The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland


Return of the space monsters

Posted on February 25, 2014 by

From the Scotsman today:

Without the offshore tax revenues, an independent Scotland’s public finances would be in a far worse state than are the UK’s. The better the argument that these revenues will carry on flowing, the more credible is the Yes campaign.”

Firstly, of course, the assertion fundamentally isn’t true. We know from official figures that an independent Scotland even WITHOUT oil would have a GVA of 99% of the UK average, and an independent Scotland wouldn’t have to follow UK spending plans, like blowing public cash on a vastly inflated military. But that’s not even the point.

Because calculating Scotland’s wealth without oil makes no more sense than calculating Norway’s public finances without oil, or Saudi Arabia’s, or excluding the entire financial sector from the UK’s balance sheet. It makes no more sense than producing a set of Scottish figures without whisky exports or tourism. And it makes no more sense than pondering what the economy of the UK would look like if the country was attacked by space monsters.

One of the most insidious traits of both the UK government and the media is to constantly refer to Scotland’s economy without oil, as if there was some doubt as to who owns it. There isn’t. Oil will run out one day, of course, but it will run out whether it’s owned by the UK or Scotland, and the UK’s finances are never described in “with oil” and “without oil” variants.

(Unless, of course, it’s in the context of the hefty damage that would be done to the Treasury’s balance of payments by losing Scotland.)

Every time you hear someone talk about an independent Scotland’s finances without oil, be aware that they’re to all intents and purposes describing an alien invasion.

Print Friendly

    2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. 26 02 14 12:03

      Independence… why I have to vote Yes! | Professional Disorganisation

    2. 16 06 16 06:02

      All Unions Are Not Equal | A Wilderness of Peace

    76 to “Return of the space monsters”

    1. Dan Watt says:

      Can’t someone out there put a stop to this sort of shambolic nonsense about the state of Scotland’s public finances?

      I find it hard to believe that there is anyone in Scotland who is either prepared to believe tripe like this OR write it in the first place.

      Do vested interests really cloud peoples judgement so much?

    2. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      “Adding a geographical share of Scotland’s North Sea output increases Scottish GDP per head from 99% to about 118% of the UK average”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22607827

      Its not just GVA, its 99% of GDP per head of the UK when you include Oil in the UK figures…

    3. Desimond says:

      Arnold Schwarzenegger is to reprise his Terminator role in a a Better Together advert. Listen out for him saying “Oil be Bad!” anytime soon!

    4. scottish_skier says:

      Because calculating Scotland’s wealth without oil makes no more sense than calculating Norway’s public finances without oil…

      Does this mean I don’t really work in Scotland and it’s all an illusion?

      Wow, some trip. All seems so real. Bit like the matrix or something.

    5. liz says:

      I read a couple of remarks from LFI site and some folk would drive you nuts – Someone there said he was worried that there was ‘only’ 50 years of oil left and what would we do when it ran out.

      Are these folk scared to leave the house in the morning?

    6. jon esquierdo says:

      More shyte from the unionist media

    7. Yep – Banks are going to up sticks from a country with a £1.7+ trillion asset, a projected annual current account surplus of £15 billion, a debt to GDP ratio of 50% and a currency projected to be worth £1.20p sterling inside two years if there is no currency union.

      As a banker you would clearly see a country like an independent Scotland and its economic base a risky basket case compared to a rUK with a devaluing currency a debt to GDP ratio of 95% and an estimated £1.7 trillion debt which is still growing as we type. I mean Scotland could not expect to get anywhere rUK’s interest rates on Government borrowing of the current 2.8% …. nope; we would have to suffer the indignity of between 1.2 and 1.5% on an independent Scotland’s government borrowing … the more I read about an independent Scotland’s economy the more fearful I get for our future ….. as part of the UK’s basket case economy.

    8. Murray McCallum says:

      Without any onshore employment, an independent Scotland’s private finances would be in a far worse state than are the UK’s.

      It seems to work for public and private finances. My goodness, just how unlucky is Scotland?

    9. Davy says:

      Its funny how oil is precevied to be the be-all of Scottish finances, yet we are a country rich in food & drink products, engineering, design, manufacture, life sciences, tourism, ship building, renewable energy, computing etc.

      But no-body wants to see that, nor do they understand that the oil & gas sector is the icing on the cake. If used properly it will be the pension fund, the design fund, the manufacture fund, the education fund, it will be the core towards a successful future Scotland for the generations that will follow us.

