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Buried in plain sight

Posted on May 08, 2014 by

The Times sells a paltry 18,155 copies a day in Scotland, and its website is locked behind the most expensive paywall of any publication that we know of, so not many people will read its Scottish stories in their original location.

Of course, we’re sure anything important would be prominently featured across the rest of the media just like yesterday’s big pensions news was, so there would be no need to reproduce the whole thing here.


Still, better safe than sorry, eh?

[EDIT 12.47: A spectacularly different spin on the exact same story here.]

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    61 to “Buried in plain sight”

    1. Drew says:

      Will not hold my breath.

    2. gary see says:

      You can see this report and a bunch of their other reports on Scotland here

    3. Derek Morison says:

      BBC spins this report as ‘CURRENCY UNION UNSUSTAINABLE’

    4. handclapping says:

      A fantastic example of the petty minds of Westminster. You cannot have a currency union unless we have absolute control. Up come two top economists saying bollocks.

      Look at the directives from Brussels and how other countries “impose” them and compare with the gold plated instructions with 100 page “notes” that we get from Westminster.

      Westminster isn’t working for us, any of us and that includes the English

    5. heedtracker says:

      “I don’t think the announcements from Westminster this year have ruled out the possibility of currency union, they just make it more difficult.” Can anyone be a professor? To be fair no one in Scotland believes the likes of Con/Dems Osborne and Danny Alexander on anything at all really. But the Prof should check out BetterTogether project fear giant billboards Vote yes, lose the pound across Scotland now. And It’s all over vote NO BBC, every newspaper…

    6. galamcennalath says:

      Another BT fear bomb turns into a damp squib.

      Pensions dealt with, now the pound. What else will evaporate?

      As we all know, the problem is the initial negative rubbish gets wide coverage and the later common sense gets buried.

    7. HandandShrimp says:

      I heard Armstrong on the radio this morning. He was singing the Beeb tune for them but it felt like he was being focussed on a relatively small part of the report, repeating at least half a dozen times the same phrase about rUK taxpayers acting as backstops for Scotland. Repeat something often enough and it becomes meaningless.

    8. Les Wilson says:

      They think the currency union is a major fear tactic against the least resistant, what they really know is we have them. If we succeed with a YES, it is we who will hold the cards. We could, walk away and just use the currency anyway, along with no debt, and don’t rule that out at all.

      Never mind their tactics, it is all bully boy stuff, as most of us will know the best way to deal with bully’s is to call them out. I do believe that is exactly what the SG will do, and they will win. For a myriad of reasons they NEED, us in a CU, or life will become very much more difficult in merry old Westminster.

    9. msean says:

      It’s like a competition these days,to see how many ways the same story can be told in. The one view/ many mouthpieces thing doesn’t work any more.

    10. Murray McCallum says:

      A formal currency union need not be “sustainable” in the long run. Scotland and rUK can go their separate currency paths if their policies and ambitions differ that much.

      It is good to see various economic bodies starting to quash the fear mongering of the No campaign.

    11. Peter Macbeastie says:

      No one I have spoken to, not even people I know to be set on voting no, believes a currency union has either been ruled out nor is as difficult as is being suggested.

      If the unionists can’t even convince no voters undecided voters are deeply unlikely to fall for their pish.

      A currency union, while not my personal preferred option, carries economic common sense with it; which might explain why Osborne, Alexander and Balls (a more appropriate name you could not hope for*) are so keen to say it’s not going to happen.

      *As in ‘he’s just talking complete Balls again.’

    12. heedtracker says: but this is how BetterTogether propaganda works at the BBC, vote yes, CU unsustainable, dollarisation etc.

    13. Murray McCallum says:

      The BBC seem to be sticking to the “unstable currency union” message that comes with their CBI membership.

      I wonder who writes the BBC articles?

    14. Democracy Reborn says:

      The BBC headline is “Scottish independence : Currency union ‘unsustainable'”.

      That is a COMPLETE falsehood by the BBC. I’ve just looked at the NIESR report &, unless I’m missing something, NOWHERE in the report do they express a concluded view that a currency union between Scotland/rUK would be “unsustainable”. The BBC are simply contriving a quote!

      Do the official Yes campaign officially seek rectification of these falsehoods from the BBC?

    15. HandandShrimp says:

      It is also worth noting that Angus Armstrong, a former Treasury man, has written several pieces on currency and that NIESR keep obtaining funding to write these reports from Vince Cable’s BIS department.

      The language and structure of the information presentation of Armstrong’s pieces have certainly in the past laboured heavily on the “its all too difficult – nasty things happen at sea” vein.

