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Little lies

Posted on April 30, 2014 by

The Scottish independence debate is characterised by so many gigantic lies from the No camp and the media (no pound, international outcast, bankrupt, cataclysm, etc etc) that there’s rarely time to pick up on all the small, casual, offhand ones that also litter the news-stands and the airwaves and poison any hope of intelligent discourse.


So let’s make an effort with one, just by way of example.

That headline comes from today’s Scotsman. Any rational person reading it would arrive immediately at the conclusion that Ms Armstrong had in some way cast doubt on the Scottish Government’s implied “Plan B” in the event of an independent Scotland being refused a currency union with the rest of the UK, which is to use Sterling without a formal union and to leave the rUK with 100% of its debts.

For the avoidance of doubt, the paper says so explicitly in the first paragraph:

The suggestion that an independent Scotland could refuse to take on a share of the UK’s debt if no deal is reached on sharing the pound is a ‘flawed’ argument, an economics expert has warned.”

The problem is that she did absolutely no such thing.

“In a submission to MSPs on Holyrood’s Finance Committee Ms Armstrong argued this approach was ‘flawed in the sense that sterling, as a means of payment, is not an asset which has a value that can be off-set against Scottish debt obligations’.

She said: ‘Sterling is more a symbol than an asset, symbolising the UK’s economic and fiscal reputation to pay its debt obligations, with a track record of doing so going back to 1694, with the establishment of the Bank of England.

‘Hence it is the reputation of sterling, or to be more precise the reputation of the government and central bank that lie behind it, that is of value.'”

All of that is unquestionably true. Sterling is not strictly, technically speaking, an “asset” in the sense the term is normally used in negotiations. No specific monetary value is attached to it – you can’t meaningfully say “using Sterling is worth £X billion, so you have to give us something worth £X billion in return”.

Sterling – or to be more precise, a Sterling union – is an asset in the sense that it’s a thing one side wants and which therefore the other side can extract concessions for. In the case of an independent Scotland negotiating with the UK, the price of that concession is Scotland taking a share of UK debt, which it’s under absolutely no obligation to do otherwise, the UK government already having accepted and assumed full responsibility for it.

If Scotland doesn’t get its currency union, it’s perfectly free to walk away from the UK’s debt. The headline invites readers to believe that Ms Armstrong has disputed that possibility. But she hasn’t. You’ll search the rest of the article in vain without finding any suggestion from her that it couldn’t be done.

All she HAS done is – quite correctly, albeit nitpickily – argue the semantics. The word “flawed” in the Scotsman’s headline is used by Ms Armstrong in one very specific context, which is worth pulling out again:

“flawed in the sense that sterling, as a means of payment, is not an asset which has a value that can be off-set against Scottish debt obligations”

The only thing in that sentence that’s incorrect is the phrase “Scottish debt obligations”. Scotland HAS no debt obligations. It was not a signatory to the debts, and by the UK government’s own admission is not responsible for them.

(We’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was using the term loosely, in exactly the same way the Scottish Government uses the term “asset” when talking about a formal Sterling union, ironically enough.)

The paper notes:

“Ms Armstrong went on to state that if this argument was pursued by the Scottish Government in the event of a Yes vote ‘then the division of UK debt is likely to be acrimonious’.”

This too is undoubtedly true. If the rUK refuses a currency union then “the division of UK debt” will be 100% to 0%, and it’s highly likely that all parties would be angry about that outcome. But alert readers will have noted that Ms Armstrong makes no suggestion whatsoever that such an outcome would be impossible or even difficult, merely that it would be “acrimonious”.

The headline and opening paragraph of the piece are flat-out lies. The Scotsman claimed that Ms Armstrong criticised the plan, when all she actually described as “flawed” was the language. Only careful readers will pick up the untruth. For the rest, the damage – and the Scotsman’s job – will have been done.

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  1. 30 04 14 19:19

    Goodwill hunting « Wee Ginger Dug

106 to “Little lies”

  1. Seasick Dave says:

    Some people go around solving problems.

    Others go around looking for problems.

  2. Desimond says:

    That headline comes from today’s Scotsman. Any rational person reading it

    I’ll stop you right there will I?

  3. David Halliday says:

    Re the idea of an “asset”, your’re dead right. Prof Tomkins thinks (I think) that he’s terribly clever and no doubt he is but even to his repeated, legalistic analysis of this there’s a response. A currency, or any intangible thing, may not be an asset but the right and the ability to use assets certainly can be, as a matter of law, an asset itself. A right can be an asset just like an obligation can be a liability. It’s all angels on the head of a pin. In this context “asset” simply means a part of the current arrangement that is of benefit. It needn’t have a physical existence.

