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Massive oil leak discovered

Posted on July 11, 2013 by

We have a bit more respect for Professor Brian Ashcroft than most of the No camp’s scaremongers (indeed, we’ve even run an article of his on Wings Over Scotland), so we looked with interest at the latest entry on his blog yesterday, a piece with the fairly self-explanatory title of  “Has Scotland already spent its oil fund?”


It purports to examine what Scotland’s financial position would have been had it been independent for the last 32 years, in response to a Scottish Government document (which was backed up by showing that Scotland had been a large net contributor to the UK over the period, but arrives at a bizarrely tangential conclusion.

We’ll hand you directly over to the Professor:

“Not only has Scotland received a significant dividend from North Sea oil revenues, it has been almost fully compensated for these higher revenues by higher public spending.

When you do the numbers, over the 32 year period the total value of tax receipts is £1,425 billion while the total value of public spending in and for Scotland is £1,440 billion.

Spending was nearly £15 billion higher in Scotland than the tax receipts including a geographic share of oil revenues. That amounts to additional spending over and above tax receipts of £89 per person per year.”

This particular red herring is one that “Better Together” have been trying to sell for some months, in an attempt to draw attention away from the fact that Scotland contributes a larger share of tax revenues than it gets back in spending with the smoke-screen that the UK as a whole (and therefore Scotland as a part of it) spends more than it earns, like almost all Western nations.


This is true, but irrelevant. Let’s say the UK budget was in surplus. Would it then be fine, from the point of view of the independence debate, that Scotland contributed more than its share, and subsidised the rest of the country by billions of pounds a year? It’s a tough argument to make, and its fundamental point isn’t changed one iota if the UK is in deficit rather than surplus. Scotland’s still getting ripped off either way.

So let’s ignore the diversionary tactic. Prof. Ashcroft is saying that had Scotland controlled its own revenues, and kept all spending exactly the same as it’s been within the UK (including, for example, the several billions Scotland has unwillingly contributed to the cost of Trident, the Iraq and Afghan wars, etc etc), the country would currently have a debt of £15 billion, as opposed to the £130bn-plus that it currently notionally has as part of the UK.

In reality, of course, we could comfortably have saved all of that £15bn – and another £10bn on top – from the defence budget alone, while still actually spending more on defence in Scotland than has been the case, had defence policy not been controlled by Westminster for those 32 years.

But wait. It’s even worse than that. Because the good Professor hides another little bombshell a little further down his article:

“I estimate that Scotland’s share of UK debt interest amounted to £83 billion at 2001-12 prices. Subtracting this from total estimated Scottish spend of £1,440 billion we get a debt interest adjusted estimate of spend of £1,357 billion. This means that Scotland was in overall surplus by about £68 billion“.

The answer to Prof. Ashcroft’s original question, then, is “No, Scotland hasn’t spent its oil fund”. Had Scotland been independent for the last 32 years, the figures suggest we’d have an oil fund of at least £68bn, closer to £100bn if you factor in what an independent Scotland’s actual spending would have been, and higher still if you add the interest/investment return the whopping sum would have earned over those three decades (as the largest surpluses arose in the 1980s).

At a very very conservative estimate, assuming a 3% annual return and allowing for some capital spending, that’d be anywhere between £150-200 billion. That’s not as impressive as Norway’s £480bn or so, but it’s not a bad nest-egg for a rainy day, and it’s certainly a heck of a lot better than the situation Scotland is actually in, ie in hock for a chunk of the UK’s enormous and growing debt.

It would be enough to protect all current universal services for at least a hundred years, for example. It would also pay to build a formidable armed forces from scratch, plus every major infrastructure project in Scotland ever dreamed of in the last decade.

Dualling the A9 (£600m), building the Glasgow (£210m) and Edinburgh (£650m) airport rail links, paying for the new Forth crossing (£1.2bn) and the Borders railway (£350m) and saving the Longannet carbon-capture plant (£1bn), for example, would barely make a dent in it – at £4bn for the whole lot – and of course all that spending would in itself also stimulate the economy and produce even higher tax receipts.

And all of this, remember, despite the terrible volatility of oil revenues.

The share of the UK’s debt Scotland is likely to be asked to take on as a result of not having been independent for those 32 years isn’t yet clear. Estimates vary from the Guardian’s calculation of somewhere above £81 billion, up to £140 billion if you believe the Daily Mail, or a hilarious figure of £270 billion from the Telegraph in 2012.

£150bn+ in the bank, or debts of anywhere between £81bn and £270bn? Tough call. The impartial observer with a grasp of basic arithmetic might conclude that the quicker Scotland extricates itself from this cripplingly expensive union, the better off it will be.

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182 to “Massive oil leak discovered”

  1. G H Graham says:

    My take is that he is saying; look at all those receipts you spent over the last 32 years. You spent more than your earned.
    So what ?
    For a country our size, 15 billion over 3 decades is peanuts and had we had the option of no Trident & not funding jingoistic wars in the Middle East, the Westminster gravy train & all those infrastructure projects that London needed, we might actually have been in surplus.
    In summary, just more shite from the NO camp.

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Isn’t that what I just said? 😀

  3. John Lyons says:

    WOW. We’ve overspent by 15 billion in the last 32 years. The UK is over one trillion in debt, and yes, I know there’s ten times as many people in the uk, but even one tenth of the UK debt is still over 100 billion. I’d say that proves Scotland to be roughly 7 times better with her money than the UK.
    How Ironic then that Better together and United with Labour are fronted by ex uk chancellors!

  4. Doug Daniel says:

    My “favourite” bit of his blog is this bit: “So, it could be argued that the large oil revenues in the 1980s generated a surplus. This was banked with the UK Treasury building up an oil fund that was then drawn on subsequently to meet Scotland’s needs.”
    It’s extremely disingenuous of Ashcroft to talk of an “oil fund”, as if there was a wee bit of the UK treasury marked “Scotland’s oil fund – Hands off!” like he does there. Nothing was “banked”, it was frittered away on unemployment benefits during Thatcher’s social engineering experiments.
    He’s pointing out that, in the 80s, there was a MASSIVE surplus of oil revenue, and shows that this hasn’t been the case lately. This is the whole point. If we’d had control of the oil in the 80s, we’d have been building up an *actual* oil fund, and we would be enjoying the benefits of it now. So rather than going “oh look, you’d still have been £15 billion in debt”, what he should *really* be saying is “hey Scotland, look at all that surplus oil revenue that got frittered away!”
    But of course, he doesn’t, because like all unionist academics, his first loyalty is to the union, rather than to the truth.

  5. Bit off your main point, but worth noting that a well-managed country will run a deficit most of the time, a d the debt never has to be paid back. Immediately after Clinton left office there was almost a crisis because America wasn’t running up enough debt, which would have led to a shortage of treasury bills for the bond markets. As long as the economy grows faster than the debt everything’s cushtie.

  6. Kenny Campbell says:

    Why would we take on any debt from the UK? I know the accepted line is we should take a ‘fair’ share but I’m at the point now where we should be saying what must we take rather than what ‘should’ we take if we’re being nice.
    We’re not dealing with a friendly face at the other side of the table. I don’t see too much nicety coming our way from Westminster. They made the spending choices, its not for me or my kids to pay their bills.

  7. DaveB says:

    £15bn over 32years? I’m sure that’s less than one London Olympics over 2 weeks.

  8. JPJ says:

    Unionist leaders always lie-their justification is that anything goes in order to achieve their overarching purpose which is to save the Union.

  9. Currywurst says:

    Oil revenue has meant that taxes and interest rates have been lower for everyone.
    That’s your “oil fund”.
    I’ve been careful to save and invest as much as possible; tough luck if you haven’t.

  10. Max says:

    They do say things come in threes. 
    1. Trident and the annexation of bits of Scotland
    2. Alistair Darling and the announcement of a positive campaign
    3. Mr Wendy Alexander and the claim that a solvent Scotland has already spent its oil fund.
    The Better Together campaign is drowning in its own keech. 

  11. Adrian B says:

    The Better Together campaign is drowning in its own keech. 
    Farmers would call it the slurry pit. 😀

  12. Doug says:

    “Oil revenue has meant that taxes and interest rates have been lower for everyone.
    That’s your “oil fund”.
    I’ve been careful to save and invest as much as possible; tough luck if you haven’t.”
    Seeing as the comment was transparent trolling and seeing as a direct response would be infra dig, given the litany of facts available, I respond with this:


  13. HandandShrimp says:

    £15 billion? Is that all?
    Tha would put as at the top end of the EU fiscally prudent range. Has the Prof provided the same figures for the same period for the UK?

  14. Luigi says:

    Norway may well have an oil fund of 300 billion, but we have a national debt of one trillion. Bigger is best!

  15. magnus barelegs says:

    Well thats it then Professor Plum says we are all doomed. Honestly these liebour brit drones are becoming tedious in the extreme.

  16. John Lyons says:

    Anyhoo, Independence isn’t about the past, it’s about the future. Give us 1,425 Billion quid for the next 32 years and we’ll do better than westminster did in the last 32.

