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How money changed everything

Posted on December 05, 2013 by

We all know there’s something strange about Britain. Germany and China have their factories, France and Japan their nuclear power plants. America has Google and Apple and the world’s largest navy. But how is it that Britain, a country that closed its mines and shuttered almost its entire manufacturing industry, is still a major world economy?

infra

The answer is Britain’s best-kept economic secret. It links Grangemouth, the obscene cost of housing in London, the Royal Mail sell-off, Channel Island tax havens and George Osborne’s disregard for the poor, and explains why an incomprehensible financial crisis triggered by bad American mortgages led to the closure of municipal libraries and swimming pools across the UK and a programme of permanent austerity.

And more to the point, it explains why only London, not Scotland or Wales or Yorkshire or Wearside, matters to the British political class today.

Our story begins in the years after WW2. The great British economist John Maynard Keynes and his American counterpart Harry Dexter White built a new international financial system designed to prevent a repeat of the Great Depression of the 1930s. This system made it difficult to move money between countries.

As late as the mid-1980s, there were strict limits on carrying cash out of Britain. The effect was that money moved into a country had to stay in that country, encouraging investors to pick long-term profitable enterprises like manufacturing over short-term speculation in the stock market and housing. It also gave governments the freedom to tax the rich (the very top rate in the UK was over 90% for most of the 50s and 60s, and 83% as recently as 1979) and invest that money in health, education and industry.

London bankers hated it, and set about undermining the system. From the 1950s, Midland Bank (now part of HSBC) began to make trades in London in US dollars. The Bank of England chose not to regulate these trades, and the so-called Eurodollar market was born – a completely unregulated banking system. By 1997, 90% of all international loans were made through this system, with London at the heart of it all.

Governments were forced to compete with this unregulated, untaxable system. Thus, London fired the starting pistol on a race to the bottom that dragged down tax rates and worker’s rights across the world. The wholesale deregulations under Thatcher (the “Big Bang”) and Blair merely completed the process.

Through British-controlled tax havens such as the Channel Islands and the Cayman Islands, London cast a fishing net over the world financial system. If you’re a speculator building a business empire on debt, like Grangemouth owner Jim Ratcliffe, the British Overseas Territories are probably where you borrow the money, and London itself, particularly the property market, is where much of the profits probably end up.

The tax haven system helps to explain Grangemouth’s suspicious-looking £10m-a-month losses. If you own a petrochemical plant, you can under-price its products, resulting in no profits and no taxes in the host country. You sell to a subsidiary in 0% tax Bermuda, and that subsidiary sells on at an inflated price to yet another subsidiary, say a chemicals plant in Europe. All the profit is apparently made in a small accountant’s office offshore, where you pay no tax on it.

offshore

Another trick is to make a big loan from your tax haven subsidiary to your petrochemical plant – the loan repayments won’t count as profits. By 2012 the global network of tax havens and unregulated banks, called the shadow banking system, was worth somewhere between $67 trillion and $100 trillion – more than the value of all goods and services produced in the entire world that year.

It was this system that transmitted a crisis in the American mortgage market to every country in the world in 2008. London is at the centre of the whole system. Its financial fishing net of dependencies and ex-colonies holds over half the world’s bank deposits. In 2009, the UK received financial inflows of an astonishing £195 billion from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man alone.

(That’s more than the entire GDP of Scotland, despite the islands having a combined population of less than 250,000 and little in the way of industries.)

And as easily as that, we answer our question. Despite vast debts and a crippling deficit, the UK remains a major economy because it’s the world’s (dodgy, tax-avoiding) banker. Grangemouth, the Post Office and the NHS no longer matter to London because where a normal country needs industry, infrastructure, and a healthy, educated workforce, London only needs bankers and people to serve lattes to bankers (that’s the rest of us). London property prices are so comically deranged because houses in London aren’t a place to live, they’re an asset for storing funny money from Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern oil men.

The notion of a Labour victory at Westminster in 2015 turning around this fundamental nature of the British economy is a farcical one. The party is every bit as in thrall to the City Of London as the Tories are. But next year Scotland has a unique (and final) opportunity to escape from it. We can reindustrialise around renewable energy, and be a normal country again rather than one built on a gigantic financial swindle.

We should of course pity the English regions, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the poor of London, all of whom are trapped in the madness. It’s lucky we’re planning a liberal immigration policy, and have lots of room.

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This article is heavily indebted to Nicholas Shaxon’s fantastic book Treasure Islands.

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    1. 07 12 13 11:39

      Why England needs its own White Paper «

    2. 06 02 14 15:41

      Alistair Davidson

    3. 06 02 14 15:43

      How Money Changed Everything | Alistair Davidson

    197 to “How money changed everything”

    1. gordoz says:

      Yes we pity the rest but we can only achieve this on our own doorstep. The transformational change can only occur right here in Scotland.
       
      We’ve heard from the rest (good & Bad) and once independent can support them where we can but lets keep our eye on our prize first and foremost. Ending sounds just a wee bit New labour for  me, otherwise very hard hitting about the pirates which operate in our watters.

    2. Doug Daniel says:

      “But next year Scotland has a unique (and final) opportunity to escape from it.”
       
      I hope anyone going into the voting booth next year intending to vote No thinking “if we don’t get more devolution, we can try again, second-time lucky” realises this.

    3. naebd says:

      Britain […] shuttered its entire manufacturing industry
      Hmm. No. Not true. 
      Couple of graphs:
      1) UK manufacturing output:
      http://i.imgur.com/Tf4t9zE.jpg
      2) Manufacturing as a percentage of GDP has been falling in many countries, Germany included.
      http://i.imgur.com/P2Y6KKU.jpg

    4. steviecosmic says:

      And look who’s as happy as a pig in shit dealing with ‘trade’ interests in the Carribean dependencies:

      Lord Foulkes:
      President
      The Caribbean Council
      2011-

      Chair
      GovNet Advisory Board
      2006-12

      Governor
      Westminster Foundation for Democracy
      2006-12

      Chair
      Heart of Mid Lothian Football Club
      2004-06

      Chair
      Carobbean Britain Business Council
      2002-11

      No wonder his opposition to indy is so vociferous.

    5. gordoz says:

      @ doug daniel
       
      That is the big, big, worry.  People tend to say a lot then backtrack when a counter offer from the likes of ‘Alex Ferguson’ (just an example) offers DEVO max as the way forward. Got to counter this wait for Labour rubbish.
       
      Personally that is the big fear for me, Scots will be sold this crap by other Scots (Proud Scots) and you know what I can see them buying it. Even after recent examples fro House of Lords grab back.
       
      The danger for me is the backsliders have done this so many times in the past – look how gullable the majority of folk in Dunfermline are.
      Cara Hilton ?? Seriously ?

    6. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Great Article,
       
      You could have gone into the set up of all these offshore tax havens (in mainly Former British colonies) was merely a spiders web system to feed the capital that people ‘Bank’ in these tax free zones back into the London Machine (spider in the centre)
       
      Little feeder zones picking up money that has avoided tax, not just in the UK, but globally, and scooping it up for London rather than the countries in which it was made.
       
      As a system goes it really is geared to benefit the elite.
       
      The rest of us can just muddle by and get reamed for our Taxes on our wages… because we cant transfer them out the country (unless you are a dodgy footballer with morally dubious loan/payment arangements)

    7. gordoz says:

      @steviecosmic says
       
      As wee Lord piggly wiggly  would have it
      A ‘Patriot of the Caribbean’ ?

    8. Luigi says:

      But next year Scotland has a unique (and final) opportunity to escape from it. We can reindustrialise around renewable energy, and be a normal country again rather than one built on a gigantic financial swindle.
       
      What about all those valuable shares in Scottish commodities, traded in London and big “Scottish-dependent” multinationals headquartered in London. I can’t imagine Diageo, for example, upping sticks and moving to Edinburgh.  It’s a sticky web to untangle!

    9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “1) UK manufacturing output:
      http://i.imgur.com/Tf4t9zE.jpg

      That’s kinda meaningless. What’s the left axis? Adjusted for inflation?

      And yes, of course manufacturing as a proportion of GDP is falling everywhere. We have all sorts of new service and content industries that we didn’t have in the 70s.

      “In the past 30 years, the UK’s manufacturing sector has shrunk by two-thirds, the greatest de-industrialisation of any major nation.”

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/nov/16/why-britain-doesnt-make-things-manufacturing

      Still, for the benefit of the pathologically literal I’ve added an “almost”.

    10. steviecosmic says:

      @gordoz
       
      It’s listed as a ‘non-financial interest’
      http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/lord-foulkes-of-cumnock/579
       
      but given that this is where rich people employ accountants to keep billions of pounds off the books, it’s hardly believable that m’Lard is doing it out of the goodness of his heart.

