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Wings Over Scotland

Poor little rich country

Posted on March 09, 2013 by

We’ve just had to have a bit of a sit down after trying in vain to get our heads around the dizzying spin deployed in a story in this morning’s Herald, which appears to utilise some form of crazed Catch 22 to ensure that no matter whether an independent Scotland was stony broke or rolling in cash, it’d still end up skint.


We’ll give you a moment to guess who wrote it, and then we’re going to step through the piece line by line and see if we can figure out what sort of madness is afoot.


Warning over Scots EU costs
Magnus Gardham

SCOTLAND’S payments to the European Union could rise from £124 million to £673m under independence, official figures suggest.

They do? Which official figures are these? Where can we read them? And what exactly do you mean by “suggest”?

An independent Scotland, with oil reserves, would become the third richest country in the EU in terms of GDP per head.

That sounds like good news!

It is feared this would push up payments.

Oh. We forgot that for Scotland, uniquely, being rich is a BAD thing.

Figures in the Scottish Government’s GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues in Scotland) report estimated Scotland’s share of the UK contribution to the EU at £124m.

That would rise to £378m if an independent Scotland managed to retain a share of the UK’s existing budget rebate, worth £295m.

It would? How do we know this? Who said so? Which formula was used to calculate these figures? The use of the word “if” seems to imply the rebate would be the subject of negotiation, so how can we know before that negotiation has taken place what the possible outcomes of it would be?

If ministers failed to negotiate a rebate, the bill would rise to £673m.

See previous paragraph. But even in this worst-case scenario, an extra £500m or so frankly still seems like a bargain compared to the £4.4bn we currently pay as a subsidy to the UK for the privilege of regular Tory governments.

Many experts, including leading economist Professor John Kay, have warned an independent Scotland would have little chance of retaining a slice of the rebate.

Who else? Why would we “have little chance”? Can we have some quotes in support of this assertion? Links? Anything?

However, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted a deal to keep the discount could be struck.

It is said payments would rise as an independent Scotland, with oil reserves, would be among the wealthiest EU countries in terms of GDP per head. Only the Netherlands and Luxembourg would be better off.

So… we’d be better off than the UK, then? (And even than mighty Germany.)

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “The SNP government’s own figures have laid bare the real cost of the nationalist’s independence plans. Even with the rebate an independent Scotland’s payment to the EU would triple to £378m.”

Can we assume that you can point us to a paragraph in an official Scottish Government document making this statement, Willie? Or is it another one of your “special” EU statistics like the one about 14,000 treaties needing to be negotiated, which the UK government has now disowned?

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The EU Budget for 2014-2020 was agreed by EU finance ministers (subject to European Parliament approval). Up to independence Scotland will contribute to that as part of the UK and would then negotiate with the UK an appropriate division. In 2020 all aspects will be subject to fresh negotiations.”

Short version: “everything in this Herald story is pure speculative drivel”.

Welcome to the Scottish media, folks.

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71 to “Poor little rich country”

  1. I see what has happened here. We owe readers an apology as one of our articles seems to have been inadvertantly sent to the Herald this morning. All I can say in our defence is our editor doesn’t really do mornings. Biting political satire isn’t really a morning thing. Sorry.

  2. Ray says:

    This has made me more angry than that other thing I got angry about yesterday. Shared.

  3. creag an tuirc says:

    I’m sure the real figure could be extrapolated from here

  4. Scott MacV says:

    So Scotland will now be the one of the richest countries in the EU!!
    The Unionist just seem to contradict themselves at every turn. I only hope that the general population of Scotland are smart enough to see through all the rubbish, mis-representaion, propaganda, lies and deceit that they will spew out over the next 18 months or so.

  5. Haartime says:

    Excellent deconstruction Stu. An idea – is it possible and legal for a website to cache (not sure if that’s the right term) a copy of the politics articles from the Herald and keep them for a day or two. That way we could read the cache versions and starve the Herald of traffic. I only ever read the politics section and comment pieces. 
    I know you do it for some of The Scotsman articles

  6. Indion says:

    It’s political reporting twice removed from reality in being too clever by half and too stupid in full.

