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Sympathy for the devil

Posted on March 12, 2014 by

We don’t say it very often, readers, but as a civilised human being with even the merest glimmer of empathy it’s hard not to feel sorry for “Better Together” sometimes. It must be absolute agony for them today, trying to talk about the slightly disappointing GERS figures without screaming “TOO WEE! TOO POOR! TOO STUPID!” at the tops of their voices, which is what they want to do so much they must be able to taste it.

blairmcdougall28

Instead of naked glee, they must do their best to fake concern, and not appear too joyful to be reporting bad news for what they insist is (proudly, of course) their nation. We don’t envy them in having to maintain two faces and lie about their true feelings, no matter how practiced at it they are. The constant vigilance must be incredibly wearing, because dishonesty is exhausting.

The only way to never be caught out, after all, is to never have to remember which lies you told yesterday and to whom. So as always, we’re just going to give you the truth.

The latest GERS figures don’t do the Yes campaign any favours, it’s true. They show that an independent Scotland, if it adopted the same spending plans as Westminster does now, would be in almost exactly as big a mess as it is now as part of the UK. Here’s what the BBC reports:

“The estimated current budget balance for Scotland’s public sector was […] a deficit of £8.6bn (5.9% of GDP) including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue.

The UK as a whole ran a current budget deficit, including all North Sea revenue, of £91.9bn (5.8% of GDP).”

That, in a nutshell, is what GERS reveals – a 0.1% difference in an independent Scotland’s notional debt compared to staying in the UK. The figures take no account of any changes that Scotland would make to its spending plans – such as immediately saving almost £1bn a year on defence – and also ignore the fact that if George Osborne and Ed Balls aren’t lying about a currency union, Scotland would halve its deficit overnight by walking away from UK debt repayments.

The figures ignore the numerous reasons for the drop in oil revenues which are the cause of the stats – most notably the fact that oil and gas tax receipts are lower because they’ve been offset by the oil companies against record high investment in the North Sea, which should bring a bounty in future years.

(Oil companies don’t invest tens of billions of pounds in anything unless they’re expecting to see a very substantial return for their money.)

Conversely, they also ignore the knock-on effect of LOWER investment in the UK sector as a result of George Osborne’s tax raid in 2011, only now filtering through to results, and of other one-off events like unexpected shutdowns and the continued closure of the Rhum oilfield as part of sanctions against Iran. (About to be reopened.)

All of this, though, misses the point if you’re the No camp and you’re desperate to talk down Scotland’s wealth. The point, they say, is that this just goes to prove what they’ve always said about oil being a volatile revenue source.

But the thing is, nobody’s ever denied for a second that oil is a volatile revenue source. It’s self-evident that it is. That, of course, is exactly why every country in the world that’s ever found meaningful amounts of oil (or other natural resources) has invested in an oil fund, or “sovereign wealth fund”, to buffer it against occasional troughs in price and production. Well, every country in the world except one, that is.

oilfunds

Can you spot the nation missing from that table, readers?

The argument that’ll be advanced by the No campaign in the next couple of days – and probably all the way to September – boils down to “We’ve mismanaged your precious resources so badly for four decades that you can’t cope with normal market fluctuations, so, um, stay with us.”

But it’s not too late for Scotland. Norway only started its oil fund 16 years ago, and it currently stands at half a TRILLION pounds. Even in one of the worst years for revenue in recent memory, today’s GERS figures note that an independent Scotland would be essentially no worse off than it is in the UK now.

It stands to reason, therefore, that in average and good years it would be billions of pounds better off, and well placed to put some money aside for a rainy day, whether that be by saving it in an oil fund or investing it in everlasting renewable energy that reduces the reliance of the Scottish economy on oil in the first place.

Alternatively, of course, we could keep sending the money to London and just trusting them to use it wisely. After all, that’s worked out brilliantly so far.

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    1. 31 08 14 04:43

      48 Lies | A Wilderness of Peace

    99 to “Sympathy for the devil”

    1. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Just out of interest what would the rUk figures look like without Scotland?

    2. Training Day says:

      Fine article, Rev, but of course the ‘official’ BT campaign won’t openly scream too wee, too poor, too stupid at us (although they might, ‘cos they usually can’t help themselves).

      No, that job will be taken up with relish by the ‘unofficial’ No campaign comprising the BBC, STV, Daily Mail, Scotsman, Herald etc. etc. There will be no reticence on the part of these organs in proclaiming Scotland a basket case incapable of manging its own affairs, no mention of the caveats and qualifications around these figures which you cite above, and no quarter given in seeking to amplify the inherent cringe of far, far too many in this country.

    3. gordoz says:

      Clinical yet again Rev. Can see why Bowie begged for Scots to stay with Britain.

      But we all know how the trustworthy press & media of ‘Scotia’ will report this for their masters at Westminster, oh and their ‘Proudscot’ buddies at British Together.

