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Mutton dressed as lamb

Posted on October 16, 2013 by

A brand-new scare story raised its head this week, coming in from the blind side and catching the voting public unawares with the news that Westminster has decreed that independence would see Scotland struggle to sell its food and drink products abroad.

produce

During a visit north of the border, Owen Paterson (the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), claimed that Scottish exporters gained massive advantages from the UK government’s “clout” in markets such as China and Russia. He said an independent Scotland would struggle in comparison.

“What I see time and again after the success of the Olympics last year, the Royal Wedding and the Jubilee, is that there’s a real interest in British products… There’s a real positive for great Scottish firms like Walkers and those in the Scotch whisky industry in using the British government.

The UK is the sixth biggest economy in the world and we have real clout. When we asked that our whisky is treated fairly and ask hugely important governments in very important potential markets like China and Russia to look at counterfeiting or geographical indicators, that is to the massive advantage of that industry.

How people vote in the referendum is down to them, but I would make a very strong case that there’s a clear advantage for Scottish farmers and manufacturers to stay within the UK.

But the minister’s assertions fall apart under scrutiny.

Scotland has a vibrant food and drink industry, encompassing everything from traditional produce such as whisky, beef, oats, berries, fish and lamb (Scotland is the second largest salmon producer in the world, landing 70% of UK fish catch; we have one quarter of the beef herd and produce 40% of soft fruit), through to more modern products such as Highland Spring mineral water, Irn Bru and Baxter’s soups.

Food and drink accounted for £4.5 billion in export sales in 2010 (£1.1bn food, £3.4bn drink), supporting thousands of jobs throughout the country. This latest Westminster intervention seems intended to sow doubt in the agriculture community, implying that their livelihoods would be in jeopardy from a ‘Yes’ vote.

By far the biggest market for Scottish produce is the European Community. Scotland sends over 70% of our exports to this market, largely because we’re in a free trade zone (the European Economic Area) with these countries, making it easy to do business.

As we’ve noted on this site before, Scotland can either be a member of the EEA via continued membership of the EU (as is likely), or via membership of EFTA (another realistic possibility). Scotland would continue to trade within the bloc via these routes – the prospect of the EU or EFTA refusing to maintain trade links with Scotland in order to please a vindictive Westminster being frankly inconceivable.

But what of the other countries further afield; countries like China and Russia, singled out by Owen Patterson? Do we benefit from the UK governments great links and friendly relations with these two superpowers? The market for Scottish produce in these countries is growing, and is regarded as being high quality and desirable – the minister himself said in another interview “There is a huge increase in whisky sales in Russia. It seems to be a really prestigious product”.

Would the market for this prestigious product suddenly dry up without the assistance of the UK Government? What is it that Westminster’s actually been doing to assist the Scots food and drink industry? The most important thing was to get Scotch whisky granted a geographical indication of origin – making it illegal to sell products under the banner unless it is produced in Scotland – in China, India and the whole of the EU.

(As a successor state, Scotland would still be able to draw upon these agreements.)

fakescotch

However, on the other side of the coin, the UK Government has been charging £3,000 a time to the Scottish Whisky industry to use UK embassies to promote their product, while UK Trade and Investment get use of the embassies for free when they hold receptions – despite the fact that these embassies have been jointly funded by Scottish tax receipts and are intended to promote trade and relations abroad – essentially meaning that Scottish industry is paying twice for the same service.

In fact, Scotland already has its own agency tasked with promoting Scotland abroad, called Scottish Development International (SDI). The need for this Scottish agency came to the fore in 2009 when Westminster’s ‘Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ withdrew £5m a year of funding from the ‘Food From Britain’ (FFB) brand, which had been used previously to aid international promotion of UK produce.

As a result the SDI created the “Scotland Food and Drink” brand to step into the gap, providing extra funding direct from the block grant to achieve its aims, resulting in a steady increase of sales to both the rest of the UK, and to global consumers.

SDI has been promoting links with both China and Russia (including setting up offices in those countries to facilitate trade) in order to boost sales outside of the traditional markets in Europe. In fact, SDI has set up a network of offices across the globe including the head office in Glasgow, an office in London, 5 offices in the USA, 2 in Canada, plus another 15 offices spread globally.

These global offices are in France, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, Dubai, India, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Norway and Brazil – all of whom are key or expanding trading partners. This expansion is set to continue, with SDI intending to further increase the number of overseas personnel promoting Scotland from 90 to 115.

So if international trade isn’t going to suffer without the assistance of Westminster, what about those great deals that our farming community have been getting from the UK government-negotiated Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) system as part of the EU? Farmers don’t seem too convinced.

The UK government wants the entire first “pillar” of the CAP – production support – to be phased out (para. 51). As this mechanism delivers funding to large parts of Scottish agriculture, it would have a severely adverse result on the industry. In fact, an independent Scotland could call upon 1 billion Euros more in CAP pillar-1 payments until 2020 than it’s due to receive within the UK.

Within the EU, Westminster negotiations have meant that Scotland is placed 4th from the bottom on the list for single-farm payments in Europe (at just 48% of the average paid out, compared to the 85% of the average for English farmers). And it gets worse – the UK government has actively campaigned for a reduction in the CAP budget, which if implemented would reduce the funding available to Scottish farmers even further.

CAP rural development funding is not prioritised by Westminster – disadvantaging Scotland, which is disproportionately rural, further. (At present, Scotland receives the lowest rural development funding levels of any EU member state, receiving only 22.5% as much as is given to Ireland.)

caprural

In essence, Scottish farmers have not received a fair and equitable share of the Common Agricultural Policy funds, due to Westminster negotiating away our farming and fishing rights in order to ensure the UK rebate rather than development funding for agriculture. Scotland’s interests are sacrificed by our representatives at the negotiating table in favour of the “greater good” of the UK as a whole.

Increasingly, Scotland’s food and drink industry appears to view the UK Government as a greater hindrance than help.

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    229 to “Mutton dressed as lamb”

    1. Doug Norris says:

      I use SDI a lot and they are top notch.

    2. Arabs for Independence says:

      That’ll be Owen Paterson’s gas at a peep then.
       
      Very good article – thank you.

    3. The Rough Bounds says:

      Not only will nobody out there buy our food, but our shoe laces won’t be as long and our ladders will have fewer rungs. This means that the people who work in the food wholesale business won’t be able to reach the stock on the top shelves and their shoes will come undone on the way up so we’ll all starve.
      Feck! This scare story stuff from the unionists is really beginning to piss me off.
       

    4. Mosstrooper says:

      Bugger, Google Chrome just dropped out in the middle of a comment. 
      Anyway all I was saying is how are we going to sell any foodstuffs when all produce will taste of paraffin with a yes vote and Scotland will vanish off all world maps. Plus what with the cost of postage and there being no roads it’s a done deal.
      Ochone, ochone! Am Feart

      @ Rough Bounds
      Will velcro no be as catchy ? Whit’ll ah dae then?

    5. cath says:

      “Not only will nobody out there buy our food, but our shoe laces won’t be as long”
       
      That won’t matter at all as we won’t be able to tie them ourselves anyway.

    6. sneddon says:

       The disparity in CAP funding with our neighbours down south.  A scandal I highlight whenever I come across a tweed and barbour unionist clone parroting the usual rubbish.  If I was a farmer I’d be looking for a YES vote just to keep my living let alone the economic opportunites independence will bring.
      Now what will be the next industry they’ll plant a scare story  Electronics?, Sheep farming?, Heritage industry?, Haggis farming? 🙂

    7. Doug Daniel says:

      That’s a great article, Scott. I really wish the Scottish Government would use the detrimental effects of the UK rebate as an example of why there should be nothing to fear about having to negotiate our membership of the EU.
       
      As for Patterson, the implication of what he’s saying is that Scottish produce is winging it off the back of the UK, rather than being highly sought-after quality produce. China doesn’t import Scottish whisky because we’re in the UK, it imports it because it’s the best and most prestigious whisky in the world. That prestige will continue when we’re independent. Same with Stornoway black pudding, Scottish salmon. Harris tweed and every other Scottish product which has a reputation for being of the highest quality.
       
      In an increasingly “brand”-oriented world, there is no greater “brand” than Scotland. I hate people talking about “brands”, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got a premium one.

    8. Edward says:

      Good article Scott. Saw the utterances from friend Patterson earlier in the week. Looked up other stuff from this moron and really IS a Tory moron. Likes to lay claim to various things including helping farmers.
      As an aside I was looking at You Tube and came across a video posted by a German who sadly recorded his journey on Qatar Airways Dreamliner from Doha to Frankfurt. It WAS enlightening to see how he other half live. Anyway about halfway through he videos the drinks menu and low and behold it shows the Whisky selection and against which the country of origin. Good old Qatar Airways shows boldly ‘SCOTLAND’ against the Scottish whisky’s provided. So not Great Britain or United Kingdom. Well it made me chuckle (I’m easily pleased)

    9. balgayboy says:

      Dear old tory boy Owen who enjoys a good leathering! decides to impart his views to the Scottish nation although he has never really been in Scotland. God only knows what goes on in these demented heads.

    10. JLT says:

      This is seriously just laughable. Owen Paterson is talking out of the place where the sun don’t shine.
      I mean, god almighty… whisky is selling like never before. The rest of the world can’t get enough of the ‘water of life! And we’ll have a struggle selling it! Pull the other f****** one!

      I mean honestly …even the No supporters know that this is a load of codswallop!
       
      All it means, is that other nations can cut out the middle man in the future ie Westminster and the Treasury, and just come straight to the horse’s mouth ie the Scottish people.
       
      All Owen is greeting about is that the Treasury is about to lose a $hitload in Tax. It will instead end up in the Scottish Coffers. Once the oil is lost to them, along with what I am guessing will be a third on Tax from food and drink, they can then explain to the rUK electorate why that bankrupt, subsidy-junkie, benefit junkie of a nation north of Hadrian’s Wall has forced the UK government to raise taxes 10 fold in the rUK. What goes around …comes around!
       
      Not our problem!

    11. GrahamB says:

      So when the oil and the whisky runs out we’ll be a poor wee nation with no natural resources like … Switzerland! 

    12. MochaChoca says:

      With regard to our representation in Europe:
       
      Scotland has 6 of the UKs 73 MEPs and can (at best) expect to have a 10% influence over the UK’s 29 Council of the EU member state votes.

      As an independent country we could expect to have 13 MEPs and full use of 7 Council of the EU member state votes, as per countries similar in size to Scotland.

      We will have the ability to diverge from rUK voting where our interests differ, but where our interests coincide we will jointly have more influence than we do as a single entity.

      Win-win for Scotland.

