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The meaning of power 519

Posted on May 09, 2019 by

Spilt black milk 393

Posted on May 07, 2019 by

Last week, Norway rubbed our faces in it again.

In just THREE MONTHS, the investment return alone from its national oil fund was around £64 billion – more money than the total annual budget of Scotland, including both Scottish Government spending and money spent by the UK “on our behalf”.

(If you click that link, you can see the value of the fund increase and – less frequently – decrease live in hypnotic real time. We watched it for a few minutes, during which time it added over 220m Krone, or around £20 million.)

That’s like making more from three months’ interest on your bank account than your yearly wage. It’s what Scotland could – would – have had if we’d been independent since the 1970s, because we’ve produced slightly more oil from the North Sea in that time than Norway has. We just gave all ours away.

But we know that that chance has been blown now, and rather than enjoy bountiful interest windfalls we make crippling interest payments on the UK’s debt, to the tune of around £3.5bn a year, while being told we’re scrounging subsidy junkies who should be grateful for having been relieved of the troublesome burden of our wealth.

None of this is any sort of new information, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves regularly of what being in the UK has cost us over the decades – and what it could cost us again in terms of the remaining oil and the potentially even greater resource of renewable energy that our naturally-blessed country sits amid – if we don’t have the courage to take responsibility for ourselves.

At midnight all the agents 461

Posted on May 06, 2019 by

On Saturday, for the second year in a row, there was a huge and joyous independence march through the centre of Glasgow, which passed off with no incidents, arrests or disturbances despite attempted provocation from a small handful of abusive Unionist bigots led by a Holocaust denier.

Most of the Sunday papers carried largely neutral and factual reports of the event, of varying quality and size, with only a comical piece of hysteria in the extremist Scottish Daily Express standing out as objectionable for its ridiculous headline (and even then the actual copy barely mentioned the march at all).

But also for the second year in a row, one paper – or to be more specific, one man – took a rather more negative slant.

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David Mundell is a liar 372

Posted on May 04, 2019 by

This was the Secretary of State for Scotland on the BBC’s coverage of the Scottish Conservative conference earlier today.

The broadcaster’s political editor Brian Taylor gets uncharacteristically indignant with Mundell’s response, and well he might.

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The secret collectors 36

Posted on May 04, 2019 by

Alert readers may recall our ongoing enquiry with the Scottish Conservatives and the Information Commissioner’s Office about what may or may not constitute a lawful and legitimate “petition”, if one is conducted over a period of several years (during which signatories may changes their opinions, or die) and is never delivered to its supposed recipient, but merely used as a data-harvesting device.

And excitingly there’s been a new twist.

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The slow learners 189

Posted on May 03, 2019 by

Poor old Gary Smith and the rest of the super-unionist GMB. We wonder how many times the UK government has to kick them up the arse before they stop bending over.

We’re pretty sure we’ll need to take our shoes and socks off to count, though.

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The restoration of faith 795

Posted on April 29, 2019 by

The soft block 296

Posted on April 28, 2019 by

The BBC came in for a spot of criticism this week when its new BBC Scotland channel opted to show some snooker instead of Nicola Sturgeon’s major speech about a new independence referendum. But then things started to get weird.

An alert Wings reader noted that they hadn’t been able to locate any coverage by the state broadcaster of the SNP’s annual conference this weekend either, even though they send live cameras to just about any other party’s gatherings even if they amount to three people in a phone box (hi, Scottish Lib Dems).

The plot swiftly thickened.

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Belts and braces 211

Posted on April 27, 2019 by

From the mouths of eggs 315

Posted on April 26, 2019 by

We got a tweet this morning from one of those odd Twitter accounts that’s been going for eight years and still only has six followers. This one appears to be a fairly moderate right-wing, UK-nationalist Brexiter with only a few dozen tweets (nearly all replies) to their name since 2011.

But readers, he’s got a point.

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We’re talking about money 283

Posted on April 25, 2019 by

…unfortunately. The hottest topic of debate within the Yes movement in recent months has been currency, and what sort of it a prospective independent Scotland should use. We’ve avoided it because it’s such a boring and pointless debate (at this stage, at least), and because the impact it had on the first referendum was vastly less than the media frantically insists.

The truth is that in 2014 most people simply didn’t believe the UK government’s claim that it would refuse Scotland a currency union, and nor did most people find it very important anyway. By enormous margins, Scots thought that an independent Scotland would keep using the pound, despite the No campaign’s assertions to the contrary.

We already live in a world of multiple currencies. People buy things seamlessly on the internet from Europe or the USA or China with all the exchange transactions handled automatically and invisibly. It can cause some issues for businesses, but it simply isn’t an issue for the huge majority of voters, however obsessively politics nerds debate it.

But just for the sake of argument, and for the benefit of delegates to this weekend’s SNP conference in Edinburgh, here’s what they think right now.

By comfortably more than two to one in our Panelbase poll conducted in March, Scots want to keep using the pound forever after independence. Yes voters marginally prefer a transition to a new currency, but only one in six want to go there on day one, and almost as many as want to transition want to stay with Sterling permanently. No voters – who are the people we need to persuade, remember – are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the pound, with only 16% wanting a new Scottish currency at any point.

Wings has no position on the subject, because to be quite honest we don’t understand it well enough. Strong arguments have been made on various sides and we’re not sure which one we favour yet. It’s a decision for an independent Scottish Government.

But what these findings tell us is what the public thinks – and therefore which options would play the best in a referendum – and the public isn’t in much doubt at all.

A plan of little action 704

Posted on April 24, 2019 by

Well, this won’t take long.

The First Minister’s speech to Parliament today contained a single useful and practical step: by aiming to pass the legislation required to conduct a second independence referendum by the end of this year, Scotland will be well prepared to act swiftly in the event that such a vote somehow becomes a reality.

On how to make it become a reality, there was nothing.

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