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Crystal bollocks

Posted on July 18, 2013 by

Apologies if the headline falls fouls of anyone’s work filter (although it shouldn’t, as it’s officially legally not a swear word), but we can’t think of a more concise and accurate way of describing the phenomenon illustrated by the comically absurd story that’s being blared all over the Scottish media this morning like news of the Apocalypse.

torcuilshite

The price of oil, as the No campaign never tires of telling us, is volatile. Nobody knows what it’ll be in 27 weeks’ time, or even 27 days’ time. Predicting what level it’ll be at 27 hours from now is pushing your luck a bit, and City traders regularly make and lose fortunes betting on that timescale and getting it right or wrong.

So the idea that anyone, let alone the Office for Budget Responsibility, can have even the slightest, vaguest hint of a clue where North Sea oil prices and production will be 27 YEARS from now is – well, see the headline.

Here’s the OBR’s October 2012 assessment of its own performance at predicting the UK economy since its formation in 2010 (from the “Introduction” section):

“In June 2010 the OBR’s central forecast was for a slow but relatively steady recovery from the recession. We forecast that real GDP would have grown by almost 6 per cent from the beginning of 2010 to mid 2012, whereas the latest data show an increase of less than 1 per cent.

We had initially raised our short-term growth forecasts in our autumn 2010 Economic and fiscal outlook (EFO), in response to the unexpected strength of GDP that summer, only to revise them down again as the economy lost momentum going into 2011.

We then forecast a broadly flat profile for GDP into and through 2012 in our November 2011 and March 2012 forecasts, only for GDP to fall steadily in the most recent three quarters.”

But what’s its record like with oil specifically? Well, the same organisation revised its prediction of future oil revenues downwards by a whopping FIFTY percent between 2011 and 2012 alone, and has changed its estimate of the 2040 price per barrel from $206 to $173 and then to $150 in the past two years (a hefty 28% drop). It seems fair to say it has as much idea as the rest of us do, which is to say absolutely none.

In the past TEN years alone, the price of oil has fluctuated wildly between around $23 a barrel and almost $150. It has changed by as much as $100 in the space of a SINGLE year. (Since the North Sea discoveries of the 70s it’s gone as low as $10.)

oil10

The notion that anyone on Earth can predict where it will be for almost three DECADES with any more accuracy than a chimpanzee throwing hedgehogs at a dartboard is so toweringly, staggeringly-obviously idiotic that it almost beggars belief any government agency would be permitted to waste its time on such a pointless exercise. It’s perhaps even more insane that serious newspapers would treat the figures it came up with with anything other than hooting derision.

(So we pause to doff our hats to the Daily Record’s indefatigable Torcuil Crichton, who has decided that the OBR’s £11bn reduction – compared to previous completely meaningless estimates also plucked out of nowhere – isn’t scary enough, and has cunningly inflated it to £24bn for the gigantic headline in today’s paper, mumbling in much smaller print that it might actually be only £8bn.)

We’ll say this clearly and simply and then move on. Predicting oil revenues in 2040 is about as reliable a science as issuing a weather forecast today for Glastonbury weekend in that year. Any of a million completely unforeseeable events could – and almost certainly will – double, treble or halve the price many times over during that period. Anyone who tells you today that they can correctly identify 2040’s North Sea revenues to within even £100bn of the real figure is a buffoon and a liar.

It is, of course, irrelevant to the independence debate anyway. However much or however little money is left in the North Sea, Scotland will be better controlling it itself, because it’ll be better invested by Scots in Scotland’s future than squandered by Westminster on nuclear weapons and foreign wars and rip-off PFI projects and slightly faster railways from London to Birmingham and means-testing disabled grannies.

But even if taken purely on face value, today’s report should still be treated with the scorn, mockery and contempt that it deserves. Its political attempt to manipulate and scaremonger is completely transparent. You might say it’s as clear as crystal.

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    122 to “Crystal bollocks”

    1. Tom Hogg says:

      That graph looks like a trend. It’s not going downwards.

    2. a supporter says:

      The OBR aka The Office for Bullshit Revision.

    3. Stuart Black says:

      I know this is fairly unscientific, but I was working on the Beryl ‘B’ in 1985 and the oil price dropped to 11 dollars, from around 15 by memory, can’t be bothered googling. Point being, that was about 28 years ago, Brent crude trading around 109 dollarsnow, fair price differential there, no?

    4. David McCann says:

      And besides, as I have posted several times Scotland’s economy is NOT completely reliant on oil- nice as the revenue stream is.
      We happen to manufacture 28% of Europe’s PCs, and 7% of the entire world’s, as well as 29% of Europe’s notebook laptops. It accounts for 14% of our GDP, which is about the same as oil and gas would. Lots of info here.

      http://www.realscience.org.uk/makeitb/scottish-manufacturing-industry.html

    5. Atypical_Scot says:

      Can anyone tell us how much the pound will be worth in four years, let alone oil? 

    6. magnus barelegs says:

      Ah more bullshit from the Utter Hebrides fave brit mouthpiece Torcuil Cretin, no shame those kind of folk, if he is a credible journalist then im the pope.

    7. Seasick Dave says:

      Won’t it cost over £20 billion to replace the completely useless and obscene Trident?
       
      Obviously good old Torcuil, the radical lefty that he is, would rather that the money was spent posturing on the world stage.
       
      I think that Torcuil’s credibility gap is bigger than the headline one.

    8. Luigi says:

      Lucky for us that BT’s more positive campaign is now up and running. It could have been a gap of 124 billion. Jolly decent of them to tone it down I say.