    11. Murray McCallum says:

      “the shadow banking system”
       
      Maybe there’s a clue in the name as to why we need to be cautious about that?

    12. Juteman says:

      Brilliant article Alistair. Obviously you are a different AD!
      Spiv UK.

    13. Les Wilson says:

      Oh what a tangled web we weave……..

    14. gordoz says:

      @ Luigi :
      Time it was untangled then before it gets worse. INEOS would not be here if it was not going to make money.
       
      I was just thinking the folks in the Easterhouse would resonate with Diageo and the multinational Headqtrs thing. And banks  dont get me started. Why is no one in jail for what went on !
       
      Iceland got it right – do something wrong / illegal = go to jail. Sure your number 2 can do your job nearly as well and if not him then your competitor who is not doing anything illegal mat just about do as good a job.
       
      Scaremonger threat to leave = go now and go fast. Business is business someone else will fill your place. See the Chinese like to throw their money about.
       
      If a gun is held to your head ( or a threat) always good to have a knife at the gut of your opponent (counter measure /counter threat) tends to calm things right down.

    15. handclapping says:

      So how do we change it back? My first step would be to make business interest payments liable for tax. How can you compete for your house if you have to pay the mortgage interest out of your after tax income when some buy-to-let spiv can offer interest on the money he’s been loaned out of his profits before tax?
       
      99% of loans are not for the business as such but are for financing the business. Its the business that makes a profit and then the lenders and the shareholders take their cut is the way it should be looked at. Not the present view that the business couldn’t make a profit unless the lenders lent, which is nonsense because you can have a business where the shareholders / owners put up all the money.

    16. Ivan McKee says:

      @ naebd
       
      A bit selective with your data there.
      The first chart I cant read the axes, but I assume its a chart of UK manufacturing by value over time (not clear if it is inflation adjusted for real value of money or not ?)
      Of course if you show it as a % of GDP it goes in the opposite direction i.e a steep decline.
       
      Second chart shows Manufacturing as a % of GDP for selected economies. Doesn’t show the UK, it if did you would see a steeper decline than any of the others countries on the chart.
      Here’s the data source.
      http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.IND.MANF.ZS
       
      Key numbers to note, manufacturing as a % of GDP :
       
      !980 : UK 25%; Germany 30%
      2010 : UK 11%; Germany 21%.
       
      Of course all western countries are seeing some decline in manufacturing due to the rise of Asia. But there is a world of difference between 21% and 11% (in terms of both policy focus and economic impact).

    17. gordoz says:

      @steviecosmic says
       
      Agreed what a wee trougher the Baron of Hearts is. I can just see him runnin’ his wee hoofs through his doubloons,

    18. kininvie says:

      Having lived with them, I would be the very last person to advocate the return of exchange controls. Nor do I remember the 70s with their high tax rates, as being a time when the UK was in the least competitive in manufacturing. It’s easy enough to blame Thatcher for the destruction of British manufacturing – but the truth is that by the 70s Britain had ceased to be able to compete with Germany, Japan and other places – and that was primarily because of failure to invest, failure to seek new markets or develop new products, and failure to keep up with best practice in management or industrial relations. Arguably, it is only since our industries have been sold off to foreign enterprises that they have become competitive – Nissan, BMW etc etc. Even the whisky industry – the shining light of the Scottish economy, has only really taken off since it was bought out by firms with enough muscle to open up new markets for it (Diageo, LVMH)
       
      Much of what you write, Alistair, has substance, but it’s far from being the whole truth. We have to be mighty careful of what we wish for in an independent Scotland, and ‘re-industrialisation around renewable energy’  may not be the panacea you would appear to think. I don’t think you escape the money markets and the multi-nationals shifting profit here and there quite so easily while at the same time remaining competitive.
       
      I think we shall need to work with a bit more subtlety. We need to think about how we can tax turnover rather than profit, how we can encourage foreign investment into Scotland while at the same time ensuring that a proportion of the money generated here stays here. We need to consider the best ways of making it harder for large multinational companies to buy out small, profitable Scottish companies and take their money offshore. Above all, we need to re-discover – especially in our financial industries – the probity for which (before RBS, HBOS – and now even the Co-op) we were once known.
       
      There are no easy solutions. You can’t reverse globalisation. Money will always flow where it is safest, taxed least and gets the best returns. We need to discover the niches which can give Scotland unique advantage in such a world. That demands ingenuity, not the blunt tools of blanket regulation or exchange controls.
       
      As you can tell from the length of this comment Alistair, I found your article enjoyable and thought-provoking, even where I don’t agree with it.

    19. Thank you, Alistair, I actually understood that.

    20. Andy-B says:

      Thanks Alistair for shining a light on the skullduggery of the banking system of London.
       
      As you say we who live outside city of London are expendable, and come way down the ladder of priorities.
       
      Surely Scots will see sense and vote YES to leave the mad house, no such fortune, awaits nothern England though mores the pity.

    21. Jimsie says:

      After a YES vote I foresee a flood of immigrants from England. Scotland will become an attractive destination for English people needing to escape the Tory infinite austerity.

    22. Iain Hamilton says:

      Feck! You couldn’t make this up. “Liked” the article on Facebook and FB threw up (as in vomited) a suggested page: “Barclays Wealth and Investment Management”

    23. msean says:

      We all here realise that if no looks like losing, they will let Scotland be in charge of bottle tops or something to head off a yes win.I for one am not falling for anything like that.When it is seen that austerity is taken by the people to help out the country short term,your everyday tory will say to himself ‘if they can do it for now,they will do it for always’.We need to get out now to use what is left of our resources for our selves.

    24. Bubbles says:

      This article is bloody dynamite! I’ve long suspected there was something else under the surface but I couldn’t have guessed it worked in this way. This needs to be more widely known because I strongly suspect, on principle alone, most people would prefer to be distanced from it.
       
      Many, many thanks Alistair.

    25. msean says:

      Great article,highlights for me how this system works to the advantage of big business.

    26. kininvie says:

      “Having lived with them, I would be the very last person to advocate the return of exchange controls. Nor do I remember the 70s with their high tax rates, as being a time when the UK was in the least competitive in manufacturing.”

      No doubt UK industry needed reform, but the trouble is that instead it was abolished. Capital controls would be almost impossible to bring in at a Scottish level in the modern world with a European single market. Still, it is important to understand that they served an important function.

      “I don’t think you escape the money markets and the multi-nationals shifting profit here and there quite so easily while at the same time remaining competitive.

      Sadly not. We can at least be a normal country facing these challenges in a normal way though, rather than a province of a global bankers’ city-state.

      “We need to think about how we can tax turnover rather than profit”

      Some countries have started taxing multinationals on their global profit divided up by how much business they conduct in each country. At the moment companies can allocate that profit themselves pretty much however they wish.

      “how we can encourage foreign investment into Scotland while at the same time ensuring that a proportion of the money generated here stays here.”

      Hmm, that does sound like capital controls :p

    27. pmcrek says:

      Not much to say other than, excellent article.

    28. Macart says:

      Superb article Alistair, very much appreciated.
       
      Myself and a friend I’ve helped convert recently have had many a bottle of the cheeky wee toilet duck whilst discussing this very subject matter. What underpins a country that essentially produces nothing?
       
      Answer ATL.

    29. Rusty Shackleford says:

      @ Ivan
      Interesting stats around manufacturing. I’d add that it’s not just the quantity but the quality – obviously the UK has some high value engineering companies left but not to the extent that the likes of Germany have. Not just the obvious VAG, Bosch etc but a lot of mid size specialist businesses designing and building things like manufacturing equipment for the pharma/food industries. Plus there’s the more equal relationship between owners and employees that workers’ councils give. While the economy isn’t all milk and honey in Deutschland either, it’s another country that sets a good example for Scotland (and should also for Westminster right now if they’d pay bloody attention).

    30. Henry Sloan says:

      England’s main ‘industry’ seems to be little more than shuffling bits of paper about?  How long would they be able to sustain themselves without the subsidy we give them?

    31. Papadocx says:

      As I have maintained for many years, though did not understand the mechanisms in play. UK: Westminster, Poitics, Politicians, Stock Exchange etc. etc. The whole system is corrupt and rancid, run and controlled by thugs, gangster and carpet baggers. (higher class people of course)
       
      It is the epitome of Hans Christian Anderson’s ” THE KINGS NEW CLOTHES ” 
       
      All you genuine, sincere NO voters waken up before it is to late and you sleep walk your kids, grand kids et al. Into this rat trap that the toff gangsters of Westminster hog tie you and strip your descendants of their futures, no second chances!

