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The inverse miracle 140

Posted on August 21, 2019 by

We really can’t be bothered with having the GERS “debate” again, in which all the same people make all the same exactly opposite spins on the exact same data. Minor annual fluctuations aside, the core reality is the same as the one we repeat every 12 months, and serious economists on both sides of the political divide still treat the figures with the disdain they properly merit.

One such person is Richard Murphy, and in an excellent piece today he posted a version of this graph which did catch our jaded eye. It purports to show the share of UK debt supposedly accounted for by Scotland – which has, let’s remember, just 8% of the UK’s population – in each of the last 16 years, and which immediately prior to the SNP’s 2011 majority stood at almost exactly that of our population share.

(Which is itself a gross calumny against reality, but let’s stay focused.)

How very remarkable, some readers may feel, that the extent of Scotland’s supposed responsibility for the UK’s debt should have rocketed so very dramatically at the exact point when independence became a live political question.

It does rather make you wonder why the UK government, scraping as it is for every penny of possible savings, seems more and more desperate to hang onto Scotland as the terrible economic burden we become on the rest of the country grows ever heavier.

Truly, our partners in this great equal and bountiful union must be the most generous and forgiving people on Earth. We don’t deserve them.

When you’re 74 526

Posted on August 18, 2019 by

Ah, the good old days of the positive case for the Union.

But oh no! Shock twist!

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We Are Not Your Hostage 207

Posted on August 17, 2019 by

Oh dear God in Heaven, not THIS again.

Helen Thompson is apparently the “Professor of Political Economy” at Cambridge University. No wonder the country is being run by imbeciles.

Let’s speak really slowly and see if the idiots can get it into their thick heads this time.

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The enemies of democracy 316

Posted on August 15, 2019 by

This poll from Opinium came out a few days ago, but didn’t get as much attention as people might normally have expected, possibly because it was presented in a very difficult-to-follow graphical form. So we’ve sorted it out, and also added in the missing Lib Dem voters.

The takeaway is that a clear majority of voters both in Scotland and the UK now believe that the UK government should accept the Scottish Government’s request for a second independence referendum.

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Running the numbers 452

Posted on August 10, 2019 by

So, there’s been quite a response to our interview in today’s Times.

The interview was an interesting one in itself that we might talk more about later this weekend, but let’s leave that aside for now and talk about the headline take, because as usual the Scottish media is presenting it in a remarkably dishonest manner.

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Voices of the colonies 407

Posted on August 07, 2019 by

In case you missed it, there was an interesting phone-in on the subject of Scottish independence on James O’Brien’s LBC radio show from 10am this morning. I chipped my tuppence-worth in at the start (I’m the second caller, from about 6m 25s), but it’s fascinating listening to O’Brien’s tone evolve as the hour-long segment goes on.

(James O’Brien, LBC, 7 August 2019)
.

We don’t doubt for a moment the sincerity and good intent with which he states his position. But when he talks in the intro about the special feelings he has when he’s in Scotland, which he also gets in Greece, the whole argument collapses.

Because O’Brien doesn’t appear to need to feel that he “owns” Greece, or that he’s a Greek citizen, to have that warmth towards it. He doesn’t need the people of England to elect Greece’s governments for it – he’s happy to have those feelings towards a completely independent country. So why not about an independent Scotland?

(Sadly I was cut off before I got a chance to respond to his point about Germany and its federal regions, which would have been to point out that no one German region is six times bigger than all the others put together and can – and does – impose its will on them whenever it wants.)

And much to his credit he appears to realise that as the show goes on. Whether he still thinks deep down that the Scottish independence movement is in significant part driven by anti-Englishness, only he can say. But his callers today at least appear to have made him think about it, and it’s a process worth listening to.

The Charlatans 172

Posted on August 07, 2019 by

Honestly, readers, our job is like shooting fish in a barrel sometimes.

Gosh, whoever would take such a scandalous and unprincipled position?

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The Woke Party 178

Posted on August 04, 2019 by

These are the Democratic Socialists of America, a fringe-left grouping in the USA with around 60,000 members (or roughly 10 times as many as the Scottish Greens, though per capita closer to the SSP or RISE), at their conference a couple of days ago.

It’s our most fervent wish that one day the left will grasp the fact that this isn’t how you win a war.

It’s also our most abiding fear that this – with its stern admonitions against clapping, or banner-waving, or speaking to anyone who might disagree with you, or taking “fun shortcuts” or wearing “aggressive scents”, in case any of those things cause trauma to the sensitive – might as well be the SNP conference of 2022.

Let’s not blow independence in this Parliament, eh folks?

The cut-off 159

Posted on August 03, 2019 by

The Times leads its Scottish edition today with a piece on Ruth Davidson’s collapsing popularity with Tory members, which it helpfully illustrates with a graph.

Alert readers will notice, however, that for some inexplicable reason the graph ends more than a year ago, in July 2018, with Davidson’s rating still at a very healthy 54% – some three and a half times what it is now. So we’ve fixed it for them.

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Life coming at you 77

Posted on August 02, 2019 by

2 August 2018: Ruth Davidson is the second most popular Tory with party members surveyed by Conservative Home, and regularly spoken of by the press as a potential future Prime Minister.

2 August 2019: not so much.

Oh well, that’s showbiz.

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Knowing their place 478

Posted on July 30, 2019 by

This seemed like an extraordinary piece of subservient snivelling:

But then it all made sense:

Scottish Labour, everyone.

Standard Wales Check #2 394

Posted on July 28, 2019 by

We’re being somewhat generous with the numbering here, to be honest, but you’ve got to start the official count somewhere, right?

Alert readers will recall that current Scottish Labour policy is to enshrine in law the right to a free bus pass for all Scots over the age of 60:

This time last year, for example, their transport spokesman Colin Smyth specifically and indignantly condemned any possible suggestion by the dastardly SNP of perhaps increasing the qualifying age from 60 to state pension age (currently 65 and due to rise to 68 and beyond), saying:

“Sadly, the scheme is now under threat with SNP ministers refusing the rule out increasing the age citizens can qualify for a pass in a bid to try and save money. Ordinary people in their 60s should not be paying the price of Tory austerity because the SNP refuse to use the powers of the parliament to fund our services properly.”

A commendably unambiguous and righteous position. Indeed, the North British branch of Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist party announced at this year’s conference that if elected they’d not only keep the threshold at 60, but would extend free bus travel immediately to everyone in Scotland under 25, and then swiftly to everyone of any age.

So we can safely assume that in Wales, where Labour have been in power for all 20 years of the devolved Assembly, all those things will already be happening, because otherwise it’d just be embarrassing.

At the very least, we can be certain that there’s no chance of the qualifying age going up from 60 to state pension age, because we already know that Labour regard that as a scandalous and unthinkable moral outrage.

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