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Lies, damned lies, and Tories

Posted on December 15, 2013 by

It was nice to get a wee plug this morning on Radio Scotland’s always-interesting “Headlines” programme. Their online round-up talked about our piece on Scandinavian taxation, and contrasted it with one written by Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser for the right-wing “ThinkScotland” blog, in which he disputed the widely-held, and oft-decried by Yes supporters, notion that the UK was one of the most unequal countries in the civilised world.


Now, anyone who’d also read Wings columnist Julie McDowall’s superb, blood-boiling article on foodbanks in today’s Sunday Herald might naturally be rather sceptical of Fraser’s claim that the UK was an egalitarian paradise of wealth distribution, but he provided a link, so we had a look.

Fraser asserts that analysis by international banking group Credit Suisse proves that the UK is in fact significantly more equal, using the “Gini coefficient” measure, than Norway, Sweden or Denmark. And sure enough, a table in the report published by the multinational giant (annual revenues £16.5 billion) does indeed make that statement.

But what neither Fraser nor Credit Suisse makes any attempt to explain is why this calculation of Gini should differ so wildly from just about everyone else on Earth’s version. Let’s look at some inequality rankings for the countries in question, including the CIA’s version of Gini, and the United Nations’ rich/poor ratios, which compare the wealth of a country’s richest 10% and 20% to that of its poorest 10% and 20%.

WORLD INEQUALITY RATINGS  (higher numbers = more inequality) 
(countries ranked least-equal to most-equal)

Credit Suisse Gini

Denmark 107.7
Sweden 80.3
Norway 77.8
UK 67.7

CIA World Factbook Gini

UK 40.0
Norway 25.0
Denmark 24.8
Sweden 23.0


UK 13.8
Denmark 8.1
Sweden 6.2
Norway 6.1


UK 7.2
Denmark 4.3
Sweden 4.0
Norway 3.9

So, that’s curious. With the exception of Credit Suisse, pretty much every organisation in the world that calculates such things reckons that wealth distribution in the UK is far less equal than in any of the Scandinavian countries.

(It also comes up with a “Gini” figure for Denmark that makes no sense under any recognised definition of the term, where the maximum possible score is 1.0 or 100%.)

Murdo Fraser was happy just to leap on any claim that supported his political ideology and leave it at that, but here at Wings we’re a little more intellectually rigorous, so we kept digging, and alighted on something that might provide at least part of the answer.

When you hear people talking about “OECD countries”, they’re referring to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 34 developed nations which includes most EU members alongside major international economies like the USA, Japan and Australia, as well as non-EU nations like Norway.

The OECD’s website includes a library where you can look up various stats, and if you browse through that you can locate some interesting data“Tax and transfers” is a term used basically to describe a country’s attempts at wealth redistribution, by taxing the rich and spending the money on public services, benefits etc. And the before-and-after comparison is somewhat revealing.

Gini inequality coefficients BEFORE tax and transfers

UK 0.456
Sweden 0.426
Denmark 0.416
Norway 0.410

Gini inequality coefficients AFTER tax and transfers

UK 0.345
Sweden 0.259
Norway 0.250
Denmark 0.248

The “raw” figures show that the four nations are actually very close together in terms of earnings inequality. We’re not economists, but we’d imagine it wouldn’t be terribly hard to jiggle the data producing those numbers around, even completely innocently, in such a way as to change the order of the four countries.

Where they really diverge is in the respective attempts to address the imbalance. The simple fact is that Sweden, Norway and Denmark all try much harder than the UK to redistribute wealth among their people. On the first set of figures, the UK is just 11% more unequal than Norway. But by the time the governments of the various nations have finished, that gap has rocketed to just shy of 40%.

As we noted yesterday, then, the UK’s problem isn’t a shortage of wealth. There IS enough money to go around. What the UK lacks is the will to tackle inequality. The Scandinavian nations show that from very similar starting points, governments can make a big difference if they choose to.

The Nordic model aspired to by many Scots does exactly that. The free-market neoliberalism of all three UK parties instead espouses greed for the rich and austerity for the poor. We thank Murdo Fraser for helping us to illustrate that point, and within it the real choice between Yes and No.

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    93 to “Lies, damned lies, and Tories”

    1. scottish_skier says:

       (higher numbers = more inequality) 

      Is that not the other way around on the first one?