      This is that serious and the only way is to get away from this land of make believe, of lies, deceit and greed. These heartless selfish monsters will take everything from you and tell you it was for your own benefit. Wake up before it’s to late! Please.

    32. Justin Kenrick says:

      On April 29th 2012, Michael Meacher explained that since the 2008 crash:

      “the 1,000 richest persons in the UK have increased their wealth by so much in the last 3 years – £155bn – that they themselves alone could pay off the entire UK budget deficit and still leave themselves with £30bn to spare which should be enough to keep the wolf from the door”.

      http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2012/04/britains-1000-richest-persons-made-gains-of-155bn-in-last-3-years/

    33. Juteman says:

      London. The city where you can make millions by playing the childrens game, Pass the Parcel.
      If you get left with the parcel, then don’t worry. The serfs will pay all costs.

    34. Jimsie says:

      Papadox The whole system is corrupt and rancid, run and controlled by thugs, gangsters and carpetbaggers. Dead right and all their names are prefixed by Lord or Sir.

    35. Caroline Corfield says:

      The multinational company that my husband works for has just seen a ship launched from a German yard on the Baltic coast just south of the Danish border. They usually build ferries but they built the world’s first purpose designseismic exploration vessel. That is manufacturing. What the British press likes to put about is that noone in Europe makes ships – it’s all done cheap in South Korea. High quality engineering and manufacturing come at a price which is the same across the world. We can compete. 

    36. Jimsie says:

      Caroline Corfield. Jimmy Reid would have been proud of you Caroline.

    37. kininvie says:

      O/T
      Dear God, their Scottish lordships are at it again….
       
      http://archive.is/DPDH1
       
      Can we not set aside something from an independent Scotland’s budget to fund a special old folks home for these senescent creatures? Preferably on a no-longer-inhabited rock in the Hebrides…

    38. Andrew Morton says:

      Britain also actively produces legislation to assist money launderers in the form of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs). These make it almost impossible to find the people who are doing it and the government seem intensely relaxed about it.
       
      Find out more here:
       
      http://www.private-eye.co.uk/eyeplayer.php?media=298

    39. john king says:

      BBC and STV  up to their tricks 

      when Stuart Hosie challenged Osborne today about the income from oil and gas He trotted out the standard OBR line using it to suggest the SNP  is misleading the Scottish public but neither took the trouble to look at the real facts and point out that in fact it is the OBR  who are misleading people with their projections of about $83.00 dollars a barrel for oil when in fact the reality is  precisely where the SNP’s prediction based on oil industry projections said it would be.

      so, follow the money and your lying follow a body who take their instructions from the Tories automatically its gospel truth.

      getting mad here!

    40. Papadocx says:

      “THE END OF BOOM AND BUST” Gordon Brown (over to you Alistair, I’m off ahead of the posse)
      £4billion “stolen from pension funds” – pensions are now under funded. (Over to you Alistair, I’m off ahead of the posse) Rt hon Gordon Brown.
       
      Order 2 aircraft carriers. £6billion, No screening ships, no aircraft. Unusable. Ref Rt hon Gordon brown.
       
      “Silly woman, find out who got her” Gordon Browns in a temper.
       
      Hurry back Gordy, missing you already!

    41. Robert Kerr says:

      The recent stormy weather highlights more problems for the UKNL (UK Not London).
       
      London is vulnerable to storm surges in the North Sea and massive civil works are required sooner rather than later. 
       
      Sea-wall protection for the rest of the UK can go. London must survive.
       
      Still more infrastructure investment needed. No doubt Dutch engineers can do the job.

    42. Kirriereoch says:

      @ cynicalhighlander
       
      I´ve heard it stated that some “investors” of a particular kind of money sourced from a “certain kind of business” term money laundering now as “Money Londoning” instead.

    43. gordoz says:

      Gordon Brown is very tied up with getting ‘United with Labour’ out to  the people.
       

    44. Papadocx says:

      OBR – OFFICE of BLOODY RUBBISH. (HMG bum boys)

    45. JLT says:

      I just blame Thatcher …and I just wish she had lived long enough to see Scotland become independent, and thus realise, that it was her policies that ended up shattering the mighty and proud …’Great Britain’.

    46. liz says:

      Do the likes of JoLa and all those other jobsworths in SLAB not realise they are being used to preserve London at all costs and the rUK can go to hell.
       
      Or is a sniff of an ermine robe enough to sell everyone down the river.

    47. Andrew Morton says:

      @liz
       
      Yes.

    48. handclapping says:

      @liz
      Judging by the antics of those that have been honoured with dead weasels you have to be insane first and then you get the acolade

    49. Westie7 says:

      OT
      Gideon in his Autumn statement seems to be laying plans already to bypass Holyrood and deal with councils directly. 

    50. @Kirriereoch 

       
      Yes and most of the MSM are there to keep an eye on all the shenanigans.

    51. Matt Seattle says:

      and we want to share the pound with these people???

    52. velofello says:

      Excellent article . I enjoyed Kininvie’s musing – we need to find how we can tax turnover rather than profit- there is a system in place now, its termed PAYE, applies only to lower earners. High earner individuals who can bear the annual admin costs of paying an accountant set up husband and wife director companies.
       
      Taxing a company on turnover with international interests wouldn’t solve the problem unless the tax was levied on their turnover at the final point of sale. To avoid tax in this country a company sells its product at cost to its overseas branch, as described in this article, and then the overseas branch, that enjoys offshore banking facilities sells the product essentially free of tax. And how do you establish the sale price at the final point of sale? The offshore branch won’t tell.
       
      Now if oil and gas, power generation, were nationally owned industries the tax problem would be resolved.As regards Scotch whisky, it is unique to Scotland and so the producers have much less scope to play the offshore tax games as they cannot “do a bunk” and take manufacturing overseas.

    53. gordoz says:

      O/T
      FFS now we know why the Herald is in such bad shape never mind Gardham and the rest, who thought that hiring Mark Smith – Scotland hater / Britain lover & ‘bastion of intellect’ was good idea ?

      Feature writer ?

      Dear God if this the best we can do for journalism we are well and truly fxxxed and will deserve it.

      Remember the name Mark Smith (Fan dan) in fact dont – save yourself and avoid at all cost. 

      Mind numbing, modernist, cool brittania twee, piss, (sorry that should read pish), apologistic drivel. 

      If some editor regularly pays for that utter meaningless teacake & grannies scones crap and they made such a big deal about Bulmers contribution issue; then fxck me we really need to sort out our press.

    54. X_Sticks says:

      kininvie says:

      “Dear God, their Scottish lordships are at it again….”

      Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said the prospectus for the “Balkanisation of Britain” had “all the deliverability and relevance of a letter to Santa Claus”.

      “This is not a Scottish issue”
      “I don’t see why my taxes should pay for this sort of nonsense,”

      Mr Salmond, his deputy Nicola Sturgeon and finance minister John Swinney reminded him of the Road-Song of the Bandar-Log from The Jungle Book about three monkeys.”
      “Here we sit in a branchy row, thinking of beautiful things we know; dreaming of deeds that we mean to do, all complete in a minute or two – something noble and grand and good, done by merely wishing we could.”
      Labour former minister and MSP Lord Foulkes of Cumnock said,

      “Mr Salmond did not have the power to implement the proposals he was putting forward.”

       “He reminds me of the Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland because if he says it so, it must be so.”

      Tory Lord Cormack dubbed Mr Salmond a “sort of tartan Boris”,

      Well kininvie you are so right. Birkies a’.

    55. Ken500 says:

      The Bankers of last resort, the Chinese and the Saudi/Qataris control Westminster economy policies. Cameron’s recent trip looking for more Chinese investment. The BoE printing monies devaluing the £, means they will not get their investment back with interest.The BoE devaluing the £ makes the UK – EU contribution more expensive.

      Whisky Companies tax evade. Scottish Oil sector is taxed at 60% – 80%, while multinationals in the City of London tax evade. HMRC is not fit for purpose. Osbourne/Alexander attacks on the Scottish Oil sector has reduced production and lost revenues.

      Orkney/Shetland has been given (back) £10million in the Autumn Statement, if matched by the Scottish gov. Carmichael trying to gain/buy support?

    56. gordoz says:

      Come on as soon as you see Lord Forsyth and Foulkes you know the story thats coming, its the Labour & Tory ‘Gang show’ – jolly old music hall double act of Colonial Empire days.
      Scare stories about the bad renegade ‘native’ leaders and only the religion of Britain and her Labour Tory partnership representatives know the path to salvation. 

