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Wings Over Scotland

The pensioner jackpot

Posted on July 09, 2014 by

We got an email from an alert reader today making an intriguing observation. We feel sure we must be missing something about it, but we can’t figure out what it is.


Perhaps you can help.

Let’s walk through it.

We know, by the DWP’s own admission, that the UK government is obliged to keep paying the state pension to anyone who’s qualified for it, no matter where they live. If you emigrate to Spain you still get your UK pension, because you paid for it during your working life and you’re entitled to it, like any other pension.


That applies to pensioners who live in Scotland the same as it does to anyone else. They’ve paid their contributions to the UK government and it’s the UK government that owes them their pension even if they go and live in a foreign country.

The ramifications of that are that if Scotland becomes independent, every pensioner in Scotland will effectively “emigrate” overnight. They’ll be living in a “foreign” country – as Labour in particular never tires of reminding us – but will still be entitled to their UK pension just like anyone who emigrates to Marbella is.

And what that means is that on day 1 of independence, Scotland will, to all intents and purposes, have no pensioners at all. Everyone of pension age (and, indeed, those who’ve already made sufficient contributions to qualify but haven’t reached retirement age yet) will be the responsibility, pension-wise, of the UK government.

We also know that pensions take up almost half of the entire welfare budget. UK pensions cost about £74bn a year. Scots live slightly less long than their southern counterparts, so the Scottish share of that will be a bit less than the population share of 8.4%. Let’s call it £6bn a year.

That would appear to be an extra £6bn straight into the Holyrood coffers. There’s no corresponding liability – people who reach pension age AFTER independence day will have to have their pensions paid by the Scottish Government rather than the UK one, but state pensions are paid out of general taxation anyway, so that’s normal. We know about that already, it’s not an extra cost.

The “bonus” will decrease steadily over time as the pensioners – not to put too fine a point on it – die off, replaced by new ones for whom the Scottish Government IS liable.

But it’ll last for roughly 20-odd years (based on average life expectancies), and if we assume – just for a ballpark illustrative figure – a straight-line graph going down evenly to zero over 20 years, and if we remember our geometry correctly, it’d lift a total of £60bn of pension burden off the Scottish Treasury over the whole period.

(And that’s actually a pretty conservative estimate, as in reality more people will die towards the end of the period than at the start, especially if we put some of the extra money into health and social care and raise life expectancies. Plus, of course, if that money’s available to spend elsewhere it’ll generate growth and revenue.)

At the very least, it definitely seems to put the No campaign’s constant shrill warnings about Scotland being predicted to have a very slightly more ageing population over the next few decades into some sort of perspective.

An extra £6bn a year (or more precisely a £6bn reduction in the welfare budget, for free, without having to make a single cut) for the first few years of independence will certainly take the edge off any startup costs. It would pay off a huge chunk of any debt Scotland inherited, or all manner of other things.

At the very least (and most likely in practice) it’d be a massive bargaining chip in negotiations, because the UK insists it’ll the sole continuing state and Scotland will be a brand new country with no rights to the membership of organisations, currency etc. But it can’t have that both ways. If it’s the same UK and Scotland isn’t, then the pension liabilities are Westminster’s alone, as well as 100% of UK debt.

For perspective, Scotland’s current UK debt repayments are around £4bn a year. If we walk away as a new country, the pension savings more than double the value of a clean break. £10bn a year is a heck of a strong card to play in negotiations.

(Not least because it would comprehensively wipe out the Scottish deficit. The No campaign likes to threaten that if Scotland created its own currency or used Sterling informally it would have to pay more for its borrowing. But freed from £4bn of UK debt repayments, £6bn of pension liabilities and £1bn in other savings, Scotland would be rolling in cash and wouldn’t need to borrow a penny from anyone.)

Indeed, it’s such a big deal, yet one that we’ve never seen anyone mention before, that we can’t shake the feeling we must have overlooked something incredibly obvious and embarrassing. We just can’t for the life of us see what it would be. We’ve asked a few people already, and nobody can spot the flaw.

Quick, someone tell us so we can delete this post and pretend it never happened.

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    1. 09 07 14 19:14

      The pensioner jackpot | Scottish Independence News

    2. 31 07 14 14:29

      Scottish Independence and your pension | English Scots for YES

    3. 06 08 14 01:32

      Scotland’s Story | A Wilderness of Peace

    333 to “The pensioner jackpot”

    1. Patrick Roden says:

      Wow!!! now that can be a game changer if the message gets out there.

      So I’m off to post a copy to my 500 and odd Tweeter followers. 🙂

    2. Angus McLellan says:

      Trolling for hits? That’s very naughty.

    3. troushers says:

      Surely you would have to split both assets AND liabilities, post independence. Unless, that is, Rumpuk are determined to continue blasting merrily away at their own feet, and sawing happily at their own neb.

    4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Surely you would have to split both assets AND liabilities, post independence”

      Hence “a massive bargaining chip”. The UK government keeps threatening to cut Scotland off if we don’t accept a share of debt – “We are the continuing UK, you’re a brand new country”. Well, fine, but you can pay for all our old folk.

    5. Steve Bowers says:

      Jeez , that’s a hot on Rev, perhaps Westminster’s going to kill off all our pensioners to save themselves the money ( maybe they’ll get the space invaders to do it for them for a wee bung !)

    6. Flooplepoop says:

      I will be intrigued to see how No better together thanks are going to spin this one, grinning in anticipation.

    7. Rod Robertson says:

      If this is true it is a game changer for sure ,however there must be a loophole somewhere

    8. JimnArlene says:

      Another squirrel bites the dusty nut.

    9. Richard says:

      You have missed something big – I’m 41 years old and from age 16 to now I have also paid into the UK governments coffers for my pension. Therefore the Scottish Government will only be liable for part of my pension payments.
      This of course applies to all tax payers of all ages. Not sure how you could calculate the reduction in costs this would also bring?

    10. Smith says:

      It’s certainly a massive bargaining chip in negotiations, assuming Westminster would prefer us to look after our own pension payments.

      If Scotland increased the state pension amount, I suppose they would pay the little extra while the bulk is paid from Westminster.

      I’m 40 and have contributed towards my current state pension for 20 years. I wonder how that will be split in negotiations…. An indy Scotland should only really pay half my pension (if I retired at 60). That’s all in theory, though, because as you said, there’s no savings pot for that.

    11. handclapping says:

      Sorry to disappoint but its a joint and several liability of the UK. It has not been unilaterally assumed by Westminster in the same way as the UK debt.

      The proportions of the UK pensions liability to be taken by the rUK and iScotland will be part of the negotiations after 18/09 with Scotland having to make the case for a lesser share due to the higher mortality of our pensioners

    12. Jamie Arriere says:

      Ach, I don’t really think we’ll get away with that. In the same way that we’ll probably have to keep paying rUK for our share of the debt (which AS has always said we would do) once a figure is agreed during negotiations, so will it be the case that we contribute to paying our own pensioners.

      It may also be that after 2-3 years, once all the Scotland-resident pensioners are identified & data collated, there will be a handover to the iScotland pensions service.

      Someone could look and see if the White Paper says anything on this.

    13. Gray says:

      This issue has confused me for a while. I’d go further and suggest that anyone who has contributed national insurance to the UK exchequer should be entitled to a pension (pro rata) from that government.

      Why would Scotland assume responsibility for the pension of someone who becomes a pensioner days after independence when the rUK will have benefited from their payments until then?

    14. Iain Hamilton says:

      Superb. Nuff said.

    15. heedtracker says:

      This also has huge ramifications for the big vote NO BetterTogether frightener, Scotland will need thousands of immigrants just to pay for our ever increasing pensioner population, where will they live and do they even want to come to Scotland anyway? Or as I heard it described this afternoon, vote No mince.

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You have missed something big – I’m 41 years old and from age 16 to now I have also paid into the UK governments coffers for my pension. Therefore the Scottish Government will only be liable for part of my pension payments.”

      No, that’s covered. Your contributions don’t count for diddly. They’ve been used to pay the pensions of TODAY’S pensioners. They’re all gone. Pensions are paid out of general taxation, NOT a pension pot full of your contributions.

      So when you reach pension age, you’re 100% the Scottish Government’s problem, and will be supported by the working-age population, just like UK pensioners are now.

    17. Kenny says:

      There’s no loophole. And I’m inclined to think that anyone currently paying in NI to tbe UK government will be entitled to a share of their pension being paid out of UK coffers rather than Scottish ones.

      Even if not, we can put that whole £60bn straight into our national pension fund and feel rather comfortable about the future.

    18. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The proportions of the UK pensions liability to be taken by the rUK and iScotland will be part of the negotiations after 18/09”

      Yes, AS THE POST SAYS. Read to the end, people.

    19. Might it actually be even better than the above and last a lot longer than 20 years? e.g. someone becoming a pensioner after I-day will not solely be the responsibility of the SG as they will have paid into the UK pension pot for most of their working life.

      This will of course whittle down as the years go on but someone who’s 40 at the moment, has worked since they were 16 and plans to retire at 65 would find the fUKG being responsible for nearly half of their pension. Unless I’m missing something obvious as well?

    20. Gray says:

      @ handclapping

      Sorry to disappoint but its a joint and several liability of the UK. It has not been unilaterally assumed by Westminster in the same way as the UK debt.

      Surely rUK assumption that they are the continuing state makes them liable?

    21. Derec Thompson says:


    22. James Sneddon says:

      Something to look forward to then? Seriously why isn’t this been picked up by the ‘offical’ YES or the SNP. I can’t even recall if this aspect was mentioned in the WP. Look like I’ll be able to afford that Saga Cruise holiday rather than saving to stave off hyperthermia 🙂 Roll on 2032 my big retirement day!

    23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Surely rUK assumption that they are the continuing state makes them liable?”

      Precisely. They can’t have it all ways.

    24. Graham says:

      Think you should delete this, as Handclapping has pointed out the error.

    25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Might it actually be even better than the above and last a lot longer than 20 years? e.g. someone becoming a pensioner after I-day will not solely be the responsibility of the SG as they will have paid into the UK pension pot for most of their working life.”

      No. As noted above, that’s not how it works. Pensions are paid out of taxation. In effect they’re not “pensions” in the strict sense of the word at all, they’re welfare. If you quit a pension before it matures, you get little if any of your money back.

    26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Think you should delete this, as Handclapping has pointed out the error.”

      No, he hasn’t. His point is addressed in the post.

    27. Murray McCallum says:

      Can I please make a plea to the Scottish Government not to include Ian Davidson MP in the pension negotiations.

      That is all I have to save on this fine negotiating item.