    13. Les Wilson says:

      When will the  Scottish public wake up, personally I am totally fed up of  Unionists of all creeds flying up  here for a day normally and usually with a same day flight back to cloud cuckoo land.
      Telling us  all this doom  and gloom which is based on rubbish.They  all do it. They probably draw the short straw for their turn,and cannot wait to get it over with.
      They ALL need treated with utter contempt. 

    14. Arabs for Independence says:

      If we vote YES then Forfar Bridies can only be legally sold/eaten on your birthday

    15. HandandShrimp says:

      Ah Owen Paterson, the lover of the GM food industry, climate change denier and hater of those goal post changing badgers.
       
      I thought Alaister Carnichaelmoore had told Westminster minster to think before they speak on Scottish independence? Obviously Mr Paterson has a novel approach to thinking but I would have thought that even he could have taken stock for two seconds…but apparently not.   

    16. Gary S says:

      Barrel scraping pish. I have nothing but contempt for the media these days. The real bug bare is that people are STILL getting taken in by this horse shite. Why the hell are we surrounded by people who can’t think for themselves?

    17. Adrian B says:

      This “Your worth nothing without me” attitude needs to be called out for what it is, but perhaps not right now. Best let them keep it up a little longer as they are getting peoples backs up.

    18. david says:

      ive been trying to sell my body for yonks with no success. how the hell can i expect this to get better as a splittist state?

    19. G H Graham says:

      Owen is talking mince. Can he also explain why it is that all the cheese at the memebers only priority lounge in Edinburgh airport (Scotland’s capital) is from England?

    20. mealer says:

      Thanks for that article.Very interesting.

    21. iain taylor (not that one) says:

      Not sure I agree with the headline. Mutton dressed as donkey, I reckon. 

    22. Jist Dae It says:

      And the important thing that the minister left out; the whisky will run out in 40 years. Then what will we do? 🙂

    23. Luigi says:

      Aw, have pity, folks. 
       
      BT have been in barrel-scrapping mode for some time now.  There is very little left.  The barrel of fear has become a barrel of laughs.  They have nothing left to do now but recycle the same old garbage and cry wolf for another long year.  Early next year, when people start focussing on the referendum, awkward questions are going to be asked of BT, and they have no answers.  None at all – an empty barrel.

    24. Adrian B says:

      @ Rev Stu,
       
      The first link in the story (The Scotsman paper) is not an Archive link.

    25. pa_broon74 says:

      The idea that GB has a better rep around the globe than Scotland is absolute crap. AT best, Britain is just a laughing stock, at worst its seen as being dangerously prone to war mongering.
       
      The facts about the whisky industry having to pay to use embassies is another reason, all by itself, to vote yes. Why anyone would consider a no vote next year…
       
      Grrr.

    26. beachthistle says:

      I’ve been to several international food and drink trade expos and the SDI/Scotland Food & Drink/Seafood Scotland stands have always been top-notch, in prime positions.

      I’ve a very small new start business but all the very professional staff went out of their way to help and make me feel welcome and not out of place amongst the ‘big boys’.

      As I wandered around these exhibitions I noticed that the stands representing England-based food and drink companies were always smaller and less-well positioned, and when I chatted to their staff they invariably started muttering about funding getting/about to be cut…

    27. Morag says:

      It stands to reason that the simple act of achieving independence will put Scotland “on the map” both literally and metaphorically.  Everything is going to have a higher profile right through at least until 2016.  There is no conceivable way this cannot be advantageous for specialist export products.  And after that, they’re hardly going to tank.

    28. HandandShrimp says:

      This “Your worth nothing without me” attitude
       
      Adrian
       
      I do despair at the “Dirty Den” attitude of the Better Together arguments. The only thing they seem to stop short of is adding “you slag” at the end of every put down…maybe that is yet to come.

    29. G H Graham says:

      Stairheid (Yer candidate fur yer Furst Minstrel of Scotland) sez …
       
      “Wurr just no qualified tae be daein internashnull stuff. Ye see, wi independence, it will only be a matter o’ time before Eck’s in Kabul marketin’ Taliban Tea Cakes. An’ naebody in China is gonnae be buyin haggis in a can if there’s no gonnae be a picture o’ the Queen’s coupon on the tin. Tennent’s Lager sold tons wi those burdz on the back but wi oot British flags on stuff, yoos sepratists will be shite at sellin. Ah mean, naebody in Benidorm is buyin yer Tuechter shite coz they know British faggots & mushy peas is whit folks are wantin, right Mac.”

    30. Jimbo says:

      Yet another insult to Scotland’s people. What Paterson is saying is: He thinks Scotland’s company owners/directors/farmers etc. are thick – that they’re incapable of promoting and selling their own products.
       
      He’s telling us that Scots don’t have what it takes, that we need Westminster geniuses like him to sell Scottish produce abroad – at the same time as they’re damaging our farmers and destroying our fishing industry.
       
      BTW, did he bring a translator with him when he made his sojourn north – or did he just hand out a press release for our compliant MSM?

    31. Murray McCallum says:

      “The UK is the sixth biggest economy in the world and we have real clout. When we asked that our whisky is treated fairly and ask hugely important governments in very important potential markets like China and Russia …”
       
      Britain is “just a small island … no one pays any attention to them”, Dmitry Peskov (Official spokesman for President Putin)

    32. Barry Blust says:

      ‘The UK is the sixth biggest economy in the world and we have real clout.’
      When Scotland is independent… not any more!! 

    33. MochaChoca says:

      If they are adopting a “Dirty Den” attitude, I’m not looking forward to Blair McD’s next webcast.

    34. scottish_skier says:

      Good old Qatar Airways shows boldly ‘SCOTLAND’ against the Scottish whisky’s provided. So not Great Britain or United Kingdom. 
       
      Quite, and if you buy e.g. smoked salmon on the continent, it’s clearly marked as product of e.g. ‘Écosse’ complete with saltire/tartan them etc. But then in Europe ‘British’ isn’t a term I’ve ever really come across in Europe. In France where Mrs SS is from, they never talk about ‘British’. It’s e.g. écossaise and anglais…
       
      Anyway, I’m planning to pick up a bottle of Brotch later as I fancy a wee dram tonight. Might get myself a ‘British’ haggis too.

    35. Keef says:

      I’ve just finished reading ‘The Economy of Scotland’ on Wikipedia.
       
      Now I know not everything on there is to be trusted, however, just a quick glance down through the very packed page is like reading about the land of milk and honey.
       
      If ever anyone had any doubts about Scotland’s resources, they should have a quick look. It really is pretty awe-inspiring to see just how much natural resources Scotland has at her disposal. Scotland is a net exporter in just about every category you care to mention. The only thing she imports it seems is huge cases of negativity from Westminster/Whitehall.

    36. muttley79 says:

      @GH Graham

      “Wurr just no qualified tae be daein internashnull stuff. Ye see, wi independence, it will only be a matter o’ time before Eck’s in Kabul marketin’ Taliban Tea Cakes.  😀

    37. Robert Kerr says:

      O/T Just received the annual voter registration form 2013 through the post.
      There is mention of 15/16 year olds being registered to vote for next year’s referendum and they can be added.
      However if the form is returned omitting these how can they know they are not registered and correct that omission?
      An instructional handout for young people would be a help here.
      It is their future.

    38. Rusty Shackleford says:

      Can he also explain why it is that all the cheese at the members only priority lounge in Edinburgh airport (Scotland’s capital) is from England?
       
      Really?! Unbrielievable.

    39. southernscot says:

      Another great article Scott to add to your impressive collection.
      For me its the same anti-European sentiment that is present in the UK msm that is evident in the anti-independence campaign.

    40. Gary S says:

      @Keef
       
      Just read that Wiki article, the bottom section ‘Relationship with the rest of the UK’ is particulary interesting reading!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Scotland#Relationship_with_the_United_Kingdom

    41. Brian Powell says:

      Can anyone come up with an instance when Labour in Scotland have made an argument against this kind negativity from UK Ministers, or tried to defend Scotland’s corner?

      It would be interesting to see.

      Amazing how a major Party can get away with never defending the reputation of their country and never be called to account by the ‘guardians’ of democracy; the media.

    42. Robert Kerr says:

      Edinburgh Airport is Run by Edinburgh Airport Limited.
      http://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/edinburgh-airport
      Owned by US Company
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Infrastructure_Partners.

      This is a Scottish asset but was sold as a bauble.
      Nobody cares about cheese.

    43. Macart says:

      Who knew?
       
      Westminster is responsible for Scottish export success. Might be news to the producers of course, they probably felt they had a hand in it themselves. But no they owe their fortune to a department full of magic marketing pixies somewhere in darkest Whitehall. 🙂
       
      Cracking piece Scott.

    44. Keef says:

      @Gary S
       
      I found that pretty refreshing too.
       
      I’ve read some rubbish on Wikipedia about Scotland in the past. so I was pretty surprised to see this information reflecting what everyone on here has known and has been repeating for well over a year.
       
      All in all it’s reads like Scotland certainly has got her shit tigither lately. 🙂

    45. Holebender says:

      Shouldn’t that be “Britch”, scottish_skier?

    46. wee jamie says:

      They’ve been haudin us back fur years, they’re no Scottish ,and they never will be , wish they wid jist let go, then Scotland can flourish and bloom, and show the world how tae run a country the RIGHT way !

    47. HandandShrimp says:

      What happened to Pippa? I was just get warmed up 🙁

    48. G H Graham says:

      I’ve been in the USA since March selling my Scottish fine art products across multiple states all by myself. Britain’s Whitehall departments, Embassies & Consulates are completely irrelevant to me because they offer absolutely no lever/benefit whatsoever.
       
      Flying the Saltire & wearing my kilt during sales events however catches customers’ attention & creates interest. The number of people who are connected to Scotland or have visited is remarkable as is the hugely positive experience they have of our country. Overall, those with experiences in England report less favourable memories.
       
      And apart from the Butcher’s apron, there is no dress code I could/would wear that would be distinctly British & if there was it would probably work to my disadvantage. So I don’t need a British identity because my Scottish brand is simply better; uniquely distinct, more positive & more favourable than anything the English have to offer.

    49. scottish_skier says:

      Shouldn’t that be “Britch”, scottish_skier?
       
      Oops, of course. A Britch on the rocks if you please my good man! 

    50. Brian Hill says:

      Wouldn’t it be easier just to admit that Scots can’t really do anything without the help and guidance from our big cousins at Westminster?

      I had no idea that all those inventions by Scots from Telephone to Radar and the ATM were actually by English inventors who allowed us to think these were by Scots just to feel better about ourselves and that Adam Smith wasn’t from Kirkcaldy but from Kirby. Ye learn something every day so ye do.