  4. Gizzit says:

    Sterling, in and of itself may well not be an asset, but the UK debt “owned” by the Bank of England is very much a jointly owned asset.

    It would be useful if Danny and George could come up with a clear list of assets, physical, financial, fixed and moveable, real and imaginary that the UK currently owns – then everybody can start working out what a “fair share” of assets and liabilities actually is.

  5. I wonder if we could contact each of these people who are misquoted for the MSMs ends and assist them in raising grievances with the papers in question?

  6. panda paws says:

    Is it clearer to say that Sterling is what in accoutancy terms is described as an “intangible” asset much like goodwill as in an established business? After all is goodwill not just another term for reputation?

  7. galamcennalath says:

    “the damage – and the Scotsman’s job – will have been done” ….. True, but ultimately, to whom will the damage have been done? The relentless negativity and twisting the truth will scare some, but I think it’s more likely it will cause more and more DKs (even Nos) to question the value of the Union when this is all it can offer as argument for its continuation.

  8. Les Wilson says:

    Cannot the Scotsman be called out to explain just how they arrive at that headline, by an open letter from Wings or BFS or someone? We should be making more by way of petitions/polls, as our protest.There are a huge number across the pro Scottish sites and bloggs, maybe we could raise big numbers in order to challenge specific false or manipulated ( like this one )claims or headlines.

    Just saying!

  9. Helena Brown says:

    Seems all you have to do is get one of those “ahem” experts to pontificate again and again on the same subject and somebody will say they have to be right and they will vote NO.
    I don’t think it is working like that.

  10. bunter says:

    Ms Armstrong, from one of those favourite impartial organisations that the BBC loves, the CPPR. Its has no links to the Labour party whatsoever.

    There may be a lie in the above.

  11. Training Day says:

    Is CPPR a member of the CBI?

  12. Andy Lythgoe says:

    Sterling the currency is not an intangible asset in the same way business goodwill is; goodwill can be valued and is part of the financial consideration in the buying and selling of businesses. It seems to me that the best way of considering sterling is as intellectual property – it need not have a direct asset value but possession of title to it can, for instance, fetter its use by others or conversely protect its use by the owner.

  13. Marker Post says:

    I saw this headline earlier, and shouted at my computer for an entirely different reason. There is no “plan to refuse the debt”. As far as I know, all the First Minister suggested was that if rUK didn’t agree to a sterling union, then we might not agree to share the debt. That’s hardly a “plan to refuse the debt”.

  14. alexicon says:

    These type of headlines from the desperate unionist press are going to get even more outlandish as the referendum gets closer.
    They’re out to stop the YES momentum in its tracks and I’m going straight out to push more YES newspapers through some doors.


    I just watched politics Scotland on bbc 2.
    The subliminal propaganda from the bbc is astounding.

    A reporter was interviewing 3 Scottish (?) MPs, 1 LibDem, 1 Labour and 1 SNP outside the HoC.

    When the LibDem or the Labour MP spoke the camera was focused straight on them, but as the SNP MP spoke the camera was panned out to show also the Labour MP who was shaking his head and pulling funny faces etc. while the SNP MP made his pitch.
    So blatant, so biased bbc.

  15. Another Union Dividend says:

    It’s a great pity that the Media and BBC refused to cover the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee deliberations this morning which was available on democracy live as they would have learnt a thing or two with excellent contributions from Jim and Margaret Cuthbert.

    But then the Unionist Media don’t want us to get “enough information”

  16. Bill C says:

    Stu I know it’s early to go o/t but it looks as if your instinct about UKIP could be right. Just seen this on Twitter:
    Comres euro poll

    West Midlands

    #UKIP 52%
    #LABOUR 27%
    #LIBDEMS 5%

    Truly terrifying figures. Scotland must vote YES or we will be in the hands of fascists.

  17. Another Union Dividend says:

    alexicon @ 3.44

    Not only that but they allowed Ian Murray to constantly interrupt Mike Weir who was not allowed to respond to Murray’s interruptions but the Lib Dem was allowed a second chance to speak.

  18. Schiehallion! Schiehallion! says:

    I think that if tomorrow all the ‘Scottish’ papers carried headline screaming that the Loch Ness Monster would flit to the Serpentine in the event of a Yes vote, very, very few readers would believe a single word of it.