    28. Jamie Arriere says:

      White Paper says on p.144

      “for those people living in Scotland in receipt of the UK State Pension at the time of independence, the responsibility for the payment of that pension will transfer to the Scottish Government”

      Never mind, worth the thought.

    29. seanair says:

      It will indeed be a huge bonus, but will be ignored by the BBC/MSM. I still think, and have posted before, that it is very important to make sure that present pensioners know what the DWP have said about receiving their pensions. I also think that it’s a dirty trick by BT to allow pensioners to worry about their pensions by not admitting the DWP’s clarification.

      I challenge YES Scotland again to produce a flyer which makes the position clear, and concentrate on delivering them to sheltered housing, community centres, and all other places where pensioners are found, including those identified by canvassing.
      Rant over.

    30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “White Paper says on p.144

      “for those people living in Scotland in receipt of the UK State Pension at the time of independence, the responsibility for the payment of that pension will transfer to the Scottish Government””

      Yes, but that assumes a negotiated settlement in which the rUK plays nice.

    31. Wings Over Reality says:

      By that argument, once Scotland stops paying for today’s pensioners on day one of Indy, there will be less money going into the pot and pensions will fall as a result or are likely to anyway. And Scotland will have no representation at Westminster. As you say, game changer.

    32. Lesley-Anne says:

      I’ll bet the NO Together/ Better Thanks bully boys are dying with dread on this wee snippet slipping out. Ambulance for Blair McDougall. Ambulance for Alistar Darling. Ambulance for Gordon Brown. Ambulance for BBC. Ambulance for MSM. 😛

    33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “By that argument, once Scotland stops paying for today’s pensioners on day one of Indy, there will be less money going into the pot”

      Don’t be stupid. People will still be working and paying tax and NI. Income won’t change a bit.

    34. David says:

      Dance on, granny, dance the night away! It’s not a huge pension, by European standards, but it’s all yours, and ALL paid for by rUK!

      And the longer you live, the more it costs ‘them’, classic. Hope you all live to be 100!

    35. Breastplate says:

      I think the UK government can dodge all this pensions nonsense by rolling out their Soylent Green Programme early

    36. handclapping says:

      Of course should Billy Hague continue with his Scotland was extinguished and rUK is UK and we’ve got the Trident to prove it, then we can claim that then they get all the debt and all the other liabilities like the state pension provision and the civil service, BT, Royal Mail etc.

      But we must not get ourselves into a BTNT position like their claim we will be out of the EU but forced to use the Euro, we don’t want to come down to that level after all the Rev has taught us about straight and crooked thinking 🙂

    37. Jim Duthie says:

      According to HMRC, there is a nominal surplus in the National Insurance Fund. However, this “surplus” is “loaned” back to HM Gov and “repaid” out of general taxation and borrowing. In effect the NI Fund is a giant PONZI scheme.

    38. Bill Fraser says:

      It has been mentioned before. I mentioned it when I recommended that Scotland saves this money ( like an oil fund) to pay future Pensioners out of a pension pot rather than general taxation.Tat means savings that last forever.

    39. David says:

      This is just another one of those things they’re omitting to inform people of because they know we have lots of bargaining chips which will bring them to the table begging like the dogs they are.

      They are full of bluff and bluster in an attempt to scare people and make a good case for themselves when negotiations begin. Shame some of aren’t fooled by it all. We hold most of the cards not them.

    40. Ivan McKee says:

      This point has come up during the Q&A at a couple of meetings I’ve done.

      Technically I think Stu is correct here, but in reality what I would expect to happen is that the liabilities associated with the Pensions of pensioners who will be resident in Scotland after Indy would be considered as part of the Asset /Liability split during the negotiations.

      Its a bit like the Debt scenario in that sense – the options would either be to leave the liability for the legacy pensions with the UK government and an adjustment is made to the Debt calculation during the negotiations, or iScotland takes on a share of the pension liabilities to cover pensioners living in Scotland after Indy and the Debt liabilities are adjusted accordingly.

      In doing that calculation would need to take into account differentials in life expectancy, thus giving the SG a lower liability per person than the UK average). There’s also the bit about UK pensioners currently living outside the UK whose liabilities need to be apportioned.

      What it does appear to do is to change the dynamics of the negotiations to some extent. Like the Debt the UK government will start from the position that all the liabilities are theirs (as they have already stated) and will negotiate with the SG to arrive at a mutually agreed solution for the SG to take on a share of those liabilities.

      There is a bit in the White Paper about this – I’ve cut and paste it below for reference. Its looks like the SG is quite happy to take the liabilities for Pensioners living in Scotland. Given that the proposal is to have a higher pension level in Scotland than the UK, and to have a lower retirement age eventually as well that makes sense.

      Hope someone has a big enough calculator to work all this out…..

      From the White Paper…..

      For current UK-wide public service pension schemes, the Scottish Government proposes taking our fair share of pension liabilities based on responsibilities for meeting the pension entitlements of pensioners who live in Scotland. (White Paper Page 139)

      ..for those people living in Scotland in receipt of the UK State Pension at the time of independence, the responsibility for the payment of that pension will transfer to the Scottish Government

      for those people of working age who are living and working
      in Scotland at the time of independence, the UK pension
      entitlement they have accrued prior to independence will
      form part of their Scottish State Pension entitlement. Any
      pension entitlement accrued in Scotland after independence
      would also form part of that Scottish State Pension. On
      reaching the State Pension Age, their Scottish State
      Pension would be paid by the Scottish Government

      ?? for future pensioners who have accrued rights to the
      Scottish State Pension but who retire outside Scotland,
      the Scottish State Pension will be paid either via a Scottish equivalent of the International Pensions Centre (IPC) or by the pensions institution in the country of residence, depending on their circumstances. The Scottish IPC will be established following a transitional period of shared service provision

      ?? for people who build up entitlement to a range of State
      Pensions – in Scotland, in the rest of the UK, in Europe,
      or elsewhere – the current situation will continue. The
      only difference will be that, from independence, pension
      entitlement accrued from working in Scotland will be to the
      Scottish State Pension, rather than to the UK State Pension

    41. Lesley-Anne says:

      Apologies for this being O/T so early on but really it is brilliant! Well at least I think so. 😉

      I love this bit.

      The Hands Across the Border group said: “We’ve now decided that rather than pushing the human chain – which has proved logistically very difficult – we are going to work on something more straightforward and more enduring.

      For “logistcally difficult” read impossible to achieve due to lack of numbers. 😛

      I also hope they are able to figure out where to put the cairn. More importantly how are they going to stop those of us North of the cairn *ahem* removing stones from said cairn and placing them elsewhere for a cairn of our own. 😉

    42. Jamie Arriere says:

      Yes, but that assumes a negotiated settlement in which the rUK plays nice.

      …and that’s what we want, isn’t it?

    43. Murray McCallum says:

      As everyone knows, HMR&C know by person and employer who has paid what towards the state pension.

      The article is not talking about the process of the payments outlined in the White Paper, but the how the Scottish government will obtain its pensioners’ (and workers’) contributions.

      Both parties have things to negotiate here. I just hope Team Scotland is up to the job.

    44. Gary says:

      They wish to be seen as the continuing UK and so have had to confirm that it is they who are liable for the national debt and now the pensions. But we can’t have the pound, who cares!

    45. Jamie Arriere says:

      The whole pensioners-living-abroad might bite us as well, if there are people living down south eligible for Scottish citizenship who may choose to receive a Scottish state pension (especially if it’s higher than the rUK).

    46. Feartiefifer says:

      If ‘YES’ vote then all voters (residents in Scotland) become Scottish citizens. Pensions are paid from taxation (NI Contributions) of UK citizens. Scottish citizens have no entitlement to that. It must come from Scottish taxation. rUK citizens will NOT accept paying for Scottish citizens pensions. Good try – but flawed I’m afraid.

    47. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Technically I think Stu is correct here, but in reality what I would expect to happen is that the liabilities associated with the Pensions of pensioners who will be resident in Scotland after Indy would be considered as part of the Asset /Liability split during the negotiations.”

      Of course. But the real point I’m making (and I’ve added an extra paragraph near the end to make it clearer) is that this is a really big and obvious bargaining chip.

      If the rUK tries to play hardball, Scotland can now threaten to expel Trident within weeks, AND walk away from £140bn in UK debt, AND another £60bn+ of pension liability. That makes up for an awful lot of increased borrowing costs.

    48. Craig Dalzell says:

      Perfectly reasonable conclusion to the way things will work if rUK insists on taking on all of the assets AND liabilities of the former UK and leave Scotland to only buy in the assets it wants.

      I would assume that some kind of arrangement will come out of the separation negotiations by which we will take on a “share” of our own pensions but you’d also be fair to assume that that cost could come out of any other share of debt so we’d still save on interest payments. That’s roughly about £2.4bn per year worth.

      I believe that there’s a parallel with Ireland. The UK Gov continued to pay Irish civil servant pensions from before their split up to (I believe) the 1970’s when the last of them died off.

    49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “If ‘YES’ vote then all voters (residents in Scotland) become Scottish citizens. Pensions are paid from taxation (NI Contributions) of UK citizens. Scottish citizens have no entitlement to that.”

      Wrong on two counts. Pensions are in REALITY paid out of taxation, but are OFFICIALLY based on contributions. If you’ve paid the contribution you’re entitled to the benefit, and where the payer gets it from is no concern of yours.

      Secondly, Scottish citizens will of course be able to remain British citizens anyway.

    50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The whole pensioners-living-abroad might bite us as well, if there are people living down south eligible for Scottish citizenship who may choose to receive a Scottish state pension”

      Conceivably, but there are far fewer of them than live in Scotland now.

    51. Roland Smith says:

      This is not exactly new. Alex Salmond held up exactly the same letter a good while ago in Holyrood. Somewhere on Youtube you can find Steve Webb the pension ministers evidence stating the UK responsibility to anyone with any contribution record in the payment of a pension. You would need a legal eagle to confirm but on the face of it if the negotiators wanted to play hard ball with the continuing state RUk would have to cough up.

      I was puzzled after Steve Webbs evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee that this issue had not had more in depth exposure and some aggressive advertising by the Yes Campaign. Splash it on a few bill boards and the truth will out.

      Or Rev Stu crowd fund enough money to place a few full page adds in the sun or the record, that would soon smoke them out.

    52. Murray McCallum says:

      As there is no (or minimal) physical UK state pension *fund* then there is nothing to walk away from?

      The UK and Scotland will be in the exact same position, i.e. both having to raise pension revenues from existing/future workers?

      I guess the pensions settlement could be as complicated, or as straightforward, as the parties wished to make it. Surely an advantage for Scotland is lower population but backed by disproportionately high value of physical assets?