      And let’s face it, as we appear to be the only nation on earth unable to look after ourselves – apart from the poor Welsh of course – we need all the encouragement we can get from our benevolent cousins down south.

    51. Seasick Dave says:

      I’m in China at the moment and there are even counterfeit new style Mini cars on the street. Only the badges give it away.
       
      There are counterfeit stores everywhere selling electronics, clothing, cigarettes and alcohol amongst others.
       
      I’m not sure that Owen Paterson’s representations to the Chinese government are going to make a blind bit of difference.
       
      PS I once saw a bottle of whisky in Spain labelled Johnny Wa*ker 🙂

    52. John grant says:

      i am getting heartily sick of this shite , do these not realise people are buying our produce because it’s Scottish , it bloody well sells itself my god the sky really is going to fall in or the ground will open up and swallow Scotland while because we are so shite we are a blight on the earth .i am sick of it , in the name of whatever your god is vote yes 

    53. desimond says:

      A bit harsh folk, the Union has fair helped the export of Scottish People and no mistake.

    54. Murray McCallum says:

      I see Alastair Carmichael is fully up to speed with the order of UK / Westminster things:
       
      “Mr Carmichael, who will be at the meeting, has urged Mr Salmond not to arrive in Downing Street with a negative approach and said he should be prepared to listen and learn.”
       
      Carmichael should just stick to getting the tea and biscuits.

    55. Rod Mac says:

      As someone involved in the Food export business I found Mr Paterson’s comments to be offensive ,and so off the mark it has me enraged.
      At present as I have indicated before the vast majority of our exports to the rest of the world are counted as “English exports” as they are sent to Consolidators in England that then export from English ports.
      Post Independence it will be in Scottish exporters interests to reopen the ports here and export directly ,more efficient and a cost saving for exporter and importer alike.
      In or out of the Union Scottish food and drink exports have a world wide high reputation .
      Far higher than anything elsewhere in UK.

    56. HandandShrimp says:

      “Mr Carmichael, who will be at the meeting, has urged Mr Salmond not to arrive in Downing Street with a negative approach and said he should be prepared to listen and learn.”
       
      What a bizarre thing for somebody who is new in the post to say. Cameron, Salmond and the others have been doing this for a while. Pompous and inane in equal measures.

    57. Edward says:

      Robert Kerr
      Actually the non airline lounge at Edinburgh Airport is run by Servisair, so it should be Servisair that you direct any complaint  concerning the lounge they run
      http://www.servisair.com/locations/europe/united-kingdom
       

    58. The Man in the Jar says:

      Great stuff Scott it backs up what I have been thinking for some time. Scotland the Brand resonates with people who perceive Scotland as a clean wholesome place with lush farmland and crystal clear streams. Good honest food and drink! Compare that with England with its overpopulation, pollution, nuclear power plants and fracking. Given the choice I know where I would much prefer my next steak to come from.
       
      However there are none so blind that will not see. Im thinking of Boyd Tunnock of caramel wafer fame who is an advocate of the union. Tunnocks vans have written on the back something like “Proudly exporting to “X” number of countries”. I am not at home right now or I would nip round to the factory and give the exact figure.
       
      I am sure that Tunnocks employees would be interested in this article. Now who do I know that still works in Tunnocks factory?

    59. benarmine says:

      Thanks Scott, very informative. I only recently found out about the CAP discrepancy which is scandalous and I’m afraid I didn’t know about the SDI offices either. And I’m interested in this – people must be made aware of it all somehow. If only one newspaper or broadcaster would speak truth.

    60. Piemonteis says:

      The argument used on the Unionist side about Scotland not being entitled to an EU rebate gets me screaming at the TV every time it’s aired, and screaming at the pro-independent politicians who I have never heard challenging it, except to say, “we could negotiate that as well”.
       
      As pointed out by Rev Stu, Scottish farming loses out massively through the rebate, as its entitlement to CAP funding is minimal as a result of the deal. I’m sure I read that the whole basis behind the UK rebate was that its economy was so dire in the 70’s that the EU granted them this concession, and I don’t see how we can morally justify retaining it following the oil-funded boom in the UK economy over the last 2/3 decades. Surely there’s no EU entrants for whom such a rebate would be put to better use.
       
      The YES side has done nothing to dispel the rebate myth and I believe that now, having not contested this argument, public perceptions view losing the rebate as a purely negative effect of independence. Why aren’t we actively campaigning to get rid of the rebate and help out our agricultural industry? Carajo!

    61. HandandShrimp says:

      Boyd Tunnock could add another three countries to his list if we go independent – what is not to like?

    62. Piemonteis says:

      * Above – “no EU entrants” should read “new EU entrants”.

    63. Alan MacD says:

      As a chef living in Russia this was perhaps the most interesting article i have read on this site.
      Cheers Scott.

    64. Shinty says:

      Desimond
      A bit harsh folk, the Union has fair helped the export of Scottish People and no mistake.
       
      Nice one!

    65. gordoz says:

      On all my travels, I have been mistaken for a lot of things (Irish usually – once Australian), but during discussions where I am asked of my origins and expressed my Nationality as Scottish this is always welcomed with smiles and interest.
       
      Recently when this leads onto a question of the referendum on independence, without prompting, not once has this been met with ‘bad idea’ or anything of the like, its usually met with ‘long overdue’ and  ‘natural scheme of things’ or ‘grown up thing to do – welcome to the real world’ 
       
      Questions on what Scotland has to offer usually follow, which I am happy to oblige with answers along with lessons in Scottish acheivement and inventions / enightenment.
       
      All are usually very surprised as they believed these to be British inventions (meaning English).
      What can you say – who’s kidding who ?

    66. The Man in the Jar says:

      Isn’t this Carmichael loon turning out to be in the “Same shit different bucket” category!

    67. gavin lessells says:

      O/T
      Ineos have shut Grangemouth for immediate future. Herald report a few minutes ago.

    68. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Piemonteis
      I am no economist but my understanding of the UK rebate is that in “normal” countries the EU money goes directly to the regions. Where as with the UK rebate Westminster gets its grubby little fingers on it first. I am positive however that there are some that comment here that could give a much more accurate view on this.

    69. Baheid says:

      Herald on Grangemouth
       
      http://archive.is/fEqdJ

    70. The Man in the Jar says:

      @gavain lessells
       
      Re Grangemouth. What timing! There is your spoiler for the SNP conference. BBC gloom and doom department will be on overtime. 🙁

    71. Baheid says:

      TMTJ
       
      That’s why it is not a ‘rebate’ it was monies that the regions of the UK were entitled to but Maggie managed to work a deal that it went as a lump sum to Westminster.

      Democracy at work eh!

    72. Gillie says:

      Grangemouth is going to go the same way as Ravenscraig; and all because the Labour party and Unite union fell out over who should be the next Labour candidate for Falkirk. 
       
      Even when they are out of power Labour and their union buddies can still damage Scottish interests and destroy Scottish jobs. 
       
      It is time for Scots to cast Labour to the lunatic fringe because that is where they belong. 

    73. desimond says:

      INEOS dispute…hows that for dark arts!

      How an issue involving a multinational and a Union rep that was involved with Labour Falkirk candidate fiasco will be turned into a 

      “BAD SNP….LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID…YOU STOPPED ALL OUR FUEL…BOOO!!”

      Current Caesar! Press salivating could cause minor flooding if they dont watch.

    74. G H Graham says:

      When an oil refinery & associated chemical plant in Scotland allegedly cannot make money in the 21st century, one has to ask questions about how the operating costs have become so high that there is no margin left for the operator.
       
      These complex, capital intensive industries require huge recurring annual costs to remain efficient & competitive so any insight into the amount of money returned into the site to maintain it would be vital in understanding how our only refinery is at risk of closing down for good.
       
      While the recession has clearly had an impact on demand for fuels, plastics & hydrocarbon derivatives, I’m not aware of refineries in England or indeed across Europe struggling to make money.  

    75. Luigi says:

      RE: Grangemouth – perhaps INEOS were just waiting for an excuse to start the shutdown, and along came the UNITE- Falkirk Labour party candidate selection fiasco, providing the perfect opportunity.  Just in time for Christmas.  I hope the Falkirk food banks can cope with the extra demand.
       
      Thank you very much.

    76. Mosstrooper says:

      @Grangemouth
       
      But it’s all OK because we are so much better off together. This is all Alex Salmonds fault. If we weren’t indepen—-Oh wait!

    77. wullie says:

      Sorry o/t rev
      Just got my voter registration form in for the referendum, against all names at my address the nationality states British.
      Ive had to add my sons name, back home for a while, so phoned up to ask about this nationality thingy. No surprise you can have more or less what you like But cannot put SCOTTISH. If you do so you will lose your vote.

    78. HandandShrimp says:

      The ructions between Falkirk/Labour and Ineos are nothing to do with the Scottish Government or the UK Government come to think about it. The press can play it as they like but if the Scottish Government are able to come to some sort of fix then the plaudits are only going to go one way from the public. I haven’t met anyone (twilight world of the Pippa’s etc excepting) who think the Scottish Government are wrong to save Prestwick. In short the Scottish Government stock rose and not just in Scotland but in other parts of the UK too amongst people who have had enough of the privatisation policies of the right.
       
      Whether we could take Grangemouth into public ownership I’m not sure but I really think we have to watch Ineos and make sure they don’t do a Vion and deliberately block any sale to reduce competition and capacity. We can’t go from there being no fuel if there is a 2 day strike to Grangemouth suddenly being suplerfluous. If the plant requires investment to prosper then maybe it should belong to the Scottish Government 

    79. Dcanmore says:

      According to the BBC: ‘It will remain shut until at least Tuesday’.

    80. starlaw says:

      I see similarities between Grangemouth and Timex Dundee , where managements only interest was in closing the plant without the need to pay redundancy , quite sure Labour union activists will be happy to assist  

    81. MochaChoca says:

      It must be difficult to have such influence when not in power…. but Labour managed to.
       
      Is there no beginning to their talents?

    82. Luigi says:

      We are told by BT that workers in Scotland and rUK have so much in common.  Voting for independence would be very selfish.
       
      Does that mean that oil refinery workers throughout the land will now be coming out in support of the threatened livelihoods in Grangemouth?

    83. Dcanmore says:

      What Grangemouth needs is a modernisation programme and the Scottish Government could make an investment (not total nationalisation but a 50/50 partnership) for the future needs of the Scottish nation.

    84. Gillie says:

       
      INEOS have already submitted an application for £9 million in grants from the Scottish government and requested £125 million in loan guarantees from the UK Treasury to secure the future of Grangemouth.
       
      UK Treasury rules demand that the company have to cut costs in order to secure these monies.  However industrial disputes or the possibility of industrial disputes puts INEOS plans at serious risk.
       