    9. Murray McCallum says:

      The penultimate para in Stu’s article is spot on for me.  What on earth is the problem with Scotland controlling its own resources and using them towards our own specific priorities.
       
      If the unionists are fixated by oil then they should listen to their political leader.  On 12Jun’13 at PM Questions David Cameron described North Sea Oil as “a real jewel in the crown of the United Kingdom economy”.  Their double speak and rank hypocrisy are infuriating.

    10. Desimond says:

      First of all, whats the point of the OBR if they concede they dont even have a clue themselves. Secondly, is this a warning about living beyond our means because if it is, those Unionists fair love their glass housed pebble collections dont they! The Scottish Government have worked to restricted budgets successfully for last 7 years, pretty surethey would handle any other constraints just fine.

    11. Macart says:

      What I’d like to know is next weekends winning lottery numbers. Do you reckon if we asked the OBR nicely?……..
       
      There’s horse shit and then there’s Osborne’s tame economic Rottweiler’s predictions. As for Torcuil’s capitulation in repeating the keech, compounded by adding his own variance to the figures….. sheer bloody desperation comes to mind. They are so screwed they’re not even bothered with subtlety anymore. Take a number, double it and forget the number you first thought of.
       
      FFS

    12. Dick Winchester says:

      This bloke Crichton should do some research.  Oil was at $10 for a mere 20 days or over a period of a few months in 1998/99 because the market wrongly took fright over some OPEC production data.  It then rose to well over $20 by the end of 2000 and the trend has been upwards ever since.

    13. Hairy Beastie. says:

      Still the silly season then?
       
      The OBR was roundly ridiculed the last time they suggested this. They’ll be roundly ridiculed again. They’ve got a track record for predicting figures so bad they appear to no longer know where the track is anymore.
      Little surprise, of course, when you see who set the OBR up in the first place.
      Step forward, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gideon Osbourne. 

    14. James Westland says:

      “by Torcuil Crichton”
      Thats all you need to read. No need to go any further. Written by a puppet of that uber-("Quizmaster" - Ed) Brian Wilson. These people are just consumed by an almost palpable hatred of the SNP and Scottish nationalism. 
      Let him continue to suck on the Westminster tit. 

    15. Dcanmore says:

      I’m going to email the OBR to see if they can give me tomorrow night’s Euromillions Lottery numbers. They are obviously geniuses at predicting the future so the next 24hrs should be no problem.

    16. Richard Lucas says:

      Here’s some more Hothersallian tosh from Left Foot i Mouth,’Evidence based blogging’ they say. ‘Colonialist liars’ I say. Read it and make up your ow mind. http://www.leftfootforward.org/2013/07/alex-salmonds-oil-dream-goes-bust/

    17. muttley79 says:

      @Murray McCallum
       
      What on earth is the problem with Scotland controlling its own resources and using them towards our own specific priorities.
       

      It starts from the Unionists view that Scotland is not a proper country or nation.  The defense of privileges and status in London means they are content to see Westminster waste Scottish resources.  At the same time they, without any apparent irony, or self awareness on their part, denigrate Scotland as being “too wee, too poor, too stupid.”

    18. beachthistle says:

      I remember enjoying Torcuil Crichton’s reporting in his early days, when he was with the West Highland Free Press, and (although my memory might be playing tricks) when he was a main reporter for the (then new) Sunday Herald.
      Now he just comes across as yet another Scot (following clan chiefs and politicians such as Gordon Brown) bedazzled and captured by the allure and apparent divine omnificence of London. (But Torcuil is also clearly not averse to regularly glugging Daily Record Kool-Aid.)
      It’s sad and bad enough when Scotland loses articulate and intelligent people to the London magnet/moth-flame, but when these Scots then use their talents to belittle and undermine their country….
       

    19. Robert Louis says:

      Either Crichton was drunk when he wrote this, OR is unfathomably stupid, OR is deliberately lying to scare the Scottish electorate.   Hmmmmmm…
       
      What a remarkably stupid article.
       
      As for the OBR, even Alistair Darling, the head of Bitter together, has asserted as long ago as 2010, that the Westminster OBR quango, has been politicised by the Tories.
       
      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/7737-latest-no-campaign-scare-ridiculed-as-it-emerges-darling-questioned-obr-credibility
       
      More daily lies from Westminster, aided by Scots who would rather deceive the people of Scotland, than bother trying to make any attempt at explaining why letting Scotland be run by another country is so freaking good.
       
      Tomorrow’s headline in the Record, ‘Sky will fall down if Scotland becomes independent’.
       
      FFS!

    20. Alasdair Stirling says:

      In financial modelling there are two types of data projection: ‘Forecast Projections’ and ‘Illustrative Forecasts’.  The difference between the two is that, as the name suggests, the first is based a mathemitical based trend projection based on previous data, and the second is little more than a subjective guess at values for future data points.  Even if Alistair Darling is incorrect in his view that the OBR’s work is compromised by political pressure, generational forecasting is, with the best will in the world, no more than a guess at the future.

    21. Doug Daniel says:

      “But even purely on journalistic principle, today’s report should still be treated with the complete contempt and mockery that its transparently political attempt to manipulate and scaremonger deserves.”
       
      I wish you’d get off the fence sometimes, Stu!
       
      It’s simply ridiculous to suggest the price of a finite resource is going to go on a downward trend. There’ll be ups and downs along the way, but you only have to fill up your car to see there is no downward trend in price.
       