  7. mato21 says:

    So now we know we are not too wee, we are not too poor we are just too stupid I suppose we are making progress
    Wullie will be all over the media giving us the benefit of his wisdom

  8. An Duine Gruamach says:

    Darling and co. may be starting to lose it.  “If you vote Yes you’d be rich!  Ha!  Didn’t think of that did you? Hahaha!  How do you like them apples?  Hahahahaha!”

  9. McHaggis says:

    A classic lesson in Scottish media headline spin.
    Taking a headline that should read – “Independent Scotland 3rd Richest in EU”, and making it – “Warning Over Scots EU Costs”…
    Given the publicity Gardham has generated over this piece (none of it good for unionists), I suspect it will quietly drop off The Herald’s online politics section fairly quickly.

  10. pa_broon says:

    Risible, how can Gardham churn out this crap and still call himself a journalist? There are good journalists desperate for jobs and the herald employ this intellectual midget.
    You couldn’t make this stuff up.
    Oh, hold on…

  11. Barontorc says:

    There can be nothing set-out for printing in the Herald – or the Scotsman – that does not follow guidelines and approval from the top-floor and since that is glaringly obvious to the ‘all and sundry’ regularly offended by such daily garbage, just where do these top-floor nutters think they are taking their businesses? The slippy surface is fast tilting to the point of no recovery.

  12. Melissa Murray says:

    I’m actually not mad about this kind of coverage, I think its funny. I challenge the person who reads this article in The Herald, and decides that for Scotland being wealthy is a bad thing.
    Okay, so no longer too poor and too wee. I suppose we may need to combat the too feart argument. 

  13. BillyBigbaws says:

    The third richest country per head in the EU?

    Good God, how awful. Surely there must be some way to prevent this?

  14. Adrian B says:

    I wonder if the Unionist scary biscuits message will be – with all that extra revenue you will need to spend it on EU membership and will not have any money left over therefor Scotland will not be richer as a country and its population will not be better off financially. Seams to me at this point in time that will be a message hammered through the press in the future.
    Anyway, we do seem to be making some further progress without the yes campaign lifting a finger. Eighteen months still to go and the Scottish Government continue to get on with the job of quietly running the country.
    Down south the liberals are in a spot of bother surrounding women in the party – What Clegg knew and his lack of apology, Huhne and his former wife speeding points fiasco. Cameron is in a spot of bother with the OBR, Osborne in EU trying to let bankers get large bonuses and all that doesn’t include Vince Cables warning on spending cuts, UKIP, immigrants, Bedroom Tax and Justin Beiber.

  15. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    This has to be the biggest faux-pas yet. 3rd richest country in the EU per GDP! I can see the unionist reponse. Well, all of the EU countries will be bankrupt, so big deal.
    Seriously, how do we get this message out to the general public? This is fechin massive! I’m not really IT literate. I really think the YES campaign should take time to consider this with all guns blazing.

  16. James Morton says:

    there is a theme here, recently read a tweet from Alan trench on Scotlands oil. It linked to this story about Canadian tar sands –

    Pretty much ran with the “relying on oil wealth can ruin you” theme disregarding countries like Norway in favour of Canadian version of stupidity fed by greed.

  17. MajorBloodnok says:

    Good old Herald – despite all the co-ordinated Unionist efforts across the press and the BBC to distort, misrepresent and obscure the facts contained with GERS this week, truth will out.  And at the end of the day the Unionist lies and scare-mongering tactics leaves them weaker.
    You’ve got to hand it to the Scottish Government – playing the long game gives people enough time to reflect on what they believe and to change their views – and it’s only going in one direction.

    Mind you I think what the Sun says and what Sky news reports are more important for the allegedly uninformed sections of the Scottish public than what the Herald, Scotsman and even Reporting Scotland are gibbering on about.

  18. Donald Kerr says:

    I still buy this paper despite threatening to stop! At least today’s letters page, as it often does, has a few good contributions.