    53. G H Graham says:

      Argue all you want about the amount Scotland wont have to pay for pensions in the first few years.

      The reality is that Scotland is in a very strong bargaining position and thus will end up agreeing to pony up for this but not that or share the burden.

      Some of the assets we have paid for are immovable. Others exist electronically or on a piece of paper. Regardless, Scotland has the best hand here; and it starts with oil. That and the trade surplus it provides us.

      If I were Salmond I would tell Westminster to fuck off after September & only come to the table when they are ready to pick up the bits of Trident that have been dismantled & staged at Gretna Green for collection.

    54. cath says:

      I’ve often mused on the fact that technically NI contributions are owed back to us as pensions. Always just assumed that would form part of the debt/asset negotiations.

      It’s a government debt but one owed to individualswho’vre paid in. So yes, a population share should come off overall debt we’d take.

    55. Ivan McKee says:

      @ Rev

      “But the real point I’m making (and I’ve added an extra paragraph near the end to make it clearer) is that this is a really big and obvious bargaining chip”.

      Absolutely… makes the negotiations all the more interesting.

      @ Roland Smith

      “Or Rev Stu crowd fund enough money to place a few full page adds in the sun or the record, that would soon smoke them out”.

      That could be a good idea.

    56. Dcanmore says:

      So Scottish pensioners of today have already paid into the UK pension pot therefore the rUK will be liable for their pension payouts, that’s for everyone who is drawing a pension in Scotland now. For those who are paying into the UK pension scheme at the moment will have a pension of some sorts from the UK come Scottish independence day, so let’s say your 55 on April 2016 and retirement age is 65, the last ten years of your pension will be paid out of Scottish funds.

      However there might be nasty surprise during negotiations. Like when Germany wanted its gold back and the USA Fed said no you can’t, not even see it, then admitted ‘*ahem we’ll have to re-melt your gold and then give it back to you a little bit at a time.’ When Scotland leaves the union I think the printing presses at the London Mint will be going into overtime!

      One thing the British Government don’t want and that is to admit to the person on the street that the UK is so thoroughly bust it would take the rest of this century to put right and that is where you realise that Scotland is the only net component contributing/subsidising rUK. They are frightened of the Scottish Government finding out the truth of the real state of Britain and making it public and unfortunately this probably includes the possible non-existence of the UK pension pot. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is I think they way the UK has been operating these last few years. Goodbye NHS! If the Tories get in next year then there will be plans to phase out the State Pension too.

    57. bjsalba says:

      I worked for 12 years in the UK and then 25 in the US. I get money from both systems that I paid into in proportion to my contributions.

      I believe the same could apply to people who have paid into the UK and who will be paying into iScotland. If Scotland chose to negotiate how the claims are processed that is one thing, but who actually pays is another – I suspect a matter of negotiation.

      PS It does not matter where I live. A colleague who did the same as me now lives in France and gets paid by both systems.

    58. handclapping says:

      @G H Graham
      No no you negotiate while you’ve got them by the short and curlies … you want Trident how about a dozen helicopters or we flog the nukes off to the Russki, you want a CU we’ll give you 10 years for Mrs T’s ironing board etc. You would leave us naked at the negotiating table like Scotland will be at Westminster after we’ve thrown away our trup card by voting No

    59. Thepnr says:

      First instinct was to agree with handclapping that it was a joint liability.

      However it may all hinge on the “continuing state” business. Your can’t have your cake and eat it scenario.

      See The Quebec referendums RESEARCH PAPER 13/47 25 July 2013 Which can be found in the “Reference” section here on Wings.

      There are at least three different possibilities under general international law for the treatment of states that break up:

      1: Continuation and secession, where one part of a state secedes but this is not considered to have changed the identity of the remaining part.

      In these cases, the continuing state keeps its international obligations and membership of international organisations, while the seceded territory becomes a new state.

      2: Separation of two states that previously came together voluntarily.
      In these cases the separated states may both be able to keep treaty obligations and membership of
      international organisations.

      3: Dissolution, where the old state ceases to exist.
      The treaty obligations and memberships of international organisations do not transfer to other states

      If rUK insists on being the sole continuing state as in case 1. It then accepts all liabilities and debt which without negotiation is theirs and theirs alone. That would include pension liabilities.

      Under case 2 though I believe it would be much simpler, we just divide the assets and liabilities proportional to poulation including pensions. Then we keep all existing treaties, memberships ect. including the EU NATO blah blah blah.

    60. bugsbunny says:

      Just watching Scotland today. Could not believe my ears. About the 5th August 2 hour telecast between Alec Salmond and Alistair Darling, Bernard Ponsenby stated, “The First Minister will be able to at last answer economic questions that he has managed to avoid for the last two year’s”. What a prize idiot. Impartial Scottish Journalism at it’s best. Or is that worst?


    61. gordon murray says:

      No the Rev’s source is dead right: In January 2013 HMGovt in Westminster unilaterally declared that in its judgment when Scotland voted to sign the Treaty of Union 1707, it voted Scotland out of existence.Scotland became only a region of the enlarged England. It has no assets or liabilities on ceding from mother England.
      Scotland on independence has no national debt and no pensions obligations.
      Clearly Sir Humphrey will need to do some more work on this bold and courageous stand by HMG

    62. BigRik says:

      Of course we could sue the UK Gov in a class action for NI. Since we have all been paying insurance, and the company (rUK) has not gone bust.Unless they just call it insurance, and use it as general taxation. But i’m sure they wouldn’t do that…… would they??

    63. Murray McCallum says:

      One thing seems clear to me – these negotiations will be infinitely easier for all parties if they are discussed and written in formal £Sterling.

    64. Brian Mchugh says:

      Thats a great post Stu… the truth of what it really means though, is that the UK and Scottish governments will pro-actively work together in negotiations after independence to get to an amicable agreement on details such as this. The unionist grandstanding at present will end and be fully replaced by a new attitude from Westminster on September 19th… as we all know anyway.

    65. Ken500 says:

      Scottish taxpayers pay UK gov pensions in Scotland. (£16Billion in pensions/benefits) That will not change. Scotland pays £4Billion a year debt repayments on monies it doesn’t borrow or spent. The borrowing are spent in the rest of the UK. Scotland (pro rata) spends less and raises more in taxes than the rest of the UK. The £4Billion of debt repayments to Westminster. The debt repayments will reduce. £3Billion surplus goes to Westminster. Scotland can save on Defence and a tax on ‘loss leading’ cheap drink = £3Billion. £4Billion + £3Billion + £3Billion = £10Billion.

      9% of pensioners in Scotland continue working. 6% of pensioners continue working in the rest of the UK. Pensioners pay tax.

    66. I think Richard has a point. No matter that State Pensions are actually paid from current income (or, in the UK’s case, current borrowing), he has paid a stamp into the UK NI Fund and therefore the UK has a liability to pay a proportion of his pension.

      Surely it should not be beyond the wit of man in the assets and liabilities calculation for the contributions of Scottish Citizens (of whatever working age) into the UK NI Fund to count as assets to be weighed against the liabilities.

      It would make sense that current pensioners, all of whose working contributions were paid to the UK State, should continue to be paid by the UK until the inevitable happens. However, that does discharge the UK’s liability to pay the proportion of future pensions the contributions for which have already been made to the UK State. In reality, the UK will not want to be liable for its share of, say, a 25 year old’s future pension and there will have to be some transfer of the NI contributions of the 18 to 65 year olds on independence.

    67. TD says:

      Stu – I think it’s even better than you suggest.

      If we take an example of someone who is one year from retirement at independence – having contributed for say 39 years and one year from the state retirement age, then although they may not be entitled to their pension yet, they still have a very significant accrued entitlement which only needs to be topped up with one more year’s contributions to qualify.

      If we take someone at the other end of their working career who has only contributed for 1 year, they still have a paper entitlement associated with that year’s contributions. So it’s not just people drawing the pension, but everyone who has contributed at all into the UK scheme prior to independence will have some entitlement. This means that it will take 40 years or so before an independent Scotland would have to assume full responsibility for pensions.

      Or am I misunderstanding this?

    68. Ken500 says:

      The UK Gov pension system changed recently. People retiring in the future will receive an (increased) pension without the present contributions requirement.

    69. Kenny says:

      Handclapping – “joint and several liability” is absolutely wrong. That means it’s a joint liability for which both parties can be individually pursued. There is simply no way an iScotland can be responsible for all rUK’s pensions should they somehow try not to pay out to pensioners in England or Wales.

    70. I feel that this will all come out in the wash when we get down to negotiations after a yes vote. Sure it is the rUK responsibility if they claim successor state (not in their hand to claim, other countries may have a different say as to what they are) but I feel that the SG will contribute still their amount due which will be around 8%.

    71. Robert Costello says:

      I have been saying this for many months , it is a UK pension and the only thing that will happen is that 5.5 million people will emigrate from the UK taking their pensions/ pension credits with them so an independent Scotland starts of with a nil pension liability and only a partial one as people grow old enough to Drew a pension can’t understand why it has teken so long to get this out there

    72. Lesley-Anne says:

      Just watched (dis)Reporting Scotland doing its best to bolster No Together/Better Thanks or what ever. THREE on the streets in Edinburgh and 10 on the phones.

      Funny last night when they did the YES side campaigning they NEVER showed how many were on the phones for YES. Hmm I’m guessing BBC trying to insinuate YES don’t do phone calls to undecideds then? 😉

    73. Wings Over Reality says:

      Then where exactly is this six billion of funny money coming from seeing as pensions are paid out centrally?

      Your argument is that of you give some money to settle the bill at a restaurant you still have that money. I like it.

    74. Bob Sinclair says:

      Suspicion confirmed.

      Just listened to the BBC Scotland report on the BT campaign. Lack of negative words, mention of it being a pragmatic campaign, growing, grass-roots etc. I intend over the next few days to listen to both again and transcribe if possible, but suffice to say, there can be absolutely no doubt of BBC bias.

    75. Murray McCallum says:

      Someone trapped in unReality seems incapable of differentiating between a consumable item and a savings scheme.

      Maybe they work in the UK Treasury?

    76. Les Wilson says:

      Lesley-Anne says:

      Rory must have just discovered that Hadrians wall is a few miles into England and is NOT the Scottish border, I mean who would have seen them, let alone wave back LOL!

    77. msean says:

      Saw that report,still voting Yes.

    78. Ian says:

      I spent an hour in the sunshine earlier this afternoon discussing exactly this with a friend. We’ve skirted around this over the last week or so, but come to the same conclusion.

      Ivan’s comments on needing a big calculator is so true, it will be a Actuarial delight.

      We felt the pension provision would just be part of the debt-split calculation, but iScot should benefit from this with our shorter life-expectancy.