      It will be our legacy to our children and their legacy for their kids and so on. We have been denied this opportinuity for generations through lies and decit, that is finished.

      It is now Scotlands time.

    10. I am always amazed at the amount of people who fall for the Westminster spin,how can a food rich (really rich) country have people using food banks? How can some people allow it to happen,why cant the people see through it all.I work it out like this ;if oil is $100 per barrel and gets divided by 65 =1.54,the 5 million = 100 divided by 5=20,now if the price drops by even 50% its still 50 divided by 5=10 so either we go with the “broad shoulders of the UK with deep pockets and hidden bank accounts” and get 1.54 per barrel or by ourselves and get 10 dollars per barrel,somebody can tidy it please.And add to the fact that the oil is a bonus,because we are a food exporting country net profit,and an energy rich country,and time we looked after ourselves.Thank you for your patience.

    11. Macart says:

      Yeah, that is a royal pain and a pish argument I’m heartily sick of.

      Its a Scottish resource. There is no ‘if you exclude’ or ‘when taking into consideration’. There is only resource, contribution and worth, end of.

    12. Les Wilson says:

      The Scotsman may try this line but while I have not seen today’s papers, the theme is not being pushed too much by TV and radio,so I suspect they may have concluded that yesterday’s intervention went down like a lead balloon.

      BBC tried on radio this morning, and it was between a a YES supporter ( did not catch the name) and a Mail reporter, the Yes guy took no nonsense and slayed his argument. Gary R, for BBC could not do much about it. The statement that resonated was ” the UK’s mismanagement of our oil!), it was powerful, and hard to be convincingly refuted.

      Something YES, MUST push to the hilt, for it is true, and Scots will not take kindly to that when it really sinks in.

      I would also point out McWhirter on tv last night who poured scorn on Cameron et al, coming here to preach to us, could have taken him to be a positive yes. The Record guy ( Torquil?) could make no convincing rebut of what McWhirter was saying and was forced to agree to some of his points or look foolish.

    13. Ali says:

      Pisses me off when they do this too.
      Thy don’t count Jessica Ennis’ hepathlon score without including points from the 800m.

    14. MajorBloodnok says:

      Quite a good article here showing the UK’s and Scotland’s worth with and without oil.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26326117

      The only fly in the ointment is the reliance on the OBR’s prediction that oil production will decline. Apart from that, some quite useful graphics there, especially in terms of demonstrating GDP per capita with and without oil for both the UK and Scotland.

      Would be interesting to compare and constrast that with the Norwegian sector, including the revenue they get from their oil fund.

      Also, Douglas Fraser being a doom-mongering arse on other BBC pages.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-26337438

      No explanation as to why investment might go down (volatile UK tax regime, perchance?), just desperately looking for a cloud to obscure the sliver lining.

      Truth will out Douglas, despite ye.

    15. tartanfever says:

      Banking and Finance are the industries that have proved themselves to be fruit cases- not oil. It is the City that is volatile, as clearly proved over the last 5 years.

      An interesting comparison would be to have a look at England’s finance figures (no Scotland, no oil etc) and work out the percentage that England relies on the Banks.

      I’m sure the finance industry contributes somewhere around 10% of England’s GDP, which is maybe about the same as Scotland (possibly higher even) , so given this scenario – doesn’t that just prove what a better situation Scotland is in having oil to add to our balance sheet ?

      England have nothing as significant as oil to back up city financial disasters. They are the ones with all their eggs in one basket.

    16. Senlac88 says:

      “Of course, if we compare the relative World Cup successes of England and Brazil, it is clear that, excluding 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 & 2002, England are by far the more successful of the two teams, having won 1 World Cup to Brazil’s 0 under these terms. Therefore, the ludicrous idea that Brazil is somehow a far more successful footballing nation than England is patently absurd, given that the former has never even produced a single player who could be described as world class (if you exclude Ronaldo, Pele, Careca, Leonadis, Torres, Santos, Ronaldinho, Garrincha, Zico, Socrates, etc, etc)…”

    17. Vincent McDee says:

      Less than £500m from the UK Government’s £2.6bn fund designed to spur regional economies has so far reached projects, the National Audit Office says.

      The spending watchdog found that three-quarters of the fund had not yet been spent, while the total number of jobs protected or created by the fund rose to more than 44,000 in 2012.

      http://www.nao.org.uk/report/progress-report-on-the-regional-growth-fund/

      London-centric? What a wild exageration!