    57. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @kininvie –
       
      re The HoL:
       
      It would be nice to drop the whole fucking lot of them on St. Kilda and have them rely on monthly deliveries of stuff that even the foodbanks won’t use. It’s hard to imagine a more rewarding sight than Lords Foulkes, Robertson and their buddies, covered in guano-encrusted robes, fingertipping across precipitous cliffs in search of eggs.

    58. Ken500 says:

      The world’s most successful economies with high standards of living, and cohesive, more equal societies, ie Nordic,Germany etc. They all pay higher taxes, invest in industry and regulate the banks. They are solvent and in surplus. The majority of people, in the UK, want to support the NHS and Education through general taxation.

      Germany and Japan were not allowed to re-arm after 11WW but invested in industry and infrastructure.

    59. Ken500 says:

      Forsyth – Thatcher’s henchman. The troughers in the HoL.

      Portillo – Thatcher’s lap dog who calls Alex Salmond a ‘coward’. No one who takes on the London establishment is a coward. The only thing protecting Scotland from a London onslaught is the SNP gov in Holyrood.

    60. Ken500 says:

      The three monkeys Forsyth, Foulkes and Robertson. Forgotten where they come from and the electorate they were supposed to support.

    61. Better Together St Kilda says:

      @ Ian Brotherhood – we have a varied cuisine here and many public conveniences that the ermine-clad would be welcome to frequent.

    62. Edward says:

      I see Foulkes is in full denial about the House of Lords taking away the renewable energy powers from the Scottish Parliament. Would love to have a link to Hansard to ram up the backsides of the idiots that are using Foulkes denial

    63. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Talking of people on islands, here’s an O/T belter which may be true, or may be scurrilous rumour-mongering.
       
      The Buddhist monks on Holy Isle, off Arran, have been told that they have to start signing-on.
       
      In Saltcoats!
       
      Needless to say (which is something they happen to be very good at) they’re not over-chuffed about this and have declined to co-operate. Where it will all lead no-one knows. (It is unknowable.)
       
      But they may yet have the last laugh. Isn’t it true that claimants are entitled to reclaim travel costs for keeping appointments with the Job Centre? Well – the monks, on their fortnightly pilgrimage, will have to: get from Holy Isle to Arran (is it Whiting Bay?); catch a bus into Brodick; get the ferry to Ardrossan; another bus/train to Saltcoats.
       
      Can’t imagine they’ll have much change left out of £40. Depending on weather they may not be able to get back home the same day, so their accommodation would have to be covered as well.
       
      Watch out for this astonishing story in the MSM – it will duly appear as and when they’ve worked out how to blame the Scottish Government. (But be patient…..ohmmmmmmm….)

    64. Atypical_Scot says:

      The city is worth £6 Trillion. And the UK has its fingers in the pie.
       
      But when put into scale…
       
      http://www.wallstreetrant.com/2012/01/who-owns-worlds-financial-assets-and.html

    65. Jon D says:

      @Better Together St Kilda says
       
      Eh, after registering with the Better Together website, I arrived on St Kilda to deliver all these BT newspapers in an attempt to balance the SG White Paper. No-one turned up! What’s going on with you guys?
       
      Not happy. I’m voting YES now.

    66. Morag says:

      It would be nice to drop the whole fucking lot of them on St. Kilda and have them rely on monthly deliveries of stuff that even the foodbanks won’t use.
       
      I see your St. Kilda and raise you Rockall.

    67. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Morag –
       
      I fold.
       
      Gladly.

    68. Better Together St Kilda says:

      @ Jon D – thanks for leaving them, sorry we were out, burrows now fully insulated – vote No (new posts on facebook)

    69. X_Sticks says:

      “It would be nice to drop the whole fucking lot of them “
       
      Why bother adding a pestilence of lords to either beautiful island?

    70. Papadocx says:

      The ruling classes sold us ( the Sottish peasants)  into serfdom 300 years ago. Nobody asked us they just sold us and used and abused us for the next 300 years while they lorded it with their mates down London way.
       
      Well now the peasants of Scotland are going to get a chance to answer the question which they should have been asked long ago. We have made vast political advances over the last 20 years and there is no going back, this is a one way journey however long it takes and whatever it takes.
       
      Forsyth, Foulkes, and all the other titled gentlemen have had their day, who the hell do they think they are. You and your ancestors have manipulated and bled the poor people of this beautiful country dry for centuries, and true to form you ain’t going to give up easily. Nobody in Scotland want to hear your Westminster tripe and rubbish any longer, go to London and live in your land of make believe with your very appropriate dead skunks round your sloping shoulders.

    71. Brian Powell says:

      If Osborne is planning to deal directly with the Councils, then the Councils are screwed.
       
      Myopic Labour Councils as usual would be congratulating themselves to have ‘got one over’ on the SG but it will soon be a cap-in-hand routine with diminishing revenues between them and the Treasury.
       
      A Tory grandee said some months back, “Why should we keep sending money to parts of the country which don’t vote for us”.
       
      If Councils are going to get money it will be the Conservative ones in the rest of the UK. The Tresury can’t heavily fund them all.
       
      I would say of the Councils, poor, dumb bas…ds’, but it is their voters and constituents who will be at the sharp end.
       
      If thee is a No vote the Councils will be doing as they are told, or the Treasury will squeeze hard.

    72. Bill C says:

      As someone who was born in 1954 I have to say, I recognise this Britain in 2013. Without manufacturing industry we are a bubble waiting to burst. Thanks Alistair, I just hope this article is shared far and wide.

    73. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @X-sticks (9.16) –

      Because David Attenborough would do some splendid documentaries about them, and wouldn’t have to use made-up names.
       
      ‘And this…is a rare gathering…when they have the opportunity to smell one another at close quarters, and, crucially, decide how much they’re getting for the next year…’
       
      http://politicalscrapbook.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/house-of-lords-peers.jpg

    74. Morag says:

      A Tory grandee said some months back, “Why should we keep sending money to parts of the country which don’t vote for us.”
       
      That, by the way, is an absolutely unconscionable thing to say.  It is the duty of a government to do its best for the country as a whole, and all the people in it.  The public purse is not their private largesse to be doled out as a bribe or reward for voting in a particular way.
       
      Any newspaper editor worth his salt should be headlining an article flaying that “grandee” as someone utterly unworthy and unfit to hold public office.  I note that no such article appeared.  How surprising.

    75. Albert Herring says:

      Flannan Isles and hope history repeats itself.

    76. Thepnr says:

      By coincidence I read an earlier version of that book just a couple of months ago. It was called:
       
      Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World
       
      It won’t make you weep but it will make you angry, worth buying.

    77. call me dave says:

      I read this earlier and on reflection. What a brilliant kid!     I would be bursting with pride if she was one of mine.
      Yet there are MP’s and MSP’s and Lords who claim 5p for a paper clip. It’s true.
      …..
       
      Department store John Lewis has launched a search for a five-year-old girl who wrote a letter of apology after she broke a bauble.

       

      The girl, who signed her name as Faith, sent the letter after she accidentally broke the decoration while visiting a shop in Cambridge.
      She stuck two £1 coins to the note, which she posted to the “Christmas Department” of the store.
      In most papers today.

    78. Alba4Eva says:

      Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.

    79. john king says:

      Nelson Mandla has died 

    80. K1 says:

      @Caesar!Eva
      Hear Hear

    81. Horacesaysyes says:

      Sad, but not unexpected news about Nelson Mandela.

      He was a true hero.

    82. call me dave says:

      Nelson Mandella has died.
      BBC News.
       

    83. Macart says:

      Such a loss.
       
      A truly great human being.

    84. Barbara Watson says:

      Such sad news, Nelson Mandela has died.  I was in South Africa when he became President.  I will never forget the joy of all the people that day, it will live with me always.  Sadly there is not one man today who could walk in his shoes.  The world has lost so much today with his death.
       

    85. Keef says:

      Mandela inspired the world whilst he was alive. In death he will inspire many more generations to come.
      A sad loss to all humanity.
       

    86. Seasick Dave says:

      I can’t believe that BT have not blamed this storm on Alex Salmond’s wind farms.
       
      I passed one today and it was generating so much wind it was ridiculous.
       
      As if there’s not enough wind in Scotland already.

    87. john king says:

       Nelson Mandela 
      The king is dead 
      Alex Salmond
      Long live the king’
       

    88. steviecosmic says:

      Mandela was proof that tough battles can won, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. 
       
       
       

    89. southernscot says:

      @Morag
      Of course Morag, the tory libdem govt wouldn’t cut public services more in Labour areas.
      Oh wait…http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25115288

    90. john king says:

      Seasick Dave says 
      “I passed one today and it was generating so much wind it was ridiculous.”
      just dont do it in a lift 😉
       

    91. X_Sticks says:

      Sad news. A truly inspirational man. Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela.

