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An unexpected alliance

Posted on February 04, 2014 by

We’ve already mentioned this in passing, but it’s worth pulling out in its own right, because people hardly ever bother to click links in features and it’s kind of important.

Late last year we had a bit of an epiphany in terms of realising the implications of Scottish Labour’s draft proposals for giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote in the independence referendum. We suggested that the plans were in fact a trap, which would be a disaster for Scotland and see billions of pounds of cuts in the Scottish budget.


What we weren’t expecting was for Labour MP Ian Davidson to confirm it for us.

Here’s what Davidson said in today’s Daily Record. Emphasis ours.

Scottish public spending would suffer a cash squeeze under Johann Lamont’s plans to devolve all tax-raising powers to Holyrood, a leading Labour MP has warned.

Glasgow MP Ian Davidson said the Barnett formula that gives Scotland a bigger share of UK government spending would be lost if the party go for full tax powers for the Scottish Parliament.

The Labour chairman of the influential Commons Scottish affairs committee said it ‘would undoubtedly be to Scotland’s detriment’.

Most Holyrood MSPs, led by Lamont, think the policy is needed to offer undecided voters an alternative to independence in the September referendum. But many Labour MPs think the Barnett formula would be lost and that Scotland’s role at Westminster would shrink.

And here’s what we said in November was the reality of Lamont’s plan:

“1. End the [Barnett] Formula, by which Scottish spending is higher than the UK average. At a stroke, that strips something like £7bn (or around 28%) out of the Scottish block grant, making English voters happy.

2. At the same time, grant Holyrood ‘more powers’ by allowing it to set Scotland’s income tax rates in their entirety, which can be portrayed as a gesture of major devolution (and indeed, technically is).

3. Now, to fill the huge £7bn hole that’s just opened up in Holyrood’s coffers (because Barnett’s gone, but all the North Sea cash is still going to Westminster), the Scottish Government – not the UK government – is the one that has to make swingeing cuts to services or whopping tax increases.

4. The Tories, meanwhile, can use the devolution of taxation to further reduce the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster – because Scottish MPs will have fewer responsibilities – and also to reduce their influence by finally excluding them from votes on matters that don’t affect Scotland.”

Can you identify any meaningful differences between those two analyses, readers? Because we can’t. (Perhaps the only minor one is that we suggested the Tories would be the ones to reduce Scottish representation at Westminster. But realistically Labour would also have to in the event of devolving all taxation – it was, we should remember, Labour who slashed the number of Scottish MPs from 72 to 59 in 2005, expressly as a consequence of the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.)

So to recap: we said that Scottish Labour’s “more devo” proposals would mean the end of the Barnett Formula, a massive squeeze on Scottish spending as a result, and fewer Scottish MPs at Westminster.

Ian Davidson, putting the counter-argument for the No camp, says they’ll mean the end of the Barnett Formula, a massive squeeze on Scottish spending as a result, and fewer Scottish MPs at Westminster.

We’re not accustomed to finding ourselves in total agreement with the Labour member for Glasgow South West. But on this occasion, we can’t dispute a word he says, because we said all of it ourselves two months ago. It should be fun watching “Better Together Labour” types calling their own man a liar between now and September.

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  1. 24 11 14 19:03

    The real McPravda | FreeScotland

107 to “An unexpected alliance”

  1. desimond says:

    Rev…does this mean that Ian Davidson is your Beatch?

  2. scottish_skier says:

    Hi Ian. How are you today?

  3. MajorBloodnok says:

    I was trying to work out what Ian Davidson is up to but after not much reflection it seems as though he’s positioning himself to replace Lamont come a YES vote (her constituency and possibly leadership position?). He wants it all, and maybe even that jacket.

  4. Peter Macbeastie says:

    Perhaps Ba’heid is actually using this site as a source of good analysis, same as most of us?

    Be nice of him to credit you for the work; but then he is a bit of a moron. I was struggling to find a polite insult… I temper my normal flowery language sometimes, but when Ba’heid’s name comes up it gets really, really difficult not just to go f***ing w**ker……..

  5. Grant says:

    Is it not time for “English Scottish Labour” to finally become Scottish Labour and stand together and support the YES vote united.

  6. MochaChoca says:

    With North Sea revenues being ex-regio (or whatever) these are NEVER coming to Scotland within the Union. The double whammy here is that the efforts of c200,000 Scottish workers generate this ex-regio revenue and are therefore not generating on-shore CT receipts.

    Diddled (twice) as usual.

  7. John grant says:

    Davidson openly saying labour selling us down the river , witch WE all know anyway , Christ they really are in a mess

  8. JasonF says:

    For all the talk at the moment about further proposals from Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories, the only thing that can be delivered is ‘devo a little bit more, maybe’.

    Ken Macintosh’s statement, reported yesterday, is far more likely: “There is pressure on us to have a devolution offer. But my belief is that if there is a No vote people will not want to talk about the constitution for a very long time.”

    It’s also worth remembering that talk about the removal of the Barnett Formula – that more powers equals cuts to Scotland – probably sounds to a lot of people like Scotland is subsidised.

  9. Bigdrone says:

    What a mess Lab/Slab are in! They seem hell bent on self destruct. The plot is/has been lost, completely forgetting their principals along the way.

  10. Thomas William Dunlop says:

    You forgot an important point.

    They will use theirs powers to strengethen the hand of their buddies in local authorities, thus reducing power in Holyrood, now that it is “enemy occupied territory”

    Scotland becomes a cash cow to milk for all its worth to support the rest of the UK & London.

    Nice people.

  11. Gillie says:

    Labour are in a mess north of the border over the “wee things”.

    I think Ian Davidson’s real concern is the reduction in the number of Scottish MPs. That puts him directly in the firing line for getting the boot because Glasgow SW is one of the smaller constituencies.

  12. Macart says:

    Covering his back and putting some options out there springs to mind.

  13. G H Graham says:

    Davidson obviously wants North British Labour in Scotland to have the majority in Holyrood, if for no other reason than belligerent political dogma. Seems reasonable though.