  19. misteralz says:

    Well, if this hasn’t just made me donate another chunk of cash to Yes Scotland…

    In other news, I had a Labour leaflet in the postbox this morning. It got returned to the sender, folded up very, very neatly to the point where it was almost an inch thick. And bugger me if I didn’t forget about a stamp.

  20. Ivan McKee says:

    @ panda paws

    Is it clearer to say that Sterling is what in accountancy terms is described as an “intangible” asset much like goodwill as in an established business?

    I think I’m with you on that. If you were buying (or selling) a business the ‘goodwill’ on the Balance Sheet would carry a monetary value and be considered along with other assets as part of the negotiation. I think it would be correct to consider sterling an asset in that sense.

  21. CameronB says:

    I bored. UDI tomorrow and tell them where to stuff their debt. SIDEWAYS.

  22. ronnie anderson says:

    How much Gold reserves do the British Gov have, is Sterling

    not backed up on those reserves,or are they intangable


  23. Gayle says:

    If you want to know what was actually said in full I would suggest people watch the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee Meeting of 5th March 2014 which is on youtube. The Armstrongs suggest that we give England (Wales and NI) our oil for a share of their debt.

  24. ronnie anderson says:

    @CameronB alang wie Big Ben, House of Fools/& the

    Retirement home next door, an if they have a problem

    in manageing to get that lot up em, I will gladly pay

    the hire costs of a PILEDRIVER ( inverted )

  25. Chic McGregor says:

    England did not pay all of the agreed ‘Compensation’ to Scots as part of the Union deal.

  26. bookie from hell says:


    10.01 Campaign ?@1001Campaign · 1h
    #indyref Rumour: Jim Sillars @naefear to debate with Michael Forsyth

    id pay to see it,dressed in ermine,ad saltire boxers

  27. Luigi says:

    How much Gold reserves do the British Gov have

    If there is any gold left (assuming Brown did not give it all away), then we get 10%. No gold, no debt.

  28. Viking Girl says:

    I heard a well known Scottish Labour woman on the radio a few weeks ago describing the OBR as ‘a respected authority.’ The OBR has never made one prediction that came true, so it all depends on how you want to present your view, and Max Keiser had Chris Cook on yesterday. Mr Cook reckons that Scotland doesn’t need a Central Bank. Imagine that!

  29. JLT says:

    Like quite a few readers here, I do not believe a word …a word that any of the TV media, or the newspapers tell me now.

    I will read the headlines, skim through it, but almost straight away, it will be like …Hmmm …possibly …that’s wrong …that’s drivel …mince …mince …naw …yep, that could be right …naw …aye right! Git yirsel tae…‘ End of enlightened reading.

    There is one thing that I have noticed, especially in the light of Putin-Gate. No one, but no one …is slagging off Alex Salmond. I’ve heard no one denounce him. Even where I work, two of my colleagues are Poles. Now, they lived under Russian rule, so if anybody would mump, then it would be they two. But no …the two of them couldn’t give a hoot about what Alex said.

    I think we are in a period where nothing that the media says now is being taken seriously. If anything, the few DK’s that I know are now at the point where they are actually annoyed, if not angry. They want answers now …not point-scoring, or slagging off politicians. It’s beyond that now.

    So in my eyes, this could have a great effect on the DK’s. If the media continue with their sheer negativity and picking on Yes folk for no reason, then eventually, even the DK’s will begin to smell a rat (no offence to rats, Rev).
    I get asked every couple of days now by colleagues, friends and family as to what I make of something in the media. Once explained, you see them quietly nod, and then walk away. They now trust the word of someone like myself, than from the state media, or our wonderful biased media.

    It will be the period entering August that will be most interesting. People will want answers. Should the media and BT really ramp up the volume, then I can see a lot of anger at the UK state, as well the newspapers and the BBC if all they have as an argument is fear mongering and Alex Salmond is a soan-so.

    It will be very interesting.

  30. Murray McCallum says:

    “‘Hence it is the reputation of sterling, or to be more precise the reputation of the government and central bank that lie behind it, that is of value.’”

    Which of course Scotland has contributed to in terms of tax revenue and personnel. The reserves of the BoE will also contain Scottish contributions.

    This “reputation” also plays a significant part in the valuation of UK bonds, i.e. the better the reputation then the lower interest paid and the less likelihood of a fall in their capital value.