      There is one thing that is generally missed in the whole life-expectancy discussion which is that Scots are born with a (much) shorter life-expectancy but by the time they reach 65 the life-expectancy is only 16 months shorter in males, and 11 months in females. (I can get the source if required.

      However the shorter lives are filled with higher needs for NHS help. The pension bonus may well be sunk by a NHS cost.

    79. BigRik says:

      But its alright, the young student said she was letting people know about currency and pensions…. perhaps Gideon and Alic should seek her advice…. of course, they could just be making it up …

    80. Capella says:

      Fiona has pointed out in a previous thread that state pensions are not paid out of taxation but that the NI contributions are held in a National Insurance Fund,
      This doesn’t affect your argument other than make it more appropriate for the UK to pay pensions. And hasn’t George Osborne planned to merge NI and taxation?

    81. Lesley-Anne says:

      Les Wilson says:

      Lesley-Anne says:

      Rory must have just discovered that Hadrians wall is a few miles into England and is NOT the Scottish border, I mean who would have seen them, let alone wave back LOL!

      Nice of them to move North a wee bit and build their cairn Les isn’t it, saves our eyes from all that squinting we’d have had to do to see them waving their wee candle thingys. 🙂

      I’m just wondering if they plan to post a 24 hour guard on their cairn cause otherwise I suspect there may be a few 21st Century Reiver raids into *ahem* foreign lands to *cough* re-arrange their cairn. 😛

    82. BigRik says:

      Wow, just seen an insert for ScotlandNo 2014… apparently there are 20’000 jobs in defence shipbuilding in Scotland. Has anyone told the unions??

    83. Jim says:

      So, on day 1 of independence they would have to honour the pensions of those who have reached pension age but would they not just be liable for whatever contributions the rest have paid, not the full amount?
      Sorry, complicated, my brain hurts.

    84. TD says:

      Wings over Reality

      The answer is: Not our problem. If I make an insurance claim, I don’t ask where the insurance company gets the money to pay my claim – I’m only interested in getting paid.

    85. Jim says:

      Isn’t that a new tactic, inventing the possible loss of jobs that don’t exist?

    86. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Then where exactly is this six billion of funny money coming from seeing as pensions are paid out centrally?”

      What are you gibbering about?

      The £6bn is a UK government liability. It has to be paid by the UK. Where the UK government gets it from is the UK government’s problem. It’s not complicated.

    87. BigRik says:

      They are probably counting the wee wife in the paper shop if she sells a bottle of irn-bru to a worker

    88. Jim says:

      Isn’t a pension based on what you pay in, not like an insurance policy which will pay out whether you have only had it for say a month then made a claim?

    89. Murray McCallum says:


      I don’t think that the National Insurance Fund, is a pension “fund” as we really know it.

      It seems to simply be a bit of a cash-based / biscuit tin approach whereby NIC contributions come in and out (pensions) in a single tax year.

      Imagine if everyone stopped working and there was no NIC contributions whatsoever coming in? Pensions would still have to be paid, but there would be no “fund” to pay them out of.

      Happy to stand corrected on the exact operation of the NIF scheme.

    90. Jim says:


      Like a thirst technician?

    91. Devorgilla says:

      Aren’t you forgetting something? Whilst the UK will continue to be liable to meet its obligations to folk of pensionable age living in Scotland who are entitled to a UK pension, because they’ve paid their dues, doesn’t that rather depend on what arrangements are come to by the Scottish and UK governments, post-Yes? The UK could simply decide (and Scotland might well agree) to a share of the assets that would involve the Scottish government administering these funds and paying out to Scottish pensioners.

    92. Kenny Campbell says:

      Can’t wait to see the article on the Big Tax case……lol

    93. TD says:

      My understanding is that although the system started out as an insurance scheme, it has “morphed” into an arrangement whereby the contributions just go into general taxation and the benefits are paid out of general taxation. However, the liability to pay the pensions is real and it is the UK’s responsibility to pay them. To be fair, the civil servants at the DWP seem to understand that, judging by the letter at the top of this article.

      The reality of course is that this will all be subject to negotiations following a Yes vote – but there is no doubt that this strengthens our hand.

    94. Derek M says:

      the only problem i can see is that the UK pension fund was stolen by crash Gordon and his henchman flipper to pay off his incompetence,so there is no money just a big black hole where the money should be,this would not be a problem for iScotland but i do wonder how westminster could come up with the cash to pay it since they are skint,but im sure there would be enough in the coffers to pay Scotland`s pensions, not so sure about the rest of the poor buggers in the UK though looks like they will all be working until they are 90.

    95. Harry McAye says:

      Bugsbunny – you need to pay better attention, Ponsonby was reading out a quote from Better Together.

      Bob Sinclair – she did start the report by saying the word “battle” if that helps. I think we are justified in our complaints against the BBC but sometimes it seems to verge on paranoia. I could see little wrong with both reports.

    96. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Aren’t you forgetting something? Whilst the UK will continue to be liable to meet its obligations to folk of pensionable age living in Scotland who are entitled to a UK pension, because they’ve paid their dues, doesn’t that rather depend on what arrangements are come to by the Scottish and UK governments, post-Yes?”

      No, I didn’t forget that. It’s addressed in both the post and numerous comments.

    97. Marcia says:

      A copy of the DWP letter should be given to every pensioner. That is all that is needed to reassure some pensioners that have read some of the daft scare stories in the MSM.

      This made me laugh;

      A bit embarrassing for the No chap.

    98. cynicalHighlander says:

      OT: 6:30pm 9th July Q&A Nicola Sturgeon MSP, D…

    99. cynicalHighlander says:

      OT: 6:30pm 9th July Q&A Nicola Sturgeon MSP, D…

    100. ayemachrihanish says:

      rev, I’ve been making this very point for sometime…

      Also, you seem to have missed two other important points


      post independence – it will take at least 50 years before iScotland is 100% (solely) liable for a state pension payment.


      Well come 2016 every working Scottish citizen will have already accrued some UK DWP pension entitlement.

      For example, a working twenty one year at March 2016, who left school at 16 and then entered full time employment, he/she will have already accrued 5 years of rUK DWP pension entitlement.

      In addition, the state pension will not be paid until that person reaches 67 (say 45 years later) and it will be at that point (2062) that the rUk contribution share kicks-in.

      Also the rUK’s share (or liability) of that iScotland citizens state pension will run until that happy citizen pops their clogs at say 80 – 2082


      It’s actually a sliding scale of a joint rUK / iScotland state pension payment split over a long period of time.

      The shift is 100% rUK liability to 100% iScotland over a period of at least 60 years.

      Come March 2016 iScotland has ZERO state pension liabilities – rUK pay them all

      Come March 2017 iScotland has a 1/65th share – rUK 64/65th
      Come March 2018 iScotland has a 2/65th share – rUK 63/65th etc, etc.

      In summary,

      March 2016 – any 16 year old who subsequently enters full time employment in iScotland – 50 years later (2066)Scottish DWP pay 100% of their state pension.

      March 2016 – all others over the age of 16 who have previously made UK state pension contributions, subject to age, their state pension payments will be split between rUK/iScotland until circa 2082.

      This is one massive reason why there is no debate – televised or otherwise

    101. Capella says:

      @ Murray McCallum
      the expenditure v income for 2012 -13 is exp 91.012 inc 84.263
      according to Wikipedia which regards it as a hypthecated tax.
      But I’m no expert

    102. Murray McCallum says:

      This shows the “fund” at its last actuarial valuation having outgoings of £91 billion and income (NIC) of £84 billion.

      Only a government would view this as a “fund”.

      I also see that NIC are used to part fund the NHS, unemployment benefit, sickness and disability allowance as well as the state pension.

      It would seem that National Insurance is basically collected and used as other taxes. It is not ring-fenced for pensions – which I personally do not have a problem with.

    103. Murray McCallum says:

      Ha Capella you beat me!

    104. CyberNiall says:

      @ Rev Stuart Campbell

      Good luck with simplifying that into an advert. 😆

    105. BrianW says:

      Sheesh.. That’s blown a big hole in someones ‘scaremongering’ argument..

      I wonder how much Lord & Lady Wads of Cash Better Together Donators will have to plough into the campaign to plug that big gaping hole..

    106. Murray McCallum says:

      I also see “the government can borrow from the National Insurance fund to help pay for other projects.”

      Which means when you open the biscuit tin it is filled with IOUs. It also makes the concept of any “ring-fencing” meaningless.

    107. Bob Sinclair says:

      Harry McAye,
      Not Paranoia, its pretty obvious when you listen to both reports what the BBC agenda is. They are still running with the BT grass roots support lie in the face of overwhelming and un-ignorable evidence to the contrary.

    108. DougtheDug says:

      This is what the UK Gov says:

      “The earliest you can get the basic State Pension is when you reach State Pension age. You need 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits to get the full basic State Pension.”

      So if you’ve paid your 30 years to the UK Gov and are currently getting your pension they are liable to keep paying it because you’ve paid your NI contributions into the NI Fund.

      (There is actually an NI fund for pensions but it pays out what it takes in, or more, each year)

      So what happens to those who are not pension age when Scotland becomes independent? Will their 10 or 20 or 25 year or whatever NI contributions be an asset that the rUK Government has to hand over to Scotland to help pay the pensions for those who have always been resident or are now resident in Scotland?

    109. john king says:

      Lesley-Anne says
      “Hmm I’m guessing BBC trying to insinuate YES don’t do phone calls to undecideds then? ;)”

      No, because the Yes campaign can put people out on the streets, they don’t NEED to call people, and they don’t NEED to pay people to do it. 😉

    110. Lesley-Anne says:

      CyberNiall says:

      @ Rev Stuart Campbell

      Good luck with simplifying that into an advert. 😆

      Surely the advert only needs to look like the letter CN.

      The letter says every thing that needs to be said doesn’t it? 😉

    111. BigRik says:

      No wonder Gideon looks like he’s trying to pass a christmas tree…he is hoping he doesn’t have to open the box. He must be scared of moths.

    112. Kenny Campbell says:

      Liabilities of HMG on paid up pension contributions cannot be abandoned or transferred just because HMG haven’t put the money aside.

      The liabilities on all old pension contributions will stay with rUK.

    113. Walter Scott says:

      well, well, well

    114. Free at 63! says:

      I have looked into this in a personal capacity as I have a State Pension. I took some comfort from the White Paper saying the SG would assume responsibility for State Pensions as I do not want my pension paid by the rUK for 3 reasons:

      1. The triple-lock is only guaranteed until the 2015 GE, in real terms April 2016 as pensions are raised in April every year. Whereas the SG guarantees the triple-lock until the end of the 1st. iScotland Government in 2020.

