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Contractual obligation

Posted on November 19, 2013 by

We weren’t going to bother even tackling the Institute for Fiscal Studies report from yesterday on the economics of an independent Scotland, because, y’know, our readers aren’t idiots and it’s all a bit “file under B for Bleeding Obvious”.

economics

But we suppose we ought to at least outline a quick one-stop list of bullet points.

1. The IFS, while notionally independent, is largely funded by Westminster.

2. It’s a right-wing organisation that wants Corporation Tax abolished and replaced by higher VAT – in other words, a radical wholesale transfer of taxation from companies to ordinary people, particularly hitting the poorest, who are disproportionately affected by VAT.

3. It pretty much always thinks massive cuts in public spending are needed.

4. Like all economists, the IFS is great at analysing events of the past, and abysmal at predicting the future. Not one economic “think-tank” predicted the global banking crash of 2007-08. The history of economics (“the dismal science”) is a decades-long track record of relentless unbroken failure. A monkey throwing hedgehogs at a dartboard would be right more often than economists are.

5. Even by the standards of economists, attempting to predict anything 50 years into the future is insane to the point of ridiculousness. It’s like someone in 1963 accurately forecasting the economic situation today. Which would be impressive, considering that North Sea oil hadn’t even been discovered in 1963.

There were barely computers in 1963, so it’d have been even more impressive if they’d somehow foreseen that the UK would almost completely destroy all of its manufacturing industries and put all its eggs into the basket of incomprehensible computerised jiggery-pokery called “financial services”, a business based on naked robbery and lying about abstract conceptual “products” somehow related to piles of mostly-imaginary money.

6. The IFS’s calculations assumed an independent Scotland would pursue the same tax and spending plans that the UK does now. We don’t think it’s going too far to say that the entire point of independence is NOT to do that.

7. Every single aspect of the report is based on unknowns, all piled on top of one huge fundamental unknown – the outcome of the negotiations for independence after a Yes vote. Nobody knows what share of UK debt an independent Scotland would take on, and therefore what its economic starting position would be.

Heck, we’re constantly (albeit entirely falsely) told by the No camp that we don’t even know what currency it would use. So the idea that anyone could reliably assess the country’s budget is comical.

We think those are the main ones. We might nip out to the shops.

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102 to “Contractual obligation”

  1. Wee_monsieur
    Ignored
    says:

    We weren’t going to bother even tackling the Institute for Fiscal Studies report
     
    Glad you did 😉

  2. Macart
    Ignored
    says:

    A monkey throwing hedgehogs at a dartboard would be right more often than economists are.
     
    Take a bow. 
     
    Line of the week. 😀

  3. westie7
    Ignored
    says:

    the flag in the corner is rather apt. Is that the direction of rUK?
     
     

  4. Garve
    Ignored
    says:

    And to top it all they decided to needlessly miss Shetland off the front of the report, despite carefully including the Isle of Wight.

  5. Bill Dunblane
    Ignored
    says:

    But Stu, – According to the BBC, the IFS is a ‘highly respected’ organisation, as they have gone to great lengths to tell us in their obsessive coverage of this report.
     
    They couldn’t possibly be wrong could they?

  6. Wee_monsieur
    Ignored
    says:

    So it has been wall-to-wall coverage of the IFS report in the media for the past 24 hours. I wonder if the Scottish Government’s paper will get the same.
     
    Let’s not hold our collective breath.

  7. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    “Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, said at a Labour press conference: “The IFS figures relate to 2016-17, beyond the life of the next parliament for which the general election is being held now. It is simply not possible to accept the assumptions being offered by anyone, whether they are the IFS or the Treasury, or in what conditions anyone will be taking these decisions since it is such a long time period. No government would set a budget for five years’ time, especially in the current climate.””
    From the last thread, with thanks to Grant_M, Guardian April 2010.

    It’s a tough sell for the IFS. If they are right about a rapidly aging Scottish population, then almost every single soul that votes in the referendum will be dead by the time their predictions have run there course. Not a compelling argument then by any stretch of the imagination.

  8. MajorBloodnok
    Ignored
    says:

    The Rev says: A monkey throwing hedgehogs at a dartboard would be right more often than economists are.
     
    Speaking with my ecologist hat on I can categorically state that it is never right to throw hedgehogs at a dartboard.
     
    However, what surely would be much more effective and accurate would be to select an economist at random periodically and read their entrails.  This would focus their minds somewhat and also weed out the slow ones.

  9. turnbull drier
    Ignored
    says:

    “However, what surely would be much more effective and accurate would be to select an economist at random periodically and read their entrails.  This would focus their minds somewhat and also weed out the slow ones.”
     
    hmm, perhaps we could get a new type of haggis out of those…
    Actually, it might be a bit bitter.

