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IFS and maybes

Posted on June 04, 2014 by

We had an interesting chinwag with a very nice chap called David Phillips at the Institute for Fiscal Studies earlier today. By the time he called we’d already managed to determine where the missing hundreds of millions had gotten to (a planned £400m cut to the Scottish defence budget from Westminster that oddly doesn’t get mentioned much when Unionists are telling us how we need to stay in the Union to protect defence jobs), but we did learn some other stuff.


Not unrelatedly, we thought it might be fun to list just a few of the factors in the IFS’s calculations of the finances of an independent Scotland that rely on being able to accurately predict the future – a skill at which governments and economists alike have, let’s say, a sub-optimal track record.

1. “Using the OBR’s latest forecasts for the UK’s public finances”

The OBR? Ooh, not the strongest start there, lads.

2. “and under the  assumption that Scotland would inherit a population share of UK government debt”

That’s a very big assumption indeed. For a start, the UK government insists it won’t participate in a currency union, without which Scotland would have no reason to accept ANY of the UK’s debt whatsoever.

Secondly, taking the sane view that a currency union WOULD happen, Scotland’s debt share would have to be negotiated, and by even most Unionist analyses (and the UK government’s own admission) Scotland has historically over-contributed by tens of billions of pounds across the last several decades and beyond.

Thirdly, while at least as a starting position in negotiations Scotland might theoretically be presumed to be liable for 8.4% of the UK’s debt, it also owns 8.4% of the UK’s public-sector assets. Those are valued at somewhere around £1.3 trillion – coincidentally, very similar to the size of the UK’s debt. Logically, the two would therefore more or less balance out, leaving Scotland in the clear.

3. “Exactly how Scotland’s public finances will look in 2016–17 and how they would evolve in the years immediately after potential independence is  uncertain – not least because of uncertainty about the level of revenues that will be derived from oil and gas production”

No kidding. But the price of rare commodities tends to go up, not down, and there’s a reason the oil industry has just undertaken record levels of investment in the North Sea. It’s because it expects to make a lot of money there.

The paper also completely omits any mention of future revenue from renewables despite the vast potential, or of the prospect of new oil finds off the west coast were it no longer to be out of bounds on account of Trident submarines.

One could make a wholly legitimate case on the IFS’s behalf that these were purely speculative things and that calculations should only be made on the basis of known facts rather than wild guesswork, but then one would run slap bang into this:

4.“Plans for a more generous single tier pension and to retain the savings credit element of Pension Credit after 2016 cost little in the short term. But by the mid 2030s these policies are projected to cost £240 million per year in today’s terms.”

Hang on – the mid 2030s? We’re predicting population trends 20 years ahead now? In 2001, the Labour-led Scottish Government projected that the Scottish population would decline steadily from 5.11m to 4.93m by 2025. Halfway through that period, it has in fact grown at its fastest rate ever to its highest level ever, rising by as much in 12 years as it did in the previous 100.


Another triumph for the ol’ crystal ball, there.

5. “OBR projections suggest that keeping the [state pension triple lock] policy long-term could be expected to cost Scotland close to £1.5 billion a year in today’s terms by the 2060s.”

Nice double-whammy. The OBR and looking ahead by 50 years, not just 20? You’d be as well getting a cat to throw up on a hopscotch grid and using those numbers.

For a little perspective, rewind the clock instead of looking forward. How accurate might one imagine the projections of 1964 were with regard to the present-day world and its economy? Let’s stop being silly and pretending we can have the remotest idea what the Scotland of half a century from now looks like, then.

6. “Delaying the increase of the state pension age from 66 to 67 due to take effect between 2026 and 2028 would increase spending on the state pension and other benefits by around £550 million per year in today’s terms.

Lower life expectancy does mean that Scots benefit from the state pension for fewer years, on average, than people in the rest of the UK, which may make such a delay seem attractive.

But in the late 2020s and early 2030s, a slightly higher fraction of people in Scotland will be aged 66 (1.3%) than in the UK as a whole (1.2%), suggesting the policy may actually be somewhat more costly for Scotland.”

No, but seriously. You can’t predict to within a tenth of one percent how many people over 66 will be living in Scotland two decades from now. You just can’t.

That’s only the executive summary. There are 16 more pages of detail and further uncertainties to wade through, and frankly if we were you we wouldn’t bother – there are hardly any jokes, and it ends on a cliffhanger.

There are all manner of omissions – the paper lists proposed savings that come to just £10-15m, but doesn’t bother to factor in far bigger ones like the £50m Scotland spends on the upkeep of Westminster every year, or the £200m a year an independent Holyrood wouldn’t be spending on HS2. There’s no mention of the SNP’s immigration policy, which aims to counteract the (probably) ageing population.

We didn’t get the impression from the paper or our conversation that the IFS were either idiots or deliberately trying to do down Scotland. We got the impression that they were making massive assumptions which might as well have been plucked out of thin air, and that they were erring at every turn on the side of a right-wing ideological view that public spending cuts are ALWAYS necessary, whatever the circumstances.

If any one of just the six most immediate factors we’ve identified above is wrong, it could utterly change the economic outlook for Scotland. It is, at the very least, highly plausible that several of them will be, for the reasons we’ve touched on above and simply because economists are nearly always wrong about nearly everything.

They’ve failed to predict a single one of the booms and busts of the last 50 years. They can’t even HOPE to foresee any of the incredible changes – scientific, technological, medical or economic – that will almost certainly make the Scotland of 2064 as unrecognisable to us as the Scotland of today is to someone who was alive in the 1960s (unless your grandad saw the iPhone and Netflix coming).

They haven’t a clue who’ll be in government and what they’ll do (or come to that, what parties will even exist), or whether there’ll be wars or famines or droughts or monsoons or if we’ll discover that the whole of Ben Nevis is actually made of diamonds.

The IFS paper isn’t malicious, at least not in the specific context of the referendum. What it is is a piece of sheer fantasy, just like all those “what if?” books and movies people write about what would have happened if the Nazis won World War 2 and such.

Some of those – like the splendid Jackboots On Whitehall pictured above – are very entertaining. But you’d have to be some sort of idiot to base your vote on them.

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137 to “IFS and maybes”

  1. jon esquierdo says:

    Did David Icke ever work for them ?

  2. Chris Darroch says:

    Just excellent journalism.

  3. desimond says:

    You asked someone to explain their report and they replied.