      2. The likelihood that rUK will probably means-test pensions in the future.

      3. The possibility that tax and NI will be combined and pensioners will bear the brunt.

      At the moment all pensions in Scotland are paid from either Motherwell or Dundee so the infrastructure is in place.

      Also pensions from HM Government and Armed Forces are to be transferred to the SPPA (Scottish Public Pensions Agency) according to the White Paper.

    115. Lesley-Anne says:

      john king says:

      Lesley-Anne says
      “Hmm I’m guessing BBC trying to insinuate YES don’t do phone calls to undecideds then? ;)”

      No, because the Yes campaign can put people out on the streets, they don’t NEED to call people, and they don’t NEED to pay people to do it. 😉

      Well to be fair to the YES campaign J.K. the YES campaign do have folks on the phones but it isn’t controlled centrally. Each YES group can organise their own phone group, and most of them probably do, as well as the central YES office.

      From what I heard, there were a great many English voices but I didn’t hear any Scots on the phones. Now it may be that the English voices actually live in Edinburgh but as we all know Better Thanks/NO Together are not amiss to bussing up *ahem* supporters from South of the Border.

    116. Seepy says:

      I know we are discussing the State Pension here, but it may be relevant to note a High Court ruling in May 2010 in favour of my TU’s campaign to oppose changes to the Principal Civil Service Pension scheme (i.e. an occupational pension). The ruling confirmed the principle in law that a person’s accrued right to a pension was that person’s property.

      I believe that, in accordance with this Case Law, all accrued pension rights paid by Scots into HMRC until the date a new system is mutually negotiated between the 2 governments remain RUK’s responsibility right up to an individual’s death. Pension rights after this date will become the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

      Any lawyer care to comment?

    117. john king says:

      I still think the real reason for the panic in Westminster isn’t about the loss of income they will suffer, which will be
      incredible as it is, no the real problem for them will be the books will be open to scrutiny and the debt owed by England to Scotland will make the 5 years of loans the UK government had from lend lease look like small beer!

    118. Defo says:

      O/T, 5th August it is then.

      “Mr Darling will be acting as a shield for the prime minister – who we will continue to pursue for a debate – and as such he will be defending the Tory policies of David Cameron’s government.”

    119. ayemachrihanish says:

      rev, given it’s circa 2066 before an iScottish DWP pays 100% of a state pension.

      And given at independence day March 2016 iScotlands has zero debt, borrowings and budget deficit…..

      Come 2066 – any idea what would be the size and value of the iScotland sovereign wealth fund??

    120. ronnie anderson says:

      Does anyone remember the extra sixpence in the £ that we payed to NI in the 70s, that lasted a few years. ?

    121. john king says:

      “Well to be fair to the YES campaign J.K. the YES campaign do have folks on the phones but it isn’t controlled centrally. Each YES group can organise their own phone group, and most of them probably do, as well as the central YES office.”

      Well the point I was making (badly) was although I am aware the yes campaign do use phone calls the main source of contact is by chapping doors,
      when was the last time you saw Better together hold a SUPER SATURDAY?

    122. macart763m says:

      Oh jeez, I do so hope this is bang on.

      Upcoming debates will be a hoot. 😀

    123. Isn’t this just a liability in the same way that the national debt is? If UK is sole continuator state, we don’t need to take on a share of it, but in a reasonable negotionation it would be a bargaining chip to be haggled with against UK assets.

    124. john king says:

      the loans from the USA during the years from 1941 to 1945 were finally paid of by Gordon Brown on 29th of December 2006

    125. We already know about the £1.6 trillion in national debt that the UK is set to run up by 2016/17. Additionally, in 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated unfunded public pension liabilities at £4.7 trillion. Estimates of the cost of repaying Private Finance Initiative (PFI) loans range from £50 billion to £300 billion. We could also include Help to Buy loan guarantees on £130 billion of mortgages. With the NHS running in a state of financial crisis, it also seems likely that at least several billion pounds in shortfalls are secreted away in its local budgets. So, even on the basis of the UK government’s own figures, it seems that the actual scale of the UK’s liabilities is in the region of £6 trillion to £7 trillion – about 4 times the headline figure.

    126. handclapping says:

      @ronnie anderson
      I think I ended up with 7/6 worth, I now get £5.24 p.w. for them. Graduated Contributions I think.

    127. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      I worked this out a while ago, but for some reason I never thought about writing about it or even talked about it. I think I just assumed it was obviously so unfair to the fUK that an agreement would be reached.

      Pensions aren’t paid out of an accumulated pot, they’re paid out of current tax (OK, NI) receipts. If iScotland keeps the tax and NI receipts from the working Scottish population, but the fUK has to pay the pensions of Scottish retirees, well, that’s massively unfair.

      I just assumed the Scottish negotiators would say, fair enough, we’ll take on the responsibility for paying Scottish pensions. I never thought of it as a negotiating chip. That’s why they won’t be picking me for the negotiating team.

      But it’s better than even what Stu presents. Everyone who has paid anything in NI contributions before independence will be entitled to a pro rata pension from the fUK. Everyone from me, who will have 34 years 6 months paid in on independence day, to the teenager who only started work the previous month.

      So if I retire near the end of 2016 (which is kind of the current plan) having paid 34 years 6 months into the UK coffers and only 6 months into the iScotland coffers, who is going to be paying most of my pension?

      People who emigrated to Australia or the USA in their 20s are currently entitled to a small UK pension on the basis of contributions made before they went. (I believe it also entitles them to NHS treatment and social services if they are here.) People who effectively “emigrate” like that on independence day will be in the same position.

      iScotland will be in the happy position of only being liable for about 6 months worth of my pension, and pro rata down the years. It won’t start being liable for the full whack of everybody’s until 2051, by my reckoning.

      This is a direct and unavoidable consequence of England+ insisting on being regarded as the continuing state. It’s a doozy.

      Of course it won’t happen that way. During the negotiations, iScotland will agree to assume responsibility for Scottish pensioners. And I’ll be glad, because I’d rather be a Scottish pensioner than a fUK one – I think it will be a better deal. Even though 25 years of my NI payments were actually accrued as a resident of England.

      What I hadn’t quite worked out is that iScotland should be able to secure a very good negotiating advantage out of that. That’s because I’m really a bit thick. Well well.

    128. Bob Sinclair says:

      Whats a sixpence??

    129. john king says:

      Whats a sixpence??”

      Its what you get back for returning a Kooloopop bottle,
      for which you could purchase a Mars Bar that would feed a family of 4 for a day! 😉

    130. kendomacaroonbar says:


      If you had a twin you’d be 4 sixpences.

    131. john king says:

      Two bob
      ha ha ha ha
      good one.

    132. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      I should point out that I wrote my 8.10 post before I read any of the comments. Reading them now. I think Stu is wrong, and the fUK will have strict liability to pay a pro-rata pension to anyone who paid some NI before independence day.

      Just as they pay a small pro-rata pension to people who emigrated part-way through their working lives. There’s no difference.

      Of course it will all be negotiated, but it’s a sizeable chip.

    133. handclapping says:

      That’s nothing, when I were a lad it was the rent of a 4 bed house wi inside cludgie

    134. kendomacaroonbar says:


      You had an *inside* cludgie…Ya Toff ye ! whits wrang wi dock leaves ?

    135. Mairead Callaghan says:

      What a lot of people wasting their time. The “yes” vote is not going to win so why waste time with these endless discussions.

    136. kendomacaroonbar says:

      @Mairead Callaghan

      We do it to annoy bogus fortune tellers like you.

    137. john king says:

      When I were a lad?

      Aye, very passable, that, very passable bit of risotto.
      Nothing like a good glass of Château de Chasselas, eh, Josiah?
      You’re right there, Obadiah.
      Who’d have thought thirty year ago we’d all be sittin’ here drinking Château de Chasselas, eh?
      In them days we was glad to have the price of a cup o’ tea.
      A cup o’ cold tea.
      Without milk or sugar.
      Or tea.
      In a cracked cup, an’ all.
      Oh, we never had a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.
      The best we could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.
      But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.
      Because we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness, son”.
      Aye, ‘e was right.
      Aye, ‘e was.
      I was happier then and I had nothin’. We used to live in this tiny old house with great big holes in the roof.
      House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, ‘alf the floor was missing, and we were all ‘uddled together in one corner for fear of falling.
      Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in t’ corridor!
      Oh, we used to dream of livin’ in a corridor! Would ha’ been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woke up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House? Huh.
      Well, when I say ‘house’ it was only a hole in the ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it was a house to us.
      We were evicted from our ‘ole in the ground; we ‘ad to go and live in a lake.
      You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in t’ shoebox in t’ middle o’ road.
      Cardboard box?
      You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t’ mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt.
      Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!
      Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to ‘ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o’clock at night and lick road clean wit’ tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit’ bread knife.
      Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.
      And you try and tell the young people of today that ….. they won’t believe you.
      They won’t!

    138. john king says:

      “What a lot of people wasting their time. The “yes” vote is not going to win so why waste time with these endless discussions.”

      You keep telling yourself that!

    139. Defo says:

      Mystic Mairead, with those skills dear, can you see who’s going to win Le Tour, & i’ll nip down the bookies first thing.

      Why “waste time” on trolling the internet ?

    140. Cyborg-nat says:

      Aye John when I was a boy a the same bag of peat lasted four years. When one of us felt cold we would go outside and swing the bag on our back and run round for ten minutes to get warm.

      Pensions are a topic better together never tires of. Is that because what you fear attracts you?
      Looking at Rev.Stu’s post I see the worst case scenario as RumpUK paying out the full pension entitlement as they are now with over 8 percent less income.
      That is not the sort of deal I would shake hands on even as the beneficiary.

    141. Jim says:

      Independence debate set for August 5th.
      Alistair Darling, “Alex Salmond will now finally have to answer questions on the pound, pensions and public services that he has spent the last two years dodging.”
      Be careful what you wish for Alistair. Alex’s Mamma didn’t raise no fool and I reckon your are going to get hog tied and spit roasted.

    142. handclapping says:

      And to return to the topic set, if rUK says we are not paying for anybody in Scotland, all our pensioners will be found to be living with B(tP) in France.

      Looking at this from the enemy viewpoint, this bêtise is another reason that they can not allow a Yes vote to happen. Its not so much the cost / debt, the plebs can be made to pay for that, as the exposure of our ponzi scheme is likely to end up with us like Madoff, in clink. The days when we could do what we want and it would be covered up, the files lost etc seem to be over and we will be very exposed. Make bloody, if necessary, sure the sweaties vote no.