  10. Murray McCallum
    Ignored
    says:

    I see the founding of the IFS has its roots in 1965 in response to Harold Wilson’s Labour government’s tax policies.
     
    It’s clearer now why Alistair Darling is such a fan.

  11. James
    Ignored
    says:

    A lot of sense you does make………
    One can only hope that the Scottish People see through the Project Fear BS, for it is truly BS

  12. Gypsy Laird
    Ignored
    says:

    The IFS report doesn’t even qualify as Scaremongering as it is just too ridiculous and ludicrous to be given that title. Nothing the Unionists from the Evil Empire say anymore is Scaremongering as it has rapidly become Sh*temongering. 

  13. November13
    Ignored
    says:

    Even funnier was the BBC Scotland presenter saying to the fiscal report guy:”So Scotland being independent is just silly”.You could almost hear him saying..isnt it at the end of the question.What other country as a media that ridicules its very existence..baffling.

  14. John McKay
    Ignored
    says:

    Thank you. I will learn that off by heart. Keep taking the tablets-they’re doing a bloody marvelous job. 

  15. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    The surviving members of Monty Python are back together again. Now we know what they’ve been working on.

  16. MekQuarrie
    Ignored
    says:

    Casual genius. And all before breakfast…

  17. msean
    Ignored
    says:

    The report is a waste of time and money and govt resources using false data and wrong assumptions.How much did this car crash report actually  cost?Another case of no using govt resources and making a mess of it,is it?

  18. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “Speaking with my ecologist hat on I can categorically state that it is never right to throw hedgehogs at a dartboard.”

    I didn’t say LIVE hedgehogs, man. I’m not a MONSTER.

    (“ANIMAL-HATING CYBERNAT LUNATIC WANTS TO MURDER MRS TIGGYWINKLE”)

  19. Atypical_Scot
    Ignored
    says:

    Economy 101.
     
    Honest question.
     
    Scotland generates (approx) £135 billion a year.
     
    Westminster taxation rules means that the revenue from this is (approx) £40 billion a year.
     
    With its own currency, Scotland would go into surplus.
     
    Where does the rest of the £135 billion go?

  20. Seasick Dave
    Ignored
    says:

    Their timing was so crap that they released their ‘report’ before the Scottish Government papers, not after. thus rendering the forecasts less than worthless.
     
     

  21. tartanfever
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks Rev,
     
    Your bullet points are really useful, they help to break through the crap.
     
    I’m always amazed that the SNP/Yes campaign don’t use this kind of soundbite – after all, they know their contribution on any MSM outlet will roughly be 10 seconds out of a 2 minute report – so why not do a little bit of discrediting of the IFS itself ?
     
    Or maybe thats just too negative ?

  22. Neil McAdam
    Ignored
    says:

    Am I reading this right.
    The BBC is one of the the IFS’s funding bodies:
    http://www.ifs.org.uk/fundingBodies/18
     
     

  23. faolie
    Ignored
    says:

    Anyone see Newsnicht last night? Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Scottish politician (Iain Gray in this instance) look so smug and self-satisfied about how an external body has just ‘proved’ his own country is going to be an economic basket case if it votes for independence. God save us. Eventually, Stuart Hosie got fed up and stuck the boot in, but Gray’s smiling smug face at the end was utterly pathetic. Arse.

  24. Bill Fraser
    Ignored
    says:

    A couple of things you might have missed.
    The IFS report uses figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility. A body that A Darling criticised for being biased.”But shadow chancellor Alistair Darling suggested the statistical revision threw the OBR’s credibility into question.”

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/obr+independence+undermined+by+bias+claims/3705182.html

    And the accuracy of any figures from the OBR

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/oct/16/obr-poor-forecasting-record-office-budget-responsibility

  25. Xaracen
    Ignored
    says:

    “However, what surely would be much more effective and accurate would be to select an economist at random periodically and read their entrails.  This would focus their minds somewhat and also weed out the slow ones.”
     
    Heh! Evolution in action. 🙂

  26. Seasick Dave
    Ignored
    says:

    Maybe the hedgehogs like being thrown at the dartboard.

  27. gordoz
    Ignored
    says:

    Sad fact  is though the gullable still hit this BBC / STV MSM interface more than the NET / WEB  and as we see the perpetual CONLABDEM state mantra of the UK is usually never countered nearly as well this informative info from Stu, (clearly balancing out the propaganda  / bias).
    Has the billboard idea highlighitng WoS died a death ? (Just asking)
    Other than this, we need to play as dirty as ‘Against Scotland’, remember the nutters on their side we could draw out –
    Uber brits, Orange order, Blue battalion etc lets draw the venom and let undecided see the underbelly of ‘Blairs Brigade’.
    And remember our fight is not with the neighbours down south guys (they have their own problems to deal with), our opponents are the false Scots and hidden enemy among us ‘North of the Border’.
    ‘We in Scotland are our own worst enemy’ Darling and Co. are only the acceptable face lets get to Davidson, Curran, Sarwar & Galloway.
    All loose Cannons  just begging to go off.