    4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Just out of interest what would the rUk figures look like without Scotland?”

      That was the first thing I thought when I looked at the bullet points -the rUK losing Scotland would make its figures worse, to the point where Scotland would be better off again. But I need to dig through the full tables and do some arithmetic.

    5. muttley79 says:

      The problem for us is that the BBC, STV, and the newspapers in Scotland, and the UK, are going to spin this as a disaster for the Yes campaign. Our problem remains the MSM. It has lost power thorough falling newspaper sales and TV and radio audience figures. However, we are still not playing on anything like an equal playing field. If there was a non biased, or even fairer MSM, then the Yes campaign would be strolling it. I am feeling a bit despondent about a Yes vote at the moment. Anyway got a counter view?

    6. Fireproofjim says:

      Thanks to Supporter for the link to Alec Salmond’s speech for the New Statesman last week.
      I have just listened to it and it is terrific – especially the question and answer session, where he pretty well convinced a group of hardened London business men and journalists to vote Yes.
      Wonderful stuff. Catch it if you can spare an hour. The Q&a starts about 35 minutes in.

    7. Clootie says:

      Oil companies do not invest unless the project returns investment outlay within THREE years. After that it is all profit post operating cost.

      Party of the investment gate review is based on an oil price much lower than current market. However the expectation in the industry is for a price rise very shortly – a sustained price rise. BT forget to tell people the price can go UP too!

      Miss this opportunity and you will be crying in your beer very shortly.

      Why do you think the push is on to get the NO vote delivered BEFORE the investment delivers increased production.
      A NO – BEFORE the Renewable energy income kicks in.

      Savings from defence to overheads such as the Lords / Scottish office etc

      The 0.1 gap is the AVERAGE UK compared to the Average Scotland. If the London bubble is removed then Scotland is well in front. It is time the “uncertainty” over the volatile money market was factored in. The EU tolerate the London HUB as a member state. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this attitude will change post a 2017 vote to leave the EU. It was this gambling which wrecked the economies of the World – but who is paying the price.

      The “Pyramid selling”/ “Casino” techniques of London are no foundation for a nation.

    8. gerry parker says:

      @training day.
      Aye, and no doubt all the usual gloom and doom btl commenters will be having a chew on it and passing it around like a penny carmel to savour.

    9. Geo says:

      Good stuff Rev.

      Some cracking links in there.

    10. Macart says:

      The biggest threat to the union is the union’s own system and ideology.

      It can’t help itself and neither can its advocates. GERS is by no means the disaster it will inevitably be painted as. Ed’s release on policy and the current policies of a resurgent Conservative party are daily carnage and worse waiting to happen, based on an economic model of their own creation.

    11. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @muttley79 says:
      I am feeling a bit despondent about a Yes vote at the moment. Anyway got a counter view?

      I have just spoken to somebody in Glasgow today who was probably a NO a couple of months ago.

      He raised the subject of the referendum today.

      He is going to vote YES now.

      He thinks, from the current views of people in his circle, that YES are definitely going to win.

    12. You and My Comb says:

      Rev stu says

      That was the first thing I thought when I looked at the bullet points -the rUK losing Scotland would make its figures worse, to the point where Scotland would be better off again. But I need to dig through the full tables and do some arithmetic.

      Would someone for Business for Scotland do it for you? Just askin

    13. MajorBloodnok says:

      @ Calgacus MacAndrews

      Was it Blair McDougall?

    14. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @muttley79 –

      Don’t know if you’ll find this cheering or not, but at last night’s SSP branch meeting in Irvine we had 16 attendees. If all of the usuals had been there we would run out of space. As it is we’re having the next branch meeting in Ayr and it looks like we’ll probably have to start up an Ayrshire South branch. (If anyone down that neck of the woods wants details, please e-mail me: ian [at] stevenston4 [dot] fsnet [dot] co [dot] uk)

      Oh, and a wee birdie told me the Yes campaign is about to open a shop (an ex-optician’s, apparently) on Irvine Main St.

    15. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @MajorBloodnok says:
      @ Calgacus MacAndrews
      Was it Blair McDougall?

      Of course not.

      It was Alistair Darling.

    16. djmac7 says:

      Between WOS and Biz for Scotland I think there’s a job to be done in publishing a revised GERS report which would exclude the disproportionate costs assigned to Scotland for Military costs compared with what the SNP say it would spend on same.

      Likewise, with Trident.

      Likewise, with debt servicing of rUK’s monstrous debt.

      Likewise, with eliminating Westminster admin costs.

      Likewise with eliminating Westminster.

    17. ross says:

      The 5.9% is in relation to the public sector; not Scotland’s economy as a whole.

      Uk 5.8%
      Scotland 8.3%

      Poor figures, but really just shows what a balls up not having an oil fund leaves you in.