  19. velofello says:

    But I understood that Scotland, in the event of voting Yes to independence,  would be expelled from the EU? Would need to dis-extinguish herself, and then apply for EU membership? But then that was last week.
    This week a “Top Secret” – one year old – document, sensationally leaked, is seized upon joyfully by the Unionists. Alas for the Unionists, once dissected the document indicates that Scotland will do quite nicely once independent. That the document was leaked to coincide with the GERS report caused me to ponder, surely the Scottish government are not playing the black ops game by leaving false trails?
    And, Lest We Forget: Leading up to the 2007 Hollyrood elections Wendy Alexander warned us that voting in an SNP government would make each family substantially worse off. Unfortunately I cannot recall the figure she quoted, I think it may have been £5000 per annum.And how would she have arrived at such a figure? Well her husband is Prof. Brian Ashcroft, an economist, member of the Unionist Fraser think tank.
    So we are not too poor, but potentially too rich.
    And if we are too wee geographically so too is England. And by population to wee then so too are Norway, Denmark, ireland etc etc. 
    Too stupid? Not on your Nellie Duff. Trustingly naive with regard to our Southern neighbours? Yes I’d agree there is some truth in that.
    And another Lest We Forget: Lamont, Davidson and Rennie are fighting for their jobs, not for Scotland’s interests. Obvious surely.

  20. Holebender says:

    This story sort of reminds me of people I’ve worked with in the past who would complain that it wasn’t worth working overtime because you’d end up paying more to the taxman. There’s no point being rich because you just end up paying for more stuff.
    Next time Magnus Gardham gets offered a raise I trust he’ll refuse it.

  21. I sent this to several newspapers;

    Sir,I read several newspapers per day,and the same vein is in all of them,I watch BBC news,just to add to the mix.I enjoy politics and try to watch all the political programs relating to primarily,Scotland.I do see a bias in all the media being produced in and for Scotland,and the worrying part is that a few people have the fate of the country in their hands.Some have a party political leaning and seem to follow “Their Party” no matter what the truth may be,for a few people to hold the the fate of a nation and mis-use that privilege is nothing short of madness.If you believe that only your party holds the rights to publicity and only get good publicity you cheat the people of Scotland,the recent financial statements show such disgrace to all the media.This is not about YOUR party” its about OUR country,and the greed of the few will damage the many,for the few of “The party” lose a lot of personal finance and prestige,and for them, with the help of the media are willing to sacrifice our country,and subject us all to the elite of the “square mile” they should all hold there heads in shame,for they are a disgrace to society.

    yours in disgust,Charles Patrick O’Brien

  22. Ivor HT says:

    You had me up to “for the privilege of regular Tory governments.

    Such polarised silliness (name-dropping for equality?) takes away from the fabulous piece you’ve written.
    Please stay impartial: the Libdems, Labour and the Tories have each tried to excel themselves by their level of incompetence, just as the Nats attempt now.  
    And, although much in the Herald is drivel, not quite everything.

  23. Andy Anderson says:

    It is almost beyond belief that these people can expect to entirely mislead the Scottish electorate by this flood of nonsense which attacks Scotland for being too poor      
    and then for being too rich.
    One thing is for sure we must get the clear message over to the Scottish people that we are subsidizing the UK to the tune of at least £824 for every man woman and child in Scotland each year.
    We can then leave it to the good sense of the Scottish people to see through the media nonsense and make their own assessments.

  24. Marcia says:

    The £5000 claim referred to those at the top of the Council Tax band.
    A fair assessment (but from a right wing view) penned by Peter Jones from the Scotsman of the 2007 election campaign can be had at this site:

  25. Stuart Black says:

    Just sent the below in a reply to an email from the Herald that, dut to a change of debit card, they had been unable to collect my annual on-line subscription (I know, I know).

    Dear Herald,
    I have been torn by the absolute need for a quality broadsheet in the Scottish print media and the Herald is the nearest we have – the Scotsman being beneath contempt these days – and the anger that I feel at the way your Political Editor Mr. Gardham makes no pretence of impartiality. I am perfectly happy and indeed supportive of the need for your opinion features to put forward views from both sides of what is the most important decision to be made by the people of Scotland for 300 years, and the Herald seems balanced in this respect.

    However, political features are not opinion pieces, and it is plain to anyone who follows the debate closely, from both sides I may add, that Mr. Gardham’s columns are far from impartial and, while I and others like me can look elsewhere and recognise the spin, and the choice of negative words, and all the other rhetorical tricks, many and perhaps most take these news items at face value. I feel this does a great disservice to the people who will be casting their vote on the available information.