  28. Taranaich
    Ignored
    says:

    6. The IFS’s calculations assumed an independent Scotland would pursue the same tax and spending plans that the UK does now. We don’t think it’s going too far to say that the entire point of independence is NOT to do that.

    Personally, I think this is the only one that needed pointing out, as it absolutely torpedoes the entire notion behind the report: that if Scotland purses the same tax and spending plans as the UK despite Scotland NOT DOING THAT RIGHT NOW in the policies which are currently devolved, then in what universe could you justify such a conclusion?

    @Garve: And to top it all they decided to needlessly miss Shetland off the front of the report, despite carefully including the Isle of Wight.
     
    Not only that, they’ve included the Crown dependency of the Isle of Man, and ALL OF IRELAND. As in also the INDEPENDENT Republic of Ireland. Yet they didn’t bother with Shetland!?!

  29. Macart
    Ignored
    says:

    @Majorbloodnok
     
    Maybe the hedgehogs get to wear safety gear, spelunking helmets, pads and the like. A sort of cirque du soleil troop for small spiky mammals.

  30. scaredy cat
    Ignored
    says:

    Stu
    I’m really glad you did this. I know that regular visitors to this site just roll their eyes when they hear the latest nonsense from the IFS, but it is so important for new readers to be able to get this information.
    If you only listened to the BBC, you would think these people’s opinions mattered, so it’s great that you can reassure the undecided, that they are not all they seem to be.
    Following on from yesterday, I listened to Alistair Darling yesterday and again, this morning. He is just becoming more and more irate with every interview. He can barely contain himself. I keep expecting him to start screaming and then ‘slam the phone down’.
    I’m showing my age, but does anyone else think he’s turning into Mr. Angry from Purely?

  31. mogabee
    Ignored
    says:

    Never mind throwing hedgiepigs (live or otherwise!) Bring back the STOCKS……and squishy, rotten tomatoes. That would definitely focus minds!!

  32. Jingly Jangly
    Ignored
    says:

    ATypical_Scot
    The Government doesn’t get 135billion revenue it collects just under 57 billion so we have only 27 billion to pay for defence,welfare, pensions,uk debt obligation,foreign office and other smallish departments.
    Oh sorry we don’t have to pay for pensions for a while as the UK pensions debt have confirmed in writing that pensions will continue to be paid by the UK for those already retired and those who have paid for 30 years into the UK system through national insurance. (And pro rate for those who have not managed the 30 years)
    UK debt, if the UK is not yet balance sheet bankrupt then with 91% of the assets presumably outside Scotland, we should be able to do a quid pro pro against the UK debt which may I remind everybody was incurred when Scotland was in surplus.
    So no pensions, little or no debt, 2.5 billion for defence, 8 billion welfare costs excluding pensions, but say 7 billion paid into a pension pot so that we pay out of a properly funded pension pot going forward rather than as at present in the UK though current taxation. Other depts. 2.5 billion, that leaves around 12 billion to decide either to invest in an oil fund and/or infrastructure, and/or renewables. Either way I know I would rather live in a country with a current account surplus than one with a 120 billion pound deficit and total debts the 2nd worse in the world.

  33. A2
    Ignored
    says:

    A bit OT but I just read that list of funding bodies and found  some of the entries a bit odd, I guess these are actually  people that have commissioned reports but it certainly feeds the idea that some charities don’t focus entirely on what there name suggests they should be focusing on.

  34. gordoz
    Ignored
    says:

    Has anyone else noticed all the main UNIONIST protagonists for BT ‘Against Scotland’ campaign and the main ire from YES supporters all come from the LABOUR PARTY ?
    Do you think labour voters get this ?

  35. desimond
    Ignored
    says:

    so its a GOOD thing for the IFS to be Independent?

  36. MochaChoca
    Ignored
    says:

    Much as I’d like it to be the case, I’d suggest it’s pretty certain that rUK would not be accepting liabilty for Scots state pension payments post independence.

  37. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    A Unionist journalist is arguing inequality in the North of England is a reason to stay in the Union??

    FFS Where to start

  38. Dcanmore
    Ignored
    says:

    Even by the standards of economists, attempting to predict anything 50 years into the future is insane to the point of ridiculousness. It’s like someone in 1963 accurately forecasting the economic situation today.
     
    Well I’m still waiting for my nuclear powered car to turn up, and the robot that cleans my house when I’m at work. It must be true because in the 1960’s intelligent bods Raymond Baxter and James Burke told us what was coming in the next 50 years. Was it silly to purchase land on the moon for my future holiday home? Ah I know, it must be the next 50 years this is going to happen 🙂

  39. Gillie
    Ignored
    says:

     
    Don’t like hedgehogs, nasty flea bitten varmints………….. er ………….. maybe I’m getting them mixed up with unionists.
     