    This crazy guerilla journalism will never catch on!

  4. desimond says:

    I was gonna look to post the Bill gates quote about no-one will need more than 8k of memory to highlight the no-one knows the future aspect but I think this Bill Gates quote even more apt for Revs excellent work :

    Well the protester I think is a very powerful thing. It’s basically a mechanism of democracy that, along with capitalism, scientific innovation, those things have built the modern world. And it’s wonderful that the new tools have empowered that protestor so that state secrets, bad developments are not hidden anymore.

  5. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Rev Stuart typed,
    “What it is is a piece of sheer fantasy, just like all those “what if?” books and movies people write about what would have happened if the Nazis won World War 2.”

    I quite like Fatherland, both the book and the film.

    Is that O/T?

  6. Andrew Morton says:

    Imagine if a ‘real’ journalist working for a ‘real’ media organisation came up with an article like this? No, I can’t either.

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    The question is: why does the IFS persist with imponderables and uncertainties to produce them as potential liabilities?

    Why not state in bold letters at the start of their report: “Our conclusions are based on very long-term assumptions.”

    Could it have something to do with manufacturing consent?

  8. Blair paterson says:

    I believe bill gates also said only the ones who are stupid enough to believe they cannot change the world are the ones who will vote yes

  9. goldenayr says:

    Just as we reckoned yesterday.

    All figures based on current Westminster projections.

    Surely no one expected any different?

    Gonna stick masel oot oan a limb here…but!

    I might be imagining things,though the increasing evidence seems otherwise.It would appear beeb Scotland are attempting a half hearted fightback in the face of the jobs cuts throughout the current affairs dept.

    I don’t know about other “regions” but it would seem as if they’re not quite toeing the Westminster line.

    Might just be kids having a tantrum or it might be the start of something bigger.

  10. handclapping says:

    Believing economists predictions has to be a symptom of the Scottish Cringe.

    How often did you listen to your parents warnings of headaches ahead before going to the boozer? Economists forecasts are up there with your star sign for today, they could not even forecast a depression in 2009 after Northern Rock went bust in 2008. Your parents put in a better performance than the whole profession of economics ever has.

    Just as with going to the boozer, if its what you want to do, go for it; you didn’t get a headache every time.

  11. Blair paterson says:

    Sorry I got that wrong only the ones who are stupid enough to believe they can change the world. Are the ones who will

  12. heedtracker says:

    It is really shocking just how heavy the vote NO attack is from outfits like the OBR and the IFS. They do exclude Scots renewable energy completely and they make no mention of why Scots oil revenue slipped this year thanks to Osborne and ukok tax raids, completely out of the blue. Plus Osborne’s done it again with new drilling expro taxes.

    We are being asset stripped by the Con/Dems and Labour is waiting to do the same.

  13. goldenayr says:

    Blair Paterson


    When did he say that?

  14. goldenayr says:

    Blair Paterson

    Hmmm..nice comeback.

  15. yerkitbreeks says:

    David of course would be a charming chap – he did go to Cambridge after all. However did he actually work on this IFS report since it looks as if his main interests are in poverty and inequality ?

    As if we don’t have enough of this in the UK at present.

  16. Les Wilson says:

    In the queen’s speech, ” Her Government will maximise North Sea Production ” or was it tax, can’t remember, but means the same thing!

    So no problem is too much for them, just for us, the people who own it!

  17. Greannach says:

    Is Mystic Meg their chief analyst? Or have they plumped for Russell Grant these days?

  18. Alfresco Dent says:

    Quite apart from the importance of the subject matter it’s pretty awesome to see such good journalism as this.

    We need a TV advert.

  19. Gordon Hay says:

    I was a teenager in the sixties and I still hold out hopes for my personal jet-pack and flying car.

  20. desimond says:

    Last Bill Gates quote of the night…its relevant, honest:

    ‘You have to have a certain realism that government is a pretty blunt instrument, and without the constant attention of highly qualified people with the right metrics, it will fall into not doing things very well.’

  21. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The Institute for Fiddled Statistics has given us enough there for a leaflet to go into every door in Scotland (with last week’s Danny Alexander absurdity on the back of it).

    If we establish that we are comfortably self supporting and we establish that they are telling big lies about this we win. A Scot being taken for a fool by infantile lies is an unforgiving warrior

    If any body can make up such a hard hitting leaflet I can get it printed at a very good price

  22. Les Wilson says:

    We know what this is all about of course, they want to steal the votes of Scots for their own gain.

    The problem is,all of us getting that message across to enough people by ANY mean and get them angry about.If we could do that it is the end for them.

  23. Ross Lowe says:

    Could not agree more. I don’t think they where trying to side with anybody, merely economists doing their ‘thing’! It’s the way the No camp jump in two footed with spurious claims that this leaves Scotland in grave danger if a yes where to be successful. It’s poor journalism and government funded bias thAt get’s my goat!

  24. heedtracker says: Future Scottish First Minister here, if the Reverend doesn’t want the job!

  25. john ferguson says:

    Kenneth Mackenzie the bran seer said, there will come a time when the people of Scotia will be led into the sea and will perish to a man by a white haired man with black eyebrows and the land will be returned to those who play in it. I have a whole lot of stones with a hole in them going cheap.

  26. Geoff Huijer says:

    Farage driving a bus…never!

  27. Balaaargh says:

    My forecast is far more apocalyptic than theirs: during a fracking operation in the US Mid-West, a deadly virus which had been locked in the rock deep underground is forced into the water supply and thousands are killed. In a state of panic, all fracking is ceased and the golden goose that would support the world’s economy for another generation no longer exists.

    Meanwhile, the virus spreads and 95% of the world’s population is wiped out. A small number of doomsday preppers and those rich enough to hoard dwindling supplies and quarantine themselves off from society survive. After 10 years, those supplies are gone and only small pockets of mankind survive. The rich are dead, unable to adapt to a lifestyle of hard physical labour tilling the fields and hunting for animals.

    And it’ll all happen before 2030, mark my words…

    I think that’s far-fetched enough to get me a job for one of these “experts!” 🙂

  28. Dr Ew says:

    Alexander Graham Bell predicted that, one day, every settlement in the USA would have a telephone – even small remote villages.

    i… Right.

