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The four housemates

Posted on July 06, 2014 by

The two arguments heard most often from voters who are leaning towards No (that is, discounting the diehard BritNats who’d vote for the Union no matter what) are “we need more facts” and “we’d like Scotland to be independent but there wouldn’t be the money to pay for it and we don’t want to have higher taxes”.

eclecbill

The first of those is a red herring, successfully propagated by the No campaign with the willing assistance of the media in order to create doubt and fear. There are, by definition, no such things as “facts” about the future. Nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, regardless of whether Scotland votes Yes or No.

The next Westminster election, for example, could easily see the UK vote to leave the European Union by 2017, a change which would beyond question be far more dramatic and disastrous than any plausible outcome of  Scottish independence.

The second argument, though, we can do something about.

Because the facts about an independent Scotland’s finances are current and known. The Financial Times was absolutely unequivocal on the subject back in February:

“An independent Scotland could expect to start with healthier state finances than the rest of the UK.”

The anti-independence campaign knows only too well that an independent Scotland would, by any reasonable assessment, be a richer country than Scotland in the UK is, and that Scotland has subsidised the rest of the country for countless decades.

Even analysis by Unionist academics shows that had Scotland been independent since the time of the first devolution referendum in 1979, it would now be sitting on an oil fund of well over £100 billion, rather than being in debt by a similar amount.

That fact, of course, is extremely inconvenient to say the least, so the No campaign is reduced to trickery and misdirection in order to try to conceal it. The image below, from last year, is a typical example of the sleight of hand they use to try to make the Scottish people believe that they’re far poorer than they really are.

btherring

The image and its associated argument are powerful because it’s simple and the individual facts cited are true, even though they’re actually totally unconnected to each other [see footnote 1 below] and have been used to create an impression that’s totally false. It’s a little bit like an old brainteaser you might remember from your childhood:

“Three men go to a restaurant and pay a bill of £30 by handing over £10 each. Moments after they leave, the owner realises he’s made a mistake and they should only have been charged £25, and sends a waiter out to return the extra £5. But the poorly-paid waiter decides to only give them back £1 each and pocket the other £2 for himself.

Now the three men have each paid £9, which adds up to £27. The waiter has another £2, which makes £29. But the men originally paid £30, so where’s the missing £1 gone?”

If you can’t work it out, don’t worry – we’ll give you the answer at the bottom of this post. But let’s see if we can show how “Better Together” are trying to pull off the exact same trick with the finances of an independent Scotland.

Let’s imagine that Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales are all living together in a shared house. It’s a pretty old house, built over 300 years ago, and the heating comes from electric storage heaters.

Scotland’s room, naturally, faces north, so everyone assumes it’ll be the coldest and use the most electricity, and England has the biggest room whereas Wales and Northern Ireland have smaller ones, so everyone agrees the latter two should pay less towards the electricity bill.

After much haggling, the four housemates arrive at an agreement whereby they contribute the following sums every month, and hand the money over to England, whose name the bill is in and who pays it by direct debit:

SCOTLAND: £108
ENGLAND: £101
N IRELAND: £93
WALES: £73

[See footnote 2 below.]

Then the electricity company installs an experimental new meter which records the actual amount of electricity used in each room. The results shock the housemates:

N IRELAND: £124
SCOTLAND: £116
WALES: £110
ENGLAND: £97

[See footnote 3 below.]

England immediately calls a house meeting and angrily notes that it’s paid £4 more into the pot than it actually got out in terms of electricity, whereas everyone else has got more back than they put in – Scotland has gained £8, Northern Ireland £31, and Wales (which is constantly on the internet using Google Translate) a whopping £37.

That means the direct debit has taken £72 more out of England’s bank account than the four housemates have actually contributed. The account’s gone into overdraft and England has incurred interest and bank charges. What happens next, readers?

(a) England says “Oh, it’s okay, I’ll just keep paying the extra by myself.”

(b) England insists the others pay back their share of the extra and charges.

If you answered (a), then either you’ve never lived in a shared house or you probably shouldn’t be drinking this early on a Sunday morning.

It turns out that much of the reason for the house’s high electricity bill is that England (which keeps annoying the neighbours by kicking their doors down, barging into their houses and hitting their children, and is paranoid about its safety as a result) has insisted on installing a massively excessive security system, with CCTV cameras and motion sensors and floodlights and sirens.

Some of the system, including the noisy and dangerous power unit for the pointless, wildly over-the-top laser grid, is attached to Scotland’s part of the house and registers on Scotland’s electricity account, even though Scotland didn’t want it in the first place. (England gives itself 10 votes in house meetings because it handles all the admin.)

Scotland is seriously considering negotiating its own deal with the landlord, with its own entrance to the property and a much simpler burglar alarm that’ll be perfectly adequate for its needs, but England knows that if it goes England won’t be able to afford to keep up the payments on the security system (and there’s no other suitable place the power unit could be attached other than Scotland’s room anyway).

But if you’re still not quite with us, let’s go back to those guys in the restaurant. Here’s the answer, as supplied by “Doctor Wilkinson” on maths site The Math Forum (we’ve converted his dollars into pounds, and added emphasis):

“Be careful about accepting what you are told! The flaw is in the phrase ‘plus the £2 which the waiter got.’ This should not be added, it should be subtracted, since the £2 the waiter got is part of the £27 the three guys spent altogether.

If you subtract the £2 from the £27 you get the £25 that goes into the restaurant till, which is the cost of the meal.”

The No campaign is using the same trick. The “extra” £7.6bn spent on Scotland according to the “Better Together” graphic isn’t a gift from the generous people of the rest of the UK. It’s debt, and it has to be paid back with interest. It’s a burden, not a bonus, and it should be subtracted from Scotland’s spending column, not added.

Scotland pays more than its fair share into the UK, as the Westminster government’s own figures and statements prove. But the rest of the UK – in practice England – forces Scotland to live beyond its means, lumbering Scotland with debt it doesn’t want to pay for things it doesn’t need, and then tries to pretend that both the things and the debt are generous benefits of the Union.

We hope we’ve made that fact slightly clearer. Because “Better Together” know that their only hope of persuading Scots to vote No is muddying it, by disguising debt as spending. As the wise Dr W warns, be careful of accepting what you’re told.

.

.

————————————————————————————————–

[1] The clever thing about the trick, of course, is that it SOUNDS like the two stats ARE connected. How much money you make is obviously related to how much you can spend, right?

But almost every country on Earth, except Norway and Switzerland, runs a deficit. The UK, as the Financial Times figures showed, has (proportionally) a significantly bigger deficit than Scotland would on its own – which of course means that Scotland has it too, because it’s part of the UK.

Leaving the UK would therefore reduce the size of Scotland’s deficit significantly, even BEFORE any negotiations, which makes the “Better Together” graphic highly misleading even on the superficial level.

But in any event, the deficit is completely irrelevant to Scotland’s contribution to UK finances. If the UK was in fact in surplus rather than in debt, would it be fine that Scotland paid more than its share, or would it still be unfair? The two issues are entirely separate.

[2] These numbers in fact represent the proportional tax receipts per head received by the Treasury from each of the UK’s four nations. 

They’re calculated by taking the UK government’s own figures in Table 1 of this HMRC report from last October, and dividing by the official UK government population figures produced by the Office for National Statistics to show how much each nation contributes per head. 

The combined total of £375 is the equivalent in this illustration of the £56.9bn figure in the “Better Together” graphic.

We’ve used the most recent year available, 2012-13, which records Scotland’s contribution at 9% – the lowest it’s been for several years thanks to unusually low oil tax receipts, caused by record high investment by the oil companies last year being offset against taxation. Normally Scotland contributes more.

[3] These numbers come from Table 1 in the UK government’s 2012-13 figures for public spending in each of the UK’s nations. For the purposes of this feature the total of £447 is analogous to the £64.5bn figure in the “Better Together” graphic.

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    1. 06 07 14 09:24

      The four housemates | Scottish Independence News

    185 to “The four housemates”

    1. Muscleguy says:

      New Zealand is on course to post a government surplus. This is regarded, in modern post MMP voting times, as the normal state (established by a long term Labour Chancellor who used to be our MP).

      NZ is a fairly good model in terms of what small independent countries can do. Mind you Medical care is not free and neither, except in Wellington, are ambulances if you are ill (if have an accident that is different). Also NZ does not spend much on defence, it has no fighter aircraft for eg. No main battle tanks either, no subs (but a good ability to detect them). It’s advantage over Scotland is a bigger landmass (slightly more than the whole British Isles) for only 4 million people. So that’s a lot of land you can farm or sell to tourists as sights or playgrounds to exploit. There is some gas but not enough for full domestic supply let alone export.

      The trick is not to be sniffy who you do business with. We sell Iran sheepmeat, dairy produce and agritech. We once bartered Ladas for butter with Soviet Russia. We have also signed a free trade agreement with China, and are about to with NAFTA.

      When you have played nice internationally this helps in trading. Having a big public spat with the US and France doesn’t hurt either 😉

    2. Ken500 says:

      Scotland borrows and spends less, and has been in surplus for years. Westminster takes the surplus and adds on a % of it’s debt to Scotland. On average £3Billion surplus and £4Billion debt. = £7Billion. Plus £1.5Billion could be saved on Trident/Redundant weaponry and £1.5Billion could be saved on a tax on ‘loss leading’ cheap alcohol. = £10Billion a year. 1/6 of Scotland’s revenues.

      Scottish Oil tax revenues taxed up to 80%, while (foreign) Multinationals tax evade through the City of London. Whisky Companies tax evade and give massive donations to the NO campaign.

      Vote YES for a fairer, more equal Scotland.

    3. Adrian B says:

      *Saturday*?

    4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Are you BLIND?

    5. Muscleguy says:

      @Adrian B

      Blogging software, which I have no doubt the Rev uses, allows you to tee-up posts in advance and set them to appear automagically. I expect the Rev likes a lie-in on a Sunday morn so did this. Cut him some slack.

