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Sensible man talks sense

Posted on May 28, 2014 by

This is a lengthy piece of audio at 64 minutes, but we recommend it highly.


The man speaking is Neil Walsh, who’s the Pensions Officer of the Prospect trade union (scientists, engineers, professionals). The recording is of a conference call that he conducted for the union’s members this week dealing with the ramifications of independence for, funnily enough, pensions.

Prospect is a UK-wide union with a position of complete neutrality on the referendum, and no sides are taken. All you’ll hear is an Irishman with no dog in the indyref fight calmly and rationally assessing the issues from the perspective of his 140,000 members and their interests.

It may be the sanest and most reasonable thing you hear in the entire independence debate. If you’re worried about your pension, or you know someone who is, you need to listen to it, and the sooner the better.

EDIT 6 JUNE: If you can’t handle sitting through the audio, the transcript is here.

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    1. 28 05 14 11:26

      Sensible man talks sense | Scottish Independence News

    2. 31 07 15 00:23

      There is no failure except in no longer trying | A Wilderness of Peace

    52 to “Sensible man talks sense”

    1. bunter says:

      Salmond attacking the BBC again. Gloves off!

    2. X_Sticks says:


      Where is Salmond attacking?

    3. handclapping says:

      And how many “worried about my pension” will actually spend an hour finding out?

    4. Morag says:

      I’m not a member myself, but Prospect is my workplace union. Glad to hear members are being given sensible advice.

    5. Marcia says:

      I don’t think the BBC would put excerpts of this talk on their radio programmes as they are institutionally Unionist. 2 days to the start of the official campaign period. Are BT getting in as much nonsense on the electronic media as they can?

    6. bunter says:

      BBC news 24 interviewed Salmond and insisted the public service broadcaster, the BBC, must address the UK treasury being caught red handed misleading people.

      Very strong performance by Salmond trashing the treasury and Alexander and insisting the BBC must fulfil its PBS remit regards misleading Treasury document.

    7. Recently read somewhere that only 462 people own 80 per cent of all the land in Scotland.?

      Due to ConDem attacks on Welfare, it seems that an extra 3.5 million children in Scotland will fall into Child Poverty.

      Increase the Land Tax to defray Child Poverty or Nationalise all the land in Scotland.

      The average MALE life expectancy in Magrit Curran`s Glasgow East constituency = 54 years.

      Who votes for Child Poverty at one end – plus – Premature Death at the other end of Life. Evidently, they do in Glasgow East.

      Old Glasgow adage on the Labour party :-

      “KEEP `EM DUMB

    8. MajorBloodnok says:

      I’m a member of Prospect and was invited to the call – wish I’d been able to make it.

      By the way, was out canvassing in Bruntsfield (Edinburgh) for a couple of hours last night. From our small sample we had about 55% YES and there weren’t many don’t knows.

      And whilst we were walking about someone approached us to ask about pensions and we gave them an Aye Right leaflet, and directed them here for examples of letters from the DWP confirming that, yes the UK would pay your state pension if you put into it.

    9. bunter says:

      Salmond on SKY noo.

    10. Harry Scott says:

      Not listened to this yet (at work) but this prompted me to check the Prospect website and I am seriously impressed: a union which not only takes a neutral stance, but also actively seeks to encourage and support the debate by getting relevant info for it’s members directly from each campaign. The fact that this tiny union can do this so well, showing respect and support for it’s members really shows up the pitiful representations from the likes of GMB, who decided to put the weight of there huge membership behind BT without so much as a show of hands.

    11. Onwards says:

      OT, BBC independence story has some scathing comments on playing down the dodgy start-up cost figures.
      Looks like many folks are getting wise to their bias.
      If the YES campaign figures were out by a factor of 12 it would be headline news.

    12. bunter says:

      BBC editors will be hard at work carefully cutting out Salmond’s damaging contents. Hope someone will be able to save the full interview.

    13. Mary Bruce says:

      @WantanWumpum, Why does everyone think the landowners are all super-rich and can pay massive land taxes? The average farm size in Scotland is about 100 acres. If you remove the small number of super estates from the equation this means the real average small farm size is much smaller. Small farmers make something ridiculous like £12k a year. Most farmers I know are running on overdraft, grants are being cut, supermarkets are shafting the dairy farmers and it looks like the bottom is about to fall out the beef market. How much extra tax do you imagine you might be able to squeeze out of them before they go under?