  29. faolie says:

    This is just great stuff Rev. In contrast, the MSM and the Beeb just report these papers and spin them dry. You have to wonder if there are any financial journalists with any self-respect left. Don’t any of them just want to take a peek under the covers like you did and do at least a little analysis?

  30. abystander says:

    This is journalistic analysis predicated on the notion that what is presented as fact merits questioning and should not simply be reported as per press release.

    No unionist journal I know of does that kind of thing.

  31. geeo says:


    Would imagine some may be thinking, if this is a Yes vote we are out on our erses here.
    Show some backbone and we might get a job with any new Scottish broadcaster.

    Some might be waking up to the notion that even if it is a No vote, london HQ will have more staff cuts etc and it will be “thanks for helping get a No vote, but we are cutting BBC Scotland back”

  32. clochoderic says:

    Just as well the IFS were there to warn us all about the trouble ahead in 2008 then, eh?

  33. goldenayr says:

    There’s only one prediction I follow.

    The rock at Loch Vennachar is still there,as long as it’s still there after the 19th no matter the result I’ll still hold firm.

  34. CameronB Brodie says:

    Re. the tenth of one percent malarkey. I think this highlights a certain lack of objectivity, as the IFS appear unwilling to round down, in order to make a point.

  35. Robin Ross says:

    I’m not sure that the Treasury or any other Westminster organ is at all bothered if their sums don’t add up. They keep churning out the numbers because they demand scrutiny, and as long as critics are scrutinising they are being distracted from substantive issues of principle which underpin the drive for self-determination and which challenge the mantras of ‘greatest union in history’, ‘best of both worlds’, ‘broad shoulders – pooling and sharing’ etc. etc.

    Sarah Smith stated last night(in amongst the bland questions) that the financial issue was the central one; Darling, Brown, Cameron et al plug the same line, and they do it because it does affect the way people think.

    I’m still meeting too many educated, literate, aware people who are frightened by the dismal economic prospects that unionists tell us awaits if we are independent. They appear to be worryingly unaware of alternative information and analysis. It is possible to challenge the figures but it is much more difficult to tackle the residual fear which this continual focus on money engenders.

    I’m sure the MSM will follow the money – it follows the agenda set for it, but I was heartened to hear a commentator recently say that the electorate tends to vote for what it believes is right rather than for more base motives. Given that the Scottish Enlightenment challenged the orthodox dogma of original sin and claimed that morality was innate in humanity, we may yet find our faith in our fellow citizens will produce a Yes if we can draw their attention to issues beyond cash.

  36. a2 says:

    Wait. Ben Nevis made of diamonds? that’ll make drilling for oil cheaper which obviously means a reduction in investment so that’s bad right?

  37. CameronB Brodie says:

    P.S. I’m sure I was wittering on about bogus assumptions, a wee while back. 😉

  38. gordoz says:


    Seriously on the money there : outloud chuckling.
    Nice One.

    What were these muppets forecasting before the crash Gordon Browns second term ??

  39. goldenayr says:


    Very probably.

    Although when you back folk into a corner,with their livelihoods threatened,they look to the intelligent amongst them.

    Question is,are the intelligent ones left..

    Self serving?


    Socially minded?

    Going to be an interesting month,either way.

  40. Jim Marshall says:

    Imported from YT via Bella

  41. goldenayr says:


    Precious minerals in crystalline form are more prevalent in areas of volcanic activity,present or former.

    Scotland is formed from rock that was here at the formation of the planet.I’d give a good bet that there are lots more precious minerals to be excavated.

  42. Andy-B says:

    So its fair to say, they don’t know, and if they don’t why would we take them seriously, its better for Scots to take control of their, known unknowns, and their unknown unknowns,by voting yes.

  43. Murray McCallum says:

    A great summary. The economics argument has been thrashed to death.

    Can’t wait to hear the considered reasons why people living in Scotland can’t make their own decisions and run their own affairs. Probably a health and safety argument or something.

  44. Paula Rose says:

    My darling Rev – I don’t usually post on the latest threads, but this time I will – stunning mate, my wee monthly contribution to your costs is money well spent.

  45. msean says:

    They are always spun as correct and unquestioned,especially just before the indyref.Does the ifs report count as referendum spending by the no camp?

  46. Les Wilson says:

    Well, it is wall to wall anti Indy stuff by that old Bird on EBC on 6.30pm news. From health service problems, this is one of their fav’s, to borders in Northern Ireland/ South. They are relentless with doom for Scotland if we vote YES.

    However, for me anyway, it only points out just how much they NEED US, while we do not need them!.

  47. CameronB Brodie says:

    Murray McCallum

  48. gordoz says:


    Jesus Christ how many times are Labour gonnae resurrect the ‘Undead with Labour’ project and foist Boris Broon on us. And why do the media not ridicule this absolute repetitive guff.

    When its dead its dead guys – its embarrassing like the latest ‘ordinary folk’ (activists) video (everybodies reading the lines / robot fashion). It is deceased folks.

    Its so like the dead cow seen in the film ‘Me, Myself and Irene’. Let it go, for the love of God let it rest in peace !!

  49. msean says:

    RE that article above ,what democratic electiondid the N.Korean dictator win by a landslide? Imust have missed that.

  50. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    The IFS didn’t take into consideration that, with our advanced biotech industries, we will quickly invent clever products to swallow or rub onto ourselves to stop us ageing faster than anybody else on the planet.

    Not to mention using Roslin technology to clone ourselves, to the tune of 24,000 new citizens per year (or however many we need to pay for our pensions).

    In fact, on another tack, the Scottish Goverment should invest heavily in cloning (Yessers only) between now and 18th September.

  51. rab_the_doubter says:

    O/T Seething about the Alisdair Darling interview so had to email him – wont hold my breath for a response:

    Mr Darling

    Your comments in your Guardian interview are an absolute affront to common decency.  To compare Alex Salmond to the leader of North Korea is unacceptable and does you no credit, showing you up as a thoroughly unpleasant person and a spent force in politics, reduced to uttering abusive sound bites to a compliant and unquestioning media.


    You claim that the independence movement is guilty of abuse, but from your own mouth comes this statement which, given it’s content, must be teetering on the edge of legality. 

    Bearing in mind that you are an elected MP I can only asume that you are not totally stupid and therefore it occurs to me that with utterances like this you are trying to provke violent confrontation.

    Don’t worry though, I and many others will endeavour to make sure that the public are well aware of the gutter tactics you are employing in this debate, as its only fair that they should know the full facts about the kind of ‘gentleman’ fronting the No campaign.