      I’m up and about having got up early to go for a run but I don’t feel up to it, maybe later in the day. Once up I’m up till bedtime.

    6. McDuff says:

      Great article Stu although I had to read it a few times.
      On another note, does anyone else think that the Sunday Herald is not quite as YES as it would appear.

    7. Ian Kirkwood says:

      McDuff
      I was thinking that too. Perhaps the usual people are on holiday?

    8. Sue says:

      Sorry, Rev or other intelligent reader, I need to explain this to someone else and I want to be sure I get it right. Can you please confirm for me:

      The UK spending figure quoted by BT above, does that include ALL spending, including eg. Trident, HS2 etc as well as provision of public services, health, welfare etc? I always thought they were giving a figure for public spending, which I naively assumed meant money spent directly on people, but your electric meter analogy implies that it covers absolutely everything.

      Please help.

      (I also didn’t get the restaurant bit, and don’t even get started on canibals, missionaries and rivers!)

    9. Ken500 says:

      The Sunday Herald would not publish Prof Robertson research?

      Still buy it as the only ‘average’ reporting.

    10. Alastair Wright says:

      Come on Rev, you’ve argued this point so many times – don’t fail us now. Technically Scotland has no debt or deficit, Westminster forbade it (untill the new ‘powers’ come into effect). That deficit and debt is what Westminster deems to be our share of their incompetence.

    11. Ken500 says:

      Thatcher secretly, took the Oil revenues and cut the Scottish budget and devastated the Scottish economy. One of her ministers resigned. Thatcher cancelled a pipe line wasting the equivalent of £Billions of gas. Scotland would have had a £250Billion Oil Fund. It all went south. Vote YES.

    12. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      McDuff

      NO.
      It’s a newspaper.
      It is not a political pamphlet and would have no credibility whatsoever if it was anything other

    13. Grouse Beater says:

      We can begin with the Treaty – a another sleight of hand.

      We signed a treaty to gain an export market plus a load of cash to pay of the debt of nobles and bankers.
      Half came in cash, half in debentures.*
      The debentures proved to be worthless.
      England raised Scotland’s taxes to pay for the half in cash.

      The repeated claim Scotland was bankrupt is therefore false. There was lots of money in circulation, otherwise no one could have paid higher taxes. However…

      It can be argued, Scotland paid for the sale of its own country.

      Now that’s a truly neat trick.

      (*’Debenture’: a bond backed only by the credit worthiness of the issuer; sometimes converted into stock.)

    14. ronnie anderson says:

      So were back to the older cheesnut thats fousety

      whits the greater number

      9.3% or 9.9%, ever the rubber calculator wid get the answer

      right.

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Come on Rev, you’ve argued this point so many times – don’t fail us now. Technically Scotland has no debt or deficit, Westminster forbade it (untill the new ‘powers’ come into effect). That deficit and debt is what Westminster deems to be our share of their incompetence.”

      Yes, I know. It’s completely irrelevant to the point being made in this article.

    16. Big Jock says:

      Don’t buy newspapers McDuff.But I would say the picture of the Orange Scum glassing the lassie on the front page would indicate they are trying to unmask the dark side of unionism.The unionism that Jim Murphy has signed up to but is quick to condemn.You see Jim you can’t just pick and choose the cuddly bits of the union when you sign up.You are signing up to Tory governments,illegal wars,nuclear weapons,the orange scum,BNP,Ukip ,welfare cuts,austerity.Its not your cute wee cousins in Hamel Hempstead and Pimms and lemonade version of the Union that you sign up for.Orange Order = Better together.BT are the presentable face of Ukip and BNP & Orangism.They are all fighting for her majestys imperial government.

    17. David Milligan Lvss says:

      Rev, 100 out of 10 for putting that together. Here’s a wee question for you; can you see a simple way to display this to soft no’s and undecided’s.

      You’ve proved time and again that your power of lateral thinking is unrivalled, it would be nice if you could come up with a graphic that basically says what you said above in a pictorial fashion. Just like someone above, I had to read it twice to fully understand what you were saying.

      Being in the latter part of the campaign, simple messages have to be the name of the game.

      Kindest regards,

      David Milligan Lvss

    18. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It can be argued, Scotland paid for the sale of its own country.
      Now that’s a truly neat trick.”

      Aye. It’s also a bit like the way Malcolm Glazer “bought” Manchester United, turning a profitable club into one crippled with debt.

    19. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Pressed the submit before that was finished

      McDuff

      NO.
      It’s a newspaper.
      It is not a political pamphlet and would have no credibility whatsoever if it was anything other than carrying a range of views.
      Its editorial position favours independence, some of its contributors do so in a variety of positions and some of them do not.

    20. caz-m says:

      O/T

      Listening to BBC Radio Scotland Crossfire. Utter crap and as usual the YES guy is far to nice, too quite, gets walked over by female Lib/Dem rep who is on the NO side.

      A lib/Dem in Scotland should NOT be dominating ANY debate, yet she comes across as the dominant one on this show.

      YES guy seems to sit and accept whatever shit the female NO comes out with.

      YES guy obviously cherry picked by BBC Scotland for his non-aggressive nature.

      FFS talk up man.

    21. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You’ve proved time and again that your power of lateral thinking is unrivalled, it would be nice if you could come up with a graphic that basically says what you said above in a pictorial fashion”

      Jeesh. If I could have done that I’d have done it in the first place. But I’ve moved the explanatory notes out to footnotes to see if that makes it any easier.

    22. Michael says:

      Nice article, didn’t like the bit at the beginning though.

      You say it’s impossible to predict the future & then go on to do so, by telling us how leaving the EU would be worse than Independence.

      As you say though, don’t accept everything you are told.

      I’m using this stance to look at both sides of the issue, I’ll probably vote yes but both sides are more similar than they would like to think.

    23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You say it’s impossible to predict the future & then go on to do so, by telling us how leaving the EU would be worse than Independence.”

      Oh Christ, ONE THING AT A TIME, PEOPLE. If you’re one of those zany UKIPNat types, give us a break and start banging on about Europe AFTER we’ve secured the power to take the decision for ourselves, eh?

    24. Michael says:

      Way to take my comment off topic, well done. It was you I was quoting.
      Didn’t like the labelling either & you talk about the no camp smearing people… Jeezo.
      As I said, I’ll probably vote yes, but both sides are more alike than they’d like to think.
      Ukipnat type? Wow, how did you get there so fast?

    25. Davidb says:

      The thing which is hiding in plain sight is the percentages. The graphic clearly states that we pay 9.9% but get 9.3%. So clearly we are net contributors.

      However, while until now I didn’t notice that, there is much made of cuts or tax hikes in this debate. Fundamentally neither UKPLC nor ScotlandFreeAtLast can really afford to live beyond its means.

      I am guaranteed to vote, hard Yes, but perhaps what contributes in some minds to the No inclination is the thought that they will get clobbered with taxes to pay for socialism – another failed religion. I have no idea how to counter that argument.

    26. Haggis says:

      If it’s bad for Sunday Herald to be all out pro Indy as it wouldn’t be a newspaper and only a political pamphlet then what does that say about all the out and out unionist media that is the norm? 🙂

    27. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Ukipnat type? Wow, how did you get there so fast?”

      What is it you’re actually objecting to? UKIP want out of Europe, Nats want independence from the UK, so “UKIPNat” = someone who wants independence AND for that independent Scotland to leave the EU.

    28. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      Enjoy ‘Make Alba Shine’ again, while the Rev and Michael sort things out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NC3RoScH1M&feature=youtu.be

    29. Haggis says:

      I’m shocked anyone giving it an objective look could say both sides are similar. It wasn’t the Yes side knifing and bottling people in the streets. BT side has way worse behaviour and called its own efforts Project Fear. BT politicians are fighting for their own jobs and ermine retirement. Yes side politicians are often fighting for a cause that will see them lose those jobs for themselves. It seems night and day to me.

    30. Grouse Beater says:

      Michael avers: As I said, I’ll probably vote yes

      I enjoyed that phrase. There are so many fun ways of finishing the sentence.

      ‘I’ll probably vote yes unless my mum says no.’
      ‘I’ll probably vote yes if I can find a pencil.’
      ‘I’ll probably vote yes if tv programmes are crap’

      And they say Scots are a weak, feckless people. No!

    31. Tasmanian says:

      Never seen the situation explained so clearly before. Cheers Stu!

    32. Capella says:

      What about adding a 3rd row:
      1 we contribute
      2 add our share of UK debt
      3 we receive (which is the £56 b minus debt?)
      with a footnote explaining what the UK debt is for.

    33. bluedog says:

      Muscleguy @ 0826 says, ‘Also NZ does not spend much on defence, it has no fighter aircraft for eg. No main battle tanks either, no subs (but a good ability to detect them).’

      Exactly, NZ is an Australian protectorate. If you had to pay full freight to protect yourselves your budget surplus would evaporate over night. 4 million people sitting on a large fertile land-mass in the south-west Pacific is a non-viable geo-political proposition, unless backed by a super-power and/or a well-armed and friendly neighbour like Australia.

      Your argument simply justifies the idea that Scotland can record a budget surplus after secession as its defence spending will be way below the 2.3% of GDP spent by the UK. Scotland’s post-secession defence posture would mirror that of NZ on the figures released to date by the SNP. In short, a free ride on the coat-tails of the UK.

      Independent?

    34. Michael says:

      What is it you’re actually objecting to? UKIP want out of Europe, Nats want independence from the UK, so “UKIPNat” = someone who wants independence AND for that independent Scotland to leave the EU.

      I thought it would be obvious.
      They way you think you could just instantly label someone as zany or a ‘type’.
      Especially as I’ve been saying I’m leaning towards independence, as in not decided, as in not a ‘type’.

      No need for it. I would hope that you would already know that.
      Anyway, as I said good article on the whole…

    35. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I am guaranteed to vote, hard Yes, but perhaps what contributes in some minds to the No inclination is the thought that they will get clobbered with taxes to pay for socialism – another failed religion. I have no idea how to counter that argument.”