    I do not ask that the Herald supports independence, I am not a cyber-nat, or a conspiracy theorist, just someone who cares about the importance of proper information being given to the electorate. I am happy for the government to be held to account and scrutinised, this is one of the important functions of a free press. However, the uncritical regurgitation of opposition party handouts and, dare I say, out and out lies, should have no place in an historic and respected newspaper. To cite one example, you had the grace to print a letter of mine on 11th January about the claim you reported that 19,000 jobs would be lost at Faslane, with not even a pretence of critical analysis, to which the paper printed a retraction some time later.

     A fine example is in today’s paper where a story that Scotland would be the third richest country in Europe is spun to become a scare story regarding EU costs, and is full of assertions unlinked to their sources. The recent scare story regarding the leaked report resulted in a very sensible Sun editorial (of all places) that I would really have expected to see in your paper.

    For the above reasons, I don’t feel able to continue to support the Herald financially, something I have done for over 40 years. Hence I will not be renewing my subscription.

    S Black

  26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Please stay impartial: the Libdems, Labour and the Tories have each tried to excel themselves by their level of incompetence, just as the Nats attempt now.”

    I am impartial, though. Tory governments aren’t the exclusive preserve of the Conservative Party.

  27. seoc says:

    “Scottish government’s own figures have laid bare the real cost of the nationalist’s independence plans”- Wee Wullie Rennie
    Very kind of the little chap to run a analysis of the ‘YES’  campaign for us.
    As a wee favour, how about doing the same for your ‘NO’  campaign? You know – the one that dare not speak its name? Ah, go on now, just do it.

  28. Tris says:

    “It is said payments would rise as an independent Scotland, with oil reserves, would be among the wealthiest EU countries in terms of GDP per head. Only the Netherlands and Luxembourg would be better off.”
    I’m seriously worried about the intellect of the reporters who seem to think that being the third richest country in the EU would be a terrible thing. How do the Netherlands and Luxembourg manage to pay their way?

  29. Angus McLellan says:

    As the Wikipedia article Budget of the European Union says, the EU has four sources of funding. None of them are related directly to GDP.
    Firstly, some import duties, which make up about a sixth of EU income. Unless Scotland imported more or less from outside the EU, our contribution to this part would be unchanged. No need to panic yet.
    Secondly, a share of VAT. another sixth or so of the total. Currently this is made up of the first three points of VAT collected in the UK. So long as the VAT system remained broadly similar to the way it is today – in terms of zero- or reduced-rate goods rather than the actual standard rate of VAT – that share should remain the same. Yes, the contributed amount will vary but there’s still no need to panic here either.
    The third source is things like fines, administrative charges and so on. This is about a twentieth of the total. Nothing to see here.
    Finally, and most important, is the block grant from member states, two-thirds of total revenues. Contributions here are calculated on the basis of Gross National Income, not Gross Domestic Product.
    There are three essential difference between GNI and GDP. Firstly, GNI adds in income earned abroad on Scots investments and deducts income earned by foreign investments in Scotland. Secondly, GNI doesn’t include quite the same set of taxes in its calculations. Thirdly, and probably most importantly, nobody has done an estimate of Scotland’s GNI (or GNP) yet although apparently one is now underway.
    The difference between GDP and GNI could be large or small or zero. Ireland seems to have one of the largest gaps between GDP and GNI in a developed country, with GDP in 2012 at around €160bn and GNI/GNP at €130bn. That’s the profit-shifting (i.e. corporation tax dodging) at work I believe. On the other hand, in boring Finland GDP and GNI are almost exactly equal, as is also true in Norway. Until someone does an estimate, we won’t be able to say whether Scotland comes out like Ireland with it’s 20% lower GNI, like New Zealand or Estonia with a 10% lower GNI or like Belgium and Latvia with GNI and GDP more or less equal.
    Crisis? What crisis?

  30. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Stuart Black
    Well done Stuart. I wrote to The Herald some months ago and said the same.

  31. Morag says:

    Stu actually blogged the very similar letter I sent to the Herald in November, also specifically naming Gardham as the straw that broke this camel’s back.  I sent it on paper, with an actual stamp, but got no reply.