    So why rubbish the leader of North British Labour in Scotland?

    I think he’s hedging his bets because he is starting to believe there is a possibility of Scotland voting for independence. If that happens, his career in Westminster is finished. So what then?

    Well, the only place he would have a more comfortable place to nominate himself for a seat would be in Scotland. Yes, there are plenty of seats around the shires of England but what chance would a Scottish MP post independence have in getting nominated by Labour for a seat in England? I’m guessing very low.

    So if this career politician is keen to maintain his tax payer funded lifestyle with all the expense perks that come with the job, only Holyrood can provide that.

    Holyrood may not have the glamour & prestige of the Commons or provide a route to a Lordship but at least an MSP role would pay more than the Community Service Manager’s job he used to have before becoming an MP.

    Would he be more effective than Johann Lamont? Who knows but unlike Lamont, at least he can always be relied upon to give his political opponents “a right good doin'”.

  14. Triskelion says:

    So he fianally gave Lamont a doing, couldn’t keep it to himself. It’s so weird that he’d do something like that, I’m inclined to agree with MajorBloodnok’s theory on why he did it, I can’t think of any other explanation.

  15. Luigi says:

    Is Davidson and his Scottish cronies at Westminster really concerned about a bad deal for Scotland, or are they really concerned about their own jobs?

  16. Craig M says:

    What a tight rope these Labour types are walking. You can gradually see some of them move to a sitting on the fence position, waiting to see what happens in September. As they are all career and self driven, there will be more of this hedging of bets.

  17. Chic McGregor says:

    “But my belief is that if there is a No vote people will not want to talk about the constitution for a very long time.””

    Never going to happen. Any obligation to haud wheesht for a generation evaporated along with MSM impartiality.
    Everything has a cost.

    Hopefully, we will not have to wear our “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted YES” and “We Told You They Were Lying.” T-Shirts, but to murder a homily, ‘We’re keeping our soap powder dry.’

  18. Alec says:

    Just a minor point –

    The Boundary Commission sets seats and boundaries – not the Labour party.

  19. cjmasta says:

    I really hope some prominent former unionists come out and say to the people of this country that a NO vote will see Scotland stitched up once again by Westminster and will only damage Scotland further whilst they continue to bleed the wealth from our veins.
    We truly have no option but to vote YES, I just hope that enough people realize in time.

  20. Training Day says:

    “Any obligation to haud wheesht for a generation evaporated along with MSM impartiality.
    Everything has a cost.”

    Succinctly and correctly put, Chic. Hell mend the Unionists.

  21. Jimbo says:

    What Stu said back in November was said out of concern for Scotland.

    What Davidson said today in the Daily Record was said out of concern that he and his ilk would lose power at Westminster.

  22. ScotsCanuck says:

    I believe this is Davidson & MacIntosh maneuvering for the ouster of Lamont, all the posturing and not very thinly vailed criticism indicates blood on the carpet very soon.
    This Night of the Long Knives within Labour’s North British branch will be ugly and the odds of the party surviving in it’s present form, are slim.
    However, this could be the very promp Lab4Indi require to step up and declare they are Scottish Labour.
    Any thoughts Mr Grogan?

  23. Greannach says:

    Davidson, Sarwar and Sincerity Jim will all be upping their game and making their presence felt as much as possible in Scotland from now on. In the event of a Yes vote, if they can’t find a seat in England or Wales to take them on, they’ll need to transfer their expenses to Holyrood. Labour MSPs of the less -than-household-name variety must be worried. There’s no way they’ll be allowed to continue to stand for Holyrood when the big boys have to move north. So, Davidson needs to get into the media big-time. We should see a lot more of Sincerity Jim and Sarwar soon too.

  24. MochaChoca says:

    The Boundary Commission sets seats and boundaries – not the Labour party

    Acting for the government perchance?

  25. cjmasta says:

    Basically if there`s a No vote we get what they want us to have not what we want and need to have.

  26. Papadocx says:

    No I think there will be a lot of bad feeling and anger should there be a NO vote, bumpy road ahead. The skulduggery and blatant lies being spun by HMG and their cohorts aren’t going to be forgotten about, and the ruling classes will want to rub our noses in it cause their the bosses and the EBC will be only to willing to show us how powerful they are.

    A NO vote will not be the end of this thing of ours it will just be the start. Remember the unionists never mis an opportunity to mis an opportunity. They are the ruling class, were just the cannon fodder.

  27. Alec says:

    One thought springs to my mind. If Westminster offer you the oil revenue plus full income tax powers in exchange for the scrapping of the Barnett formula, would you take that?

    If that £7B figure for the excess under Barnett quoted above is correct, it means that oil revenues have been well above this figure for just 2 years since 2007/8, but below it for 2, and about the same for the other 2. (

    Overall, oil revenue is significantly above the Barnett formula excess over this period, but with everyone agreeing in a decline in oil output, albeit with significant price and therefore revenue uncertainties, trading Barnett for oil would be an intriguing gamble.

    The SNP would struggle to say no to this, I feel, as it smacks of a lack of confidence, but it would be a fascinating play from the south.

  28. Tasmanian says:

    “Alliance” is the wrong word. “Accidental co-belligerent” is more accurate I think.

  29. MajorBloodnok says:

    Hello Alec,

    I think we all know that whoever is in power in Westminster has ‘influence’ over how contituencies are defined. I mean, how else does one explain East Renfrewshire, created, so it was said, to ensure a safe Conservative seat in the west of Scotland. Jim Murphy has it now, nuff said. Next you’ll be saying that Westminster works for the benefit of all peoples of these islands wherever they live and whatever their income or personal circumstances…

  30. Alec says:

    @MochaChoca – “Acting for the government perchance?”

    So let’s just get this right.

    The sitting Labour government loses a hat full of Scottish seats thanks to the boundary commission that is acting on their behalf?

    Hmmm…- there’s a logic flaw in there somewhere. I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

  31. heedtracker says:

    Lord Chairchoob bayonets his boss, in the back too. Why did Record hacks slice the top of his heed aff for his close up?

