Scotland; Normans …yep; conquered England; invited into Scotland …hell, even William of Orange’s invasion of England had huge consequences for Scotland.

      So what Robert is saying is pretty spot on. In my view, both Scotland and England are twin-sister Kingdoms. Both founded roughly in the same decade, and if England was invaded, then Scotland suffered from it also, in her own way.

    282. Ruby says:

      Colin Rippey says:
      6 November, 2015 at 10:38 pm
      @Ruby
      I’m not sure what question you want answered.

      Ruby replies
      It’s no wonder there are zero visitors to his blog!

      These ‘Sensible Dave’ types are just irritating just a waste of time!

    283. heedtracker says:

      These ‘Sensible Dave’ types are just irritating just a waste of time!

      Sensible may have quit yesterday. He couldn’t anyone to say tory voters are “good people” and it got to his usual “say it, say it, say it, SAY IT” tantrum stage of toryboy rule britannia fury.

      Come back when you’ve calmed dear sensible, methinks:D

    284. Colin Rippey says:

      @JLT
      So what Robert is saying is pretty spot on.

      If we are to take Mr Peffers points seriously, he believes that the Romans setup a ruling elite class in “Southern Britain” and that somehow, somehow, that same elite ruling class has persisted throughout the intervening years.

      That throughout the dark ages with successive Viking invasions, through the Norman conquest, the wars of the roses, the Tudors, the Stewart/Stuart dynasty, and on and on, that the same elite ruling class as setup by the Romans is *still* in charge?

      That the Norman invasion didn’t remove the elite ruling class that had existed for the previous millenia, that the Tudors didn’t replace the elite class, that when James VI Scotland (descended from a Norman) came South and became James I England he left the all the elite ruling class in place.

      JLT, you believe this to be true?

    285. Ruby says:

      heedtracker says:
      7 November, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Sensible may have quit yesterday.

      Ruby replies

      I noticed he left me mile long post before leaving. I took one look at it and thought ‘That man is madder than a box of frogs!” I think I’ll revert back to totally ignoring him even if he is prepared to pay me £150 per post.

      This Colin Rippey well he’s madder than not just a box of frogs but a whole pet planet of barking dogs!

    286. heedtracker says:

      JLT, you believe this to be true?

      UKOK unionist Scotch history really sucks the fat one. The Romans got kicked out of Scotland by the people they called the Picts. We know this because apart from a few artifacts along the Antonine wall, there is NO Roman domestic archaeology in Scotland.

      What there really is, is a string of huge Roman marching camps around the Grampians up to Inverness but that’s it, nothing Roman whastsover.

      And the Celtic culture that got wiped out by the Romans in England lives on today, which is pretty good for a culture several thousand years old. It’s somehow survived the Romans. the Vikings, the Angles and the Saxons and finally the English.

      If Scotland had not been sold for a few cart loads of gold 300 years ago, we’d be celebrating our Scottish culture and history but instead, its England all the way, explaining to us just how shite we really are right down to the charmers of the Red Arrows that didn’t even have the decency to fly Scotland’s colours over the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

      All this is changing and will keep on changing and unionists can pretend its not happening and keep on forcing it down as hard as they like.

      You fcuked up UKOK types, You “gave” the Scots their parliament back.

    287. K1 says:

      Heed, he’ll be back…he has to get the last word in.

      Sad watching him twist into raging knots when he doesn’t get his own way, like a child tossing his toys around. Still waiting for him to answer why he votes Tory.

      The man’s living in an 18th century bubble, and can’t bring himself to acknowledge his own conditioning. Nor the suffering that has been caused, historically and currently by the ‘policies’ and ‘values’ of the Tory party, he supports, across these isles.

      Have the strong sense though that he’s more ‘lonely’ than ‘troll’.

      It’ll be curious to see his next ‘intervention’ bestowing his ‘brilliance’ and ‘insight’ into Scottish politics.

      Kept him off the other threads for a day or two though, it was worth that for the uninterrupted flow, for a change. 🙂

    288. heedtracker says:

      K1 says:
      7 November, 2015 at 1:19 pm
      Heed, he’ll be back…he has to get the last word in.