      The way to counter it is to keep pointing out the fact that Scotland will be richer, not poorer, and will therefore have LESS need to increase taxes than if it stays in the wasteful UK.

    36. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “NZ is an Australian protectorate. If you had to pay full freight to protect yourselves”

      From who? Who currently wants to invade New Zealand?

    37. Grouse Beater says:

      Bluetack again: Scotland can record a budget surplus after secession

      We remain in the Union of the Crowns – therefore not seceding.

      You remain in the unity of the clouds, therefore only receding

    38. Michael says:

      Grouse Beater says:
      6 July, 2014 at 10:15 am
      Michael avers: As I said, I’ll probably vote yes

      I enjoyed that phrase. There are so many fun ways of finishing the sentence.

      ‘I’ll probably vote yes unless my mum says no.’
      ‘I’ll probably vote yes if I can find a pencil.’
      ‘I’ll probably vote yes if tv programmes are crap’

      And they say Scots are a weak, feckless people. No!

      God, what is this place like for trying to put people into little boxes.
      I usually just read without commenting, think I might not even bother with the reading, never mind commenting if this is the level of kneejerky rubbish patter on show.

      Finishing off my sentence by yourself & then using that to comment on the entire Scots nation? Wow, poor show. Yet, i’m the zany one.

    39. Grouse Beater says:

      Michael digs up an old one; I’m leaning towards independence

      Careful, Stuart. Were it now for the fact you’ve established a vigorously forensic pro-independence site and are robust in defending its conclusions, a whole lot of people would vote Yes.

      Don’t you understand? It’s sooo obvious.

      By proving it’s correct and rational voting Yes you’re dissuading people from doing so.

    40. Haggis says:

      Rev, it’ll be those SPACE MONSTERS again. Seems we need huge navies, airforces and nuclear weapons to save us from SPACE MONSTERS – because every time I ask who we are going to use these weapons against I don’t get an answer. UK uses them to attack others, that much is clear, but at least the UK has a long history of attacking and conquering others, so it’s an “honest” posture to build up armed forces in that context.

      As has already been adequately demonstrated, for defence purposes any more than patrol boats as a navy is pointless in this modern era. We don’t need the weapons now for defence and we won’t need to be a mini-me UK as the UK desperately tries (and fails) to be a mini-me USA for the military.

    41. Monty Carlow says:

      What the graphic needs is an extra column-

      —–> £573bn
      Total UK taxation

      —–> £694bn
      Total UK spending

      Scotland has £7.6 bn deficit (£1,400 per head)
      UK has £121bn deficit (£1,900 per head)

    42. Grouse Beater says:

      Wings: Who currently wants to invade New Zealand?

      I hear they’re pestered by gregarious, noisy parrots, rather like the Yes campaign.

    43. Robert Llewellyn Tyler says:

      “Wales (which is constantly on the internet using Google Translate)”. Not likely to endear you to your many Welsh supporters.

    44. Michael says:

      Grouse Beater says:
      6 July, 2014 at 10:33 am
      Michael digs up an old one; I’m leaning towards independence

      Careful, Stuart. Were it now for the fact you’ve established a vigorously forensic pro-independence site and are robust in defending its conclusions, a whole lot of people would vote Yes.

      Don’t you understand? It’s sooo obvious.

      By proving it’s correct and rational voting Yes you’re dissuading people from doing so.

      OK, I see where we’re at with you.

      Time for real life, things to do.

    45. Graeme Menzies says:

      @ bluedog.

      So that would be too wee and too poor, right?

    46. Grouse Beater says:

      Haggis: Seems we need huge navies, airforces and nuclear weapons to save us from SPACE MONSTERS

      That plucky wee team from Costa Rica – their country has NO army.

      The budget, previously used for the military, is now dedicated to culture and education, and some to security matters. (Celebration of ‘Military Abolition Day’ is December 1st.)

    47. Conan_the_Librarian says:

      @ bluedog

      Hmm. The logistic tail needed to invade and conquer an island, sorry two islands in the South Pacific would be immense.
      Where would it be based? Who has the wealth to build it?

      What would the UN be doing all this time?

    48. Anne says:

      Excellent post. Severin needs to read it and produce a properly argued piece in the Guardian, for once

    49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Not likely to endear you to your many Welsh supporters.”

      To preserve what’s left of my sanity between now and September, I’ve ceased to care about the views of people with no sense of sodding humour.

    50. Dorothy Devine says:

      I think between Rev Stu and Grouse beater someone has taken the huff – play nice!( Actually that phrase drives me potty and I have to add the ly!)

    51. Haggis Hunter says:

      When we are free we won’t pay the debt on all these nasty nukes and white Elephant.aircraft carriers.
      O/T. Was fine to bump into Tartan Tory last night, enjoyed the crack.
      They wing badges are useful!!

    52. Grouse Beater says:

      Hi Dorothy

      After a time you can *smell* evasiveness.

      It’s normal to ask questions when unsure of a decision to take. It’s abnormal to attack information that helps support the conclusion you seek.

      Good joke:

      To dyslexic friend:
      Dave, do you smell gas?
      Don’t be stupid. I can’t even smell my own name!

    53. Daibach says:

      @ Robert
      Hi I’m Welsh too, but have lived in Scotland for 36 years.
      The Google translate comment I found quite funny 🙂

      @ Rev
      We need simpler figures/graphics to show to others, if at all possible.

      Thanks Dai

    54. Another Union Dividend says:

      Not so much four housemates but four houses.

      Andrew Neil on Politics Show going to interview flipper Darling.

      The questions he won’t ask

      1. Why are you protecting your boss David Cameron over referendum TV debates?

      2. As a mere opposition backbencher, why did the Britsh government spend taxpayers money facilitatinmg your political meeting in America?

      3. Are you going to apologise for your blood and soil natonalism remarks which encouraged Labour candidates and Better Together supporters to paint Yes supporters as Nazis and daub premises wth swastikas?

      I won’t hold my breathe.

    55. MochaChoca says:

      When presented with the BT stance on these figures the easiest way to regain the perspective was to point out that for the £7.6 billion ‘deficit’ they account to us, they actually add £10.2 billion to our share of the debt. However, the most recent figures are more of a problem.

    56. ronnie anderson says:

      Sunday Politics Alistair Darling up next.

    57. David Smith says:

      Bluedog; please refrain from insulting our intelligence. Most of Scotland’s share of the soon to be FUK defence budget is pissed away on a submarine launched penis substitute of no military value. For less than we currently pay for your Imperial ego trip device we could have decent, robust conventional defences to protect Scotland far more comprehensively than the British State could ever be arsed doing.
      Now away with your patronising horseshit.

    58. Andrew Hamilton says:

      Past performance is no guarantee of future performance: at independence Scotland might have a proportionately smaller debt and fiscal deficit (that doesn’t tally with the figures I’ve seen, but we’ll let that go).

      However, John Swinney’s plans to borrow to increase public spending will lead to a greater deficit than rUK by 2018-19.

      All statistics are selective, but some are more important than others and are more certain: even if you discount everything else the NO campaign claims, John Swinney’s intention to borrow and spend will alter the fiscal balance.

    59. May I remind those of limited memory that the entity now known as Govan shipyard was known in the 1960`s as “Fairfield Rowan -shipbuilders and Marine Engineering Company”.

      Within that one site in Govan they built ships and built the engines that powered the vessels.
      More than 10,000 were employed by Fairfield-Rowan in Govan.

    60. bookie from hell says:

      word watch brief

      Sunday politics

      Andrew Neil

      make sure I say cybernat every Sunday

    61. bluedog says:

      Rev Stuart Campbell asks, ‘From who? Who currently wants to invade New Zealand?’

      Answer: no-one. NZ has a defence treaty with the US and Australia called ANZUS. Absent this support, NZ is non-viable with a population of 4 million.

      In common with Australia, NZ has a massive Exclusive Economic Zone together with significant and probably unsustainable claims over the Antarctic land-mass. Both demand the capacity to demonstrate a policing function if nothing else. NZ can scarcely manage that.

      Remember too that nuclear-armed China has the whole Indo-Pacific region on edge with some extravagant claims over land (Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh) and sea (Most of the South China Sea in contravention of the international law of the sea that China has signed).

      The US and Japan take Chinese expansionism very seriously.

      What has this got to do with an ‘independent’ Scotland? Nothing much directly. But the point is that Russia in Ukraine and China in the SCS have torn up the post WW2 settlement that introduced rules based relationships between nations. The new rules, Might is Right, don’t favour Scotland.

    62. Grouse Beater says:

      Darling demands all sides be heard in the debate while he, by diarrheic verbosity, insures the interviewer cannot find a pause in his shrill delivery to ask any difficult questions.

    63. ronnie anderson says:

      Why is Nick Glegg wearing a Big Y on his jersey, are the libs comeing out for YES

    64. Grouse Beater says:

      Bluedog tosses a spurious assertion: The new rules, Might is Right, don’t favour Scotland.

      Just as well the SNP propose we remain members of NATO, but without nuclear weapons, same as the majority of other nations.

      Please note: Only nation to drop an atomb bomb – USA.
      Only nation to lose a nuclear bomb – USA.

    65. Papadox says:

      Alistair Darling on Sunday politics:

      A gibbering lying heap, with a blinkety blink uncontrollable motor mouth.

    66. Ken500 says:

      China protects it’s Borders.

      US and Japan are serial invaders. Japan has invaded China.

      US has invaded Vietnam etc.

    67. Michael McCabe says:

      Good Article Stu. Alistair Darling on the Sunday Politics show still trying to sell the car with no engine. Fool. Vote Yes

    68. David Smith says:

      Might is right. I understand that’s been the cornerstone of Anglo-US joint policy since the 1950s.
      I personally don’t give a shit about Chineses expansionism. The real enemy of our civilisation is Anglo-US Corporatism.

    69. Grouse Beater says:

      BfH reminds: make sure I say cybernat every Sunday

      And he did.

      ‘Cybernats tainting the debate.’