  17. KraftyKris says:

    Using their numbers:

    Scottish tax (9.9% of UK) = £56.9 bn
    Scottish Spending (9.3% of UK) = £64.5 bn
    Scottish Ratio (spending/tax) = 64.5/56.9 = 1.134

    UK Tax = 56.9/9.9*100 = £574.7 bn
    UK Spending = 64.5/9.3*100 = £693.6 bn
    UK Ratio (spending/tax) = 693.6/574.7 = 1.207

  18. Oh no, all that oil wealth, the trouble it’s going to get us into………Beyond pathetic from BT\Westminster again !

  19. Dcanmore says:

    If Scotland over-spent by £15billion in the last 32 years then who was doing the spending, who was dishing out the cash in the first place, oh that’s right it was WESTMINSTER, not a fucking phantom independent Scottish government cranking up the printing press overnight at the Royal Mint! So fucking fed up with these so-called expert opinions, all bought and paid for. The conclusion here is that if Scotland achieved independence, say in 1979, then it spent the same as if it were still tied to Westminster with the same priorities as Westminster then we would be in the same position as today. NO FUCKING SHIT SHERLOCK!
    Sorry for the rant, it’s a warm day in London and the office has no aircon. Doesn’t mean to say I won’t punch someone into a coma if they annoy me too much! 

  20. Iain says:

    ‘Norway may well have an oil fund of 300 billion’

    And the rest.

    ‘As of March 31st 2013 its total ‘value is NOK 4.182 trillion($712.7 billion), holding one percent of global equity markets’

  21. scottish_skier says:

    OT but LOL.

    Freedom, takes one and two: another TV special on William Wallace under way

    A second television mini-series about William Wallace and Scotland’s medieval wars of independence has been announced.

    Gladiator director Ridley Scott has teamed up with the Discovery Channel for a new scripted drama based on The Wallace and The Bruce books by late Scottish historian Nigel Tranter…

    Release dates for both productions have yet to be decided, but today’s announcement raises the prospect of two high profile TV shows of the wars of independence being screened around the time Scotland goes to the polls to decide whether it will be independent once more.

  22. Andy-B says:

    The Norwegians, must be looking over the North Sea, and laughing their arse’s off at us, letting Westminster roam free with a Scottish cheque book for all those years, instead of creating an oil fund, for future generations to diversify away from fossil fuels
    Now we’re hearing the excuses it wisnay us that spent it it wiz yurself, and we’ve goat the forged figures tay prove it.

  23. wullie says:

    scottish_skier says
    Remember that braveheart was banned and not allowed to be transmitted before the devolution referendum, they hate us with a vengeance.

  24. Jiggsbro says:

    The basic premise is indisputable: if we’d pissed away all the oil money in the way Westminster did, we’d have none left. I think it’s also worth BT pointing out that if we’d set fire to all the distilleries, we wouldn’t have a whiskey industry and our balance of payments would suffer accordingly. Equally, if we’d spent the last 30 years tarring and feathering any foreigners taking their holidays in Scotland, our tourist industry would be very much diminished (catering only to a small band of hard-core masochists). And who’s to say those things won’t happen under independence? Certainly not the SNP, who are suspiciously quiet on these matters.

  25. Atypical_Scot says:

    Both arguments are entirely correct. Scotland has, over 35 years spent more than it earned and the borrowings have been at a lower interest rate than an iScotland could have afforded. But as pointed out, it’s because the west runs in the red.
    However, If one removes the MoD expenditure on WMD’s and warring in general over 35 years, all of a sudden…,
    That money would have been better spent in so many ways. Germany’s doing good for a reason.

  26. Rob Royston says:

    How can any figures from the London run status quo mean anything as a comparison. They talk of all the money we receive as UK spending.
    Most of this spending is to deal with the human problems that London controlling our money causes in the first place. If we had control of our own wealth then we would use it to generate more income from Scottish based industries and thus diminish the need for social spending.

  27. Doug Daniel says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about potentially having two Wallace programmes in the run up to the referendum. Unionists are bad enough with their “blah blah you’ve just watched Braveheart too many times” without another couple of Wallace shows on.

    On the other hand, it’ll be funny watching their reactions.

  28. Tattie-boggle says:

    O/T anyone watching highlights from T in the park watch out for saltires with Yes logo on them so proud of my 21 year old niece.

  29. Willie Zwigerland says:

    Ah, Norway, the land of milk and honey where you spend the best years of your life in the armed services and have to go to a government warehouse and pay through the nose to buy a single malt.

  30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Ah, Norway, the land of milk and honey where you spend the best years of your life in the armed services”

    I thought you Union boys LOVED all that?

  31. scottish_skier says:

    Average monthly Salaries:
    Norway: £4250 GBP
    UK: £1523 GBP
    UK is really crap by comparison with other European nations.

    What I like even more than the general absence of poverty in Norway is the general absence of filthy rich too.

  32. Braco says:

    Willie Zwigerland,
    Ah Great Britain, where ‘you get referred to a charity warehouse house for some own brand pasta and a tin of cheap frankfurters because you can’t afford to feed yourself or your family’

  33. Currywurst says:

    Why do people think it’s such a great idea for a government to have an “oil fund”?
    Wouldn’t Norwegians be better off with years of lower taxes instead?

  34. Atypical_Scot says:

    Ah Frankfurt…,

  35. Doug Daniel says:

    Ah, the UK, the land of piss and shit where you spend the best years of your life unemployed and have to choose between eating or heating because of the pitiful welfare provision.

  36. Chic McGregor says:

    Right, some context checking here.
    The biggie that is not being brought out here is that due to a massive deficit the UK has run up a huge national debt that currently costs around £45 billion pounds just to pay the interest on every year.  That is money the UK Treasury does not have available to spend in the UK.  If it did not have that rapidly growing burden then that money would find its way into the economy.  If in that instance, Scotland received its share in block grant or other forms we are talking about nearly £4 billion pounds extra net income per year.
    In other words, if Scotland had been independent in the last two or three decades when the vast bulk of that debt was created, there would have been £4 billion pounds more at least, currently in the national balance sheet.  So Scotland, in the past, could have retained existing spending levels and generated a large oil fund (which itself would earn even more income) or chosen to split it between increased spending and oil fund.
    I know once we start talking in billions most folk’s brain kind of switches off a bit, so to put things in context, let us compare to annual Trident running costs with which people are more familiar, at least in terms of what those savings could achieve in terms of more hospitals, police etc.   The interest cost share of UK national debt which Scotland pays, albeit by dint of it being missing off the top line, is roughly the equivalent annual running cost share of 40 Trident projects.
    However, that is the past, an opportunity missed.  But what of the future?
    Well, sadly, we will probably inherit a pro rata share of UK National debt, even though Scotland, with its as near zero as makes little difference, deficit, has not been responsible for.  It is a bit like a divorcing couple where one has been frugal and the other has been profligate but the frugal partner still carries their share of the joint debts accrued during the marriage, however unfair that is.
    We would still have to pay the interest on the debt and the money would still be lost to the countries economy.
    However, at least Scotland would from day 1 be able to maintain its current spending without further increasing that debt.  And as time goes on and the expected supply/demand gap for oil increases, in a decade or so we will be able to start significantly reducing that debt which will automatically make more funds available available to a Scottish treasury in reduced interest rates.
    Meanwhile the rUK will carry on adding to its National debt only at an even faster rate without Scotland.
    Finally, if, as many are predicting, despite the best efforts by the BoE, the Bond market interest rates start to increase and the rUK has to pay more for its borrowing, things can quite quickly turn to disaster down there.  The rUK could easily find that it can no longer service its debt, i.e. become bankrupt, with frightening and terrible consequences for it.
    This would not directly effect an independent Scotland with reduced national debt and a break even, no need to borrow, economy.
    The above is only looking at the benefits we could have had or those we would have, in terms of deficit/debt.  As pointed out there are many more financial benefits independence would bring.

  37. Braco says:

    Fancy a free frankfurter? (tinned of course).

  38. CameronB says:


  39. Atypical_Scot says:

    Does any one else remember skip runs? Bliss.

  40. Doug Daniel says:

    “Wouldn’t Norwegians be better off with years of lower taxes instead?”

    Why don’t you try asking them and report back to us your findings? “Hello Norwegians, I realise you’ve got the best quality of life of any other country in the world, but wouldn’t you much rather pay a bit less tax so you can spend it on stuff? It’s an economics model that has served us so well in the UK over the past 30 years.”

  41. Braco says:

    Chic McGregor,
    magic post!
    You should really post that rebuttal under Prof. Ashcroft’s effort.

  42. Braco says:

    Atypical Scot,
    No but this guy Wurst is giving me the curry runs!

  43. Currywurst says:

    “Chic McGregor,
    magic post!”
    I don’t think so.
    No attempt to address the question why giving money to the government is automatically a good thing.
    No “oil fund” could have meant lower taxes and so higher levels of investment by individuals. Their own problem if they choose to “spend it on stuff”.

  44. Baxter Parp says:

    “No attempt to address the question why giving money to the government is automatically a good thing.
    No “oil fund” could have meant lower taxes and so higher levels of investment by individuals. Their own problem if they choose to “spend it on stuff”.”
    Ah, the right-wing…so naïve.

  45. Braco says:

    are you Tom Harris MP ?
    Only joking !
    (and sorry if you are by the way).

  46. Atypical_Scot says:

    @Doug Daniel;
    My first exposure to the brilliance of Norwegian society was in 1983 when my grandparent’s returned from aforementioned with salt and cracked black pepper crisps as pressies. If you’re familiar with Robert Anston William’s Jumping Jesus phenomenon, then apply it to the flavour. Reckon we’re 20 years behind at least.

  47. Adrian B says:

    No “oil fund” could have meant lower taxes and so higher levels of investment by individuals. Their own problem if they choose to “spend it on stuff”.
    Meanwhile MP’s are to get a £10,000 per year tax rise. Any others in the public sector getting the same?

  48. CameronB says:

    @ Currywurst
    You sound like someone who likes ‘stuff’? An alternative to an economy driven by consumption, could be a nation which uses it’s natural common wealth to develop (i.e. invest to improve existing services and facilities). This could mean that everyone benefits from our national wealth, not just those who are closest to the banks.