    143. kendomacaroonbar says:

      As I recall the UK National debt of 1.5 TRILLION does not include pension liability which would make total liabilities of around 4 TRILLION QUID !

    144. Jim says:

      The topic was pensions, the debate between Darling and Salmond will include pensions so relevant to the topic.
      I am sure we will all be watching

    145. Andrew Coulson says:

      I’m still surprised that so many people don’t understand how state pensions work. Basically, there are Acts of Parliament (which could of course in principle be repealed, rewritten, modified, etc, at any time by the due democratic processes of the two houses of parliament) that say that payments will be made to an individual after s/he reaches pension age according to formulas that include, as a factor, the number of years of ‘contributions’ credited to that individual. (I don’t believe UK citizenship is a factor: hard to see how it could be — there isn’t a definitive list of UK citizens anywhere, and I was not asked to prove UK citizenship before my pension payments started). And the letter reproduced at the top of this post from the pensions service confirms that the rUK government would continue to pay pensions to its pensioners who are living in what will then be another country — unless, of course, other arrangements are negotiated, as no doubt they will be. Presumably these arrangements will be specified in the Act of the UK parliament that brings the independent Scotland into being, and enshrined in some of the first Acts of the Scottish parliament.
      It makes no sense to ask where, in the Government’s income, the money that is paid to me ‘comes from’. Money is just money — it is not earmarked.
      It is true that governments in the past might have chosen to invest NI contributions, instead of spending them — and then the government’s current income would include some investment income. It is also true that governments have not chosen to do this.
      I am very glad, as a past and present taxpayer, that governments have not tried to finance pension payments by investing NI contributions, because another simple and unequivocal fact is that — whether state pensions are large or small — it would always cost the taxpayer less to pay the pensions from current and future government income than to create an investment fund from which the income will be large enough for those pensions to be paid. Company pensions would be paid the same way, if this was possible, but it isn’t possible, because any mere private corporation might go bust and leave the pensioners destitute.

    146. Albaman says:

      John King,
      Talk about running around in circles until you disappear up your own backside!.

    147. Albaman says:

      Meant to say ” up their own backside”

    148. TJenny says:

      Totally O/T, but noticed the Holland football team appear to have the Scottish Lion Rampant on the left of their tops, just above their heart. Didn’t know we shared the hairy-kneed lion rampant with other countries too. Nice. 🙂

    149. handclapping says:

      Lor bless you Jim I wasnt getting at you, look at the post times and anyway on £5.24 a week I’ve not been able to afford a tele since Radio Rentals went.

    150. YESGUY says:

      Wonderful John

      Laughed all the way through it. Can just picture the sketch.

      The English DO have a great sense of humor.

      Was any of them Scots ??

    151. john king says:

      English to a man Yesguy
      Cant fault the English for a sense of humour can you?

    152. kendomacaroonbar says:

      @John King

      Well, many of them voted for farage 🙂

    153. lumilumi says:

      Sorry, haven’t read all the comments, but it’s pretty obvious to me.

      A country that privatises all its tax-payer funded assets and infrastructure and public services to benefit the few, and socializes the mad banker losses, so that everybody pays for some people’s greed and incompetence, will never be a fair country.

      Sort of fair countries do actually exist, the US/UK Thatcherite neolib “there is no alternative” narrative is a load of pish. My country shouldn’t exist or thrive according to Thatcherite economics but here we are and doing just fine. Na na na na [sticks tongue out]

      Scotland has a chance to get out. To be a more fair country.

      As to pensions. Don’t people realise that the UK has no “pension pot”. Pensions – the worst in western, industrialised Europe – are paid out of rolling general taxation. Most other western countries actually have a pension pot and pensions do not come out of general taxation. But that’s not the British way. Bumble along, curtsey to the Queen and be happy in your subservient state.

      Or vote YES.

      Revolution by ballot.

      People in Scotland like the idea, the British establishment hate the idea.

      Just vote YES.

    154. Muscleguy says:

      Surely if true that would give Scotland the opportunity to introduce a genuine contributory pension scheme? One not paid out of current taxation but paid by you, your employer and/or the government. It could be rolled into the oil fund.

      New Zealand did this a few years ago after decades of political squabbling over pensions. It is called Kiwisaver and my youngest at university there and working part time is in it. You pay in, your employer chips in and so does the govt. You can take it early as a lump sum to use as a house deposit. Starting again to build your pension and driving the housing market.

      NZ has a sovereign wealth fund and it is the Kiwisaver money, which is where the oil fund comes in for Scotland acting as a cushion to smooth market conditions.

      Paying state pensions out of current taxation is barmy as demographics change. The UK has in essence frittered away the baby boomer’s NI contributions just like it frittered away the North Sea oil money and just like it frittered away the Marshall Plan money from the US on hanging onto the Empire for a few more years and ‘punching above our weight’ militarily. Germany invested it in modernising her industry, buying machine tools and re-equipping whole factories, modernising their rail systems.

      The UK tried to struggle on with a rail system starved of funds in the war. It continued to support industries using old tech that fell further and further behind the competition. In weapons systems that were obsolete almost before they were deployed. Nuclear bombers, whole fleets of them that used to fly missions over Soviet territory, too high to be shot down, until one was. That was the end of that overnight.

    155. Muscleguy says:

      Such a genuine contributory fund could accumulate, building up as the UK funding draws down and picking up more and more of Scots pensions.

    156. john king says:

      Maybe this will answer a few questions for you Yesguy

    157. Murray McCallum says:

      Any decent state saving scheme should be backed by some kind of assets. Doesn’t need to be 100% but to at least to help cover payouts in recessions.

      The assets of a workplace pension must be legally separate from those of the company.

      “Providing a pension scheme
      If you do have your own occupational pension scheme you must make sure that any pension scheme assets are kept separate from your business assets.”

    158. Ian Sanderson says:

      Perhaps the ‘flaw’ you’re looking for is in the answer to the second question?

      I’m possibly being over-cynical but what happens if there’s no reciprocal agreement and/or the RUk is out of Europe? Does this give them some wriggle room?

    159. Willie Zwigerland says:

      The flaw can be found in page 8 of the Scottish Government paper “Pensions in an Independent Scotland”.
      Happy hunting.

    160. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      Not as far as I can see. This isn’t EU legislation.

    161. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      That last was to Ian of course. Willie, do red the comments, there’s a good chap.

    162. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      read, even.

    163. Willie Zwigerland says:

      Morag, do read what the Scottish Government has already published on this matter. You’ll find it much more enlightening than the vast majority of comments on here.

    164. Liquid Lenny says:

      Just in and aint had time to read all the comments but I will put in my twopence worth anyway.

      I have been saying this since my mate got the letter in Jan 2103. Also Rev I think your wrong in your assumption that its only current pensioners that will get their pension paid by the UK Government. My understanding is that if you have paid contributions via NI for the minimum 20 year qualifying period, then the UK Govt will also pay your pension when you retire – see

      Just a wee warning, for existing pensioners, they will only get annual increases from the UK if Scotland signs an agreement with them, otherwise just the same pension every year without increases.

    165. Lesley-Anne says:

      Hmm,m think I’ll away and think up some devious question for tomorrow night’s *ahem* secret debate in Eaglesfield. Oh wait a minute think Mundell is up for the No side problem solved.

      Q. What time is it David? 😛

    166. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      Willie, we know what it says and it has been discussed in some detail.

    167. lumilumi says:

      @ Ian Sanderson 9.3pm

      I wouldn’t put it past them.

      To any sensible person outwith the UK it’s inconcevialable that the UK wouldn’t pay pensions to people who’ve contributed to the system for decades, and all legal experts, even rUK gov ones say so.

      But I wouldn’t put it past the British (English) establishment to spit the dummy, throw toys out of pram etc. just out of spite to punish the uppity jocks.

      Ordinary Enghish people won’t mind, it’s no skin off their nose. No more than the establishment is.

      Scottish independence is a threat to the establishment, that’s why most of BT money comes from lords and city bankers (where are the ladies?).

    168. Stevie says:

      Wow – you deiciously smart cookie!

      “””And what that means is that on day 1 of independence, Scotland will, to all intents and purposes, have no pensioners at all. Everyone of pension age (and, indeed, those who’ve already made sufficient contributions to qualify but haven’t reached retirement age yet) will be the responsibility, pension-wise, of the UK government.”””

    169. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      Huh. Akismet is acting up and Stu’s watching the footie.

    170. TJenny says:

      Morag – so watch the footie then. Holland have oor wee hairy kneed lion rampants on their tops. 🙂

    171. Stevie says:

      The BritNats must really hate you for this – it is so clear and obvious once one sees it. Brilliant – you are on their hit list.

    172. Liquid Lenny says:

      Take it nobody bothers reading my posts, have been on about this for 18 months 🙂

    173. lumilumi says:

      At least this semi-final isn’t the trouncing we saw like last night.

    174. Tartan Tory says:

      There’s football on the telly? :-/

    175. lumilumi says:

      The Finnish commentators are getting bored with this semi-final. Just quipped “We saw all the goals yesterday.”

    176. Onwards says:

      @Lesley Anne
      From what I heard, there were a great many English voices but I didn’t hear any Scots on the phones

      Paid campaign staff apparently don’t count towards the funding limits.
      You can pretty much bet that a few new call centres will be getting set up down south..

      JK Rowlings £1million could pay for 1000 call centre workers for a month at £250 per week.
      And not count towards the limit.

    177. Jim says:


      My apologies, genuine mistake.

    178. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      I wonder how English accents will be received in that context. Some people won’t bother, but some people will. I’d hate to have to estimate the trade-off.

    179. Defo says:

      Morag, re call centre accents. A lot less than finding out the caller is getting paid !

    180. Graeme Menzies says:

      When you answer the phone, tell them you are just getting a pen and paper and set the phone down off the hook and just leave it. Clogs up the line.

    181. lumilumi says:

      Actually, is the World Cup shown on free channels in the UK? Or only England’s games? Is interest in the World Cup forgotten after England was out?

      The Finnish public broadcaster YLE shows every single game live free. It’s a football summer. Finland isn’t playing but once every two years we go football crazy (European Cup and World Cup).

      The Finnish pundits didn’t rate England much. I suppose nobody outwith the English bubble did. English pundits in the English bubble didn’t either.

      The English might claim to have invented football but that doesn’t mean they’d be very good at it nowadays. The rest of the world has taken over. Thank you, England, for this game. 😀

    182. Paula Rose says:

      I’ve volunteered to “man” the phones for Better No Thanks Together! If I ring you, keep me talking!

    183. ronnie anderson says:

      Scotland 2014 I think Ian Davidson was a bit confused,if Scotland voted Yes & he was elected of course he would argue for defence contracts ( i paraphrase ) have a look on iplayer, I presume he’s expecting to be elected to Westminster in 2015.