      The manufacture of consent rushes on without respite.

    70. bluedog says:

      Graeme Menzies @ 10.41 asks, ‘So that would be too wee and too poor, right?’

      Yes.

    71. Ken500 says:

      US nuclear bombed Japan

    72. Krackerman says:

      Cleggy on BBC right now claiming all the great work of the UK government is 100% due to the lib-dems….

      Ok – food banks due to them then?

    73. ronnie anderson says:

      Dont reply to my last post at 11.31,the OU GIT fell aff.

    74. Krackerman says:

      “Ken500 says: 6 July, 2014 at 11:33 am
      China protects it’s Borders”

      How nice of it to protect Tibet’s borders too then eh?

    75. Alan of Neilston says:

      Andrew Neil did his best!! to put A.D. on the spot . What did we get but the usual nonsense for the Better Together Campaign Leader. The B.B.C again allowing A.D. airtime with no real indepth challenge to his Rambling Nonsense. “Of course the No Campaign is ahead in the Polls but we must not be complacent” was the main message allowed to be given by this broadcast. Seems Nicola Sturgeon is to be on next week. Whats the betting she will not be given such an easy time by Andrew Neil??

    76. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Answer: no-one. NZ has a defence treaty with the US and Australia called ANZUS. Absent this support, NZ is non-viable with a population of 4 million.”

      Stop ducking the question. Without that support, who would NZ need defending against?

    77. Another Union Dividend says:

      Given the Sunday Herald’s reports of violence at yesterday’s Orange Walk are the citizens of Edinburgh going to express their concerns to Councillors, Police and local newspapers about allowing this disruption and bigotry onto the streets of our Capital city on 13 September.

      btw Are there any Orange Lodges in Edinburgh as I thought this was a West of Scotland phenomenon?

    78. bluedog says:

      David Smith @ 11.34 says, ‘I personally don’t give a shit about Chineses expansionism’

      Of course you don’t.

      And, ‘The real enemy of our civilisation is Anglo-US Corporatism.’

      Now, if you ‘think’ that, what’s your constructive alternative?

    79. Ken500 says:

      Britain handed Tibet back to China dominance

    80. bluedog says:

      Stuart @ 11.38, if the question doesn’t arise, how can it be ducked?

      But to help you, wind the clock back to December 1941 when the US was attacked by Japan and the RN lost two capital ships in defence of Singapore. Immediately after that, the future of Australia and NZ was in the balance until the US victory at Midway in June 1942.

    81. Grouse Beater says:

      Is ‘Bluedog’ today’s yelping mutt here to bite the heels of democracy lovers?

      Can’t remember the name of yesterday’s mongerel.

    82. Lesley-Anne says:

      Capella says:

      What about adding a 3rd row:
      1 we contribute
      2 add our share of UK debt
      3 we receive (which is the £56 b minus debt?)
      with a footnote explaining what the UK debt is for.

      You mean so we can list things like this, engineering projects that do NOT benefit Scotland in any way.

      1 LONDON Millenium Dome (Now re-named the O2 arena)
      2 LONDON Olympics
      3 LONDON Cross rail project
      4 LONDON sewer system upgrade
      5 LONDON new super sewer system
      6 LONDON Underground upgrading and new stations
      7 LONDON Westminster refurbishment
      8 LONDON cycle friendly bridge across the Thames
      9 LONDON to MANCHESTER HS2 railway
      10 MANCHESTER to LEEDS HS3 railway

    83. heedtracker says:

      @ bluedog, very scary, so what’s the GDP of so mighty and terrifying Russia you scare mongering etc?

      Well wiki says Russian GDP $2.1 trillion, the EU GDP $13.5 trillion and so on. Want more you scaremongering etc? Japan GDP $6 to 8 trillion, India GDP hitting $2 trillion, just like youre oh so scary mighty Russian bear. Even ickle wickle South Korea, $1.1 trillion. Berk

    84. Grouse Beater says:

      Bluetack says: wind the clock back

      Erm, make up your mind!

      Yesterday history applicable to Scotland’s ambitions was bunkum.

      Today you wish us to go back to last century to gain perspective.

    85. Clootie says:

      The trouble with measuring the conditions of the house now and allocating cost is that it neglects the damage done by the aggresive bully who liked to fight a lot leading to high cost repairs.

      The same flatmate also spent a lot over the early years raiding the fridge of the others (raising their costs and cutting his)This was kept hidden for many years.

    86. Bunter says:

      RT saying NATO will put a pause on new members.

      NATO/defence scare on the way.

    87. Krackerman says:

      Ken500 – so are you saying China did NOT invade Tibet with 80,000 troops and does not to this day continue to occupy it?

      Does this violent invasion and annexation come under your definition of “defending it’s borders?”

      Does the Chinese invasion of Vietnam come under that as well?

    88. Big Jock says:

      Anyone see Darling squirming on Sunday Politics when asked about comparing Salmond to a North Korean Communist dictator.Oh come on that was just a bit of fun says Darling.I must have a sense of humour bypass.I don’t see anything funny about Darling comparing the first minister I helped elect being called a fascist.I also detest the man for comparing me and another 2 million Scots to Nazis.I just have no sense of humour Mr Darling obviously.

    89. Grouse Beater says:

      Big Jock asks: Anyone see Darling squirming on Sunday Politics when asked about comparing Salmond to a North Korean Communist dictator

      Yes. He taints the debate, drags it down to cesspit level.

      And he excuses himself by saying it’s only a joke.

    90. David Smith says:

      My constructive alternative to your 19th century imperial idea is democracy.
      You know, the sort of thing your masters purposely undermined in Iran and Chile.
      To say nothing of Diego Garcia or TTIP.

    91. Dorothy Devine says:

      Grouse , that must be the only dyslexic joke I hadn’t heard before and sadly , being a slow learner myself , I was drinking tea at the time.

      I really should know not to read folks comments while imbibing – crumbs my laptop can deal with though there are a few keys which crunch when I hit them but liquid is a messier tale!

    92. Krackerman says:

      “Stop ducking the question. Without that support, who would NZ need defending against?”

      I’d argue that this type of treaty exists not to protect NZ from Russia or China… but from the nations far more capable and placed to invade it….

      The very nations it’s signed the treaty with in the first place….

    93. Lesley-Anne says:

      Bunter says:

      RT saying NATO will put a pause on new members.

      NATO/defence scare on the way.

      I’d like to see how the scaremongers plan to explain this one. How do they intend NATO doing their *ahem* protection and patrolling then. With Scotland OUT of NATO that leaves one hell of a mighty hole in NATO’s North Western defences. I wonder how the scaremongers plan to explain to NATO how to deal with that little problem. One thing they would not be looking at is using Scotland as base for NATO to operate out of cause if we aint in NATO then they surely can not expect us to agree willy nilly to them operating from Scotland. 😉

    94. David Smith says:

      @Grouse Beater. Aye, the same way a guy locked up for racial or homophobic offences claims “it was only a joke”.
      I guess it’s a variation on the “I was only following orders” defence. 😉

    95. Lesley-Anne says:

      Big Jock says:

      Anyone see Darling squirming on Sunday Politics when asked about comparing Salmond to a North Korean Communist dictator.Oh come on that was just a bit of fun says Darling.

      Well if Darling thinks that what he said about the First Minister was just a wee joke then I guess I’m cleared to say this then cause remember folks it is only a wee joke!

      Q. What is the difference between Horse shit and A. Darling?

      A. One of them is useful and the other is A. Darling!

      Remember folks this was just a wee joke. 😛

    96. heedtracker says:

      If you google Scottish GDP, first in the expensive top google search list is all UK.gov vote no vote UKOK propaganda. Who pays for of that strength power safety in the greatest most successful union in history and for ever. What a pack of crooks you are Westminster.

    97. Andy smith says:

      The late great Jimmy Reid’s daughter Eileen has an article in todays Sunday herald,well worth reading,especially if like myself you believed that the old firm’s supporters hatred and sectarianism was historical.

    98. heedtracker says:

      @ krackerman, what the hell has Scotttish democracy or not if you can stop it, got to do with China invading Tibet? Voting Yes to run your own country means China will be even more horrible to Tibet does it? Jeez they’re out and about today alright.

    99. heedtracker says:

      Vote no Scottiish people or else Japan will bomb Pearl harbour again, and invade New Zealand and Australia, all because you silly Scottish types want to run your own country again. Where’s that madman lord Robertson when you really need a ranting project fear psychopath.

    100. Kenny Ritchie says:

      ‘Now the three men have each paid £9, which adds up to £27’.

      No they never did. They each payed £25/3 =£8.333. They then received back £3 that equates to them paying £28, not the £27.

      Really good article to illustrate the Westminster accounting trick.

    101. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Interesting press today
      Sunday Mail giving YES much more space than Naw and Sunday Sun in better than neutral position (though, like its weekday sister, it carries less and less politics).

      Excellent Sunday Herald (despite Tom Gordon eagerly reporting fulsomely on some Tories that own distilleries giving Better Together large sums)
      (The excuse given for this is that an independent Scotland will be out of the EU which, as every sensible person knows, is bollocks. It also rather suggests however that they believe the UK will not be leaving the EU. I’m sure this is actually the case)

      Sunday Herald comedy. Jim Murphy protesting that he has never had any connection to the Orange Order. As if.
      Well,you have now, son.

      He is probably too fully involved in that other similarly distasteful organisation of which he is an enthusiastic member – The Friends of Israel

    102. Hooray, at long last a post has been accepted.

      The future has already been revealed to Scotland when 300,000 Scots tory voters in 2010 freely accepted a tory manifesto that promised to disenfranchise every tory voter in Scotland via their Boundary Change Legislation.

      BamCam promises he will enact this anomaly in 2015 if he is re-elected. Legislation that ensures Scottish tory voters can never elect anyone in Scotland to the House of Commons.

      Scots tories don`t want Freedom or representation at Westminster – the heart of the union that tories pretend to defend. “Taxation without Representation”.