      Just think 1200 jobs could go, all because of a drunken thug of a Labour MP on the make with his expenses. 

    85. HandandShrimp says:

      Dcanmore
       
      Yes, some sort of gainshre investment agreement between the owners and the Scottish Government might secure the future of the plant if the owners are playing with a straight bat. If not they need to be taken by the scruff of he neck.

    86. Edward says:

      Regards Ineos Grangemouth

      Apart from the Union and Labour hell bent on ruining the Scottish economy. This actually smacks of the VION Broxburn scandal, where Vion strung everyone along, but had already planned to shut the meat processing plant well before discussions took place

      Ineos are claiming that Grangemouth is loosing £ 10 million a month, really? Sounds like they are quite inept, no other reason, other than they are not keeping any profits within the UK. Seriously if I ran a company that lost that kind of change every month, I would be expecting to get kicked out. I saw somewhere that Ineos bought Grangemouth for £1. I think they should walk away then before they loose any more money and let someone else run it at profit. To be honest I smell something about this as I would not be surprised if they are trying to do a VION and close the plant as supposedly loosing money, then strip out all the assets, remove and ship the plant to the US (as British Steel did with Ravenscraig)

    87. desimond says:

      How long before someone from either Labour or Better Together remark “While Scotland and its pensioners have no fuel, Alex Salmond is sitting drinking tea in London…what a disgrace!”

      I hope Pippa filled up the 4×4 yesterday, that horse-box wont tow itself!

    88. Brian Powell says:

      On fibs, lies and misrepresentation of realities as demonstrated by the Government Minister, there is an interesting web-article/blog concerning another purveyor of lies and misrepreentation, the BBC.

      It compares Russian Television (RT) to the BBC, and shows how RT is outdoing the BBC in 24hr News coverage, and the structure of the programmes.

      http://arbolioto.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/why-russia-today-is-beating-bbc-and.html

    89. John Lyons says:

      This is egg and chicken stuff. Does whisky sell so well because of the power of the British market? Or is the British market so strong because it includes products like Scotch Whisky?

    90. Robert Kerr says:

      Ineos is a privately owned company now based in Switzerland. Main shareholder is Jim Ratcliffe who owns two thirds of the company.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Ratcliffe

      The main loss maker is actually the plastics facility across the road. Formerly called BP Chemicals.

      I am sure Mr Salmond is well briefed on all this.

      An interesting conference ahead.

    91. velofello says:

      I wonder what the union man Mr Deans is thinking, any regrets? He and his union been taken for a ride?

      Recently on WOS there was talk of bulk Scottish food sent to England, packaged there and then returned with profit margin added, for sale in Scotland.

      Vertical integration, synergy, call it what you like but Grangemouth mustn’t be allowed to close.The owners need to have that made clear to them. Oil and gas production and processing are vital Scottish resources The owners Eunos need to table their business recovery plan or their sale price.Otherwise, Scotland will be subjected to the UK colonial strategy – import the bulk materials, process to add value and profit, and then export the processed goods back to the colonies.

      Funding the purchase? Well that would be an interesting topic. The UK with a rising deficit and a £1.5 trillion debt?

    92. NorthBrit says:

      @Doug Daniel @Scottish Skier
      Great posts.  Some support (I feel that given that we’re overflowing with evidence for our views, we ought to use a tiny fraction of it).
      http://www.lexpress.fr/styles/saveurs/recette/les-6-saumons-fumes-preferes-de-la-redaction_1194918.html
       
      Label Rouge is THE French premium food standard:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Label_Rouge
       
      It appears that for some inexplicable reason, a separatist producer has deviated from the perfectly adequate UK norms and complied with the absurdly rigourous French food standards, to the evident detriment of their brand.
       
      @SkieurEcossais:  It’s écossais not écossaise 😉 (for salmon and whisky at any rate).  Ask Madame Skier.

    93. scottish_skier says:

      @SkieurEcossais:  It’s écossais not écossaise
       
      Shhhh – I’ll be in trouble. To my eternal shame, 6 yr old Mini Miss SS corrects my French.
       
      Anyway, the weather is ‘les misérables’ today as they say in France. 😉

    94. desimond says:

      Food Banks
      Industrial disputes and Fuel Shortages
      Gap ever growing between Rich and Poor
      Evictions due to rent arrears
      Sick and  Disabled being treated abysmally

      Me thinks D:Ream could make a killing by offering “Things can only get Better” to the YES campaign. A double blast of Irony there.

    95. NorthBrit says:

      @Scottish Skier
      Snap.  Parle français, papa… 

    96. The Penman says:

      Wow – from that BBC article on Salmond’s meeting with Cameron etc in London:
       
      “Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran, accused the Scottish government of “grandstanding”.
      She said: “Prices are rising faster than wages, energy bills are still going up and the bedroom tax is continuing to hit people across the country.
      “This is a rare opportunity to hammer out a plan to get to grips with this cost-of-living crisis.
      “Instead of coming to London to tell David Cameron to bin the bedroom tax, Alex Salmond should be laying out a plan to stop it hitting Scots.” “

      Yup – since welfare is…wait for it…a retained issue, his plan is…wait for it…independence!
      Duh?

    97. Doug Daniel says:

      Desimond – I can just see it now. That song as the background music, with a clip of New Labour winning in 1997, followed by clips of the Iraq war, expense-fiddling MPs, the Tories getting in, people being chucked out of their homes for having too many bedrooms, families queuing up at food banks, disabled people being told they’re fit for work, immigration vans telling immigrants to Go Home, ending with words on the screen saying “Did things really only get better?”

    98. Caledonalistic says:

      Can anyone give me an example of a staple product of Scotland that’s distinctly marketed as “British”?  It’s an honest question: I can’t think of one.

      I can think of English products marketed as “British”.  Take meat, for example.  In Scotland, my perception is that Scottish meat products are labelled as such whereas English meat products are usually labelled British.
       
      I can also think of local staples marketed as such – Devonshire custard for example.  I can think of local and English recipes – Yorkshire Puddings, English mustard – but those can be made anywhere from ingredients sourced from anywhere.  I can’t think of a product marketed as distinctly “English” though and I can’t think of a Scottish staple marketed as British.

      Help me out, someone?

    99. Bob Howie says:

      All these stories lead to only one place, if there is a no vote it will only serve as confirmation to Westminster that Scotland IS stupid.

    100. call me dave says:

      Scottish products, locally sourced when I can.  
      But the English mustard is the best.
       
      PS:
      Compare the difference.
      http://arbolioto.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/why-russia-today-is-beating-bbc-and.html

    101. Geoff Huijer says:

      When living in England I could count on one hand the amount of Scottish products stocked in the big supermarkets: whisky, Scotch beef (occasionally), Haggis (occasionally around Burns’ Night), er…I’m struggling here.
       
      Indeed, I even complained in Sainsbury’s in Bridgnorth, Shropshire that they stocked 16 different types of jarred honey (none Scottish obviously) and only two of those were English (incl a very expensive Duchy of Cornwall one). No Welsh or Irish. So, 14 types of honey flown in from abroad. Why? Why not stock English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish?
       
      And then I come home and can’t move in a Tesco’s for Saltires! And now Turnips are labelled Swedes coz that’s what Head Office in England deems them to be.
       
      Buying Scottish products in England is often harder than in parts of Europe.
      And we’re part of ‘Britain’ and ‘Better Together’ of course.
       
      Rant over.

    102. Jimbo says:

      “Wouldn’t it be easier just to admit that Scots can’t really do anything without the help and guidance from our big cousins at Westminster?”
       
      It’s not just Scots that can’t do anything without their guidance. They’re insulting everyone who lives in Scotland
       
      Many businesses in Scotland are owned/run by people from India, Pakistan, England, Poland, Wales Ireland, Oz etc, etc. Westminster’s attitude seems to be that living in Scotland makes people incompetent and thick.

    103. beachthistle says:

      With regard to a Scottish government/nationalisation type intervention, will it complicate things if (as according to Wikipedia) Grangemouth is already 50% owned by another sovereign state, China?

      “Since 2011 the company has continued to grow through a series of strategic Joint Ventures, the largest of which was formed with PetroChina, combining INEOS’s Refining interests at Grangemouth, Scotland and Lavéra, France with PetroChina’s access to upstream raw materials.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INEOS

      “In 2011 the Ineos Refining business, which included both the Grangemouth and Lavera’ (located outside Marseilles, France) Refineries, entered into a 50%/50% joint venture with the Chinese state oil company Petrochina, to form the PetroIneos company.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grangemouth_Refinery

      “China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is the sole sponsor and controlling shareholder of PetroChina. It is a large petroleum and petrochemical corporate group, established in July 1998, in accordance with Plan for the Organizations Structure Reform of the State Council. CNPC is a large state-owned enterprise managed by the investment organs authorized by the state and State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.”

    104. kininvie says:

      As I said on a previous thread, Grangemouth in the hands of a private multi-national company is an unwarranted risk in an independent Scotland…
       
      It’s also a terrible risk to the Yes campaign. If the current situation results in tanker deliveries from down south, can’t you just see the capital that BT will make out of it?
       
      We may need to crowd-fund a buyout 🙁

    105. ScotFree1320 says:

      @kininvie
      The rUKgiving us some of our oil back. How kind of them!i

    106. Luigi says:

      There may be lots of Scottish oil left, but there soon won’t be any Scottish petrol, the way things are going.  We will have to import the stuff back from England!

    107. Macart says:

      @Kininvie
       
      Well it does work both ways when you’re neighbours. Remember the police we sent down to help the Met with the London riots and the water during the water shortages? We have examples of our own. Just being good neighbours yes? 🙂

    108. beachthistle says:

      Tried to post to say that (according to Wikipedia) Grangemouth is 50% owned by PetroChina  – but says comment awaiting moderation…?
      Anyway, just occurred to me that Osborne is in China this week… (shades of Darien…?)

    109. Andy-B says:

      Very good  article Scott.
       
      Id never heard of SDI, but it sounds as if their doing a good job of promoting Scotland and its wares.
       
      Charging £3000 pounds to the whisky industry is ridiculous, its actually hindering a good product with a good reputation.
       
       
      From what you say it seems our agricultural sector would flourish under independence,
       
       
      O/T I do apologise , I see a foodbank has opened up in Orkney Im, sure Alistair Carmichael will sweep that one under the carpet.
       
       

    110. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Geoff Huijer
      Swedes are called swedes because they come from Sweden. The seeds  were given to a guy called Miller(who was a contemporary and friend of Burns) who had designed and built cannons for the King of Sweden and he was given seeds of this newly cultivated veg by the King. They eventually revolutionised livestock farming in parts of Scotland because the crop was able to be used to feed cattle and sheep over the winter. I think the cannons were manufactured at the Carron Iron works but I’m not sure about that

    111. Murray McCallum says:

      I see the Norwegian government effectively have a controlling interest in their main refinery at Monstad. The site is 79% owned by Statoil (which in turn the Norwegian government own 67%).
       