    18. Helena Brown says:

      The number of those folk in England that think the only reason we Scots want our independence is all about the oil. Truth be told we always wanted our independence and the oil is just a bonus. It cannot be wished away and all those who seem to think it a) belongs to the oil companies, b) the UK own it and somehow can keep it. They are all dreaming, we no longer, thank goodness live in the freebooting 18th Century, there are laws about things now. If you really read some of the comments in the Media you would hardly believe i.

    19. HandandShrimp says:

      The 99% of GDP doesn’t even tell the whole story. The London financial market distorts the UK total and raises the average. Scotland’s 99% compares very well with just about any region of the UK. The Scotsman is simply recycling the old too wee, too poor myth without reference to the actual figures. The oil is a bonus. We could do this without oil but oil simply provides a safety net for the next generation and allow us to become an established and mature independent country and economy.

      They really are desperate to denigrate Scotland at any and every opportunity even if it means bare faced lying.

    20. G H Graham says:

      What’s the GDP of Columbia excluding heroin?

    21. Bill Bedford says:

      While I agree with everything you say, I’d just like to insert a word of caution. There are a number of oil companies exploring shale fields in the UK and continental Europe for both oil and gas. If those explorations result in similar extraction rates as in the US shale fields, then the value of Scotland’s oil reserves are likely to fall. Not only is shale oil likely to be cheaper to extract, but the costs of developing new fields in Sussex or Lancashire will be very much less than West of Shetland. Projecting the present level of Scotland’s oil revenues into the medium future may, then, be optimistic.

    22. Vincent McDee says:

      Lilico strikes again, you better brace yourselves:

      Even if English politicians were willing to compromise, the SNP appears not to grasp this difficult truth: English voters do not want Scotland to leave and, if it were to do so, would be mortally offended. Alex Salmond merrily claims that Scotland would be England’s best pal in the world after independence. I can assure him that the feeling would not be mutual. In the unlikely event that Scotland were to vote for independence, English voters would be incandescent. Their view would be that the Scots had voted for independence precisely and mainly because they hated the English. Their attitude to any suggestions of political accommodation would be: “If, after all we’ve been through together, you hate us that much that you’re off, then be gone!” No English politician could stand against the rage that would follow.

      Scotland might eventually find a friend in the European Union. But it would have to sign up for all the details of the Single European State to have any chance of getting in. There would be no Scottish rebate like the UK rebate. Instead, Scots voting for independence will be voting to pay money towards the residual UK rebate. (Scandalously, some Scots appear to have been told that Scotland would get a higher rebate than at present. No chance.) Scotland would have to join the Schengen Area and the euro. Perhaps there would be some special arrangement at the English border, but perhaps not. Some 2m UK citizens regularly crossing that border might be held up in future.

      What of Scotland’s oil and gas? For a short time that might provide some buffer. But there would be no Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund, as the SNP still implies. Instead, there would be a race to extract what they could before fracking in England (which would be accelerated by Scottish independence, to provide energy security) and elsewhere drove down oil and gas prices to a level that made the North Sea uneconomic.

      http://www.cityam.com/article/1393266139/alex-salmonds-latest-economic-claims-dont-bear-scrutiny

      Andrew Lilico claims: “Britain is a fantastic constitutional and cultural project.”

    23. heedtracker says:

      Its not just oil taxation though. Check out the new Clair field deep water production platforms west of Shetland costing over £4 billion for so far but all built by Kvaerner in Northern Norway. Why the hell are they not built in Northern Scotland by Kvaerner? When I heard the no voters cheer that oil will run out on that last vote NO BBC tv debate from the Borders, it was all rather sad really.

    24. heedtracker says:

      ” In the unlikely event that Scotland were to vote for independence, English voters would be incandescent.” England will have to deal with it. They’ll also have to deal with widespread social unrest like the last country wide mass riots because water canon and rubber bullets are not going to solve England’s frightening inequality.

    25. ronnie anderson says:

      O/T, Anne Begg MP on Daily Politic,s,ATOS want out of the contract,& that MPs dont know what the contract entail,s ( commercial confidentiality )aye and the backhander,s tae.

    26. Luigi says:

      Andrew Lilico does dot speak for the people of England, no more than Alistair Darling speaks for the people of Scotland. Lilico may not be able to forgive Scotland for a long time (if ever), but many sensible people in England are already saying, with increasing volume:

      “Go for it, Scotland!”.