      I notice Torcuil is using the same £33.2 billion figure in all three of his sums. If this is the only figure the OBR provided, then that’s bad enough on its own, because it’s clear that something as unpredictable as oil need to have best case and worst case forecast predictions. If not, then why is Torcuil using the same figure for all his sums?
       
      (Well, obviously the answer to that would be “because he’s a shite journalist.”)

    22. Stuart Black says:

      Just hovered, ‘Figures brought to you by Wonga’… 😀

    23. Susan says:

      I have heard that Norway wants Westminster government to take control of running of its oil because of the “new oil forecast”, I hope Torcuil can confirm this for us!
      Torcuil’s brother who was Labour Party’s candidate at the last Scottish Parliament’s election in the Western Isles was promising every motorist on the Island £400 if he was elected, one brother is as clever the the other one!

    24. Big Jock says:

      Unfortunately this propaganda gets reported as news in the papers. It’s only when the reader goes into the article that they realise it’s not news it’s actually one sided opinion from the No Campaign. This is what we are up against with the press. When the YES campaign or the SNP say something it is broadcast as YES Scotland say or Salmond Says. This simple bit of word play creates the illusion that one is fact and the other opinion. It’s scandalous that Scotland’s own media are anti Edinburgh and pro Westminster when it should be the other way around. However it’s backfiring on them now as people are sick to the back teeth of the can’t do opinion.

    25. Why is the OBR forecast the same in all three ‘scenarios’? Do they not provide a ‘best case’ and ‘worst case’ forecast?

    26. Vincent McDee says:

      The good news is DR rarely if ever (Hair shops excluded) is read by anyone except their slave readership and most of them have to do it slowly and aloud to understand.
      Torcuil is just the kind of reporter his readers follow not for information or the truth, but in order to confirm their own ideas and opinions. All in all, he’s preaching to the converts, just as we do here by the way. The only difference being they are few and mostly cowards.
      This silly season peak is just a matter of un-common sense and very common nonsense.

    27. And now I see that Doug has already raised the same issue I did. That’s the problem of having to do work inbetween reading and posting! lol

    28. Dcanmore says:

      The only financial modelling I’ll believe about oil prospects will come from those within the oil industry itself and not from a Tory government-sponsored body.

    29. panda paws says:

      “with any more accuracy than a chimpanzee throwing hedgehogs at a dartboard”
      That may be my favourite line ever. And I’m not convinced that isn’t how the OBR do things anyway 😉
       

    30. Robert Louis says:

      Let us never forget, that Westminster has ‘form’ for telling bare faced, deceptive and manipulative lies repeatedly to Scots regarding Scottish oil.
       
      In a recent interview with Holyrood magazine, the former Labour chancellor from the 70’s Dennis Healey stated:
       
      “the value of oil to the UK is a prime motivation behind Westminster’s opposition to independence now and in the 1970s. “I think we did underplay the value of the oil to the country because of the threat of nationalism but that was mainly down to Thatcher. We didn’t actually see the rewards from oil in my period in office because we were investing in the infrastructure rather than getting the returns and really, Thatcher wouldn’t have been able to carry out any of her policies without that additional 5 per cent on GDP from oil.”
       
      Source : http://www.holyrood.com/2013/05/still-raising-eyebrows/
       
      Again, let us not forget the McCrone report, created for Westminster in the early 70’s, which indicated, that with independence, Scotland would be amongst the wealthiest nations in the world.  This report was suppressed and marked secret, and its findings denied by successive Labour and Tory Government’s in Westminster.  Indeed Westminster deliberately lied to Scots about the oil wealth:
       
      http://www.oilofscotland.org/mccronereport.pdf
       
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/how-black-gold-was-hijacked-north-sea-oil-and-the-betrayal-of-scotland-518697.html
       
      Given All of the above, I simply ask, why in god’s name, would ANY sane person trust a single freaking thing Westminster says about Scottish oil.  They have been shown to have lied repeatedly over, and over again on the subject.
       
      Vote YES in 2014, to be rid of Westminster’s lying, oil stealing leeches.
       
       

    31. Tony Little says:

      OT: I seem to have ‘earned’ myself instant posting on the Herald!  Lordy, lordy.  Anyone want me to say anything 😉

    32. Ray says:

      It’s times like this, when No voters or undecided people talk about the newspaper front pages and how this could be “a blow for indy”, that you have to drag it back to the core of the issue. Pretend the oil did run out in the 1980s or 90s like some were insisting on. The oil is a non-factor.
       
      Independence is about a country getting a full parliament and asking for the opportunity to shape that country without having to watch on as a majority elsewhere do it for you, in ways you probably don’t like. As Stu and others have said, the prediction of oil prices is irrelevant and it’s just another bloody obvious effort to attack one political party.
       
      As it is though, we *do* have oil. Lots of it. Good news, I’d say!

    33. Atypical_Scot says:

      I had forgot about the relaunch of the more positive Thrown_Together campaign – a positive campaign with a negative message cancels itself out does it not? Neutrally_not_together_nor_apart.

    34. Robert Louis says:

      Atypical Scots,
       
      Aye, it looks like Bitter together have failed on day one of their new ‘positive’ approach to the referendum.  Doom and gloom from bitter together, doom and gloom.
       
      Project fear continues apace, with yet another silly scare story.  Meanwhile, a previous silly bitter together scare story bites the dust;
      http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/jul/uk-and-ireland-plan-visa-free-common-travel-area

    35. Alex Grant says:

      Oil price I over last twenty years is only one way ie up
      see Gordon Mackintyre Kemp’s analysis
      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/the-truth-about-scotlands-oil/
      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/the-no-campaign-gets-its-figures-wrong-again/
       
      and see the graph below covering a longer period than Stu’s example

    36. Jeannie says:

      @Tony Little
      I seem to have ‘earned’ myself instant posting on the Herald!
       
