The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

The 52%-empty glass

Posted on October 18, 2017 by

Investigative site The Ferret this afternoon published a report into the Scottish Futures Trust, the SNP’s replacement for Labour’s cripplingly costly PFI projects.

The report was undertaken by Jim and Margaret Cuthbert, a pair of economists well regarded in nationalist circles, and makes some interesting if vague comments about downsides that MIGHT, in theory, exist in the SFT now or in the future.

The headline claims are all full of highly-qualified language (may not deliver value for money”; “profits may be unduly high”; “could restrict growth”; “potentially has adverse implications”; “impossible to tell whether), and it’s a long way down the page until you get to anything approaching a hard fact, or indeed the revelation that the report seems to have been paid for by Scottish Labour.

And that’s when things get a little weird.

Because Labour are, naturally, furious about all these purely-theoretical problems:

Which is a pretty audacious line to take, especially once readers finally DO get to that solitary piece of hard fact, another 350 words down the article:

Because what it reveals is that so far the SFT has reduced the cost of infrastructure projects in Scotland by more than half when compared to the Labour PFIs which delivered a country full of very expensive collapsing and dangerous schools.

It’s reduced it by 52%, to be precise – from 5.4x initial capital value to just 2.6x.

Readers might well feel that was a pretty phenomenal achievement, particularly given that the Scottish Government has almost no borrowing powers and has very little in the way of alternatives to involving the private sector if it wants to get anything built.

But even those with legitimate concerns about transparency and private profit would presumably agree that the last people in the world entitled to be complaining about the cost would be Scottish Labour.

Print Friendly

    86 to “The 52%-empty glass”

    1. Walter Scott says:

      Blame financial genius Broon

    2. Helena Brown says:

      I doubt they make enough polish to service the British Labour Parties brass neck.
      Sick to death of the lying, fabrication and down right deceit that permeates unionists politics.

    3. Tackety Beets says:

      Yet despite everything this site publishes & is shared by many, S Lab continue “spewin’ $hite” …..All because MSM / Beeb etc let them & repeat it.
      How much longer FFS !

      Like Helena , am “jist richt scunnered”

      Thank you again Rev.

    4. Proud Cybernat says:

      Noticed in those two PFI articles there’s not a single reference to them being a Labour Party initiative – not one. Are we all astonished?

    5. Hamish100 says:

      Well spotted. Pay a researcher then say what you would like to see in the report. Who pays the piper……

      Notice NHS Scotland is doing better than Ruk country’s. Must be the fault of the snp….. Oops

    6. Big Jock says:

      Labour mortgaged our hospitals with a 500% interest. The buildings were substandard and falling down. Little France in Edinburgh Western is an example. The Edinburgh schools are another.

      Labour would be wise to just keep their heads down. Some should get a sentence for damaging our nations future.

    7. TheWasp says:

      Don’t forget the not labour trams…..

    8. Chick McGregor says:

      Will I be first?

      What a load of Jackie Baillie!

    9. red sunset says:

      So, remind me please of the big song and dance made by the SNP about Labour’s PFI mess.
      Until the SNP start fighting back, this sort of thing will continue.

    10. Ian says:

      This is exactly the kind of information that’s needed for next time. Amazing show of competence from the Scottish Government. The MSM won’t disclose facts like these but the debates should give a chance to highlight them to a wider audience assuming the powers that be don’t close down that avenue of truth. If only a 5% switch to Yes brings it to 50/50, anything more than 5% brings a win.

      With the UK increasingly becoming a laughing stock around the world, it’s getting harder for it to hide the truth about the UK’s dismal situation.

    11. Desimond says:

      Labour exist in the world of bare-faced cheek.
      It doesn’t matter who was responsible then, its all about the present and the future and “What’s the SNP going to do about it?”

      Shameful and shameless at the same time.

      If they were to say “Lets get together and confirm this is the best approach or tweak what we can to help everyone out” then you would think “, co-operative” but no, its “Blame blame shame shame” and the media will gladly give Jackie Baillie all the airtime and column inches she likes.

      @red sunset has a fair point regards SNP calling out the past Labour decisions but the SNP are too busy having to mitigate said past decisions in the actual present to start vocalising the other side of the argument.

      Watch the Scotland Tonight Northern North Branch Office “leaders” debate and hear an hour of non-speak and bad SNP without one utterance of “We were to blame for anything”

    12. Ken500 says:

      Do these lot never give up pointing out their own failing.

      Everyone knows how shite they are. Why do they need to keep on spending even more public money getting Reports to confirm how shite they are. Even worse then everyone thinks. Bampots or what. Scummybags, wasting public money like water and starving folk to death. These warmongering bastards should shut the feck up. Or get people even more angry at the sight of their vacant coupons. Plummeting down again. How can the sleezy Trade Union leaders finance these snidey bastards. All in it together robbing the public purse to finance their complete fiasco.

      They should hang their heads in shame. Shameless. Obese counselling could do for some of their ex health spokesperson. They could go private. Private education didn’t teach them much
      Now business spokesperson? They can’t count or read a balance sheet. Analyse figures is impossible for them. Complete lowlives. No one should have to put up with them.

      Well done SNP Scottish Gov for halving the debt ratio. Always on top of the problems

      Nicola opening a big offshore wind turbine field today. Well done for that as well. Good pat on the back.