    27. Patrician says:

      Just remember when you are pulled into any argument about whether Scotland’s economy is viable with regards to GERs figures. There are 2 assumptions in their argument:

      1) GERS covers the total Scottish economy. The reality is no one really knows what how much the Scottish economy is worth but I would suggest it is substantially larger than it is credited in GERS.

      2) Spending will stay the same in an independent Scotland as it is currently in the UK. I think we all know the answer to that one.

      If you argue about the economics of an independent Scotland, challenge these assumptions first.

    28. Alfresco Dent says:

      Are they not just planning to steal our oil?

    29. Papadox says:

      Daily politics Gryf Rhys Jones pushing the BT message to great amusement and excitement from Jo Coburn, and some cheering from welsh health minister. Pure set up and propaganda. How childish, immature and cheap.

      “BBC STRIVES TO BE FAIR AND BALANCED”

    30. Gillie says:

      David Cameron’s visit yesterday to talk up North Sea oil and gas exploration, it’s reserves and revenues has blown a big hole in the media’s narrative about Scotland’s finances.

      The North Sea has a very bright future over the next few decades. That prospect transforms the arguments about independence. It still is Scotland’s oil, and will be for the next 40 to 60 years.

    31. Angus McLellan says:

      @Scott: If you’re using ONS numbers then it is GVA rather than GDP. GDP should really only be calculated at “state” level (UK, US, Canada), although estimates for “regions” are possible. But they are estimates, because “regions” always import government services from the “state” level and there are nearly always subsidies and/or equalization payments running in both directions.

    32. Desimond says:

      @Vincent McDee

      Cheers for that Vincent, that’s me a confirmed NO now 🙂

      I laughed out loud when i read that CITY AM piece..Lilico looks a bit like Johnny Lee Miller in his photo…the same Johnny Lee Miller who recently played Frankenstein and his Monster of course.

      I liked this take on CITY AM and its lobbyist roots :

      http://alexandermilne.co.uk/articles/city-am-and-the-taxpayers-alliance-upholding-family-values/

    33. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Mad Jock McMad

      The responses to scare stories about Scotland’s likely borrowing costs tend to run along lines like “Scotland will be a developed, stable nation so why would bond markets be worried? We’ll be able to borrow. Interest rates wouldn’t be high”. This is true but misses two important points.

      Government borrowing is put in place to fund, or appear to fund, the combination of external deficit and private sector net saving. Will Scotland have an external deficit? I’m having trouble getting a detailed picture of Scottish finances, since some of what’s needed is subsumed in UK figures. It’s clear though that Scotland will run an external surplus, at some level.

      So, given what government borrowing is for, if Scotland’s external surplus matches or exceeds its private sector net saving it will run no government deficit. It will not need to issue any debt at all*. No borrowing, no matter what currency is being used.

      The other point, which I’ve made several times, is that nations which have their own currency don’t need to borrow anyway. The ‘borrowing’ they engage in is a fiction; a relic of the gold standard. You cannot be put in a position of needing to borrow something which only you can create.

      The argument from mainstream economists is that without bond issuance the level of reserves increases — true — and therefore inflation increases as well — false. We know the second part is false from decades of evidence in countries all over the world.

      All the talk from Westminster and its friends about Scottish government deficits and debt is nothing but an attempt to instil fear. Provided Scotland has an external surplus that matches net saving and/or its own currency there is zero substance to it. Even to the level of “how would bond markets feel”.

      * When Australia ran a government surplus in the 90s the financial sector there insisted that the government issue debt anyway, because the leeches wanted the guaranteed interest income. The answer to that is don’t elect spineless governments.

    34. Desimond says:

      @Patrician

      I got to discuss the “Note that they always say “at current spending levels” issue while discussing Independence with a concerned shop trader the other day. After debunking this and the usual “Its not their pound” nonsense, I noted down Wings and BusinessforScotland sites for her and she was “looking forward to hearing the REAL facts as the media dont seem to give u any!”

      It gave me one warm and fuzzy feeling inside!

    35. balgayboy says:

      I thought that Andrew Lilco was an economist! now he’s a expert on how a population will think/react.

      All sounds like he’s a bit dubious and looking for some acknowledgement from his masters.

    36. Luigi says:

      The grey vote was always going to be our Achilles heal (no offence to our senior independenistas)! Pensioners will, as they usually do, turn out in huge numbers, and many still believe what the BBC tells them. We certainly do need to speak to our grannies and grandads, but many fear change.