    18. Susan S says:

      Maybe we make it sound like we’ll all be dripping in gold and tripping over resources on day one. I’m anticipating a bit of a struggle (and certainly with negotiations with WM) for us, and for a few years perhaps. But if we elect a good government, it’ll be do-able, and worth it.

    19. GrahamB says:

      Rev, do the revenue figures include VAT raised in Scotland but paid through company HQs in England, Wales and N.I. e.g. Tesco, Debenhams, etc?

    20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The 5.9% is in relation to the public sector; not Scotland’s economy as a whole.”

      The BBC breakdown is extremely unhelpful, not using the same terminology for any two figures. I’m not sure that your assessment is correct, though it might be.

    21. galamcennalath says:

      muttley79 says:
      If there was a non biased, or even fairer MSM, then the Yes campaign would be strolling it.

      That’s the way I feel! The hope is that grassroots/on the street campaigning plus sites like this can counter the influence of MSM bias.

    22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev, do the revenue figures include VAT raised in Scotland but paid through company HQs in England, Wales and N.I. e.g. Tesco, Debenhams, etc?”

      I believe that Scotland’s share of those is estimated in the figures.

    23. TheGreatBaldo says:

      I am feeling a bit despondent about a Yes vote at the moment. Anyway got a counter view?

      This is the arse end of BT’s Spring offensive which culminates in Labour Devo Commission.

      In effect the last few weeks have been BT’s last desperate attempt to crush the Indy movement….

      If your wanting a crap WWII analogy : The Battle of the Bulge.

      A massive all or nothing counter attack by Hitler which put the Allies on the back foot initially but came up short and in the long run actually hastened his demise.

    24. MochaChoca says:

      This tells us that even in a bad year an independent Scotland would still generate £800 more per capita than rUK to spend on it’s public services.

      Disaster eh?

    25. Marker Post says:

      I’ve often thought that people like Lamont and Gray must get upbeat when they see bad economic news for Scotland, and downbeat when they see something that might be construed as positive. It’s the nature of the No campaign.

    26. jim arnott says:

      @clootie

      I don’t talk to people any longer about the volatility of the money market. I simply talk about the “funny money” of the City of London and people seem to get it right away.

    27. Robert McDonald says:

      Anybody know if our “geographical Share” of the oil receipts they quote includes the stolen 6000 sq miles? Would it make a significant difference if it was included?

    28. muttley79 says:

      Another concern I have is that the Yes campaign appears to have difficulty in setting the political agenda. I don’t assign blame here as the MSM/No campaign are seemingly able to do this when they want, through their control of broadcasting and the media. The Yes campaign set the agenda when the White Paper was released, the independence rally last year, and the SNP conference next month should also help. In addition, obviously the grassroots effort by the Yes campaign is substantial. The problem is though it is not visible if you only watch the TV, listen to the radio, or read the newspapers.

    29. ross says:

      Unfortunately, I think the 8.3 is Scotland as a whole. You’ve also to wade through the sans geog oil gumff as well. I agree it’s poorly written.

      Second read it looks like uk 7.3 to 8.3 scotland.

      Really poorly worded article though.

    30. cynicalHighlander says:

      Back of fag pkt numbers using your figs.

      UK total rev £1584.487 bil

      Sc total rev £145.762 bil

      rUK total £1438.725 giving a reduction of c9% of revenue with only a reduction of 8.4% population making them worse off IMO.

    31. Kenny says:

      Comparing Scotland w/geographical share of oil with UK w/all the oil is silly. We need to compare Scotland w/geographical share to rUK w/geographical share. That’s the only meaningful comparison. It probably doesn’t make a huge difference to the overall figures, but if 0.1% can be painted as a disaster for Yes, it makes sense to show the real picture post-independence as well as pre-.

    32. chalks says:

      Muttley79 – You probably know this yersel, but the media can set the agenda, but the answers are provided in front of people either in front of a computer or in person, in layman’s terms by normal people….

      We’ve managed to get the vote up to at least 40%….without a compliant media, coming into the final slog, we’ll have more balanced coverage and more people taking notice of what we are saying.

      All the while the No campaign will be going tonto with their threats and bluster….which only seems to help us now….that’s if it doesn’t implode after the Labour conference.

      We will win.

    33. MochaChoca says:

      The other frightening thing that the figures show is, despite the monumental public spending cuts, somehow UK current expenditure and capital consumption is still increasing (from £665.6bn in 2011-2012 to £678.9bn in 2012-2013)

      What the heck have they been spending it on?

    34. G H Graham says:

      UK petrol price fears as Opec raises oil forecast

      Opec’s increased demand forecast could see petrol prices climb as global growth picks up.

      http://tinyurl.com/pfzepk7

      So while production volume is down to 1977 levels, it looks as if tax receipts from the North Sea may be climbing back up again.

    35. Thistle says:

      OT

      Hi people

      we are doing some crowd funding to take us up to the referendum and to go live stream 4G mobile outdoors.

      We have over 5 events and live streams in the next 3-4 weeks.