    13. heedtracker says:

      We have to face the fact that the foundation of red and blue tory yoon culture is to burden Scots with giant debt, if only so they can then Project Fear the YES out of just enough voters. Well not just red and blue tories, massed ranks of tory beeb led UK media.

      BBC r4 vote tory Lunchtime news just there, mentions it’s Scotland region once, quick NHS wait times reportage, “Scotland performed marginally better…” and that’s it.

    14. Macart says:

      They’re not just the brightest are they?

    15. Helena Brown says:

      Macart, they can be as dim as they like, Auntie and the dead tree press save them all the time.

    16. But the thing that gets me is, while this was all happening, wee Jake returned £1.6 Billion to the treasury! Unforgivable.

    17. Welsh Sion says:

      Off topic – but breaking news …

      Theresa May scraps universal credit helpline charges

      People will be able to call the government’s universal credit helpline without being charged, within weeks.

      Prime Minister Theresa May said she had listened to criticism of the charges, which can be up to 55p a minute, and decided it was “right” to drop them.

    18. Robert Peffers says:

      @red sunset says: 18 October, 2017 at 1:37 pm:

      “So, remind me please of the big song and dance made by the SNP about Labour’s PFI mess.”

      Why would you need reminded. red sunset?
      Didn’t you understand it first time around?

      “Until the SNP start fighting back, this sort of thing will continue”.

      Perhaps it would help us to answer your first question if you realised the SNP, both party and SG, had stopped fighting back.

      It might just help your understanding of the situation if you faced the reality of the matter. Which reality is that the SNP, The SG and the wider YES independence movement have no control over what the Westminster Establishment’s direct propaganda machine, “The British Broadcasting Corporation.” (The clue is in the name).

      Nor do they have any control over the Scottish MSM, (Main Stream Media), of independent broadcasters and the dead tree press that are completely owns by excessively rich, and usually non-dom, non-UK tax payers.

      The facts, like the long buried in a deep Westminster vault. Professor Gavin McCrone report.

      Many of we older activists knew of the McCrone Report and we did attempt to keep it, and the many other facts Westminster doesn’t want us to know about, and we do keep telling folks about them. Thing is, and perhaps you are one, those of a unionist bent and those either thick or ignorant, just don’t want to know the truth.

      Now I’m about to prove that statement as true for you:-

      This is a paper written by the now deceased Forensic Accountant, Niall Aslen. It mirrors an even earlier paper that exposes the GERS Report and indicates how the Westminster Establishment suppresses any for of true information.

      Niall initially published his report titled, (if memory serves), “The Great Lie”. Within days there was a rash across the internet of other items titled, “The Great Lie”. and none of them were about Westminster’s lies. The report has been effectively suppress by the Westminster Establishment just as was the McCrone Report and many, many other things that Westminster considers inconvenient for Joe & Josephine Public to be aware of.

      Go check out how the Establishment accounts for the oil & gas revenue from the North Sea as from, “extra-regio-Territory”, which is factually not in any was, “extra-regio”, for the very good reason that it is identifiable as being up to 98% out of Scottish territorial waters.

      Go check out the rip-off confidence trick of the, “National Grid Connecting Charges” Westminster or the way that Westminster classes those exports of Scottish goods that leave the UK from non-Scottish air-ports and ports as NOT being Scottish Exports but as exports of the country where they leave the UK and that includes Scotch Whisky, Scotch Salmon, and the 70% of UK Gin that is made in Scotland.

      Just because people like you do not read, watch or listen to other than Westminster controlled media doesn’t signify that the SNP, SG and wider Independence movement are not fighting back – it signifies the effectiveness on the Westminster Propaganda.

    19. heedtracker says:

      The Tree of Liberty says:
      18 October, 2017 at 2:29 pm
      But the thing that gets me is, while this was all happening, wee Jake returned £1.6 Billion to the treasury! Unforgivable.

      Its horrible really. Aberdeen city council are one of the most spectacular blowers of expensive borrowed money, Sir Wullie Young, ACC Catastrofuck of the SLabour millennium, has pissed away hundreds of billions, as ACC Finance Convener but no one knows what on.

      Instead Aberdeen lost treasures like,

      Aberdeen’s Bon Accord Baths ‘fallen into disrepair’
      15 June 2015
      From the section NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

      Not just an Olympic sized swimming pool, gyms, cafe, meeting place, built in 1941, run down to piss reeking shithole, then shut, as Sir Wullie blew his millions, hundreds of millions, on just more white elephants.

      Wullie’s minted now right enough. Its the UKOK SLabour way.

    20. heedtracker says:

      Sir Wullie’s wild borrowing, reported as yoon culture does, great news say beeb gimp network, terrifying say the rest.

      Rejoice, command beeb Scotland gimps, giant debt on fcuk all, is a triumph of the union.

      Credit rating agency Moody’s has assigned Aberdeen an Aa2 rating.

      That is one level below the United Kingdom as a whole.
      The council said the rating would allow it to consider “innovative” new funding mechanisms, including access to debt capital markets.

      In a statement, Moody’s noted the authority’s “strong institutional framework” as well as a “strong track record of operating performance”.

      The “Innovative” is very beeb gimp.

    21. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Hmmm, while it’s fair enough to examine critically any arrangement for public infrastructure funding, this study by the Cuthberts does seem to rather conveniently chime in with NorthBritLab’s longstanding potty-kettle smear tactic that “SFT is no different really from PFI”.