      I read his pieces but I have a hefty pinch of salty to hand. I don’t think his bat is all that straight.

    16. FortBill says:

      I am not an economist or do I pretend to be but I have read extensively over the last month on the subject of the currency union and the other options available.
      The conclusion I have reached is, I cannot understand why a currency union and accepting some of the UK debt is the favoured option.

      Perhaps it is to show the rest of the world that we are willing to inherit some of the UK debt, even though we were not responsible for creating it, and therefore create a warm fuzzy feeling for investors, I think these international players would more than likely consider us a bit foolish for accepting the debt when clearly we cannot default.

      Is it perhaps to smooth the nerves of voters, or ease the transmission to independence? Either of these reasons in my opinion is not enough to justify the conditions and financial restrictions that will come with a currency union.

      Is it perhaps that we could get good value from the assets we would inherit as part of the deal? The debt is estimated to be between £100B – £130B I can’t imagine what the UK have that we can’t buy or build for that kind of money!

      So I have concluded it is entirely a negotiating position, no more.

      I am convinced due to pressure from rUK business and the damage it would do the rUK economy that it will be the UK government requesting the currency union during the independence negotiations not us.

      That being the case they will need to come up with a very favourable proposal to make it worth our while. They better get a wriggle on.

      What do you think?

    17. bunter says:

      On a lighter note, mibbe, I have just witnessed a Paddy Power advert on CH4 racing where they receive a text which is shown onscreen from a certain Alex Hammond regarding betting.

      When you hear the narrator reading it out it sounds exactly like Alex Salmond, which is why my ears pricked up!

    18. call me dave says:

      Rev can I post the link to D. Alexander being questioned by Chairman Davidson about a currency union , EU membership, pensions in the HoC yesterday on this thread.

      It is better placed here.

      Some very nasty personal attacks on AS &Scotland throughout.

    19. Breastplate says:

      It’s hilarious to watch the BBC contortions with both feet in mouth attempting to dance to Westminster’s tune.
      I don’t even think they believe themselves anymore.

    20. Macart says:

      Well lookie here. Plans A and B in the same article.

      You’re right Rev, it’ll never see the front page of another daily.

    21. Iain More says:

      No danger of blanket coverage unless there is some way to smear Alex Salmond with it. I didn’t find any.

    22. Grant_M says:

      Almost certainly the BBC took both “unsustainable” and “dollarization” directly from the “Quotes” of the NIESR press release –

    23. Papadox says:

      As the establishment well know, if Scotland becomes independant and there is no workable currency union then Scotland has various ways to its own currency. However that could be awkward, not impossible just adding cost where none is required.

      However if Scotland’s GDP is taken out of rUK figures and Scotland leaves rUK with its dept then rUK is up the creek without a paddle, and the financial world will not be slow in letting them know.

      IMHO rUK know this and it is only a matter of time before the currency markets demand a statement from rUK then the truth will be out, another bluff hand fom “the establishment”.

      I would rather we had our own currency, LONDINIUM will just be a millstone around our neck, wringing moaning poms let get shot of them, BBC MSM HOL for keeps they are toxic LIARS.

    24. Proud Cybernat says:

      “Moreover, agreeing to a worthless constraint may invite the perception of culpability and therefore an expectation of a bailout if necessary.”

      Haven’t we bailed them out enough, giving them 307 years to asset-strip our human and natural resources? Why should we bail them out again?

    25. TheGreatBaldo says:

      I did ask Prof Armstrong on Twitter what NIESR favoured currency for an Indy Scotland was on ye olde Twittery thing a few month back….

      Got a reply too ‘a separate currency’

      So hardly suprising that they are continually banging out reports left right & centre rubbishing the entire concept of a Currency Union in favour of their own preference.

      What was that Kissenger quote about debates between intellectuals being so intense because the stakes were so low?

    26. FlimFlamMan says:


      A fantastic example of the petty minds of Westminster. You cannot have a currency union unless we have absolute control. Up come two top economists saying bollocks.

      Except, from the article, we see this:

      He [the director of the NIESR] argued that even with a Scottish representative on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, the rest of the UK’s eight representatives would always outvote the Scot, so Scotland would have no influence on sterling-zone monetary policy.

      So Westminster, with this structure, would have absolute control. Why would the people of Scotland want to sign up to this? Lack of currency sovereignty means a reduction in flexibility of fiscal policy, and being tied to a structure that gives no power is even more constricting.

      The article’s comparison with the US is senseless, because the US is a single nation state, with its own currency. The individual states usually run balanced budgets, but the federal government of the nation as a whole spends far more, including deficit spending. There will be no overarching federal nation of which iScotland and rUK are both members.