      EDIT. Doh. Just read further!

    2. handclapping says:

      Oh dear, lawyers just dont get figures do they. Gini coefficients by definition exist between 0 and 1. Yet poor old Murdo is happy to slag off Yes, the SNP and Joan McAlpine by using figures that have Denmark, the home of Borgen, at 107% ie all the income in Denmark is accumulated by less than one person.
      There is also the fact of using figures produced by investment bankers, those clever people whose inability to understand what they were doing caused the World Crash. Try again Murdo.

    3. Hetty says:

      The Gini is out of the bottle! The tories have always enjoyed keeping the population in poverty and made people their underdogs. This is not normal behaviour, it is against any kind of human decency so is hard for decent people to fathom that kind of mentality.
      With a YES vote in 2014 we will be well rid of the immoral tory mindset, the mindset that has now also indoctrinated labour. 

    4. Andrew Morton says:

      I noticed that SoS are running a story that Yes Scotland haven’t made their appeal target. OBE is exulting all over the thread. I’ve just donated another £25 and I urge everyone to help out.

    5. Andrew Morton says:

      Hey! My last post is in moderation! How come?

    6. Holebender says:

      Are the various calculation methods available? Can we find out why Credit Suisse came up with their results and why they are so different?

    7. handclapping says:

      Yeugh! Gini is income disparity, the CS is their own “wealth” measurement. Apples and pears. Can one blame Murdo for deliberate obfuscation or is it just another symptom of the low level of intellectual attainment of Unionist MSPs?

    8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Hey! My last post is in moderation! How come?”

      “Yes Scotland” falls foul of the “slogan” filter. I probably need to change that.

    9. Ken500 says:

      Tory Bankers bonuses up 35%. No Tory Banker should get a bonus until the Banks are not in profit.

      Four Icelandic bankers have gone to jail.

    10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Yeugh! Gini is income disparity, the CS is their own “wealth” measurement.”

      I did wonder if they could really be using Gini, but their explanation of their methodology was too unhelpful to tell.

    11. Ken500 says:

      The ‘Bedroom Tax’, affecting 80% disabled. How fair is that?

    12. Bill McLean says:

      I quite like Murdo – not his politics but he seems like quite a decent man. That fact the he misleads and misinforms is par for the course with unionists. Because they are part of Empire they acquire a sort of unconscious arrogance (with some it’s overt) that allows them to pursue the sort of behaviour we are seeing from them now! Unfortunately ignorance often accompanies arrogance – there’s a lot of that in the NO camp too!

    13. big_al says:

      I’m at a loss with these figures in the credit suisse publication.
      Seems we are looking at table 3-1 Wealth patterns within countries 2013.
      How do they come to the Gini % – the end column?
      Compare “Distribution of adults (%) by wealth range (USD)” for two countries with a similar Gini % and you will see vastly different % of people in the under 10,000, 10,000 – 100,000, 100,000 – 1 million and over 1m brackets.
      So, how does it work??

    14. pmcrek says:

      A quick google reveals 12 million odd people in the UK live below the poverty line (1 in 5. 20%) despite 6 million of them having at least one job. In Norway, 200,000 people live below the poverty line (4.5%).

    15. Rod Mac says:

      Not very wise of Murdo, I thought he was smarter than that.

      If he had any sense he would keep his head down and await the outcome of the Referendum.

      In the event of a YES Vote he can then launch his new Right Wing Party not having sullied himself with the lies and distortions of the incumbent “leader and Party”,thereby  giving him a fresh start and a chance of some electoral success.

      There is no doubt that there are many right of centre people in Scotland that are repulsed by the toxic Tory brand.

      In the event of a No Vote wait on the hammering the Tory Party will take in 2015 and 2016 and ride to the rescue of the Scottish Tories.
      Big mistake Murdo.

    16. Craig M says:

      I notice that Murdo was in receipt of an intern from CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) who was working as a volunteer in his office from September 2010 to July 2011. So here’s a man who embraces policies that hit the poor hard, create a division between the rich and poor in society and threaten the vulnerable. I find that somewhat ironic. I wonder what insight CARE gleaned from working in Murdo’s office? Would his beliefs be viewed as charitable? 