  49. Doug Daniel says:

    Currywurst, do you actually understand the point of taxes, or are you one of these right-wingers who seems to think public services and infrastructure would all magically continue to happen even if nobody paid any taxes?

  50. tartanfever says:

    What’s most misleading from the BT mob and Ashcroft is the claim of more ‘public spending’.
    What they mean by public spending is things like wars (not in the interest of Scotland), paying debt interest as Chic pointed out – accumulated from such things as the M25, the Channel Tunnel, Crossrail, the Olympics and just about any other London based wet dream over the last few decades. Of course now we have to look forward to our share of the £40bn on HS2 which does not benefit us.
    At present Westminster is increasing UK debt monthly by at least £10 billion – yet our Scottish Government has a set budget that once it’s spent that’s it. Yet within that we can still just about afford free tuition fees, prescriptions, elderly care and a few other things.
    If you feel those aren’t worthwhile Prof Ashcroft, I suggest most politely that you stuff it in your pipe and smoke it. 
    That extra spending that the BT poster mentions is nothing but debt incurred through the UK government borrowing more money. It does not mean that is extra funding for Scotland, merely more spending in our name on such items I’ve already mentioned, hence why the BT mob call it ‘UK spending’ and not ‘Scotland’s spending.’

  51. Atypical_Scot says:

    Giving Westminster money would be tragic, unless you wanted fairy lights and tinsel on your WMD’s. That’s what surplus means here.
    I think you would have to be reared under a socialist government with generally socialist society to get it totally.

  52. scottish_skier says:

    Re the right-wing ‘no oil fund’ great idea.

    That’s why I don’t vote Tory. Total lack of fiscal prudence. No thought about putting away bonus cash for a rainy day.

    Of course the Norwegians believe the oil belongs to their children and their children’s children etc, not just to those living there right now. Tory thinking in contrast is it belongs all to me right now and I want it all for me. Lower taxes so I can have it for me. Who cares about future generations.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith

  53. Adrian B says:

    One of the problems around this ‘Low Tax, Low Wage’ economy is the amount of quantitive easing that is required. Printing money creates inflation eventually. This is why the American and UK money markets are a bit jumpy. Share prices are very good at the moment, but once the quantitive easing tap gets switched off,(US summer 2014) there will be a void.
    What concerns many is that interest rates will rise, making any debts more expensive, this is the rebalancing that the banking sector will use to retain the value of loans on their balance sheets.
    Those who have borrowed at low interest rates to buy shares will be in for a double whammy as share prices drop and the cost in servicing the loans will rise.
    It will be the consumer who picks up the tab.

  54. CameronB says:

    @ Currywurst
    I don’t know what you think about Ian Bell, but here is an interesting article that might get you thinking about just how badly Scotland has been fleeced.

  55. Atypical_Scot says:

    @Adrian B;
    US prints trillions per year because they hold the reserve currency market. If only Old Labour hadn’t devalued the pound…,

  56. annie says:

    O/T just looked in on BBC Westminster debate on Piper Alpha tragedy looks like about 15 MPs present from both sides of the House they like the tax revenue from our oil but totally disinterested in the safety of the people who provide it – shocking.

  57. scottish_skier says:

    they [UK Gov] like the tax revenue from our oil but totally disinterested in the safety of the people who provide it – shocking.
    That’s possibly because the majority of those out on the rigs are Jocks, complemented by a good lot of Geordies with additional johnny foreigners.

  58. Chic McGregor says:

    Slight correction, the notional annual interest payments re National debt servicing in Scotland equates to approximately the annual running cost of around 20 Trident projects rather than the 40 stated.  My bad.  However the salient point remains the same.
    But I suppose a report compiled in a Wendy House is always going to ignore this factor.  We need to leave Never Never Land to the Lost Boys.

  59. Jiggsbro says:

    If you’re familiar with Robert Anston William’s Jumping Jesus phenomenon
    Robert Anton Wilson, for those who might have Googled him and come up with nothing.

  60. Andy-B says:

    @Tartanfever..good post
    But you forgot to add the Thames Barrier, god only knows how much that cost, in “Black Gold”….meanwhile fatalities pile up year after year on the A9

  61. Atypical_Scot says:

    Oops, it’s been a while.

  62. Jiggsbro says:

    meanwhile fatalities pile up year after year on the A9
    But very few of those are important people. After all, the important people are in London, protected against floods.

  63. Memphisto says:

    Maybe we should run this by the journalists who continually promote the union.  Maybe if they all started supporting independence then they would have higher wages to look forward to after independence…im just sayin’

    Average monthly Salaries:
    Norway: £4250 GBP
    UK: £1523 GBP
    UK is really crap by comparison with other European nations.

  64. Andy-B says:

    You said it…
    but important to whom?…is the question…

  65. Dcanmore says:

    And the award for the something jam something tomorrow mumble award goes to … ALISTAIR DARLING for the second year running, well done Al!

    was this the result of the live (but shite) broadcast today? Poor, very poor!

  66. Luigi says:

    Is that the same Alistair Darling that campaigned strenuously against Scottish devolution in 1979?

  67. Luigi says:

    “More jam tomorrow – maybe, but only if we all agree!”
    BT trying hard to be positive.

  68. Lianachan says:

    Regarding the A9, dualling that would have been a far better use of the money pissed away on a stupid trams project for Edinburgh.
    Yes, I know the SNP were opposed to it and the departing Scottish Government made sure their replacement had that millstone around their neck from the very start.

  69. Luigi says:

    Lianachan, If the Labourtories had spent the oil money wisely during last 30 years, the A9 would have been completely dualled long before the vanity tram project was even considered.

  70. Currywurst says:

    “Tory thinking in contrast is it belongs all to me right now and I want it all for me. Lower taxes so I can have it for me. Who cares about future generations.”
    I care a lot about my future generations. That’s why I’ve invested for them.
    Why can’t we all do the same? What’s the point in letting “government” do it for us (and invariably screw it up in the process)?

  71. MajorBloodnok says:

    Dualling of the whole of the A9 is in the optioneering and early design stages right now (STAG and DMRB activities).  Just FYI.  It’s a real priority for the SNP Government even if it never was for the Scottish Office and previous scottish governments.

  72. ayemachrihanish says:

    when he say “Spending was nearly £15 billion higher in Scotland than the tax receipts including a geographic share of oil revenues.What dose that mean?

    Virtually all the oil is from Scottish waters. So, has he added 100% of the tax receipts against the spending in Scotland?
    Or is 92% of all oil revenue treated as English tax receipt?

    Maybe thats why, including a geographic share, Andy Murray’s Brittish!

  73. CameronB says:

    @ Currywurst
    Common wealth invested directly in to the social fabric of Scotland, or filtered through the hands of money changers?

  74. MajorBloodnok says:

    Currywurst, are you investing in roads, universities, the Scottish NHS and other infrastructure that you rely on, or is someone else doing that for you?

  75. Robert Bryce says:

    Your prediction on bond yields is timid. If borrowing rates rise (they can’t stay this low forever) then it won’t be a disaster for rUK it would be a total economic apocalypse!

    Pension funds would be seized, savings confiscated, public spending slaughtered. And that’s just a starter for ten.

    I still maintain that the recent drive for “automatic enrollment” into workplace pensions is a surefire sign for me that the treasury knows it’s staring into an abyss and needs access to as much of our money as humanly possible.
    All that allied to selling of Royal Mail and the next round of welfare cuts should be ringing alarm bells for us.
    The days of kicking the debt can as far down the road as possible are diminishing rapidly.

    As Chic also quite rightly states, the BoE can’t keep borrowing rates so low for much longer. The game is about to come to an abrupt end and we’re better off out of it.

    It will no doubt have an effect on trade between Scotland & rUK as rUK cuts spending but at least we will still be able to heat our homes and keep a roof over our heads.

  76. scottish_skier says:

    CW: “I care a lot about my future generations”

    Thanks for confirming I was bang on with the ‘me, my, mine’ thing.

    What really gets me about the oil fund thing is how lazy Tories are (in addition to having no financial prudence).
    ‘Don’t put this unexpected cash in an investment fund where everyone contributing to our society will benefit a little from it for generations to come…give it to me for free! I haven’t got off my backside for it, but I think it’s mine and I want it for nothing in the form of an immediate tax cut!’

    Par for the course. Jeez the number of times I’ve heard a right-winger tell me that high taxes are a disincentive for them to work.

    Lazy bastards.

