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Another unfortunate oversight 484

Posted on January 30, 2019 by

Earlier on today we reported on a case of a Scottish Labour MP being inadvertently unacquainted with some quite pertinent facts regarding a public pronouncement they’d made. While we’d assumed this to be an isolated incident, it’s in fact our sad duty to report another example within the Northern Branch Office.

That’s the pro-Brexit former Labour minister Tom Harris, there, making just the sort of statement that this site like to fact-check. So let’s see the most recent data.

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An innocent misunderstanding 126

Posted on January 30, 2019 by

We had a brief exchange with Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney last night.

But the thing is, he’s exactly, diametrically wrong about that.

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A Pyrrhic Suicide 250

Posted on January 29, 2019 by

One thing that pretty much everyone agrees on is that an independent Scotland, like almost every nation on Earth, would face financial challenges. Like almost every nation on Earth, it would probably have to run a deficit. And the main reason for that is the decades of stupendous mismanagement of its oil resources by Westminster.

Had the UK managed North Sea Oil as well as Norway handled a very similar amount in the same period, it would be currently sitting on a sovereign wealth fund in the region of £750 billion, generating many billions of pounds in investment earnings in most years – in 2017 alone Norway’s fund returned a staggering £100 billion, over three times the Scottish Government’s entire annual budget.

Even with Scotland sharing that money with the entire UK, that would have meant around £9bn extra in Holyrood’s coffers for a single year – by coincidence roughly the size of the so-called “fiscal transfer” that Unionists insist is a gift from the generous UK, even though it’s actually a loan Scotland has to pay back – and a rainy-day fund of close to £70 billion for years when times were bad.

(For perspective on how much £9bn a year is, the most optimistic estimate of the extra money that would be raised by hiking top-rate income tax to 50p is about £0.1bn.)

All of that, of course, is now spilt milk. But there are decades of oil left in the North Sea yet, with huge new finds still being made, and an independent Scotland would have the opportunity to show that it could do a much better job of shepherding its precious wealth, and in particular hopefully investing it in harvesting the nation’s near-limitless potential for clean renewable energy.

And yet there are those who would throw it all away for an empty gesture.

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Sharpen your pencils, readers 528

Posted on January 27, 2019 by

Because it looks like you’re going to need them.

If the Scottish Government can’t pass a budget it’ll fall, and with no majority for any alternative administration that’ll leave no option but to hold a general election.

Meanwhile, at Westminster, the UK government is running out of time to get a Brexit deal through Parliament, and facing all kinds of procedural shenanigans which may very well lead to a UK general election.

Should that happen, the UK will likely ask the EU for an extension to Article 50, which would take us past the European elections in May, which would mean that the UK would have to take part in those elections  too (because you can’t have a country that’s still an EU member state having no representation in the European Parliament).

Scottish or UK general elections could lead to a new independence referendum, a new Brexit referendum, or both, sending Scots to the polling stations up to FIVE times (and the rest of the UK up to four) in a matter of months, with all the attendant campaigning, colossal expense, economic uncertainty and governmental standstill that such insanity would bring about.

Good luck, everyone.

When wishes father fantasies 339

Posted on January 25, 2019 by

Obviously this site will be making no comment on the criminal allegations now facing Alex Salmond for legal reasons. But amidst a frenzy of gleefully lascivious coverage in the Scottish media (the Daily Record in particular can barely contain its delight), there’s another thread of punditry that does need addressed.

Because it is, not to put too fine a point on it, bollocks.

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Today in Brexit 215

Posted on January 23, 2019 by

Then:

And now:

Chris Cairns is on holiday 932

Posted on January 19, 2019 by

Yes, still. Yes, again. But don’t worry, we still have a cartoon joke for you.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Scottish Labour Party.

The Prisoners 350

Posted on January 18, 2019 by

You wouldn’t know it to watch the black-hole-scale mess our politicians are making of it, but the thing about Brexit is that it ISN’T an insoluble problem. That two of the supposed “partners” in the United Kingdom are being forced out of the EU against the will of their people is a political choice, not a necessity.

There are numerous perfectly viable ways to practically address the fact that Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain while Wales and England voted Leave, none of which are especially outlandish.

Last July this site put forward an idea that respects the referendum result in all four constituent nations and would have wide public support. Yesterday the Guardian published a variant on the concept with lots of strong technical detail. And earlier this week we suggested another approach which could break the current deadlock.

But the stupendously incompetent Tory executive running the government, and the equally useless notional Labour “opposition”, have both handcuffed themselves across the emergency exits, preventing any hope of escape from disaster as the country burns down around everyone’s ears.

We no longer have a union. We have a hostage situation.

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Life moves pretty fast 747

Posted on January 16, 2019 by

The Prime Minister is a lying idiot 53

Posted on January 14, 2019 by

The extremely sharp and perceptive New Statesman writer Stephen Bush buries some of his political insight in a daily email newsletter (because, we assume, his fax machine doesn’t work, you can’t send telegrams any more and London flats don’t have enough room to keep a lot of messenger pigeons or let you send smoke signals).

And it’s a lot easier just to quote you a chunk of today’s than it is to rewrite the same observations into a new article ourselves.

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Meanwhile in the Scottish media 197

Posted on January 13, 2019 by

Nicola Sturgeon attended a meeting of the SNP NEC yesterday.

Or maybe she didn’t.

One of these people/publications, inescapably, is flat-out lying to their readers about the event in question. Given the Scottish media’s ingrained habit of lying about pretty much everything almost all of the time, we honestly wouldn’t like to hazard a guess as to which one of them it was.

A comment on recent events 59

Posted on January 13, 2019 by



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