      You would think there is scope for a joint venture involving the Scottish government and private companies (who have a vested interest in its ongoing success) to reduce the risks of refining for everyone.

    112. gavin lessells says:

      If ever there was a time when Wings needs the mobility of an investigative journalist to help the Rev it is now! Someone who can chase up the facts re Grangemouth on our behalf.
      Perhaps an early retired journo from PQ might fit the bill. Maybe we could manage expenses and a wee retainer?
      Just an idea but surely worth considering.
      With improved number of hits, maybe it could be afforded?
       
       
       
       

    113. Holebender says:

      Some of the North Sea pipelines run directly to Grangemouth so if the refinery is shut down so are those oilfields.

    114. Shinty says:

      Petro China/Ineos – Grangemouth
       
      http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/01/10105522
       
       

    115. alexicon says:

      @kininvie & Luigi
       
      Don’t panic! Ineos has already said there will be enough supplies until they start up again on Tuesday.
      Petrochem plants can’t be turned off and on you know, they have to be shut down safely and started up again safely through time.
      Saying all that, a 5 day shut down is rather long.
      Maybe some opportunist work going on while they’re down. Or even a little brinkmanship going on.

    116. iain taylor (not that one) says:

      I’m quite happy with the cheese in the Servisair lounge. 100% plastic, & bowfing. Reflects badly on where it originates. 
      (This is not anti English – they serve up Austrian plastic too).

    117. gavin lessells says:

      The Grangemouth Refinery, as I understand, needs the input from the Middle East for refining purposes hence the pipeline from Loch Long. There is no pipeline south from Grangemouth. I doubt if it could remain closed.

    118. Andy-B says:

      The Red Cross this winter will start collecting, and distributing food aid to the needy in Britain, for the first time since the second world war.
       
       
      A telling fact showing the terrible, effects of the Westminster Governments policies, a no vote will only make things worse.
       
      http://munguinsrepublic.blogspot.co.uk/
       
       

    119. kininvie says:

      alexicon  & others
       
      The point is not so much what happens in this particular episode as to how an independent Scotland ought to have contingency plans. Relying on your ‘foreign’ neighbours for help is not ideal.
       
      But I bet BT is already compiling the scare story about how we will have no petrol in an independent Scotland….

    120. scottish_skier says:

      Id never heard of SDI, but it sounds as if their doing a good job of promoting Scotland and its wares.
       
      As a co-founder of an SME, I can say that SDI are absolutely excellent. The assistance they provide in all aspects of starting, building and growing a business is 5 star. They are a credit to Scotland and the Scottish Government.

    121. Thepnr says:

      Rev I have sent a message via contact, can you please respond.
      Ta

    122. Papadocx says:

      I believe A Carbuncle was going to prevent west minster Troublemakers frightening  the natives in the tribal lands. Does the district commissioner agree with this tripe. Talking down to the natives should not be allowed we are mature intelligent adults.  Come on alistair Get the big stick out show your true colours.

    123. Caroline Corfield says:

      Caledonistic  
      A lot of cheeses are marketed as coming from particular areas of England, does that help?
      Also Sainsbury’s here at Whitely Bay stock UK meat without stipulating whether it’s English, Welsh or Scottish or indeed from NI, most probably because it’s from different places at different times of the year. They make a thing out of Welsh lamb products and Scottish beef. Scottish soft fruit is labelled with a saltire but the plums I bought from Kent recently did not have a St. George’s Cross, though I think I might recall seeing it on fruit in the past. 
      You cannot buy square slice in most supermarkets here, but you can source it at butchers, however haggis is a staple, as is black pudding but no dumpling or white pudding. You’ve got to be up early to buy potato scones, but usually you can get your hands on Irish potato farls ( not quite right but decent substitute). The rolls are dire- stotties are massive and barely see the inside of an oven during their preparation. Beef sausages are rare but Cumberland sausage is nice. Loads of venison, good fish selection – sorry, I’m getting a bit off topic now…
      Yes, it seems within England there is more identification with internal regional fare than with a product being English. But that might simply come down to their continued conflation of British with English allowing food producers to ‘pretend’ food sources from other home nations is kinda really just like English sort of…

    124. scottish_skier says:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24553894
       
      Labour ‘could cut £5bn’ from welfare budgets after 2016
       
      Labour has said it will stick to the [Tory-led] coalition’s spending plans in 2015-16.
       
      Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said that, if the party forms the next government, there will have to be an “iron discipline” on spending and further cuts will have to be made.
       

    125. HandandShrimp says:

      Labour are talking about cutting welfare spending, keeping free schools and cracking down on immigration…..it does kind of make you wonder what the point of changing from Tory to Labour is exactly. I can’t see Ed being any more effective as a leader than Cameron either.
       
      I really, really want out of this in 2014.

    126. alexicon says:

      kininvie says:
      16 October, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      alexicon  & others
       
      “The point is not so much what happens in this particular episode as to how an independent Scotland ought to have contingency plans. Relying on your ‘foreign’ neighbours for help is not ideal.
       
      But I bet BT is already compiling the scare story about how we will have no petrol in an independent Scotland….”

       
      I doubt it considering that the shop steward was working for the Labour party during his employment.
      But you never know the right of ring wing (tories’) may have a go.
      The word on the street it is not just about this shop steward at Grangemouth, but also things like pensions etc.

    127. Caroline Corfield says:

      @Edward exactly the comparison I made when I heard Grangemouth was shut. This, as I am wont to rant on fb, is pouring concrete down the sewers. Which is what the Portuguese did in their African colony when it became independent, their argument was we built the sewers so we can do what we like to them, you don’t deserve them so you can’t have them. Heard this story while working offshore Angola, think the colony in question was an island but can’t recall the name. Even as a myth this has parallels with what is happening to Scottish infrastructure that the Scots have no control over. How many other vital pieces will be either shut or offered to the government at a ‘knock down get it while it’s still standing’ price before the referendum while Holyrood has no choice but to pay what’s asked for them or lose them?

    128. scottish_skier says:

      it does kind of make you wonder what the point of changing from Tory to Labour is exactly.
       
      The UK electorate seem to be deciding the same. Labour’s lead is getting smaller all the time. It was over 10 points at the beginning of the year. It’s now as low as 4 points.

    129. Roboscot says:

      Keef: ‘I’ve read some rubbish on Wikipedia about Scotland in the past@
       
      Quite a few articles concerning Scotland seem to be in the hands of the English Ascendancy. The Talk pages can be very entertaining as we are put in our place.

    130. Dal Riata says:

      I’ve lived and worked in Taiwan and China for twenty years. Both places are very much into stereotypes of other countries and people, for better or worse. Their stereotypes for England are the queen,  London, ‘gentlemen’ and… eh… well that’s about it. When I say I’m Scottish, people get quite excited about kilts, bagpipes… and whisky – especially the whisky! 
       
      Anyway, here we have yet another Tory bawbag talking ‘Think of the Empire!’ pish. And “clout”? What is the matter these idiots and their “clout”? It’s 2013, ya numpty, not 1913!
       
      Scotland has a terrific ‘brand’ – one that other countries can only dream about. Yes, some might be seen as stereotypes, but so what, we’re talking about the global market here.
       
      For starters, we’ve got the food, drinks, education and its institutes, gaming, technology and science, oil and gas, renewable energies, engineering, etc. all important industries.
       
      Then we come to what attracts tourism: kilts, bagpipes, highland games, haggis, Loch Ness monster, Burns, whisky tours, Hogmanay, ceilidhs, fishing, scenery, Edinburgh Festival, the history, etc. Not a bad list at all!
       
      And we have our own languages: Scottish Gaelic, though not enough of us speak it, caused by deliberate attempts to eradicate  it in years gone by; and Scots.
       
      And we have the best resource of all – Scotland’s people!
       
      So come independence we’ll do very well indeed, thank you. This Better Together squawker hasn’t got a clue and wouldn’t know what a fish-supper was if it hit him square in the coupon. Westminster is his natural environment, not Scotland. Just another one who needs to watch out he doesn’t let the door smack his arse on the way out.
       

    131. muttley79 says:

      O/T  I added my link.  Message is the same.
       
       
      Alistair L Davidson posted an announcement 1 hour ago
       
       
      We can’t thank you enough for your support so far. Now we need your help again.

      With just one week left, we’ve raised an incredible £11,000, almost half of our target. We urgently need your help to help us close the gap and fully fund our research activities in the year leading up to the referendum.

      If each of us persuades just one friend to donate, the gap will be closed in no time.

      So we’re asking for your help – reach out to your friends and contacts personally, asking them to give what they can afford.

      They can find the appeal at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-common-weal-we-need-you-to-build-a-better-scotland?c=activity

       

      Together, we can change Scotland.

      Thanks
      The Common Weal Team

    132. HenBroon says:

      Holebender, I once worked at Rock Savage refinery North Wales. I was told then that there were two pipelines there from Grangemouth. Any comments.
      Is there not a line to Seal Sands Middlesbrough from the North Sea?

    133. kininvie says:

      @Caroline,
      Good point. A private company, headquartered in Switzerland, owns a loss-making asset, which is of little interest to itself, but which is of course a vital strategic asset to an indy Scotland.  So, naturally enough, they are going to use every trick in the book to force the Scottish Govt or UK Govt to pay up.
      You can glean much about their attitude here:
       
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/10292664/Britain-is-not-an-attractive-place-to-manufacture-says-Ineos-chief-Jim-Ratcliffe.html
       
      I think we have to bite the bullet and commit to nationalise the plant, striking as hard a bargain as we can. The powers which allow us to borrow up to £2.2.bn for capital spending under the Scotland Act won’t come into being before 2015, so before the referendum, we have no choice but to ask UK to buy it and promise to buy it ourselves if we vote yes.
      Ineos has us all by the balls on this one, and it’s not pleasant.

    134. HenBroon says:

      Captain Darling of Flipping House has a wee essay on Better Together that is just gagging for some comments. I have commented three times now and been deleted three times, nothing rude just facts. There is one yes one other surviving comment there. JFC it’s almost as dreich as Grahamskis wee blog.

    135. Edward says:

      Hi Caroline. I know exactly what you mean.  have met a few years back one of the former officers (a colonel I think) that served in Mozambique and Angola. He was the first and last Portuguese person that I lost my temper with during a discussion, he was so arrogant , a complete idiot.
      The island may have been Sao Tome e Principe, which ironically is sitting on a heap of oil

    136. scottish_skier says:

      All this downplaying of Scotland is slowly eating away at the No vote. No have halved their lead since the beginning of the year. A 5% swing is all that’s needed for parity now. Possibly even less. I’m sticking with my predictions for this for end 2013/early 2014.
       