      Please do what you can.

      http://igg.me/at/indylive/x/2910307

    36. Si A says:

      More BOFP calculations:

      Sco GDP £145.8bn
      UK GDP £1,584.5bn
      (same calc as above)

      UK deficit (5.8% GDP) applied to Sco = £8.45bn
      Reduction in spending to achieve this = £145m

      Annual saving on scrapping Trident (UK level) = £1.66bn
      Sco population share (8.4%) = £140m
      (based on BASIC think tank figures)

      Essentially we could match the UK deficit simply by gettging rid of Trident…

    37. bunter says:

      A quick glance at The Heralds top stories suggests financial armageddon for Scotland.

      I thought it was normal for a country’s deficits to go up and down every year. Practically every country runs a deficit, Scotland’s just different, in that its deficit gets run up on its behalf by its neighbour.

    38. M4rkyboy says:

      That Economics degree i don’t have is causing me a headache with all these reports.

    39. colin mccartney says:

      Just listened to another “grey man” talking about when the oil would run out for an independent SCOTLAND and the disastrous outcome, but when questioned on the fact that the oil will run out at the same time if we were still part of the UK, he went strangely quiet.
      Almost as if he hadn’t actually factored that fairly basic piece of thinking into his argument?
      The Oil will run out no matter what – duh

    40. jim arnott says:

      I evaluated the Gers figures for 2011 when I decided to analyse the figures to assure myself that Scotland would indeed be wealthier as an independent nation. The figures and analysis can be found at http://www.sayyes2scotland.com

      In 2011, taking Scotland’s ex-regio geographic share of North Sea Oil out of the UK figures reduced rUK’s GDP per capita by about us$600

      My assessment only looked at GDP and not expenditure and compared Gers figures with World Bank figures and not OECD figures

      Now the 2013 figures are available I will repeat the analysis and will look at expenditure and deficits as well.

    41. Clootie says:

      We are going to win.

      However this will have been achieved via the Internet and people on the ground talking face to face.

      This campaign will take off in the last few months and the swing will be significant ( regardless of the dirty tricks). Why – because the NO team have cried “Wolf” once too often and when you lose the trust of the public it is almost impossible to recover it short term.

      See the win and believe it. It is that attitude which is killing the BT negativity.

    42. clochoderic says:

      OT

      For a bit of light relief from the dismal science here is a link to Mr. Ishmael’s take on North Britain Broon’s recent intervention:

      http://mrishmael.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/scotland-best-part-of-england-return-of.html

      NB not recommended for the easily offended.

    43. Papadox says:

      I think a lot of the population are much more aware of these reports and have a better appreciation of what these things mean and why they fluctuate. They are very aware that the EBC/MSM & HMG are mischief makers and are not to be trusted they have form and ulterior motives. A lot of people are reconnecting with politics which is good for our country and this will just push them to try and understands what it all means to the referendum.

      When you see and hear the misinformation, lies and deceit from the NO side and have your eyes and ears opened by the yes side you will not accept the rubbish we have been fed for the past decades.

      Things have changed in Scotland thanks to this campaign and unless we allow the dead hand of UK establishment to take control again, in which case the game is over. I feel Scotland is awakening from a long nightmare. YES YES YES.

    44. an_obersver says:

      Bit of a dog’s dinner this I’m afraid.

      Can’t Wings get somebody who knows this stuff to do the economic analysis?

    45. MajorBloodnok says:

      @an_observer

      Is that a technical term? Tell, you what, why don’t you have a go and we’ll comment on your analysis.

    46. HandandShrimp says:

      Economic performance and tax returns go up as well as down and such fluctuations are normal. It is a sign of considerable desperation that Better Together need to latch onto figures that are near identical to the Uk as a whole to suggest that Scotland is facing financial Armageddon. The obvious riposte is if these figures are bad then the whole UK is screwed so what does it matter if we leave.

      Of course Scotland’s figures with the oil should be compared to the Uk’s without because that is what the reality would be. The impact will be small but it would change the small deficit against the UK to a small credit.

      Now the big thing here is that seeing Douglas Fraser et al have rehabilitated GERS let’s use all the figures…the ones they used to poo poo as well as this year. This simply shows that Scotland is a viable economy. No one is saying land of milk and honey just a good solid small northern European mature and diverse economy with a solid base. The rest is up to us.

    47. scottish_skier says:

      SSAS economic prospects for an independent Scotland:

      GERS results effect 2009 = none
      GERS results effect 2011 = none
      GERS results effect 2012 = none
      GERS results effect 2013 = none

      Anyone want to bet on what the effect on polls will be this time?

    48. Iain says:

      I notice the Herald’s analysis is by Magnus Gardham. For all his expertise on economic matters, they might as well have him covering ballet as well. But I bet he dived for his keyboard, slavering, without bothering to pick up the bothersome details.