      Below is a link to an address that Murdo gave in 2006 (yes, I know it was 7 years ago), now I’m not a Christian, but I do find it difficult to square his political views with my understanding of some of the basic goodness within the Christian religion. Embracing Neo Liberal policies that actively target the poor and vulnerable in society, e.g. the Bedroom Tax, non distribution of wealth, corporate greed etc do not spring from a notion of what is good. So what does that say about Murdo Fraser?

    17. big_al says:

      Don’t know how this will format, compare Democratic Republic of Congo and France.
      Adults| Mean wealth per adult| Median wealth per adult| Distribution of adults (%) by wealth| range (USD) | Gini
      Congo, D Rep. 31,854  321       124       99.9  0.1  0.0   0.0 100 69.6
      France            48,124  295,933 141,850 21.7 22.9 50.8 4.6 100 69.0
      The last figure is the Gini %


    18. Holebender says:

      Denmark is the only country listed with a GINI of over 100%. Having searched the Credit Suisse document for the word GINI I can find only one mention apart from the tables, and no explanation of the method used. It all seems rather odd.

    19. rabb says:

      Yes haven’t hit their funding target then?
      That will be because us wee plebs are all skint. We’re not all rich tories with an endless pit of money.
      I’m wondering how all those SLAB activists are sleeping at night knowing that they are complicit in a Tory led campaign to continue fucking over Scotland.

    20. Memphisto says:

      The Gini Coefficient just emphasises why I gave up statistics to work in IT.  Gini is just a measure, if you dont understand what it measures then you can manipulate it in the minds that dont understand it.  Look at the limitations of the Gini Coefficient on that wikipedia page to understand what it doesnt measure.  Check column 2 of Table A especially.  Income distributions are significantly different with exact same Gini Coefficients.

    21. Andy-B says:

      Glad you got to the bones of this particular nugget, as I listened to Ken’s show this morning, he (Ken) mentioned your name usually he just says Wings over Scotland.
      Anyway, as you know fine well he (Ken) portrayed your chapter in a reasonably favourable light, only to smack it down again with the above statement, in a throw away comment, saying “Two can play at that game”.
      So good on you Rev for a very good riposte, that I’m sure will be widely read.
      As for Ken, I’m undecided whether he’s pro or anti independence.

    22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Don’t know how this will format, compare Democratic Republic of Congo and France.”

      That’s bizarre. Will have a closer look at that table.

    23. TheGreatBaldo says:

      BREAKING NEWS !!!!!
      Rob Shorthouse ?@Bobbybungalow 2h
      people focussing on our big donors, but amazing that we have had 17,378 small donations of, on average, around a tenner
      That’s £173,780 in ‘small donations’…..from a total of £1.6M

    24. clachangowk says:

      “Yes Scotland haven’t made their appeal target. OBE is exulting all over the thread”

      What OBE does not know is that locally there is much fund raising going on for Yes campaigning appropriate for local circumstances. In our neck of the woods special leaflet made for pre-Xmas high street work. thought being given to special childcare leaflet for delivery to all hair dressing saloons and similar.

      Anyway, who reads Scotland on Sunday. perfect vehicle for OBE and let him steep in his own ignorance

    25. Robert Kerr says:

      Are the tenner “small donations” audit-able or is this another untruth?

    26. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I wonder if Credit Suisse commented upon Swiss banks hoarding Nazi gold stolen by Jewish victims etc?
      Obviously their concept of fairness differs somewhat from others such as the OECD etc.
      Yet more deceptive pish from a tory, supported no doubt by the Labour party. On that theme I think it’s high time the SNP/YES campaign produced a free newspaper (at least once a week) and blasted the market. There is a massive amount of information available, mostly ignored by the MSM that can be used. Apart from your good self Stu, Business for Scotland etc. I think the biggest block to a YES vote is apathy (caused mostly by misinformation) rather than fear. 

    27. Macart says:

      Murdo Fraser trying to square the circle is he?
      Strangely I don’t expect to see him queuing down the local farmfoods for this week’s special on bangers, beans, pies and frozen chips to feed the family. I certainly don’t expect to see him down the nearest food bank either. As and when he does then he talk to us about equality until then he can stick his vision of UK society right up …

    28. Wingman 2020 says:!/country/GBR

      38% of the UK think corruption is widespread.

    29. Brian Mark says:

      At least I know where the YES campaign’s money comes from

    30. Brian Mark says:

      Just like a  sausage, size (of campaign funds) is not everything and at the end of the day it all comes down to performance!