    14. msean says:

      Does the treasury figures say how much RUK would save without Scotland? Just asking like,’cos I haven’t heard any being mentioned. 🙂

    15. Mary Bruce says:

      Sorry, I meant to say ave farm size in Scotland 100 hectares, not 100 acres.

    16. msean says:

      News24 just mentioned Prof.Dunleavys’ tweet re the LSE figures being quoted.Amazing,looks like the heid high yins are out to weaken the LibDems,get them to announce dodgy figures then pull the rug out from under them.

    17. Craig Brown says:

      Mary, Scotland covers over 19 million acres so a 100 acre farm won’t really come in to it, unless we’re calling the Duke of Buccleuch a farmer.

    18. Craig Brown says:

      @Mary, ah well my maths wont work now 🙂

    19. Macandroid says:

      @ Mary Bruce

      I agree it’s not the farmers who should be the target, but the estate owners who receive ridiculous grants to allow people with more money than sense to blast wee birds out of the air or pretend to be big game hunters shooting deer.

    20. heedtracker says:

      Would cross border private pension schemes work? Huge regulation controls from EU/UK but refuse pointblank to either consider, discuss or plan transitional arrangements. has done nothing to even look at what transitional arrangement in the at least possible event of Scottish independence. Unbelievable bunch of shysters

      So what next from, Treasury freak show? Oh aye here’s a pledge signing/reneging LibDem with his projectfear stuff via bettertogetherBBC.

    21. Dave McEwan Hill says:


      Front page of today’s “I” deserves massive coverage.
      “Scots mislead by Treasury on costs of separation” is the huge headline
      Can anybody do it?

    22. Muscleguy says:

      @Mary Bruce
      Yet beef prices in the supermarket are astronomical.

      The problem with many UK livestock farms, not just in Scotland is that they too small to compete in the world market.

      New Zealand farmers, apart from having much larger farms, are part of co-operatives. The dairy farmers especially. I’m not sure it is possible to be a NZ dairy farmer without a co-operative membership. Maybe some of the artisanal cheese makers.

      Some of the ‘farms’ people expect a living off in the UK, in NZ are ‘lifestyle blocks’: places for those who have jobs in town to run a few sheep or raise some dry stock. My eldest sister and her husband have one, he works in town. They have sheep, dry stock, chickens and occasionally pigs for the table. One of my nephews aged 12 makes money raising chickens in one of the sheds they have. Some chicken wire and a heat lamp is all he needs. Profit after feed and initial stock purchase are taken out makes solid pocket money. That sort of thing.

    23. Hewitt83 says:

      Massive boost to our cause today. We need to be screaming this from the rooftops.

    24. desimond says:

      Somewhere 3 sad wee scriptwriters are thinking “Damn it!” and having to come up with a new joint topic for FMQs
      other than the duly exposed LSE figures

      Somehow, Johann lamont will still work it in even its by saying something like “Sadly even now doubts continue on the costs of seperation!”

    25. David says:

      Was away last week and didn’t make the conference call, but glad that ‘my union’ is giving sensible advice.

    26. bunter says:

      The Independent has the misleading figures story too. The only place you wont get much on this story is the BBC, even then it is spun as the Scottish Gov are the accusers, not the two Profs, themselves.

      State broadcaster now running with Barclays Bank currency scare too.

    27. alexicon says:


      Sounds as though you and the team are doing sterling work there.
      Just for interest, do you have some sort of follow up team of YES ‘ambassadors’ who will go to people doors, if permission is given, to speak to the don’t knows or the soft no’s?
      Saw Danny boy on SKY news today floundering massively when he was asked some difficult questions.
      Of course the unionist lackey journalists’ (cough)Gardham, Roden, Chochrane, Taylor etc. where there in abundance asking baited question which will result in their spun newspaper headlines tomorrow.

    28. Brotyboy says:

      I’m tempted to say that Neil Walsh is wasted in the Prospect trade union, but he obviously wants to do the best he can for is members and that comes across well in the audio.

      What I mean by being ‘wasted’ is that he is one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever heard talk about pensions (and I speak as a former IFA) and he would perform in Government far better than any pensions minister in recent memory.

    29. Brotyboy says:

      * his

    30. AnneDon says:

      Imagine a regulatory framework, not in thrall to the City of London, where pension contributions could not be creamed off in charges?

      Maybe after 2016! 🙂

    31. DocFin says:

      A splendid piece by Neil Walsh. Articulate, knowledgeable and wanting to inform his members about the independence debate. No place in the BBC or MSM for him, then.