    Like it or not, however the referendum goes we are going to have to co-exist, but with your actions today and in previous interviews you appear to be intent in driving a massive wedge between the Yes and No supporters which can only be destructive.

    It could be argued that your comments go as far as to be inciting violence and with that in mind I am considering reporting this outburst to Police Scotland.

    In future please keep your hate filled fantasies firmly behind those thick black eyebrows where they belong.

    Regards ——-

  52. heedtracker says:

    Its very hard to find an IFS 20 year UKOK forecast for teamGB but they are funded by… wait for it, Westminster with a £5.1 million “grant” they call it. Tasty and no bettertogether bias there then.
    That this House is concerned that 95 per cent. of Institute of Fiscal Studies 5.1 million funding comes from so-called research grant contracts, details of which are not itemised in its accounts.

  53. Nana Smith says:


    Wonderful and well done Rab

  54. heedtracker says:

    More specifically the IFS could have a monopoly but its hard to know with a rats nest of Westminster departments each funding various quango’s like IFS

    “further notes that the Institute for Fiscal Studies recently received a substantial part of its core funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, which is ultimately funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills;

    believes that this huge dependence on public subsidy may create an unlevel playing field for other economic think tanks who do not have access to taxpayer largesse; and therefore calls on the Government to review how research contracts are tendered for to encourage competition.”

  55. mr thms says:

    The other day a person speaking on BBC Breakfast about the North East of Scotland made three points in quick succession. The area had 3% of the population (UK), that it had 28% of the economy and that it was more than London!

    Some people think I misheard and that they were referring to the economy of Scotland and not the UK.

    Looking for something to back me up I came across this article in Business for Scotland..

    “The second map (Eurostat Regional GDP per capita) shows clearly that, in terms of wealth per head, the Scottish central belt generates as much wealth as much of London and the South. Also Scotland’s North East is (perhaps not surprisingly) one of the best performing economic areas in the UK. Now look again at the first map and ask yourself “Why doesn’t Scotland’s wealth stay in Scotland’?”

    We need to get this information out to voters

  56. Thepnr says:

    There is no mention in the IFS document of currency union. I therefore have to conclude that it is based on the assumption that there will be.

    Else if they had taken their starting point as say, an Independent Sottish currency then I believe they would have to take into account how much the rUK pound would fall in value against a Scottish pound. Which it would surely do.

    Our massive Balance of Payments surplus compared with their gigantic BoP deficit would ensure we had a far stronger currency. You know a “petro-currency”.

    If our independent pound was say valued at 20% greater than the rUK pound, right away we have reduced our debt by 20% and increased our GDP by the same amount compared to rUK.

    I’m only guessing but the IFS started it!

  57. Clootie says:

    Follow the money as always.

    Who funds them. Who will provide their future funding. Simply more academics who have put self interest above scientific standards.

    The MSM now have enough sound bites for the next 100 days.

    I will never forget this sordid grubby display by our “academics”

  58. JLT says:

    Already posted on Facebook. Keep them coming, Rev!

  59. Paula Rose says:

    ( Shh dears about the NE of Scotland – we don’t want folk realising that Angus is the bee’s knees )

  60. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Where have all the squirrels gone? :

  61. DocFin says:

    Nesting in his heid if his latest comments about the First Minister are anything to go by.

  62. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Latest odds drifting back out a tad – dem BTUKOKERS must take great solace from these numbers. Anyone doing any form of interaction with real voters in Scotland knows they’re onto plums. You can STILL get 5/1 on 55%+ Yes with Ladbrokes:

  63. Drunken Hobo says:

    But if they were honest, all reports would sound like this:
    “Ok lads, we don’t have a sodding clue what things will be like in 5 years, never mind 50. We don’t even know why our jobs exist. We may as well try and tell you the weather will be on Arran on the 30th of July 2053.”

  64. Peter A Bell says:

    The IFS has a method of arriving at the desired conclusion which is marginally less crude that simply altering or ignoring the figures and policy proposals outlined in the Scottish Government’s White Paper. Basically, they take whatever mix of UK Government and Scottish Government policies produces the worst outcome and assume that this will be what happens in real life.

    They switch back and forward between considering Scotland as an independent nation and as still under London rule depending on what best suits their agenda.

  65. Macart says:

    So its true.

    Mystic Meg is on the board of the IFS. 😀

    Business has enough trouble forecasting budgets and profits a year ahead never mind ten or twenty years. Utter bollocks start to finish. But the opposition are so desperate to keep this debate on what they consider to be their strong point… the economy.

    Now think about that for just one second. The establishment and successive governments of the UK have run up colossal debt, biblical debt even. They have taken apart the UKs manufacturing base and centralised financial services over those successive governments for the past near thirty odd years in pursuit of the quick buck. They’ve used and abused their partner’s natural resources for infrastructure and vanity projects centred around London and the south east, leaving almost every other region wondering who it is they have to beat to death to get any help. As for those regions one time work forces? Well what used to be working class areas were left to become sink estates for the poor, the dispossessed and disenfranchised.

    Yet for all this centralised financial nonce, not one of them apparently saw the train wreck of 2008 barrelling into view. Not one said oh wait, this doesn’t look good. After the hurricane hit how many of these bastards stood up and shouldered their share of the blame? I know who they expect to pay their screw ups, their profligacy, THEIR GREED.

    These are the self same bastards today who are telling us what we can and cannot afford. What we can and cannot do with our own natural wealth. They have neither the moral right nor professional track record to preach to the Scottish electorate on how to run an economy. By any standard you care to mention they royally fucked up the perfectly good one they had free run of.

    So does the economy really still sound like a strong point of the opposition? An opposition in Scotland led by Darling and Brown FFS, and with cheerleaders Cameron, Osborne, Alexander and IDS in London. Names to inspire trust in fiscal probity right enough.

  66. Croompenstein says:

    @Drunken Hobo

    We may as well try and tell you the weather will be on Arran on the 30th of July 2053

    A wild stab, it’ll be pishin’

  67. HandandShrimp says:

    I see Alistair has managed to give GQ sound bites that make him sound a tad paranoid. Of course GQ could be milking it a bit but it seems to have blown the IFS off its perch.