    Does anyone know the taxonominal difference?

  40. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Scottish taxes pay State Pensions in Scotland. £17Billion. Scotland pays £4Billion in debt repayments on monies it doesn’t borrow or spend.

    Take on the debt? Scotland should be compensate for monies, oil revenues, taken from Scotland by the UK Treasury for the last 40 years.

    Thatcher was taking the equivalent of £20Billion a year, and closing every manufacturing facility in Scotland.

  41. Horacesaysyes
    Ignored
    says:

    With regards to the first point, I found it interesting that in the headlines being broadcast on the 6Music news about this report, they were simply referred to as ‘a think tank’, rather than the more usual ‘an independent think tank’.
     
    As for the report itself, it is clearly just guesswork, and not very clever guesswork at that!

  42. Annibale
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Gillie
    Does anyone know the taxonominal difference?
    hedgehog = pricklius buggrus cutii
    unionist =pr1ck.

  43. Dcanmore
    Ignored
    says:

    The IFS are given cash and an answer, they are then tasked to come up with a formula that fits with the desired answer. Job done.

  44. Embradon
    Ignored
    says:

    (“ANIMAL-HATING CYBERNAT LUNATIC WANTS TO MURDER MRS TIGGYWINKLE”)
    Mrs Tiggiewinkle?  So – a Mysogyinist too Eh? (again)
     

  45. Gillie
    Ignored
    says:

    Annibale says:
    @ Gillie
    Does anyone know the taxonominal difference?
    hedgehog = pricklius buggrus cutii
    unionist =pr1ck.
     
    BRILLIANT!

  46. Scots Renewables
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve taken the liberty of using the bullet point list re. the IFS (slightly adapted) in a response to an <a href=”http://forargyll.com/2013/11/honest-white-paper-the-last-chance-for-independence-after-ifs-analysis/“>article on ForArgyll</a>

    I presume any Argyll-based Wingers already know about this site? Its owner has adopted an unremittingly negative stance towards independence and uses every conceivable excuse to post dreary articles  on the ‘too poor, too wee, too stupid’ theme.

    The one redeeming feature of the site is that it had a very open comments policy, something I am sure the owner is beginning to regret as the handful of ‘NO’ regulars are slowly but surely getting swamped by well thought out and sensible posts from the YES side. 

  47. Big Drone
    Ignored
    says:

    Poor hedgehogs……….but I bet even they recognise that an independent Scotland will be using a different tax regime than  the shambles that will be  used by rUK.  What an opportunity Scotland has to right the wrongs and start afresh.  I get the impression that rUK expect an Independent Scotland to continue with ‘GB’ principals in all aspects of its future governance!  When will it be realised by them that all such things will be different? 
    I don’t understand why we will lose our biggest trading partner and all our friends and relations in the south with the arrival of independence?  Would Al like to respond,  I’m sure he’s reading this!
     
    I.F.S.     …………….    Independent Free Scotland!  YES!!

  48. chalks
    Ignored
    says:

    Wrong regarding pensions, we pay for them already.  We pay for everything ourselves, already.  That’s the fkn point of independence, we pay for everything yet have no control over our economy and what we get to spend our money on….
     
     

  49. Atypical_Scot
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jingly Jangly;
     
    If we use your figures then.
     
    £135 billion GDP, government collecting £57 billion revenue – 
     
    £135 Billion – £57 Billion = £78 billion.
     
    If Scotland were independent, and with its own currency, and geographical share of oil, it would be in trade surplus. Therefore, the £78 billion that has not been collected by the state has still been generated right?
     
    £78 billion divided by 5.4 million people is £14, 444. (every man, woman and child)
     
    As tax has already been accounted for in the revenue, and Scotland is in surplus, my question is WTF are we doing working in a capitalist system when everyone could have a piece of that action? If you remove children from that equation, (as child benefit accounts for that) which equals one fifth of the population.
     
    £78 billion divided by 4.4 billion that equals £17,727 for every man and woman after tax.
     
    Then, everyone spends that on VATable items, raising more government revenue.
     
    Why are we thinking we should just tinker with taxes? 
     
    A socialist Scotland is an equal Scotland. And by the looks of the figures – all be it a bit basic, there’s more than enough productivity to make it work.

  50. Jingly Jangly
    Ignored
    says:

    MochaChoca
    I have a letter from the UK government Dept of pensions in front of me sent to one of my pals confirming what I said before, its the same if a pensioner retires to Spain, they still get their UK pension along with winter fuel allowance!!!.
    I think the Uk government has no choice in the matter, the pension contributions that we all pay into all our working life are part of a contract. They cannot and will not refuse to pay out. The worst they can do is not pay inflationary increases , but they have agreements with scores of countries worldwide to do that, so basically the worst case scenario is that the SG would have to fund the annual increases, but this is very unlikely.