       
      Same thing happened to me yesterday and  I haven’t posted anything on the Herald for over a year.  Interestingly, it was on the exact same topic as this one.  I seem to have gotten straight on using DISQUS.

    37. James Morton says:

      If true it makes for grim reading – for the UK that is. I could be wrong but they’ve been pissing that oil wealth up a wall for the past 40 years. They’ve been relying on it far more that we have. Stands to reason that they have far more to worry about and we need to hear their contingency plans for this calamity. God help them if the fools think fracking is going to save them

    38. Seasick Dave says:

      Sorry, did I say £20 billion?
       
      This article reckons around £115 billion (and that’s before costs escalate).
       
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/29/protesting-trident-replacement-aldermaston
       
      I presume that Torcuil will be on the case.

    39. Alex Grant says:

       
      Missing graph re earlier post
      http://www.wtrg.com/oil_graphs/oilprice1947.gif

    40. Les Wilson says:

      They best reply I often see is this, ” How come oil is a terrible affliction for Scotland, but just fine for the UK?
      I guess all out there could reply, but the obvious answer is crystal clear. They need to survive!

    41. Vincent McDee says:

      Scameron & Co. trying to erradicate midgets from the west coast by offering himself and family as baits.
       
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/cameron-preparing-to-holiday-in-west-of-scotland.21638646

      “The Prime Minister has enjoyed family holidays in Scotland in the past, including on Jura where Viscount Astor, his wife’s stepfather, owns a 20,000-acre shooting estate.”

      You couldn’t make it up.

    42. Atypical_Scot says:

      @Robert Louis;
      And here was me packing my hod to start on the new wall at Carlisle, tsk.

    43. Atypical_Scot says:

      True to form, the Herald turns Thrown_Together’s oil price romp into the words of the SNP.
       
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/snp-accused-of-madness-to-base-separation-case-on-oil.21634345

    44. Robert Bryce says:

      Supposing we did lose £24bn in revenue. Our GDP would still be £26bn more than New Zealand’s.

      Now, I may be wrong but I have no recollection of NZ going tits up and begging to be run from Westminster again. If they had I’m sure the BBC would have reported it!

    45. Vincent McDee says:

      Silly season at its best:
      Scotsman North Briton Person liespaper to re-paint Titanic chairs before re-arranging them.
       
      http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/features/new-website-for-the-scotsman-coming-soon-1-3004377

    46. Lobeydosser says:

      @Vincent McDee.
      Maybe this is why Jura disappeared from Google maps this week.
       

    47. seoc says:

      Wonder if any ‘news’paper could give us the figures showing the plummeting value of the pound over say – the last 20 years?
      Before you close your doors for good, that is.

    48. HandandShrimp says:

      The UK has been weighed down by the blight that is oil for 40 years. It is high time we just gave the lot to Norway and watch them suffer.
       
      Silly Scare Story Sausages that they are.

    49. HandandShrimp says:

      Magnus
       
      If Torquil was a credible journalist he wouldn’t be writing for a comic.

    50. creag an tuirc says:

      Okay, let’s accept the £24bn figure. What contingency plan has Westminster got in place to absorb this deficit and what will this mean for Scotland within the UK?
       
      Will Westminster have to dissolve the union to survive financially?
       
      Will Westminster have to dissolve the union because of public unrest within rest of the UK?
       
      Will Westminster tell us we are be better together or will it be time we stood on our own two feet? 

      Will Scotland be left to fend for herself, depleted and empty of resources and in financial ruin?

    51. HandandShrimp says:

      I see the Herald Group are once again slashing journalist posts. Will there be any left at this rate.

    52. Vincent McDee says:

      OMG! seems main problem with Alex criticism of male only clubs IS he jumped the queu.
       
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/the-open-cameron-leads-muirfield-criticism-1-3006148
       
      Everyone but Lamont joining now at the top.

    53. Atypical_Scot says:

      @HandAndShrimp;
       
      ‘journalists’?

    54. HandandShrimp says:

      If the OBR are right (as if) then Osborne will slashing his wrists. He doesn’t have billions to play with either.

    55. Jeannie says:

      Aha!  Seems the post I put on the Herald yesterday, which last night had something along the lines of 44 or so “likes” has now disappeared completely today.  I can only assume it got on by mistake or something.

    56. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Thrown_Together”

      I prefer “Cobbled Together”, as I certainly find myself thinking a lot about cobblers when I read their output. Mind you, sometimes I do also want to throw up.

    57. Dorothy Devine says:

      Well that’s good! I was worrying about the ” burden ” of oil revenues and now I know that Westminster is so concerned and presumably if we vote NO they will fill that gap with their usual  beneficence.
      I’m really weary of the ordure fed to us by the MSM do they really think folk believe them?
      Do they really believe the sale of newspapers will enjoy  a resurgence if they continue in this way?

    58. Vincent McDee says:

      The Northbritonperson “find the differences” test:
       
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/ian-swanson-salmond-boycott-aims-for-female-votes-1-3005694
      Vs.
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/the-open-cameron-leads-muirfield-criticism-1-3006148
       
      Help your own selves, I’m in desperate need of a shower after so much time expent at the soon to be better website. Now…,were did a put the carbolic acid?