    32. No no no...Yes says:

      Never heard of the Prospect Union, but mightily impressed with their approach: providing members with information so THEY can make decisions for themselves. Wow, how novel, contrast them the Communications Workers(CWU).

      CWU general secretary Billy Hayes is vice chair of the National Policy Forum of the Labour Party. CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr serves on the Labour Party National Executive.

      This is how they ran their recent conference vote on Independence:
      Pages 21 and 24 refer.
      Motion 5 discussed first and recommends conference endorse a NO vote. If carried, then Motion 11 fails.
      Motion 11 from CWU Scotland No2 branch was due to be discussed in the next session: “Any recommendation from the CWU on whether to vote YES or NO should be left to the Scottish Branches and the Scottish members, “..this would be in line with other major Trade Unions such as UNISON and UNITE THE UNION who have left it to the Scottish Branches/ members to decide their destiny. ”

      Guess what? Motion 5 passed and Number 11 automatically failed and it was plastered all over the media that another Union had come out in favour of a NO vote!! Is it just coincidence that Hayes and Kerr are key influential Labour figures?
      What’s more important, looking after the best interests of your members that pay your wages, or endearing yourself to the Labour leadership ?

    33. chalks says:

      Things are beginning to get interesting.

      Let’s get torn into them!

    34. fairiefromtheearth says:

      O/T i must appoligise to everybody who dissagrees with me that global warming oh sorry climate change is just another way to steal monies off the peoples, no i cant south side of Glasgow today rubbish weather nothing like 20 years ago when it would be roasting, but hey WE will keep paying them global warming taxes oh sorry climate change taxes, for what another fekking scam, you see the thing about humanes they are trustworthy and gullibal, so when schicopaths try to steal off you they come out with the biggest bunch off bullshit they can and the MSM will push their agenda and brainwash you into thinking it is happening. So cheers for global warming cant afford to turn the heating on for all the fekking extras that has been put on to my meter. ive not said it in a while FOLLOW THE MONIES. if it was you or me it would be easy.

    35. No no no...Yes says:


    36. call me dave says:

      This is a diamond find.

      It lays out without any bias what every person wants /should know about their pension arrangement. It has already moved one person I sent the link to from a fearty NO to a straight YES.

    37. Barontorc says:

      As said in another blog – it looks like the loonies really are in charge of the asylum. The scenario they’re working to is that Scotland is their milch cow – happy just to eat the silage put before it and producing top grade full fat milk for their personal use. What is uncanny is how very accurate Orwell was in his visionary novels. We can be either true to that characterization – be put upon lower class beings, or toss off those ties that bind – witness the 104,000 who voted for UKIP – and take back our self-determination on 18th September. If we don’t – well, we are indeed the prole like loonie fodder we’re already seen as.

    38. Brotyboy says:

      @ fairiefromtheearth

      Not a scientist then, obviously.

    39. Scots Renewables says:

      Archived article from today’s FT :

      Data on cost of Scots government ‘misleading’

      Please pass on to undecideds, Telegraph readers etc.

    40. call me dave says:

      Heard in the car on radio 5 this morning a great discussion demolishing the figures spouted by D. Alexander. Even the ‘NO’ guest admitted that.

      As I said elsewhere, it was a funny feeling listening to both guests and the BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire being a bit muted as, in their minds eye, they saw the independence penny dropping.

      Not heard Mr Salmond or Mr Swinney yet but looking forward to it later.

    41. raineach says:

      Major Bloodnok [for we know who we are] – the Bruntsfield area should be a hard nut to crack for Yes, and in some respects harder than the leafy lanes of Morningside, so any figure near 50% is most encouraging. It compares favourably to the other Morningside and Marchmont figures, a sample of over 1000 now, with the most recent canvasses more positive than the older ones – ie, a swing. For non-Edinburgh people, that’s about 25 door knockers in one ward in Edinburgh, with possibly the lowest snp vote at 2011 [although a strong green vote in 2012]

    42. Nemo says:

      The exposition by Neil Walsh was clear and professional. In particular, regarding state pensions, the only argument against the Scottish Government’s position, which is at least as good, and usually better than what is on offer from Westminster, is “ah but could you afford it?” In other words, this is another variant of the “too poor” argument.

      Demonstrate the real wealth of Scotland (see Wings articles, Business for Scotland etc.) and there is no case to answer. State pensions will be better in an independent Scotland.