  32. Dal Riata says:

    It’s that Gardham Style once again!
    Every time yer man comes out with pish like that I keep hearing that tune/song in my head with the word  ‘Gangnam’ changed to ‘Gardham’!

  33. Jingly Jangly says:

    RE the Herald, exactly what I and others I know think regardng Gardham,
    We have all stopped buying it, one has been buying it every day for fifty years
    and even he has given it up.
    the Herald like all newspapers are losing readers hand over ifst, they like the Scotsman
    have re classified themselves as regional papers as they dont get audited for circulation
    so often, therefore in the short term they can keep advertising income up.
    We need to let them know just in case its not deliberate editorial policy that they will lose a substantial percentage of their readership unless they move Gardhams mince to Opinion and get a fair balanced perspective on news.

  34. Hermione says:

    The “GDP fallacy” at work again.
    GDP measures the economic activity which happens in a country. GNP is the economic activity OWNED by a country.
    Usually these are more or less equal. In some cases, however, they are not: GDP can be significantly higher than GNP, e.g. in Ireland (lots of foreign-owned companies, Dell and so on), or Luxembourg (lots of activity booked through Luxembourg to benefit from low taxation, e.g. Amazon).
    It should be evident that the same would apply to Scotland. The North Sea is near 100% owned by UK or foreign companies, as indeed is the vast bulk of the onshore Scottish economy. It’s a struggle to think of large firms which the statisticians would classify as “Scottish”: SSE, RBS and Lloyds have Scottish registrations and (for the first two) HQs, but their listings and the bulk of their activity is non-Scottish.
    Which makes the trumpeting of Nat politicians about “per capita GDP” statistics risible and meaningless. Sure, if Scotland became independent tonight then per capita GDP would go up to 6th in the world or whatever it is; but none of us would be one penny “wealthier”.

  35. Juteman says:

    Hermione is such a sexy name. 😉
    I can’t help thinking you are actually Terry Kelly sitting in a cupboard. 🙁

  36. Caroline Corfield says:

    @Hermione.  I’m now quite confused. I read the above blog post, it’s about an article in a “news” paper. That “news” paper seems to support a pro-unionist stance. They mentioned that the GDP would see Scotland as a rich country. Now you seem to be suggesting this is an article written by the SNP,  ‘trumpeting’ about Scotland’s position. What is it that you’ve been reading ? 

  37. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Which makes the trumpeting of Nat politicians about “per capita GDP” statistics risible and meaningless.”

    I’m pretty sure Magnus Gardham, who was the one using the figures as an indication of Scotland’s “wealth”, isn’t a “Nat politician”.

  38. Macart says:

    So I take it that Gardham and Rennie now accept two things as immutable fact.
    Scotland will be wealthy and that EU negotiation will be favourable to acceptance of Scotland’s position. They could have cut through all the dressing and just admitted it like big boys.

  39. Simon says:

    I am really heartened to read confirmation from Magnus Gardham and the Herald, that Independent Scotland will be in the EU.

  40. macdoc says:

    Funny how GDP per capita isn’t important even though its the main indicator of wealth used by statistiacians worldwide. It isn’t perfect by any means but is a very good indicator of relative health of a nations economy. Methinks you simply dismiss it because you find it terribly upsetting that Scotland is richer per head than the UK. 
    Whats also a fact is that Scotland’s Government expenditure and revenue figures are in a far healthier position than that of the UK.
    What I think is risible is the fact that Scotland would be economically far better off as an independent country and yet the people of Scotland are continually lied to regarding our relative wealth. 
    Don’t let the door smack your ass on your way out. 

  41. MajorBloodnok says:

    So, using GDP as a measure of a country’s wealth is no longer a suitable yardstick because it makes Scotland’s economy look better than the UK’s.  The next thing you’ll be saying is that country credit ratings aren’t suitable (or important anymore). Er…
    Perhaps we should use comparators that do show Scotland in a poor light, such as % number of gingers in the gene pool, or perhaps that Scotland is thoughtlessly lagging behind the rest of the UK in the levels of income inequality or that students pay disgracefully low tuition fees for the class privilege of access to higher education?
    You know you’re only here for our headshaking amusement H, you know that don’t you?