      Which ain’t true, as Stu has managed to unearth from the depths of it.

      One must wonder if The Ferret’s association with stalwart NorthBritLab supporter The Daily (broken) Record is already leading it astray.

      It’s hard to see who exactly is using whom here.

      Or are the whole load of them simply in cahoots to give a wee boost to Corbyn’s ongoing attempt to take back Scotland for the People’s =cough= Party?

    22. Arbroath1320 says:

      Should anyone be interested in the current state of play regarding wee Gordie Broon’s fantastic P.F.I. scheme to ruin Scottish councils then you can do a wee check here. 😉

    23. Dr Jim says:

      Unfortunately around our country we have great swathes of people mouthing the word *bob* and have the Scottish sinus condition that forces them to make that *eueugnnnh* sound which compels them zombie like to stagger to the polling stations while repeating the same word over and over in case they forget on the way Llaybur Llaybur, and if they got so far as finishing primary school they might throw in a *Hate SMP eh SNP ESENPEE Bastirrts*

      Oooh! I just described James Kelly and Alex Rowley
      Anybody who can’t manage to say a simple word like *Minister* NOT *Ministurr* shouldn’t be eligible to vote let alone be a MSP and they’re worse when it comes to *Numburrs*

    24. Marie Clark says:

      I’ll just leave this here folks. In the words of Mark Twain. “Politician and diapers should be changed often, and for the same reason”.

      A wise man indeed.

    25. heedtracker says:

      And in he piles, Severin the britnat, hammer of the Scots, some of the Scots, vile sep ones.

      As night follows day, Britnat day, its all SNP bad for ever.

      I’ve not even bothered to read Severin says SNP are bad either, I just know stinky old tory britnat Graun:D

    26. Robert Graham says:

      A well researched article and an eye opener for those who skim the headlines as most of us idiots do ,eh did ,correction there.

      This Clown lead westminster circus never fails to surprise , the one topic that is exercising the Tory benches during the Universal Credit debate it not the debated item , but the references to the AWOL tory MP , is this the extent of their f/n involvement in the latest tory f/up , stop being nasty to one of our MPs , FFS

    27. heedtracker says:

      Other news, beeb gimp attack propaganda wise.

      Check NHS cancer, A&E and operations targets in your area
      17 October 2017

      The NHS is under unprecedented pressure. Rising numbers of patients need hospital care – whether in an accident and emergency department, for cancer treatment or for planned operations and care, such as knee and hip replacements.”

      At least this lot could say that they’re the leaders of the unprecedented pressure, in a mpn BBC ruled fair world of UK.

      Whatsherface Bradford is unwell.

    28. Macandroid says:

      The extra scandal about PFI as I understand it is that at the end of the contract the ownership of the buildings stays with the funders and we may end up paying for a new extended contract.

      I would be interested to know if that is correct and whether or not the SFT contracts hand over ownership to the Gov or local councils etc.

    29. Tam the Bam. says:

      Go Mhairi!!…Rip these tory b******s a new one!!!

    30. maureen says:

      Sorry to go O/T so soon but thought you guys might want to sign this if you haven’t already

    31. Andy-B says:

      The manager-less London Labour branch office in Scotland, really do have a cheek complaining about the SFT after their PFI debacle.

      It’s becoming a repeating trend of late the SNP government, having to repair or clean up the previous Labour administration’s terrible and poorly thought out policies.

      It is becoming glaringly obvious that Labour were and still aren’t fit to govern, carping from the sidelines, infighting and doing down Scotland at every possible turn, is their natural level.

      A Labour government, or Tory/Libdem, for that matter in Scotland, would set the country back decades.

    32. Proud Cybernat says:

      BREAKING: BAE, Cammell Laird partnership will see Type 31e Frigates built on Merseyside instead of Clyde.

      You YES yet?

    33. RogueCoder says:

      Hi folks,

      Sorry for the off-topic, but got an important project I need some help with: The economic case for an independent Scotland!

      I’ve been collating a huge amount of work from economists, historians and politicians around the world, and I’m putting together the bullet-proof evidence that austerity is bullshit, and that Scotland would rapidly flourish once free of Westminster rule. Along the way I also explain Greece, Brexit, the 2008 financial crash, and how our oil & gas industry is being portrayed as “a burden”!

      Just need some help to get the last few sections of the book together:

    34. twathater says:

      No doubt tomorrow’s FM questions jackie pish will bring these figures up , well Nicola NOW IS THE TIME during a live broadcast to HIGHLIGHT and explain every one of these figures

      How Labour Bliar and Broon are responsible for these mahoosive PFI figures and profits

      How liebour are responsible through incompetence for schools falling down

      How liebour are responsible for the Edinburgh Tram Fiasco and the mahoosive overspend

      How liebour are responsible for the parliament debacle and mahoosive overspend

      How MOSTLY liebour and tolie run cooncils are responsible for the shortage of teachers in schools

      How liebour are responsible for the shortage of cooncil hooses
      when they only built 6 in their last 13 years in govt

      How a liebour FM returned 1 billion pounds to the waste monster govt because he couldnae think of anything to spend it on to help the people of Scotland

      Come on Nicola get tore right into these lying scumbags on LIVE TELEVISION show people the TRUTH of what you and your government have had to deal with to govern Scotland properly and what you are up against

      It would be worth millions of votes and I would love to hear how tooraloo the noo and his CHUMS would react

    35. Macandroid says:

      No FMQs tomorrow. Parly in recess.