    I personally find it difficult (legally and morally) to support the notion of a scenario where there is no formal currency union but Scotland pays a portion of UK debt.

    If Scotland is not recognised for playing any part in building this critical “reputation” that the expert speaks of, then it should cover all aspects of Sterling paper.

  31. Chic McGregor says:

    OT I hear Trump has bought Turnberry. Pity nobody told him about the oil and gas wells which will be springing up off the Ayrshire coast. 🙂

  32. Garry says:

    I hate to pick you up Stu but Sterling is unquestionably an asset.

    This sort of ‘symbol’ would appear on a private corporation’s books under Intangible Assets as Goodwill. It is akin to the brand of Coca-Cola, Microsoft etc.

    It is built up through years of trade and creditworthiness, something which Scotland has contributed to as part of the Sterling zone and therefore it is absolutely entitled to its share of the goodwill it has helped to establish.

    Personally, I think the value of Scotland’s notional share of the UK national debt is a fair enough settlement for not being given our share of the goodwill which a formal currency union would provide.

  33. Simon says:

    Ronnie, A certain G. Brown decided to sell off a lot of the UK gold reserves some years ago when the price was at record lows.

    Anyway Sterling is not backed up by anything, except confidence in the UK government. It is all a big confidence trick basically, as long as they can keep the plates spinning it is fine, as soon as enough people realise the rUK economy is all a giant ponzi scheme based on fantasy banking and dodgy accounting and rent-seeking, then £ sterling will go the way of Zim $. Hopefully not for 6 months or so yet…

  34. Jimsie says:

    This Jo Armstrong is very glum looking. Do any of these Unionists ever smile ?

  35. Edward says:

    Just a quick word to say that the Actor Bob Hoskins passed away today, aged 71

  36. liz says:

    I’ve just been on the Rev’s twitter and my blood pressure is through the roof.

    ‘This isn’t a fight between Scots and English; that’s an invention of the yes campaign and no one is under any illusion that the Scots’ dislike of the southern English middle class is anything other than profound’, says an ignorant Guardian journalist.

    And a completely imbecilic History teacher from Cambridge comparing AS to Mussolini and the SNP as having aggressive and expansive nationalism, being racist and discriminatory towards English students whilst having historic Nazi sympathies.

    Please get me out of this madhouse.

  37. Capella says:

    An interesting (for anoraks) discussion at the Royal Society in Edinburgh in January on Currency, Banking and Tax, with Jo Armstrong presenting. Confirms that it is indeed a “dismal science”. Prof Gavin McCrone is also there and plays down the “McCrone Report”, chaired by Sarah Smith. As an added bonus, if you can bear to stick with it right to the end, you can see Ms Lamont, smiling as ever, leaving the auditorium.

  38. MochaChoca says:

    I said this on the Scotsman and got roundly voted down, though no one actually argued against it:

    Jo Armstrong points out that it’s the reputation of sterling that is of value.

    If it has value then by definition it is an asset, not easily quantifiable, but clearly it is valuable, is prized by the UK Government and certainly has included a significant contribution from Scotland.

    There are pro’s and con’s to a CU on both sides, but I don’t think many would want a currency union with a reluctant partner.

    This suggests that the Scottish Government’s stance is purely to establish a negotiating position, afterall the campaign for independence has been a lifes work for most of them, why give up such a significant degree of sovereignty straight off the bat?

    It wouldn’t have mattered what currency option the Scottish Government initially proposed, any option would have been roundly criticised by the NO side and mainstream media. But what we now have now is effectively the NO side endorsing an independent Scotland having it’s own currency, which I strongly suspect is what most of those in the Scottish Government would favour anyway.

  39. edulis says:

    That’s an awfully long branch that George and Danny are climbing along – all the harder to climb back. But then Danny was never much of a tactician or a strategist. I know him personally. He is my MP through no fault of mine.

    Anyway, my point is that the average punter doesn’t care about the high flown world of monetary union. They know that there are excellent brains at SG’s disposal and it will be worked out to our satisfaction.

    I am just back from Turkey where they simultaneously use Turkish Lire, US Dollars and the Euro. Note, despite the empire rhetoric from Westminster, the £ Sterling is not important enough for the Turks to bother with. Anyway, the Turks use this flexibility as a business opportunity!