      @Les Wilson

      For a myriad of reasons they NEED, us in a CU, or life will become very much more difficult in merry old Westminster.

      A genuine CU would leave rUK unable to fund its deficits in the event of an economic downturn. A fake CU, as above, with actual control remaining in Westminster, would be fine, but why on earth would Scotland want to sign up to such a thing? Simply using sterling without any binding structures is easier, and having a Scottish currency is better still.

      Westminster’s stated reasons for refusing are a collection of distortions and outright falsehoods, but rUK does not need a CU.

    27. bunter says:

      Would be interesting to do a poll to find out the numbers of folk who are currently lapping up the state broadcaster propaganda as fact.

      The Scottish Gov wouldn’t go there but we could.

    28. Marcia says:


      I think the Rev has done some polling on this in the past. It would be good to have an idea of current perception.

    29. FlimFlamMan says:


      However if Scotland’s GDP is taken out of rUK figures and Scotland leaves rUK with its dept then rUK is up the creek without a paddle, and the financial world will not be slow in letting them know.

      With no CU – or with a fake CU – rUK debt will be denominated in a currency that rUK controls. That means no default risk for rUK government, and no mechanism by which ‘the markets’ can pressure rUK government.

      IMHO rUK know this and it is only a matter of time before the currency markets demand a statement from rUK then the truth will be out, another bluff hand fom “the establishment”.

      I’m sure financial market participants would love a genuine currency union, since it would hand power from the rUk government to said financial markets, allowing them to hold the people of the rUK to ransom.

      Banks demanded the gutting of financial regulation, and they got what they wanted. Then the global economy imploded. Just because financial markets demand something that doesn’t mean they’re right, or that they should, or will, get what they demand.

    30. MochaChoca says:

      O/T but related and quite interesting.

      Comparison of European GDP trends. The UK slump is alarming.

    31. Jeff says:

      Has anyone actually checked the original source?

      Currency union ‘unsustainable’

      From the horses mouth. Seems as though the BBC have spoken the truth and it’s this site that’s twisted it to suit.. Would love to hear the authors response?

    32. Clootie says:

      The BBC – why settle for news that you have to consider and review when you can have an off the shelf opinion from us. No need to think just follow the programme.

      I must check for subliminal messages being flashed on the screen!

    33. bjsalba says:

      A few days ago a contributor here talked about getting silence when they said you couldn’t believe the BBC (sorry can’t remember when or who).

      I think the FT and the BBC report on one piece of A4 paper would be a perfect tool to bring out as evidence of their perfidy.

      I’m sure we could come up with more examples.

    34. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      While we are on the subject of newspapers here is a link to an article in yesterdays Le Monde. Written by a gentleman who lives in Alyth, Perthsire who must be the local Le Monde correspondent.

      It should translate automatically to readable English.

      My point being that if Le Monde can publish this, what is wrong with our own newspapers. The world watches but does not know the black propoganda of our own press.

    35. MochaChoca says:

      To be fair to the BBC, the tab on the NIESR website linking to the press release is titled:

      Currency Union ‘Unsustainable’

      Although the press release only states that a banking union would unlikely to be sustainable (theres that ‘unlikely’ word again)

      So, nowhere in the press release does it say that a currency union is actually unsustainable, and equally bizarrely, the report itself only goes so far as to say:

      “However, we show that a banking union between two countries of such different size may not be sustainable as there is no incentive to participate”

      I’m sure I’ve read plenty of evidence that there is indeed an incentive, not least of the incentive of Scotland agreeing to service a share of a massive debt.

    36. Dave says:

      I heard the BBC GMS piece this morning and the interviewer seemed to talk more than the expert who produced the report. She also quickly steered him off the subject of dollarisation which was obviously on her black list of subjects.

      Btw, I just got a decent broadband connection and I am very close to asking for a part-refund on my TV licence. (Get a Now TV box for a tenner and watch everything on catch-up – no licence required. Thanks for the tip, Noel Edmonds.)

    37. Macart says:

      @Archie (not erchie)

      Nope, no translation on opening.

      Any tips?

    38. Les Wilson says:

      I have been saying for a while now, it is not what they can negotiate out of us. It will be what they need to offer us to take a currency union with a toxic sterling.

    39. Macandroid says:

      @ CameronB Brodie

      It looks like they’re already here under the astroturf – or rather – it doesn’t look like they’re already here under the astroturf – eh?

      More medication nurse!

    40. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Seems as though the BBC have spoken the truth and it’s this site that’s twisted it to suit.”