    36. manandboy says:

      And so the Westminster based Propaganda War against the Scottish Independence movement continues. In GE17 the Unionist goal was to silence the SNP’s voice in the House of Commons by targeting Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson and Tasmina and others.
      The current campaign is designed to drown out the voices of Independence in Scotland with Nicola the main target. But unless I’m mistaken, there has been an increase of late in the use of anti-independence internet trolling, including the blogs but also the BBC and the newspaper sites.

      All of this should come as no surprise as the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019 creeps ever closer. The pressure on this Tory Government is now enormous as the task set them by the Brexit vote becomes more and more so obviously beyond their competence. As for the EU, a shadow of caution if not outright suspicion has been cast over their role in Brexit and most certainly in Catalonia.

      So the contest continues between the neo-Liberal elites under the flag of continuing Austerity on one side and those who are being made to suffer as a result, the 99%. Both sides are determined to win, though at the moment, in the UK, the 1% who have 99% of the media, seem more determined than the 99% who have 1% of the media. That’s the beauty of blanket propaganda by the State, it really is a very powerful weapon, akin to biological warfare in its effectiveness – but without the need to burn the corpses.

      Or maybe the 99% need even more pain before they are prepared to do something about it.
      Like Scotlands so-called soft No voters.

    37. Macandroid says:

      @RogueCoder 4:21

      Just donated. Can’t wait to read the book!

    38. RogueCoder says:

      Thanks Macandroid!

      Sorry that I can’t give you more detail right now – I don’t want to tip off the unionists, not yet anyway. But it’s going to be awesome 🙂

    39. louis.b.argyll says:

      Good article there Rev.

      Imagine being independent, having the ability to offset loans and financing, knowing that an economic benefit for all will follow any logical reasoning.

      Now look what we’ve had over the years..


    40. Tam the Bam. says:


      The indecisive Kirstene Hair currently on her feet in the Commons @ Universal Credit debate…wonder if she’s going to follow her party and abstain or vote…Hmmmmmm….decisions are hard eh Kirstene?

    41. Cadogan Enright says:

      Catalonian Foreign Minister writes to the National thanking its readers for their support

      If anyone is not buying or subscribing to the National – get the habit today

    42. Elizabeth Sutherland says:

      Donated to your project,will wait patiently for the possible hard back copy.

    43. Andy-B says:

      Spain fears Slovenia might recognise an independent Catalonia.

      Slovenia is waiting to see if Puigdemont openly announces that Catalonia is a independent nation before deciding.

    44. Andy Anderson says:

      Good news indeed Stu. To reduce costs by 52% is great for all new projects. Labour you must be proud of yourselves. All this was because Gordon Brown worked with the then Labour administration to show them doing good in the short term without a care for the tax burden for the future, Tossers.

    45. ScottishPsyche says:

      A bit of a pattern going on here – the SNP or other Indy groups highlight and campaign on a problem which is ignored or denied by Labour until it is convenient or to their advantage to jump in. MSM get on board and hey presto – Labour take the credit:

      Monica Lennon with period poverty
      Claudia Beamish with fracking
      Corbyn with Universal Credit telephone charges

      Just waiting for what is next. It is not beyond the realms of disbelief that there is Tory complicity in this, anything to diminish the voice of the SNP.

    46. Marcia says:

      The young MP Mhairi Black giving a good speech on the disaster that is Universal Credit implementation.

    47. Alex Clark says:

      PFI was a total rip off that much is obvious so looks like in halving the total paid back then SFT is a much better deal.

      But is it a good deal? Well personally I don’t think so as it looks good when compared to PFI at half the cost but is still a very poor deal compared to what an Independent Scotland could achieve if it had it’s own unlimited borrowing powers as far as I can see.

      Go to any mortgage calculator and you will see that to pay 2.5 times the initial cost over 25 years would cost you 9% interest annually on a repayment basis.

      This is a rip off when countries that are Independent can borrow money to spend on infrastructure on much lower interest rates.

      The UK 25-Year Bond has an interest rate below 2% and at that rate the total paid back would be only 1.3 times the value of the initial loan or 1.5 if it was interest only rather than repayment but then your still have to pay the initial amount borrowed.

      Now I believe that SFT may include maintenance costs as PFI did for the buildings upkeep during the life of the loan, however how much might that be? I’ve no idea to be honest but if you look at what might be spent on your own house I can’t see it being more than around 1% to 2% of the value of the property/year.

      Private companies should not be involved, our Scottish government has recently been “gifted” limited borrowing powers of up to £3 Billion but with a maximum of £450 million in any year. These limits have been set by Westminster.

      Only Independence can end this scandal of paying through the nose by having to use corporate finance to improve our infrastructure.

    48. Brian Powell says:


      Slovenia can decide, Scotland can’t.

      Scotland is the weirdest country that isn’t a country on the planet.

    49. Bob Mack says:

      You couldn’t make it up, but apparently they do. Blame lies with everybody apart from themselves ,and yet, they created these monsters.

      In good old fashioned Psychology terms we would diagnose a Personality Disorder

    50. Alex Clark says:


      That Mhari Black speech in the commons was another belter from her. Just about to get the wife to watch it and she’s not that interested in politics. Thanks 🙂

    51. yesindyref2 says:

      NPD looked pretty good to me when I checked it out before, PFI stinks. There’s a newer report about it.