  77. lumilumi says:

    Memphisto @4.54 and scottish-skier earlier
    The map given in the link provided by s_s is misleading as it gives gross (=before income tax) income for Norway and a few other countries and net income (=after income tax) for most (UK included).
    The table below the map lets you play with it, ordering the countries according to different criteria but if you order them according to gross income in USD, Norway comes third behind Switzerland and Denmark, then Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, Iceland, Finland at #9 before Sweden at #10 (I hadn’t realised that, I thought the Swedes were richer than us :-D). UK is at # 17.
    However, it should be remembered that the UK is one of the most unequal western countries when it comes to income distribution. The Nordic countries are among the ones with most equal income distribution: there are comparatively few very very rich people in the Nordic countries.
    The table’s data is also a bit out of date, some figures are from 2010. I haven’t had time to do the maths on gross/net ratios. It’s obvious that Danes pay highish taxes (6628/4037) but they get value for money. (Education, health and social care, small but effective military etc.)
    Net income is not given for Norway,but I know from experience that Norway is an expensive country that only Norwegians with their better income can afford to live in. Even if they pay high taxes.
    Jeez, we Finns think we’re taxed heavily but a few years back on a hillwalking trip to Lapland (northern Finland & northern Norway) we drove the car on fumes back to the safety of a Finnish petrol station, took a gamble. 150 km through remote wilderness from the last Norwegian petrol station to the first Finnish one, where we filled the tank with the much cheaper Finnish petrol. (It must be all that Baltic Sea oil that makes our petrol cheaper :-D)
    On the same trip we were shocked at the price of food at Norwegian supermarkets, e.g. tomatoes were two or three times the price in Finland. A pint would cost 40 krone, about 30 Finnmarks when a pint in Finland would be 15 Finnmarks. However, once, in a supermarket, we spotted a pile of six-packs of “Haakon” beer with an attractive and funny label depicting a Viking king, and the price label stuck on top of the pile didn’t seem too bad. Quite good, actually, so we decided to buy a six-pack. At the checkout we found out it was the price per can! 😀

  78. westie7 says:

    But what BT dont say is how much of that £64.5Billion is spent by Westminster on our “Behalf” and how much we actually spend. Also how much is borrowing and interest

    Take away WMD, Iraq, Afghanistan, Aircraft Carriers, Olympics and whats left

  79. Robert Kerr says:

    I posted earlier that I had been to the Republic of Ireland. this time driving from Larne to Tralee. What a superb motorway system the Irish have built ! And the really sad bit of the trip is the roadworks from Larne, The major port doesn’t even have dual carriageway as yet.
    The road to Dublin has an open border but the toll for the motorway only accepts Euros.
    The contrasts are immense and I know what kind of country I want Scotland to be. It’s there, not far away. Free, sovereighn and able to make its future, mistakes and all.
    The driver of our jaunting car over the Dumloe Gap was convinced we shall win since it is led by the people. Quite inspiring.
    Hail Alba

  80. BillyBigbaws says:

    Currywurst, many individuals in the UK do not have an income level that is high enough to allow them to invest significant amounts of money in their own future or that of their children – at least, not after they have accounted for the costs of living day-to-day. 

    They just don’t have the spare cash available to them, and most of them never will.

    However, this could have been very different in Scotland’s case, as the UK government and it’s civil servants have known for forty years:   

    “Records from 1975, just released, show Government officials admitted that the discovery of oil had transformed the economic case for separation.

    They calculated that Scots’ average income would increase by up to 30 per cent per head and it could be “credibly argued” that repealing the Act of Union was to Scotland’s advantage.”

    So, that’s what we’re moaning about here.  The fact that we all could’ve been 30% richer over the last few decades, but instead were kept in an artificial state of poverty, and deliberately deceived by the UK Government (both Tory and Labour) as to our wealth, and the true nature of our financial relationship with the London Treasury.

    If you were just building up to posting a Cash 4 Gold advert then you can feel free to ignore this post though.

  81. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    O/T sorry but

    How long before Westminster (UKIP in alliance with the Cons), after a NO vote  have the spiffing idea of trying Willie Macrae, in absentia, for dangerous driving?
    OK, it is wild but, today is the day for wild from Westminster.
    Trebles all round

  82. EphemeralDeception says:

    The Gers figures and all figures quoted greatly exaggerate Scottish spending and greatly reduce Scottish Revenues as there is not a real audit on a Scottish wide basis.
    Non visible spending is allocated to Scotland whether or not it is really spent here and it is a substantial amount. However some elements are obviously higher pro rata on a per capita basis due to our lower population density and geographic challenges of service provision. It is really a straw man argument and we should not entertain it.  Niall Alsens Great Deception is the best exposure of the deception and obfuscation and is what I based my Alias on. That Niall managed to counter all the spin of the UK on his own while the SNP as a whole failed to grasp the situation for decades exposes the SNP as lacking competence to analyse UK financials.
    In any case, items such as Scottish Whisky duty credited to English ports of exit is just one example of the double whammies(sp?) of falsely accounting Scottish revenue lower while counting English/UK revenue higher than reality.
    In Summary we are debating points on seriously cooked books. We should not merit it with analysis until Scotland has audited accounts worthy of the name. Unfortunately Calman realised this and refused to consider or propose Fiscal Autonomy because it would have exposed this GREAT DECEPTION to one and all.  Calman even admitted that this would lead to the break up of the UK and was therefore outside his remit to ‘secure’ Scotland as part of the UK. Incredible but sadly true.

  83. Atypical_Scot says:


    I naw awa tae bide awa, and am no awa tae see yi, get yir Trident awa tae f**k, and a willnae hae tae heed yi.

  84. mato21 says:

    BTP @7;03pm
    You’re suggestion is not as wild as you may think
    I only caught the end of the report today but it was about a trial where one of the accused had been dead for 3years yet he was still on trial and although the judge was aware he made no mention of this fact until the sentencing where he is reported to have said “Unfortunately there is no chance of this man being rehabilitated” So it does happen

  85. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Straight out of 1984
    No doubt the estate will be charged for his board and lodgings.

  86. handclapping says:

    This must be a Baldrick cunning ploy to discredit the YES campaign, item 10 – Scotland has a wealth of talent -. That Ashcroft can put out such puerile “analysis” without even realising that what he is analysing is how Westminster has spent Scotland’s oil fund as a Scottish academic together with such abberations as Dr Gordon Brown’s PhD make a mockery of any claim that Scotland has any standing in the world of the intellect. Bang goes another Yes lie and good of Prof Ashcroft to take one for his country.

  87. Morag says:

    Point of information – the Norwegians really are laughing their arses off at us.  At least a couple of their tour guides are.
    I’m sitting in the lounge of a cruise ship on the way back to Leith from Norway.  First day on land, it was “well here we are at the museum, so I’ll go on telling you about our oil fund when you get back on the bus”.  The average incomes, the low levels of inequality, the infrastructure, the social security, it all got trotted out as smug as you please.  And the place really did look very prosperous.
    I didn’t know whether to burst into tears or leap from my seat and strangle the bloody woman.
    Today we stopped off in the Faroes.  They have real devo-max.  No taxes to Copenhagen, they look after themselves.  This seems to work because Denmark itself is a decent sort of place, and lets them do it.  OAP is £12,000 a year.  They think they pay high taxes but they have no property tax and the top tax rate is just 40%.  Another tour guide narrowly escaped with his life….

  88. wullie says:

     Niall Alsens Great Deception is the best exposure of the deception
    Sorry if Im being dumb here where can this be read

  89. Ivan McKee says:

    Rev – thanks for posting this.
    This is dynamite.
    What it says is that Scotland has not been responsible for ANY of the UK National Debt of £1.6 trillion.
    In fact we have been in ACTUAL surplus (not even relative surplus) to the value of £68billion over the past 30 years.
    Relevant extract from the report :
    “I estimate using 19 years of Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland (GERS) that Scotland’s share of UK debt interest amounted to £83 billion at 2001-12 prices. Subtracting this from total estimated Scottish spend of £1,440 billion we get a debt interest adjusted estimate of spend of £1,357 billion. Total estimated tax revenues are £1,425 billion. This means that Scotland was in overall surplus by about £68 billion.”

    He rabbits on about the UK effectively having been Scotland’s banker for the past 30 years , kindly looking after our surplus for us: in that case there should also be interest payments due on the money we lent them. (£68bn of which is the loan capital they still owe us). Assuming the surplus was evenly spread over the 30 years (it wasn’t : most of the good years were in the early 80’s) and even assuming a low interest rate of 2% the interest payments would come to between £20 – £30 bn.

    So when we come to split up the National Debt, not only do we not have to take any of the £1.6 trillion, we should also be able to claim a payment of between £90bn and £100bn back from UK plc as the money they owe us together with the interest on it over the past 30 years.

    Going to be a great negotiation when it comes.

    The last bit of the report is comical as it assume Scotland would be probably the only country in the history of the world that was unable to borrow money on the money markets.

    In fact Scotland’s deficit in 2011-12 was £7.6bn. Of that £4.1bn was our pro-rata population share of UK debt interest payments. If we then earn some interest on the £90 – 100 bn we are due from the UK then we would join Norway as the only Western countries in actual surplus.

    I don’t think the SG are making enough noise about this stuff – we really should be putting it out there that we aren’t due to inherit any of the debt, and show how good Scotland’s public finances look like in that scenario.

    I think Mr Ashton has done us a huge favour.

  90. handclapping says:

    You’ll not have heard about the Immigration controls at Leith then. All Yes supporters are being turned back and not allowed to live in Scotland. They have an internment camp on the Isle of Wight for the destitute though 🙂

  91. Lianachan says:

    Luigi – the undoubted accuracy of your statement in no way detracts from the undoubted accuracy of mine.

  92. Jiggsbro says:

    we really should be putting it out there that we aren’t due to inherit any of the debt
    Meanwhile, in the real world, we’ll inherit some of the debt. It’s probably best not to tell lies to people: we’ll get confused with BT.

  93. Boorach says:

    @ Handclapping
    sorry but you’ve got that wrong. Isle of Wight is R & R centre for project fear, destitute Yessers go to the Isle of Dogs 🙂

  94. Kendomacaroonbar says:

    Nial Alsen’s document cannot be found on Google, although there is a reference to it on the Taxpayers Alliance link, but when I clicked on it it took me straight to a webpage detailing Scotland being a beneficiary of Englands largesse via the barnett formula.    strange eh ?