  68. Robert Peffers says:

    I predict that Cardiff will be the government centre of the Wales/England Parliament and Newcastle be the site of the DVLC with Manchester running the Wales/England Civil Service.

    Northern Ireland and the Republic will form a United Ireland and Scotland will be the most wealthy per-capita GDP nation on Earth.

    I base this upon what my wee papillion bitch told me and she is way more correct in her predictions than either the IFS or OBR.

  69. Jamie Arriere says:

    The OBR? You mean these wonderful clever fellows?

    At least, they’re shite and they know they are.

  70. ronnie anderson says:

    @ everybody, to many bliddy comedians on here ah canny get a titter in.

  71. Muscleguy says:

    @Gordon Haye

    I can’t help with the flying car, though there are several prototypes or New Scientist has been lying. But you can buy a jetpack right now, in a small vibrant independent nation of just 4 million people.

    Techinically it’s double fan, cowled personal helicopter. But it functions just like a jetpack except much better.

    1. You will not need asbestos trousers.

    2. It runs for more than 20s, think in terms of a couple of hours iirc.

    3. Instead of a jet engine it uses a high performance 2-stroke petrol engine, for reliability and ease of fuel purchase.

    4. It comes with a built in parachute.

    Start saving now.

    BTW that small nation also invented the jetboat and the rotary milking machine amongst other things.

  72. Liquid Lenny says:

    As I mentioned earlier, the UK is changing its accounting system on sept 30th 2014. This means additional 1.4 Trillion pounds of debt will come on balance sheet (Public sector pension liabilities 1.1 Billion and PFI 300 billion) They have been promising to do this since Gordon Brown was pm in order to have the same systems as the rest of the EU. But it looks to me they are doing it now so that they can pass more debt onto Scotland

  73. kininvie says:

    O/T Re Darling…

    It’s not the Kim Jung reference that’s really insulting. Alex has had worse. He’s a big boy and can cope.

    No, it’s the casual reference to Yes as a ‘blood and soil’ nationalism. Those are not idle words. Read this and see what you are being accused of:

    Now either Darling’s lost the plot entirely (always possible) or else he is deliberately leading the No campaign onto very dangerous ground indeed. It may be just about OK to fling Braveheart at us, but once you start accusing your opponents of racism and eugenics by making comparisons with a Nazi movement, any idea of respect or civilised debate flies out of the window.

    It’s a terrible, horrible, thing to do, especially since he knows it isn’t true. And it’s an incredibly stupid thing to do as well, because the more we are demonised, the more people are going to look at their utterly normal Yes-voting friends and question what on Earth the No campaign is playing at.

  74. Thistle says:

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  75. Fiona says:

    I am late to this but it seems to me that Mr Darling has had some kind of breakdown. I can think of no other explanation for the comments he is reported to have made. Is this a plausible explanation, do you think?

  76. Ken500 says:

    They list the liabilities but not the assets. Fraudulent accounting practices.

    Scotland will not get the debt or the assets. Neutral. The only way to go forward. Less complicated.

  77. Castle Rock says:

    Today, the Unionists have stooped to a new low.

    First the Leader of Better Together campaign compares the First Minister to Kim Jong-Il then he states that Scottish civic nationalism (effectively the YES campaign) is no more than “blood-and-soil” at its heart.

    Whatever the outcome of the referendum I will never ever forgive the Unionists for the lies, smears and running down of my country. They have poisoned the referendum campaign from the start and no amount of reconciliation will be able to undo the damage they have done to Scotland.

    Why do the Unionists, and in particular the Labour Party, hate Scotland so?

  78. Ken500 says:

    Just ignore Darling and the name calling. He is irrelevant and has been sidelined, but wants to be noticed.

  79. cal says:

    This post really belongs on an earlier thread but since it’s about expenditure it’s still relevant.

    From wikipedia

    Defence Spending in various EU countries
    UK 2.3% of GDP
    Finland 1.4%
    France 1.93%
    Germany 1.23%
    Ireland 0.55%
    Sweden 1.12%
    Norway 1.4%
    EU Average 1.55%

    UK GDP=37.47 billion GBP
    Scotland’s share (8.4%)=3.15 billion GBP

    If, like Ireland, we spent just 0.55% of our GDP on defence that would be 0.55% of 149.3 billion GBP = 0.82 billion GBP

    That’s a saving of 2.35 billion GBP EVERY year!

  80. Nana Smith says:

    @Castle Rock

    Agree with you completely.

    Labour are angry because they always believed they had the god given right to rule Scotland,so having the SNP take hold sticks right in their craw and so it should.

    They had years to sort many of the problems in Scotland,and chose not to.Soon as London called the gave up any principles for easy money.

  81. carthannas says:

    Another brilliant explanation of the facts behind the spin, Rev. Thanks very much. It’s a pity that John Beattie didn’t have it to hand on his programme at lunchtime on Radio Scotland. He tried to conduct a fair examination of the story with Ivan McKee and Iain Gray. I do think that he tries to present balanced coverage of the referendum debate when he features it. I don’t suppose it’ll be long before he follows Kenneth Macdonald.

    It’s a damn disgrace that he’s leaving and being replaced by a Labour MSP. It could only happen here under the corrupt and odious BBC Scotland. They know what they’re doing, there doing it well, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

  82. Macart says:


    Its possible. The man looked fairly stressed in interview a few weeks back. Or its possible they’re trying to bait the YES support into a stupid response. This will not be forthcoming if that’s the case.

    The recent tone of BT’s and Westminster’s releases have been pretty near the bone on the subject of YES support. They seem to be trying desperately to misrepresent and demonise us at every turn.

    But going back to the original point. Yes he does seem fairly erratic these days regardless.

  83. Thepnr says:


    We might not be able to stop it but we can expose their lies like the Rev does. Take the information we get here and give that to as many people as possible.

    Many are already deeply suspicious, they constantly attack to deflect from their obvious lying by calling him a liar and worse.

    We need to keep fighting against the lies, the number that see the propaganda for what it is just keeps growing so we must be doing something right.

    O/T Wee plug for Thistle and his Independence Live team. Our very own TV into the Yes world. Please donate a small amount if you can.

  84. Croompenstein says:

    I was talking to some undecided’s today and it is very hard to keep calm when faced with utter thickness. It’s hard not to sound condescending or patronising but when you get hit with the same pish it does get you down. The good news is 2 of the 3 now have something to think about.