      The cross border issue was equally well dealt with by Neil, particularly his pointing out that the Westminster government was deliberately not clarifying the position in order to make political capital out of it. So if you are a member of such a scheme in Scotland. or indeed in England and Wales, you need to realise that far from acting in your interest, your government would rather make political capital out of it than seek to ensure that you would not suffer any consequences when there is a YES vote.

    43. gerry parker says:


      Aye, imagine interest free money being created by the Scottish Government and given to small farmers and fishermen who could spend it on re-creating the agriculture and fishing industry in iScotland.

    44. call me dave says:

      Here is the V. Derbyshire radio 5 live show.

      Check it out at 1hr 12mins in for about 10 mins.

      Danny boy first then a Bit from Mr Salmomd quoting the professor’s figures.

      The guests take up the story George Kerevan (yes) and Will Hutton (no) worth a listen. 🙂

    45. Thepnr says:

      Great find Rev. Not many people know that! More do now.

      @Brotyboy 11:52

      Totally agree, to sum up the whole message in a few minutes couldn’t be done better than by none other than Yew Choob.

    46. Phil Robertson says:

      I read the article on pensions in the Yes! free sheet. It is interesting to note that one reason for affording better pensions is the lower life expectancy north of the border.

      I would have hoped that an aspirational Scottish government would have made increasing that life expectancy rather than exploiting it.

    47. Croompenstein says:

      @Phil Robertson – Oh come on who is trying to exploit it? It is a well known fact that life expectancy in Scotland is lower, one of the lowest in Western Europe. No one really knows why different people have different theories but are you really saying that it’s not an issue where the UK Govt wants to raise the pension age even higher than average life expectancy in Scotland?

      here’s a link to an article in the Guardian(hope that’s unionist enough)

    48. Mark Coburn says:

      Sorry for elbowing in here folks

      My fundraiser for the local yes campaigns (a bike run from Rome to Glasgow) will end tomorrow morning at 7AM. I’m looking for a late surge. I’m sitting above £10,000 which is fantastic but would love one final punt.

      Facebook link:

      Fundraising link:

      and my speech on arrival at St Enoch Sq on Sunday evening:

      Please donate. This is for the crucial cause: the grassroots movements.

      I will be doing another one possibly in July or August.

    49. Alba4Eva says:

      Wee donation made. Brilliant effort Mark.


    50. Wifey4Indy says:

      I have listened to most of this. The talk is the the first half hour (then Q+A) but he summarises starting at about 33minutes so if you are short of time you can hopefully fast forward to 33mins and listen for about 5 minutes. He is careful to be neutral but is clearly not impressed that UK government refuses to negotiate transitional arrangements for crossborder private schemes as this would affect rUk people as well. He clearly identifies that this is to encourage people to vote NO!

    51. When Scottish socialists refuse to vote for socialism, why do they vote for the scottish labour party that bears zero resemblance to the social reform party that created the Welfare State, the N.H.S. and Nationalised the essential utilities that supply water, heat and railways.

      With every vote for labour they Betray the beliefs of their own revered forefathers whom they humiliate at every election.

      They believe in a long lost socialist Utopia that was built upon their forefathers bones.

      Destroyed, dismantled brick by brick, bone by bone, by Bliar, Brown and Darling whose turgid touch turned everything to dusty death.

      Lamont and Sarwar promise to cut funding to N.H.S.(Scotland) in 2016 – IF – we don`t stop them.
      Less consultants, less doctors, less nurses, less beds and etc. by the same labour party that placed us in poverty.

      Less police, less social workers etc. – made redundant – by screwed-up substitutes for socialists who refuse to see that they betray our forefathers.

      Depressingly, we get 140,543 U.K.I.P.voters in Scotland – and an increase in the labour party vote only last week.

      Logic has left Scotland in a London bus coloured by cynicism.

    52. For Mary Bruce

      I also got my numbers wrong. Replace 462 x Proprietors with the correct figure published in the “Sunday Herald” (page 11 on May 18th 2014) that shows:-

      “More than 80 per cent of Scottish land is privately owned, with 50 per cent owned by just 432 x Proprietors.” end quote.

      However, 100 x hectares = 247.1 x acres.

      This new map of Scotland depicts the millions of hectares of our land that is held by Absentee landlords – like Lord Astor – BamCam`s pa in law who owns most of Jura.

      Farmers get a poverty living – BECAUSE – BamCam and their ilk will always protect Astor and Buccleuch and Crown Estate where, despite massive subsidy from us, somehow, the Bedroom Tax is not applied versus Balmoral etc..

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