      Fortunately, this time, YES may be compensated by the huge numbers of disenfranchised people, who hardly ever vote but are intending to vote in the referendum. Most of these people will vote yes. It is up to us to encourage these people to make sure they are registered and make the effort to vote. Hopefully, the grey vote advantage that the NO campaign enjoys will be neutralised.

    37. Pin says:

      OT but there’s an interesting feature on the BBC website just now about marginal election seats.

      There are 194 in the UK (30% of all UK seats). 10 of them are in Scotland (1.5% of total, 17% of all Scottish seats).

      When I read through the 3 main parties’ targets, I could only see one in Scotland.

      To me it’s perfectly understandable why UK parties would ignore Scotland and concentrate the appeal to the rUK.

      I also suspect that we will continue to be ignored in UK elections whichever way the referendum goes

    38. Alt Clut says:

      Vincent McDee may WISH that English voters will turn into an Orc horde and throw themselves on our throats but many actually understand what we are doing by seeking independence. Did they grind the bones of Ireland,India or a whole host of others after independence – of course not.

      The old bogey man of Schengen and the Euro is a dead duck Vincent – give it up.

      Perhaps rather than an hysterical fantasy of the future it might be better to start thinking about WHY “after all we have been through together” so many people in Scotland want to be without the union.

      In simple terms it is uneven and getting more so.

      Bankers bonuses co-exist with food banks;
      illegal invasions are launched;
      UKIP rises;
      our ‘defence’ is based on weapons of mass destruction;
      energy companies fix their so called’markets;
      the health service is strangled and privatised;
      the Labour Party snivels about details and opposes nothing;
      etc,etc,etc.
      This is all so obvious I’m going to stop.A majority of us , in this small country, don’t think like that. Open your ears Vincent – WE DON’T WANT TO BE ANY PART OF IT !

    39. Gillie says:

      No. 10 Press Release, “Oil & gas industry is the powerhouse of the UK economy”

      As I said Cameron has blown a big hole in the media’s narrative about Scotland’s finances.

      Oil and Gas is crucial to the UK economy but for Scotland it is a bonus.

    40. Papadox says:

      @Luigi says:

      As a very old grey yes voter and always have been I couldn’t agree more with you luigi. The main delinquent here is the EBC (STRIVES TO BE FAIR AND BALANCED) aye they’ve got a chip on both shoulders. The old dingbats remember the EMPIRE! God help us they canna remember whit they HUD fur their dinner.

      I’m ashamed o a lot of them, gi me strength YES!

    41. Vincent McDee says:

      Even during election landslides at Westmisnter, 70% of seats do not change hands.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25949029

      At the May 2015 general election, the Conservatives need a uniform swing of 2% in order to win the 20 extra seats they require to govern on their own.

      In its turn, Labour needs a uniform swing of 5% to gain the 68 seats it requires to win its own outright majority. Broadly speaking, this means that the Conservatives need to win seats from other parties with majorities up to 4%; and Labour has the tougher challenge of gaining seats with majorities of up to 10%

      It puts enfranchise in a very interesting dimension, doesn’t it? Must be the 6th or maybe the 7th.

    42. Conan_the_Librarian says:

      @Desimond

      Kudos.

    43. Gray says:

      @MajorBloodnok

      I note they didn’t offer a disposable income figure with and without oil, but extrapolating their figures it seems to suggest that Scots will benefit by a per capita £5,853 bonus from having that awful stuff that’s going to run out any-time soon in our waters.

    44. Morag says:

      I’m not sure what time of day it was, could have been yesterday morning, and someone from the SNP or BFS was patiently explaining to a BBC presenter what an oil fund was for. To smooth out the inevitable fluctuations in oil revenues. Save during the good years and have money to make up the deficit in the lean years.

      The presenter started yelling about what if the oil revenues fell before the fund had grown to a reasonable level. I can’t remember what the answer was but it was something sensible. The presenter then literally yelled at the interviewee, well what if the oil price crashed in the very first year of an independent Scotland? What would you do THEN, eh?

      It really was space monsters territory. And you could practically see the presenter’s finger jabbing at the hapless interviewee. Shocking stuff. I mean, what if the Fimbulwinter arrived that year?

      I think it might have been yesterday morning? GMS? Would that have been Gary? It’s kind of in my mind it could have been Gavin Esler. For God’s sake how do you tell the difference, they’re like clones.

    45. kalmar says:

      Damned if you do, dammed if you don’t though – point out that there will obviously be oil revenues you nitwit and they go to argument B – “ahhh but oil will run out / is volatile / creates an unstable petro-currency”.