  40. bookie from hell says:

    Bob Hoskins–great actor

    remember pennies from heaven as a school kid

  41. MochaChoca says:

    Shrewd move by Trump…. Girvan will be the new Dubai

  42. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Simon 4.28, ye sall 4 tons of Gold, but all Govs buy

    sell Gold/Silver, they must have a few tons of both by now.

  43. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Chic Mc Gregor, ah warned Trump yesterday, but ah dont

    think he reads Wings.

  44. mato21 says:


    The gold reserves were at a record low when the gold was sold only because Gordy announced in advance what his intentions were giving the money men time to manipulate the price He was a brilliant chancellor

  45. Kenny says:

    Serious currency question: if they do decide a formal currency union is out of the question, what happens to the billions of pounds that RBS, HBOS and the Clydesdale all hold at the BoE to cover their own notes? For most of Scotland’s notes, we technically already have a Scottish pound pegged at 1:1 to the GBP. Wouldn’t it dmage the BoE (and therefore Sterling) to lose those deposits as well as 8-9% of the gold and foreign currency reserves as well as Scotland’s exports and so on, not to mention the massive increase in its debt to GDP ratio.

  46. Steve Bowers says:

    With regards to “assets” did I read somewhere ( feel free to correct) that UK have almost £1 Trillion in military hardwear, add on another few odds and ends then tell then to keep the lot , it might end up that we could start bloody close to debt free if UK wants the generals to keep their “punch above weight” toys.
    Use the money saved paying for debt to fund Scottish Self Defence army ( manufacturing jobs) and maritime protection (ship building jobs) so we can go wave at the Admiral Kuznetzov when Vlad feels the need to big up his importance !

  47. MJ says:

    Joan McAlpine did an overview of Jo Armstrong and the CPPR on Bella some time ago

  48. bjsalba says:

    Has anyone looked at how few people read newspapers these days? I was in the Chippy last evening, and the place was full so the wait was long – but not one single person picked up any paper the whole time I was there. Same goes for the pub. When I look in the shops at the newspaper racks, they are not exactly bulging.

    If there is increased traffic on newspaper websites how much of it is DKs? Not much I suspect. If they are on-line they are looking for better sources. I now wait and I get all the info I need from places like WOS.

  49. fairiefromtheearth says:

    edilus your right we export all our stuff and take payment in what ever currency the buying country uses,then our currency is backed by all the ferengi currancey. 😉

  50. heedtracker says:

    I think that if Scotland wants a currency union with England, England will want to keep to Scots oil. Scots oil is so big for the UK, England will keep it but take Scots share of UK national debt. Scotland keeps sterling and can still borrow to maintain the fiscal gap with near total fiscal control over renewable energy, infrastructure etc.

  51. Murray McCallum says:


    It doesn’t make any difference.

    “In accordance with current legislation, Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes are fully backed at all times by ring-fenced backing assets partly held in Bank of England notes and UK coin and partly as balances on accounts maintained by the issuing banks at the Bank of England.”

    An reasonable argument could be made that Scotland not being included in a currency union could damage the credit worthiness (or Sovereign credit rating) of rUK and thereby all banks registered there and who rely on the BoE as lender of last resort. From memory, this issue was raised in the notes to RBS Plc latest set of accounts.

    A currency union seems to make sense in the short term for both Scotland and rUK.

  52. (By permission of Rev Stu – we asked first)

    O/T – Apologies.

    Hello fellow Wingers,

    We’re making a short drama film set on the night of the referendum. The film is called ‘Autumn Leaves’ and we have some prominant names in the Scottish acting scene already signed up. We just need £1500 to get it all filmed and edited and currently have a third of this in the can.

    You can read all about this great wee film at the kickstart link (below) and details there of how you can throw a quid or two to help it take flight. And there’s even a possibility it might get shown on the telly on referendum night (early days though).

    Some generous folk have already pledged their support, so MASSIVE thank you to them. Don’t be shy, get involved and help a local lad make something that says something about these extraordinary times.

    The link:

    Do what you can lads ‘n’ lassies to make this happen.

    And a mighty big “Thank You, Stu” for letting me post this on Wings.

  53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I hate to pick you up Stu but Sterling is unquestionably an asset.”

    Yes, of course it is. Just not in ONE particular semantic sense.

  54. Auld Rock says:

    I always remember as a young engineer referring to my ‘boss’ as the “expert” at which point he told me never to call him an “expert” only someone who had gained a lot of knowledge through experience. He said any-time he heard a person being referred to as an “expert” or “expert witness” he would run a mile and give anything they said a lot of careful consideration before accepting their pronouncement as having some worth.