      You’re aware that we’re not The Times, right?

      Nevertheless, what the report actually says is that Scotland could use Sterling and it’d be fine. The “dollarisation” option, it says, is only problematic if Scotland had a high level of debt, and since no currency union = no debt, that’s not an issue.

    41. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It should translate automatically to readable English.”

      Only if you’re using Chrome.

    42. Hugh Wallace says:

      Regarding the Le Monde article, those of us on Twitter could ask the author if he can make the article available in English

    43. Macart says:

      ” and since no currency union = no debt, that’s not an issue.”

      A typical riposte on the debt issue appears to be this moral hazard issue. If Scotland walks away from its debt share, lenders wouldn’t touch us with a barge pole argument. Is it just me or does that seem wrong. After all Scotland wouldn’t have chosen that route, its the natural and legal consequence of a decision which would have been forced upon it. Secondly the thought that no one would lend to a debt free asset rich country, shiny new or otherwise, strikes me as simply illogical.

      Clearly I’m no economist. 🙂

    44. FlimFlamMan says:

      Are there still commenting problems? I’ve tried posting three on this thread but only one, the middle one, has shown up.

    45. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “A typical riposte on the debt issue appears to be this moral hazard issue. If Scotland walks away from its debt share, lenders wouldn’t touch us with a barge pole argument. Is it just me or does that seem wrong. After all Scotland wouldn’t have chosen that route, its the natural and legal consequence of a decision which would have been forced upon it. Secondly the thought that no one would lend to a debt free asset rich country, shiny new or otherwise, strikes me as simply illogical.”

      It’s just bollocks. No debt will be being “defaulted” on, since the UK has explicitly stated it will be responsible for all current debt. There’s no reason whatsoever for anyone to regard Scotland as being in default.

    46. Macart says:

      “It’s just bollocks.

      Cheers Rev, that’s pretty much what I thought. 😀

    47. CameronB Brodie says:

      I think we might be getting a bit too technical, no?

    48. Murray McCallum says:

      I’ve heard it argued that Scotland accepting to cover a sovereign debt it has no legal obligation to pay *is* moral hazard.

      An independent Scotland’s credit rating could be impacted adversely by the perception that it is prepared to cover financial obligations for which it has no legal duty.

    49. Macart says:

      @Murray McCallum

      That would have been my interpretation too, but economics and laws pertaining to aren’t really a strong point. Glad to have some bods around that do understand these issues.

    50. As well as constantly rehashing these old stories, all be it with different spin or sound bites from a different puppets, I have noticed there is a concerted (contrived?) effort lately to bring out different *ethnic voices.(couldn’t think of the right word there?)

      For example we have the blown out of all proportion Putin remarks that came from an interview that was basically a trap/set up – all of a sudden there are letters from Ukrainian groups and the Media are all over it.

      The Tory….i mean vote NO Borders campaign have the lady from England that lives in Glasgow and her family is of an Asian descent saying it will be exactly like the partition of India and Pakistan, and it will be terrible for all.

      We are told it is a matter for the people living in Scotland, to be decided by the people living in Scotland, Yet there are random groups being set up (mostly not originating within Scotland)with dodgy testimonials or sound bites copied and pasted from the better together handbook and petitions being set up.

      Let Wallace vote, VNB, To scotland with love, ect ect…

      All this helps to smear the yes movement, Label people and create divisions and of course adds tension where none is necessary.
      And that, of course is the point of it, There will be other examples and there will be more attempts of this.

      I think the most effective way to beat these VNB folk down now is to completely ignore them digitally. Ie Do not contribute any added digital footprint, post on the their pages, reply to tweets ect ect all it does online in my opinion is help advertise them. Seeing as they were set up behind a PR marketing company we probably played right into their hands. We probably also helped to spread the word further for a second time by giving them an excuse to get on the news again with the evil cybernat bullying calls. Probably the only reason they had a comments sections on there at all was to get the evil cybernats involved and get them further coverage by the willing MSM. (A smear and free advertising for the price of one)

      Let them claim they are grassroots ect and they may have money but i think they will fizzle out once ignored, they do not have any grassroots and are not out on the streets and in town halls every night of the week.

      *(Read the parliament briefing note about the Quebec referendum This paper is basically the NO campaigns strategy and tactics A-Z briefing.

    51. I wouldn’t underestimate the VNB group, they will have a massive network of contacts and groups on side to help them, what with being a PR company ect.

      They only have a month to spend their excess money before the campaign rules apply but i do not underestimate their ability to do that effectively either.