    59. HandandShrimp says:

      atypical
       
      Probably will be journalists – but the day to day ones that do the court and match reports not the political columnists. It just means that the papers will become even more opinion blogs rather than gatherers of actual news.
       

    60. Andy-B says:

      Read this bluff and scare story in the DR, and even if it were true, infact if their were no oil/gas whatsoever in the North Sea…surely we’d still want independence, free to run our own affairs, this BS story in the DR…makes you wonder, how any other country who gained independence, actually survived without trillions in oil/gas revenue.

    61. Juteman says:

      The headline gave me a mental picture of Lamont and Darling.
      Anyone remember the kids show, ‘Crystal Tips and Alastair?’
      I’m off for a lie down.

    62. Andy-B says:

      O/T..but pretty funny.

      During the BBC Scottish news today at 1.30pm, Sally Magnusson, tried to introduce a feed which would have led to a report about one of the Glasgow New Boys, artist Ken Currie, (Much of his work I quite like), the video feed failed, as did another leaving poor old Sally dumbstruck at this point she uttered out loud “Im waiting from instructions from my earpiece”.
       
      Poor old Sally then uttered out loud again “Oh their arguing in the studio”…..then suddenly it cut to Ken Curries video feed, at the end of the News Sally couldnt take it anymore and raised her hands high in the air and screamed.
       
      Of course anyone enquiring about this incident will be denied access, and a gagging order issued to all.

    63. Stuart Black says:

      @Tony Little: Anyone want me to say anything?
       
      Aye, jump over and say something nice about my letter 😉
       
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/letters/in-future-we-may-be-better-together-but-it-will-only-be-for-some-of-the-population.21634297

    64. Ericmac says:

      Here is a question.  A serious question. How do we get WOS more widely distributed both online and off?
      This MSM and BT propaganda is having some effect.  For everyone that it pushes to Yes, it pushes another couple towards No.
      Propaganda wins hearts and minds and therefore wars.  Our own information is brilliant but not nearly as widely spread.  
      I’d happily sign up and pay a regular sum to a WOS campaign to get the info out to many more people. 
      In fourteen months we might regret that we didn’t do something…  It’s in our hands.

    65. Seanair says:

      I can confidently guess that “West of Shetland, Atlantic oil”  will more than compensate for any drop in North Sea production in the next 50 years.
      This predicting business is a piece of cake

    66. wullie says:

       Crichtors has got his knickers in a torque, pity the man, like most unionists the Scottish cringe runs deep, they hate themselves more than anything else.

    67. Tony Little says:

      @Stuart
       
      OK, done 😉

    68. Stuart Black says:

      Top man Tony, thanks. 😀
       
      And so quick!

    69. Stuart Black says:

      Wish I could get comments on… 🙁

    70. Angus McPhee says:

      “Anyone who tells you today that they can correctly identify 2040’s North Sea revenues to within even £100bn of the real figure is a buffoon and a liar.”

      Or a con artist seeking to manipulate public perception.
      Lets be clear, the actual facts are irrelevant, mud sticks and reasoned dissection of these articles unfortunately can have little impact once the public absorbs the headlines.
      How to combat this, faced with the media bulldozer that’s just warming up? Answers on a postcard…..

    71. Breastplate says:

      I’m sure given enough time, Torcuil Crichton will reproduce the complete works of Shakespeare.

    72. Jeannie says:

      @Angus McPhee
      How to combat this, faced with the media bulldozer that’s just warming up? Answers on a postcard…..  
       
      Personally, I find ridicule with a touch of humour is amazingly effective.  Someone I know recently attended a Better Together meeting as a spy and was amazed at how po-faced and humourless the unionists were, compared with the pro-indies and commented that the indy-side displays the best humour.
       
      As an adjunct to that, though apologies for being slightly O/T, I’d like to share a video I recently came across which shows what can happen to “authority” when the wee guy has had enough and bites back.  As I said, you can’t beat a combination of ridicule and humour -if any of you are familiar with Aberdour in Fife, you’ll find this video incredibly funny.  The background to the story, I think, is that the community council apparantly decided to use speed guns to monitor drivers in the village much to the chagrin of at least one of the residents…….he posted his opinion in this video:)
      -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dePLnPxrIs
       
       

    73. Andy-B says:

      The UK Government are considering dumping 500 jobs at the (DFID) Department for International Development, in East Kilbride, a Westminster Inquiry has been set up, to examine continued viability on the department in an indepenedent Scotland, reports say the staff are concerned.
       
      Well this is certainly one way to win votes, by threatening redundencies, Im pretty sure the BT camp will employ this tactic all over Scotland, it also  proves the Westminster Government are prepared to sacrifice, as many families as need be to obtain their goal, a goal that will lead only to austerity..(Source Evening Times).

    74. Rod Mac says:

      ,Rev are you still of the opinion that the Daily Record are ready to come over from the dark side?
      I think those of us that scoffed at the Leopard of unionism changing spots have been vindicated.
      New day different story ,same BS from Uncle Jock compliant Scottish journalists.
      We should make them well aware Post Independence there will be no work for them here and they will all have to get on the last helicopter out  with Cockers  Ian Davidson , Douglas Fraser ,Glen Campbell Kaye Adams , Ken Macquarrie , John Boothman, Brian Taylor , and all the other ("Quizmaster" - Ed) vermin

    75. Desimond says:

      Just came to me that this Oil complaint is like a young adult wanting to leave home and his maw scared of losing the dig money
      “You willnae get your pieces made if you move oot!”
      “Theres aye Greggs or i can just make my ain!”
      “Just gie it another 6 months eh…see how it goes! I will get in aw that stuff you like eh!”
      “You said that the last time, this time Im away!”