  32. Jimbo says:

    @ Greannach

    I’m sure I read somewhere that Slab passed a motion, in the event of a YES vote, Westminster MPs were barred from standing as MSPs.

  33. wee 162 says:

    Expect more of this sort of stuff in my opinion. Labour MP’s and MSP’s are for the most part careerists. If any one of them looks like being someone who can read the runes properly they are going to be positioning themselves well for post independence.

    If you can stay on message that’s something. But you aren’t going to get too many points for staying on message with something which is a disaster with voters and which is going to marginalise your party.

    I expect some “robust” internal discussions are happening within Labour atm. The constant negativity of BT hasn’t worked. Scare stories are being debunked quicker than they can be made up. How do you change tack now unless it’s with some comprehensive devo-max proposals. Income tax is only one small part of the tax base.

    It will never be officially endorsed, but someone or some groups within the Labout party are likely to start speaking with a much more pronounced Scottish accent over the next few months. And it’s pure self preservation. They can point back post September 18th to their dissidents and say “we were looking at Scotlands best interests, keep voting for us now”.

    They’re starting to lose, and it’s searching for the lifeboats time. Better to be early rather than late when you’re doing that.

  34. mato21 says:

    It needs to be remembered those in Holyrood can hold as many commissions as they like.

    They can offer the moon with bells on if they so choose, the only fly in the ointment is that they have no power to offer anything

    The only people who can offer anything at the moment are the Con/Dems who are in power at Westminster and who will still be in power when the negotiations start, and we all know what they want us to have should it be a no vote

    This needs to be said day in and day out so that no one is
    in any doubt


    See that wee country called Scotland these past few days they have produced winners in tennis, golf and cricket and are sending the medal hopefuls to Russia

    Well done to all

  35. Linda's Back says:

    O/T Its time the “Scottish Banks” nonsense was put to bed.

    Regarding BPs intervention. They are happy to do business in a small high tax separatist currency country like Norway which is outside the EU. I am sure the Scottish government would be happy to pay £2 bn to take over their risky uncertain future in Scotland’s Continental Shelf in exchange for the 50 years of guaranteed profits.

    On their web page BP state that they have been operating in Norway since 1920. Today our main activity is the exploration and production of oil and gas covered through BP Norge AS. We have a very long term and high activity level in Norway. Our work currently takes place at five of our own fields Ula, Valhall, Hod, Tambar and Skarv on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

    Major project BP milestones in Norway

    By early 2013 two major project milestones had been reached. The Skarv FPSO field development offshore the coast of Nordland, started production on December 2012. The field is expected to produce for 25 years or more. Around 80% of the resources is gas and the remaining 20% liquids. The production is expected to reach 165000 boe by end of 2013.

    At the Valhall field in the most Southern part of the Norwegian North Sea, a new process-and hotel platform has been installed. The new platform started production successfully in January 2013. Production from Valhall is expected to build up to around 65,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day with the lifespan of the Valhall field probably reaching out to 2050.

    Our people and partners
    We currently employ a workforce of around 825 people, many of whom work offshore. Stavanger is the main centre for BP Upstream activities in Norway. We also have an operations support office for Skarv at the Horvnes supply base, Sandnessjøen in Nordland County. BP in Norway and partner Hess have plans to further develop the Valhall area, through the greater Valhall Programme which may add two new 25 slot platforms one in Hod and one in the western area of the Valhall field.

    We also have a significant portfolio of major modifications and upgrade activities on the Ula and Skarv assets. These activities include a flare and power upgrades as well as potential future tiebacks to our facilities. In addition, there is significant activity associate with the gradual decommissioning and removal of facilities related to Valhall. We are currently building a significant project organisation in Stavanger to handle all these activities.
    Community investment

    Much of our focus is on education and support development of local industry in particular in connection with the Skarv development in North Norway. This is done through various industry seminars where we inform about BP contract strategy, standards and HSSE expectations. Close contact with local central and local governments is key to create mutual benefits.

    In schools we help to raise standards in the two subjects most relevant to our own work – maths and science. The national website is a good example of one of our education initiatives. The website has been developed to build interest in mathematics and is aimed at students, teachers and parents. Over the last years several thousand pupils in 10th grade at secondary modern school at Helgeland have been given introduction to BP, Skarv and advice on education. In addition 2000 pupils from higher secondary level visited BP at vocational exhibition.
    We also work with the local university in Stavanger and Bodø in Nordland. This may cover challenger intake, project work and lectures.

    Fundraising is another activity that we’re regularly involved in. The annual Norwegian telethon/fundraising campaign has become a tradition within BP Norge.

    BP’s Chief Executive Iain Conn went to Loretto school just like Alistair Darling.

  36. Luigi says:

    “But my belief is that if there is a No vote people will not want to talk about the constitution for a very long time.”

    My belief is that if there is a No vote, many traditional Labour voters will not forgive the Labour party for a very long time.

  37. misteralz says:

    You did, and you read it here. The title was ‘burning the lifeboats’ or something similar.

  38. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Be nice of him to credit you for the work; but then he is a bit of a moron. I was struggling to find a polite insult… I temper my normal flowery language sometimes, but when Ba’heid’s name comes up it gets really, really difficult not just to go f***ing w**ker……..”

    Ian Davidson is many things, but he’s not stupid. He’s one of the sharper of Labour’s minds, which admittedly isn’t saying much, but he’s a league above some of their other diddies. He’s certainly not the brainless thug some would use his accent to paint him as.

  39. call me dave says:

    OMG! Head of BP states GB should stick together. Like weeds these stories reappearing on cue through the BBC to order trying to deflect attention away from the dismal week ‘better together’ have had. A good dose of Scottish common sense will eventually kill them off. I’ll get my paraquat… Oh banned by the EU.


    Another good one from Mr Bateman.

  40. John Walsh says:

    I have been saying for sometime now.41 Scottish Labour MP’s at Westminster know the “The gemme’s a bogey”,So they are eyeing up a seat in Holyrood.They are the self preservation society all aboard the gravy train.lookout Johann.