    52. Jason Smoothpiece says:

      Labour and Tory Government expensive,incompetent,lying,cheating,

      If it wasn’t so desperately important they would be funny.

      You know people still vote for them, amazing.

    53. Auld Rock says:

      Much as I would like to blame ‘The Broon’ for PFI it was actually the Tories that introduced this disastrous method of funding as a book keeping wheeze to remove spending on public projects so that they did not have count the expenditure. What SLAB did was to grab with open arms and went mad. It should also be pointed out to SLAB that their recklessness is one of the reasons that there is not enough cash for current account expenditure for doctors, teachers, nurses etc. Finally I’m really surprised that SLAB’s arithmetical genius Jackie Baillie has not learned to keep her gub shut.

      Auld Rock

    54. Just another attempted smear story by the brutish yoon media in collusion with their Red Tory numskulls,trying to undermine the fantastic governance the SNP are doing in Scotland for Scotland,

      `This story is part of a continuing investigation into the Scottish Futures Trust by The Ferret in partnership with the Guardian.`

      what actually is the complaint that Ferret,Cuthberts,Red Tory,Guardian have ?

      `big companies make profit` the rest is just accountancy white noise.

      This Ferret seems to be less independent than it represents itself,one to keep an eye on.

    55. Lenny Hartley says:

      Rogue Coder, can’t find a Paypal option?

    56. Brian Powell says:

      Scott Finlayson

      Seeing the early tweets from The Ferret, when it was set up, my distinct impression was it was anti-Scottish Government, anti-SNP. It was backed by Severin Carrell.

      It claimed its remit was to hold Government to account, but I never saw a examination of the UK government, which after all creates much of the situations Scotland finds itself in.

    57. yesindyref2 says:

      @Proud Cybernat
      Here’s the comment I made on that BAE article in the UKDJ:

      “With the reduction in promised investment by BAE on the Clyde with its cancellation of the planned frigate factory, and the stretched build program for the T26 to one every 2 years rather than 2 every 1 year, the only surprise here is that BAE are actually interested in a fixed price contract deal, as their efforts on the T31 design seem to have been a bit half-hearted so far. So if indeed the T31 is to be built in parallel with the first T26’s, then there’s no real prospect of them being built on the Clyde, something which was blindingly obvious since the NSS was published, let alone accepted.

      It is a betrayal of the workers on the Clyde though half of them seem to be down in Barrow on the Astute program, tand indeed the future of Naval shipbuillding on the Clyde as it appears no apprentices are being taken on any more, the question is, will the workers sack their union the GMB and get one more interested in representing their interests, rather than muttering about UK jobs? Or will they faithfully follow GMB into non-existence on the Clyde in the 2030s?”

      I think it unlikely BAE will get the contract anyway, the Babcock / BMT offers are better in my and I think in many peoples’ opinions. And I think the MOD want to break BAE’s monopoloy, which runs out in 2024.

    58. Petra says:


      It looks as though the BBC has bucked up in light of OFCOM demanding that they spend a fairer share of funds (much more than 54%), produce 95% of programmes in Scotland and broadcast at least 6000 hours.

      There was a wee trailer shown earlier of a new documentary SERIES that starts tomorrow night at 9:00pm. The ‘County Council’ charts the work of Desmond Middleton one of only two debt collectors covering the whole of Argyll and Bute.

      By the looks of it they’ve found another way to pump demoralising propaganda right into our living rooms (if you pay for a licence or more than likely not!). Smelly houses and complaints about our NHS for starters.

      I wonder what else they’ll manage to come up with, produce, with the remaining 40% plus of our dough?

    59. ScottishPsyche says:

      Regarding The Ferret, I backed it at the beginning but have become increasingly disillusioned with its output. For me, the poor fact check into GERS recently was the last straw – it seemed naive to say the least.

      The Cuthberts have done loads of good stuff but seem a bit Jim Sillarish on occasion and did not take well to criticism of GERS from Richard Murphy.

      There seem to be a lot of fragile egos from way back in the Independence movement.

    60. Andy-B says:

      Thank you Marcia for the link to Mighty Mhairi.


      Yes Scotland’s position is almost surreal.

    61. Edward says:

      Regards the Navy contract going to Merseyside instead of the Clyde
      It has been stated that class 26 will still be built on the Clyde

      Don’t hold your breath, I suspect the order book for bot Class 31 and Class 26 will be further pared back as the reality is the UK Government are skint.

      As per the latest ONS revelation, it turns out that they over estimated wealth by £ 490 billion, that is a large chunk of GDP gone

      Plus add in the billions that Brexit is going to cost and an economy heading into the abyss, the MOD will have big problems in trying to maintain levels of spending. Pity that Gordon Brown (remember him?) had the two vanity carriers built, which the UK couldn’t actually afford, on a contract that Brown signed up to that made it cheaper to build than cancel!.

      Layer in the fact that the aircraft from the US are over the top expensive, will be even more expensive due to the pound falling.

      The MOD were already trying to square the circle by planning to scrap the Navy’s two landing ships (Ocean and Bulwark) and transfer the sailors to the carriers, who are well short of crew.