    184. Who will be liable for Civil Service/Public Sector pensions in Scotland after Independence.

    185. Jim Duthie says:

      Rev Stu and the rest of you are wrong. As I have already pointed out there is nothing in any National Insurance Fund – there should be but this has been raided and spent by the UK Gov. It is a giant PONZI scheme. All there is is debt and the idea that post independence the rUK will still accept liability for Scottish pensions is absurd. That is why the Scottish Gov’s White Paper accepts liability for paying Scottish pensioners post-indy.

      The Rev is wrong on this one.

    186. Gfaetheblock says:


      The World Cup is loved around the world. Free to watch in the Uk and in Portugal where I am currently. Football fans expected little of this England team, it would be a shame if your only interest in the World Cup was looking to see England knocked out. As far as the football fans I know, this did nothing to dent our interest, including the disappointed English ones.


    187. Jim Duthie says:

      Incidentally, I worked for DWP for umpteen years before I retired and I know what I’m talking about.

    188. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      Defo, knowing that they’re being paid would require the media to publicise the fact. What do you think? But the accent will be delivered right to the door.

      In the 1990s when I lived in Sussex I used to do telephone canvassing for the SNP. All our group were actually Scottish, and sounded it. (We were all volunteer members of London Branch, donating not just our time but the phone bills.) It was surprising to me how often the voter asked where we were calling from. (“I’m part of the SNP Headquarters telephone call centre – headquarters in Edinburgh, you know” – said without referring to the fact that if the speaker had stood up at that moment he could have seen the English Channel.)

      When I’ve been out delivering the Yes newspapers recently I’ve been asked fairly often where I’m from. On one occasion I had the satisfaction of pointing and saying “that’s my house there”, the next street, about 50 yards as the crow flies. On another occasion, in Tweedsmuir, I said “West Linton”, to be met with “you’ve come a long way”. Yes sweetie, 20 miles, but it’s the same freaking COUNCIL WARD.

      It matters to a lot of voters. They look favourably on a neighbour or someone local making the effort. They frown on carpetbaggers. I’m not convinced telephone banks manned by the unemployed of England as a terribly good idea.

    189. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Paula Rose, well if you read Gerry Parkers post on earlier thread BT were asking for my assistance in their E mail, wull ah, wull ah,ah could phone awe the Wingers.

    190. Michael McCabe says:

      If they ring Me I will ask them if they know Anyone Interested in Buying Trident. Vote Yes.

    191. Liquid Lenny says:

      Jim Duthie

      Read the letter, what does it say? Its nothing to do with a pension pot but an obligation to pay a pension if you have the minimum qualifying years of payments.

      So why are all these UK Pensioners around the world still receiving their pension? even if they have taken on the nationality of their new countries?

    192. Lesley-Anne says:

      Just a wee thought for anyone who gets a phone call from Better Thanks/ No Together or whatever. Put the receiver down as Graeme suggests then switch on one of the You tube videos of Tommy Sheridan and let it run. 😛

    193. Defo says:

      Morag, not a good idea for No Ta.

    194. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      Jim, the fUK has already acknowledged responsibility for paying the pensions accrued before independence. In black and white. It’s undeniable.

      The White Paper proposes that iScotland take on that responsibility. It also proposes a lot of other things the unionists don’t accept, like a currency union. You can’t point to one thing and declare that’s binding, while rejecting the other.

      The White Paper is the Scottish government’s negotiating position. It has signalled it is quite prepared to accept the responsibility for pensions. But it’s not going to do that without commensurate concessions from the other side.

    195. Jim Duthie says:

      Liquid Lenny,

      After Indy, UK as it stands no longer exists. And, as I point out, there is nothing in the NI Fund only debt. Scottish Gov know this which is why the White Paper says we will assume responsibility for paying Scottish pensions. Think about it, please.

    196. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Morag G K, you never call me sweetie hummf.

    197. Brian Mchugh says:

      Jim Duthie… Pensions are an agreement. You pay your NI contributions and get a pension and NHS care in return.

      You just watch the rUK try to default on that agreement? LOL

      As Scotland contributes more than it takes out of the treasuary, there is such a thing as balance of payments to think about by the rUK. It would simply not be in rUK’s interests to peeve off the whole of Scotland and put their own position at huge risk… that ain’t gonna happen.

    198. Free at 63! says:

      @ Scot.

      I commented on this at 7.51pm.

      I have a Civil Service Widows Pension which is the largest part of my income (all of it from Government) and I am assured in the White Paper that all public sector pensions will be transferred to SPPA – see previous post at 7.51.

    199. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      I’ll call you sugar-daddy if it’ll make you happy, Ronnie!

    200. Patrician says:

      Pensions will be a part of the negotiations, they won’t be a game changer but they will be important. Personally I would be more worried about the low value of pensions in the UK, do we really want our pensioners to have the 3rd lowest pension in Europe? And I wouldn’t put it past the rUK to come up with some legislation to neuter the cost to them, I am sure I read somewhere a think-tank was already suggesting means testing state pensions, and there is always the option to raise the qualifying pension age and do it quicker now. What use is a pension at 70+, if a lot of your population don’t live to this age.

      @capella, 6:50 pm, Fiona was wrong about this before and repeating it now still doesn’t make it correct. There is no large pot of money just waiting to be paid out to pensioners. Here is a tip, just because something appears on wikipedia doesn’t make it valid. The last time I looked at that wiki page it had been written by one or two people, with one link to one web page with some government info about the fund. It is really a buffer to even out the money flow for the government so they can plan.

    201. Jim Duthie says:

      Morag, Brian et al,

      I respect your position and you might have a leg to stand on if there was a huge pot of money in a UK state pension fund some of which could be transferred to a Scottish Gov post indy. There is not and the liability for these pensions will be part of the debt the Scottish Gov accepts. Be assured, rUK WILL NOT be paying Scottish pensions – the Scottish taxpayer will and I am happy with that because Scotland can well afford it.

      Rev Stu is wrong on this but we will have to agree to disagree.

    202. Paula Rose says:

      Jim dear – I think you’re missing the Rev’s point.

    203. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Morag G.K. you are saucy, but I like you, whits the price of a jar of Honey noo.

    204. ronnie anderson says:

      Hi Jim

    205. Auld Rock says:

      Let’s dispel one big ‘MYTH’, there is no UK Pension Pot. All current UK State Pensions are paid out of the Current Account. In other words the Taxes and National Insurance paid by today’s workers pays for today’s pensioners. This has always been the trouble with UK Pension System. So there is wriggle room for both sides to negotiate. For those working at the date of INDEPENDENCE RUK pays for years up to that date and Scotland takes over from then, logical and fair to both sides.

      Auld Rock

    206. cynicalHighlander says:

      @Paula Rose

      What are you going to do with all those donkeys hind legs?

    207. cynicalHighlander says:

      @Paula Rose

      What are you going to do with all those donkeys hind legs?

    208. kendomacaroonbar says:

      There’s only one way to settle this pension malarkey. Our best fighter versus theirs.

      What’s the betting that Ian Davidson wants to fight for England ? 🙂

    209. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      He’s missing it by sort of getting it. “Part of the debt that iScotland accepts.” It will be negotiated.

      Westminster has already said it will be 100% responsible for the national debt. It has also committed to pay all state retirement pension liabilities accrued by the date of independence. It has done that because it is desperate to be recognised as the successor state and so keep its seat on the UN security council.

      iScotland could in theory just walk away at that point and say OK, let’s cut the arguing since you’re being so bloody intransigent, and call it a clean break. Bye. In that case fUK has all the national debt AND all the pensions liability.

      Of course iScotland is going to negotiate, and agree to accept responsibility for pensioners in Scotland, and a negotiated share of the debt. But it isn’t just going to take these liabilities on without anything in return. That’s kind of the entire point of the article. It’s not just the national debt that’s on the table, it’s the pension liabilities.

      Currency union? Clear out of Faslane? Play nice with the EU? How high?

    210. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      If one more person wades in to “dispel the myth” that there is a UK pension pot, as if this was news and we’re children who need educating, I will freaking scream. The ATL article and all the comments I’ve seen have been working on the correct understanding that there is no such thing.

      If there was such a pot, there would be no problem. It’s the absence of the pot that causes the problem. iScotland walks off with 8.4% of the tax-and-NI-paying working population, and leaves the fUK with all the pension liabilities. Which are normally paid from the current tax and NI income.


    211. Paula Rose says:

      @ cynicalH – talk to them quietly, twice!

    212. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      My 9.58 one-liner is still “awaiting moderation”. And yet according to Stu’s twitter feed this is the most boring game of footie since the sport was invented by Fred Flintstone.

    213. Thepnr says:


      Agreed, more or less said it in as few words as possible. However rUK claim to be the continuing state not the successor state.

      Best solution, both nations become continuing states, then we keep all the other treaties as well with negotiation. Much simpler.

    214. Morag Graham Kerr says:


      Willie, we know what it says and it has been discussed in some detail.

    215. kininvie says:

      Just to pour a little cold water on the debate….

      If we walk away from the debt & pension share and go it alone, we do pick up a few liabilities of our own. Chief among these is probably North Sea decommissioning costs – estimated at £28.7 billion by 2040. OilCos are responsible, but they have paid tax to the UK for years with surety that they will get a rebate on the decommissioning. If rUK no longer takes responsibility for this, then they’ll be knocking on SG’s door faster than you can say ‘oil fund’.

      Then there’s nuclear decommissioning – estimated at £100 billion for the UK. We’d need expensive contractual arrangements with Sellafield for a start, plus the costs of cleaning up Dounreay, Torness etc.
      It wouldn’t be cheap.

      So, yes we may have a big negotiating card in this pensions idea. But it would be as well to assess the value of the cards held by the other side before being triumphalist about it.

    216. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      (Sorry, that was the “in moderation” post. So it wasn’t the wording. Seems to be purely random.)

    217. Paula Rose says:

      I didn’t know Fred invented football! Its amazing what you learn on wings.

    218. lumilumi says:

      Morag, above, I see you’re promoting “former United Kingdom”, or fUK for short 😀

      You are right, and the really scary thing is that after a potential NO vote, the British state will punish Scotland. If you have a government of spoiled Tory brats who’ve already thrown toys out of their pram…

      Scotland MUST vote YES. Save yourselves while you still can.

    219. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      Kininvie, I don’t think anyone is trying to claim it’s a one-way street. The points are being made to counter the notion that it’s one-way in the other direction. Scotland is not an asset-less supplicant.

      Thepnr’s suggestion may well be where the whole thing is heading.