  42. peter says:

    Can I ask if any of you paper purchasers have been offered a free Daily Record when you purchase another paper? this has happened to me three times in an RS McColl shop in the last couple of months. Why would a paper be handed out free, is it a sign of desperation on the part of the owners? I always refuse by the way!!

  43. G H Graham says:

    I said the other day that the facts no longer matter.
    Unionist know that the economic benefit of Scottish independence has been proven & sufficiently disseminated to have become generally accepted knowledge.
    Hence, they must use the only tactic left; scaremongering rubbish. The more contradictory & wild, the better.
    So I am looking forward to headlines in the coming weeks and months that will surely stun readers when they learn that …

    Tunnocks Tea Cakes will be smaller under Independence
    Scots will be prevented from watching Mary Mungo & Midge repeats when BBC TV signals north of Carlisle are blocked
    Drivers will be forced to display stickers on car windscreens when crossing into England to show that they have paid a 25 quid fee for using the M6 motorway (which we helped pay for by the way)

  44. Adrian B says:

    Herman is sm753

  45. MajorBloodnok says:

    Oh dear, you’d think he’d have more sense than to come back here with what we (and the rest of the world) know about him then.

  46. Adrian B says:

    Aye, but he has let a bit of time pass, perhaps he thought we might have forgotten about his special interest?

  47. Nikostratos says:

    Well could be much worse I mean just imagine how awful
    it would be if Scotland was
     the richest country in the EU in terms of GDP per head.
    Thank God and Westminster misrule we are not.
    and never will be why the wery idea of wealthy/
    prosperous Scots people is scary for
    Unionist challenged peoples such as meself.

  48. velofello says:

    @ G H Graham: The BBC can block their TV signals to my home asap. I do not want their product but I do believe as a European citizen I should not be forced to pay a fee to the BBC in order to watch non-BBC overseas programmes. A Human Rights issue?
    Question. Is each prisoner in HM Prisons obliged to pay the BBC license to watch TV?
    Question. If an unemployed person, or pensioner is unable to afford the license fee are they then barred from any airwaves contact from the world at large?

  49. Nikostratos says:

    Mother used to tell us about an elderly lady she knew
    who used to stick her Radio licence
    in the middle of her living room window to stop the
    radio waves affecting her brain.

  50. ianbrotherhood says:

    I take it ‘Hermione’ has form? Who is the dude?

  51. Adrian B says:

    He does indeed.

    Works in Glasgow within education – possibly a private school or University. His politics are Conservative, he was certainly a party member a year or so ago and likely still is.

    In real life I am sure that he is quite professional, he is well educated and has the capacity to think. In the virtual world he he displays characteristics that show he is used to following a script, a prepared thought process or argument [may be a teacher ] he has demonstrated the thought process whereby he has not had all the facts at hand to go to get these facts from someone likely to know them, rather than bluster through an argument.

    He popped up now and again Trolling. We had a bit of fun with him, then late one night about a year ago now if memory serves me correct – someone who works off shore and used to post comments here found ‘sm753’ on a porn blog. Links were posted, sm753 was mocked. sm753 posted a few more comments and then slipped off.

    This is his blog:

  52. David McCann says:

    Now let me get this right.  I earn £25k per annum, after tax my take home pay is approx. £21k. Im offered a cushy job at £150k, and after tax at the higher rate my take home pay is approx. £93K.
    Big question. Do I turn down the cushy job and forego the £93k? Its a no brainer!

  53. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Adrian B-
    Cheers for that. Had a look. Some interesting ‘friends’ and comments.
    Creepy, but interesting.

  54. Adrian B says:

    Creepy, but interesting. Thats very apt when you read some of his stuff. Here are his views on 16 and 17 year olds;
    As I now teach said 16 year-olds, I can say from first-hand experience that the vast bulk of them are not qualified to vote for anything.

    I suspect Fraggle Rock and the Channel Islands have rather odd age distributions – lots of retirees, few teenagers. Hardly examples.

    “If you block the referendum by legal means then as suggested by Torquil Crichton, Salmond will use it to his advantage in the 2016 election”

    No he won’t. If some Concerned Citizen were to take it to court, the UK Government would say “See? Told you so” and hold a proper, legal and decisive referendum.