    Auld Rock

  55. john king says:

    Anybody see that odious man from tha DWP appearing in front of a select committee at Holyrood that people (on benefits) “welcome sanctions for the jolt it gives them” and points out that essentially foodbanks are unnecessary?

  56. bookie from hell says:

    scottish,Northern Irish are the only notes with sterling written on the note

  57. Jim D says:

    In the world of the financial markets a currency is an asset class. Ask any currency trader. George Soros sold $10 billion worth of Sterling when the pound was trying to hang onto its position in the ERM in 1992. He made $1 billion in profit-try telling him that a currency is not an asset.

  58. Les Wilson says:


    oops? They must be trying to forget this…

  59. Andy-B says:

    The Scotsman, a misnomer if ever there was one,as they don’t represent Scots,surely their readership numbers must be on the verge of collapse, how on earth does this biased rag stay afloat.

  60. Murray McCallum says:

    Sorry Kenny

    My point about not making any difference only referred to the first part of your post, i.e. Scottish bank notes covered by the BoE.

    As you say, Scotland has many favourable things going for it to justify it being in a formal sterling zone.

    I think it would be best for both Scotland and rUK to ultimately either have their own currency or join the Euro.

    I think a short term sterling zone will make negotiations so much easier and the final agreement more transparent. It will also help ensure ongoing fairness of the agreed settlement – some of which may take several years to actually unwind once agreed.

  61. Andy-B says:

    @john king

    Here’s the story the odious man’s name is Neil Couling, the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

  62. call me dave says:

    Here is the very person this morning. The flaw remark is in there somewhere. I listened to it all this morning, didn’t plan to but I found it very interesting. Very heartening to hear the views especially the Cuthberts. Hope I do the link thing correctly?

    Two Armstrongs and two Cuthberts

    Economic experts give evidence on post 2014 public finances

  63. Les Wilson says:

    heedtracker says

    Sorry, do not agree with that one, where would our wealth come from if we gave our oil away? Sure we have other things and no doubt we would get by, but capital will be required. Our GDP going through a sterling area will and should, be all we concede in a currency union.

    No, we need our oil to empower our lives in Scotland and to put in place all the things we need, to make the lot of our peoples better, infrastructure etc.It be much harder and would take much longer if we did not have our oil revenues.

    I think anyone who agreed to do that, would not be in government long, we would not stand for it.

  64. CameronB says:

    “See Brok acquire. Acquire, Brok, acquire!” 🙂

  65. Bobby mckail says:

    I’m not so forgiving on her use language, it’s a well known fact that she is anti-Indy and go to ‘expert’ for the BBC and STV. Infact I think the CPPR should be made to sign up to the electoral commission as no campaigners, if that was possible, which it isn’t sadly.

  66. BigSteveChisholm says:

    Trump buys Turnberry, eh? Won’t Scottish turf wither and die when we vote YES? Maybe he intends to bulldoze it and turn the fairways into an SSSI.


    Not quite the full (headline) ferret, just a wee pellet from the Guardian.

    Housebuyers put off by doubt over Scotland’s future

    Para 1
    “Wealthy buyers are being deterred from entering the top end of the Scottish property market because of uncertainty over September’s referendum on Scottish independence, according to estate agents.”

    Para 3
    “Although the mid-market is buoyant, with agent Savills reporting a 100% increase in the number of London-based buyers registering an interest in Scottish property this year, some* wealthier buyers are pausing for thought.”

    * No figures provided, naturally.

  67. handclapping says:

    The Scotsman was the only paper left in the coffee shop, which in itself should stand as a warning. I eat a packet of crisps and my coffe grew cold while I read it. My thought on finding the coffee was cold was that at 70 something I probably would have appreciated a copy of the Beano better than wasting my time on that not even close approximation to a newspaper.

    Without coffee I am even more grumpy 🙂

  68. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    Without coffee I am even more grumpy 🙂

    Never 😉


  69. goldenayr says:

    Armstrong was even more woeful on the Newsnight special on Monday,hosted by Brewer.

    He appeared to be the only person giving credence to her pronouncements and I think that was more out of courtesy.

  70. RogueCoder says:

    Regarding Gold reserves, I couldn’t find an authoritative source (I don’t suppose either the BoE or the Treasury really likes talking about these things), but plenty of news sources online quote Brown as having sold off 60% of the UK’s gold, and that equated to 395 tons. Therefore, in theory, it has about 295 tons left. It’s unclear whether that is metric or imperial tons, but for simplicity we’ll assume metric. 295 tons = 9,484,470 troy ounces (the measurement used for precious metals) which at today’s price of £766.74 per t oz is £7,272,122,527 – or £7.2 billion.