    92. Luigi says:

      RIP Madeba
       
      You changed the world

    93. Thomas William Dunlop says:

      Great article. It shows how money is laundered thru London and with the political class there will not or cannot do a thing about it and is therefore another power arguement for wanting to remove ourselves from it.
      However I find the first figure misleading. It could be argued that since the SE has a greater population, the larger amounts of overall spending reflect this (also where does the London column come from the original graphic in the Alex Massie Spectator column does not have it). So I would like to see spending per head of population per region AND then the amount of taxation raised per head of population to judge whether London is being feathered at the expense of the rest of the country.

    94. john king says:

      Nick Robinson’s hypocrisy in praising Nelson Mandela’s fight for democracy is quite sickening 

    95. Peter says:

      That would be the N Mandela who supported the release of Al Megrahi. And opposed the Iraq war.  Some people can be on the side of the angels  and some people vote labour.  

    96. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      Mandela was one of the few really good guys,a man with integrity and vision which triumphed over all the oppression thrown at him by the South African state.He will be remembered long after other small minded world leaders are forgotten.

    97. Morag says:

      I’m hideously tempted to scan and post that photo of Mandela visiting Megrahi in jail in Scotland, both men smiling together, and Mandela having just autographed and inscribed an encouraging message in Megrahi’s copy of his (Mandela’s) autobiography.

    98. muttley79 says:

      RIP Nelson Mandela.  A truly great leader and man. 

    99. Morag says:

      BBC just mentioned Mandela’s role in brokering the Lockerbie trial and his desire to “see justice done”.  They also mentioned Mandela’s visit to Megrahi in prison, but they unaccountably failed to mention that Mandela believed Megrahi to be innocent and that justice had not been done at Camp Zeist.

    100. annie says:

      RIP Nelson Mandela – an inspiration.

    101. Ekindy says:

      @ John King 10.23
       
      Even worse listening to Cameron there.Enough to drive me off to bed !!!

    102. fairliered says:

      RIP Nelson Mandela.
      A great statesman. Just a pity such a great man is sharing a thread with Foulkes & Forsyth.

    103. Keef says:

      I’d like to think that as Mr. Mandela is sitting having a cup of tea with the great Gandhi that their thoughts will eventually turn to Scotland’s plight for independence.
       
      Glasgow was the first city in the world to recognise Mandela as a free man. Re-naming the square that the S. African consulate was located to Nelson Mandela square reflected the feelings Glaswgians had over the injustice he was forced to endure.
       
      Meanwhile a certain Tory student was helping produce posters declaring Mandela should be hunged.
       
      I’m sure both great men would be smiling down on every YES supporter who is out fighting the weather and the MSM to make their dream a reality too.

    104. Morag says:

      Which Tory student?

    105. the journeyman says:

      Great article but don’t get the surprise of so many people. There is a financial elite working to maintain the shadow banking system via the City of London. It’s in their interest to keep the people enslaved in a low wage economy begging for scraps just to survive. To achieve this they control the media, security and they even get away with unelected trough feeders doing the work for them In the HOL. Conspiracy theorists have been trying to tell you all for ages but many people bought the elites line that CTs are nutters. Well now you know!
      Fear not for we are of a new era of enlightenment and the web of deceit is unravelling, so keep shopping in the new stores like WOS, spread the word because the dark arts cannot repel the bright lights that are starting to burn in many corners of the world. Vote YES For a better way for everyone.

    106. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Morag
       
      I would love to see that photo

    107. Morag says:

      It’s in John Ashton’s book, Megrahi: You Are My Jury.  I’m just a wee bit concerned about copyright, because it doesn’t seem to be online at all.
       
      Maybe now is the time it ought to be?  Given what happened tonight, and what’s going to happen in just over two weeks.

    108. tartanpigsy says:

      Just got in and saw news of Nelson Mandela’s passing.
      I feel empty tbh,
       
      One of the true great human beings of our lifetime,
      Ironically, perhaps I want to quote these lines from Bob Marley’s song about the liberation of neighbouring Zimbabwe (Rhodesia at the time), before Mugabe was exposed as the despot he became.
      Marley never lived to see South Africa free from apartheid but I’m sure many there drew from him as they carried on the fight, as we must draw from the greats of the 20th century in our fight to liberate Scotland,
       
      …. anyway Marley’s track Zimbabwe contains a couple  of lines that have traveled the world with me and have been a constant inspiration throughout my life and in keeping the faith that one day we in Scotland would see our own liberation.
       
      I had the honour to see Mandela once, in the distance in The Garden’s in Cape Town, it’s always been a precious memory but never more so than now.
      ‘Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny,
      And in this judgement there is no partiality.’
       
      the other great verse is this
      ‘No more internal power struggle;
      We come together to overcome the little trouble.
      Soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionary,
      ‘Cause I don’t want my people to be contrary. ‘
       
      RIP NELSON MANDELA
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqFJJmfWNsg
       
      for those who want
       
      sorry if I’m a bit emotional, but we have lost one of the true greats today

    109. Keef says:

      Morag.
       
      Ill give you one guess and one guess only. I’m sort of miffed that you even had to ask. The same guy went on fact finding missions to support apartheid in S.Africa. All sponsored by P.W. Botha.

    110. caz-m says:

      Is the Better Together website really a cover for a Lonely Hearts Club.

      “A place to meet like minded people.
      If you feel unloved, lonely, hated by your own people.
      You feel worthless, nobody seems to listen to anything you say”, then don’t despair.

      Join Better Together, were you can meet and find love with similar losers.

    111. gordoz says:

      STV Labourfest underway now
      Only Labour can pay tribute to Nelson Mandela (nothing changes)
      No comment from 1st Minister ? Nah its Labour night !!
      What a line up 

    112. tartanpigsy says:

      ‘cos I don’t want my people to be tricked by mercenaries’
       
      is the line I meant to quote.
       
      Our people hopefully won’t be….

    113. gordoz says:

      Mags Curran closing statement – his legacy is ensuring peoples right to govern themselves.
      What a complete hypocrite

    114. Thepnr says:

      Swinney being cut off like that on Newsnight. absolutely disgusting and shows zero respect, I hate the cnut Brewer!

    115. creigs1707repeal says:

      Apologies folks. O/T
       
      Great article of on NNS debunking Project Feart’s EU claims.
       
      http://tinyurl.com/qgexgln

    116. Seasick Dave says:

      Gordoz
       
      Did she really say that?
       
      Wow.

    117. gordoz says:

      Aye; Brewer seems to be untouchable – gets away with murder, cant wait for the day when someone is just as rude back.

    118. tartanpigsy says:

      Trouble is Seasick/ Gordoz   she probably doesn’t see the irony
      ref last Marley quote ‘…tricked by mercenaries’
       
      nuff said

    119. gordoz says:

      Oh mercenary would be the nice word I’d use to describe the ermine chaser Ms Curran

    120. tartanpigsy says:

      O/T local politics student here in Galway came by the Christmas Market today and said she got an A for her essay on Scottish Referendum ….. having been given an Aye Right flyer and a wee chat about what we’re up to, (and against)

      It all helps 😉

    121. Dramfineday says:

       A powerful light for peace and harmony has gone out in Africa. A sad day indeed.
       
      Meantime the “bread basket of Africa” continues to wither under baleful influences……..if only they had oil and not diamonds.
       
      What if?

    122. Thepnr says:

      Nothing but respect for Nelson Mandela, a man who understood what struggle meant.

    123. Jingly Jangly says:

      Ian Brotherhood
      Ferry from Holy Isle goes to Lamlash last time I was over in August it was £12 return but I don’t know if the Monks pay any or part of the fare, I presume they must have a deal with the ferry operator.

    124. Alastair wright says:

      Bot (back on topic)London is without doubt Wongaland!

    125. Training Day says:

      RIP Mandela

      A Conservative Prime Minister lauding a ‘hero of our time’. This from the party that told us that sanctions against South Africa in the 80s (when of course Mandela was still incarcerated) ‘wouldn’t work’.

      Kinda sums up the cesspit of hypocrisy that is Westminster.

    126. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Mags Curran closing statement – his legacy is ensuring peoples right to govern themselves.
       
      That’s just begging to be made into a poster with the tagline…….
       
      *EXCEPT FOR VIEWERS IN SCOTLAND

    127. AllyPally says:

      Watching Scotland Tonight. Magrit Curran said Mandela’s legacy is the capacity for people to govern themselves. Well why are you campaigning against a Yes vote, Magrit?