    76. Jamie Arriere says:

      I think we should look to forecasts made by or closer to the industry, before responding too much to this load of bollocks (or are the oil companies just chucking billions in investment just now for bugger all?) – these guys can’t get the next year’s forecast of anything close enough to have any credibility, and in fact I’d guess they have difficulty forecasting whether they’ll make it home tonight.
       
      @Juteman – Alastair – was that the dog with the wildly swinging legs which still managed somehow to move? A little bit like how Alastair Darling talks……

    77. westie7 says:

      OT 
      I see it has been annouced that 617 Sqn at Lossie is to be disbanded on April 1st 2014 then reformed with F-35 at Marham.. Whenever they actually make it into service.
       
      Affront to the memory of 617, BUt still we can take comfort in the WMDs we still fund through our taxes

    78. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev are you still of the opinion that the Daily Record are ready to come over from the dark side?
      I think those of us that scoffed at the Leopard of unionism changing spots have been vindicated.”

      Magnus Gardham is still on the Herald, yet it’s been noticeably more indy-leaning of late (ie it’s now actually pretty balanced). In the same way, Torcuil Crichton is still at the Record. Let’s wait and see.

    79. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The UK Government are considering dumping 500 jobs at the (DFID) Department for International Development, in East Kilbride”

      Is that the place on the “Better Together” leaflets, ie “The UK sends billions in foreign aid from life-saving Scots in East Kilbride”?

    80. Chic McGregor says:

      Whatever the short term fluctuations in oil price are, everyone knows where it must go in the long term simply because of the inexorable increase in the gap between supply and demand, largely driven (sic) by exponentially increasing car ownership, industrial growth and consumer demand in China, India, Russia etc.
       
      Here is the Energy Information Administration (USA) graph which illustrates their estimate of the gap between demand and all identified sources of oil:
       
      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8CTHz_DTDtldzJZUW5WWWNLa0U/edit?usp=sharing
       
      There are another two main predicting organisations one, geologically based, is a bit more pessimistic, the other one (IMF) predicts a bit smaller gap because it emphasises reduced demand due to recession effects more (not a good thing).
       
       
       
       

    81. MajorBloodnok says:

      Breatplate says: I’m sure given enough time, Torcuil Crichton will reproduce the complete works of Shakespeare.
       
      It think the chimps and the hedgehogs will be way ahead of him on that score.

    82. Andy-B says:

      @Rev..Is that the place on the BetterTogethers leaflets.
       
       
      Thats correct it supplies aid and creates jobs, and saves lives in humanitarian emergencies…according to their Webpage.
      So I guess you could say it would be hypocritical of them to have this on there leaflets, whilst causing humanitarian suffering in East Kilbride,via job loses.
       
      Scotland surprisingly does have its own small devolved International Development Fund..out of little acorns and all that.
       

    83. Breastplate says:

      No doubt you are right Major

    84. Over the short term the price will fluctuate so wildly that it can’t be predicted, but over the long-term oil and gas prices are only going to continue to go up, because global demand is increasing faster than supply can meet it. All the oil fields where the oil was relatively cheap and easy to extract and high enough quality that refining it wasn’t too expensive either are coming to an end.
      The new source of oil are harder and more expensive to extract (e.g deep sea oil) and also often do much more harm to the environment (BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill, tar sands in Canada etc). They also require not only more money to extract per barrel but more energy per barrel to extract too (usually in the form of refined oil – petrol and diesel).

    85. Andy-B says:

      @Rev
       
      Here are some of (DFID’s) policies
       
      1/Countering Weapons Proliferation
       
      2/Working for peace and long term stability in the Middle East.
       
      3/Helping developing countries become more accountable
       
      4/Reducing barriers to international free trade
       
      These are just a few policies, where I could add the, the moral saying….practice what you preach.

    86. Jeannie says:

      Retweeted by Rev Stu. 
      Ridicule and humour, a great way to fight back.  Thinking of bombarding the Office for Budget Responsibilty with all sorts of questions now.  Worked well for the crazy 500 questions effort by Better Together.
      Rattlecans ?@rattlecans 2h
      Can the Office for Budget Responsibility tell us how much 8 oz of Lockerbie Cheddar will cost in 27 years time? Ta. http://wingsoverscotland.com/crystal-bollocks/ …

      Retweeted by Wings Over Scotland
      Collapse

      Reply
      Retweeted
      Favorite

       

       

    87. Alasdair Stirling says:

      Just realized that the OBR’s report is GOOD NEWS.  Given that OIL is of such little economic consequence there is no reason for the Unionist parties not to devolve responsibility for this sector to Holyrood 🙂
       

    88. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @Stuart Black
      18 July, 2013 at 2:24 pm
       

      @Tony Little: Anyone want me to say anything?
      Two letter, both raving Nats and from Milngavie
      I smell an Alex Salmond act of perfidy.
       
      smiley thingy thing

       

    89. CameronB says:

      How do oil traders make profit? They make short-term guesstimates re. the price of oil, which they “hedge” against through “futures”. Those that are able to read the ‘volatility tea leaves’ or are appropriately hedged, keep their job. My brother used to work on a BP trading desk, and he explained how he could easily pay the entire Scottish Government budget, by trading futures. Of course, he would need to win the Euro Millions to get started.  🙂

    90. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      CameronB
       
      I think it is ultimately a zero sum game unless they find an idiot to fleece.

    91. CameronB says:

      @ Bugger (the Panda)
      I didn’t say I’m a supporter, simply trying to point out how easy it would be for an independent SG to take care of Scottish needs.