      An aside on the carriers and crew – Some may remember when the Queen Elizabeth was berthed at Invergordon, apparently for refuelling (obviously they couldn’t do it at sea during the trials for some reason, perhaps not enough crew). That someone with a Drone was able to film freely a very empty and deserted ship.

      When you start piecing all the bits together, it really doesn’t look that good for the UK
      You have to wonder when that idiot Fallon warms to the idea of sending the Navy to the Korean peninsula for some action with Trump

    62. geeo says:

      With the Tories whipped to abstain, what is the ACTUAL point of the debate on Universal credit tonight ?

      It is non binding to the government, so nothing can nor will, be achieved.

      Highlight the scandal of UC ? The tories just do not care. Some areas rolled out UC today ffs!!

    63. Andy-B says:

      No mention of the U-turn on the type 31e frigates on BBC Scotland Shortbread news.

      It’s like it never happened.

    64. HandandShrimp says:


      To be fair the BBC have had to cope with Scotland’s NHS performing better than the rest of the UK and Scotland’s unemployment and employment stats being the best in the UK. To highlight that another plank of the Vow is up the Swanee would be just too much for the handful of Yoons that inhabit HYS. Heads would explode left, right and centre

    65. Capella says:

      @ Marcia – thx for link to Mhairi Black speech – she is a breathe of fresh air in that fetid chamber.

      @ Rogue Coder – tuppence worth chucked in – looking forward to the finished article.

    66. mike cassidy says:

      Macandroid 3.44

      This came up a while back on Wings.

      Some contracts end with the buildings still in private hands.

      Some don’t.

      Back in 2013 Newsnet Scotland had a look at the BBC’s involvement with PFI.

    67. yesindyref2 says:

      @Edward / @Andy-B
      The Type 31e is still at the tender stage, no contracts actually awarded yet. There’s still time for Fallon and the UK Government to keep their promise this year and have them “assembled” on the Clyde, though of course the 2014 promise was to have the 5 GPFF (General Purpose Frigates) BUILT on the Clyde. So it’s still a little early to talk of betrayal, it hasn’t actually happened yet, BAE are only one of 3 or 4 making tenders for the contract.

      Some spinning unionists will add 8 T26 to the 5 OPVs to say “well there you are, the 13 warships as promised”. The OPVs are much smaller than a GPFF would be, less work, less money, less jobs, less complexity even apart from the operating systems, which are perhaps being used to get ready for the T26 anyway.

      The F35-B is getting cheaper as the assembly line ramps up with the large number of orders, which is one of the reasons the MOD order in batches, it’s heading down to the $100 million level. Pound is still 1.32 dollars. There’s nothing definite about Ocean though it’s rumoured she’s up for sale to Brazil, and the amphibs Albion and Bulwark is so far only rumoured in the likes of the DT. Well, defence bods including previous Sea Lords use the DT coming up budget time (November) to try to ward off more cuts, so it’s a wait and see on that one. Cutting Albion and Bulwark without having sensible large deck amhibs planned to replace them would be incredibly stupid. Which doesn’t mean it won’t happen all the same.

      As for the T26, they are ordered in batches and the first order is for 3. Personally I wouldn’t hold my breath for the next 5 being ordered, even though the Royal Navy needs them, at least as far as the Clyde is concerned. The CASD has been part of the defence budget since 2010, and put down to the RN. The RN could be told they’e doing very well for themselves already. Such is defence as seen by politicians rather than defence specialists.

    68. Petra says:


      Commons today: Dennis Skinner brought up the subject of filthy drinking water in his Bolsover constituency, massive contamination of water for a week now, thought to be caused by INEOS fracking. He asked T May to halt fracking until an investigation is carried out.

      T May said an investigation would no doubt be carried out but the priority was on getting a safe and secure supply of energy for the UK, for the future, therefore fracking will continue.

      Who in their right mind would let this go ahead with families having to buy bottled water now? Clean drinking water no longer a priority?

      Thank God we’ve managed to side-step this for the time being. Thank God for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. And if any Tory supporters are reading I hope you realise that if Ruth Davidson, who avoids talking about her policies, had been in power in Scotland she would have given fracking the green light.

    69. geeo says:

      Interesting response by Bercow to a tory point of order, where Peter Bone stated the government were not defeated as they didn’t vote on the motion.

      Bercow made it clear the vote result was a statement of recorded parliamentary fact.

      It was neither here nor there if the tories took part or not, that was a matter for them, but the record WOULD show that the goverment WERE defeated in the house.

      Oops….mayhem cocked it up yet again…!

    70. yesindyref2 says:

      From elsewhere:
      While the Clyde will still be working on 13 vessels, 5 of them are Offshore Patrol vessels and 8 are Type 26 Frigates.

      This is such a dud line to use, in all seriousness, sheer dismissive proaganda for those whose heads zip up at the back, yet it’s used time and time again by those desperate to “prove” the Clyde hasn’t been betrayed.

      OPV: 2,000 tonmes, LOA 90 metres, beam 13 metres, draught 3.8 metres, cost £116 million.

      T26: 6,900 tonnes, LOA 150 metres, beam 21 metres, draught ~7 metres, cost £1,000 million.

      T31: 4,000 tonnes+, LOA 120 metres. beam 18 metres, draught 7 metres, cost £250 million.

      There’s no comparison, AND there were already 3 OPV planned while waiting for the T26 design and/or budget. So it’s only 3 OPV to compare with 5 T26 / T31e.

      I hate liars.