    128. HandandShrimp says:

      Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont described the South African as “the towering figure of my life”.
       
      Mandela was noted for his grace and reconciliation. Johann would cross a crocodile infested stream to start an argument…was she reading the book upside down?

    129. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      A word for the very brave de Klerk who if he did nothing else  realised the relentless process of history and effected a reconciliation with it unlike the idiots in Rhodesia who aborted a peaceful transition there to moderate African leaders like Nkomo and Muzerawa and were responsible for a bloody conflict in which they eventually lost everything and produced Robert Mugabe for their pains 

    130. call me dave says:

      TheGreatBaldo
      Aye but the penny never drops!   That’s labour nowadays.  Hypocricy
      I see other prominent political figures being quick to connect to the media and also mouthing fine words, but whose actions single them out as not fit to lick Mandela’s boots.
       
       

    131. AllyPally says:

      Sorry Baldo,

      Didn’t mean to steal your thunder. Seriously, we had to rewind the telly to conform she actually said that. Not very self-aware, some of these No folk.

    132. tartanpigsy says:

      Can i start a wee questionnaire. Just to try and find the bright side on a day when we lost a dare I say it Collossus like Madiba?
      If you had to list the three most influential people in your political/social life,
      Who would they be?
      I’ll start and make it easy for myself Guevara, Marley, who are the easiest as they’ve been with me all my adult life…..
      and Joe Strummer,

    133. tartanpigsy says:

      btw Well said Dave about De Clerck, not that I’m a fan but he obviously could see a lot further than most of his flock.
       
      Unfortunately we’ve not reached that stage yet. And also have no leaders (Ha) amongst the onionists who read the bigger picture

    134. Jamie Arriere says:

      Remembering fondly tonight my memory of being at the Mandela 70th Birthday Concert at Wembley, feeling like sh*t with a splitting headache, so I can’t remember many of the performances – but witnessing the cheers from more than 70,000 people when he appeared up in a gantry above the stage. He was probably over 100 yards away, but I still remember that smile.
       
      Probably the greatest human being I’ve ever seen. RIP

    135. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      tartanpigsy
       
      That’s an interesting thought. Mandela would be one of my three and then a man called Aminu Kano,a social revolutionary of high birth, in Northern Nigeria who would probably have been elected an honest president of Nigeria had he not sudenly died – -and then Buddy Holly!

    136. Jamie Arriere says:

      Aye, I’m getting old – it was the 1990 concert I was at, not the birthday one as he was still in prison then (so he couldnae have been there!).
       
      Loss of brain cells is a terrible thing

    137. JLT says:

      I believe that a change is happening at the moment. I always believed that when the White Paper came out, that it would be a game changer. I still believe that.
       
      I have noticed, even in the last week during a meeting at Almondvale Stadium on Wednesday evening there, when Nicola Sturgeon, Angela Constance and Fiona Hyslop, spoke to around 250 people. A good few people that were there were DK’s.
      Overall, Nicola spoke extremely well, and she answered every question put to her with no problems at all.
      I had invited two of my friends who were DK’s. Afterwards, they told me that they now ‘saw the light’, and were now voting Yes. As we can guess, they will go home now, and begin working on their own family and friends.
       
      Even at my work, people are starting to talk. Just under half of my section are now ‘Yes-sers’. From round about 3 people, it has grown to 7.
       
      Everyone is now aware of the White Paper, but the beauty of the White Paper in my eyes, wasn’t that it just offered an alternative and fairer future; it showed that the BT and the Union itself, have nothing left to offer except deeper cuts, pain, and fear.
       
      As Osborne continues to wield his axe, more and more people will cross over to Yes. Forget all the polls about Yes being stuck at 27%. We all know that that is just pure nonsense. Out of everyone that I know, there is no way that more than half of them are voting No. If anything, No is stuck at around 40% (which reflects the voting attitudes of all that I know).
       
      We will win. The light of Hope always triumphs over the darkness of negativity.
       

    138. Stuart Black says:

      “It would be nice to drop the whole fucking lot of them on St. Kilda and have them rely on monthly deliveries of stuff that even the foodbanks won’t use. It’s hard to imagine a more rewarding sight than Lords Foulkes, Robertson and their buddies, covered in guano-encrusted robes, fingertipping across precipitous cliffs in search of eggs.”
       
      Ah, something to replace counting sheep for when I can’t sleep, thanks Ian. I’ll customise it by also dropping Mark Smith in amongst them, he should feel right at home with the vermin in ermine he so admires. 🙂

    139. Erchie says:

      The actions in the Lords and something David Maddox said I think show us the deal that the Tories and Labour have worked out post a “No” vote.
       
      A lot of social care is being pushed to Councils by Westminster, under the guise of local control but really cuts.
       
      Post a “No” vote, Holyrood will be stripped of powers and some will go to Councils. The Tories would rather see a set of wee Labour fiefdoms in Scotland, than a Holyrood that can thwart it, and Labour will live with the Tories as long as they can keep patronage and power at a local level.
       
      It’s not a happy prospect

    140. john king says:

      I hope people will like my new gravitar?
      I changed it to respect one of the greatest men the world has ever known,
      rip Mabida

    141. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “However I find the first figure misleading. It could be argued that since the SE has a greater population, the larger amounts of overall spending reflect this”

      Pay attention, Thomas. “The South-East” gets its own separate entry on that bar chart. London means London, which has under 15% of the population of England but over 50% of the spending.

    142. fairiefromtheearth says:

      The only time Jesus used violance,against the monie changers at the temple,and of course Scotland has seen this before Talbot the car factory not making any monies in Scotland where their manufacturing was but making millions in Stockholme which only had an office.Its time to sweep the future clear of the lies of the past.

    143. Macart says:

      @JLT
       
      That was always the elegant simplicity of producing the white paper, all it had to do was be there and offer a viable alternative. The fact that BT and their string pullers in Westminster have nothing on offer illustrates the gaping chasm in the middle of their position. They offer nothing but more of what we see above the line in this article. What we offer is the very real chance to wipe the slate clean and create something better. And that something better is open for all of us to craft over time.
       
      The starting position alone is worth everything we can give: Fully empowered parliament, popular sovereignty and open democracy, constitution, full access to resource, tax and spend, re prioritised spend, seat in the UN with our own representation at the tables of OUR choice. A fair list to start with and the rest is for future generations.
       
      Bairns not bombs.

    144. fairiefromtheearth says:

      JTL do you think the 40% of noers will stay their are they hoplessly lost?

    145. Macart says:

      I think its fair to say that the Westminster unionist parties have shot their last big bolt this week. The promise of ‘jam tomorrow’, the unspecified powers of a devolution journey now lie trashed.
       
      The actions of the House of Lords have heavily underlined the true nature of devolution and undermined the promise of future powers. They now have and will continue to use parliamentary sovereignty to alter the Scotland Act at will. This must be devastating news in particular for those who held out some flickering hope of a resurgence of the devo max/federalist position. What it is NOT is a time for huge rounds of ‘I told you so’. Now is the time to hold out hands and encourage that final step. These are the people who already wished to see major change within the constitution and have more confidence in Holyrood acting in Scotland’s best interests.
       
      In the past two weeks they’ve seen the WP launched with no equivalent document in evidence from the opposition and they’ve seen first hand what Westminster is capable of doing with devolved powers. Their support is there to be had.

    146. scaredy cat. says:

      @ John King.
      RIP Nelson Mandela.
      A truly great man. I hope that,  come 19 September 2014, we in Scotland can follow his example and work together, putting our differences aside for the good of everyone.
      There will be many bridges to build, but he has shown that it is possible to move forward regardless of past wrong-doing.

    147. Brian Mark says:

      As we celebrate the life and times of Comrade Mandela let us not forget the likes of Steve Biko who along with Mandela did so much to advance the struggle against the SA regime. RIP Nelson Mandela

    148. Helena Brown says:

      May I add to Gordoz worries about the Guid People of Dunfermline which is my area. I noticed on the Blog porduced by John Curtice that Fife has one of the lowest Yes votes. Someone said a while ago that Independence will be one won by the intelligent over the numpties, and sad to say there are a whole lot of people in fife voting against their own best interests. I daily expect someone to ask me to sign a petition to keep Pitcorthie School open, I bet you can just hear my answer. They voted Cara Hilton into the Scottish Parliament, she still sits in the Council and the silly woman had a loss of memory that she had actually voted to close said school.
      Now I am off so send Labour a message, they were daft enough to leave me the means, oh and no stamp. I am being naughty as I am not giving them the chance to reply I am not supposed to send it back, numpties.