      BamCam volunteers to lose his lone MP in Scotland whilst gaining 20 x new tory seats in England.

      BamCam and Clegg steered this through “Second Reading” in the Commons until the unelected House of Lards realised this would have an adverse effect on the Independence Referendum when 300,000 scots tory voters – might object.

      Via this duplicitous route BamCam and Clegg were ceding Scotland to Mibbeland and his party in perpetuity. Lamont or her successors will beg funding for Scotland from a tory PM and Chancellor who have legislated to abandon Scotland.

      The deal has already been done and has merely been “Delayed” until the IndyRef is out of their way.

      In 2001 Scots elected 72 x MP`s
      Reduced to only 59 x MP`s today.
      Boundary Changes reduce that to only 50 x MP`s after BamCam wins next year. After the IndyRef.

      One-third of our representation – Gone – Forever.!!

      Despicably, the tories are bribing Brown and Darling to be the Tory stalking horses despite the fact that neither of them will Ever be allowed to hold any reins of power.

      Their despicable collusion is complete and Scotland gets royally plucked one more time.

      “Royal Assent” will be granted – one more time to remind all Scots that our rightful place is on our knees and subservience is our place in an English world, under an English monarchy.

    103. Helena Brown says:

      There must be Orange Order places in Edinburgh. My Parents were extremely unlucky in their upstairs neighbours, the second family who occupied the flat above them played music which could only be from people with those affiliations.

    104. Patrician says:

      @SGrouseBeater and Stu. The term for the Man Utd takeover is Leveraged Buyout (LBO). A piece of financial black magic where you buy a company with its own money. All you need is a small sum of your own money and a long line of credit with a bank, when the company has been bought you convert the credit into company debt.

      I haven’t looked in any depth at the financial dealings at the start of the union but with Grousebeaters description it does sound like an earlier version of a LBO.

    105. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      TEST -Is today another magic fucking word day? Search your post and change everyt other word till it gets through after 20 tries??

    106. Dr Ew says:

      I got caught at a doorstep with this very UKOK leaflet and although I understood about their pochling the figures to add in UK debt, I struggled to articulate it in a way that made sense to the lady who asked.

      She was an Undecided with a capital “U”, angry at the propaganda and misinformation from both sides; her actual words were “the avalanche of crap statistics”. I said I udnerstood. Until about a month ago we were handing out a leaflet that said Scotland was the “8th richest in the world” – contradicting the line Yes have been pushing about being 14th in the world. I’ve been told it was a “misprint”. It was embarrassing.

      Anyway, thank you for a very well written article, Stu, explaining the point very clearly and succinctly. I’ll definitely use this clever analogy.

    107. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      DEVOMAX.

    108. Derek M says:

      Nice attempt to explain this Rev but you and i both know it will go over most peoples heads but then that is the reason those crooks in the treasury designed it this way,but i take my hat off to you for the best attempt i have seen so far.
      People they have been cooking the books for years if they were an accountant at a large company they would be facing criminal prosecution for massive fraud.

      I would also like to point out we are a member of NATO already so unless they plan on chucking us out then it will not change anything,personally i would like out of NATO as im fed up with all the playground posturing of my gun is bigger than yours.

    109. gillie says:

      The banned list:

      Barrhead Travel
      Baxters
      Mackies
      Tunnocks
      Grants

      Won’t touch their products with a barge poll.

    110. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      Yes needs to challenge the NO campaign’s lies that they offering DevoMax.

      It matters a damn sight more than on policy areas where the arguments are so polarised the scottish public have already discounted both Yes and No. DevoMax voters can be reached by either side and are so crucial their votes could decide the referendum.

    111. mr thms says:

      # WantonWampum

      There is an article about it here..

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21016025

      “Peers have voted to block a reduction in the number of MPs from 650 to 600, which the coalition had originally planned to put in place for the next general election, in 2015.

      The House of Lords voted by 300 to 231 to delay until 2018 a boundary review necessary to make the change.”

      It can be unblocked. MPs are to get a pay rise from 2015.

      The total amount of the pay rise is almost the equivalent to the salaries of 50 MPs.

    112. Stephen Brown says:

      HYS opened up on Scotland section of BBC website…Haud me back!

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28159326

    113. msean says:

      Let’s just get the Independence vote won first,then deal with Europe, on our own terms. Just imagine it,the Scottish Government being allowed into meetings relating to Scotland AND having a voting say in it,being able to do deals to suit OUR interests from now on. We would have to be daft to turn down this opportunity.

    114. bluedog says:

      Conan @ 10.43 asks, ‘Hmm. The logistic tail needed to invade and conquer an island, sorry two islands in the South Pacific would be immense.
      Where would it be based? Who has the wealth to build it?’

      Nuclear blackmail resolves all these issues.

      And, ‘What would the UN be doing all this time?’

      Referring the matter to a committee of non-aligned states?

    115. Capella says:

      @ davidb 9.57
      “socialism – another failed religion. I have no idea how to counter that argument.”
      You could point out that “socialism” is not a religion at all. Here’s a dictionary definition:
      “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole”
      Or “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.
      The opposite is capitalism, which spectacularly failed in 2008 and we are all still paying collectively, i.e. through our socialised taxes and services, for that failure. An independent Scotland could have chosen not to bail out the banks but to nationalise them, not to award huge bonuses to bankers but to jail them, like Iceland did, not to pour public money into private “defence” companies for nuclear weapons, submarines and aircraft carriers etc.

    116. lumilumi says:

      Lesley-Anne @ 11.56am
      Bunter says:

      RT saying NATO will put a pause on new members.

      NATO/defence scare on the way.

      I haven’t seen this RT piece but my immediate reaction was: hmm, interesting. Russia making noises because some politicians in Finland and Sweden have been making noises about NATO membership.

      Currently Finland and Sweden are not NATO members and the issue has been a bit of a political taboo, especially in Finland.

      I don’t think Russia would be too fussed about iScotland’s NATO membership although anything that weakens NATO, as Scotland’s non-membership would, would be seen as a plus by Russia.

      However, Russia sure as hell don’t want NATO right on their doorstep in Finland.

      RT is to the Russian state what the BBC is to the British state so I take RT with a pinch of salt – although it seems to be able to report on the Scottish indy debate more fairly and impartially than the BBC.

    117. YESGUY says:

      Caz

      It wisnae me honest i was not on the radio i was in my garden trying to get my cat in as he had been fighting with a big ORANGE moggie.

      I don;t even listen to Crossfire….

    118. bluedog says:

      Mr thms, when you realise that there are 812 peers in the House of Lords you can understand why they don’t want the number of MPs reduced to only 600 head.

    119. Proud Cybernat says:

      Scotland balances its books year-in-year out. The rUK is spending money it doesn’t have, paying interest on their insane borrowing and passing a chunk of THEIR bill+interest to Scotland who had nothing to do with creating the bill (debt).

      Imagine your wife or husband going out every night, living and spending it large with money they are having to borrow and then passing you their bill–you, quite rightly, would most likely tell them where to shove their bill and terminate the relationship pronto.

      Scotland should do the same. The rUK is in debt it soon will nit be able to afford to repay (when interest rates start to rise) and they will take Scotland down with it if we remain anchored to it.

      Time to jump ship into lifeboat Indy–women and children first.

    120. Capella says:

      @ Lesley-Anne 11.46
      YES! Add the numbers and a Total at the bottom – facts!

    121. Graeme Menzies says:

      @bluedog

      Woooooohooooooohoooooooo (in best Scooby doo pretend ghost voice)

      If its not space aliens, its nuclear armageddon. What next? Godzilla emerging from the ocean?

    122. Grouse Beater says:

      Bluedog fails to spot the crux of the matter:
      Mr thms, …you realise that there are 812 peers in the House of Lords…

      And do you know how few it takes to pass a Bill removing anything or all of Scotland’s devolutionary powers?

    123. a2 says:

      Actually, the argument heard most often from voters who are leaning towards No (at least in my earshot) has always been and still is “I don’t like Alex Salmond”.

      I still have no idea how to get round that complete disinterest in the actual issues.

    124. Robert Peffers says:

      This is the very same dishonest UK propaganda that relies upon sheer basic ignorance of their target electorate. It is the same dishonest spin they put on everything. It is abuse of basic principles in both language and maths.

      Lets first define some basic terms : – Per Capita Gross Domestic Product= Total revenue contributed by a given area divided by the total population of that given area.

      Devolution of Powers = The transference of a particular power from a central government to a particular given area Together with the funds that given area previously contributed to Central Government.

      Now let us examine some dishonest claims and calculations made by the totally dishonest United Kingdom Governments of all political shades. They state that the Scots have extra per capita spending – which they actually do. However, basic laws of mathematics state that when you do a calculation you must do observe the laws of changing both sides of the of the equation. So lets see their dishonesty – shall we?

      The Scots per capita GDP is higher than the UK average so the other side of the equation is that the Scots should indeed have a higher spend. Otherwise Scots will contribute more than other UK taxpayers by – That’s higher per Capita GDP in = Higher per capita funding returned.
      However, extrapolating that argument throws up many basic dishonest truths..

      Devolved Scots powers presently funded by Treasury must also be accompanied by the return of presently contributed Scots revenues but they are not. For example, the independent Scottish NHS is at present funded by the contributions collected by the UK Treasury. First of all that means the jobs required to collect and distribute that funding are done by the UK and the wages of those doing the collecting and distributing get spent outside Scotland. Furthermore, Negative Barnett Consequentials due to the English Privatisation of their NHS reduce the Scottish Block Grant but NOT our share of the NHS tax gathered. .

      We also have the totally independent Scottish Education system. We contribute our bigger Scottish per capita tax to the treasury and we get a smaller UK per capita share back via the Block Grant. This because England has cut her funding for education by charging student tuition fees and reducing the treasury funding. Barnett Consequentials then cut the share of the revenues returned in the Scottish Block Grant. That’s the old problem of not doing calculations on both sides of the equation.