      What they seem to forget is 83% of Scots are ‘Scottish nationalists’, i.e. at very minimum 83% of the population believe Scotland is a nation and that is their nationality or a significant component of it.
       
      Attacking Scotland will not save the union. Quite the opposite in fact.
       
      You only need to look at Quebec where a massive love-in from the federalists saying ‘Quebec you are wonderful and we want you to stay’ including huge pro-Canada marches is believed to have narrowly shifted the vote to No by a whisker at the last minute.
       
      Reading the BT page, facebook etc… few of those active on the No campaign seem to like Scotland at all, not matter how much they claim to be patriotic and proud. The comments on the ‘brainwashing’ express article on Scottish music in Schools was astonishing.
       
      They seem to loath Scotland / being Scottish. No wonder they can’t get a grassroots campaign going.
       
      Hi, we think you and your country are shit. Vote for us.

    137. Ken500 says:

      Trade agreements with India, China, US, Brazil, Russia and the rest of the world are negotiated primarily by the EU, not Westminster. EU 500million population carries the clout, to limit protectionism and insure fairness. That is one of the benefits of EU membership. Nearest, largest Market.

      Before the recession Scotland exported £40Billion and imported £40million. Economically healthy. No balance of payment deficit. The recession has affected that.

      The rest of the UK has a major balance of payment deficit, Imports much more than it exports.

    138. twenty14 says:

      This Grangemouth issue is really beginning to stink – Sorry Rev but think you may be burning some of the midnight oil on this one (not that you don’t at the best of times I assume )
      Surely there must be someone out there in the thick of it all that must be saying – enough is enough.
      Someone keep me sane – tell me there’s no way the Westminister Government could buy out and nationalise Grangemouth – like our SG has just done with Prestwick Airport

    139. Ken500 says:

      Quebec is different. 1/2million – separatists in a population of 40million. Federal system of Provinces with elements of (fiscal?) autonomy. Different as regards finance, lawmaking etc, from the UK Union. Same with Spain different situation. Spain 5million Catalonians, (1/8) province with a degree of autonomy. Spain pop 40million 1/8

      It is claimed that Quebec did not vote for Independence because they would have had to give up Canadian passports.

      Scotland/UK have EU passports.

    140. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Dal Riata
      My girlfriend calls me her Loch Ness Monster.
       
      Two big humps and Im gone! 😆
       
      HT to Nick Cave

    141. Bubbles says:

      @ Caledonistic
       
      What about Bitter? They’re bloody good at that!
       
      Would it be possible for the Scottish government to buy the Grangemouth refinery? If so, how much would it cost?
       

    142. rabb says:

      I think I’ve found the source of all these scare stories. Just posted this flyer to my twitter account.
       
      Get them while you can. These prices won’t last forever!
       
      http://t.co/PDsZ4v48GG

    143. Ken500 says:

      Grangemouth. Two elements. North Sea Pipe line makes a profit – economically viable. The other by products chemical plant makes a loss (because of the recession, a fallen Market?) Making a loss of £100million a month?. It is the loss making element the company wants to shut down, or cut costs by cutting wages/pension rights. Employs 15,000. Both parts of the plant are important to the economy.

      The Scottish gov is already committed to investing £millions in the area to safeguard and create jobs, over number of years. So, some solution will be found.

    144. Ken500 says:

      The Grangemouth Pipe line should have been at Peterhead, most economic, nearest point etc. Thatcher tried to get it to Newcastle (Oil producers/companies paying). It got as far as Grangemouth.

    145. HenBroon says:

      I imagine a lot of people from the Dunfermline area work at the refinery.

    146. Jack Beck says:

      Hey Rabb – better fix that typo!

    147. Ken500 says:

      The other North Sea Pipe line terminal is at Sullom Voe.

      There is/was a Gas pipe line terminal at Norfolk/Norwich. It also landed Gas from the Scottish sector.

    148. callum says:

      “pouring concrete in the sewers” – this was done by the British Givernment when the military assets on Malta were handed to the newly independent Malta.  The runway and assets at RAF Luqa were basically vandalised by the crews as they left.
       
      All of Scots (whether you are intending to voite yes or no) must make sure that Scotland is not vandalised either before or after the referendum.
       
      Look out for departmental reorganisations, machines, assets being taken south etc.

    149. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Ken 500
       
      Quebec the Province, not the city, has a population of 8 millions. Quebec City about 0.5 millions and Montreal about 1.5+ millions. It was my second home during their referendum .

    150. Robert Kerr says:

      The Forties pipeline terminates at BP’s Kinneil Separation and Treatment plant. The stabilised crude can be sent to Ineos/Pertochina refinery along the coast or exported to mostly Rotterdam via tankers onloading at the Kinneil Terminal just downriver of the Forth rail bridge.
      These facilities were assets of BP Production and Exploration whereas the refinery was BP Oil.
      That was the way it was and still is 
      Work continues there.
      http://www.amec.com/media/news_releases/2012/amec_awarded_%C2%A310_million_contract_to_modify_and_extend_bp%E2%80%99s_kinneil_terminal_in_scotland.htm
      The refinery has some very old equipment. If memory serves the Fluid Cat Cracking Unit was built in 1953. “Scrapheap challenge” springs to mind.
      Soar Caesar!

    151. rabb says:

      If INEOS bought the site for £1 is there anything to stop the Scottish Government from buying it for £1 and bringing it into state ownership (or part ownership)?
       
      Also on topic. Britain using it’s influence to bolster Scottish goods overseas? That will be the influence that Gideon and the village idiot are having in China just now?

      Our top politicians cannot get an audience with their top Chinese counterparts? Complete and utter nonsense. Neither have anything to offer the Chinese.

      Their presence is an embarrassing attempt to beg the Chinese to invest in the UK.
       
       
      Charlatans!

    152. Ken500 says:

      Unionists Parties can’t get out grassroots support because they haven’t got one. Very few, falling membership. Everyone is so sick of them.

      Canvass central belt – out of 1000 people. One – second choice – LibDem voter.

      SNP (pro rata) biggest Political Party in the UK. 25,000members Financed entirely by it’s members. Not Unions/Corporates etc.

    153. scottish_skier says:

      Quebec is different. 
       
      Oh yes completely, and the only parallel I wished to draw was big ‘Canada loves Quebec’ push at the last minute. Suffice to say 100,000 from across the UK won’t march through the streets of Edinburgh in support of the union at the last minute.

    154. Ken500 says:

      Farmers in Scotland support the SNP.

    155. JLT says:

      Well I think we are guessing that Ineos may have been at it all the time.
       
      At first, we were all frowning at the way that Ineos pursued one of their workers (literally with a vengeance) who had apparently broken some rules within the company, even though it had been proven, that he had not.
       
      Then, we get the scare story. The plant is haemorrhaging money, and if someone doesn’t fix it, then that’s the end of Grangemouth. (Guess who that someone is …oh, aye …the Scottish tax payers. Get the people to pay for it.)
       
      At that point, the cat was out of the bag. Everyone then saw that the harassment of a union worker was nothing more than a veiled threat to something bigger. They want us to pay for the plant to remain open, yet I have no doubt, that the company will cream off very big profits at the same time.
       
      Personally, if I were the Scottish Government, I would loan money to Ineos until after the Referendum, and if Scotland does go Indy, then buy the plant dead-cheap off Ineos. Nationalise the bloody place! After all, Ineos seem to be saying that the place is a financial basket case anyway!
       
      I just don’t understand this. Why is this plant losing so much money? Why did Ineos buy it in the first place? They must have seen the books. I mean …it’s a refinery. How the hell do you lose money on a refinery? You get the raw oil material, you refine it into various industrial components, you punt all those refined components at a higher price. You end up making a lot of f****** money!!! So, how are this mob losing money??
      And with a barrel of oil sitting at $110 a barrel, How the hell is the plant haemorrhaging so much money? What? …Pensions …my backside!
      This is just greed! They want the Tax Payers to pay for all those big expensive bits, while they look after the cheaper bits. Then they take all those lovely big profits for themselves. Give themselves lovely big bonuses. This smacks a bit like the Royal Mail sell-off. Rich folk making plenty of money on a ‘nationalised’ industry; because that is what it will be like, if the Tax Payer has to step in.

    156. Ken500 says:

      Venison is imported into the UK from New Zealand

    157. alexicon says:

      Sorry for the O/T or if this has been done before.
       
      There’s an online petition to get the OSCE involved in monitoring the media coverage on Scotland’s Independence .
      Looks like another 2,353 signatures are needed. I’m sure many on here can spread the word and also sign.
      Go for it.
       
      http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-scottish-government-approach-the-osce-and-request-an-election-monitoring-mission

    158. muttley79 says:

      O/T  James Mitchell has written an article for the Guardian on the independence referendum.
       
      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/16/snp-independence-safer
       

    159. Ken500 says:

      Royal Mail was making a Profit. The £2Billion loss making sell off and the £38Billion pension fund was taken by the UK exchequer. To save borrowing. A £40million non costed, lack of passengers train line is planned. A non secure, expensive cartel Postal service will be the result. Westminster governance.

      The Ineos books will be examined because any help is forthcoming.

      The Scottish Gov has already committed £millions over five years to the area, to safeguard and create jobs.

    160. Paula Rose says:

      Hmm Muttley79 – my point.

    161. Thepnr says:

      @JLT
       
      I totally agree, the new Scottish Government should consider nationalising a number of important services and industries. Energy, transport and a state oil company would do for a start.

      What’s wrong with this type of business being in public ownership? It was this way for long enough until Maggie decreed otherwise and we are all paying through the nose for that. 

    162. velofello says:

      Venison from New Zealand!Enough Ken500 enough. Next you will be telling us South American countries sell coal to Newcastle.

    163. Ken500 says:

      Read it somewhere. Venison is imported from New Zealand. As surprised as you : – )

    164. Ken500 says:

      No need to Nationalise Oil industry. Taxed at 61% ( 80%? All in).Near Nationalised. Statoil 87% Also Sector wins contracts worldwide worth £Billions for servicing and products.

    165. Thepnr says:

      Ken
       
      Not saying to nationalise the oil industry, only that a state owned oil company would be no bad thing. Yes like Statoil.

    166. Albert Herring says:

      Venison is imported from New Zealand.
       
      Lidl had some very nice New Zealand venison last Xmas, but their Siberian reindeer was even better!