    149. fairiefromtheearth says:

      I cant understand all the plaudits Mandella got when alive now that hes dead well he must be some kind of Hero who changed the lives of poor people in all countries not just South Africa,or was he just a Shill for the New World Order like i think.From freedom fighter to NWO shill eazy 40years in jail getting brainwashed

    150. john king says:

      failing to see a point in your post fairiefromtheheearth?
       

    151. AllyPally says:

      This is a very good obituary to counteract Call Kaye’s sugary Mandela praise-fest. http://www.okwonga.com/?p=869

    152. ronnie anderson says:

      Playing catch up this morn I wanted to watch FMQs ch612 Bbc Parly, what gomes up Welsh FMQs that Bbc takin the piss,this isent the 1st time, when i wanted to watch FMQs Its either not as sheduled or broken links

    153. john king says:

      Ally Pally says @ 9.40
       
      And I thought Uncle Tom was dead
      he lives and is a Times sports writer caller Musa Okwongo
      Just because Mandela was a human being that does not detract from the sacrifice he made and the outcome it achieved, or was the emancipation of his fellow blacks not in Okwongo’s eyes a good thing because poverty still exists in SA ?  

    154. tartanfever says:

      Nice article Alistair, thanks.
       
      Reading this along with Alex Massie’s rather odd  article in the Spectator on excessive London infrastructure spending it’s clear to see that London gets far more than it’s fair share of capital spending.
       
      http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/alex-massie/2013/12/london-is-different-the-government-will-spend-money-there/
       
      Massie apologetically tries to question this excessive overspend without trying to rock the boat. Lord forbid he would be so deferential to Yes/SNP/Scotland, but the article is still worth a read, especially when it comes out with this little gem:
       
      ‘Ed Cox, from the IPPR, tweeted that the per capita spending on transport infrastructure comes out at: south-west £215, north-east £246, Yorkshire and Humberside £303, north-west £839, London £4895’
       
      Massie states that as the capital and the largest city, London should receive extra spending as it houses many of the UK’s institutional and governmental headquarters. The population density alone requires extra measures to be put in place that allow the city to function as effectively as possible.
       
      I agree totally with him on that but I would be a little bit more disapproving of the amount of extra spending.
       
      However, what is most bizarre is that Massie and many others commentators realise the need for ‘regional variations’ – that geography and population density should be a consideration when calculating spending. 
       
      But not when it comes to Scotland’s rural areas. If London requires extra spending, then conversely, so do the rural populations in northern and western Scotland. It’s difficult and costly to get services and supplies to these areas – a lower population density will reduce the profit base for any business. 
      Services – gas, electricity, broadband, water, all require more work to reach outlying settlements than the cramp housing estates of London. 
       
      It’s the polar opposite of London, but equally in need of some extra public spending. 
       
      Unfortunately that’s not what we are told. We apparently receive higher spending in Scotland, I actually doubt it when you take everything into consideration. However, the hypocrisy of Massie and other commentators is clear – the main thrust of media commentary runs along the lines of:
       
      Yes, London deserves to be treated differently because of it’s uniqueness, but nowhere else in the UK should. When we talk about Scotland, we’ll make it a negative stereotype and we won’t mention regional variations, we’ll just call them subsidy junkies.
       
      If you decide to read Massie’s piece, take note of the apologetic tone he offers to London, not wishing to appear too critical. It really is quite strange.

    155. Rubberbelly says:

      @Helena
      Please don’t give up on our fellow Fifers. They’ll see the truth if we work at showing them.
      Dunfermline and Cara was more to do with Mr. Walker and the way the media covered it than any acceptance of Liebors guff.

    156. Stuart Black says:

      “Mags Curran closing statement – “his legacy is ensuring people’s right to govern themselves.””
       
      A political pygmy quotes a political giant, without a trace of irony or self-awareness.

    157. ayemachrihanish says:

       
      Rev, on looking at that graph again – stick the spend for the South East & South West on top of the column for London and what an appalling picture of ‘state funded’ inequality.  
       
      What chance that the citizens of those other regions ever experience anything other than relentless austerity?       
       

    158. Edward says:

      Stuart Black
       
      Someone with the techy know how should take a clip of that with Margrit uttering those words and place it on You tube with the comment that Margrit agrees that Scotland should govern itself

    159. desimond says:

      Anyone else suspect Magreets choice term of phrasing in respect to Nelson Mandela is making its way to a Rev article sometime soon!

    160. Luigi says:

      “Mags Curran closing statement – “his legacy is ensuring people’s right to govern themselves.””
       
       
      That woman really ought to engage her brain before opening her mouth.

    161. DougtheDug says:

      Alex Massie uses this graphic (without London added) in his article:
       
      London is differrent: the government will spend money there
      http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/alex-massie/2013/12/london-is-different-the-government-will-spend-money-there/
       
      He points out the interesting fact that, “…the south-west’s figure is chiefly so high because of a single project: the new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point.”
       
      In other words the graph is distorted by one single project.

    162. Bugger (the Panda) says:

       
      Stuart black (or whoever made the original point) and  Jamie Arriere
      It would be nice to drop the whole fucking lot of them on St. Kilda and have them rely on monthly deliveries of stuff that even the foodbanks won’t use. It’s hard to imagine a more rewarding sight than Lords Foulkes, Robertson and their buddies, covered in guano-encrusted robes, fingertipping across precipitous cliffs in search of eggs.”
       
      It would be nice to drop the whole fucking lot of them on St. Kilda and have them rely on monthly deliveries of stuff that even the foodbanks won’t use. It’s hard to imagine a more rewarding sight than Lords Foulkes, Robertson and their buddies, covered in guano-encrusted robes, fingertipping across precipitous cliffs in search of eggs.”
      and
      Aye, I’m getting old – it was the 1990 concert I was at, not the birthday one as he was still in prison then (so he couldnae have been there!).
       
      Loss of brain cells is a terrible thing”
      Chapeau!
      Real classy comments, fair made my day.

    163. Fitz says:

      John King says @ 10:00 am
      I think you need to try reading that article again.
      From my reading the piece isn’t attacking Mandela or belittling what he achieved. It is attacking the people who would try to turn Mandela into something he wasn’t because it makes a more palatable narrative.

    164. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Sorry about the double cut and paste above, too late to edit one out.

    165. fionan says:

      The other day, a journalist of my acquaintance, always struck me as a staunch unionist, very british in outlook, happened to mention that she had intended a NO, but is so disgusted with the policies being pursued by Westminster and the effects on every day people and every day life in this country that she is strongly considering a YES vote now. When I observe this kind of change, I really begin to feel hope. Roll on September!!!!

    166. Macart says:

      @chalks
       
      OFFS!
       
      Every bloody stereotype rolled into one utterly, epically moronic campaign. Do they not see the inherent prejudice and offence that causes? Are these morons completely off their trolley?

    167. Rubberbelly says:

      @ fionan
      I believe that there are many in the same boat, just looking for something to justify their Yes vote to themselves.

    168. john king says:

      Fitz says @10.31
       
      Its all a matter of perception Fitz one person sees a saint another sees a man,
      neither is right neither is wrong, the world is driven by revisionism, I have no doubt if you could go back in time and say Joan of Arc is  a saint the people Orleon would laugh and say but she’s jist a wee lassie (in french of course, help me out Bugger) 
      Okwongo doesn’t get to claim ownership of Mandela’s eulogy no more than the media do!

    169. john king says:

      whats with the edit function, it seems to be creating double posts?

    170. Marcia says:

      fionan
       
      I have seen the same with a friend who was quite pleased when AD & BT started. However the policies of Westminster has changed her from a cheering No to veering to voting Yes. She now keeps asking questions as she likes what she read about the White paper. I shall keep reassuring  her that a Yes vote is the correct vote in Sept next year.

    171. Helena Brown says:

      @Rubberbelly, I do try, but sometimes I have got disheartened, one thing though I would like to add is that Labour and the No Campaign are not as confident as having all the media plus broadcasting behind them would imply or why are they asking all of us. After all they have no idea who is receiving their little enquiry cards.

    172. Rubberbelly says:

      @ Helena
      No need to be disheartened. I am sure that many contributors here can give anecdotal evidence of people who, up till a few months ago, were staunch nae sayers and are now , if not wholly in the Yes camp,  starting to question their previous certainty.

    173. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m hideously tempted to scan and post that photo of Mandela visiting Megrahi in jail in Scotland”

      Do it, then. If not now, then when?

    174. Fitz says:

      “Okwongo doesn’t get to claim ownership of Mandela’s eulogy no more than the media do”.

      And for expressing his opinion on how others are using a great man’s memory (a black man telling off the mostly white media), you feel comfortable labelling him an Uncle Tom!?!