    But one of them hates FM and said he is a liar, he lied about EU letter to which I said what about Flipper, who is Flipper she said, I explained that this man Darling should actually be serving time at HM’s pleasure for his duplicity to the taxpayer and who do you trust more?

  85. Liquid Lenny says:


    The FM did not lie re the Eu, he said that in he had taken legal advise in “Terms of the Debate” He was not allowed to say whether or not he had taken legal advise on the EU due to governmental protocals.

    So he did not lie, he said what he was allowed to say. Nothing less and nothing more

  86. galamcennalath says:

    Debt versus assets, funny how there’s always more discussion about the debt than the assets!

    As Stu points out, they are of the same magnitude. There is no way we will get/take our paid for share of the assets … Buildings all over the world, military hardware we probably wouldn’t want anyway etc etc. and therefore obviously, we wouldn’t have to accept a population based proportion of the debt.

    That, will be an enormous start up bonus for iScotland !

    My guess might be we will end up with just 2-4% of the UK debt.

  87. CameronB Brodie says:

    Re. AD, Trolololo. Lol! 🙁

  88. Croompenstein says:

    O/T – Predictions and projections well Luxembourg have just drew with Italy FFS who could have predicted that!

  89. Ken says:

    I find the analysis (‘refutal’) given here just as dubious as the original report in terms of its premise.

    You don’t know for sure that the UK government will enter a currency union.

    I don’t believe for one minute that the Scottish government will refuse to pay its ‘share of the debt’.

    The most likely scenario is that Scotland will take on a share of debt and that this will be based on population. Why not analyze it from this starting point?

    I’m not seeing the relationship between debt and public assets. Surely you will still have the debt irrespective of what public assets you have?

  90. Rock says:

    To find the truth about any Better Together supporting story, take the exact opposite of what is stated as the starting point.

    Without any further investigation, that will be more or less the truth.

  91. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @kininvie –

    Thanks for that link about the origins of the ‘blood and soil’ phrase, which I’d never heard before.

    If Darling isn’t setting out to create ‘ethnic’ tensions then why use such an expression?


  92. galamcennalath says:

    Castle Rock says:
    Whatever the outcome of the referendum I will never ever forgive the Unionists for the lies, smears and running down of my country. They have poisoned the referendum campaign from the start and no amount of reconciliation will be able to undo the damage they have done to Scotland.

    Well said!

    Reconciliation? Forgiveness? When Hell freezes over.

  93. Proud Cybernat says:

    “…rely on being able to accurately predict the future – a skill at which governments and economists alike have, let’s say, a sub-optimal track record.

    Well, there is at least one world economist who got it right.

    Professor Steve Keen predicted the 2008 financial meltdown and warned banks and governments long before it came to pass. He was right. He ‘predicted’ the future.

    The worrying thing is, he also says this:

    “The UK is a ponzi scheme that is about to go bust. Scotland should get out now while it still can.”

    From here:

    Thinking of voting ‘No’? You have been warned.

  94. Ken says:

    I’m sorry, I don’t see anything different going on here, on this page, to what is going on in the whole referendum debate elsewhere.

    One minute the case for Scottish independence is based on medium-term economic and social predictions/assumptions by nationalists and the SNP. Then, as is happening here, a report that is critical of independence is criticized for making predictions and assumptions of a similar nature.

  95. Eric D says:

    I watched the IFS’s Gemma Tetlow (one of the report’s co-authors) being questioned by the Holyrood Finance Committee earlier today.
    Any respect I had for the IFS disappeared during that session, as Tetlow wiggled and squirmed, fudged and hedged, and showed why Vince Cable’s department are funding the IFS ‘Scotland and the UK’ project.
    The IFS Director – Paul Johnston – us more honest, and most willing to admit the flaws that come with using certain methodologies and OBR figures. Indeed there have usually been a couple of caveats in previous reports along the lines of ‘our projections are based on Scotland changing nothing’ and the warning ‘we use OBR predictions’ (and they’re invariably woefully inaccurate).
    But it looks like the IFS is now doing what Westminster wanted it to do when it added an additional £1.4 Million to the IFS bank account – for the creation of 6 ‘Fellows’ to work on it’s Scotland papers.
    One of them is ….. John Curtice.

  96. cynicalHighlander says:


    Could I make a cheeky suggestion on your roving question mike that a wee short extension pole is attached so that your helpers can keep the mike in its most receptive position so that the questions are heard without us having keep turning our speakers up and down, thanks.

  97. Eric D says:

    More than just him PC – At a Holyrood Finance Committee evidence session last month Professors Kay, McCrone, and McGregor were all broadly in agreement that the UK’s growing debt would see the UK/rUK becoming ‘another Greece’ in 10 – 15 years time.
    They also agreed that an independent Scotland was ‘better placed’to handle it’s share, and that the proportion attributed to QA could/should be excluded from that Scottish share.
    A couple of weeks earlier Jim and Margaret Cuthbert and Angus Armstrong (reluctantly) said much the same thing.

  98. HandandShrimp says:

    I suppose Darling could be out to cause trouble. There was actually very little bad mouthing from either side while he was on his sabbatical. He comes back and straight back into Nazi/Dictator references and moaning about nasty cybergnats.

    There isn’t a problem. He is the problem

    On the other hand he may have just lost it. I tend to the latter and consequently I don’t see much point in responding with any great ire. He probably needs to take a rest from it all.

  99. Tam Jardine says:

    Great article Stu.

    One thing I don’t understand is how they can be talking about projections for 20, 30, 50 years in the future?

    Surely if we are looking at what is happening that far down the line; if this independence referendum is about the future rather than the here and now it kind of blows the anti-Alex Salmond line out of the water?

    I thought this referendum was specifically about the potential next term of the SNP leader as prime minister of Scotland, and all the disadvantages we are told we would face?

    If they are asking us to look into the future, surely that is a tacit admission that this decision is not really about Alex Salmond?? It seems unlikely he will still be in the driving seat ten years from now never mind 50?

    The reality I believe is that Scotland is almost uniquely positioned to withstand the difficulties we face in the next 50 years, 100 years and beyond.

    The line I keep reusing is this: if you were to design right now a country to withstand the problems faced by the world in the future, it would look a lot like Scotland. You would design a country with abundant fresh water, oil, gas and coal reserves, renewable potential for domestic use and export, plenty of farmland, fisheries and forestry, a low population, in the northern hemisphere, probably northern Europe.