      Of course, the figures are not significant, but they are a gift for unionist commentators who can portray them as such: their reaction will be reminiscent of the way some prominent people in the Labour Party rejoiced at RBS’s downfall – ‘punching the air’ according to one observer.

    49. jim arnott says:

      @an_obersver

      Ivan McKee gave a very good presentation of the economics of independence for Scotland at the Glad Cafe meeting in Glasgow.

      The link to that presentation is:

      http://bit.ly/1fOfa5y

      I am sure that Ivan will be looking to update his presentation now that the latest Gers figures are available.

      Anyone who hasn’t watched Ivan’s presentation is missing an excellent appraisal of an independent Scotland’s economics

    50. liz says:

      Came home from work to find a letter from BT from a ‘mother’ who was voting No as the last straw was ‘we will not be able to use the £’.

      There followed a catalogue of mis-information re bank bail outs, food prices, AS tells us nothing yada, yada.

      I had to fill in my preference from Scotland should remain part of the UK to Scotland should be completely independent with a space for comments.

      It was free post but I ‘could’ put on a stamp to save them money.

      Well haud me back – I informed them that the letter was full of mis-information – provided them with all the stuff we know re bank bail outs, the use of the £, etc etc.

      Told them that under no circumstances would I vote for Scotland to be a dependency and no wonder they called themselves ‘project fear’.

      Sent off minus a stamp.

    51. HandandShrimp says:

      an oberver?

      Doh!

      I thought your name on the other thread was some sort Commando Comic German. As in obersver

      It has been a long day.

    52. Grouse Beater says:

      There is a worldwide recession; every oil producing country has reduced output.

      The objective is to own the output no matter what rates and taxes prevail.

      The entire Fear campaign is based, and will be based till the Referendum, on fiddled economics – “Scotland is far too poor to survive on its own,” the rest of falsehoods and flaky reasons are variations on that theme.

      When challenged the opposition cannot articulate why they want to keep a basket case. Can it be oil revenues?

      The USA lambasted Venezuela when Chavez planned to use oil to increase its wealth and support its neighbours by lessening their joint dependency on USA rip-off controls. The tactic here is the same.

    53. HandandShrimp says:

      Sorry Stu

      Mucked up my email address on the last two – is that repairable?

    54. an_obersver says:

      @MajorBloodnok

      I’m not on the payroll.

    55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Unfortunately, I think the 8.3 is Scotland as a whole. You’ve also to wade through the sans geog oil gumff as well. I agree it’s poorly written.
      Second read it looks like uk 7.3 to 8.3 scotland.
      Really poorly worded article though.”

      It’s very hard to make sense of the avalanche of confusing and seemingly contradictory figures. Here’s the FT, for example:

      “In its white paper last year, the Scottish government forecast a deficit of about 3.2 per cent of GDP for 2016-17, which it hopes will be the first full year of independence.

      But the UK Treasury said this week that it and other institutions, including two think-tanks and researchers at an international bank, all estimated the deficit at more than 5 per cent, a difference of more than £3bn.”

      http://archive.is/FBWeU

    56. Triangular Ears says:

      I’ve been saying for years that it’s no accident that Scotland is compared against UK figures rather than eUK figures.

      This is because the UK figures include our already better figures, therefore reducing the impact of them.

      The comparisons in GERS, before we got an SNP Government, famously excluded ALL oil revenue from Scotland, via the ex-regio territories fraud, but even worse than that, added 100% of them to the UK figures which DO include ex-regio.

      Therefore the result was that our own good figures actually worked against us in a double whammy. This is the basis of all the subsidy junkie lies over the last few decades.

      We still see this today with dishonest comparisons of “Scotland excluding oil revenue” yet the UK figures they are compared against DON’T exclude oil revenue. We see this in the media all the time.

      I once (about 10 years ago) when debating with ignorant colleagues down south deducted the oil figures from both Scottish and UK figures and was not surprised to see that Scotland was pretty much identical.

      People should always push this point that comparisons between Scotland and rUK are dishonest, because they are designed to minimise our advantage in the comparison.

    57. Triangular Ears says:

      eUK = rUK

      Dunno what eUK is. End UK?

    58. SquareHaggis says:

      Ah I see, today you’re an_OBErsver.

      Quote “I never take internet trolls seriously. It says more about you than me that that’s the best you can do. Bless.” Unquote

    59. Les Wilson says:

      I am sure Business for Scotland has already done this,it is in one of their posts on Youtube.It was Ivan speaking to an audience and showing the figures. At one point he looked at the figures and said ” we cannot afford to STAY in the union!”

    60. MajorBloodnok says:

      @an_observer

      Not on the WoS payroll, certainly.

    61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Bit of a dog’s dinner this I’m afraid.”

      You seem to have forgotten to detail the parts you object to, and complaint without criticism is generally trolling.

      Since we’re on canine metaphors, consider yourself on a short leash.