    31. big_al says:

      This goes part way to explain the Credit Suisse document.

    32. Andy-B says:

      O/T but quite funny a satirical look at the independence debate, with Sanjeev Kohli,Susan Morrison and Andy Zaltzman, its hosted by Bill Whiteford.

    33. Andrew Morton says:

      Trying to find your mention on Headlines without success, what time is the item at?

    34. David Agnew says:

       Murdoch Fraser was absolutely delighted at the idea that the UK subsidised Scotland’s groceries? Now he writes about how equal we are in the UK. That sort of wilful cognitive dissonance seems to lie at the heart of the Better together campaign. There was a brilliant article by Derek Bateman blows this notion regarding Scotland’s inability to feed itself apart. You do wonder though, why Unionists don’t use Scotland’s contributions to weave a powerful narrative for the UK? It seems they are locked into to the Tories mindset regarding their own unpopularity within the UK. The scots hate the Tories because the Tories want to do away with their benefits? yet oddly this dependency is sold to us as the reason for the Unions success.

      i don’t think the Unionists are even remotely aware of the damage they are doing to their precious UK. The seeds of division they are sowing are going to bear bitter fruit. in 2014 the union is going to be more scrutinised than it has been since it’s beginning in 1707. They had better have something more substantial to offer than dependency. Even if they get a draw; the best result they will be able to achieve IMHO, the issue won’t go away like they imagine it will. Any attempt by them to limit Scottish democracy will make the union seem to much like an odious debt? yes or no, I think the union loses.

    35. cath says:

      I didn’t put anything into the Yes fundraiser because I give them a monthly DD. So put into the couple of other fundraisers running right now. Still maybe it making the papers will encourage so others to give them a bit. 

    36. cath says:

      And yes locally we do our own separate fundraising too.

    37. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Does anyone think that Murdo did this all himself, in which case he is mendacious.
      Or someone, like a Spad on work experience pimply, did for him and he initialed it. In which he would be stupid.
      Either way, and has not heard about the internet and Google as well as an educated pool of voters?
      Oh dear, he is not fit for purpose.

    38. Jon D says:

      Apologies if this has been already mentioned;     It is false to compare Yes Scotland’s funding with that of the No campaign. 
      Yes Scotland is only part of the Yes Campaign along with Wings, Newsnet Scotland, Common Weal project, Bella etc, and the considerable local funding that goes on, daily, around Scotland. 

      Factor it all in and there is likely to be (a nearer) parity, in my opinion

    39. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Trying to find your mention on Headlines without success, what time is the item at?”

      Just after 39m.

    40. Jamie Arriere says:

      This is the introduction to the chapter on wealth distribution, which shows some of the methodology on view – “estimating” “sample surveys” “not always captured” “likely to be underestimated”
      “Our method of estimating global personal wealth is essentially a “bottom-up” approach. It begins by establishing the average level of wealth in different countries onto which we graft the pattern of wealth holding revealed in household sample surveys and other sources. Although sample surveys do not formally exclude high net worth (HNW) individuals with net assets above USD 1million, they are not always captured, and the value of their wealth holdings is likely to be underestimated.”
      Does anyone remember being in a Credit Suisse household sample survey? Me neither.

    41. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Are the tenner “small donations” audit-able or is this another untruth?”

      None of it’s auditable. They’re purely voluntary declarations.

    42. Andrew Morton says:


    43. TheGreatBaldo says:

      BT debunks own scare story on website
      Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council this week said:
      “If a part of the territory of a Member State ceases to be a part of that state because that territory becomes a new Member State, the treaties will no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a new independent state would, by fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the Union and the treaties would, from the day of its independence, not apply anymore on its territory.”
      Apologies for the direct link…
      Senior Labour official allegedly unsure whether it was the “childish” or “clueless” one at BT who commited this latest PR gaff

    44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “This goes part way to explain the Credit Suisse document.”

      Good link, ta.

    45. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Anyway, as you know fine well he (Ken) portrayed your chapter in a reasonably favourable light, only to smack it down again with the above statement, in a throw away comment, saying “Two can play at that game”.”

      That was perfectly fine. It’s just a way of saying “Here’s someone else who’s written a post about inequality using stats”.