    Not actually very much, is it? Scotland’s per capita share is £611m.

    By the way, it’s largely believed that Brown deliberately sold off the Gold at rock bottom prices in order to bail out traders whom had made staggering losses they couldn’t cover betting on the price going up. Effectively then, the UK taxpayer bailed out the banks twice.

  71. handclapping says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂 BtP 😉 😉 😉

    By George, he’s got it! Again, where does it 🙂 ?
    Bearsden! Bearsden!

    from the score of My Fair Panda, Edinburgh Fringe 2016

  72. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    You on the electric Merlot, tonight?

  73. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    I am a mac clone PANDA, now.

  74. goldenayr says:

    Sorry BtP

    Should also have congratulated you on mastery of a mac.

    Next time just buy an ipad,much easier..;-]

    I’m on windows8 at the mo..:-[

  75. caz-m says:

    A face Armstrong Dr is bitch torn Jo.


  76. Paula Rose says:

    Oh gosh, just in and skimmed the news – will Nessie fit in the Serpentine? We could use her as a negotiating position, perhaps for all the land between a wall and the border!

  77. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Back on track, like a £ is not a physical asset, albeit variaible, like the Pfiser, Jaguar, Peugeot BMW etc etc ad infinitum represent a nul value?\

    Silly Billy

  78. goldenayr says:


    And it gets more torn with every poll.

  79. caz-m says:

    Scotland v England at Hampden in November.

    Lets make it,

    Independent Scotland v rUK’s England.

  80. goldenayr says:

    Paula Rose

    Better still,I nominate Nessie to be the Chief negotiator in the upcoming talks.

    Right,I’m off to have a chortle imagining there faces as she comes in the room and they all scramble to sign away anything..ahh,imaginations wonderful.

  81. caz-m says:


    That was meant to be an unbreakable code about Dr No Jo Armstrong.

    She reminds me of that other economist that was never off of Newsnight. Was it the guy Maclean, not sure, but he was also a bundle of joy.

  82. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Goldenayr\

    Have a mini one but use it overnight to str”eam radio and thus am a bit duffed up over time and species zones.

    Have a “Good Intergalactic, piss-up day

    Off to my pit tonight, the red wine has run out.

    Can AS guarantee that this will not happen in an independent Scotland; we need to be told.

  83. caz-m says:


    Ch4 will be doing a piece about Scottish Independence from Stornaway and I think the other place is the Shetlands shortly.

  84. goldenayr says:

    Oichde mhath BtP.

    Don’t mean to gloat but I’ve just opened mine.If you were closer I’d share..but hey ho,all the more for me..;-]

  85. goldenayr says:

    caz sorry mean upset carefully didn’t to code out thought -m your.

  86. goldenayr says:

    Right,write now like I’m to going from on this.

    Yours HCGQ up.

  87. Truth says:

    Reporting Scotland tonight reporting on all the Yes bodies registering with the electoral commission and the no side basically saying it isn’t fair, they are essentially all the same.

    The reporter then goes on to say (I paraphrase) “Each of them will get £150,000 to spend on the run up to the referendum”.

    Of course the casual viewer is supposed to take from that, that this is taxpayers money being provided three times over to the yes side.

    Nowhere was it made clear that this is actually THEIR OWN BLOODY MONEY, and is in fact an upper limit on what can be spent.

    There’s little lies everywhere.

  88. john king says:

    Chic McGregor says
    “OT I hear Trump has bought Turnberry. Pity nobody told him about the oil and gas wells which will be springing up off the Ayrshire coast. :)”


  89. john king says:

    caz-m says
    “Scotland v England at Hampden in November.

    Lets make it,

    Independent Scotland v rUK’s England.”

    Now that I WOULD pay to see.

  90. Truth says:


    Whenever I hear someone going on about English students being discriminated against I state clearly and calmly that no English students are being disctiminated against.

    I point out that many English people resident in Scotland have their fees paid just the same as Scots. So the discrimination if you want to call it that is not on nationality, but on residence. Furthermore, most English honours students in Scotland pay the first three years and get the fourth year paid for them as they are then deemed to be resident in Scotland.

    They tend to shut up after that.