      I’d really welcome a statement from the SNP saying they wouldn’t accelerate extraction, that they would set up a fund, etc. That would be a welcome alternative to Cameron’s “Drill baby drill” message, i.e. scoop as much out as we can as that HS2 has to be paid for somehow.

    46. MajorBloodnok says:

      @Gray

      Whit a burden, how will we cope?!

    47. Vincent McDee says:

      @altclut

      I’m truly sorry to have caused you concern. Maybe you missed my first line.

    48. Gillie says:

      Malcolm Webb, the chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, ‘The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry is the country’s largest industrial investor, paying more tax into the Exchequer than any other sector.’

      You can see why the UK government wants to steal our oil.

    49. Papadox says:

      The EBC is obviously coaching their top drawer news presenters with the BT HMG party line. They are given the BT script and told to sell it through fear and terror of the world could end if Scotland tried to go on its own. Tell them too wee, stupid, poor with a wee smirk!

      As I point out often the BBC “STRIVES TO BE FAIR AND BALANCED” what a bunch of con artists and liars. They don’t even get a red face, scum!

    50. Johnny come lately says:

      Don’t write off the grey vote just yet, you may be surprised. The better informed are getting the word to parents and grandparents alike, on the ground there is Yes, who are doing a sterling job, Converts are spreading the message to work colleagues, friends and family alike. Sites like these are having a large impact even if the word is reaching the grey vote at a slower rate and in a more fragmented way.
      The polls are narrowing and the SG hasn’t even lifted a finger yet. Plus the vote is being held at a time when many pensioners take their holidays. And I have heard that the SG is also talking about making blue rinses free after independence. All the above put together will help prevent the buggers voting No.

    51. theycan'tbeseriuos says:

      Better dirt poor and free than watch your birth right being squandered by a foriegn power.

    52. Brian Powell says:

      There is the BBC training film for their journalists, with Stephanie Flanders, in which she says to report Independence the oil revenues should always be treated as separate to make the figures look less favourable. The other films had Nick Robinsom, Brian Taylor and Andrew Neil on different ways of reporting against Independence, or more particularly Alex Salmond.

      I haven’t the links now, but first saw them on Newsnet Scotland. Perhaps somebody here has the links available.

    53. Dcanmore says:

      ‘it’s all about the oil’ … is the line being sold down here in the SE. One newspaper ‘i’ has went with the front page ‘Battle of the North Sea’. Newspapers don’t report the news any more, they invent it! Of course the angle is it’s Britain’s oil and Alex Salmond wants to take away from you.

    54. Les Wilson says:

      For sure Westminster has shot itself in the foot, by making public how much money they expect to come from our oilfields. Supplementing that with telling us that once more, we are too poor, too wee, and incapable of looking after our own resources.

      We are canny Scots, and viewing the last statement, will say aye! get to F***!

    55. MajorBloodnok says:

      @Dcanmore

      I had a look at the “i” in the coffee shop today. Even they couldn’t spin it negatively for Scotland – Cameron definately came off worst, they even quoted a NE ‘no voter’ saying that Cameron’s visit wasn’t a help.

    56. Ian MacDonald says:

      What I don’t get is how Scotland’s finances are talked about in terms of what legally is UK taxation, but London’s are never talked about in these terms. If income tax and oil revenue are UK taxation, then so are income tax and financial sector revenues in London. If you make a level playing field like that, then NOBODY is “subsidised” or “subsidising”, there is only a discussion about where public expenditure is greatest. And the answer to that question is… LONDON.

    57. John Roland says:

      Westminster in Edinburgh! This reflects the importance of Scotland in the Union.

      Yes is opportunity of a life time.

    58. Alt Clut says:

      The fault is mine Vincent – my apologies.

    59. Appleby says:

      I take it that the UK figures we are comparing “Scotland without oil” actually include the oil too? That would make Scotland’s position even rosier by comparison. And that doesn’t even touch on more even distribution of wealth and proper invesment and development of economy in future.

    60. Cyberniall says:

      Speaking of aliens, if you stacked the UK debt in pound coins, edge to edge, it would reach Mars. Just a thought…

    61. Fuzzy says:

      A link to an eye opening post by a reader of the Daily Telegraph, highlighted in a comment under The Scotsman article discussed here.

      http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/02/3017/2

    62. wingman 2020 says:

      OT

      I got a new haircut – very happy

      I converted my hairdresser and two others – extremely happy.

      Moral is… everyone go and get your hair cut! 🙂

    63. Andrew Morton says:

      Does anyone other than BT astroturfers read the Scotsman anymore? I certainly don’t.