    92. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      or lose it overnight

      Greetin thingy, wae a tartan bunnet and red hair.

      or in my case a Panda with running mascara.

    93. CameronB says:

      Bugger (the Panda)
      Just because the City decided to bet our grandchildrens’ futures on hedges of hedges of hedges, bet against synthetic derivatives who’s notional value was concocted by rocket scientists (catch breath), why would a SG be so daft? Especially when they will no doubt develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the oil companies, and so might be better prepared than most to read the volatility tea leaves.

    94. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Double plus good
       
      BtP

    95. CameronB says:

      British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell. Both large interests of our respective royal families. Both could be considered as latter day ‘colonial engines’, much like the Dutch East India Company was back in the good old days.

    96. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      In fact CameronB, the best desription I heard of the CDU’s and other derivatives devices was
       
      a bunch of wee boys in suits writing IOUs and selling them on to somebody else for a percentage of the loan repayment interest, which was repeated ad infinitum untuil they bought it maybe; each transaction declaring a fictitious profit on the deal which they then collaterailised, somehopw.
      In fact it was fresh air money buzzin round the World looking for a home.
      The Banks declared a fictitious profit and paid dividends on this virtual money and used it to loan to other banks, who were doing the same fuckin thing back.
      The smart arses used this ephemeral money to buy tangible assets and set up internet bookies businesses.
       
      The Banks were left with the ticking bomb parcel and hedged against the poor unwashed, based on the fear of the whole Ponzi scheme imploding and the poor unwashed would have no banking system. So instead of no banking system, we have no money because we kept the Ponzi feckin jugglers falling off their unicycles.
      Time to bring out the Tmbrill and sharpen the guillotine blade?
      Just pour encourager les autres, and then we start on the politicans?
      That would get all the attentions.
       
       

    97. Chic McGregor says:

      The thing you rarely hear, even from the Yes side, is that without ANY oil revenue whatsoever, even using GERS data, the GDP per capita of an independent Scotland would be NO WORSE than the rUK and probably still considerably better from the get go when other unidentified financial benefits become manifest with independence.
       
      Unless we have a seriously deficient government, further financial benefits would accrue very soon after independence.

    98. CameronB says:

      The Banks declared a fictitious profit and paid dividends on this virtual money and used it to loan to other banks, who were doing the same fuckin thing back.
       
      Somebody else mentioned “The Smartest Guys in the Room”, the other day. If you don’t know it, it’s the story of Enron, and it is a handy signpost to where the banks got the idea from.
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1016268/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    99. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      The banks were at it way before Enron.
      Enron just jumped upon the carousel.

    100. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Cameron B
       
      If you are interested in Carousel Fraud (real one this) read something I penned 4 years ago
      http://subrosa-blonde.blogspot.fr/2010/12/co2-fraud.html
      and if you want more nonsense from my alter ego, try this for size big boy.
      http://subrosa-blonde.blogspot.fr/2009/12/more-pillow-talk-from-danmark.html

      Feck me I have posted the French version some eejit translated without being asked.

      Here is the English language version

      http://subrosa-blonde.blogspot.fr/2010/12/co2-fraud.html

       
      Fun reading all you big boys?
       
       

    101. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      http://subrosa-blonde.blogspot.fr/2009/12/global-central-heating-conference.html
       
      This makes up the trilogy, actually the second one in it.

      Aff to ma scratcher in my Shanghai zoo garden pad.

    102. HandandShrimp says:

      Given the OBR can’t forecast 6 months ahead without constantly issuing corrections who on earth would stake even a rancid prawn on anything they said about 2041. I mean really?
       
      Same bullshit different bull.

    103. Chic McGregor says:

      @CameronB
      “Just because the City decided to bet our grandchildrens’ futures on hedges of hedges of hedges, bet against synthetic derivatives who’s notional value was concocted by rocket scientists (catch breath), why would a SG be so daft? Especially when they will no doubt develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the oil companies, and so might be better prepared than most to read the volatility tea leaves.”
       
      Ahem!.   The problem is that those charged with controlling the finance sector were NOT ‘rocket scientists’, or indeed any kind of scientist.  This is unfortunate because optimisation of the machinery of economic control should be amenable to scientific methodology.
       
      The reality is, however, that although called, laughably, the ‘Queen of Sciences’ it is at best a pseudo-science.  Something akin to where science proper was in medieval times where astrology, alchemy and shamanistic medicine vied with and frequently obstructed genuine scientific advance.  It is still controlled by shysters, shamans and charlatans.
       
      If proper scientists were to turn their attention to the subject then I am sure in not very long, it would be placed on a firm scientific footing and quickly attain optimisation and stability.
       
      So why don’t they?  Well, precisely because it isn’t rocket science.  The problems which need to be resolved are simply not interesting enough to attract the interest of the genuinely scientific mind.  There is also the little matter that those currently in charge would squeam and squeam and squeam and make life very tedious for those who did try to bring it into the 21st century.

    104. CameronB says:

      @ Chic McGregor
      Even when I was at school, I thought ‘economic theory’ was the application of poor maths to wishful thinking. Lot of assumptions that bore very little relationship to what little I understood about how things work. You have to admit though, ‘economic theory’ works for some.