    71. yesindyref2 says:

      “So it’s only 3 OPV to compare with 5 T26 / T31e.”

      should be

      “So it’s only 2 OPV to compare with 5 T26 / T31e.”

      I make silly typos when I’m angry.

    72. Balaaargh says:

      I’ve never trusted the ferret. They give the impression of being impartial but they ask loaded questions.

    73. Annie says:

      Well, in the same week the ferret is being hailed internationally as a top investigative group of freelance journalists a couple break ranks and revert to type. Surprise surprise. Hope they think it’s worth it.

    74. Cactus says:


      That is like real Jamaica.

      Twenty Five Cents.


      The Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey, 1887 – 1940.

      My glass is over 52%.

      What shores?


    75. Alex Clark says:

      @Balaaargh @Annie

      I don’t trust them either.

      Glad I never contributed to their original fundraiser, funny how they seem to be doing well now without appearing to have to raise money every year as most do. Even though they apparently employ professional journalists.

      At least I’ve never heard of additional fundraisers Hmmm!

    76. CameronB Brodie says:

      So British Labour’s Public Finance Initiative was total pants, but what about the Prudential Borrowing Framework?

      From the Private Finance Initiative to the new Prudential Borrowing Framework: A Critical Accounting Perspective

      The governance and accountability arrangements for local government capital expenditures under the new Prudential Borrowing Framework (PBF) appear to adopt a much narrower set of evaluative and precautionary criteria than those of Public Private Partnerships and the Private Finance Initiative. The PBF seems to have been developed in complete ignorance of the critical accounting perspective and the valuable insights it proffers for overseeing public spending. This paper makes clear the need for a return to a more holistic and multidisciplinary approach to governance and accountability for capital expenditures based upon involvement of all relevant stakeholder groups, including the non-professional community.

      A Case Study of Glasgow’s Use of the Prudential Borrowing Framework (PBF) for Schools Rationalisation

      This paper analyses Glasgow’s use of the Prudential Borrowing Framework (PBF) for rationalisation and renewal of its primary schools and the additional borrowing costs to be met by the resulting efficiency savings and by sale of surplus school sites. Our findings reveal that the PBF has many perceived advantages compared with the Private Finance Initiative/Public Private Partnership (PFI/PPP) route to capital procurement and modernisation. In particular, the link between policy and the use of resources is more transparent under PBF than for PFI/PPPs. However, the approach to risk management seems to have become more relaxed using the PBF even though the Council now retains all associated risks.

      The UK’s Prudential Borrowing Framework: A Retrograde Step in Managing Risk?

      The contemporary understanding of public sector risk management entails a broadening of the traditional bureaucratic approach to risk beyond the boundaries of purely financial risks. However, evidence suggests that in reality public sector risk management does not always match the rhetoric. This paper focuses on the apparent inadequacy of any risk framework in the current Prudential Borrowing Framework (PBF) guidance in relation to that which was developed under Public Private Partnerships and Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Our analysis shows that the PBF and its associated indicators for local authorities adopt a narrow financial approach and fail to account for the full range of potential risks associated with capital projects. The PBF does not provide a framework for local authorities to consider long?term risk and fails to encourage understanding of the generic nature of risk. The introduction of the PBF appears to represent a retrograde step from PPP/PFI as regards risk and risk management.

    77. CameronB Brodie says:

      So it would appear the Prudential Borrowing Framework is also a bit pants.

      Replace prudential borrowing code in Scotland, urges expert
      The Prudential Code, which guides local authorities’ capital borrowing, is no longer fit for purpose in Scotland’s changed economic and fiscal climate and should be replaced by a shared system of more open and long-term assessment, according to a leading independent economist.

      Former Scottish Office chief statistician Dr Jim Cuthbert set out his ideas in a paper for left-leaning think-tank the Jimmy Reid Foundation. He told PF: “The system was designed for a different era and it really has to be rethought for the very challenging circumstances we now face.”

    78. Street Andrew says:

      PFI schemes were always a piece if nonsense in financial and economic terms because governments can borrow more cheaply than the privay#te sector.

      PFI was never intended for the public good it was intended as free money for big private sector corporations.

      Gordon Brown should have had his gonads removed for going anywhere near this sort of scam financing. It was craven and shameful.

      Either deliberate abuse of public funding or sheer (bloody) incompetence.

    79. CameronB Brodie says:

      Getting back to British Labour’s PFI scheme.

      PFI/PPP Buyouts, Bailouts, Terminations and Major Problem Contracts in UK

      Key findings
      Global context

      The UK has been a global leader in the implementation of over 800 PFI/PPP projects since the early 1990’s. Hence the overall performance of the UK’s PFI/PPP projects with regard to buyouts, bailouts, terminations and major problem contracts is of global interest.

      The scale of PFI/PPP buyouts, bailouts, terminations and major problem contracts
      •74 projects – 11 Buyouts, 20 terminations and 43 with major problems.

      •57 in England, 12 in Scotland, 4 in Wales and 1 in Northern Ireland.

      •28% of PFI/PPP contracts by capital value have been to subject to buyout, termination or major problems.

      •Health (14), transport (10), housing (9), ICT (9) and education (8) projects accounted for 70% of the buyouts,
      terminations and major problem contracts.

      The public cost of buyouts, terminations and major problem contracts to date is £3,755m; however, public costs have
      yet to be determined for many major problem contracts,
      so this total is expected to rise significantly.