    52. Harry says:

      Is there any mileage in a few of us complaining to BBC Newswatch about the blatant bias? This week alone would be enough reason, never mind the past five months or so. I watch this segment on BBC News24 most weeks and keep expecting to see a disgruntled Wing-er on it!

    53. Roy M says:

      Unfortunately, this alleged expert Mr. Armstrong is utterly wrong about “Most [US] states choose to adopt balanced budgets.” In fact, ALL states except one have a requirement to produce a balanced budget.

    54. Ken500 says:

      More propaganda. Scotland has never borrow beyond it’s means. The UK Exchequer has milked Scotland for the equivalent of £Billions for years, and they know it. It’s a charade. £60Billion is raised in Scotland. Scotland gets back aprox £30Billion in Block Grant and aprox £15Billion in Pension/Welfare Benefits. Leaving £15Billion going to Westminster for Defence/Administration.

      Westminster spends aprox £700Billion in the UK. Pro rata borrowing and spending £10Billion more than Scotland.

      Thatcher was secretly taking the equivalent of £Billions of Oil revenues from Scotland for years. Equal to the equivalent £200+Billions?

    55. lumilumi says:

      Sorry, haven’t read all the above comments…

      This currency union… It’s always seemed to me to be a risk on the Scottish side.

      Scotland has healthier finances than rUK. rUK runs a bigger deficit, prints money and borrows like there’s no tomorrow, the rUK builds its economy on London’s casino banking and SE England housing bubbles…

      It seems to me that in a currency union rUK would be Greece and Scotland Germany or perhaps Finland, picking up the tab for southern largesse.

      One quote in the BBC piece linked at the end of Rev Stu’s article seems to confirm my suspicions.

      “In the event of a banking crisis south of the border, the size of a potential fiscal transfer from Scotland to the rest of the UK might be so large as to outweigh the benefits from remaining in the banking union,” said the report.

      Pound Sterling in the short term is a sound proposition, to ensure a smooth transfer, but it seems to me that the UK gov want to lock Scotland in the Sterling zone long term, hence all this bluster. They’re laying markers for the post-YES negotiations.

      Or maybe Scotland will just revert back to unicorns and merks. 😀

    56. Eric D says:

      I watched the full session, and there were far more ‘Yes’ positives than negatives.

      The Professors even seemed to agree with the previous panel (the Cuthberts, Armstrong J, and Armstrong A) that Scotland could justifiably demand that the considerable ‘quantative easing’ proportion of the £1.4 Trillion total be removed from the table.
      Nothing about McCrone’s second NS paper either. He wrote it after the one we all know about, and suggested Westminster create an ‘Oil Fund’.
      FOI anyone ?

      Unfortunately, when I tried to post a list of some of the positives on the herald’s discussion pages – they failed moderation.
      Seems that positives – even if they are direct quotes – are not tolerated if they even suggest a Herald staffer has ‘cherrypicked’ the negatives for his article.

    57. Eric D says:

      Recommendations for those ‘tough rules’ are already in the public domain, and they have been since Feb 2013 when the FCWG published it’s 226-page ‘First Report – Macroeconomic Framework’.

      That detailed paper was followed in Oct 2013 by ‘Fiscal Rules and Fiscal Commissions’, and the SG has endorsed both reports.

      I see BBC Scotland has referred to the FCWG and that ‘First Report’ in it’s reporting of this evidence session.
      14 months late – but at least they’re doing it !

    58. Macart says:


    59. Macart says:

      @ Eric D

      Wow, don’t know what happened there Eric but I just lost a three para post.

      Anyhoo, the thrust of it was that the FCWG first report was never going to receive primo coverage. If Westminster and the media could bury it they would. The best they could do however was ignore it for as long as possible.

      It was the first serious work on the fiscal feasibility of an independent Scotland. Its members were a gold star team of some of the worlds foremost economic minds. W1 and the media couldn’t challenge the findings of the group in public, they wouldn’t dare. But as a policy release by the dastardly Salmond? Oh yes. Could you imagine Stiglitz or Mirlees being challenged in the press by a Carrell, or a Torrance, or a Gardham? 😀

      I’d almost pay money to see that interview in print.

    60. Jonathan Wood says:

      To be fair the press release from NIESR does state;

      “Monetary union without fiscal constraints and a banking union would resemble so-called ‘dollarization’. Even if a monetary union was negotiable, ‘dollarization’ would be a likely outcome of negotiations between two sovereign states of such different size acting in their own self interest. We have shown in previous work that it is doubtful if ‘dollarization’ with a high level of debt is a sustainable regime.”

      The BBC article is still pretty misleading though. You have to dig into the details to understand where the “unstainable” comes from.

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