    175. Morag says:

      Do it, then. If not now, then when?

      Dang.  I’m having scanner and computer problems, in spades.  I could scan it at work, but here I am at work and the book is at home.

      There is a link in this article here,
      http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/rip-nelson-mandela.html
      which I thought was to that photograph, but when I click it I get one of these perennial Facebook Fail screens.  I don’t know if this is because I’m not on Facebook, or if the photo really isn’t there.

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201971964093873&set=a.1420902535751.52149.1628335207&type=1

      Hopefully, if Robert Black has actually got a scan and is trying to post it, it will appear somewhere accessible in due course.

    176. JLT says:

      fairiefromtheearth says:
      JTL do you think the 40% of noers will stay their are they hoplessly lost?
       
      I think there will be anything from 25% to 35% that will vote ‘No’. I work in the City, and believe me, there are some hardcore ‘No’ers through here. I could tell them that Westminster intends to sell their children into slavery post-No, and they would still vote ‘No’!
      The DK’s are the key. That has been made clear. It’s just a case of how many we can win over.

    177. Beastie says:

      John King; further to Osbourne waffling on about the OBR’s assessment of oil prices, I heard the ginger rodent* himself, Danny Alexander, saying the Scottish Governments oil figures were ‘fantasy’ and the UK Government based their figures on the ‘independent OBR’ and, as if that wasn’t laughable enough, he then said ‘whose figures are average on the furture price of oil.’

      I was in the car at the time; I think the woman in the car next to mine on the M8 thought I was having a Tourettes fit. Rarely have I heard two bigger whoppers inside of thirty seconds than the rodent talking about the OBR. Independent? Chief Executive by selection of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Read into that what you will, I see it as far from independent.

      And of course, anyone who’s seen their figures on oil revenues knows that they are the singular most pessimistic appraisal out of all the think tanks which issued appraisals.

      The Scottish Government, on the other hand, tends to use figures supplied by oil industry bodies. He dismissed those as fantasy. Now, if anything, the oil industry would err on the side of caution when issuing projections. And their figures are so far removed from the OBR as to be unrecognisable.

      * I am ginger myself and wee Danny is a disgrace to ginger haired people everywhere. I would not call him a rodent…. it would be substantially less complimentary than that. He’s roughly the same as the mud you find when you clean out a duck pond. Thick and full of shit.

    178. handclapping says:

      @Beastie
      Cleaning out duck ponds, eh?
      You are an MP and I claim my £5; on expenses of course.

    179. Greg says:

      Ha, I thought some of those revealing facts were familiar.  Agreed, Treasure Islands is a fantastic book that shines a torchlight into the dark and complex web of UK tax and financial regulations.  

      The book examines areas like the Caymens, Turks & Cacos, Delaware etc but the most revealing chapter IMO was the one relating to the City of London.  This quite literally is a law unto itself sitting under everyone’s noses.  

      When there is a lack of transparency in financial regulations – especially tax – there is sure to be a consequential lack in democracy and fairness for the average citizen.

    180. Scarlett says:

      Treasure Islands is a very enlightening read for anyone who has time. But as Shaxon says ‘Tax havens are not the whole story but they are always part of the picture.’  The chapter on Jersey is quite scary. I hope we are reaching a kind of tipping point, in how many people are aware of the UK’s role in global tax havens (That the City of London is a major one) and then perhaps in how to tackle this problem. Hopefully Scotland is suffering less from ‘political capture’ than Westminster and Jersey, and I really hope it stays that way.

    181. Beastie says:

      @Handclapping; I went/ got sent to Raddery School, where part of the programme was teaching responsibilty by looking after animals. Normally looked after the goats, but we all pitched in to clean out the pond. It was quite far removed from a normal school.

      Normally got a fiver each from the Principal for that little job, though… so technically on expenses 😉

      A now closed, better known for things that happened in its final days than for the people it helped, school on the Black Isle.

    182. Craig Stewart says:

      I think we need some sort of up-voting mechanism on these comments to highlight the best (ie, most on-topic) replies… 🙂

    183. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Great article but don’t get the surprise of so many people.”

      It’s not that it’s surprising. It’s that it’s a brilliantly accessible, concise summary of what happened for those of us who wouldn’t know the “financial services” industry from a dairy barn.

    184. Churm Rincewind says:

      Certainly the Financial Services Industry is a key driver of the wealth of London and the South East.  But I think it’s unwise to be too disdainful of this sector, given its importance to the Scottish economy.  As the Scottish Government notes:

      “As a wealth creator, Scotland’s financial services industry continues to lead the rest of the economy. In 2003, it generated £5 bn for our economy, equivalent to nearly 6% of output. In the last five years financial services in Scotland grew by 36.5%, compared with growth of 9.5% in the overall Scottish economy and 17.5% in the UK financial services industry as a whole…The industry accounts for some 9.3% of Scottish jobs, employing 108,000 directly, almost 90,000 more in a range of related industries and including other effects, over 220,000 in total…Now we want to go further.”

      In its business approaches, concerns, and operational procedures the Scottish Financial Industry is identical to the London Financial Services sector and has been for decades.  Is, then, Scotland’s leading wealth creation industry a “gigantic…swindle”?  Neither the SNP nor the Scottish Government think so.  Indeed, they are committed to nurturing it as much as possible after independence.  And in my view quite right too.

    185. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Dear Churm
      As the Chinese say, we shall see?
      Wee live in interesting times, for London and the SE?

    186. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Is, then, Scotland’s leading wealth creation industry a “gigantic…swindle”?”

      Scotland’s finance industry isn’t the one printing all the fake money.

    187. Churm Rincewind says:

      “Scotland’s finance industry isn’t the one printing all the fake money”.  I don’t know what you mean by “fake money”.  If you mean QE, then certainly the Scottish finance industry has been involved in money creation through the fractional reserve banking system.  That’s how QE works.  

      But that’s a recent and temporary mechanism.  My main point still stands, which is that the Scottish Financial Services industry is heavily involved in practices which your original post seems to condemn, but given its importance to the Scottish economy is a sector which the Scottish Government is committed to supporting and encouraging post independence.  You may disagree with this policy, but personally I’m on the side of the SNP.

    188. @Churm Rincewind says:
       
      Certainly the Financial Services Industry is a key driver of the wealth of London and the South East.
       
      The Financial Services Industry sucks the life blood from the real wealth creators in the rest of of these isles and spits back a few drops of that liquidity back before storing the rest offshore and investing in gov bonds and the rigged markets where they can’t fail as they have become far to big to be controlled by the government.

    189. crisiscult says:

      A bit late to this thread but wanted to say that in my experience of the financial industry in one of the tax havens (won’t say which one and when) there has for a long time been the murmur that its days were numbered because of pressure on the UK from the EU. Many years later, the only thing I’m aware of having happened is that there are more money laundering rules with compliance departments becoming more important. All the companies that were local when I was there have expanded and are pretty big now, with offices abroad.
       
      When I was there, the majority of the business came from the UK and USA. Venture capital funds, share plans for top directors held in trust funds, off the shelf holding companies, etc. Supposedly independent trusts held by companies with local directors doing exactly what they’re told by the beneficiaries to maximise profit and pay no tax in the UK – money usually not sent to accounts in the UK at all. I’m keen to read the book ‘Treasure Islands’ now.
       
      Something else of note is that the islands I know of do very well from their little niche industry. Meanwhile they treat ‘foreigners’ i.e. those from the UK or EU in a very interesting way. You can probably google what I’m talking about for some of these islands.

    190. john king says:

      Fitz says
      “you feel comfortable labelling him an Uncle Tom!?!”
      when your wrong your wrong, I withdraw that remark unequivocally.

        

    191. john king says:

      Handclapping says
      “Cleaning out duck ponds, eh?

      You are an MP and I claim my £5; on expenses of course.”
      An a wee hoose fur the duckies tae live in an a remember 🙂

        

    192. Churm Rincewind says:

      Well, Cynical Highlander, you may well be right that “The Financial Services Industry sucks the life blood from the real wealth creators in the rest of of these isles.”  But given that the Financial Services Industry forms a disproportionately large part of the Scottish economy, it would seem to follow from your remarks that the Scottish economy sucks a disproportionately large amount of “life blood from the real wealth creators of these isles” (i.e. rUK).  That’s not my view.  Is it yours?  And if so, would you like to see an independent Scotland withdraw from this sector?

    193. Gray says:

      I was directed to this via Facebook .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64eI831eKY8
       
      Apologies if it’s been posted numerous times already and I’ve missed it.
       
      The comments are regarding Iceland in comparison to the USA response to the economic crash but UK could just as easily be substituted.



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