      So, what of the attack weapons such as Trident, Aircraft Carriers,Nuclear Powered Attack Submarines and Attack Aircraft that Scotland neither needs ot wants? We have to contribute our larger per capita share but don’t get the defence we require nor do we get the same UK defence spend back in Scotland.

      Then there is the UK debt?
      Go figure..

    125. Grouse Beater says:

      Robert – Hope you read my defence of ‘Brond’ and Lindsay on the other thread.

    126. Derek M says:

      and before anybody asks no we cant keep this wee dug the last one died of neglect after pooping all over the place and you never took it for walkies shame on you wingers lol

    127. bluedog says:

      GB @ 1.29pm asks, ‘And do you know how few it takes to pass a Bill removing anything or all of Scotland’s devolutionary powers?’

      It wouldn’t be done, it’s a non-starter in the current political climate although in theory feasible. In the first instance the House of Commons would never introduce such a Bill and the House of Lords would not try it either, if it could. If there is to be a referendum on secession, a bill to revoke devolution would be absurd.

      The website owner is a Lib-Dem and in 2005 the L-Ds published an excellent paper on a federal UK. It seems to have sunk without trace. More’s the pity.

    128. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Davidb

      The graphic clearly states that we pay 9.9% but get 9.3%. So clearly we are net contributors.

      No, because those are percentages of different things. The 9.9% is of taxation and the 9.3% is of public spending. Spending is higher than taxation because the UK runs government deficits. See Monty Carlow’s comment.

      However, while until now I didn’t notice that, there is much made of cuts or tax hikes in this debate. Fundamentally neither UKPLC nor ScotlandFreeAtLast can really afford to live beyond its means.

      This is true, but not in the way it is usually presented, and there’s a clue to the problem in your use, a widespread use, of the term UKPLC.

      Sovereign countries are not like businesses or households; the UKPLC thing is misleading. Countries which have their own currency face no financial constraints. No ‘costs’ in the way households or businesses do. A country which issues its own currency cannot ever run out of that currency.

      The constraint – the cost, the means beyond which it cannot live – facing sovereign a nation is its real economic capacity; its ability to produce goods and services. If a sovereign country has the ability to produce then it can always afford that production. If a sovereign country has unused capacity it can always afford to bring that capacity online, including eliminating unemployment.

      @Monty Carlow

      Scotland has £7.6 bn deficit (£1,400 per head)
      UK has £121bn deficit (£1,900 per head)

      Exactly. The problem with the unionist position is nothing to do with something being added that ought to be subtracted.

      A more accurate restaurant analogy would go something like this:

      Three people eat in a restaurant and pay a bill of £30. As they leave, the manager realises they overpaid by £5, and sends a waiter after them with the money. Said waiter catches up to them and hands person A £2, person B £2, and person C £1. The No campaign then bangs on about person C getting a subsidy as a result of their membership of the United Group of Three People.

    129. Grouse Beater says:

      Bluedog prevaricates: It wouldn’t be done

      Show how little you know – and are dodging the question.

      Radical alteration to devolved powers, a diminution of MP numbers, no direct benefits from oil revenues, and a savage reduction in the Barnett formula, are all on the table. All those come as a warning, on top of the threat to delay any vote for Yes if it “is not in the interest of the United Kingdom.”

      I take it you’ve been on vacation this last year.

      Now, answer my question:
      What is the quorum needed for the Lords to endorse a Bill from the House of Commons?

    130. Krackerman says:

      Heedtracker – never said it did have anything to do with Scottish Independence – stop projecting – you’re only making an ass of yourself. I was responding to the claim that China only protects it’s borders – a clearly false statement. Read the whole exchange before you go off half-cocked…

    131. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Proud Cybernat

      The rUK is in debt it soon will nit be able to afford to repay (when interest rates start to rise)…

      The UK government is the sole issuer of net financial assets denominated in sterling. Some of those assets – cash and reserves – pay no interest. Some – bonds – do pay interest. How can the UK, or any other sovereign, government run out of something that it and only it can create?

    132. Paula Rose says:

      Now – I’ve just got in from a spot of real campaigning and am climbing down from my high heels to do a spot of gardening, so don’t have time to read all the comments.

      Am I correct in thinking that the taxes collected in Scotland cover all the things Scotland needs, but because the UK government wants WMD, HS2 etc and of course its own running costs, it borrows the money and then we pay the money back?

    133. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      ‘But to help you, wind the clock back to December 1941 when the US was attacked by Japan and the RN lost two capital ships in defence of Singapore. Immediately after that, the future of Australia and NZ was in the balance until the US victory at Midway in June 1942.”

      So, just to get this straight – without the support of the US and Australia, Japan’s just waiting for another chance to strike at New Zealand, yeah?

    134. Grouse Beater says:

      Wings says: Japan’s just waiting for another chance to strike at New Zealand, yeah?

      I got the distinct impression, Stuart, Japan took over the world years ago with its durable, dependable vehicles.

      In fact, all the countries plucky Brits defeated now enjoy superior economies and superior life style to any Britain.

    135. Grouse Beater says:

      The Fantasy of British Democracy – grousebeater.wordpress

    136. Paul Beck says:

      a2 (6 July 1:37) “Actually, the argument heard most often from voters who are leaning towards No (at least in my earshot) has always been and still is “I don’t like Alex Salmond”. I still have no idea how to get round that complete disinterest in the actual issues.”

      Agreed – so many conversations start that way. But often, when you probe further, it turns out that the speaker doesn’t like any politicians at all. I then try and make the best of a bad job by responding along these lines: “If you don’t trust politicians, wouldn’t it be better to have them 50 miles up the road than 400 miles away?” (Adjust distances accordingly if you’re not having this conversation in Jedburgh.)

    137. Caroline Corfield says:

      @bluedog. The removal of devolved power has already been done, during a debate in the House of Lords an aspect of energy industry control was simply removed from Holyrood’s control to facilitate the passage of a Bill through the house. A second chamber made up of unelected people, hereditary peers and bishops! Yes, clergy, like in Iran, of the state religious faith namely Anglicanism, of which the Queen of the UK of GB and NI is head.

      http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-politics/8428-fury-after-unelected-peers-strip-power-from-scotland

    138. Tom Foyle says:

      It’s not surprising that Scotland’s people are so easily conned – The restaurant story sounds so plausible, and, even though I read the subsequent explanation, it took me three readings to get it through my not-usually so-thick skull. That England resorts to this sort of subterfuge is hardly surprising – they’ve had hundreds of years of practice, after all, and make a waiter’s friend look arrow-straight by comparison – but the facts and figures need to be explained to EVERYBODY, not just the Scots, but the English as well, in as straightforward a fashion as possible. Then perhaps even some of the English might turn on their masters. After all, haven’t the English got the best-developed sense of fair play in the world?

    139. Grouse Beater says:

      Caroline: aspect of energy industry control was removed from Holyrood’s control

      Ha! See my post above, Caroline – great minds think alike, and all that.

    140. Capella says:

      And in the case of Japan attacking Pearl Harbour and Singapore. what were UK and USA doing in Asia and the Pacific? Bringing democracy to the Far East? or indulging in expensive military adventures to protect their foreign colonies? One of the items on a previous tally of Scotland’s vast contribution to the UK Treasury was for “imperial services”. See The Historical Debt
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-historical-debt/

    141. BuckieBraes says:

      @a2
      There is no point trying to get round some people’s lack of interest. Civic apathy plagues sections of our society; and it’s depressing to note how, just over two months from the vote, so many apparently intelligent people from ‘middle Scotland’ still can’t be bothered engaging their brains.

      ‘I don’t like Salmond…I don’t have enough informa-shun!’

      Sometimes a quick riposte is all it’s worth expending energy on. Regarding the hoary old Alex Salmond antipathy, my response tends to be something like:

      ‘So you’re planning to vote against your country’s independence based on your opinion of one man – you do know the difference between a referendum and an election, don’t you?’

      Leave it at that and walk away; and maybe, just maybe, it’ll leave them thinking and wondering.

    142. Robert Peffers says:

      @Grouse Beater says: 6 July, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      “In fact, all the countries plucky Brits defeated now enjoy superior economies and superior life style to any Britain”.

      Indeed, but never forget, as I posted yesterday, Britain and the USA poured resources into the defeated AXIS countries post WWII and built up their manufacturing industries.

      I quoted the British Army chappie who set Up Volkswagen but while Britain’s infrastructure was both bombed to bits and run down due to the war effort those of the AXIS countries thrived at our expense.

      Our road, rail, gas, electricity and water services all had to be taken into public ownership to survive. Remember the British Road Service, British Rail, Gas Board and Electricity boards, GPO and so on?

      Meanwhile the Allies were maintaining large contingents of our armed forces in Germany. Not only costing us scarce funds but the troops were spending their wages in those countries.

      The USA were funding Japanese industry too. Instead of, “To the victor the spoils” it was, “To the vanquished the support”.

      We won the war and lost the peace.

    143. Robert Peffers says:

      @bluedog says: 6 July, 2014 at 10:19 am:

      “Your argument simply justifies the idea that Scotland can record a budget surplus after secession as its defence spending will be way below the 2.3% of GDP spent by the UK. Scotland’s post-secession defence posture would mirror that of NZ on the figures released to date by the SNP. In short, a free ride on the coat-tails of the UK.”

      Totally balderdash, Bluedog. In the first place Scotland has no suitable defence worth bothering with. The defence needed by Scotland is early warning aircraft, (scrapped by the UK). Fast patrol vessels to protect our Coastal & Continental Shelf installations and either good fighter aircraft or anti-aircraft/anti-missile defences and a decent army.

      When a Russian Flotilla anchored in Scottish waters off the Moray Firth it took an RN reserve ship days to scramble and limp over 1,000 miles on one engine to just shadow the Russians. These Russians included an aircraft carrier, complete with real planes. They could have launched attacks upon any target they chose in the entire UK, including the Clyde Trident base, before the RN even knew they were there.

    144. geeo says:

      All these No voters have flooded the place with such positive reasons for voting No…
      Save NZ
      Save Tibet.
      Save xyz….