  51. Embradon
    Ignored
    says:

    ” Does anyone know the taxonominal difference?”
    Hedgehog’s eyebrows are the same colour as their spines.
     

  52. Gillie
    Ignored
    says:

    Embradon says:
    ” Does anyone know the taxonominal difference?”
    Hedgehog’s eyebrows are the same colour as their spines.
     
    Unlike Alistair Darling.

  53. Dcanmore
    Ignored
    says:

    @Gordoz…
     
    Yes, it’s very noticeable of the heavy Labour involvement. I think it comes from the large footprint they have in Scotland and the Labour Party of the UK will be severely contracted if the Scottish element is removed. Hence the much much smaller Conservative activity in Scotland (one MP), so they have little to lose politically if Scotland goes. So, for Labour in Scotland, it is a fight for survival by those 41 MPs in the Westminster trough. That’s what the fight from Labour is really about, losing their Westminster jobs and privileges along with future titles, baubles and ermine, in other words their right to become the establishment, the London elite. Also those Labour MP’s don’t believe in Scotland as a country, only a Northern region of their country which is Great Britain so independence is irrelevance to them.

  54. Albert Herring
    Ignored
    says:

    Can we no just fling the hedgehogs at the economists?

  55. Training Day
    Ignored
    says:

    The IFS report has been useful in one way.
     
    It’s thrown into stark relief the fact that Britnat Scots (who are merrily celebrating the headlines in the likes of the Daily Heil) really, really, really hate the idea of an independent Scotland.  In fact, I think I underestimated the depth of the antipathy they hold towards the notion.  Not any more.
     
    It’s blown their ‘I’m a proud Scot but..’ schtick out of the water. 

  56. Cal
    Ignored
    says:

    For what it’s worth, here’s how I work on people who are nos/undecided.
     
    First, I explain to them how the powers that be have been lying to them since the day they were born – MCcrone report, HMRC tax return figures etc. Try to get them angry about that.
     
    Next, show them how they and their country have suffered as a consequence – missed opportunities, personal loss of wealth and so on.
     
    Get them annoyed about media bias. How these things you’ve just told them are never/hardly shown in the papers or on TV.
     
    Say “Isn’t it boring how all we ever get is doom and gloom from the news?”
     
    Explain how we have achieved so much so far with the Scottish Parliament – free personal care, no tuition fees, no bridge tolls, public owned health service, no prescription charges, etc,etc.. Say how you think it’s so important that we don’t LOSE these things and go back to the bad old days.
     
    Finally, give them the idea that with independence we could build on these things and make our country better yet. ie give them HOPE 
     
    I don’t always go through these steps in one sitting. Sometimes it takes weeks. Everyone has got one or two things they are most interested/concerned about. Find out what that is and concentrate on it. Use it to pull them forward to a YES. 
     
    I’d be interested to know what tactics other people use.

  57. David McCann
    Ignored
    says:

    Curious that this report came out following the £4 billion investment in the Kraken oilfielld, and just before the SGs announcement.
    What a coincidence!

  58. muttley79
    Ignored
    says:

    After the events of yesterday, with the sustained MSM coverage of the IFS report, can we expect them to cover the SG’s economic paper out today with due fairness, and the same level of exposure?  Don’t make me laugh…

  59. kendomacaroonbar
    Ignored
    says:

    @John McKay
     
    Are you now working for the “highly respected”  BBC?

  60. Jingly Jangly
    Ignored
    says:

    Atypical_Scot
    If the135 billion is Gross Domestic Product ( I think its closer to 150 billion)  then thats the value of all goods and services produced in Scotland in a financial year. It does not accrue to the SG. Various Taxations produce the 57 Billion.
     
     

  61. Gillie
    Ignored
    says:

     
    What we had yesterday was Scottish unionists agreeing with a UK government sponsored right-wing think-tank that Scots are genetically wired to fail. Not only have our ancestors failed, so us and also future generations yet to be born.
     
    So even if we throw hedgehogs at a dartboard we are bound to miss. 

  62. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Major Bloodnoc says
    “Speaking with my ecologist hat on I can categorically state that it is never right to throw hedgehogs at a dartboard.”
    And of course your right Major,
    what would be the point of a game of darts when you can with the game with one hedgehog? 🙂

  63. Mad Jock McMad
    Ignored
    says:

    Mr Herring – that would cause unnecessary cruelty to hedgehogs.

    I’d rather throw the economists to the dogs, as this recycles economists in a more environmentally friendly way. Whether the dogs would stomach them is a separate issue …. 😀
     

  64. Atypical_Scot
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jingly Jangly;
     
    Your missing my point. 
     