  95. Ivan McKee says:


    Meanwhile, in the real world, we’ll inherit some of the debt. It’s probably best not to tell lies to people: we’ll get confused with BT
    Not sure I buy that. These numbers clearly show that we didn’t generate any of the debt.
    I don’t understand why using that fact to support an argument that we shouldn’t have to take on any of the debt is telling lies.
    The biggest problem we have in this referendum is that people don’t believe that we are a prosperous country – in spite of all the evidence.
    We don’t win that argument by hiding the evidence that shows how prosperous we are and pretending that we really are ‘too poor’ to go it alone.

  96. Taranaich says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about potentially having two Wallace programmes in the run up to the referendum. Unionists are bad enough with their “blah blah you’ve just watched Braveheart too many times” without another couple of Wallace shows on.
    It’s insane that we actually have to feel uneasy about a program which depicts one of the most important periods of our nation’s thousand-year-plus history because a small section of our own people are self-loathing, obsequious toadies. Imagine Ridley Scott was making a film about, say, Sitting Bull, and some Native Americans got angry, claiming it fuelled “anti-European sentiment” and eager to point out how it’s a Complete And Utter Work Of Fiction With No Basis In Reality Whatsoever, while sidling up to the Federal administration. Or imagine Greeks talking about a film based on Themistocles’ repelling the Persian invasion as being “anti-Eastern.” It’s preposterous.
    On the other hand, maybe these new films will show the people of England as – gasp! – human beings, especially some of the most contentious figures like the two Edwards. I’d totally love for Giles de Argentan and Marmaduke de Thweng to be included, to show the English had some cool people on their side too (not to mention pointing out Scots selling out to would-be conquerors was a problem during the Middle Ages as well as today.)

  97. AlexMcI says:

    I just don’t get all the I’m all right jack stuff from people. I’m a joiner so lets just say times are a bit hard, no pay rise since 2008, but the boys I work with we’re still willing to go on a three day week , so that no one got paid off. It hurt us all , some more than others, but to a man everyone stepped up and took the boot in the balls. How far do we take the I’m all right thing, do I say, I am not teaching any apprentices because it slows me down and I get nothing for it. Well I couldn’t , loads of tradesmen done it for me so I reciprocate that to the best off my ability. It’s a form of education I give these boys, it will help their families in the future, and if I leave a wee mark on these boys life’s that’s reward enough for me. 
    then you get the ones going on about addicts getting this and that, we should give them nothing it’s their own fault. Well I’m not religious but think that the saying, there goes you but for the grace of god is right on the money, as someone who has been touched by this I know it could happen to anyone. And I could not turn around and say fuck you it’s your own fault , deal with it. Where I grew up some folk were always going to get a shit life. They would be missing school to go housebreaking with their dads, what chance did these people have. 
    How much fucking dough would I need to have to be able to insure myself against all the things that life can throw at you. Some people are just right selfish bastards and can’t see that any of life’s problems could destroy their, or their families lifes. But at this moment in time everything’s cool so let’s just ignore anyone who wasn’t as lucky. It’s really sickening.

  98. ianbrotherhood says:

    Well said that man.
    Accusations of ‘historical revisionism’ will inevitably emerge, with all the concomitant slurs and soap-boxing.
    ‘History’ doesn’t exist in a vacuum, nor is it confirmed by God, State, or anyone else – it’s a vast mess of facts and myths, all up for constant rearrangement and argument.
    There isn’t a single human being on this planet who could reasonably be expected to set-down a reliable, anywhere-near comprehensive history of their own family.
    Indeed, there are many individuals who would struggle to produce a truly objective account of what’s happened to themselves. (Hands up to that one…)

  99. Bill C says:

    o/t Judy Murray to speak about Scottish independence on Newsnight now.

  100. Braco says:

    great, great post. Thanks

  101. ianbrotherhood says:

    I look forward to seeing Currywurst’s response to that.

  102. Jamie Arriere says:

    I think it’s pretty futile even attempting to argue we did not generate any of the debt, and that won’t hold much water when it comes to negotiating the independence settlement. Also, there was a national debt before 1979. We should concentrate on how we’ll spend budgets in the future rather than trying to rewrite the budgets of the last thirty years.
    However, we can see how things will improve when we do, though we’ll still have to juggle some priorities and set up our institutions before we can save enough to put into an oil fund.
    O/T  I noticed on the BBC news the item about the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, and that the UK sent 100,000 troops there. After the cuts the Coalition are planning, I think the total armed forces are being reduced to about 80,000 – and they still want to go marching about on the world stage like big shots!

  103. Bill C says:

    AlexMcl – Amen to that.

  104. Atypical_Scot says:

    That seems to have been the way of it for millenia for some.

  105. Jiggsbro says:

    I don’t understand why using that fact to support an argument that we shouldn’t have to take on any of the debt is telling lies.
    Because we will inherit some of the debt, because neither George Osborne nor John Swinney will share your interpretation of the accounts.

  106. AlexMcI says:

    thanks guys, it’s just a bit infuriating reading some folks comments. They don’t seem to be able to step back and see the bigger picture. As I said about wages, we have just been told that we aint getting any rise this year either, it’s hard but I will put up with it again next year as long as I think we’ll maybe Jim or Colin get an other six months work.

  107. ianbrotherhood says:

    Apologies if I’m being a bit nosy here, but are Jim and Colin aware of what you’re doing, and why?

  108. Bill C says:

    I had heard that Judy Murray was a unionist, but not according to that interview. She said the family were patriotic Scots but tennis was a British sport and Andy represented GB in competitions. Like Andy she was concerned about the economics and was looking for more information. My instinct – the Murrays will vote YES.

  109. AlexMcI says:

    Ian we all know what’s happening, and to be honest mate the polls on independence are talking shit, at the working mans level anyway. It’s costing me money, but I’m printing out copies of McCrone , and showing them parlimentary interests of MPs stff like that. Only had one spark, who was a tory who said owe need trident coz of North Korea and that. An educated man who lets face it is a horses knob, nothing’s changing his mind. We were all having a discussion the other day and two of the guys were like I don’t like Salmond I’m no voting for it. Well I calmly said to them. Well his policies must be hurting you then, which ones do you not agree with. Education, free prescriptions, no toll charges, freexec council tax. Well I tell you out off 16 men, you could hear a pin drop, I just flounced off with a great big fuckin smile on my chops as the silence continued, a nd you could physically see the cogs turning. I have turned 3 staunch labour guys from Torrance / campsie. This is winnable without a doubt .  

  110. Jamie Arriere says:

    Judy Murray on Newsnight was the height of discretion – not bothered in the slightest about Eck’s saltire, stated the obvious about Andy only being able to play for GB as there is not a Scottish tennis team, and has not made up her mind on Indy but needs a little more reassurance on the economics. My impression is that she doesn’t need much persuasion.

  111. ianbrotherhood says:

    Check out oor ain Sneekyboy in the comments – relentlessly awesome:

  112. pmcrek says:

    Sorry for the quick off topic but Sneekyboy you totally own the parallel universe Guardian Trident article that suddenly appeared mate 10/10

  113. ianbrotherhood says:

    On the purely selfish level? I wish you were with us in the SSP!
    But you seem to be doing very well on your tod – more power to you mister.

  114. Jiggsbro says:

    My instinct – the Murrays will vote YES.
    I don’t care which way they vote. Their vote’s worth no more than anyone else’s and I doubt they’ll give a firm commitment either way. Too risky.

  115. Bill C says:

    Jamie Arriere -Agreed

  116. AlexMcI says:

    @ Ian brotherhood , I never even voted till 2011, I made a point of researching it all since about November 2010, and anyone with half a brain couldn’t disagree with the independence argument. At the moment I’m an SNP member but it is only because I see it as the only vehicle to independence. After that I will take stock and see what’s happening. I couldn’t vote green because their transport policy is ridiculous. I Patrick Harvie can tell me how to get quarter of a ton off tools to a job on a pushbike, that’s fair and well. But he can’t so thats out the window. I like the idea of the SSP and i am open to information, would like to do something for yes Scotland but twenty years on a building site haveeft me with a potty mouth and border Lin aggression . But would love to have a chat at independence rally in September mate.

  117. Currywurst says:

    “Niall Alsens Great Deception is the best exposure of the deception”
    No it isn’t, because Aslen failed to distinguish between “oil tax revenue” and “oil&gas tax revenue”.
    Apparently minor, but blowing a £2bn hole in his conclusions.
    Never mind, eh?

  118. AlexMcI says:

    Sorry about the spelling guys but my missus has been at an online Anne summers party lol

  119. Bill C says:

    AlexMcl – No excuse, stay on message. Wee smiley thing.
    P.S. Will your wife take my wife to the next one? There’s a pint in it for you in Edinburgh. LoL.

  120. AlexMcI says:

    Bill c I would be honoured, my missus is not in the slightest political, but she was there last year and we pushed the wee one all the way in the buggy, we even took Oscar the staffy pup with us. Again I would love to put a face to any poster on this site, who lets face it, are the people who are moulding my political leanings. Plus she gets a discount from her friend that sells the Anne summers stuff, so it should work out good for us all .

  121. ianbrotherhood says:

    You’re in danger of becoming A Wanted Man, but the SSP these days are laid-back, stoic – we don’t go hectoring folk, just let them come to us in their own good time.
    If you’re at the Sept rally, all fair and well – I’ll be there with the weans – and kismet being what it is? Our paths will cross.
    In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue to post inspiring comments, preferably of a sort that Currywurst chooses to ignore.

  122. Robert Bryce says:

    Similar scenario in my work the tail end of last year.

    Folk soon changed their view once they grasped the basics of the McCrone report and the opportunity to things differently. None of the lads in my work will be swayed now and have all signed the declaration.

    Like you I also believe the polls are a pile of shite. Based on experience between work, friends & family I’m looking at a Yes vote not just being achievable but inevitable.