    167. Ken500 says:

      Tax scheme is Nationalising the Scottish Oil sector. Revenues raised are not far short of Nationalisation. (80%?). Plus the tax/ revenues that firms based in the Scottish sector raise worldwide., which would benefit the Scottish economy generating jobs and income. It could be the same for carbon capture technology and Renewables. The sky’s the limit.

      Statoil is the Nationalised Norwegian operator, although other companies operate under Statoil contract in the Nowegian sector. ‘Private’ Oil companies win contracts from Statoil. Statoil gets contracts from companies operating in the Scottish sector.

    168. handclapping says:

      Off topic and on topic both
       
      Some interesting figures on UK trade balances in the FT from “Why Osborne is in China” in £ billions
      Financial Services +35 (The much vaunted City)
      Coal, Gas, Electricity -7
      Oil -15
      Food, Drink, Tobacco -19 (Total -41)
      Scotland is in surplus in all of the last 7 bar tobacco.
       
      iScotland is real bad news on the balance of payments front for rUK. Is the SNP right to want to keep the GBPound for any longer than it would take to set up the SC”Thistle”?

    169. Morag says:

      On that last one, I tend to think yes.  Having a currency that’s too “hard” is also a disadvantage, because nobody can afford your exports.  I think.  I don’t claim to understand this terribly well.
       
      More importantly, without Scotland, sterling is likely to tank.  This is bad for two reasons.  First because it’s not good for Scotland if the currency of her main trading partner and closest neighbour tanks.  Second because there are a lot of people living in England who will be in even worse circumstances than they are now if that happens.  These people are our friends and relations.

    170. Hetty says:

      Re Electoral role registration…But you cannot put SCOTTISH. If you do so you will lose your vote. AAh, well we just returned the forms which did have our names but no nationality so we all put SCOTTISH! That is ridiculous, let’s see if they contact us to teel us what nationality we are then!
       
      And Grangemouth, somehow the timing just cannot be accidental, always said they’d try anything….with the colder weather, SNP conference etc…dirty tricks abound, that’s where the money is after all, with the bt lot. Feel sick now.

    171. annie says:

      Truly depressed tonight no.1 son off to America tomorrow to work for next 6 months, when asked if he had completed his voting registration form he said yes but he would be voting no next year – I told him I would convince him before then.  Then watching heart breaking footage on BBC about the number of people forced to resort to food banks my husband points out the chap with the cans of lager in his bag.  How can I make him see that for every guy with  super lager in his bag collecting food from A food bank there are hundreds more decent men and women mortified to find themselves in the position of having to go to food banks to feed themselves and their families – so angry I could weep.

    172. Paula Rose says:

      I thought it was SNP policy to let the English go gently by making sure that the settlement with Westminster was favourable to both parties, so why are the UKOK brigade being so belligerent?

    173. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @annie
       
      “How can I make him see that for every guy with  super lager in his bag collecting food from A food bank there are hundreds more decent men and women mortified to find themselves in the position of having to go to food banks to feed themselves and their families”
       
      Take him to visit one by dropping in with supplies to donate. 
       
      I’m sure the experience may jolt some understanding of the situation.

    174. handclapping says:

      You can grow tobacco in Scotland! What the quality would be like I’ve no idea.
       
      @Morag
      I’m not sure that keeping the same currency of itself will make much difference to the circumstances of those remaining in the rUK. It may help to make things a not quite so bad.
      I do think that seeing what can be done in terms of a livable society is the best hope for getting them to help themselves by ditching the whole Westminster (insert denigatory word of choice).

    175. annie says:

      BBC tonight – Alex Salmond’s speech for an hour on BBC2 Saturday afternoon. Conference starts tomorrow, Thursday, I suppose as usual  I shall have to trawl internet to find coverage, it is beyond a joke.

    176. Doug Daniel says:

      I wish Stu would hurry up and complete GTA V…

    177. Marcia says:

      Hetty
      If you put Scottish instead of British as I do each year you do not lose your vote, the Council staff change it to British.
      Having been away abroad for 3 weeks and asked by mostly English holidaymakers about the referendum it does bring to your notice how low information our friends down south are regarding politics of the UK never mind Scotland.
      In all the years I used to attend the SNP annual Conference we did not see much interest outwith the party and the political journalists. Peter Murrell has given the following figures for the Conference starting tomorrow: 53 diplomats, 163 observers, 203 media, 57 exhibitions, 44 fringe events, 1,300 delegates and visitors:

    178. Doug Daniel says:

      annie – maybe that registration form could conveniently get lost in the post? 😛

    179. handclapping says:

      @Doug Daniel
      Nah. IMO he’s travelling to Perth to report and deconstruct the First Eck’s speech the way he does Darling’s.

    180. Morag says:

      My form came through already pre-completed by computer.  It had “UK” in the “nationality” box.  I just signed it and sent it back.  Not worth getting into a fight about it.  They’d only change it back.
       
      I’m certain they won’t disenfranchise anyone for putting “Scottish” though.  That would be an absolute scandal, and the electoral registration office is generally a decent sort of outfit.

    181. handclapping says:

      @Marcia
      The last one I attended was held on a Saturday afternoon in half the ballroom of the Golden Lion in Stirling. I don’t think it would manage anymore.

    182. Marcia says:

      BBC Parliament on Saturday to show 2 hours of the SNP Conference.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03f4m84
       
      As Mrs Merton said, ‘Lets have a heated debate.’ like last year’s NATO debate.
       
       

    183. Morag says:

      The last one I attended was held on a Saturday afternoon in half the ballroom of the Golden Lion in Stirling.

      Wow, when was that?  1964?  😀

    184. handclapping says:

      @Morag
      1963 🙂

    185. annie says:

      Doug – No way if  I have taught him anything it is that it is important to vote.

    186. Jingly Jangly says:

      RE Ineos, If the Unite Official had sent scores of Labour Party emails using company email system he would have been in breech of Computer User Policy that most if not all companies have in effect. Therefore he would have been in breech of his terms of employment.
      The Ten Million that they are losing is probably made up by “Management” Charges, I worked in the oil industry for over 30 years in that time companies that were hq’d overseas used to submit a huge “Management” fee which took away most of the profits and meant that little or no tax to pay. As Ineos HQ is in Switzerland I suspect the same applies.

    187. Morag says:

      1963
       
      You’re kidding!  That was a totally wild random guess.

    188. handclapping says:

      O/T
      If Eleanor Laing is now Deputy Dawg does she get the push from the Chairchoob’s Scotch Committee?

    189. Marcia says:

      handclapping
       
      Yes, as she now has to be seen to be neutral.

    190. handclapping says:

      @Marcia  Thanks.
       
      @Morag
      That’s what 50 years of progress can do for you. Think what an iScotland could be in 50 years time.

    191. cirsium says:

      “If INEOS bought the site for £1 is there anything to stop the Scottish Government from buying it for £1 and bringing it into state ownership (or part ownership)?”
      Like it Rabb.
      It looks as if this company chose short-term profit maximisation rather than long-term investment and growth.  It now wishes to benefit from taxpayer subsidies just like the banks.

    192. rabb says:

      Morag,
      You are indeed correct. The harder the currency becomes the bigger the hit on exports.
       
      Thatcher was the reason manufacturing died on it’s arse in the UK.
      She conveniently blamed the unions knowing all along that it was her economic policy that was making our industry less and less competitive on the world market.

       
      Her trump card was to use oil & gas revenue to fund the resulting dole queues freeing her to push the city on.
      Seeing communities devastated in Lanarkshire whilst watching yuppies on TV in London driving Porsches and sipping champagne sickened me!

      I think that was actually the subconscious trigger to my support of independence. I was brought up in a die hard Labour family (All of whom are voting Yes next year may I add!).
       
       
      Continuing with the £ is a sensible arrangement medium term in terms of stability for both parties.
      Having said that, we must also keep one eye on the value to ensure our exports remain competitive (we export a lot). If it begins to suffer (unlikely short term as £ is running out of steam) then we would need to look at an alternative arrangement.
       
      I’m not an economist BTW but I have been trading Forex for about 5 years. I know the basics 🙂
       
      BTW, I’m expecting a bombshell within the next two to three years. Best we get out now if you want to keep your pension 😉
       
      Just saying like

    193. handclapping says:

      2063 FMQs
      Junior Lamont (British Tendency)
      To ask the First Minister as the oil’s aboot ter run oot and we’ve only 700 billion Thistles in the bank, whit’s she gonna dae?
      FM (Scottish Party)
      As has been the case since 1974 the oil is running out but now my Government’s Oil Office in Aberdeen thinks that in 10 years time only the East Rockall Bank will be economic, however with the start up of the new interconnectors our electricity exports will make up the lost revenue. In addition I had the pleasure yesterday of opening the Europa Minerals plant on Burray which will use the power available there from the marine energy park development and the transport possibilities of the Pentland Firth tunnel and provide another 400 jobs to replace those lost in the North Sea oil rundown.

    194. Edward says:

      Jingly Jangly
      Ah yes “management fees” I remember them so well. In a previous incarnation I worked for a German Company headquartered in Frankfurt. I was in their London office. We cleared close on million each month sometimes more. Yet, mysteriously we filed losses. The mystery was cleared up as it was explained that Frankfurt charged “management fees” covering ‘administration’ At the time Germany had more favourable tax regime for companies, plus they in turn sent funds out to offshore accounts.
      I really don’t think that Grangemouth  is ‘financially stressed’ as Ineos are making out. As you say they have their head office in Switzerland, so not beyond the realms of reason that they are being ‘creative’. I believe Vion, the owners of Halls of Broxburn were up to the same tricks prior to closure.
      Unfortunately we don’t have any investigative journalism worth a monkey’s up to the task of investigating what IS actually going on. In addition the UK government cant be bothered to do proper tax investigation as too many of their chums in the city and blue chip companies are doing exactly the same

    195. dee says:

      This will save you all a nights typing:-
      Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag
      Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag
      Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag Morag.
       

    196. Cankert Callan says:

      @Caledonalistic
      English wine is the only thing I can think of. British wine is made anywhere in the UK using imported grape juice. English wine is made using only English grapes. Some of it is really nice.

    197. Ken500 says:

      There is no run down of workers in the North Sea. Only reports of a lack of (skilled) workers. Last reports are that 118,000 (Producers estimate) are needed. The workers in the North Sea are getting older and some are now retiring, but the jobs are still there. Massive office complex for Oil related businesses are still being built etc. The is a complex being built in Westhill. Google earth.

      The Scottish gov has set up engineering training facilities in parts of Scotland, Ayr etc – So that young folk can take up the increasing opportunities.

      Unfortunately the Oil business advantages are not well known or appreciated fully in the Central Belt. It is why the North/NE is an SNP stronghold. They know and see the meters turning. Oil support services are now moving South to Montrose/Arbroath and Dundee. Any reports of further decline (for a long time) are fictional.