     

  65. Kev
    Ignored
    says:

    I must say thats the first ive seen of Iain Gray on the telly since he presided over his party’s disintegration at the last election, wonder why hes been suddenly spat on to our screens to “discuss” economics? Wheres Anais sarwar? Oh thats right forgot…The drivel spouted was truly incredible – on Scotland Tonight he said it would be catastrophic for Scotland to go it alone as public spending would have to be cut by 25%!! Then on Newsnight he obviously didn’t think that was enough and decided to up the figure to 27%!!. Surely this conflicts hugely with what his leader and Alastair Darling have said a few times now – that Scotland can be a successful independent country…they are truly tying themselves in knots..
     
    http://player.stv.tv/programmes/scotland-tonight/2013-11-18-2230/
     
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03jsf4d/Newsnight_Scotland_18_11_2013/

  66. MochaChoca
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jingly Jangly
     
    I’ve heard about the pensions letter, and I can see where you are coming from. But look at it this way, in theory on independence every asset and liabilty of the UK govt will be split 91.6%/8.4%. So effectively Scotland will be liable for 8.4% of UK wide pension payments (even including ex-pat ones) just as Scotland will be liable for 8.4% of UK debt.
     
    We will also be entitled to 8.4% of the value of UK govt assets, real estate etc (the flip side of that is that rUK are entitiled to 91.6% of UK govt assets in Scotland) of course there are other perhaps unquantifiable assets such as currency and international memberships.
     
    The value of all of this will of course be the subject of negotiation, and you probably knew all that already.
     
    As far as pensions and the letter go, perhaps the UK govt despite it’s ‘no pre-negotiation’ stance will have already accepted the Scottish govt proposal on interim sharing of the pension and welfare system, and so can guarantee continued payment/service (afterall a good part of it is administered from Scotland) but the Scottish Government will undoubtedly have to pay it’s share into that pot. 
     

  67. Greannach
    Ignored
    says:

    We owe these experts our high standard of living – far higher than any other country in the western world – because they saved us from financial and economic meltdown five years ago.  I can’t understand why poverty-racked countries like France, Germany, Sweden and Finland aren’t clamouring to become part of the UK. Weird!

  68. Ananurhing
    Ignored
    says:

    @Neil MacAdam. 10.36am
    “Am I reading this right.
    The BBC is one of the the IFS’s funding bodies:”
     
    Aye and the rest. Including the Colombian Government. Say no more.
    http://www.ifs.org.uk/aboutIFS/funding,
     
     

  69. Ananurhing
    Ignored
    says:

    MajorBloodnok
     
    Man will never be free till the last Tory is strangled by the entrails of the last public funded economist.

  70. MajorBloodnok
    Ignored
    says:

    @john king
     
    Yes, according to my calculations, one hedgehog can get you a score of 1335 if you hit everything on the board simultaneously.

  71. Jingly Jangly
    Ignored
    says:

    Atypical_Scot
    No I didn’t, the GDP figure includes Goods, mainly imported goods, you might think divvying up all the money in circulation is a good idea, where are you going to get the Tea,Coffee, Bananas,Etc Etc?
     

  72. Atypical_Scot
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jingly Jangly;
     
    If Scotland is independent, with its own currency and geographical oil, it’s in trade surplus. Tea coffee and bananas accounted for! 🙂

  73. MochaChoca
    Ignored
    says:

    Are Darling et al saying that public sector spending in/for Scotland can continue to be higher than elsewhere even if we get to the point where we are no longer considered to be a net contributor in terms of tax and spending?
    In the event of a NO vote we can expect the spending for Scotland budget to brought into line with UK wide spending at a rapid pace.
    We will continue to pay our share of and be told we recieve the benefits of massive investments and civil service budgets centred on the South East.
    On paper it will look balanced and fair but the spending available to actually spend in Scotland will be slashed.
    The flatlining economy, temporarily paused by the threat of independence, will become a downward spriral, then we’ll really know our place.

  74. Jingly Jangly
    Ignored
    says:

    Mocha Choca
    Pensions are different in that its a contract between the UK Government and an Individual.
    That Individual can move anywhere in the world and still get their pension paid if they have reached pensionable age and met the minimum contributions. The only difference is that if your are resident in some countries you will not get the annual increase. if you live in the EEC and the countries who are members of the EU economic area plus scores of other countries worldwide then you will get the annual increase.
    Presumably Scotland and Southern Britain and Ni will remain in the EU so no change and the worst case scenario is that the SG will have to pickup the annual increase. Plus of course any additional pension payments the SG decree.
    Now the SG might want to use the estimated amount for pensions going forward to write off some of the inherited UK Debt payments, either way we effectively don’t have to pay pensions for a while as either they will be paid out of whats left of the UK or we will save on our inherited debt. Now if we walk away and tell them to stuff their debt , they still will have to pay the pensions.
     