    Case closed for a generation.
    January 2012

  55. Derick fae Yell says:

    What special interest that Smnutter now masquerading as Hermienutter has?
    I missed that one.  Spill!

  56. BillyBigbaws says:

    Paranoia time. Starting to wonder if this story has been specially designed so that we will post it all around the place, and then it will turn out to be the one and only story in history that the Herald loudly and publically retract on their front page, while apologising for “factual inaccuracies.”

    ‘Cos like Angus McLellan says, the EU doesn’t use GDP per capita to determine how much a country should pay in, which seems to be the idea the whole article’s based on.

    We must be wary of Greeks bearing gifts. Or maybe I just need a rest. The behaviour of the media in this country can spin your brain into knots.

  57. BillyBigbaws says:

    Hermione said: “The North Sea is near 100% owned by UK or foreign companies, as indeed is the vast bulk of the onshore Scottish economy. It’s a struggle to think of large firms which the statisticians would classify as “Scottish”: SSE, RBS and Lloyds have Scottish registrations and (for the first two) HQs, but their listings and the bulk of their activity is non-Scottish.”

    So long as they are paying their taxes to a Scottish Treasury it’s all good. I know the prospect of being wealthier and more financially secure as a nation is scary, but we’ll get used to it somehow.

    GDP per capita, adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, is a standard measure for the general living standards of a country. You’re surely not going to deny that.

    When GDP per capita goes up, which you concede it will, living standards will gradually improve too, unless the Scottish government decides to spend all the extra money on nuclear weapons or aircraft carriers instead of infrastructure and investment. It’s not even complicated.

  58. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Adrian B-
    Cheers again. The plot thickens, for me anyway…
    So – if I’m not too Lambrini-befuddled – this character is a Secondary School teacher, somewhere in Glasgow, who is daft enough to surf porn-sites with the same handle he uses on ‘political’ blogs? And his judgement is that 16/17-yr olds aren’t entitled to vote?
    And he turns up here expecting anyone to take ‘him’ seriously?
    If my memory of being a teenager is at all typical, one of the things you master (steady now) is how to conceal your porn stash. The idea that a ‘teacher’ of teenagers doesn’t bother to take the simplest of precautions in that regard suggests we’re dealing with some kind of sociopath.
    I’m a fiction writer, and I’ve done some pretty way-out stories in my time, but I wouldn’t even consider using someone like that as a ‘real’ character. 
    Utterly bizarre. The idea that this character has day-to-day responsibility for children (of any age) in this country is worrying.

  59. CameronB says:

    Hi there. I’m all for protecting our children from real dangers, but I think somebody possibly needs to serve you your last Lambrini. That is pretty dangerous territory you are heading towards. The man may just be incredibly stupid, you do get some teachers who fall in to that category. I dare say that those in the teaching profession will also exhibit as many varied sexual predilictions as any other sector of society. To even hint that something untoward might be going on though, is a pretty big leap.
    Sorry, I forgot you are a fiction writer. 😉

  60. Baheid says:


    Sorry C if this is taken the wrong way but, I think ianbrothrehood  is like me, I worry that someone with his extreme right wing views is allowed to teach kids. 
    Don’t really give a eff about anyone going for porn on the internet but l draw the line at fascists fucks teaching kids. 

  61. CameronB says:

    I did miss the point then. I understand where you are coming from, but aren’t teacher’s political persuasions the same as their sexual preferences? I went to a fee paying school and was tought by a lot of teachers with far-right beliefs. Not all, but a lot of them. I think I turned out alright. Hopefully. 😉