    62. M4rkyboy says:

      Is it no a wee bit convenient that one of the big campaigning points about our deficit being lower than the rUK has been spiked?

    63. SquareHaggis says:

      WOOF! WOOF! Rev. 😀

      A postIng to duggydug?

    64. M4rkyboy says:

      You should write out an analysis, observer, and educate us as to where Stu has went wrong.

    65. msean says:

      If we keep letting the uk spend on themselves on our behalf,we would deserve to be a poor country.Luckily,there is an opportunity to change this course in September and we can’t afford to miss it.

    66. Will Podmore says:

      Splitting Britain would weaken the economy and the pound. If Scotland adopted the pound without a currency and fiscal union, it would have no control over the economy. It would have no access to central bank services such as lender of last resort. This ‘sterlingisation’ would cause huge problems for Scotland’s financial services sector.

      Financial and professional companies employ 150,000 people, and comprise 13 per cent of Scotland’s economy. The sector’s financial assets are worth 12.5 times its GDP. Standard & Poor’s report stated that this financial sector would be a ‘significant contingent risk to the state’. RBS’s £45 billion bailout would have crippled a country with an annual GDP of £150 billion.

      Standard Life’s chairman said he hoped the company could continue to operate in Scotland, but “If anything were to threaten this, we will take whatever action we consider necessary – including transferring parts of our operations from Scotland – in order to ensure continuity and to protect the interests of our shareholders.”

      The Scottish government’s Fiscal Commission Working Group acknowledged that Scotland’s economy was less well aligned with the eurozone than with the rest of Britain.

      In 2012-13, Britain’s debt was 88 per cent of GDP, and the deficit was 5.2 per cent. EU convergence criteria for entering the euro are a debt of less than 60 per cent of GDP and a deficit of less than 3 per cent. Standard & Poor’s report concluded that a breakaway Scotland “would begin life with comparatively high levels of public debt, sensitivity to oil prices, and, depending on the nature of arrangements with the EU or UK, potentially limited monetary flexibility.”

    67. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Splitting Britain would weaken the economy”

      Not Scotland’s it wouldn’t.

    68. G H Graham says:

      The economic minutiae is a huge distraction & will always be spun by Unionists to our detriment regardless of the annual GERS report.

      If the numbers are good, it is so, ONLY because we are part of the Union.

      If the numbers are bad, it “proves” that Scotland is too poor, too wee, too stupid to manage itself.

      This we are told that we “need” Westminster, Whitehall & the apparatus of the Great British State to ease our way through these difficult times.

      Of course, all this is just ironic guff. Countries around the world including the UK, experience economic peaks & troughs. Presently & for some time to come, the UK is one of the most socially unequal, indebted countries in the world. London’s economy is sucking the life our of the country while it lives under the umbrella of an institutionally racist & corrupt police force.

      London’s media slakes its thirst on Westminster & Westminster dutifully obliges with personally drafted briefs & pre-engagement notifications to a select few.

      The BBC meanwhile rakes in billions using contractors to enforce an anachronistic fee collection system. Its board is made up of establishment lackies who think The Queen is what holds our society together.

      Constitutionally, there is no constitution. We live with a hodge-podge of prehistoric laws, much of it cobbled together by an aristocracy desperate to offer fealty in return for grants, favours, titles, honours & land.

      It’s political elite cling to an old order of doing things & its compliant media provides easy access to a gullible electorate, otherwise distracted by sing songs on the telly or by tabloid photos of some shapely celebrity with big tits.

      Occasionally, one or two of those elitists make a sombre appearance at a funeral or at a disaster to empathise with the common people. But nothing can inhibit them for long before speedily returning whence they came to resume the important role of speech writing or shouting meaningless sound bites at a microphone, thrust into their personal space by someone looking knowingly, from the BBC.

      I don’t want any part of this anymore. So no matter what the GERS numbers say, I’ll be voting YES in September.

    69. msean says:

      When it comes down to it,no figures from those you are trying to win your country from can be entirely trusted.

    70. msean says:

      Also,I backed Britain and it let me down.( 17:05 @ Southwell 🙂 )

    71. Malc says:

      Brian Taylor on BBC radio saying that GERS proves Scotland would have to cut spending , etc etc etc , could never stand alone blah blah. Darling claims it is a momentous point in the debate.

    72. Dcanmore says:

      Oil & Gas UK predicts that and output of two billion barrels per day will be achieved in 2017 as new fields come on tap. This will return Scottish oil field output to pre-2009 levels of production.

    73. velofello says:

      @ Will Podmore:

      Entering the euro? Eh? Which alphanumerical plan is that in the White Paper? And the obligatory timescale set by the EU to enter the euro?
      Lender of last resort, boy that’s scary – you mean simply a country’s Central Bank? Face it, is the Bank of England in any position to lend to anyone?