    Even my old man who was a steelworker and staunch Labour union man is a stick on yes vote. He worked it out for himself BTW!

  123. Jeannie says:

    Totally agree.  Sneekyboy’s comments were brilliant. 
    You know, if the UK government were serious about annexing a suitable part of Scotland, they could do worse than consider Larkhall. (Apologies to all Larkhall independistas)

  124. Bill C says:

    @AlexMcl – Brilliant, my missus thinks she’s going shopping. I was ony kiddin about the Ann Summers stuff, knockin on a bit for all that, probably kill me! Still we’ll have a beer.

  125. AlexMcI says:

    Ian I’ve done the wanted man stuff in a different life, but at that time in my life being a wanted man meant 12 month, I have beaten a 8 year heroin addiction and been blessed by a support network that got me through the other side. I can be magnanimous and thank the Labour Party for the support and funding that saw me through those dark times for me and my extended family . If I had been unlucky enough to have had a conservative government in power I would be dead. I’m no where near a fool and ended up with an HND communications with media qualification while in recovery. i just cannot see how johann can claim to be an MSP for Pollock and be spouting her something for nothing pish, I reckon I know her constituents better than her and would really like to have a way off talking to you off this site, because I think your message is nearer what I feel than SNP. Again would love to talk in September.

  126. Bill C says:

    @Jiggsbro – Agreed, but every single YES vote counts and if the YES vote of one celebrity creates another YES vote, that to my mind is welcome.

  127. AlexMcI says:

    And I have said it before and I will repeat It again, no one in the real world gives a fuck about what professor Brian Ashcroft says, no one in my world listens to a word Alistair darling says. No one in my work even knows who Dennis mcshane is. Tell them about food bills, tell them that their leckie bills will be cheaper, tell them that they will a save a fiver on diesel bills tell them about better wages, cause they couldn’t give two fucks about NATO and a written constitution. Wake up and spell it out to the working class and its game set and match

  128. faltdubh says:

    Some fantastic reads in here,  all the best to you all 🙂
    We can certainly win this beast of a vote. It’ll no be easy with the Scaring Scotland and their ‘WARNING’ headlines every 3rd day at 6.30, or the Hootsman running 1 pro-indy opinion piece to every 10, but more undecided people I speak to seem to be coming over to Yes. Some are unreachable and just have to accept that they will not vote Yes, and probably never would.
    Only trouble I’m finding is the 16-21 year olds! Maybe it’s jut a bad experience with the few that I’ve met, but they are a hard nut to crack and most of them seem very pro-British/Union, which is very surprising considering their grew up surrounded by a Scots parli making legislation and governing certain aspects of our life.
    Judy Murray is like the perfect replica of a voter we can persuade. She sounded from the interview wanting to vote Yes, but re-assured about economics of it all. I’d say out of the undecided’s I met over 80% of all have a similar view – plenty of time before Sept to get wee fancy PDFs, snipets, bits of McCrone and so on to print out. Agree that the Murrays’ are just 1-2 votes (if they both come out in support), but our life today is geared out celebrity and it would be some great advertising for Yes if both did admit they were favoring a Yes vote, as Andy could well be the most popular person in Scotland if the not the UK alone at this present time.
    Lots of hard work ahead – and you are all doing great work. Plenty of time too. The polls – if they are still like that come summer next year , well I’ll be concerned. The last one done by Panelbase (the ones who strangely were the closest to the SNP win in 2011) have Yes/No on 37/43 and that was in May..
    Slow and steady..

  129. Bill C says:

    @AlexMcl – So true.
    @faltdubh – Totally agree.

  130. CameronB says:

    @ AlexMcI
    In case you haven’t taken a look, you can chat about what you want here Off-topic (Quarantine).

  131. Robert Bryce says:

    AlexMcI says:

    And I have said it before and I will repeat It again, no one in the real world gives a fuck about what professor Brian Ashcroft says, no one in my world listens to a word Alistair darling says. No one in my work even knows who Dennis mcshane is. Tell them about food bills, tell them that their leckie bills will be cheaper, tell them that they will a save a fiver on diesel bills tell them about better wages, cause they couldn’t give two fucks about NATO and a written constitution. Wake up and spell it out to the working class and its game set and match
    Bang on the money mate but the Yes campaign needs to cater for all sections of society. The constitution & NATO matters to some folk.

    My old man for instance couldn’t give a shit about a written constitution. He’s more bothered about the price of a pint and the betting tax at the bookies. On the other hand, one of my workmates is a vehement supporter of a written constitution and the abolishment of the royals.
    Horses for courses is the way forward.

  132. AlexMcI says:

    @ Cameron yes mate I have seen the quarintine thread, but you must agree that my posts are off topic here but I would think they have a better chance of being picked up by the ( scum/ working man than they do in quarintine. Everyone can argue off topic on those posts, but really mate who are you reaching on there, who is you going to stumble upon a debate about percentages for a yes vote on ipsos mori voting intentions. No one gives a fuck except us political anoraks. Win the working mans head , you will canter the referendum . Ignore them and get caught up in BT, s bargument, well I’m fucking immigrating.

  133. Doug Daniel says:

    In regards to the Murrays – I’m sure someone in their family is an SNP activist/member or has been in the past. I remember reading that somewhere a while back, which is why I’ve always been fairly convinced Andy was indy-inclined.
    And in regards to CurryWurst’s “What’s the point in letting “government” do it for us (and invariably screw it up in the process)?”, I do enjoy it when people shouting for lower taxes come up with this one. It shows a certain level of arrogance, the assumption that individuals know how to do things better than governments. It’s the same sort of blasé attitude that just assumes the private sector will *always* run things better than the public sector, despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary, and that “the markets” will always ensure things are run efficiently and cost-effectively.
    I wonder if I’ll still be alive when the west finally realises “oops, the critics of unrestricted free market capitalism were right after all…”?

  134. Jiggsbro says:

    Agreed, but every single YES vote counts and if the YES vote of one celebrity creates another YES vote, that to my mind is welcome.
    But, as I said, they’re unlikely to reveal their voting intentions, to avoid antagonising a large percentage of his fans. They may still vote No, of course, and then no doubt you’d prefer them to keep quiet,  In either event, if we’re relying on people voting Yes because some celebrity is going to, then we’ve lost the argument. The opinions of celebs make good stories for the media, but they’re nothing more than that. They won’t be in anyone’s mind in the polling booth.

  135. AlexMcI says:

    Robert Bruce, your Faither is my faither. Reach out to the masses folk and this will be a canter,  we can debate about NATO , constitutions and Jim murphys missile fetish is in an other life. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. Goodnight people and thanks for listening .

  136. CameronB says:

    @ AlexMcI
    I hope you didn’t think I was telling you to naff off? I was trying to suggest somewhere you could discuss the SSP, for example.
    I agree with you that it looks like not enough is being done to explain independence in terms of things that affect our daily lives, and I hope I do not come across as complacent. The SG hasn’t published its White Paper outlining the substantive case for independence yet. I reckon this will be the only chance we will have in most of our lifetimes, so I want them to do a proper job of it. I guess we’ll all have to hold our nerve until then. Not that I am suggesting that we should just twiddle our thumbs until then. Although I have been a long-time supporter of independence, politics in general is a comparatively new thing for me. I look at this site as somewhere to experience an apprenticeship of sorts and share information about just how rubbish Britain is. Knowledge is power.
    One thing I would say though is, civil liberties allow us all to mump about the price of bread and take action to change our circumstances. It’s a bit harder to do these things without these liberties. That’s what makes a written constitution so important, IMO. Hope you pop in again.

    P.S. I have been know to wander off topic occasionally. 🙂

  137. Shinty says:

    Re Niall Aslen – The Great Obfuscation
    Whether true or not I am unsure, but it is said that he was raided (under Brown’s instruction) by HMRC, after producing the report.

  138. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Jiggsbro
    That’s the point : its not my interpretation of the accounts, its the interpretation of Brain Ashcroft (Emeritus Professor in Economics and Editor of Economic Commentary, Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde) and arch-Unionist.
    He’s done all the analysis, and he’s come to the conclusion that the UK still owes Scotland (at least) £68bn.
    He then tries to spin it like that’s a bad thing, and we let him away with it.
    Will we end up with some debt as part of the negotiations – probably yes.
    Is this a powerful set of data that allows us to argue for a far lower share of the debt : Yes.
    Is using Brian Ashcroft analysis and conclusions (that we didn’t generate any of the debt) to generate some publicity  going to do us any harm in the credibility stakes : I cant see how that works. You don’t need to say anything other than publicise his analysis and ask BT to disprove it.

  139. Marker Post says:

    Amazing wee sentence in the Guardian report about yesterday’s Faslane debacle:
    “The group was assured that the No 10 unit was equally appalled that the private thinking of the MoD on such a sensitive matter had entered the public domain”.
    So they are thinking about it. Was amused at all the trolls on the Scotsman yesterday trying to claim this was a SNP setup.

  140. Tony Little says:

    “The group was assured that the No 10 unit was equally appalled that [it] … had entered the public domain”.
    They are appalled that this was allowed to be discussed, NOT that it was a bad idea.  MoD couldn’t give a toss about Scotland or the views of either the Scottish government or the Scottish people.   At the end of the day they [Westminster / MoD etc.] will try do do whatever they can if they think they can get away with it, even if it breaks all common sense or international precedence   After all, they were happy to ignore the UN over Iraq, and they DID get away with it.
    Whatever the vote, Scotland should be very afraid.