  91. kestral says:

    the power of 50%

    having followed the newspaper forumns where one poster has predicted a 62% vote for yes

    believe he might be on here

    I kinda thought mmm bit optomistic

    but you know what the power of 50 means I think he might just be a wee bit pessimistic

    we hit 50% and what do you think the undecided will think

    we came from behind – we have awakend those with the time to investigate to our side

    BT have run out of power in fear

    I know what I would think – don’t have the time to look at it all but if 50% of my country think its good and that has increased in every poll then I will trust them to be the ones who know whats the right thing to do

    when we hit 50% we have the very worst of the battle behind us – there is only one way it will go and that is 55, 60, 62 and even above

    go scotland go

  92. As jlt says, don’t believe any M.S.M story. I have difficulty even believing their weather and traffic reports.

  93. goldenayr says:


    Wanted to put a 75%+ win on at the bookies awhile back.They wouldn’t give odds,now that it’s 2/1 for a YES,I think I’ll try again.

    Before you ask..No I don’t understand betting either

  94. HandandShrimp says:


    The weather reports are shockingly bad and totally unreliable, yet still the political sections beat them hands down every time.

    I don’t bother with the TV or newspaper news either. I can’t recall the last time I sat through the news. Was talking at work about that and apparently neither do most other people – too depressing was the most common reason for giving the news a body swerve.

  95. The Rough Bounds says:

    I watched a bit of Channer 4 interviewing islanders in both Shetland and Stornoway.

    I frankly wanted to throw up. What the hell is it with so many of those islanders that makes them so bloody minded? It has become embarrassing. They, of all people in Scotland, should be 100% behind the independence movement. Their culture has been getting stuffed for centuries. I gave up attending the Gaelic classes in my town because I got so tired of the native Gaelic speakers’ cringing attitude to all things British.

    ”Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable than risk being happy.”

    Robert Anthony.

  96. X_Sticks says:

    @Simon, Ronnie RogueCoder et al

    Bank of England gold reserve. There’s still some left, this was 2012 (sorry its in the dail fail):

    Aproximately 1/10 of this belogs to Scotland.

    As best I remember (I can’t be bothered looking) the Bank of England also hold about 4 billion of gold reserves to back up the Scottish bank notes in circulation.

  97. Kenny says:

    It’s strange. The Western Isles have a bit of a Labour-SNP tug of war, and it can be very much about personalities over parties while also being weirdly tribal.

  98. CameronB says:

    Apparently viewing images of disasters and violence (war), transmits the trauma to the viewer. It seems that TV is an instrument of terror, beating down the observer’s confidence and self esteem.

    Bertrand Russell would be delighted.

    “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.” – Bertrand Russell

    “The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.” – Bertrand Russell

  99. Lewis MacKenzie says:

    Sterling is a UK government IOU. It’s value flows from the fact that it can be used to extinguish tax liabilities owed to the British gov – tax liabilities that are backed by the coercive power of the state (the threat of legal action against non payment).

  100. goldenayr says:

    The Rough Bounds

    Don’t forget that a lot of these native” Gaelic speakers are descendants of those who tugged the forelock most.I’ve encountered it in my village but most especially at MODs.They disapprove of any accent that doesn’t emulate the English one.

    Try the Gaelic underground who despise this boxing of their culture.Quite lively on the west coast folk/rock/pop scene.

  101. sausage fingered luddite says:


  102. Col says:

    Jaw drop, you`re on Newsnight, Bella too. I guess they had to balance the program out somehow having Ian Smart on.

  103. Faltdubh says:

    Very harsh to tarnish Gaelic speakers as being uber Brits.

    Like the mainland, some may well be. Many are NOT.

  104. David Smith says:

    I’ve just sussed out the ethos of each campaign;

    YES – “You’re just like everybody else in the world. Of course you can.”

    NO – “You’re shit; and you know you are, you’re shit; and you know you are…” (ad nauseam).

  105. NewportDee says:

    I used to read the Scotsman frequently a number of years ago but when Andrew Neil took over as editor its stance changed and unfortunately it has got worse as the years have gone on and I don’t buy it anymore. It should change its name to “Slag Off Scotmen” and use the SoS of its sister paper Scotland On Sunday. The Scotsman sold fewer than 30,000 copies in the last quarter of last year as its sales (like most newspapers) continues to plummet.

    Too think the Glasgow Herald was regarded as a Tory paper and look at how that has also shifted its stance over the years with the likes of Ian Bell as a contributor.

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