      Lessons from the private finance initiative in the UK: Benefits, problems and critical success factors


      – This paper summarises the main research findings from a detailed, qualitative set of structured interviews and case studies of private finance initiative (PFI) schemes in the UK, which involve the construction of built facilities. The research, which was funded by the Foundation for the Built Environment, examines the emergence of PFI in the UK. Benefits and problems in the PFI process are investigated. Best practice, the key critical factors for success, and lessons for the future are also analysed.

      – The research is based around 11 semi?structured interviews conducted with stakeholders in key PFI projects in the UK.

      – The research demonstrates that value for money and risk transfer are key success criteria. High procurement and transaction costs are a feature of PFI projects, and the large?scale nature of PFI projects frequently acts as barrier to entry.

      Research limitations/implications
      – The research is based on a limited number of in?depth case study interviews. The paper also shows that further research is needed to find better ways to measure these concepts empirically.

      Practical implications
      – The paper is important in highlighting four main areas of practical improvement in the PFI process: value for money assessment; establishing end?user needs; developing competitive markets and developing appropriate skills in the public sector.

      – The paper examines the drivers, barriers and critical success factors for PFI in the UK for the first time in detail and will be of value to property investors, financiers, and others involved in the PFI process.

    80. CameronB Brodie says:

      IMHO, there are situations where private investment in the public sector is desirable and others where it should be strongly resisted.

      PPP and PFI: the political economy of building public infrastructure and delivering services

      The Labour government of 1997–2010 used various forms of public–private partnership (PPP) to build schools, hospitals, prisons, and diverse other items of infrastructure, drawing in substantial private capital; it also out-sourced many public services to private providers. This paper starts by reviewing the scale of these activities, and the forms of private-sector engagement that were involved. It then considers the political economy of these forms of ‘privatization’ to understand why and how these methods came to be chosen, including considering what might have happened without private-sector involvement. The effectiveness of PPP and the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in terms of delivering government objectives and providing infrastructure and services efficiently are examined, taking account of private-sector returns on capital, implications for public spending (including future deficits and debt), the treatment of risk, the provision of incentives to deliver projects to cost and on time, and various other issues. The paper concludes by assessing how far the Labour government’s PPP and PFI programmes can be regarded as successful (and according to what criteria).

      Are publice private partnerships a healthy option? A systematic literature review

      Governments around the world, but especially in Europe, have increasingly used private sector involvement in developing, financing and providing public health infrastructure and service delivery through publice private partnerships (PPPs). Reasons for this uptake are manifold ranging from rising expenditures for refurbishing, maintaining and operating public assets, and increasing constraints on government budgets stifle, seeking innovation through private sector acumen and aiming for better risk management. Although PPPs have attracted practitioner and academic interest over the last two decades, there has been no attempt to integrate the general and health management literature to provide a holistic view of PPPs in healthcare delivery. This study analyzes over 1400 publications from a wide range of disciplines over a 20-year time period. We find that despite the scale and significance of the phenomenon, there is relatively limited conceptualization and in-depth empirical investigation. Based on bibliographic and content analyses, we synthesize formerly dispersed research perspectives into a comprehensive multi-dimensional framework of public-private partnerships. In so doing, we provide new directions for further research and practice.

      Does the private sector receive an excessive return from investments in health care infrastructure projects? Evidence from the UK

      This paper is concerned with the cost-efficiency of Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) in the delivery of hospital facilities in the UK. We outline a methodology for identifying the “fair” return on equity, based on the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) of each investor. We apply this method to assess the expected returns on a sample of 77 contracts signed between 1997 and 2011 by health care provider organisations in the UK. We show that expected returns are in general in excess of the WACC benchmarks. The findings highlight significant problems in current procurement practices and the methodologies by which bids are assessed. To minimise the financial impact of hospital investments on health care systems, a regulatory regime must ensure that expected returns are set at the “fair” rate.

    81. Petra says:

      @ Mike at 7:24pm … “BBC”

      Thanks for that link. Extremely interesting. You really get an education on here.

    82. Ghillie says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell @ 1.49 pm

      Nice 🙂

    83. stu mac says:

      @Street Andrew says:
      18 October, 2017 at 10:25 pm
      Gordon Brown should have had his gonads removed for going anywhere near this sort of scam financing. It was craven and shameful. Either deliberate abuse of public funding or sheer (bloody) incompetence.

      With Gordon Brown you have to always add EGO. Looking to make himself look good he used PFI to keep loans “off the books” to make his management of the economy look better than it was. All he saw was the ability to say (dishonestly of course) that he was spending less. The horrible side of it was of course that he cost the country more – and laid the ground for the Tories to do even more damage. I daresay his ego’s so massive he still thinks he was doing a good job.

    84. Jack Murphy says:

      Andy-B said at 7:06 pm last night:

      “No mention of the U-turn on the type 31e frigates on BBC Scotland Shortbread news.

      It’s like it never happened.”

      My Gran remembers the time when people could watch BBC Scotland News after reading the nonsense in the Scottish DeadWood Press,and sort of find the truth from the BBC News.

      Not now——BBC Scotland—- [reporters and editors] is staffed FROM the Deadwood Press!


      BBC Scotland News default position is the same as the on-shelf multi-millionaire owned newspapers—-status quo conservatism.
      Sad really but not surprising. 🙁

    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