  62. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Cameron B-
    No worries man, I’m not advocating some witch-hunt!
    I just wonder – after looking at the blog Adrian B referred me to – what motivates these people to display themselves publicly, when they must know they’re going to be found-out and get a hard time. I wasn’t a reader of WoS at the time in question, so I don’t know what unravelled at the time, what the discussion was like, how and when ‘Hermione’ (as-was) finally chucked in the towel.
    From my own experience of sexual offenders (which is, thanks be to all known gods, very limited, but other family members have suffered greatly, largely at the hands of clergy) I believe that they want attention more than they need sexual gratification. I don’t object to anyone doing what they want to, so long as they’re not hurting anyone else, but the behaviour of the character we’re discussing suggests a tendency towards ‘risk-taking’ which is, as you know, a characteristic of sexual offenders – they get off on the idea that they’re taunting, making themselves as pubic as possible whilst ‘fooling’ everyone.
    It may not appear to be directly relevant to a discussion about ‘politics’, but then again, did anyone ever believe it possible that revelations about a zany oddball called Jimmy Saville would bring the BBC to its knees? And if ‘politics’ is about the business ‘of the city’, what’s the oldest business/profession any city ever hosted?
    You’re right – it is dangerous territory. But if we’re going to get this Yes vote, and if we’re going to help make this nation independent again, we can’t be afraid of any territory, no matter how embarrassing or awkward jt may be to negotiate. We’re none of us saints, right? 
    Just to be clear – I’m not bothered that ‘Hermione’, as a teacher in a Glasgow high-school, visits porn-sites in his/her free time. I’m concerned that s/he is in a position whereby s/he can influence our children’s thoughts about their own future, and does so in a way which exposes them, not to ‘porn’, but, ultimately, to a perverted world-view as espoused via his/her own blog.
    The ‘kids’ this person teaches will know about that blog – be sure of that! They’re way ahead of us fogeys.
    Anyway, enough. Wee smiley. Nicht nicht.

  63. CameronB says:

    As I said to Baheid, I did pick you up wrong (careful now ;)). It is a tricky one though. I would only hope our independence delivers the benefits of a burgeoning economy, to improve educational standards for all. A small rich country with a highly educated population sounds good to me. Nite Nite.
    Vote Yes in 2014.

  64. ianbrotherhood says:

    PS –
    Sorry about that typo – ‘making themselves as pubic as possible’ ??!!
    The Lambrini’s finished…TFFT…(big pished smiley)

  65. DJ says:

    Lucky you ianbrotherhood, I reckon my Bordeaux has about 2 glasses left  in it. To Kenny MacKaskill and Nicola Sturgeons’ horror, when I open a bottle I finish it! However it will be the same price after minimum unit pricing takes effect.
    Notwithstanding, I did nearly choke on my breakfast at the amount of contradictions in the article referred to. Are BT really about to claim we’re uniquely too rich to be independent?

  66. Adrian B says:

    @Derick fae Yell, Ianbrotherhood and anyone else interested in sm753’s history on this site
    I found the thread that I was looking for – It was only last September – feels like it was a year ago.

    W-A-R-N-I-N-G Link contains NSFW content!

    Bill outs one of SM753’s e-mail addresses – although its still also available to read on Sm753’s own blog as well.
    Sm753 also goes under the username of ‘Captain Caveman’

  67. Stuart Black says:

    Oh, forgot to say, the money for the unpaid Herald subscription has been lobbed into the WoS fund, much better use of resources, I think.
    Interesting juxtaposition in today’s Sunday Herald, a thoughtful, balanced and sensible outline of John Swinney’s performance from Iain McWhirter, next to an intemperate, negative, and, tbph, spectacularly bonkers rant from Ken McIntosh, the kind of ‘j’accuse’ nonsense that has worked so well for BT in the past.
    I don’t need to say that there are no alternative strategies outlined in Mr. McIntosh’s diatribe, but hey, opposition’s a comfort zone for politicians without vision.

  68. K Mackay says:

    Stu, Wings is great but you need to work on attracting some better quality unitrolls, I mean Nikostratos seems properly unhinged, he just confuses me with nonsense (maybe that’s the idea I guess). And hermione/sm753…. only just learning about that saga, sounds pretty funny to be honest.
     Any chance you could catch us an intelligent or at least coherent unionist to argue with? I mean just for practice incase we ever come across one in the wild. 🙂

  69. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Not that it’s a foolproof indicator, and the styles are pretty similar, but Hermione’s IP address is completely dissimilar to sm753’s, and I’m pretty sure neither of them is Captain Caveman. Pitchforks down, folks.

  70. Angus McPhee says:

    May I suggest that there is more mileage in writing to the papers advertisers telling them you will no longer be reading it than to the papers themselves?

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