    You would leave out the cringe, the inferiority complex, focus on the grit, the determination, the innovation, the creativity, the humility and humour. You would divvy the country up so that 500 people did not own 50% of the land. You would not design that country to be controlled by a larger neighbour.

    What part of this is difficult to understand? The IFS should mibbe spend a little less time worrying about what’s going to happen to us and a little more time worrying about the rest of the UK if we leave. What’s that? They HAVE looked at that scenario? Ah… it all makes sense.

    Vote Yes. People wearing shiny foil like suits and fleein about in jetpacks will look back and thank you for it one day x

  100. Liquid Lenny says:


    Note my earlier post, the UK on balance book debt is going to increase to 4 trillion on Sept 30th 2014.

  101. Sinky says:

    Watching Labour financial expert Ian Gray on STV.

    In 2005 Jack McConnell’s transport minister, one Iain Gray, awards £375m from the Scottish Executive’s integrated transport fund to Edinburgh city council to build tram lines to serve the north and west, the first to be running by 2009.

    Mr Gray says the money would pay for “at least” the North Edinburgh Loop. The Labour council believed this will also pay for a line from Haymarket to the airport.

    Fast forward £775 millions plus nine years and only half of the line is up and running only after the Scottish government took charge.

  102. cynicalHighlander says:

    @Tam Jardine

    Just to pick you up on this point

    You would design a country with abundant fresh water,

    only it is not all in the right place with aquifers and rivers being used which is not a long term solution so everything is not as hunky dory as is made out.

  103. Derek M says:

    just another piece of project fear nonsense if it wasnt so serious it would be laughable.
    And as usual MSM are pushing it like it was the gospel ,i smell total desperation they know that the way things stand Scotland will vote for independence just more trying to muddy the waters.
    O/T just watched ian grey trying to defend flipper on his comments by saying it was a joke and then bringing up once again about how wee eck loves vlad putin does the slab have any morality left to allow a man who went before the Scottish people and got told to naff off be a player ,shows you how much quality they have in their political team

  104. Tam Jardine says:

    Cynical Highlander

    Thanks – I would bow to your greater understanding on this point. My admittedly inexpert experience of this country is that is pishes down fairly regularily and for that reason we can probably fend off water shortages in the future.

    I have no doubt that the infrastructure needs much work over the coming decades and that hydro-electric power and pumped storage would also benefit from investment.

    The hand we have been dealt ain’t perfect but the potential is there for us if we can take control. We are far better placed than most in this area and the others I mentioned I am sure.

  105. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “One minute the case for Scottish independence is based on medium-term economic and social predictions/assumptions by nationalists and the SNP”

    That might be what YOU think it’s based on. It’s sure as hell not what I’M basing it on. I think Scotland should get the governments it votes for. I’m not sure why that’s controversial.

  106. cynicalHighlander says:

    @Tam Jardine

    Our standard winter for 2-3 months at least but hardly a snowflake or frost this year and snow is the main replenisher of a large number of peoples water supply.

  107. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “You don’t know for sure that the UK government will enter a currency union.”

    Didn’t say I did. I said it was the sane option.

    “I don’t believe for one minute that the Scottish government will refuse to pay its ‘share of the debt’.”

    Why on Earth would it take on any debt if it wasn’t getting a currency union? If they did they’d be chased out of office by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks, and I’d be at the front of it.

    “The most likely scenario is that Scotland will take on a share of debt and that this will be based on population. Why not analyze it from this starting point?”

    Because I’m not sure you’re entirely qualified to make that prediction. What is your field of expertise, please?

    “I’m not seeing the relationship between debt and public assets. Surely you will still have the debt irrespective of what public assets you have?”

    Many of the assets can’t be practicably divided – submarines and aircraft carriers spring to mind. Many things will have to be dealt with on a cash-compensation basis.

  108. Ken says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    4 June, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    “One minute the case for Scottish independence is based on medium-term economic and social predictions/assumptions by nationalists and the SNP”

    That might be what YOU think it’s based on. It’s sure as hell not what I’M basing it on. I think Scotland should get the governments it votes for. I’m not sure why that’s controversial.

    The point I’m making is a very simple one – you criticize economic analysis from the no campaign on the grounds that it uses predictions and assumptions. Yet the economic case for independence also rests on predictions and assumptions of a similar type. You yourself attach importance to economic analysis. Bringing in the issue of Scotland getting the government it votes for is ignoring my point.

  109. Ken says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    4 June, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    “You don’t know for sure that the UK government will enter a currency union.”

    Didn’t say I did. I said it was the sane option.

    “I don’t believe for one minute that the Scottish government will refuse to pay its ‘share of the debt’.”

    Why on Earth would it take on any debt if it wasn’t getting a currency union? If they did they’d be chased out of office by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks, and I’d be at the front of it.

    “The most likely scenario is that Scotland will take on a share of debt and that this will be based on population. Why not analyze it from this starting point?”

    Because I’m not sure you’re entirely qualified to make that prediction. What is your field of expertise, please?

    “I’m not seeing the relationship between debt and public assets. Surely you will still have the debt irrespective of what public assets you have?”

    Many of the assets can’t be practicably divided – submarines and aircraft carriers spring to mind. Many things will have to be dealt with on a cash-compensation basis.

    If you really think that a newly-independent country can decide not to pay its share of debt because another country refuses to agree to its demands to enter a currency union, then you’re entitled to that opinion – but I personally find it bizarre.

    So I have to have an ‘area of expertise’ to be ‘qualified’ to make a comment? Does that apply to everyone who expresses a comment – or only those that disagree with you? What an odd question to ask someone.

    I’m still not clear on the relationship between debt and assets. I expressed the view that usually assets would not nullify debt – I’m not sure if you agree with that? Could you clarify? Are you perhaps suggesting that some of the debt will be paid off by means of the ‘cash’ we’ll get in compensation for assets that can’t be divided? If so, what proportion would you envisage?

  110. Tam Jardine says:

    @Cynical Highlander

    Jesus- so wur too dry an aw! Better stick with England so they can pipe it up here when we’re struggling…

    Out of interest (since we are talking about the future it’s kind of on topic)- briefly what needs done to improve this in the future?

    Thanks – Tam

  111. CameronB Brodie says:

    If I can chip in, the Rev. uses stats to a completely different end to that of HMG Better Together, obviously. The Rev. is not producing the stats and has minimal control over the systems that produce the stats. He is simply no putting a British state spin on things. I’m not sure if your line of argument holds.