  41. Onwards says:

    If Labour proposed a genuine Devo-MAX settlement as an alternative to independence, including oil and crown estate revenues replacing the Barnett formula, there is a good chance this could hammer the YES campaign – Independence would still be far better, but enough people would be happy enough with that.

    As it is, the vote looks like it is going to be close – not many voters will be fooled by empty promises of meaningless change..

    If labour really wanted to hang on to their Scottish votes, they are playing a dangerous game.
    Especially when Ed Miliband probably needs every Scottish MP once UKIP voters come back to the Tories for the general election.

  42. Moujick says:

    Thus we come to the real crux of the issue for the likes of the Labour Party and their promises of more Devolution. I can’t remember who it was but somebody commented recently (and it was some sort of constitutional expert) that within an asymetrical devolution system (i.e. what we’ve got at the moment) Scotland actually has about as much power as can be devolved without instituting major constitutional change. Total devolution of Income Tax might sound like a big deal to a lay person but actually (as pointed out in the article) withough devolving other taxes could be damaging to Scotland unless other significant Taxes are devolved as well.

    Is there any likelihood that other Taxes will be dissolved as well? Of course there isn’t. When you have Labour MPs kicking and screaming at the thought of Income Tax are they going to line up in support of Full Fiscal Autonomy? Of course not. JoLa’s Devolution Commision will go one of two ways. Either it will include the Income Tax Powers and will be savaged/disowned by members of her own party, or it won’t and will offer barely more than is coming through the Scotland Act anyway. Whatever of those routes pans out, it should be a major boost to the pro Indy lobby as it will conclusively show that substantial powers will only be delivered via a Yes vote.

    Yes Scotland need to be really on their game come this announcement though because nae doot the Scottish MSM will spin it for all their worth as “major new powers”. The Pro Indy side need to highlight either the weakness of the package on offer or/also the splits/divisions within Labour Ranks. These divisions are real because the Labour Party are between a rock and a hard place – they know they have to ofer something to counter Independence but they both know that they can’t offer much beyond what is currently there without radically altering the UK Constitution and lots of them don’t want to do that anyway.

    They will be in disarray come March over this and it gives us a massive opportunity to swing the necesarry numbers of Labour voters our way come 18th Sept.

  43. HandandShrimp says:

    Is it significant that this jostling for position and lead on policy comes after Lamont was officially mocked in the largely Labour supporting press? I came I saw I squandered is an epitaph if I ever saw one.

    There is nothing quite so disturbing to view as a politician smelling blood in his own party ranks.

  44. Murray McCallum says:

    O/T just heard Ivan McKee give a good account on BBR R5 Live.

    Managed to quickly correct a few BBC position statements, e.g. “multinationals are pro status quo”, get his points across despite initial interruptions, and by the end was making a good case for himself being the BBC economics / business advisor.

    With regard Lamont and Davidson, how unseemly it is to see two politicians who are fighting to prevent Scotland being a country running its own affairs effectively trying to position themselves to be its First Minister.

    If I was a Labour MSP or Councillor who was getting on with the task of delivering a service to their constituents I would be well pissed off. New OneNation Scottish Labour seem to be ‘on pause’ with internal restructurings and avoiding public debates.

  45. TheGreatBaldo says:

    There is nothing quite so disturbing to view as a politician smelling blood in his own party ranks.

    Thought that when I saw Ken McIntosh on Scotland tonight last nicht.

    Considering he won the popular vote, nae suprising he’s broken cover to set himself up a the ‘king over the water’.

    I think Labour is heading for a civil war regardless of the outcome in September…might make more sense to make his move then.

  46. Jimbo says:

    @ Greannach

    Here it is – thanks to Misteralz

  47. MochaChoca says:


    Are you saying the Boundary Commission acts fully autonomously in deciding the number of MPs?

  48. Findlay Farquaharson says:

    there should be nothing for the likes of davidson, lamont etc in our independent scotland. nothing.

  49. Andy-B says:

    Yip read this article this morning in the Daily Record, good to see Davidson and Lamont, at each others throats, over which lying direction to take. Overall this is just another stage of the complete and utter melt down of SLAB and, their London masters, over ideas on what rubbish to offer Scots to halt independence. Pig in a poke springs to mind.

  50. Cath says:

    Ken Macintosh’s statement, reported yesterday, is far more likely: “There is pressure on us to have a devolution offer. But my belief is that if there is a No vote people will not want to talk about the constitution for a very long time.”

    I agree entirely with him. And it won’t matter a jot that us “cybernats” want to carry on shouting about it. The politicians in Westminster and its parties and their media lap-dogs won’t want to talk about it. All they’ll want to do is gloat and shout about how much UK taxpayers money the Jocks have wasted over their stupid separation referendum and how it can be stopped ever happening again.

    And promises of more devolution are lies.

    Credit to any Labour politician willing to stand up and tell that truth to the Scottish public. I hope those willing to accept it will be examining their conscience hard and deciding which side their on. There are only two sides – yes and no. Yes includes: SNP, Green, SSP, CND and a variety of other grouping. No includes: the Tories, UKIP and a variety of other mostly pretty nasty groups.

    The choice is for the individual. But “Scottish” Labour’s position of fence-sitting and jam tomorrow is untenable.

  51. Cath says:

    “deciding which side they’re on. Sorry. Missing the edit function 🙁

  52. Monty Carlow says:

    “The Boundary Commission sets seats and boundaries – not the Labour party.”

    Historically, recognising the reduced influence of the smaller countries, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had a parliamentary representation which was slightly more than proportional, but still overwhelmed by English representation. The Westminster Parliament decided to remove this “advantage”, and determined by legislation that the number of seats in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be reduced so as only to be proportional to the electorate. The current legislation is here.

    The Boundary Commissions do not determine the number of seats – they just obey what the Westminster has by legislation directed them to do in this regard. The Boundary Commissions (one for each country)then put forward proposals for individual constituencies and boundaries.

  53. HandandShrimp says:

    Did the BBC cover the chap being arrested for making death threats against Salmond? I see both the Scotsman and the Herald have it. I wonder if the BBC would ignore an arrest regarding a death threat against……well just about anybody come to think of it.