      Standard Life does not manufacture a product. Its earnings are gained by its employees’ expertise. Are you really advancing the notion that Standard Life will make the strategic decision to relocate a brass plate to somewhere in England and that 5000 employees will dutifully leave Edinburgh and re-locate to somewhere in England? And at what relocation cost to Standard Life? Just as you go where the fish are, similarly you go where the expertise for your business is.

      Wasn’t Standard & Poors conclusion that a triple A rating would be appropriate for an independent Scotland, and that a financial sector of 15% or more would be a concern, noting that Scotland sits below said figure?

    74. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Ian Brotherhood, re the new Irvine shop opening. Would that be an AYE shop…

    75. call me dave says:

      O/T
      Archive not available on Herald.

      EU:Herald little excerpt

      Socialist Axelle Lemaire said it was “clearly tactical” for the European Commission president to suggest it would be “difficult if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU.

      The deputy – dubbed the “MP for Paris-on-Thames” because her northern Europe constitency includes so many British-based voters – is just the latest continental politician to question Mr Barroso’s remarks, made on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show last month.

      Visiting Scotland, Ms Lemaire said: “It is extremely important to remain neutral and respect the independence debate.

      “President Barroso of the European Commission got involved in the debate and give his view on behalf of the member states, which haven’t said anything. I thought it was not correct.

      “It is clearly tactical because he wants to become secretary general of Nato and he thinks that having the support of Britain for the nomination is a good thing. I take the opposite view, which is that I should not get involved.”

      Brussels spin doctors sought to qualify Mr Barroso’s remarks almost as soon as he made them, especially his comparison of Scotland with the former Serbian province of Kosovo, which has never been recognised by anti-separatist states such as Spain or Ukraine.

    76. Dcanmore says:

      Forgive me using military vernacular (as BT love to do) but this is their Battle of the Bulge, the last stand against a creeping YES vote, they have nothing left and it was always going to come down to money, the ‘too poor’ part. The more they try to hammer it home the more the people see them putting down Scotland and her people even more aggressively. It won’t work and even more so if there’s a reasoned response from the Scottish Government and a business argument put forward by YES Scotland. All frights are flash in the pan now, yesterday’s chip paper. The NO camp’s only hope was a u-turn to a positive campaign and sustained love-bombing, they couldn’t do it because it’s not in the nature of the people that’s involved in Better Together.

    77. Arel says:

      @muttley79 says:
      I am feeling a bit despondent about a Yes vote at the moment. Anyway got a counter view?

      Was wondering around Dunblane today (I’m from West Lothian) and had my Yes Scotland badge pinned to my jacket. At least 5 locals (I assume)said in the passing that they liked my choice. Now I’m pretty certain that they weren’t referring to my trainers. Also I would describe the ones that spoke to me as being “Senior” (ie my age 59 plus). So not all doom and gloom there are still a lot of Yessers out there.

    78. mogabee says:

      So much talk of “splitting” and “breaking away” by pro-UKers.

      So, so wrong… We are going to become a real partner on these islands, instead of an afterthought!

    79. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Alan Mackintosh –

      I like it. Blinking marvellous.

    80. Ian Mor says:

      Just wanted to point out re: business relocations, that Standard Life mentioned “outwith Scotland” others have used a similar phrase.

      When did “outwith Scotland” become “into England”?
      Call me pedantic if you will, but I’m a bit Socratic with regards to statements. It certainly wasn’t the interpretation I took, I found it a most curious turn of phrasing. Most ambiguous.

    81. jingly jangly says:

      We are being ripped off again in these Gers figures, but the MSM will spin it that we are too poor.

      Without even a close look at the Gers figures, I can see a billion pounds where we have been overcharged. We got charged 4.02 billion interest which was a 1/12th of the UK Interest of just over 51 billion, however the UK don’t pay 51 Billion as 25% of the UK debt is owned by the BOE, they gave the UK Govt all the interest they charged back the other year and don’t charge it now.

      Therefore with “our” share of the uk debt interest payment we should be paying 3.15 billion per year. plus we should have got 4 billion back as it was not credited to us before, plus the 1 billion this year, which saves us 5 billion – Simples

      Now I have not even checked if we still pay 100% of the Royal Protection in Scotland and 8.3% of it in the UK and if we still pay 8.3% of all the English/Welsh Prison/Courts.

    82. Jamie Arriere says:

      My main thought at this moment are that these figures today are a complete indictment of Westminster’s mismanagement of the economy, even now six years after the financial crisis, and with London supposedly firing on all cylinders.

      It’s going to be tough, but we cannot do worse. I am voting Yes for that reason alone.

    83. Rab c says:

      Why are we charged 4.2 billion debt interest when B of E don’t charge interest on 25 o/o of debt held by them? Another 1.05 billion pound scam

    84. Lynn Anderson says:

      Hi, sorry if this has already been asked, but I note that the BBC quote in the article shows the figures for Scotland as having an “illustrated geographic” share of the oil. Is this the Scotland’s geographic share as provided for under International law, or the share accorded to us by the UK (where they nicked great swathes of it)?