    105. The Flamster says:

      For everyone who doesn’t know how to do a smiley thing colon and bracket as in
      🙂 wink semi-colon and bracket 😉

    106. Lochside says:

      Torquil Shiteon and his verminous mentor Brian ‘mouthpiece for Nuclear payola’ Wilson must think everyone who reads this risible ‘ministry of Truth’ pish about ‘declining oil reserves’ is as venal and corrupt and stupid as they are. North Sea Oil kept Thatcher and her gang of robber barons in folding stuff for years and with the wherewithal to bribe the S.E. of England with massive infrastructure investment…still going on incidentally..40 billion on development of a cross London rail development with another similar investment planned for the opposite direction. These disgusting liars and self-seeking ("Tractor" - Ed)s will reap what they sow eventually. Even if the Scottish electorate is cowed or brainwashed enough in 2014 to buy this bilge, they will wake up a year later and give these tory arse wipes and assorted  free market acolytes the boot in the baws that will flush them down the sewer of the neo-con/liberal poisoned world view once and for all. Then they can privatise themselves to death with their mean and squalid vision of ‘austerity’. 

    107. Chic McGregor says:

      @CameronB
      “You have to admit though, ‘economic theory’ works for some.”
       
      Which ‘Economic Theory’?  There are so many different ones to choose from    But it doesn’t really matter because none of them have a rigorous scientific foundation.
       
      I take it by ‘works for some’ you mean some people get rich.
       
      That is certainly true, but the same can be said for the lottery, poker or a pyramid scheme.

    108. Stuart Black says:

      @Bugger the Panda.
       
      Two raving Nats from Milngavie: who’d’ve thunk it? 😉

    109. Macart says:

      Apologies if this has been spotted already, but I think the reason for yesterday’s silly season assaults may have surfaced.
       
      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/referendum/7741-new-travel-and-trade-alliance-between-ireland-and-uk-latest-blow-to-no-campaign
       
      Darling and May have been made to look like complete eejits.

    110. john king says:

      “OT: I seem to have ‘earned’ myself instant posting on the Herald!  Lordy, lordy.  Anyone want me to say anything ”
      jammy ba**ard#
       
      tell my family I’m still alive, 
      and send us a postcard when you get to Switzerland 🙂

    111. john king says:

      ““The Prime Minister has enjoyed family holidays in Scotland in the past, including on Jura where Viscount Astor, his wife’s stepfather, owns a 20,000-acre shooting estate.”
      You couldn’t make it up.”
       
       
      That’s why Jura dissapeared off of Google maps ,
      its so Alex Salmond cant target him with gps directed missiles and take him out 

    112. john king says:

      Damn you Lobbydosser, 
      beat me to it 😉

    113. john king says:

      here you go stuart
       

      Again Stuart Black and Bill Hendry hit the nail on the head, which begs the question, why (present company excepted mr Bell)is it beyond wit or reason for msm reporters to take a balanced and thoughtful approach to questions that the Scottish public are crying out for answers to,
      this boy who cried wolf attack on every utterance by Alex Salmond is a naked and very transparent attempt to belittle everything the SNP does when the self evident truth is that in the last several years of SNP governance the results have been outstanding considering the shackles placed around the Scottish governments legs and the large burden placed on their backs by severe reductions in the block grant,
       it is of real concern that a balanced approach seems beyond these self serving lackeys who’s only consideration is for self preservation rather that the greater good of Scotland as a whole, and is quite frankly self destructive rather than the opposite as the people are clearly seeing though the lies and propaganda and turning away from papers like The Herald and The Scotsman in droves.
       
      however/ awaiting moderation
      checks armpits checks breath
      seems as if I am not yet deemed a fit and proper person to seek the same air as their hallowed and esteemed clientele 

    114. HandandShrimp says:

      Lochside
       
      Come off the fence and say what you mean 🙂
       
      Chic
       
      The difficulty with all economic theories (and I speak as someone who studied the stuff at Uni) is that there is an underlying principle of “rational economic man” Obviously individuals are supremely irrational but there is a belief (almost religious in the case of some of the free market gurus) that en masse this balances out and market forces prevail. Of course this is bunk and the market behaves like a headless chicken on speed. One or two Wile E Coyote types (aka George Soros) make a killing on the headlessness of other investors many others simply end up with crap pensions
       
      The very notion that the OBR can predict demand and supply for any commodity 30 years from now is so utterly laughable as to be an insult to the intelligence of a snail.

    115. CameronB says:

      OT but kind of scary. So this is the product of the USA’s neo-consevative dogma? The American dream?
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/18/detroit-formally-files-bankruptcy

    116. CameronB says:

      OT again. Here is a short clip of possibly my ‘favourite’ British commentator, Douglas Murray, speaking at the Hudson Institute in August 2006 on “why neo-conservatism still matters”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvNoKmORYMM
       
      Alternatively, here is a more in-depth lecture from the Cato Institute in 2011, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, investigating different interpretations of the deepest philosophic principles of neo-conservatism. Believe it or not, there are academics who feel that Leo Strauss, who believed that freedom and excellence can’t coexist, was a liberal. From fascism to neo-conservatism in one easy lesson.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oh6DmjQaho

    117. Stuart Black says:

      @ John King, kind of you, thanks John, though I see it hasn’t made it through moderation, I’ve given up trying now, to be honest.
       
      I once posted “Great article Mr Bell, thanks.” and it was deemed unacceptable. Bonkers.

    118. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Test

    119. Ross says:

      I don’t see how spending money on disabled grannies is a waste, though whether means testing is appropriate depends on the particular social provision in question. I’m in favour of Scottish independence because I think that Scotland can take better care of ALL of it’s population itself – that’s the reason for having governments. I believe this kind of flippant comment – assuming it is not meant seriously – is damaging. 



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