      They tend to go too far and lie low for a while then come back as different characters

      My Slovene girlfriend is a classic UKOK toryboy attack propagandist but they always give the game away

      https://twitter.com/ProfTomkins?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    289. JLT says:

      @Colin Rippey

      That the Norman invasion didn’t remove the elite ruling class that had existed for the previous millenia, that the Tudors didn’t replace the elite class, that when James VI Scotland (descended from a Norman) came South and became James I England he left the all the elite ruling class in place.

      Can’t believe 5 posts later, we are still discussing this.

      Colin …the answer is ‘Yes’. As an example, during the Wars of the Roses, various Dukes (Somerset, Suffolk, York) all lost their hereditary Titles and Lands by having them confiscated. They would later on get them back through grovelling, or deciding to fight for the other side. Sometime families even fought on both sides to keep lands and titles within a family.

      However, the major families may have disappeared since a Duke might only produce daughters. This has happened countless times. Therefore, husbands would take on the title of their father-in-law. A prime example of this was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. He inherited a couple of titles on top of Warwick title (Earl of Salisbury).

      After the War of the Roses, the upper establishment to a degree had been decimated allowing lesser noble blood to rise up. It is said that it was one of the reasons how the Tudors eventually succeeded over the Houses of Lancaster and York.

      Even after the War of the three Kingdomns (or the old title of ‘The English Civil War’), many of the nobility inherited their titles and lands back after Cromwell was removed and Charles II was placed on the throne.

      Power structures within the nobility shift and move like moving sand, but all the time, the structure remains. Queen Elizabeth, Charles and William are all Battenberg’s or of the House of Hanover, and yet, they can trace their lineage back to the Plantagenet’s, then yes …it is roughly the same setup.

      The only wobbly period is really from the 5th century onwards to roughly around the 9th century. This was the early dark ages, and therefore, written accounts are very, very vague. But from the 10th century onwards, then yes …it literally is the same establishment setup.

      So sorry, but Robert Peffers wasn’t far off the mark.

    290. Taranaich says:

      I think people who constantly rail about how Scotland “couldn’t afford” to be independent just don’t realise or appreciate the sheer amount of money the UK government wastes on useless vanity projects every year:

      £6 million was wasted on developing new earplugs for the Ministry of Defence… which didn’t work, so had to be scrapped;

      £7.2 million was wasted on a mobile mine detection system which also didn’t work, so had to be scrapped;

      £21.2 million was wasted on a Bangladeshi road maintainence project which was cancelled when it was discovered less than 10% were actually spent on roads;

      £100 million was wasted on a new IT system which – of course – didn’t work, so had to be scrapped;

      £6 billion has been wasted so far on two aircraft carriers that don’t actually have aircraft to carry (after they sold off the still-serviceable Harrier fleet at a knockdown price);

      £20 billion was wasted because the UK government seems “intensely relaxed” over public sector fraud;

      £25 billion was wasted on public sector procurement & outsourcing blunders.

      And this is all before you get onto things like the sale of RBS/Northern Rock, PFI, DWP changes that have cost more than they’ve saved, tax evasion, Gordon Brown’s Gold Rush, and so forth – and even that’s before policy decisions like not spending money on nuclear weapons and “UK” projects that don’t go north of the Trent, let alone the Tweed.

      I’d like to think an independent Scotland wouldn’t necessarily be as profoundly wasteful as the UK government has been in the last 40 years.

    291. Cuilean says:

      As the sun has gone down on ‘the old lie’ & pretty poppy poses for another year the truth remains undisturbed. The Belgium/Dutch Flemish site below depicts banned pictures of the ‘Great War.’ Click on one picture to see next. Graphic.

      http://www.greatwar.nl/frames/default-picnic.html

      I wish the BBC would show these rather than pretty poppy ‘art installations’ flushing out of windows.

    292. Graeme mcCormick says:

      GERS won’t go away. We have to deal with it because Unionists will keep hammering away that current levels of public expenditure in Scotland can’t be sustained without increased taxation and/ subsidy by U.K. Tax payers.

      By replacing all taxation with an Annual Ground Rent which we can do under Devolution we answer that challenge completely. AGR will raise more public revenue while leaving most of our income in our pockets.

      It’s so easy and cheap to collect the administrative savings alone is enough to build two new bridges across the Forth each year.



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