    46. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I think many of us were less hostile to Murdo Fraser merely because he was not Ruth Davidson. He begins to look like a much more able opponent that Ruthie – and he’s a died in the wool unionist.
      I think Ruth looks like the much weaker link. Hope she stays where she is 

    47. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “BT debunks own scare story on website”

      Um, what am I meant to be looking at on that page?

    48. JLT says:

      Have just read Julie’s article. Very, very powerful stuff.
      Every Unionist sympathiser should be forced to sit down, and made to read that article, and then asked, what they intend to do about it.
      By God …I would be dying, as well as sitting in rage, to hear some of the answers or excuses.

    49. Gordon McPhee says:

      Just wandered over here from the Scotsman which has been killed off by SNP supporters.  It feels like I have entered a Lewis Carroll world that no-one knows exists. 

      With Salmonds claims being destroyed one after the other I would have thought you would all have something better to do.  It’s like going into the jungle and discovering Japanese soldiers that the think the war’s on.
      It’s over everyone and you give up now.

    50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It’s over everyone and you give up now.”

      Welcome Scotsman troll! Goodbye Scotsman troll!

    51. Jamie Arriere says:

      I see from that big_al’s link that the Denmark figure was being ignored because it was “unreliable” – no shit Sherlock! And their data ratings were stated as “good”? 
      In other words, it’s garbage! Credit Suisse may be the OBR of world income distribution analysis.
      Plus what Fraser completely misses is that it is not just the income inequality itself in the UK that concerns us, but the geographical make-up of that too – remember the maps with the red-hot backside down at London/SE?
      Donated to the Yes campaign for their 300 Crowd fundraiser – whose idea was it to run it just before Christmas?

    52. handclapping says:

      @Gordon McPhee
       Another one; does this mean the Scotsman has become too extreme even for the regionalists?
      Surely it is better to huddle together and support each other in adversity than bovinely wait for Ian Davidson to bayonet the wounded? I suppose you would put on your British stiff upper lip and just wait to be slaughtered. Do come round again on the 19th September and show us how botox has helped.

    53. Holebender says:

      Well, in the absence of any other explanation I’ve written an e-mail to Credit Suisse, asking how they calculated their numbers. There’s an e-mail address at the very end of the document so I thought I might as well ask them.

    54. msean says:

      Does the renewables one have any connection to the recent return of powers to london via the hol?I don’t know anything about this stuff,but sounds dodgy to me.

    55. JLT says:

      Och Rev! You should have kept Gordon McPhee, and challenged him to read Julie’s piece in The Herald.
      Then …we could have had a sit down with him, and asked him to justify why we have Food Banks. Even as he protested, or tried to explain the UK’s justification of them, we could easily ask him how we change this god-awful elitist system, since all the Unionist Parties happily pose in photos at these Food Banks, which means that they actually endorse them.
      I think Gordon would have fled from Wings, never to return, as either the guilt would have ate him up, or he dug himself deeper and deeper into the hole he was already in.
      Personally …I miss him already!

    56. Jamie Arriere says:

      I think the lad should stick to the Scotsman Forums – that paper needs all the financial support it can get.

    57. velofello says:

      Yes Scotland need to reduce the prices of their merchandise.  Two benefits will arise. More turnover, with yes, lower margins. And increased visibility of Yes and so normalisation of the slogan. Our Yes group fund ourselves.

    58. BuckieBraes says:

      What’s this ‘Scotsman has been killed off by SNP/nats’ thing we’re getting?
      Last time I looked it was still there, but doing a pretty good job of killing itself off.

    59. big_al says:

      Yes Scotland need to reduce the prices of their merchandise.
      Just spent £150 on Yes merchandise as Christmas presents for my no/mibbe no relatives.
      Heh, heh! 

    60. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @ Stu baby
      “It’s over everyone and you give up now.”
      Welcome Scotsman troll! Goodbye Scotsman troll

      You know, on the minimum wage, these days, you cannot get a decent Troll for love nor money.
      God save the Queen and Rule Britannia and all that.

    61. SteveW says:

      I think Murdo will be getting the pish ripped out of him for a few months after this.
      He obviously has not thought this through.
      Ironic that it was on the thinkscotland website.

    62. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Gordon McPhee
      Thing is no serious person reads the Scotsman.
      In fact with a  circulation of about the same is the Daily Sport hardly anyone reads the Scotsman and it has no effect on anything.