  75. liz
    Ignored
    says:

    @gordoz – I think a poster campaign is a good idea but closer to the vote.
    People who are not interested in politics will forget what is on them if we post too early – and I’m not suggesting it’s because people are thick but just because of the information overload and people have their own worries.
     
    I think some of the posters on Munguin’s republic look great and are straight to the point – they might come from another source.

  76. Jingly Jangly
    Ignored
    says:

    Atypical_Scot
    Yes but they have to be paid out of the 78 Billion:)
     
     

  77. The Rough Bounds
    Ignored
    says:

    I used to be a financial adviser. The company I worked for gave me a score of 100% for the quality of advice I was giving my clients.
    The secret I found was always to be honest.
     
    When people asked me how much they would get back from their investments I just looked them in the eye and told them, ”the fact is, we don’t even know the price of a loaf of bread next week, but if things go ahead in such and such a way you might get back such and such. Investment returns can go down as well as up”.
     
    Giving advice and making projections about what the financial state of a whole country will be in 50 years time is nothing short of lying. Nobody knows.

  78. X_Sticks
    Ignored
    says:

    MajorBloodnok says:
    “Yes, according to my calculations, one hedgehog can get you a score of 1335 if you hit everything on the board simultaneously.”
     
    You’d need a very flat hedghog, or one thrown very, very hard.

  79. X_Sticks
    Ignored
    says:

    Meanwhile more comments fun over at the state broadcaster today:
     
    “Scottish independence: Economic performance would be ‘transformed'”
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-24990385

  80. Cath
    Ignored
    says:

    “I’d be interested to know what tactics other people use.”
     
    I don’t like face to face debates much – in writing, online, fine but I’m not particularly good in verbal jousting. I tend to be (perhaps typically for a woman?) trying to find consensus so will often still say “of course I favour devo-max too” even though I no longer do now.
     
    So my tactic over the past year or so has been to let it be known to everyone I’m a Yes via clothing and other yes products, social media etc but not really to talk about it at all unless someone asks. If the debate does come up, I’ll stand my ground quite firmly but also quite gently and quietly.
     
    I have a feeling now though that it’s time for the debate style to change. I had an experience on Friday of being at a dinner table with 2 undecideds and 2 no voters and was just getting totally frustrated at all 4 firing nonsense at me about the EU, currency, the banks etc. I was trying to debate and it felt like fighting on about 12 fronts at once, to a large extent on things that aren’t my strong point in the debate, while the things that are my strong point didn’t get a look in because I was so busy fire-fighting all that media crap they’ve swallowed.
     
    So I think from now on my tactic will be not even to bother. If faced with that situation again, I’ll stick to my own strengths in the debate, and why I believe independence is right. As to all the rest, I’ll just perfect that Blair McDougall sneer and say “oh for fuck sake your’e not still believing THAT rubbish, are you?” And tell them it’s been debunked a thousand times over and where to go and look.

  81. Atypical_Scot
    Ignored
    says:

    Scotland already buys tea, coffee and bananas. If everyone had a living wage, we all would be buying them.

  82. handclapping
    Ignored
    says:

    What has been missed in all the Scottish woe is the UKIP BNP angle. rUK is only “better off” in the old folk proportion because IFS have projected forward the same scale of immigration as from 1997. I’m not sure that this will be acceptable in rUK so things might change but as the whole point is that the projection doesn’t change so what is the point?

  83. MochaChoca
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jingly Jangly
     
    I Wish I could agree, but I see no likelyhood of it happening that way.
     
    For example, take the NHS in Scotland, already devolved, but paid for by our National Insurance Contributions via UK govt just like pensions, you wouldn’t expect rUK to pay for our NHS post independence. I can’t see them doing the same with pensions either.
     
    I know what your saying about overseas pension payments, but that’s a different issue, I’d expect the Scottish govt to be liable for ex-pat pension payments where the contributuions have been made in Scotland.

  84. MajorBloodnok
    Ignored
    says:

    X_Sticks says – MajorBloodnok says: “Yes, according to my calculations, one hedgehog can get you a score of 1335 if you hit everything on the board simultaneously.”
     
    You’d need a very flat hedghog, or one thrown very, very hard.
     
    And if I was as mathematically gifted as a hedgehog I would have cacluated the score correctly as 1545 rather than the inaccurate number I gave a few moments ago.  I’m thinking of auditioning for the IFS.

  85. Wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @MajorBloodnok
    It clearly depends on the number and closeness of the spines.   There could be ten close together that stick in the triple twenty. 
     
    I suggest you contact the IFS for a more accurate analysis… they have loads of clever people according to their website. 