    Did the Mail cover it? 🙂

    PS I am sure the miscreant is a complete Twitter fanny and about as dangerous as a Gonk but that is by and by.

  54. Edward says:

    You may be correct. Ive predicted on a few times that it will be a blood bath as the in fighting starts to grip Labour in Scotland, with recrimination after recrimination
    Indeed we will have a night of the long knives, perhaps a number of nights of it.
    There is no real love lost between the MSP’s and MP’s
    The Labour MP’s thinking they have more power, when they don’t, but like to think they do and the MSP’s at logger heads with the MP’s
    Mr Crogan should keep his powder dry for the time being, let Labour in Scotland slug it out, then see who is still left standing.
    Lamont knows she doesn’t have much time left in Holyrood and any hope that she had of following Joke MacConnell into the Lords is evaporating faster than the salty water of the Dead Sea!

  55. Peter Macbeastie says:

    Ah, Rev, please don’t misunderstand me. He is a thug, but he is not a stupid thug. He simply uses every tool at his disposal to get his way and one of those tools is labelled ‘thug.’ I don’t label him anything because of his accent; I live in Glasgow and I’m well aware that accent means nothing; some of the stupidest people I know speak with perfect, clear, diction. Some of the most intelligent I can barely understand without a translator because their accents are so strong. I’m not exactly devoid of accent myself, and my normal tones played back to me make me think I sound like the slow half of Pinky and The Brain.

    I consider him a moron because in common with most Labour MP’s he seems to believe everything wrong in Scotland is wrong because they’re not in charge. He’s a moron because he, as MP for Govan, said that defence work should be stripped from the Clyde if we vote for independence; his opinion clearly mattering more than his constituents.

    Stupid? No. Intensely dislikable? Definitely.

  56. misteralz says:

    Jimbo, 2:24

    That’s the one. Can’t easily do stuff like that on my phone!

  57. MochaChoca says:


    “Hmmm…- there’s a logic flaw in there somewhere. I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

    I don’t think I suggested the UK government would be acting logically.

  58. Andy-B says:

    American Bob Dudley, and chief executive of BP, worried over independent currency. Dudley say in his own opinion “Great Britain is great and ought to stay together.” I wonder who’s pulling his strings.

  59. Andy-B says:

    Lord Freud says “I’m not going to help the Scottish Government ban the “Bedroom tax.” Scottish Government trying to get around Westminster rules, by setting up a homeless fund.

  60. Annibale says:

    Shouldn’t New One Nation Scottish Labour be abbreviated to NON Scottish Labour? Just seems appropriate somehow.

  61. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

    Major B
    Trust these baws in your face, pro-Brit, carpet-bagging elements – to wit, the Chairchoob (Major) as primus inter pares – will have their opportunistic, pseudo-democratic candidacies for a seat in a re-sovereign Scots parliament stuck up their collective, parasitic arse.

    Bless them, had it been post-revolutionary Russia or France, they would have already been booking their tickets to more hospitable climes; but will any neo-liberal hijack of a state have them?

    Too Dads’ Army tainted.

    Ladbrokes offering odds on their optimum destination or Conor Cruise O’Brien, fifth columnist compromise?

    Am up for the “stateless”, superficially whinging compromise buttered by an equally whinging remnant of the pro-British rump of the MSM devoid of the propagandist Beeb as their gold standard of telling utter, bald-faced lies: Them doing an inglorious runner, in effect. Or biding and undermining.

    Anyone checked their bank accounts?

    But, hell’s bells, a chap and chapette must make a prostituted living.

  62. heedtracker says:

    Davidson’s not a moron. He’s reclining in his £6000 expenses bought chair in London, watching the spectacular vote No, anti Salmond/SNP propaganda pouring out of the BBC/ITV/press back in Scotland and he’s thinking, I want a taste of that action.

    BetterTogetherLabour triumph Sept this year, Labour landslide and shiny new Scottish First Minister Ian Davidson barely 18 months later. Or cling on backbencher for Milliband. Either way, we’ll be sorry.

  63. scottish_skier says:

    One thought springs to my mind. If Westminster offer you the oil revenue plus full income tax powers in exchange for the scrapping of the Barnett formula, would you take that?

    Consistently in polls over many years ~2/3 want all taxes devolved to holyrood, from VAT to oil to corporation tax. Dev Max / FFA / whatever you want to call it.

    Only control of defence and foreign affairs – that last step into the big wide world – is what the devo maxers are havering on.

    So your answer is yes.

  64. Murray McCallum says:

    It’s odd to hear Bob Dudley talk about the dangers of “uncertainty” when he seems to have placed much of BP’s future success (20% stake in state controlled Rosneft) into the hands of how Russian politicians (Vladimir Putin in particular) handle big business.

    He must dance to a different little tune as he travels around the world.

  65. JasonF says:

    “Any obligation to haud wheesht for a generation evaporated along with MSM impartiality.
    Everything has a cost.”

    Succinctly and correctly put, Chic. Hell mend the Unionists.

    With Labour, the Lib Dems, the Tories and the BBC and the rest of the media having secured a No vote, and with a third of the population happy with the result, together with a large section fed up with an effective three-year campaign, it’ll be very difficult for calls for more debate to be heard.

    It’s a vote for independence in September, or a high chance of no more than a minor tinkering with devolution (or less devolution) in the years to come.

    Any substantial powers will need to be approved by Westminster, and with a general election in 2015, and a EU referendum on the cards sometime after that, trying to get anything like devo max talked about will probably be close to impossible.

  66. Paul Martin says:

    Even *if* Holyrood SLAB come out on top on this punch-up, there’s absolutely nothing that will hold Westminster SLAB to carrying out the program. If (lots of if’s here) …*IF* UK labour win, you can easily see how changes in supposed circumstances and UK priorities will kick this into the long grass. They can do a power-play on Holyrood SLAB and leave them for dead. In fact a minority Westminster Labour govt might not even last long enough to implement anything. End result – we’d have got NOTHING.

  67. KillieBoab says:

    Anyone else been violent to their radio today?