    63. Bryan Duguid says:

      Rev and everyone-else you need to look at to see what trolls really look like.  The innocuous remarks over the week end have had their authors banned from this site but see what the Scotsman has to put up with from nat trolls.
      What’s next from these guys – breaking the windows of English owned shops?  Burning down Holyrood?

    64. Andy-B says:

      @Gordon McPhee.
      No wonder you,ve decided to comment on wings, according to wiki,( the Scotsman, a misnomer if ever their was one), is dropping readers at terminal velocity roughly 7 thousand a year 2011/ readers 42.581  2012/readers 35.949 present/readers  28.500.
      Will the Scotsman be missed?   I very much doubt it.

    65. joe kane says:

      A xmas greeting from the supporters of the caring, sharing U-KOK Better Together.

      Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, people losing their jobs because of Westminster’s neoliberal economic policies deliberately designed to create mass unemployment, can look forward to their children starving to death.

      What kind of mind can contemplate the mass starvation of the nation’s children?

      Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi Calls For ‘Two Child Limit’ On Benefits

    66. CameronB says:

      @ joe kane
      Starving to death? I think that only happens due to abandonment. Malnourished perhaps? I’ll stand corrected if you’ve got a link.

    67. Ian Brotherhood says:

      M Lyons and Gordon McPhee – a couple of well-fired trolls.

    68. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “see what the Scotsman has to put up with from nat trolls.”

      Bryan, if you want me to look at something, post a link to it. Don’t post a link to a page with 511 comments on it and expect me to wade through every last one of them to work out what you’re talking about. I’m busy.

      “What’s next from these guys – breaking the windows of English owned shops? Burning down Holyrood?”

      Hey, thanks for saving me some time with a cretinous “SNP = Nazis” comparison. Bye.

    69. john king says:

      JLT says
      “Personally …I miss him already!”
      Aye wee shuggy mcphee wis aricht, kin ye no write him back intae the script rev? 
      mibbie he kin wake up in the shower an it wis aw a dream or sumthin?
      thirs nuthin ataw rang wi crossroads

    70. john king says:

      Ian Brotherhood says
      ” a couple of well-fired trolls.”
      Stephens or baynes?

    71. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @John King –
      ‘Stephens or baynes?’
      If that’s a reference to your locally well-kent bakers then it’s lost on me – as a Weegie I’d have to come back at you with ‘Morton’s or Healey’s?

    72. john king says:

      JLT says
       Now now jlt what did your mammy tell you? 
      trolls are not just for christmas their for life 🙂
      besides would you be the one to walk him every day, no I dont think so and what about toilet training I suppose I would have to clean up the mess
      NO and that’s that

    73. john king says:

      ‘Stephens or baynes?’
      weel spotted the weegie
      guid rolls min
      Ive heard o Mortons but no Healeys

    74. john king says:

      JLT says (sorry jlt) 
      “Och Rev! You should have kept Gordon McPhee, ”
      You do know kidnap gets you 18 years hard in the pokey ?

    75. john king says:

      shuggy mcphee says
      ““It’s over everyone and you give up now.”
      I like it up this tree and I’m not coming down!
      besides your Japanese is shite

    76. Ewan MacKenzie says:

      Don’t know if anyone has mentioned this already, but the Credit Suisse report talks about wealth, not income, and the figures are therefore not in any way comparable to the income equality figures that we’re more used to seeing quoted.
      Still doesn’t explain how they’ve come up with a figure for Denmark that’s more than 100%. 

    77. Training Day says:

      Haw haw. Is this Gordon McPhee, inexplicably inarticulate professional Rangers supporter?

      Or perhaps it’s another McPhee.

    78. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @John King –
      Healey’s was an old-style grocer’s in central Glasgow. They’re maybe still going, and definitely had a shop on Stockwell St within the last decade – they had another shop just off the central-end of Argyle St, and that’s the last place I remember seeing butter cut from huge slabs. They did great chips (this was when Glasgow was still a MacDonald’s-free zone) and their rolls were the dog’s rear-wheels.

    79. Training Day says:

      Oh, and perhaps the revelation that Sir Chips ‘Chips’ Chippennder of Chippenden and Chippendem (I exaggerate only slightly) is a donor to BT might lead us towards the discussion that dare not speak its name.