  86. X_Sticks
    Ignored
    says:

    A little example from the state broadcasters comments (link above) to brighten your day:
     
    342.sir guffington
    10 Minutes ago

    Scotland having independence is like Yorkshire having independence.

    At the end of the day, Scotland is just another English county. So no, it can’t become independent.

    End of story.

  87. Doug
    Ignored
    says:

    Major
     
    I was just about to correct you.  Too slow!

  88. Albert Herring
    Ignored
    says:

    If the hedgehog ended up with its nose embedded in the triple twenty, wouldn’t the score be 60xS where S is is the total number of spines on said hog?

  89. MajorBloodnok
    Ignored
    says:

    Ecologists don’t need to be able to count.  On the other hand, calculating the trajectory of a flattened hedgehog to the nearest micron is a talent that never goes to waste.

  90. handclapping
    Ignored
    says:

    @Major
    Good thing you never paid for University. Think of the money wasted 🙂

  91. Tobias Hendry
    Ignored
    says:

    Imagine someone was to produce a report suggesting that if Canada were to adopt the same military spending as the USA for the next 50 years then their public services would suffer. Most media commentators would find it hard to disagree with the conclusion but would point out how ridiculous the premise was.
    The same applies here but we’re the missing ‘ridiculous premise pointing out’ part.

     

  92. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Gillie @ 10:09
     
    Hedgehogs have pricks on their backs whereas unionists are pricks on our backs?

  93. Marker Post
    Ignored
    says:

    I am wondering if the IFS has ever produced a report on rump-UK after Scottish independence.
     
    Scenario A: rump-UK is worse off. This would of course disprove yesterday’s report, since by definition, Scotland would be better off. Cue more votes for Yes,
    Scenario B: rump-UK is better off – which would encourage the good folks down south to bitch and moan and spout even more vitriol, but it would be palpable nonsense and would be easily discredited. Cue more votes for Yes.
     
    Given that they are paid by the British taxpayer, why can’t we ask the IFS for an analysis of rump-UK?
     

  94. Les Wilson
    Ignored
    says:

    For a small nation besieged with all our apparent problems just why would they go to all this trouble and expense to keep us. It smacks of desperation, why?, because they are in the shit if they do not have us to drain and our resources to pocket.
    They will be absolutely sunk, they could never pay back all their debt, their downfall is assured. This all MAY, have been different had they treated Scots better. Now, it has went too far, they have pulled too many strokes on us and they will pay a very heavy price. Scotland?, when we settle in, we will do just fine! 

  95. Neil MacKenzie
    Ignored
    says:

    IFS view VAT as a progressive tax. 
    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Documents/VATRegressive.pdf

  96. G H Graham
    Ignored
    says:

    Mr. Chib says …
     
    “Aye, but yoos are still gettin’ a doin’.”

  97. Calgacus MacAndrews
    Ignored
    says:

    A monkey throwing hedgehogs at a dartboard would be right more often than economists are.

    I would only believe the Rev on the above if I received assurances (from somewhere like the BBC) that it was a well-respected monkey throwing well-respected hedgehogs at the dartboard.

  98. Greannach
    Ignored
    says:

    As a proud and patriotic Latvian, I would like to say that I as an individual am too thick to understand anything. In addition, I can’t actually do anything, and all my family, relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances are the same. I dread to think what would happen if the Soviet Union stopped looking after our best interests, because we surely couldn’t. NO to Estonian independence. Better Together. SU:OK.
    Yours in unity,
    Daniels Alexanders

    Other similar statements of inherent and congenital incapacity available upon request from proud and patriotic Norwegians, Finns, Estonians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Croatians, Slovenians, Montenegrins, Slovaks, Czechs, Poles, Serbians, Bosnians, Kosovars et al.

  99. Jen
    Ignored
    says:

    I was at Paul Johnson’s presentation of the report today in the university, and though I agree with the wingsoverscotland analysis, the one thing I’d point out is that no.6, regarding tax, wasn’t so cut-and-dried; the IFS guy admitted that Scotland ‘might well’ pursue a different tax regime to better suit its demographics and political leanings. Though this was followed by DOOM about how costly that would be to administer. 

    He also managed an astounding number of snide digs at the scottish government in such a short presentation.

  100. JnrTick
    Ignored
    says:

    Brewer tonight suggests to his guest, a Strathclyde uni economy expert that the IFS report is rather laughable and not really worth taking seriously. Trouble is that this sort of comment is too little too late, the damage already done with the alarmist headlines in our tabloids and radio/TV broadcasts yesterday where a majority of disinterests or lazy electorate who intend to vote will accept as gospel. Grimly depressing stuff. 

  101. McV
    Ignored
    says:

    Was searching for a link to the IFS’s funding, and it appears to have been deleted from the web. The link in this blog has completely vanished.



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