    198. Ken500 says:

      Another 118,000 workers in a mixed economy could reduce unemployment in Scotland. Unemployment in Scotland is 201,000 Increased employment could help decrease unemployment funding.

    199. CameronB says:

      Was Owen Paterson not listening to his boss (the PM), when he bravely declined invitations for a heat-to-head with AS?
       
      Perhaps he does not agree that ‘it would not be the done thing to comment from outside the affected community’?  Or perhaps he truly aspires to the entrepreneurial skills and tireless efforts of business gurus like A Pimp Named Slickback?
       
      “Did you know that at least 75% of bitches suffer from some kind of hearing loss? This alarming statistic means that, more likely than not, talking is not the most effective way to communicate with a bitch. That’s when you have to hit her.”

    200. Keef says:

      @cameronB
       
      was that last bit a quote by someone, or a an attempt at a very poor taste joke?

    201. The Flamster says:

      Did anyone see Nichola on BBC England this morning. Internviewed by Charlie Stayt – All about the conference and the referendum very good.

    202. Another London Dividend says:

      Marcia
      Peter Murrell has given the following figures for the Conference starting tomorrow: 53 diplomats, 163 observers, 203 media, 57 exhibitions, 44 fringe events, 1,300 delegates and visitors:
      But still no live BBC coverage on BBC2 of speeches from Scotland’s Finance Minister or Deputy First Minster in charge of Referendum the biggest political story in the UK over the next 12 months whereas we in Scotland were subjected to wall to wall coverage of the UK parties conferences.
      It would do the rest of the UK some good to hear the alternative to the Daily Mail / Daily Express/ Daily Telegraph’s take on independence.
      We get plenty of Westminster V Scotland comments on UK “national” TV political programmes but yet again another democratic deficit for Scotland under the UK control of broadcasting.
       

    203. faolie says:

      @flamster, I did see it. Toy town stuff tho. ‘Can you guarantee the people of Scotland that they’ll be able to use the pound after independence’? SWAT! Of course we will. It’s Scotland’s pound too etc. And that was pretty much that. Usual slant towards scariness swatted away by Nicola. They’re going to have to do better than that. Pretty much the same on R4 Today. SWAT!

    204. Robert Kerr says:

      Please advise which TV stations are in place at the SNP conference. The lack of BBC live coverage should be noted to the foreign observers and diplomats. No live coverage permits some serious editing of the news. BBC trust is at stake. We know they lie and slant things. Time the world did to.

    205. Linda's Back says:

      Nicola did very well with James Naughtie’s first assault on independence on Radio Scotland GMS this morning.
      When will the MSM / BBC refer to the yes side by its proper title Yes Scotland whereas they always deferentially refer to the NO anti Scottish independence side as Better Together?
      Its time we portrayed the referendum as Scotland V Westminster.
       
       

    206. CameronB says:

      @ Keef
      was that last bit a quote by someone, or a an attempt at a very poor taste joke?
       
      Both. It is a quote from a satirical character called A Pimp Named Slickback, a stereotype of a ’70s ‘pimp’. Perhaps in poor taste, but I kind of thought it appropriate.
       
      I think the current constitutional arrangement can be viewed pretty much as Scotland being an employee of ‘A Pimp Named Slickback’*, though perhaps that is foolishly promoting Owen Paterson to the position of someone who represents the British state.
       
      * Any attempts to abbreviate the name should be strongly discouraged. You wouldn’t muck about with Atribenamedquest, now would you? 🙂

    207. desimond says:

      Enjoyed John Swinnies chat with Gordon Brewer last night. It was soon clear Brewer had a “So your the Nationalising Nationalist party” speel ready but Swinnie kept his cool and calmly repeated the Government would do all it could to help both sides see sense while also confiming that INEOS have commitments regards Fuel supplies being met.

      A calm, level headed senior politician who discusses the facts and implications without resorting to name throwing or blame casting, Scottish Labour, Cons and Lib Dems, please take notice!

    208. gordoz says:

      O/T Rev / Scottish skier – on survey material ; have you checked this out ?
       
      http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/8191-unionist-potemkin-edifice-crumbling-to-dust
       

    209. MajorBloodnok says:

      O/T – I saw this article from Alan Massie (via Peter Bell’s site) entitled “Gaelic will only be a hobby langauge”, celebrating the decline and (he hopes) rapid demise of the Gaelic language.
       
      My first (any only (rational)) thought before moving on was that an article entitled “The Conservatives will only be a hobby party” was more appropriate, as there are likely more Gaelic speakers than Tories in Scotland now (quite right).

    210. Ken500 says:

      City of London Financial sector worth £35Billion? Tax evasion. Corp Tax 18/20%. Total tax lost revenues (18/20%) to UK Exchequer – £7Billion+++

    211. Ken500 says:

      Monies to ALBA broadcasting services could be used for a proper comprehensive New Service. Much needed and appreciated. Any investment in ALBA is an investment in the Scottish economy. Do not trust any Hacks word, realise bias stance.

    212. Ken500 says:

      The Union worker at INEOS was allegedly breaking company policy by using their e-mail system for Party Political purposes. Sending out Labour Party political propaganda. A dismissal offence in any Company Legally with not a leg to stand on. Instead of going to a Tribunal, the Union officials decide to threaten strike action, without any legitimate grievance, and shut down the Plant, to threaten the whole Scottish/UK economy.

    213. seoc says:

      When the history of this struggle for Independence for the Scottish People comes to be written, the forces that were ranged against them will make any Goliath seem like a damp squib.

      Self-interest, political and financial dishonesty of monumental dimensions, wholesale deceit rising in desperation to blatant lie-mongering, manipulation of public servants, corruption of the worst kinds – as panic-stricken Unionists flounder against the truth of it all.

      The once respected news media are now prostitutes of their trade prepared to say and do whatever pays best.

      How will we explain it all to our children? 

    214. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “as there are likely more Gaelic speakers than Tories in Scotland now”

      Not yet. Gaelic speakers (2011 census) 58,000:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-24281487

      Tory voters (2011 Holyrood election) 260,000 or so:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Parliament_general_election,_2011

    215. MajorBloodnok says:

      I think it’s something to aim for though 🙂

    216. sneddon says:

      Major – Damn right! But also what type of person would have being a tory club member as hobby known?  It’s like admitting to using labrador puppies as toilet roll! 🙂

    217. Jim says:

      Brilliant Post Scott.
      So many of those nuggets are frustratingly embedded in the mind, and its great to see it all put together in such an orderly fashion. 

    218. Davo says:

      I sincerely hope that the Scots do vote to leave the union & leave ASAP , it’s about time they stood on their own feet.
       Much of the old commonwealth & empire  has gone , though perhaps  India ,Pakistan , Shri Lanka & large parts of Africa are not the best independence models to follow
      That thing about being sold out by their leaders into  joining the Union when they were starving is long past  . 
      They should have had enough time to get their act together.
      So long as they don’t ask to come back if it turns sour and yer wee boy Salmond hasn’t sold you guys out yet again (  whilst on his ego trip )  ..

    219. Doug Daniel says:

      Oh don’t you worry Davo, we’ll not be asking to come back. No other country which has gotten released from the grip of London rule has come crawling back, and Scotland is not about to be the first.

    220. HandandShrimp says:

      Davo
       
      Your post is a milder form of a long line in the Dirty Den style…
       
      “Go on then, leave you slag, you are nothing without me, nothing you hear, and don’t come crawling back to me neither….”
       
      We get this a lot, it cuts little ice with the Yes side but the Better Together adherents seem to get a wee buzz from it.

    221. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Davo
       
      WOW! That is some guff you have crammed into one little comment:
       
      1) Scotland already stands on its own two feet. We contribute 9.9% of UK tax receipts from only 8.3% of the population.
       
      Even if you take oil and gas out of the equation we still have a GDP of 99% of the UK average and we have a lower deficit than most western countries at present (far lower than the UK deficit).
       
      We are the biggest exporter from the UK and prop up the Pound by stopping the balance of payments becoming an issue.
       
      2) Nice to know you think of London rule as colonial rule. And here was me thinking it was a union of equals… maybe thats the issue eh Davo? Being treated as a colonial afterthought rather than a partner.
       
      3) Other ‘independence models to follow’ include the U.S.A, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and so on… funny that you seem to look only at poor countries…
       
      4) The people of Scotland were not starving at the time of the Union. Wealthy nobles lost their money when the Darien scheme collapsed (partly due to the actions of the English parliament and the King – who was also Scotlands king). Try reading about it some time.
       
      5) Scotland will be not just viable, but a thriving north european country rich in Oil, Fish, Water, Energy, Food, and other industries such as Medical research, Medical Services, IT, Banking, Computer gaming and so on. 
       
      Its not feasible to assume that EVERY SINGLE THING in the Scottish economy will go to pot without Westminster there to guide us – unless of course you are of the opinion that Scotland is ‘too wee, too poor and too stupid’ to manage its own affairs, which to be honest is as good a reason as any to vote ‘Yes’ in order to be rid of that patronising attitude to Scotland.
       
      6) There are many more success stories who have left the bosom of the empire and I’ve yet to hear of one which wants to come back (from any of the 58 of them)
       
      7) Thank you for proving that my article has hit home with the BritNat community. If it wasn’t a worry that articles like this may alter peoples minds you would not feel the need to come onto the thread and spout rubbish.

    222. The Man in the Jar says:

      Well said Scott!
       
      Loved the article. I always enjoy your input.

    223. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @The Man in the Jar
       
      Cheers.

    224. Murray McCallum says:

      Scott Minto
      Attached article outlines EU-wide failing bank resolution process.  If the EU can agree a common structure, surely this would add further reassurance around Scottish financial institutions in the event of independence and Scotland in EU?
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-17/eu-races-for-bank-failure-deal-deadline-to-avert-quagmire.html#disqus_thread

      Ah – relates to Euro area only!!

    225. Jeannie says:

      @Davo
       
      You know what I don’t understand about folk like you, Davo?  You tell us we should stand on our own two feet and when we try to do exactly that, you then get annoyed and imply we won’t be able to stand on our own two feet.  Then you imply that Alex Salmond’s idea that we should stand on our own two feet is some kind of sell-out, when he’s doing the very thing you’ve just said you want us to do.  You’ve certainly got me confused.  Any chance you could be a little clearer as to what you actually want?

    226. Jim Slater says:

      Great article. As to the whisky industry it damned nearly died after Guinness (now Diagio) sucked it all south. It was only the independent producers who resurrected the distilleries they closed that made it into the premium product it is today. The credit is theirs and nothing to do with Westminster or the clout of the UK.



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