      Did not realise an independent Scotland would spark world instability right enough…we WERE warned mind you, its a No for me now…Say no to salmond and save NZ !!!

      Jeeezo….

    145. Caroline Corfield says:

      @Grousebeater

      Indeed, I still can’t get over the fact that it happened, just like that, and nobody seemed to kick up a major stink about it, can’t imagine it was news on the TV, or the full implications for Holyrood and Scottish democracy were gone into. No wonder some folk can apparently justify staying in the union – all they need to do is avoid the internet and watch the BBC et al.

    146. Ealasaid says:

      These financial figures are covered in detail in one of Ivan McKee’s (BfS)earlier talks here

      youtu.be/1W8cKHcZn60

    147. Democracy Reborn says:

      @Paula Rose

      Paula, I think you’ve summarised it accurately.

      Bite-sized chunk for voters:-

      We pay more in taxes to London relative to our %age of our population.

      But London “allocates” a share of spending on vanity/’great power’/wet dream projects such as Trident, HS2, London Crossrail for which Westminster needs to borrow for. Hence the illusion that we receive ‘more’.

      For all of the above, we get : austerity, welfare cuts to those in & out of work, bedroom tax, gross inequality, tax cuts for millionaires, foodbanks, job insecurity, zero hours contracts.

      Pooling & sharing is just the biz!

    148. Paula Rose says:

      @ Democracy Reborn – thank you dear, I was beginning to despair of a return to the topic, I hadn’t realised the defence of NZ was so vital to the independence debate.

      Now, I know taxes are not hypothecated, but is there a correlation between ‘vanity project’ costs and the deficit – help me out you lovely number-crunchers.

    149. lumilumi says:

      @ Robert Peffers, 4.18pm
      @Grouse Beater says: 6 July, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      “In fact, all the countries plucky Brits defeated now enjoy superior economies and superior life style to any Britain”.

      Indeed, but never forget, as I posted yesterday, Britain and the USA poured resources into the defeated AXIS countries post WWII and built up their manufacturing industries.

      Dears, you obviously know nothing about Finnish history. To the British, we’ve gone from the wonderful pesky Finns during Winter War to pariahs during the Continuation War and again to good guys during the Lapland War (these three wars constitute WWII in Finland.)

      After the war, Finland wasn’t “love-bombed” or “money-bombed” by the Allies. Finland had to pay very heavy war reparations to the Soviet Union.

      Finland payed every single penny of the unfair war reparations on its own (the only country to do so). No Marshall aid or such. The upside is that it was a real boost to Finnish heavy industry – building all those ships and locomotives etc.

      Small independent countries can do amazingly well in the world. Even without help from the UK or the US.

      Finland has its problems but one thing we all agree on is the value of our independence, it’s priceless, the first and foremost, the guiding light of who we are.

      How can Scots not want that for themselves?

    150. lumilumi says:

      Grouse Beater @ 2.46
      Japan took over the world years ago with its durable, dependable vehicles.

      Roger that. When I was buying my first very own car, my dad gave one piece of advice: Japanese engineering.

      My used 1998 Honda has never given me any grief and the MOT emission measurements place it right up there with 2012 German cars. :O

      Cars are a bit silly, anyway. There are brands and the exact same car is marketed under a different name in different countries. Wauxhall Astra is Opel Astra outwith the UK, Mazda 232 was Ford Fiesta in Australia etc.

    151. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Paula Rose

      The government deficit balances the non-government surplus; non-government net saving. If non-government net saving drops so will the government deficit. Not that that would be good, the deficit is already too small.

      Whether that deficit is accompanied by better health care and education, or nukes and imperial adventures, is determined by policy choices of the government, and who the people vote into office in the first place. But changing from the latter to the former won’t reduce the – already too small – deficit.

    152. Grouse Beater says:

      Cars are a bit silly, anyway.

      I’d like to see Scotland with ONE car production company, preferably a vehicle that is 21st century advanced. There is no reason why England should corner them all.

    153. Chic McGregor says:

      I’ve used a similar analogy in the past with 4 neighbouring farms. It can be extended to cover too many living in England’s farmhouse for the amount of produce it provides and the analogous flaws in imperialism leading to disastrous relations with neighbours further afield, extrapolated to the point where it inevitably collapses. (After Farmer English’s final ploy of going around country fairs with his ‘find the lady’ scam gets rumbled.)

      A Socratic analysis at base as in ‘Plato’s Republic. The different stages involved mean it cannot be represented by a single picture.

      It requires some kind of parable representation, although that could be achieved with a series of clever pictures.

    154. lumilumi says:

      @ Grouse Beater

      What is a “production company”?

      Car factories in Finland have produced open-top Saabs and fancy Porches but it’s a dying industry, the production (work) is trickling to countries with equally skilled but cheaper workforce.

      Globalisation and capitalism. Ho hum.

    155. Paula Rose says:

      @ FlimFlamMan – darling could you go over that again, maybe using analogy, I’m not much clearer, I need to be able to explain things to people like me.

    156. Grouse Beater says:

      Lumilumi: What is a “production company”?

      One with car production as its main output, as opposed to engine making, or auto design only. Mind you, if we had a car making company all those other facilities will develop to service it.

    157. Chic McGregor says:

      OT No biggy just a FYI. I created a sub titled version of NNS’s latest Duggy Dug video so as it can be shown in the Kirrie Yes shop window loop.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMiFUOsx7z4

    158. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Paula Rose

      Deficits and surpluses all take place in terms of GDP, and various sectors of the economy.

      Say you and I have our own little nation state, and we engage in economic activity; I sell you my phone for £100 and you sell me your watch for £50. That’s our activity for the period we’re looking at.

      Our GDP is £150; the total of our transactions.

      You’re in deficit by £50, since you’ve spent £100 but only received £50.

      My position is the opposite, so I’m in surplus by £50.

      Despite a massive GDP of £150 our economy nets to zero; my surplus cancels your deficit.

      This is true for all economies, even real ones. They always net to zero, so if one or more sectors are running surpluses, other sectors have to run deficits.

      The UK economy is far larger than just you and I – and far more fun for you – but the sectors still have to balance. If the non-government sector – comprising the UK private sector and the rest of the world – runs a surplus in sterling, and it does, then the UK government has no choice but to run a deficit.

      And I don’t just mean they’ll do it but reluctantly; I mean it will just happen. They’ll look at the accounts at the end of whatever time period and discover a deficit.

      This is part of why the UK government has failed to reduce the deficit the way they promised; they simply don’t have control over it. They can steer and cajole, and even force to a limited extent, but their position, the combination of spending and taxation, is driven by the actions of the non-government sector.

      In our little two-person economy I ran a surplus of £50, but only because you wanted to buy my phone.

    159. Paula Rose says:

      So it all ends in zero?

    160. FlimFlamMan says:

      It all nets to zero, yes. The economy – any economy, no matter how large – is ‘just’ a collection of transactions. In each of those transactions the buyer is worse off, financially, by exactly the amount that the seller is better off. Each individual transaction nets to zero, so the collection must also net to zero.

      It starts getting interesting when you think about the currency in which the transactions are denominated, and who issues that currency, because that tells you who can and can’t sustainably run deficits.

    161. David says:

      The Robert Peston article on the BBC site is pretty poor, except for the last four paragraphs. I think they are worth repeating:

      “Because my main conclusion from my investigations is that if I had a vote, I would not be casting it purely on the basis of the economics – because it does not seem to me that the amounts of income and wealth at stake are life-changingly huge: Scotland, certainly in the longer term, is likely to be a relatively rich and successful economy on either road.

      What matters far more, arguably, is how Scots see themselves in a much broader sense, either as a confident nation that is proud of being part of a bigger country, the United Kingdom, or as a people stifled and limited by the historic union.

      So have I wasted my time by looking at whether an independent Scotland would be richer or poorer?

      Actually I don’t think so – because the economic arguments certainly matter, and in a way it is reassuring that a question about self-determination and identity can be decided by Scots largely pondering who they are, rather than how rich they may or may not become.”

      The independence question is about self-worth, how much we believe in ourselves; not about the monetary worth of our economy.

      The economy is ok, and can be strengthened, but the real profit from becoming independent once again is the growth is self-belief, self-confidence, and self-esteem which will come to us and to our descendants.

    162. David says:

      This has been noted before, but it is worth repeating as it may help swithering Labour supporters decide to say Yes:

      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-28180767

      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/referendum/9418-former-labour-government-minister-declares-for-yes

      http://news.stv.tv/scotland-decides/281716-ex-labour-minister-leslie-huckfield-backing-scottish-referendum-yes-vote/

      “A former Labour government minister has urged the party’s voters to back Scottish independence in September.

      Leslie Huckfield, Nuneaton MP between 1967 and 1983, now lives in Perthshire. He said the referendum was “an historic opportunity” to implement Labour ideas.

      But he said that “won’t happen” while Scotland remains part of the UK.”

      “Mr Huckfield left the Labour Party in protest at the Iraq war and “New Labour’s continuing political drift”.”

    163. bluedog says:

      Stuart Campbell @ 2.26 says, ‘So, just to get this straight – without the support of the US and Australia, Japan’s just waiting for another chance to strike at New Zealand, yeah?’

      It’s a question nobody can answer, and you know that. But if NZ were to lose the support of the US and Australia, it seems unlikely that NZ alone could resist a hostile state. As it happens, the principle threat to NZ is arguably the scarcely controlled immigration from the Pacific Islands, drawn like moths to the flame by the higher NZ living standards.

      Your views on the Lib-Dems 2005 plan for a federated United Kingdom?

      An answer to that question would be much appreciated.

    164. Paula Rose says:

      Not the threat to NZ again! – don’t awaken the seismic tectonics, they did an awful lot of damage last time.

    165. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Here’s what we should do.

      1. Have our own currency pegged on a one to one basis with sterling.

      2. Don’t accept any debt. The treasury have confirmed it legally belongs to the UK.

      That would leave us with no national debt and a starting surplus of circa £5bn.