    85. SquareHaggis says:

      The mannie Mcdoogal caption:

      Is that a prosthetic airm attached tae that fake plastic smile? – Just disna look right tae me.

    86. Look Skye Walker says:

      Showing an upward trend in our Whiskey trade:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-23958060

    87. dadsarmy says:

      UK without the oil revenue, deficit 7.6%. Zigzag + calculator.

    88. Croompenstein says:

      @SquareHaggis – that’s a doppleganger, BBC Scotlandshire have the real pics of big Bliar

      http://bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk/index.php/city-news/653-brave-blare-blocks-cybernat-snooper-scheme.html

    89. dadsarmy says:

      Sorry, that should have been rUK.

      rUK without the oil revenue, deficit 7.6%. Zigzag + calculator.

    90. dadsarmy says:

      Mmm, I may have blown a logic circuit there.

    91. Like muttley 79 I used to despair about the conduct of the M.S.M. but since I became involved as a foot soldier going around the houses, I have become more upbeat. This is quite simply the response of the people I have met delivering the Yespaper. Most, not all of course, make their support known especially when I tell them I have never done this before in my life, but I have to try to make Scotland a better country for my great-grandchildren to grow up in. We can win, we must win, and I believe we will win.

    92. SquareHaggis says:

      @Croompenstein – now that’s just over-blawin the issue 🙂

    93. HandandShrimp says:

      Will

      Can you explain what you mean by no control over the economy. Using the pound or a Scottish pound pegged to the Sterling would mean interest rates set by the BofE, which we have a medium term view of from Carey, and money supply. The latter is an issue because the BofE has devalued the pound and may do so again. It is questionable whether we would have much of a say on either in a currency union as we have little say in matter as things stand at the moment.

      The other levers of economic policy, tax rates, investment stimuli, decision on spending priorities etc. these would all be retained by Holyrood. Arguably we would have greater say over these outside a currency union than in. Lender of last resort is what it says on the tin. An exceptional option for exceptional circumstances. If there is another financial melt down then it is arguable that the UK is in serious trouble never mind Scotland.

      If down the line Scotland decided to not join the Euro (I suspect at some point we will all be in that including the UK) and floats its own currency by de-pegging the Scottish pound, then either the Scottish clearing banks will form a co-operative Central Bank function or one may be nationalised and become the Bank of Scotland. These things are not beyond the wit of man.

    94. msean says:

      Very good but,ye canny dae that,’cos yer to wee,too poor and too thick.

      Wade through this constant talking down of Scotland and vote yes,earn your country respect for standing up for yourselves.

    95. You and My Comb says:

      Will

      There’s a lot of wouldery and shouldery in that post.

      RBS is irrelevant and you are using it for hyperbolic effect. According to Mark Carney, RBS is likely to have to move its HQ south. If darling and brown hadn’t been asleep at the wheel the takeover of ABN AMBRO might not have happened and we might have avoided the worst of the financial crisis. That is not an iScotland issue since banking bailouts have been covered here ad nauseum don’t spout any more rubbish about them.

      If you want to look at this year, go ahead and knock yourself out. Why stop there? Surely, in the interests of balance you might want to look back towards 1980 and see how we would have been in surplus by now. As for oil volatility. I would take that any day over volatility of financial markets we have experienced under Westminster.

      I think it is right that we take on the challenge of balancing our economy, modernising it and reducing dependency where necessary. This will take time. You, on the other hand are obviously a beneficiary of the unbalanced economy within the UK and want to keep whatever cosy burrow you have managed to create.

      Do me a favour, go back and look at the UK figures and explain them to us in the same way that you are trying to explain the Scottish figures. Take the time to explain to me about the government employees pension fund in the UK, and the Sovereign Wealth fund that the UK has like Italy or Equatorial Guinea (!) to name but 2 countries. (We get the Panama slag but the UK can’t even match Equatorial frigging Guinea FFS).

      And then piss off.

    96. You and My Comb says:

      Will

      Osbourne has set up the debt in such a way that our children and our children’s children will be paying for it while telling us TINA and selling of the NHS. IDS is stripping out the support for the poor and forcing 2.5m people to scrabble for .5m jobs. I see that some gilts were sold over the past couple of days pushing debt down the line. The post office pension fund of approx £25bn became income that will need to be paid in the future. And Labour support this con (and you too by the looks of things)

    97. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Will Podmore: Rules about paragraph breaks apply to Unionists the same as everyone else.

    98. Will Podmore says:

      You and My Comb writes, “You, on the other hand are obviously a beneficiary of the unbalanced economy within the UK and want to keep whatever cosy burrow you have managed to create.” At age 65, I earn £30K a year, just over the £27K average wage.
      Now that you know the facts, do you want to retract your accusatory speculation that I live in some ‘cosy burrow’?



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