  141. EphemeralDeception says:

    @Shinty – It appears to be true or in Aslens own words:
    “This article was written over 7 months and finalised in a hurry to meet the deadline of a month before the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections therefore there are some typo errors. As for grammar it should be noted that English is NOT my first language. Gaidhlig (Gaelic) is my mother tongue and I was forced to learn English at School when I was 4 years old at a time when the British Government were following the policy of eradicating Gaelic and Welsh. (It failed miserably as an attempt at cultural genocide.) Even though I speak English quite well I still find it to be a crude language which is difficult to learn and whose rules of Grammar fall far short of what is desired.

    Also it should be noted that I am an Accountant in public practice and I put my personal reputation on the line when I published this paper. The response from the Labour party was to threaten newspaper editors and their owners with sanctions such as withdrawal of advertising revenues, if they printed or commented on my paper. Then I was investigated by the treasury who were convinced I had access to secret papers and two investigators turned my office over for three days until I was able to prove to them that all the information came from tthe Governments own sources, Companies House, Financial papers published by the Scottish financial institutions. End of investigation. The investigation was authorised by the “First Secretary of the Treasury” Aka one Gordon Brown Chancellor et al.”
    As for the accuracy of Nialls works, there are some areas that can be challenged but is / was a much better basis than Gers was (  As for Oil and gas.  If anything he underestimates the value.
    As the latest reports on clearly shows, Scottish Oil generates over 400000 direct and indirect employment and >50% is in England. 90000 approx in Greater London and South East. The industry provides 25% of all UK business tax receipts.  Most head offices and related insurance and banking are in London/SE credited to England and benefiting the South East. 
    ALL this would change with independence. A large number of central offices functions would move to Scotland so have to open offices in Scotland and Close in London.  What %age I have no idea but the numbers are in thousands.

  142. Kenny Campbell says:

    I am amazed at this casual acceptance by almost everyone that we should somehow automatically assume the debt of the UK. How will that be done, the Gilts/Bonds sold by the treasury cannot be split, the holders contract is with the UK government.
    Depending on whether we are a successor state or not will legally determine what needs to be done. If as the Unionists claim we carry forward or inherit none of the treaties afforded to the UK then we need take none of the debt obligations. They cannot have it both ways.
    The UK treasury itself has been buying its own debt via the BOE and ‘creating money’ continuously since the start of the financial crisis. That debt really can be written off tomorrow, since its like writing cheques to yourself when you can edit your bank account balance.
    SNP are being too nice

  143. Shinty says:

    SNP are being too nice.
    I am not a member, but I reckon the gloves will be coming off towards the end of the year.

  144. Atypical_Scot says:

    G. Osborne is in charge of keeping the union together in London?
    Tis the season to be silly tra-la-lala-la-lala-la-la.
    Steal their oil and invade their country tra-la-lala-lala-la-la-la-la…,

  145. Jiggsbro says:

    That’s the point : its not my interpretation of the accounts, its the interpretation of Brian Ashcroft
    No, it’s your interpretation. If it was Ashcroft’s, you could have just quoted him rather than inventing things. He did not say that Scotland has not been responsible for any of the UK national debt. He hasn’t come to the conclusion that the UK still owes Scotland at least £68bn. He identified a surplus in Scotland over the last 30 years. That’s all. Everything that you conclude from that single fact is your interpretation.

  146. Les Wilson says:

    Independence will bring a new reality to rUK, all the things that make them feel important in the world will be in jeopardy. The world will take heed that they are now dealing with  a reduced state, perhaps not so worthy in their eyes as they have been.
    This is a huge problem for rUK to deal with on many grounds, the more they realize just how well Scotland has served the Union in so many ways, Scotland has always been the small neighbor it can and certainly did, use for their own purposes.
    They will have to accept that their old ways are gone,  and that will be difficult for them to handle and accept. No surprises then that now, that they finally realize Scotland’s  worth to  them and their causes that they are coming at us with all they can to stop Independence. This very fact should tell Scots all we need to know about our unequal partnership. For it is not for the love of Scotland that  they  scramble to try and stop a YES vote. 
    No indeed, it is self preservation. 

  147. Craig M says:

    Anticipating the First Minister’s speech at Nigg (incidently, if you’re in a mind to visit this part of Scotland, I recommmend Shandwick just round the cliffs. Great beach), and the hints of gloves coming off soon, I think that Darling and co should be attacked more strongly. It surely must be easy to portray his Project Fear offerings as nothing but outright lies designed to keep in place the narrow self interests of a very small but powerful group of people. Darling makes a great living out of the Union, as do all the Labour MPs, and associates. This should be targeted. Project Fear keeps Labour in London expenses.

  148. Atypical_Scot says:

    @Les Wilson;
    Independence will bring a new reality to rUK

  149. wullie says:

    Hi Shinty
    Thanks for that link

  150. ianbrotherhood says:

    I really hope you’ll keep posting. I’m constantly trying to get folk to come here and will be sending them copies of your comments – if they read your posts I’m sure they’d recognise their own voice and feel more encouraged to take part.
    Your approach is refreshing, and reinforces what Jiggsbro and others have been saying, albeit in different ways – give people the straight facts and let them work it out for themselves. 
    Over the piece, ‘McCrone’ seems to be the single most effective story when it comes to waking people up to how much they’ve been screwed in the past decades. The recent ‘Road to Referendum’ series managed to avoid mentioning it, and that’s a great example of MSM complicity in maintaining/protecting the BT/unionist narrative.
    I also agree with you that the polls are well-nigh meaningless when it comes to assessing the mood of the ‘ordinary’ citizen. 
    Powerful, positive stuff mister – thanks again.

  151. Atypical_Scot says:

    FM on youtube Scot gov channel 11am today.

  152. Adrian B says:

    @ AlexMcl,
    Liking you sentiments, point of view and the way that you put it across. Its a welcome voice in the overall debate and very much valued. More please.

  153. Macart says:

    Here we go folks.

    Looks like the FM is starting the ball rolling on the release of the white paper. A series of speeches outlining the case for independence during the summer. Even the Beebs puff looks eerily free of the usual caustic comment.

  154. mato21 says:

    Hi Macart I’ve missed your wee smiley faces on your posts of late Wrote this for you in case you’re feeling down

    A hiv a wee cairt  it’s like an auld freen
    A shove it aroon an a painted it green
    The wheel is weel worn the tyre’s got nae tread
     At wan time a thocht  a micht  ca’ it Fred
    Noo a use ma wee cairt tae move things aroon
    An next week a’ll be flitting tae the smert end o toon 
    When ma neibours come ca’in I ken fae the start
    A’ll hae talk posh so a’ll ca’ it Macart

  155. themadmurph says:

    FM youtube link

  156. Adrian B says:

    @ themadmurph,
    Thanks for finding and providing that link.

  157. Slaughterhouse says:

    Ashcroft also makes the mistake that a Scottish Gov would have managed the Scottish economy in the same idiotic way it has been whilst we’ve been part of the UK.

  158. Edward Barbour says:

    A very impressive speech from the FM on a HD live stream from Nigg

  159. ianbrotherhood says:

    Good stuff via that link –
    At 1.24 AS responds to a question about fair media coverage, scaremongering etc and says ‘…I think the mobile phones thing was a turning point…’
    Interesting insights – seemed to go down well.

  160. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Jiggsbro
    I am genuinely perplexed by your comment.

    I try to be thorough in my posts and base what I say on the evidence, not on conjecture. I do want to understand where you are coming from it in case I have missed something.

    The relevant quote is :

    “I estimate that Scotland’s share of UK debt interest amounted to £83 billion at 2001-12 prices. Subtracting this from total estimated Scottish spend of £1,440 billion we get a debt interest adjusted estimate of spend of £1,357 billion. This means that Scotland was in overall surplus by about £68 billion“.

    The definition of the National Debt is the cumulation of all the annual deficits (or surpluses) over time.

    To say that Scotland was in Surplus over this period means, by definition, that it wasn’t in Debt. and given that the only place Scotland is allowed to borrow from is the UK treasury then by definition we are in Surplus in our ‘account’ with the UK Treasury.

    In other words our share of the UK National Debt over that period is a negative number (ie they owe us money).

    For sure BA doesn’t say explicitly that Scotland isn’t responsible for a share of the national Debt, but that’s what the words he uses mean.

    An analogy : If I say that your team scored 3 goals in a game and the other team scored 1 goal in the same game, then while I didn’t explicitly state it its fair to deduce that your team won 3-1. The logical leap I am making here is no more dramatic than that.

    GERS takes account of all of Scotland’s expenditure (I’m sad enough to have read all 80 pages and the accompanying appendices cover to cover so I know). So there is nothing missing from the good Profs analysis of our expenditure.

    I accept that there is an issue about the allocation of the 1979 National Debt (I mentioned this in my earlier post but haven’t yet got solid data on it). From what I have seen even at 2011 equivalent value it is less than a third of the current National Debt. So the £68bn more than covers that.

    Interestingly the Rev has come back with estimated numbers of £150 – £200bn for the surplus, way in excess of my conservative £90- £100bn.

  161. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    A general request: can people please take a wee bit more care with the formatting of their comments?

    If someone’s scrolling down the page, following the conversation, then suddenly encounters a huge column without any paragraph breaks in it (or conversely a comment where every sentence is separated with three lines of spaces and another ten at the end for good measure), or a completely incomprehensible muddle of italics and non-italics where you can’t see what’s quote and what’s response, they switch off.

    If they switch off at that comment, the chances are you’ve lost them for the whole thread, and anything below the mess goes unread by anyone, which can be a big loss.