    64. wingman 2020 says:

      @Andrew Morton Funnily enough, I read it in the hairdressers today. Letters section was interesting. Good points getting made about ‘two years of oil is running out’ NOW ‘Oil is great but only with UK’

      This has upset people.

    65. wingman 2020 says:

      We need a campaign

      ‘Granny vote YES, for my future… I want Scotland to rise’

      “Granda a YES vote is a vote for the future, Scotland’s future, my future’

      I am sure a shit hot young marketing person could do a better job… but you get the idea. 🙂

    66. geeo says:

      This idea of excluding certain stuff is a game changer for me, I am normally 47 but due to excluding a few events in my life I am now single, child free and happy!

      Vote No for time travel !!!!

    67. Ian Mor says:

      With reference to Fracking and its impact on oil; It should be remembered that Scotland also has reserves. Whether or not that is a route to go down is another argument.

      The latest story in fossil fuels is ‘Underground Coal Gasification’ Currently, there are several projects worldwide either in pilot phase, proposed or currently running. Including proposals to produce off the N.East of England. Basically the UK, currently has committed to Fracking and UCG as well as New Nuclear. To my mind the scenario of no North Sea Oil is already being prepared for. Of course, Scotland also has this potential… I wonder how much? On past form, probably massive reserves. I wonder if that would be another asset stripped in the future if Scotland votes ‘No’?

      There is a good article in New Scientist last week (Subscription required for full article at this link)

      http://tinyurl.com/przx7wv

      Or see this article from the Government Coal Authority

      http://tinyurl.com/pl2c268

      Finally, from ‘Frack-off.org

      http://tinyurl.com/q57mml5

    68. geeo says:

      With potentially massive reserves of oil and gas currently blocked for extraction by the nukes at Faslane (sure I read that on here somewhere) is it possible Cameron has a cunning plan?

      Could this long term plan be to finish draining the east coast fields, move trident’s expensive replacement away from Faslane then get the oil out the west coast oil and gas fields?

      Even if this is a wee bit fanciful, why give them the option, vote Yes!!

    69. CarolineCorfield says:

      With respect to coal gasification, a lot of the north east coast of the UK’s coal is now under the North Sea in seams which in some cases are flooded as a result of the miners strike and a management decision not to let the pumps be maintained, at the time I thought it was to secure the reserves against a time when the price of coal would make it viable again, however I’ve not seen anything about how to get it out of flooded mines yet.

      Although fracking is not very green, burning coal, either after gasification or otherwise is the worst scenario for global warming, there have been articles in the New Scientist with the prediction of temperature rise should countries go back to coal in response to oil and gas reserve depletion and they’re not good for sea level rises.

      Personally I think that Cameron sees fracking as his saviour, he is quite happy to let Scotland go, I’m with Scottish skier on this one, I can’t believe they are so crap that they think what they are doing will increase a No vote, I think they are doing it deliberately to get a Yes vote, and that is because it will throw the Labour party into disarray and demoralise them for years. The Labour party in England and Wales will emerge, as Milliband has suggested already, as something totally different to the Labour party of the Clause Four constitution.

      In the meantime the Conservatives will have wrought the rUK into a mirror of the US, on behalf of their buddies in the corporations of the world, they don’t care even that a small neighbouring country will have managed to create a successful economy from a range of industries and be providing a equal and caring environment for all it’s citizens. It will not be possible the citizens of the rUK will be told, to replicate this, they will be told they are too big, too rich and too clever to do this.

    70. lumatrix says:

      Please try to stop using this phrase ‘The oil will run out some day of course’ There is no ‘of course’ at all. Contrariwise almost all critical human resources are becoming MORE plentiful and easier to find and extract. Also what on earth did we do when the whale oil ran out? Clue – it did not – we found an alternative. It is very likely that the same thing will happen with BigOil. It will become BigHydrogen or BigSolar and possibly never run out.

    71. Aidan says:

      @Morag
      Yes, I heard that as well yesterday morning. What if the oil price crashes in the FIRST YEAR of an independent Scotland??? I’m pretty sure it was Gary Robertson.

      I have to admit I was laughing at that one. This evening, though, I was yelling at Newsdrive while driving home. I don’t normally bellow at the top of my lungs at people on the radio – I know they can’t hear me – but this one was special.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03vd36y

      If you go in at 39 minutes 35 seconds, you’ll hear the phrase “RESOURCE CURSE” and yes, they mean the oil.