    When the BBC news, which ignored the FT story yesterday, lead with Bob Dudley’s personal, non-voting opinion on independence I could have crashed the car, such was my haste to change the channel.

  68. Peter Macbeastie says:

    Funny, in a kind of sick way, that the huge banner headline of yesterday in the Record about the end of the Bedroom Tax is replaced today by a far smaller, doubtless nowhere near the front page (I saw it on their website) report that Westminster have refused to allow the Scottish Government to allocate it to discretionary spending.

    You’d have thought that they would scream that from the rooftops, that the Tory/ Lib Dem coalition had prevented the Scottish Government from helping those affected by the Bedroom Tax, but no, barely a whimper. No mention, last I looked, of it on the BBC Scotland or STV news pages. But the BP executive, clearly speaking from his ‘own’ opinion, gets blanket coverage. And of course, no mention of the report in the FT either. A respected business broadsheet puts out information that strongly suggests Scotland’s independent start point would be rather dramatically more impressive than even the wildest dreams of die hard Nationalists, and naturally the BBC et al make no mention of it. Bias by ommission.

    Our media is so blatant with its bias it no longer even pretends to be anything else.

  69. Morag says:

    HandandShrimp said on the previous thread that he thought the BBC had got worse since the bias report. I agree. My impression from the tone of the submission they sent (patronising and peremptory) and the continuing flood of “independence warning” headlines, is that someone is determined to go on doing exactly what they have been doing only more blatantly, just to show they’re not ashamed. Backing off might be taken as a tacit admission the report had some truth in it, and we can’t have that!

  70. Dorothy Devine says:

    I came here to be cheered up having visited the Iain Martin article on the DT – now someone please give me some really happy news and please , please leave the DT to their lovely unionist commentators.

  71. Chic McGregor says:

    “American Bob Dudley, and chief executive of BP, worried over independent currency”

    Perhaps we should explain the petrodollar to him.

  72. Alec says:

    @KillieBoab – “When the BBC news, which ignored the FT story yesterday…”

    I posted this on the FT thread earlier –

    The BBC (in England at least – not sure about BBC Scotland) ran major news items on the economic numbers back in September on the main news bulletins. They covered the fact that Scotland has higher revenues and higher spending, and looked at the suggestions that including oil, Scotland per capita income was better than rUK’s.

    The FT story isn’t new, and has been pretty well covered by several media outlets – I’ve certainly picked this story up several times in England.

  73. call me dave says:

    Murray McCallum

    On tv you saw the slight hesitation, as he, unseen, crossed his fingers, and then spoke from the ‘better together’ script.
    “Great Britain is great and ought to stay together.”

    Darling is doing the chess equivalent of circling the wagons, marshalling his remaining forces for a last stand, we are near the end game.

    It’s tricky and so far, the ‘First Eck’ has been two or three moves ahead. I trust his team to continue to chip away at the remaining unionist pawns and capture a few major pieces.

    As for ‘Scottish’ labour they’re far away over the horizon playing snap.

  74. KillieBoab says:

    Agreed Alec, the story is not at all new. It has though not been thought worthy of coverage by our extremely biased media, on this side of the border.

  75. KillieBoab says:

    Agreed Alec, the story is not at all new.

    It has though not been thought worthy of coverage by our extremely biased media, on this side of the border.

  76. Les Wilson says:

    Luigi says:

    Was that really a question??

  77. Chic McGregor says:

    “it’ll be very difficult for calls for more debate to be heard.”

    If Scotland loses the referendum, the chickens will come home to roost very quickly. The true parlous state of the rUK will be apparent in its manifestation.

    It will be precisely those who were duped into voting no in error who will be clamouring most>/i> for a rematch.

  78. MajorBloodnok says:


    BBC Scotland studiously avoided the FT story yesterday, as they usually do with any positive stories about Scotland.

    Where such avoidance is difficult they will try to run a spoiler – for example last year when the GERS report came out (based on UK government figures and clearly putting Scotland’s economy in a positive light, actually rather conservative in relation to the FT article) the BBC for days was full of some obsolete leaked ‘secret’ Scottish cabinet discussion paper, relating to pensions, spun to look like some sort of underhandedness and deviousness on the part of the SG, when it was nothing of the sort.

    The fact is, BBC Scotland is hand in glove with Scottish Labour (through political or business associations or by marriage) and therefore is the voice of the Establishment up here.

    You see now what we are up against, and therefore why this website is hardly straight down the line impartial (as you pointed out on another thread), although it is meticulously and comprehensively referenced, where feasible.

  79. MochaChoca says:

    When the 2011-12 GERS figures were released back in March 2013 they suggested Scotland would be better off independent to the tune of £824 per head.

    The FT article seems to indicate the figure would be £1321.

    Has there been some further analysis that has brought this change?

  80. Alec says:

    @Majorbloodnok – “…actually rather conservative in relation to the FT article”

    The trouble was, the FT article was highly non committal. It pointed out that Scotland has a better starting per capita GDP, but is likely to face higher pension costs and reducing oil revenues, and also pointed out that Scotland has significantly higher current public spending. Overall, the FT article actually said that Scotland could get better or worse under independence. Nothing more than that.

    I think the misunderstanding regarding the newsworthiness of the FT article on here stems from some big mistakes in the analysis given to it on the original WOS post.

    The author took the FT figures that show Scottish Gross Value Added (not quite the same as GDP)as being 11% higher than rUK. It then applied this 11% increase to current state expenditure – a complete statistical miss step anyway – and then used the resulting figure to say that Scots would be £X better off.
    This was completely inaccurate.

    The spending figure is a cost, not an income to start with, and the FT article said this is already significantly higher than in rUK. This cost needs to be deducted from the GVA figure. Then you can work out how much better off Scotland would be.

    As the FT article didn’t specify how much higher than rUK per capita average Scottish spending is, we are not able to work out from the article how that 11% of GVA translates into an actual increase in potential wealth.

    The FT article also showed a chart analysis of the aging issue in Scotland, which wasn’t referenced in the WOS commentary. This suggests Scotland will face higher pension costs in the future, along with falling oil revenues.