  112. Ian Brotherhood says:

    On ‘assets’:

    Don’t forget that we have all these Scottish peers. They are, well, sort-of ‘ours’, right?

    They must have a trade-in value.

    ‘Fifty Quid For Your Old Boiler’.

    That kind of idea.

    Every mickle maks a muckle…

  113. Les Wilson says:

    Ian Brotherhood says:

    Ian, I was a plumber, a tenner is enough for a defunct old boiler Lol.

  114. cynicalHighlander says:

    @Tam Jardine

    One puts the environment before economics and that is the problem with globalisation one becomes dependent on more and more imports of essentials for survival than one can afford to buy in. I think if one asked Joe Bloggs what they couldn’t do without water wouldn’t be at the top their list it would mine.

    Off to kip before the Rev wields his big stick, nytol.

  115. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Les Wilson –

    Know anyone who’d give us a tenner for John Reid?

    I believe he’ll be available for uplift in Stirling this coming weekend.

  116. Les Wilson says:

    Reid? eh, nope, a skip job!

  117. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Les Wilson –

    John ‘Skip-Job’ Reid.

    I like it mister – that one could stick.

    But hey, being serious, you must know some furriers there, eh? Surely, a few quid for the ermine?

  118. James Dow A voice from the Diaspora says:

    Are Scot’s really so dumb as to be complacent about a steadily deteriorating domestic situation one that threatens their very survival conjoined to England.
    The boiling frog syndrome
    Drop a frog into hot water and it will imediately jump out. (wise frog) But place it in at room temperature and gradually raise it, the frog will blissfully stay the duration until the inevitable coup de grace. Now substitute Scot for frog, get the picture.
    Scot’s naievely unaware of the English fingers gently stroking and caressing them to enter their water.
    Which would make Scot’s no smarter than a frog.

  119. john king says:

    Macart @8.12

    Wow that should be on billboards across Scotland, I don’t think the rev could have put it better.

    Ian Brotherhood says
    “If Darling isn’t setting out to create ‘ethnic’ tensions then why use such an expression?


    You could almost make the argument for him setting himself up as a sacrifice for his beloved union, goading some lunatit to assassinate him,
    In your dreams Darling you’ll be made to watch Scotland become the country it always should have been ,and I hope you live a VERY LONG life.

    Ian Brotherhood says
    “They must have a trade-in value.

    ‘Fifty Quid For Your Old Boiler’.”

    That’s an awfy way to talk aboot oor Annabel. 🙂

  120. Macart says:

    @John King

    Mornin’ John

    Ta much. 🙂

    Simply fed up to death like the rest of us hearing about BT/Westminster’s supposed real world economics case against independence. They have no real world case and THAT is the reality.

  121. Macart says:


    Would this be correct?

    As I understand it, Scotland has and carries no debt currently. Those awfully nice folk at HMG have underwritten all debt in the name of the UK. This in support of their own case of continuation and of course because the markets were getting somewhat shirty with them.

    Again as I understand it, this would effectively mean that an offer to take up a portion of the UK debt would be in the gift of the Scottish government and to be used as a quid pro quo wherever they see fit. In this instance as a fair exchange as part of a CU deal. Of course they could use this same offer under any number of circumstances as a bargaining chip, but they are under no obligation either legal or moral to do so.

  122. CameronB Brodie says:

    Sorry, but I think you have me confused with someone who actually understands politics. 🙂

    In more general terms though, IMO, good will (the offer to share debt), is a powerful negotiating aid.

  123. Macart says:


    Sounds like a plan. 🙂

  124. Pin says:


    On point 2, I think you are forgetting that a third of UK debt is owned by….the UK government (via the BoE).

    This is a critical factor

  125. gregor says:

    The lies from BT only increase my resolve to vote YES

  126. MochaChoca says:

    I wish they’ed look at the bigger picture.

    Only with full employment does raising the retirement age stimulate the economy and save on pension/welfare benefits.

    Until we achieve full employment, retirement opens up progression opportunities and ultimately job opportunities back down the line for someone unemployed.

    So raising the retirement age simply deprives a younger jobseeker the obvious benefits of work and reduces an old gadgies chance to enjoy retirement.

    And if we do achieve full employment all of the projections in the IFS report are even more mince than they are now.

  127. IFS – vice President 1974 = Roy Jenkins, Labour MP.

    among a host of rabid Tories that included Selwyn Lloyd MP.

  128. James Sloan says:

    Im sure I saw a youtube video of a pensions civil servant being interviewed by a Scottish committee where he said thst even after independence tge UK government would still pay a pension to Scottish residents as they had paid into the scheme. This being the case I assume that the actual cost to an independent Scotland of a Scottish state pension would be lower in the first 20 years?

  129. Churm Rincewind says:

    For those interested in these matters, I recommend

  130. Ken says:

    CameronB Brodie says:
    5 June, 2014 at 12:03 am

    If I can chip in, the Rev. uses stats to a completely different end to that of HMG Better Together, obviously. The Rev. is not producing the stats and has minimal control over the systems that produce the stats. He is simply no putting a British state spin on things. I’m not sure if your line of argument holds.
    @Cameron B Brodie
    The Rev. uses stats to exactly the same end as Better Together – he puts his ‘spin’ on the stats in exactly the same way as do those against independence. Sometimes he does a better job than them, at other times not. Please, though, don’t ask me to believe that there is any fundamental difference.
    I stand by the criticisms/observations I made yesterday.

  131. CameronB Brodie says:

    I wouldn’t claim the Rev. is infalible, but would suggest his analysis seeks to shed light, where as HMG Better Together seek the opposite. Big difference.

    I have work in the civil service and know a bit about how figures are handled.

  132. Tamson says:

    On the subject of the right-wing assumptions about public spending always being a liability, a perfect example is free bus passes for the elderly.

    Elderly people who can use buses for free go out (reducing heating costs), visit tourist attractions/shops/cafes (spending the bus fare money in the general community), look after grandchildren (freeing up parents to work and pay taxes), and go for walks and the like (keeping their fitness up and reducing the burden they place on health services).

    It’s a total no-brainer, yet right-wingers would claim it’s an economic burden. But because we’ve had decades of the right-wing mantra, people don’t see it.

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