      The item arrives at 41 minutes 3 seconds and they proceed to explain how natural resources can be curse. The problem is sometimes referred to as ‘Dutch Disease’ (apparently).

      A Dutch academic – who happens to be a Professor of Economics at Oxford University and also happened to be available to comment – comes on to talk about the problem. There’s a lot of sense in it but the failure to contextualise what is said in terms of the current debate – indeed, the attempt to ‘scarify’ it – is just an absurdity.

      The Netherlands blew the windfall it got from natural gas on a generous enlargement of the welfare state. From the sound of it, they were basically just giving it away to anyone who wanted a handout.

      If the oil is not properly managed – if it gets spent rather than saved – we end up with a high-priced currency, manufacturing gets hammered and there is no growth. The conclusion was that the one thing you really have to do if you want to avoid the curse (“the best thing, the golden way of doing it”) is set up an oil fund, like Norway. “Like the White Paper says…” I prompted, but neither the interviewer or the interviewee responded.

      In fact, said the academic, you need to set up TWO oil funds: an intergenerational fund (for pensions, etc) and a volatility fund (to cushion against shocks) “Like the Scottish Government have said they will do!” I bellowed. I don’t know why they didn’t hear me – I’m sure I shouted loudly enough.

      I’ve never heard a better opportunity to highlight the difference between the Westminster approach – where all the money has been spent (it’s oil gone now) – and the approach an independent Scotland not only could take but the very one we WILL take with the reserves that remain.

      They’ve not only spent the several hundred billion that has come from the oil thus far but the UK Energy Secretary seems to be saying they’ll spend whatever else they get from it in the future:

      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/8785-westminster-government-says-no-to-oil-fund

    72. Alistair Gray says:

      “…the hefty damage that would be done to the Treasury’s balance of payments by losing Scotland.”

      But would there be any damage?

      I read this article today by economist Brian Ashcroft:

      http://www.scottisheconomywatch.com/brian-ashcrofts-scottish/2013/04/sterling-and-scottish-independence.html

      It appears to show that the impact of independence on rUK balance of trade would be neutral: Scotland exports to the rest of the world more than it imports, but it imports from rUK more than it exports, and the two more or less cancel each other out.

      Does anyone have any analysis of Scotland’s balance of payments? Or any reaction to Brian Ashcroft’s paper?

    73. Caroline Corfield says:

      previous comment went into moderation, think I might have mis-typed something, here it is again, apologies if it turns up.

      With respect to coal gasification, a lot of the north east coast of the UK’s coal is now under the North Sea in seams which in some cases are flooded as a result of the miners strike and a management decision not to let the pumps be maintained. At the time I thought it was to secure the reserves against a time when the price of coal would make it viable again, however I’ve not seen anything about how to get it out of flooded mines yet.

      Although fracking is not very green, burning coal, either after gasification or otherwise is the worst scenario for global warming, there have been articles in the New Scientist with the prediction of temperature rise should countries go back to coal in response to oil and gas reserve depletion and they’re not good for sea level rises.

      Personally I think that Cameron sees fracking as his saviour, he is quite happy to let Scotland go, I’m with Scottish skier on this one, I can’t believe they are so crap that they think what they are doing will increase a No vote, I think they are doing it deliberately to get a Yes vote, and that is because it will throw the Labour party into disarray and demoralise them for years. The Labour party in England and Wales will emerge, as Milliband has suggested already, as something totally different to the Labour party of the Clause Four constitution.

      In the meantime the Conservatives will have turned the rUK into a mirror of the US, on behalf of their buddies in the corporations of the world, they don’t care even that a small neighbouring country will have managed to create a successful economy from a range of industries and be providing a equal and caring environment for all it’s citizens. It will not be possible, the citizens of the rUK will be told, to replicate this, they will be told they are too big, too rich and too clever to do this.

    74. Morag says:

      I recognise the symptoms. Let me tell you about the cure. (More or less.)

      Radio 3.

      The “less” part is that Radio 3 has a news bulletin at 6 o’clock too. The rest of the time you’re reasonably safe.

      I wonder if there’s any hope of them changing their tune when the balance requirement kicks in? I doubt it. They can give equal time, but if they deferentially agree with the No people and angrily shout down the Yes people with lies, and if the presenters themselves are always talking up doom and disaster, it won’t make any difference.

      Maybe our heads really do button up the back.

    75. Morag says:

      That was to Aidan, sorry.



    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.




    ↑ Top