    Overall, I thought the FT article was very balanced. It made clear that independent Scotland has some real opportunities, but also faces risks, but didn’t deliver any knock out blows either way if it was read properly.

    This is why is wasn’t newsworthy – people are jumping at shadows on this one I’m afraid.

  81. Alec says:

    @MochaChoca – that £1321 figure is entirely and completely bogus I’m afraid, and absolutely not what the FT said.

    Not everything you read of WOS is “meticulously and comprehensively referenced” I’m afraid.

  82. velofello says:

    @ Alex and scottish skier – accept oil and gas revenue and income tax powers in exchange for scrapping the Barnet Formula?

    No I would not take the offer. Power to change arrangements in future, call it sovereignty if you wish would still rest with Westminster.I can hear the future Westminster words – “We cannot be tied to arrangements of a previous government, we must be allowed to govern for the benefit of the whole United Kingdom”. My work life experience in management was a hands on course in Perfidious Albion. Just contemplate on the sleekit charges that are placed to Scotland’s account that say, 5 years back most of us had no knowledge of.

    Oh, and keep your eye on Mr Sillars Ian Davidson. much tougher adversary for the topspot at Holyrood than Wee Lamont or McIntosh.

  83. MochaChoca says:


    The article shows a gap between govt revenue and spending of £2939 per head for the UK as a whole and £1550 per head in Scotland

    If Scotland operated with the same deficit per head as the UK as whole (all other things being equal, which of course they won’t be) we would have £1389 per head more to spend in Scotland. No?

  84. Training Day says:


    Morag is correct – the BBC have actually ramped the bias up several gears since the publication of the UWS report, as if to show they can do exactly as they please. Avoidance of the FT story, circling the wagons around Lamont even more obviously, and making the opinion of an American lead story on their website, with the obligatory puff from Douglas Fraser to support it.

    Incidentally Blair McDougall is now claiming in his latest missive that Mr Dudley has been characterised as a ‘British Nationalist’ by supporters of self-determination.

  85. MajorBloodnok says:


    Well balanced the FT article must have been, because the usual BBC schtick is to highlight the negative and ignore or minmise the positive when reporting on such articles. Clearly there was still too much of the latter in there for them to risk mentioning it.

    And the fact that stories aren’t new and therefore ‘newsworthy’ doesn’t stop them from endlessly reporting on such stories, reanimating old scare-stories that have been comprehensively debunked on numerous occasions, if they display a kernal of fear that they can draw out again, thereby linking into old discredited memes and lies. That’s what determines ‘newsworthness’ in BBC Scotland, the Labour Party PR desk and the Scottish MSM.

  86. Linda's Back says:

    Alex says resorts to BBC excuse mode by stating Oh the FT story is not new.

    Well neither is Madrid’s view on EU membership or London’s view on currency but that doesn’t stop the BBC repeating them Ad nauseum

  87. JasonF says:

    While the BBC should continue to be brought to task on their reporting, fighting them at this stage is a waste of time and energy (both of which are better spent trying to get a Yes vote); better to bypass the BBC and the rest of the media, which seems to be what Alex Salmond was hinting the other week (as he has done in the past) when he talked about knowing that there wasn’t support in the media.

  88. Peter Macbeastie says:

    “The trouble was, the FT article was highly non committal. It pointed out that Scotland has a better starting per capita GDP, but is likely to face higher pension costs and reducing oil revenues.”

    I can’t speak for pensions, Alec, but if you can find me any example where a reducing resource has become cheaper I’ll apologise for assuming you’re believing UK Government propaganda as opposed to data based in facts. Oil value has increased year on year for quite some time now, but somehow the UK Government is of the opinion that Scottish independence will somehow reverse this trend. Figures, naturally, reported by the OBR… who are about as good at predicting trends as Mystic Meg.

  89. MajorBloodnok says:

    Also the FT article assumed that Scottish Government spending commitments would carry on from the UK’s current state – however, after independence I doubt we’ll still be paying for 9.9% of Trident, HS2 to Birmingham, the London Underground, refurbishment of London’s sewers, new nuclear power stations and subsidies to fracking companies in England, the House of Lords, illegal wars, etc., so we might have a few more billion bob to spare (not to mention getting all that lovely VAT and tax for companies that operate in Scotland but pay tax in London).

  90. Alec says:

    @MochaChoca –

    “The article shows a gap between govt revenue and spending of £2939 per head for the UK as a whole and £1550 per head in Scotland

    If Scotland operated with the same deficit per head as the UK as whole (all other things being equal, which of course they won’t be) we would have £1389 per head more to spend in Scotland. No?”

    To be honest, it took me a little bit of head scratching to work this out (I didn’t grasp at first that we were talking different numbers) but the answer is still no, although due to a surprising finding.

    The chart in the FT contains a significant typo. Where is gives the charts of income and spending, for UK, the relevant numbers are £9,342 and £11,381 (note that this is a deficit)with the deficit labeled as £2,939. This is a typo – it should be £2,039, against the Scottish figure of £1,550, meaning that Scotland’s deficit per head is £489 less than the UK.

  91. Albert Herring says:

    He’s one of the sharper of Labour’s minds

    I once had the dubious pleasure of standing in the cold all day outside a polling station. My duties included taking the piss out of Ian Davidson, who was also present for much of the time.

    The quality of his attempted rejoinders unfortunately did not suggest that I was in the presence of a massive intellect.

  92. Alec says:

    @Peter Mac Beastie oil prices are rarely that predictable – see

    and note the big ups and down post 2007.

    Sure, oil prices are likely to increase in general over time, but it won’t be a smooth path, and it will need to cover falling production. It’s a really difficult one to predict with any certainty.

  93. muttley79 says:


    “BBC Scotland studiously avoided the FT story yesterday, as they usually do with any positive stories about Scotland.”

    You could take out the usually and it would be more accurate.

  94. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “meaning that Scotland’s deficit per head is £489 less than the UK”

    Good spot. But that’s still £489 better off – oddly close to the mythical £500 figure. And, once again, it assumes identical spending choices in an independent Scotland, something which would render independence pointless.