    And that’s quite aside from the unfortunate human reality that if you post the most insightful, perceptive, intelligent, reasoned and radical thought anyone ever had, but litter it with spelling mistakes and make it a visual chore to read, nobody will pay any attention. With most forms of communication, the efficacy is about 20% in what you say and 80% in how you say it.

    I tidy things up whenever I can to try to keep the discussion readable, but some things are such a state that it takes up a ridiculous amount of time, and unimaginably so if I’m away from the PC and trying to do it on an iPhone. Some folks have dyslexia or whatever and can’t help their spelling, and that’s fine, but as far as I know there’s no condition that makes the sufferer triple-space or italicise everything.

    Also, I know that mobile devices can sometimes be a pain in terms of things not looking how they should, but if you’ve used a particular thing to comment once you know what it does, so try to compensate.

    Sorry to be a grammar Nazi, but it DOES matter. I do what I can, but if you can help me out a bit it’d be much appreciated. Cheers.

    (Ideal practice: if you’re quoting someone, put the stuff they said in italics and your reply in normal text. That’s it.)

  162. Jiggsbro says:

    There are several problems with your reasoning:
    It’s not football and argument by analogy only illustrates an argument rather than evidencing it. We don’t have an account with the UK Treasury. Even if we did, that wouldn’t mean our share of the national debt didn’t exist. Even if it didn’t, the figures only refer to a 32 year period of the 300+ year old union during which debt was run up. And even if it was negative over the whole period, it’s still only one interpretation of the figures, which will not be shared by anyone else of any importance.
    We will inherit some of the national debt. We have benefited from some of the things that were paid for by the national debt. How much we inherit will no doubt be part of the negotiations. But picking an arbitrary period and using arbitrary figures to show a surplus in that period, so writing off any debt at all, simply isn’t going to impress anyone. Which is why it would be a bad idea to use your claim to persuade people to vote Yes: even if the claim were sound, and it isn’t, the pragmatic reality will be very different.

  163. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “We will inherit some of the national debt. We have benefited from some of the things that were paid for by the national debt. How much we inherit will no doubt be part of the negotiations. But picking an arbitrary period and using arbitrary figures to show a surplus in that period, so writing off any debt at all, simply isn’t going to impress anyone.”

    I agree that we’ll very likely take on a share of the debt. But your reasoning here is rubbish. It assumes negotiations will be conducted on the basis of fairness, justice and that sort of cobblers. They’ll be conducted on the basis of who has the stronger hand, and as we saw from this week’s desperate kite-flying, that’s something that worries the UK government very much indeed.

    Similarly, nobody will be judging anything on the basis of “But you got more money in 1798!” Quite apart from anything else, I very much doubt we have GERS figures going back that long.

  164. Juteman says:

    And the ‘You’  that did well in 1798 probably has a descendant in the HoLs.
    I doubt he is an ex welder from a closed shipyard.

  165. Chic McGregor says:

    “Similarly, nobody will be judging anything on the basis of “But you got more money in 1798!” Quite apart from anything else, I very much doubt we have GERS figures going back that long.”

    I recall a year or three back seeing the national balance sheet for the UK circa 1850.  From memory, Scotland contributed £8 million and something to the Treasury but only got £2 million and something back.  Ireland and Wales were both in deficit to the UK Treasury.
    Sorry for the vagueness, but pretty sure the link was posted by someone in a comment on Bella.  Perhaps Kevin or someone else there has it to hand.?

    In 1707, the myth is that Scotland was massively in debt and England came to its resue.  The truth is that, due to continual warring, England had a huge National debt of around £30 million, whereas Scotland (about one fifth the population of England at that time) had virtually no National debt (a few hundred thousand pounds at most).  Only about one third of the compensation England agreed to pay Scotland for its taxpayers taking on a share of England’s debt was ever paid and even then, instead of the promised gold, most of it was in Goverment bonds of dubious value.

    What would the missing compensation amount to in today’s money after 300 years of compounded interest?

  166. Shinty says:

    Sorry – I’m a bit vague here, but wasn’t there something in the 1707 Treaty to bind Scotland into taking a share of England’s debt – my apologies if I am wrong – certainly don’t want to be accused of BT tactics.

  167. Jiggsbro says:

    But your reasoning here is rubbish. It assumes negotiations will be conducted on the basis of fairness, justice and that sort of cobblers.
    It really doesn’t. I didn’t make any assumptions about the negotiations or their basis. I didn’t even give any reasoning for what I considered statements of simple, pragmatic fact. I’m afraid it’s your assumptions about my reasoning that are cobblers.

  168. Macart says:

    Mato, you’re a diamond. 😀
    Not had ma troubles to seek recently and your scribing is always a lift.

  169. Scot_in_Norway says:

    @those wondering about life in Norway…
    Apart from their large wealth fund the ‘vikings’ get even richer by treating the majority of foreigners like 2nd class citizens.  For example, I pay about 40% tax and social security combined and can’t even get child benefit, the correct tax code or paternity benefit.  Their institutions break their own laws and their EU commitments and regularly discriminate at every level of government and society.  Truly a shameful society with no care for us Scots, other than when they can get their hands on our whiskey!  I’ve seen them treat economic immigrants from further afield far worse too.  So, Norway is not a country for Scots to model ourselves on.  We are a much fairer and tolerant society and should in my view focus on wholesale investment in alternative energies and strengthening our tourism and conservation industries.  Our history, landscape and ‘pure class’ at making friends wherever we go are the gifts we need to give our kids.  The UK and the world will benefit dramatically by our independence as it will cause UK to reign in it’s foreign policy to something more in tune with our European neighbours.

  170. Shinty says:

    Sorry about that Chic – your post already confirmed mine.

  171. Will Podmore says:

    So the good professor shows, “over the 32 year period the total value of tax receipts is £1,425 billion while the total value of public spending in and for Scotland is £1,440 billion.”
    Then Stuart repeats “the fact that Scotland contributes a larger share of tax revenues than it gets back in spending”, as if the professor hadn’t just shown the opposite!
    What might have happened 32 years ago is irrelevant to what could now be done. Oil and gas production have peaked – and Thatcher threw it away, after the SNP had put her in Downing Street – thanks, guys. Oil and gas revenues are half what they were.

  172. Brotyboy says:

    You just don’t get it, do you?

    I suppose that’s the problem with trolling several threads when your speed reading skills just aren’t up to it.

    Must try harder.

  173. tartanfever says:

    Dear oh dear, does this guy think that by going through all the old posts and leaving the last message he will somehow ‘de-bunk the nationalists myth’, or whatever A.Darling esq has told him to do.

    The secret to your own deception is in your line :

    ‘while the total value of public spending in and for Scotland’

    That ‘for’ Scotland includes all those lovely London capital spends that have done so much for us here in Scotland – the M25, Channel Tunnel, Crossrail, the Olympics, Heathrow T5 and coming soon HS2 – London to Birmingham.

    That ‘for’ also includes a massive illegal foreign war, which not only cost £billions but the death of nearly a million innocent Iraqi civilians.

    To describe them as to the direct benefit of Scotland is nothing but a sham.

  174. Will Podmore says:

    Brotyboy merely echoes himself.
    tartanfever sneers that I have been told what to do by A. Darling esq. Why do you assume that your opponents are incapable of independent thought? The public projects at which you sneer provided tens of thousands of jobs for British workers and added value to the economy of the whole of Britain.
    The Iraq war was bad for all of Britain, as well as, obviously, for Iraq. The SNP backed the illegal wars against Afghanistan and Libya. Salmond said an independent Scotland would not have ruled out military action against Syria. And now the Scottish government has ‘severed relationships’ with the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh, withdrawing a dinner invitation to the Consul General of Russia in Edinburgh! It has told the Consulate ‘to de-escalate tensions in the Crimea’. The SNP is as usual just echoing NATO. Looks like you’d get dragged into more foreign wars.

  175. Adrian B says:

    Thatcher threw it away, after the SNP had put her in Downing Street – thanks, guys.

    Wait…The SNP voted Thatcher in by using millions of votes across the whole of the British Isles. I suppose they voted for Blair into Downing Street as well. LOL

    Now the Scottish Government has seemingly withdrawn a dinner invitation which is to lead to pistols dawn – or perhaps WW III. Are you perchance of a Labour state of mind Mr Podmore?

  176. Will Podmore says:

    All eleven SNP MPs voted against the Labour government in the crucial vote of confidence, thus precipitating the election that Thatcher won.
    The Scottish Government is not distancing itself at all from the NATO/EU warmongering over Ukraine, just as it did not oppose NATO’s illegal war against Libya. Nor did it oppose Cameron and Blair’s calls for war against Syria: Alex Salmond said that an independent Scotland would not have ruled out military action against Syria.
    No, I am not a Labour supporter.

  177. Caroline Corfield says:

    It has been my understanding that the SNP support was offered to the minority Labour government with provisos attached. When those were not met support was withdrawn. And this is bad how? Imagine if now the Libdems had done the same thing over tuition fees, we would be somewhere different today.

    Since defence is not devolved what can the Scottish government really do? Are we also castigating the devolved government of Gibraltar over its stance? It’s about the rule of law, what has happened in Crimea is not internationally recognised, it is the same argument that Spain uses about Kosovo and applies to Catalonia. We have gone to every effort to play by the rules, even when they become as bizarre as to include dead people’s votes as no.

  178. Brotyboy says:

    Just don’t feed this tiresome troll.

  179. Bob Mack says:


    “No,I am not a Labour supporter” No, your an idiot.
    Try reading facts rather than fiction.

  180. Mikey2407 says:

    The William Wallace TV series would receive about as much airtime in Scotland as did Outlander during IndyRef1

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