    80. theycan'tbeserious says:

      Just read most of Julie McDowall’s article. Got very very angry! And these self serving pricks in Westminster vote themselves an 11% pay rise.  This country needs its independence before the people are forced to revolt. Fuck Westminster, its gravy train and all who trough in it!

    81. Chic McGregor says:

      Yes win, no McPhee?

    82. Chic McGregor says:

      Isn’t that the Looney Toons “That’s All Folks” back drop behind him?

    83. john king says:

      Ian Brotherhood says @ 11.56
      Aye, know what you mean you get very  wistful for those old no longer in existence  places like Healeys whose counterparts were all over my county as well,
       talking of that, last night there was a docu/film called “The Happylands”
      which was named after a part of my town (not old enough to know if that name was accurate) but that part of my town was still in existence when I was a child and I quite clearly remember going to my uncles house up the stairs between the houses in what was (even then) quite squalid conditions. 

    84. MochaChoca says:

      I often wonder, when we hear these stories and they are then debunked, does the originator (if it’s a genuine error rather than deliberately misleading) or ‘decided’ NO voters think “OK that turned out to be wrong, but I’m still voting NO”?
      How many such instances of these stories being overturned can it take for them to seriously start to question their belief that we are ‘Better Together’?
      Murdo Fraser is convener of the committee undertaking a major investigation into the economic impacts on Scotland of independence. This committee is cross party, and the members have resolved to undertake the analysis impartially so it may be the only economic analysis that we can really trust.
      If the findings of this committee are that Scotland will most likely be economically better off i think Fraser will have three options (a) switch to YES (b) stand by the findings, but still campaign for a NO vote, and look a bit daft or (c) distance himself from the findings of his own committee and look even dafter.

    85. Willie Boy says:

      The article by Fraser was not actually written by him.

      However, even without a grasp of basic arithmetic, one would only need to visit the Nordic countries to see the difference in living standards that they enjoy compared to the lumpen masses in the UK.

      When you are getting ripped off the fraudster doen’t tell you that he’s ripping you off. And so dear Scots, that is why you are too poor, too under-resourced, too stupid, too exposed, too dependent to throw off the caviare lifestyle that modern Britannia affords you.

      Fighting the good war in Iran and Iraq, and tooled up with WMD that we cannot afford, but that could kill billions, there are very few who want Murdo Fraser’s vision of a dependent and grateful Scotland.

    86. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The article by Fraser was not actually written by him.”


    87. Jock says:

      The sad thing about Mr Fraser’s article is that he probably believes every word he wrote. He has always struck me as someone who was sincere but somewhat lacking in cognitive capacity.  Perhaps he could tell us how many foodbanks there are in Stockholm and Copenhagen?

    88. David McCann says:

      Interesting little vid here.

    89. Greannach says:

      In Psychology classes we used to be shown pictures of people with a similar expression to the one that Murdo Fraser usually has, and have to say what we thought was disturbing them and why they were so gloomy and pessimistic. It was interesting to learn about the Authoritarian Personality, and it’s not just a Tory problem – Annabel Goldie doesn’t have a trace of it. But there’s quite a crew of thin-lippers on the SLab benches – “we cannae gie ordinary folk that much – they might stop votin for us”: Dundee and Angus Labour Party Candidate, mid 1980s

    90. Holebender says:

      Here’s what Credit Suisse has sent me regarding their Gini calculations:
      The Danish wealth distribution data is strange because so many people are recorded with negative wealth, most likely because student debts are high and are kept well into middle age. Last year we had old data with which we were not comfortable, so we dropped it altogether and estimated the distribution as we do for countries without distribution data. This year we substituted the data for 2009 which became available to us.
      The total wealth of the bottom 70% of Danish wealth holders is approximately zero according to these data. Hence the very large Gini, which even exceeds the normal upper bound of 100% which would apply if all wealth holdings were non-negative. It does not indicate that wealth is especially unequal at the top end, but is reflected in the Gini value which takes account of the bottom wealth holders as well as the top.

      Other countries also record significant negative wealth holdings, but the Danish data is exceptional (see Databook table 1-5). The survey data appear to be valid, but are probably not produced in a way that is comparable to other countries. We are investigating how to align the numbers with other countries, but in the meantime report the best information available to us.

    91. Gary says:

      As with most (all?) politicians, they’d rather make a “headline” statement and if necessary an unreported apology later, than check data or get beaten with “facts” and “truth”

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