  95. Alec says:

    @Alec – When you wrote – “As the FT article didn’t specify how much higher than rUK per capita average Scottish spending is, we are not able to work out from the article how that 11% of GVA translates into an actual increase in potential wealth.”

    you were clearly talking complete bollocks. Whether it was trying to get your tea in the oven at the same time, or the fact that your laptop has been playing up I don’t know, but that was clearly rubbish.

    In your later post, you refer to the FT chart that shows the revenue/expenditure, so you can try to work out how much better off Scotland could be if GDP/GVA is 11% higher than the UK average and you make some assumptions regarding the additional tax take from that increase.

  96. creigs1707repeal says:

    In the apocalyptic scenario of a NO win in the referendum, all of these may well come to pass (whether Ian Davidson likes it or not). But there is potentially a wee fly in the ointment here.

    One of the outcomes of this Devo-More move would be to further reduce the number of Scots MPs being returned to Westminster (presently 59 MPs). Last time round with the advent of the Devolved Scottish Parliament we saw an 18% reduction in Scottish MPs going to Westminster. If Holyrood is given full income tax raising powers then Westminster could we ask for another 18% reduction in Scottish MPs, reducing the figure from 59 MPs to around 49 MPs being returned from Scottish constituencies.

    Do you see where I am going with this? Reducing the number of Scots MPs inevitably results in fewer but much larger Scottish constituencies. This will have the effect of dramatically diluting the Labour vote in west central Scotland (and elsewhere of course). Where in the past Labour might return 3 MPs from three individual Glasgow constituencies, now they have been merged into 1 much larger constituency returning now only 1 MP. But depending upon how the boundary commission redraw the Westminster electoral boundaries we could find that large swathes of areas with high concentrations of SNP voters is now included into traditional Labour territory making the outcome in these new constituencies much less predictable and possibly to the detriment of Labour.

    At the last UKGE, the SNP obtained 20% of the vote but received only 10% of the seats under First Past the Post. Labour won 70% of the seats with only 41% of the vote. The SNP’s vote seems more evenly spread across the country thus fewer, larger constituencies should help it return more seats to Westminster and, who knows, perhaps even a majority.

  97. Ken500 says:

    Has Rider000 invaded the thread?

    Under A alias

  98. creigs1707repeal says:

    @ Alec

    “…Sure, oil prices are likely to increase in general over time, but it won’t be a smooth path, and it will need to cover falling production. It’s a really difficult one to predict with any certainty.

    Uncertain this, not sure that, who knows what. You do like to inject lots of uncertainty into your posts, don’t you. (That’s not a question–just an observation).

    Have you ever looked at the volatility of the Financial Markets which accounts for 11.6% of the UK’s tax revenue? If you want to see volatility have a gander at that. Basing a large part of your economy on something as fickle and as volatile as the finance industry (where greed and corruption is rampant) is absolute lunacy. Such an industry can be described as a casino and any country in the world can operate one. Not every country has black gold in its back garden and I would rather have the relative solidity of black gold in my back garden than a casino bank, thank you very much.

    It is not the volatility of oil price that will cause the UK problems, it is the volatility of the money markets that will cause (and HAS caused) the UK problems. And given that it seems these bankers have failed to learn their lesson, doesn’t ogre well for the future.

    The negative effects of the volatility of the oil price and tax take (which is generally only ever volatile in an upwards direction) can be smoothed out and pretty much mitigated not with one Oil fund, but with two–and that is precisely what the Scottish Government’s White Paper proposes.

    In short, we have it covered. Why do you think Norway is one of the very few countries that has no debt and was barely affected by the 2008 financial crash? How is it that Norway now owns around 1% of all world stock? A country very similar to Scotland but with more of its eggs in one basket than Scotland is doing very well regardless of oil price volatility. With independence, I see little reason why Scotland cannot emulate their success.

  99. MochaChoca says:

    Well spotted, amazed no-one else picked up on this. Disappointing but £489 per head is still a significant sum.

  100. creigs1707repeal says:

    Sorry – “augur well” not “ogre well”.

  101. Croompenstein says:

    FFS..Ian Davidson isn’t a liar!

  102. Semus says:

    O/T My Czech friends ,all of them have the UWS report on BBC bias. They are having a discussion on it tomorrow morning on Radio Sazava,Prague.It is a small independent station.It took a little time to get the “technical” language and background translated. Perhaps BBC are awaiting a Czech translation for broadcast. Friends in Krakow in Poland also have the report. I regularly send Wings articles and other items to Prague, Bratislava,Kosice and Krakow.
    Our “zamizdat”is appreciated there.

  103. call me dave says:


    Well done. Spreading the word on Scotland’s cause.

  104. Morag says:

    Samizdat? You know, I never thought of Wings in that way, but you know it’s absolutely bang on right. Samizdat that anyone can access for free, and no need to wear out the duplicating machine.

    We should probably give Tim Berners-Lee the freedom of Scotland when this is all over.

  105. Andrew Morton says:

    Brilliant BTL post by Craig Travers under the Daily Record Ian Davidson story,

    “10:14 AM on 4/2/2014

    I am ashamed of him, he is our local MP and he is scared that he won’t have a job representing our area in which he is mostly invisible as he will lose out on all the nice perks of being a MP

    The NO party have still to, once, explain the benefits of remaining part of the UK and they are all doom and gloom, this strengthens my resolve to vote YES as at least they YES campaign are coming with ideas and suggestions and things we can do as an independent nation, some ideas are pie in the sky, we know that, we should have confidence to govern ourselves

    The was an instance in the 79 Devolution vote, the No campaign, said a vote YES would put the 35,000 ship yard jobs at risk and of course, it voted NO, they No campaign are no using the same tactic, a YES vote will put the 3000 jobs at the ship yards at risk

    My question is this, what happened to those 32,000 that were meant to be safe being staying part of the UK?”

  106. A2 says:

    Overheard Quote of week (said in jest but based on….)

    “I think I’ll probably vote yes, but don’t tell anybody as I’d like to keep my job” (BBC employee)

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