      Oh, but the markets would treat us as a defaulter and we would pay an interest rate of 5% for some time, according to the BT camp. Well even if that were true, what’s 5% of 0?

    166. Adrian B says:

      Your views on the Lib-Dems 2005 plan for a federated United Kingdom?

      Not a snowballs chance of happening as a Federal UK requires getting rid of Westminster and arguably the Queen to boot.

      What about the 1913 Home Rule plans? Do you have any give-away thoughts that you might care to share?

    167. handclapping says:

      Whats with unionists and history? Is it all they have?
      We bought you; you were bankrupt in 1707
      Remember all we did together in our Empire Union
      Think on how we all fought together in the World Wars
      (Probably its because they dont have a positive case for the Union)

      So what is the point of jawing over “the Lib-Dems 2005 plan for a federated United Kingdom?” It is more bloody history, we’re looking to Scotland’s future here

    168. kestral says:

      Davidb

      With regards to being clobbered to pay for socialism

      Read

      another angry voice

      He explains all about return on investment for social spending

      As he says cutting across the board is as silly as throwing money across the board

      Some investments in spending make you money back

      Ie roads bring in new business
      Which means more jobs which mean less benefits

      So forth and so on

    169. Capella says:

      @ handclapping
      The unionists obviously can’t use Google. Here’s a history of federalism, or “home rule” as it was called, from the BBC history site. It illustrates the interminably long and pointless search for federalism in the UK. it’ll never happen because Westminster can’t tolerate it. :
      “By the end of the (19th) century there was significant momentum in the home rule movement. A Scottish Home Rule Association was founded in 1886. More importantly, by 1885 the Liberal leader, William Gladstone, had become converted to the idea of home rule.

      Between 1889 and 1914 Scottish home rule was debated 15 times in Parliament, including the introduction of four bills. In 1913 a Home Rule Bill passed its second reading. World War I then intervened and the idea was dropped but support for home rule had been on the wane in any case, as campaigning for it meant associating with the more outspoken Irish home rule activists. This alienated support within Scotland both for the Liberals and constitutional change.

      Nevertheless, a discrete administrative system was established for Scotland. The post of Secretary for Scotland was formed in 1885 supported by a Scottish Office. It became a cabinet position in 1926. In 1895 a Scottish Grand Committee was established with powers to discuss Scottish legislation and in 1948 the Standing Committee on Scottish Bills was given powers to consider bills relating to Scotland. In 1957 it was renamed the Scottish Grand Committee.”
      And so on and on….

    170. kestral says:

      Flimflanman

      That is manufacture and trade within a country what happens when a country has very little to sell to the rest of the world

      If we are only services and do not manufacture?

    171. bluedog says:

      handclapping @ 11.42 says, ‘We bought you; you were bankrupt in 1707’.

      Ah, so that would have been with the repatriated profits of the Darien Scheme?

      Adam B @ 11.40 says, ‘What about the 1913 Home Rule plans? Do you have any give-away thoughts that you might care to share?’

      Tony Blair implemented the 1913 plan in 1996.

      And, ‘Not a snowballs chance of happening as a Federal UK requires getting rid of Westminster and arguably the Queen to boot.’

      With the exception of getting rid of HMQ, we can agree. There is no doubt that Westminster has baggage that grates in Scotland and to a lesser extent, Wales. For Ireland, Westminster was terminal. The Conservative peers killed Irish Home Rule as we know and triggered a chain of events that lead to 1916.

      As a Unionist, I think it is crazy that the nations who inhabit the British Isles and Ireland cannot reach an agreement on a shared political structure. Federalism offers a route to this objective. A new capital would be an essential compromise on the part of the UK. The garden city of Liverpool would be the obvious choice for the site, being fairly close to the geographic centre of the British and Irish archipelago.

    172. Paula Rose says:

      bluedog dear could we agree that food banks and the bedroom tax are abominations? That would be a start.

    173. bluedog says:

      Done, Paula Rose

      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/02/holyrood-power-end-bedroom-tax-scotland

      If charities set up foodbanks, who are we to judge or complain? The wider question is why are they needed. Will secession answer that question?

    174. kestral says:

      Paula rose

      For some really easy to understand articles on economics politics Ect

      Another angry voice

      It’s a great blog

      Naked credit default swaps are a real eye opener and shocking in the extreme that we do not ban this kind of thing

    175. Paula Rose says:

      bluedog dear – why are food banks needed? To absolve the corrupt system from its responsibilities, and will an Independent Scotland be the answer? Yes honey and with knobs on – we in Scotland will not allow this to happen any more. We are a people who share our responsibilities and love our fellow people. We may be christian, muslim, or whatever (I’m an atheist), in our beautiful country we will care for all.

    176. Fiona says:

      @ kestral

      For this purpose it does not matter what we are selling. If people abroad buy cars or financial products such as insurance it makes no difference to the fact that these are transactions: it still nets to zero.

    177. Fiona says:

      @ Paula Rose.

      I hope you are right and from my point of view the only chance that you are right is independence: because that is the only way we will have an opportunity to make different choices. But it is not certain, of course. I understand your aspirations but the fact is that we are not necessarily or inherently more socially democratic than our neighbours. We are subject to the same plutocratic propaganda and the same plutocratic pressures as everyone else under the dogma of “globalisation”.

      This is why flimflamman’s contribution is important. So long as people believe the “economy is like a household budget” mantra we have little defence against the fundamental problems which arise from what is presented as economic fact, but is in reality an ideological and political position.

      To make real change we must reject much of that “wisdom” root and branch. But at present there is no mainstream political party which will do that. We can do better by tinkering round the edges: but it is probable that anything more radical will have to be fought for since it threatens the plutocratic hegemony and that is bigger and more serious than the detail of arrangements within one country: it is an existential threat to the elite. For this reason it is important to get to grips with the underlying lies and presumptions which set the terms of the debate. It is not at all easy to do that, for the economists and their political pals make sure that it is couched in very obscure language full of maths: and translated into patently false simplicities such as the household analogies, for public consumption. The aim is to claim that this is all very difficult science and to make you give up and leave it to the experts.

      As you read around the subject you find that the assumptions on which the case is built are bat shit crazy. But it takes time and effort to uncover that. In my experience it is because when I did realise what they were arguing I took the view that it could not be as stupid and insane as it appeared to be: I thought that I must be missing something. I wasn’t. It really is as daft as it appears to be. Or as wicked if you think they are doing it deliberately.

    178. Adrian B says:

      Tony Blair implemented the 1913 plan in 1996.

      Err. No he didn’t. Even if he did it took the UK 83 years to advance and it was mainly through Europe’s intervention that anything happened at all. Blair and other Blairites were not happy about the transfer of Government powers to Edinburgh.

      Federalism offers a route to this objective. A new capital would be an essential compromise on the part of the UK. The garden city of Liverpool would be the obvious choice for the site, being fairly close to the geographic centre of the British and Irish archipelago.

      Westminster works for the south East of England. You will not persuade the enough in England in sufficient numbers to create a Federal system within the UK. Those in Westminster do not wish to change the FPTP system and establish Federal Government. They like things just as they are now.

    179. I’m a bit confused about finances.

      Scotland pays a population share of the costs to build things like Crossrail and HS2 in England. Does it happen the other way round too, ie does England pay a population share of infrastructure we build up here in Scotland? We also pay a share of Westminster costs but does England pay a share of Holyrood costs?

      From all the reading I’ve done, it appears to be a one-way street, ie Scotland must pay for itself and then it must also help pay for what England does.

      Is that the situation?

    180. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Fiona

      So long as people believe the “economy is like a household budget” mantra we have little defence…

      This is the heart of it, and even more so the idea that sovereign governments are like households, or businesses. Without an understanding of the nature of money and its creation, those opposed to neoliberalism will continue to lose at the first step.

      Money is not a ‘thing’. Depending how you look at it it is either a representation of relationships, or is that collection of relationships. Its presence enables relationships that would not otherwise exist.

      Human relationships which create tangible products or services.

      It is an entirely human invention, conjured from thin air, and we can never run out of it. But we can create too much. The limit is in the capacity of the relationships it enables.

    181. FlimFlamMan says:

      @kestral

      I wrote a longish response, but it’s not showing up. I might bother Stuart about it later, if he doesn’t see this.

      As Fiona says, the same rules apply to international trade. Even transactions across borders involve one buyer, one seller, and, the important part, one price. Sellers are better off by the price and buyers worse off by the price; it still nets to zero.

      As for the UK’s lack of exports, well, foreign nations still want to sell to us, in large part to keep their population employed in making the stuff they sell us. They might stop, but they’ll do it slowly or they’d hurt themselves, so we’d have time to adjust.

      Our problems stem not from any of this, but from Westminster governments that are wedded to a neoliberal ideology. Protect the financial sector that caused the crash and cut support for the disabled, among other things.

      Rev. Stu, are you reading this? A longer reply to kestral is AWOL.

    182. Morag says:

      Gregory, I think you’re right. Westminster designates large capital projects in the SE of England as things which will benefit the UK as a whole. Like the London Olympics and the new high speed rail line. It then charges Scotland a proportion of the costs.

      Projects in Scotland, however (like the Commonwealth Games or the upgrading of the A9) are purely for our benefit and do not benefit the UK as a whole, therefore we have to pay for the entire cost out of our own pockets.

      If we had a press that was worth its salt, everyone would know this and be outraged. But we don’t.

    183. Thanks Morag. It makes the Union economics even worse. Quite how Crossrail – ie extending the tube in London – benefits Scotland, I’ll never know. But we pay for it anyway.

      Their view must be that no-one in England would every want or need to go to Scotland, so why should the English pay for what we do? This just shows the Westminster mindset and is another reason for voting YES.

    184. superjaxx says:

      Your wee brainteaser had me and my hubby (who works in finance incidentally and should be better with this sort of thing!) counting sweeties on the floor, because we couldn’t figure it out in our heads! Haha



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