    220. Liquid Lenny says:

      Jim Duthie

      Note that there is no mention of UK in the Pensions letter.
      It states Britain and Great Britain
      So what you are saying is that any UK citizens who are pensionable age that have emigrated to say Spain will no longer receive their pension from the former UK if Scotland votes YES?

    221. Patrician says:

      Hi ronnie

    222. Morag Graham Kerr says:

      Lumi, yes. I only do it to annoy, because I know it teases.

    223. Derek says:

      Note:- Wikipedia is not accepted as an academic source.

    224. Liquid Lenny says:

      Jim Duthie

      Another question Jim, and I should not have put in my last post a “UK Citizen” as I know that you don’t have to be a “UK Citizen” to receive a UK Govt pension as a pension is payable to all Nationalities who have paid their minimum contributions whilst working in the UK.

      So the question is, Following on from the above, if Im correct in that assumption, is the pension agreement between an individual person and the Government? and if the current UK Government broke that agreement post yes, could individuals or a collection of individuals contest a class action in the courts to continue to receive ongoing pension payments in the event of the former UK Government refusing to pay them?

      If so would the only way out of the obligation to pay the pensions would be to liquidate the state and start again.

      Say as rUK 2016 limited?

      Just a thought, how can they refuse to pay the pensions of Scots who have paid the minimum qualifying period whilst continuing to pay those of others worldwide.

    225. lumilumi says:

      I’m all cotrasted now.

      Penalty shots, Argentina in the final with Germany.

      The Netherlands (Holland) against Brasilia in the bronze match.

      Aaaa ewoooww.

      I put my money on Germany way back in June, will I win?

    226. Murray McCallum says:

      Man, I just slept though 120 minutes of that football game. “Just in time” spectating. Not a great game.

    227. Footsoldier says:


      I am surprised to see you saying “Netherlands (Holland”. This is the same as saying “United Kingdom (England)”.

      Holland is a region of the Netherlands and to call it Holland is similar to calling the UK, England.

    228. Thepnr says:

      I really don’t care where the liability for pension payments may or may not lie. the simple fact is that they will be paid ultimately by an Independent Scottish government.

      For this to be true then first we must gain that Independence so lets focus on that goal and nothing else.

    229. heedtracker says:

      Trust these guys with your pension Scotland? Revenue collapse all down to Con/Dems

      George Osborne, the Chancellor, imposed the tax rises to offset a popular cut in fuel duties for consumers, despite warnings that it would penalise investment and kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The sector typically furnishes a fifth of UK corporate tax revenues.

      “Exploration wells fell by half in 2011 and that is not a coincidence. UK offshore is a very high-cost province and they need to lighten the tax burden,” said Malcolm Webb, head of Oil & Gas UK.

    230. Gfaetheblock says:


      Did you enjoy the game tonight? Do you have any footballing preference between Argentina or the Netherlands?


    231. kininvie says:

      @morag @thepnr

      The rUK is wedded to being the single successor state (it’s that UN seat again) There’s no way it will contemplate a Czech/Slovak solution – ie two successor states. The UK ‘analysis’ papers make this absolutely clear. It would be the most humiliating of all humiliations. Worse than Brazil.

      As I’ve said before – this is a card in our hand, but not an especially high one, as there’s no doubt rUK would be recognised as successor in due course (cf Russia). So here’s how I see the negotiation line up:

      1) UK is Successor = Scotland given every help to membership of EU, NATO, UN etc etc.

      2) Scotland agrees share of debt/pensions etc = Currency agreement, oil boundaries agreement, other shared stuff agreed

      3) Assets & liabilities split under ‘equity’ principle of 1983 Vienna convention

      4) Trident:
      a) Short term (5 year) lease of Faslane – free offer, with thanks for all the fish, but rUK does the clean-up
      b) Medium term (10 year) lease of Faslane = £Xbillion + shared intelligence agreement & other such goodies
      c) Long term (20 years) = £y billion + everything else we might want. Doubt we’d go for that though…

    232. Flower of Scotland says:

      I’ve been out all day and came onto Wings about one and a half hours ago! I’ve read 350 comments and you’ve said it all folks!

      Thanks Stu for a fantastic article. Who needs newspapers when I can get all sorts of news on Wings. Well done folks!

    233. Jamie Arriere says:

      Aye…the Bedrock Pterodactyls…what a team they were…the Jurassicos…

    234. Murray McCallum says:

      Blow to Salmond as Britain’s most distinguished mathematician [Michael Atiyah] comes out in favour of a Yes vote.

      Front page of Times, Scotland edition.

    235. Murray McCallum says:

      Blow to Salmond as Britain’s most distinguished mathematician [Michael Atiyah] comes out in favour of a Yes vote.

      Front page of Times, Scotland edition.

    236. Murray McCallum says: Times front page. Hope it works + not show up twice.

      Also a blow to Salmond as bungling tax man cost public millions story there too. How will Scots ever be able to do complex stuff?

    237. Thepnr says:

      Good outline of how it may go. Ignoring the “humiliation” though we are as entitled to be a continuing state as much as the rUK.

      The International community will recognise this, the Scottish Government has a very strong hand in any negotiations. All we the people must do is vote Yes first.

      Labour voters like me, please join us and send us down a different path. There is everything to play for after a Yes.

    238. Jim says:

      Money, as Jim Sillars said, is nothing more than a few clicks on a computer screen. There is no gold standard.
      All money is debt based.

    239. clochoderic says:


      The world cup final must surely present a moral dilemma for the mad dogs of the UK media – just who do they hate more, the Argies or the Jerries?

    240. Thepnr says:

      @Murray McCallum
      Most worrying for me though is that Lucy Cavandish(who she)is not interested in dating men over 50. Ah well, will have to dream on about Independence.

    241. Jim says:

      That’s the thing, it’s always been about Germany v UK, Argentina V UK but the fact of the matter is that is is government against government. I no more hate a German than I hate an Argentinian and if it wasn’t for propaganda neither would the majority of these isles. Governments are the ones that send us to fight in wars not the general public of these countries.

    242. Kestral says:

      Assume we will also be entitled to 10% of this

      National lottery money invested by the uk government in the time before it’s distributed to good causes

    243. YESGUY says:

      Hi John ,

      The accents are brilliant . People really did talk like that. Cheered me up no end.

    244. Jim says:

      Cliché or not, “we are all Jock Tamson’s bairns”.
      The elites are the ones that divide us.

    245. Murray McCallum says:

      Alex Salmond is over 50. Another blow for the poor man.

    246. Dave McEwan Hill says:


      Had a very interesting day today in our YES shop.Stream of people coming in (every day now) to get car stickers etc but then in came mature gentleman with a couple of questions about pensions. Answered to his satisfaction. He is an Orangeman with a historical family commitment to the Orange Order and an ex Trade Union official. He is voting YES for his five grandchildren. Says do not assume all Orangemen are voting NO. Remarks that Jim Murphy’s remarks about the Orange Order are ill judged and are encouraging OO people to vote YES.

      Then two young guys from the other side. Can we help? Orange Order’s offer to help Better Together is pushing their people to voting YES. They are moving to YES strongly already anyway. Nearly all young “Tims” with YES now. They gave that money to Glasgow because they know they have lost Glasgow at the moment is their opinion.
      When do we become a republic? One battle at a time I suggest. Good idea they agree. We’ll be in tomorrow night to deliver newspapers or canvas our scheme they promise.

    247. Robert Peffers says:

      @gordon murray says: 9 July, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      “In January 2013 HMGovt in Westminster unilaterally declared that in its judgment when Scotland voted to sign the Treaty of Union 1707, it voted Scotland out of existence.Scotland became only a region of the enlarged England. It has no assets or liabilities on ceding from mother England”

      Total and utter balderdash. Go read the text of The Treaty of Union. In the first place there is not a single mention of country in the entire Treaty. It is a treaty between two equally sovereign KINGDOMS.

      It is composed of Articles of Union and each individual Article is a legal agreement. The only important ones are 1,2 and 3 but 2 only deals with the accession and succession to the throne. Article I first forms a united realm, (Kingdom). That is the actual entity, “The United Kingdom”.

      Article III, then forms a totally new, “Parliament of the, (just created), United Kingdom”. It is not a continuation of either former parliament but, legally, the Scottish Kingdom’s Parliament was NOT ended but only prorogued. Not so the Parliament of the Kingdom of England which sat and wound itself up.

      Here for your information are Articles I & III as written.

      Article I. – That the two kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one kingdom by the name of GREAT BRITAIN; And that the Ensigns Armorial of the said united kingdom be such as Her Majesty shall appoint,, and the crosses of St Andrew and St George be conjoined, in such manner as Her Majesty shall think fit, and used in all flags, banners, standards and ensigns, both at sea and land.

      Article III. – That the united kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same parliament to be stiled The Parliament of Great Britain.

      (Note 1, “Stiled”, = named or titled in Scots).
      (Note 2, “When the present Scottish Parliament first sat, Winnie Ewing correctly reconvened the old, prorogued, Scottish Parliament.

    248. Jim says:

      FFS, does anyone think these little more than children enjoy killing fellow human beings, I doubt it.
      Religious bile is the latest way to get our children to kill one another, these things go in cycles now we have reset to the crusades.
      Well, this is Scotland’s chance to stand apart, as the song says, “Forget the old battles, those days are over
      Hatred corrupts and friendship refines”

    249. Violets 49 says:

      Several people have commented here that ‘Pensions are paid out of general taxation’ That is irrelevant. Level of pension is based on years of contribution. Therefore as I only contributed for 38 years I don’t get a full State Pension. The state pension isn’t a free for all, it must be earned by contributions. As I qualify for a UK state pension, I expect the UK government to honour the obligation to pay that pension, immaterial to whether there is independence or not.

    250. Capella says:

      Patrician and Derek
      wikipedia is as accurate as any other encyclopedia
      “In 2005, the peer-reviewed journal Nature asked scientists to compare Wikipedia’s scientific articles to those in Encyclopaedia Britannica—”the most scholarly of encyclopedias,” according to its own Wiki page. The comparison resulted in a tie; both references contained four serious errors among the 42 articles analyzed by experts.

      And last year, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that Wikipedia had the same level of accuracy and depth in its articles about 10 types of cancer as the Physician Data Query, a professionally edited database maintained by the National Cancer Institute.

      The self-described “free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” has fared similarly well in most other studies comparing its accuracy to conventional encyclopedias, including studies by The Guardian, PC Pro, Library Journal, the Canadian Library Association, and several peer-reviewed academic studies.”
      and it’s handier than the others for me as I’m not an academoic , don’t have an athens number and not writng a PhD.
      For political entries, however, I would be more circumspct as they are prone to rogue and malicious edits.
      But, as I said, I’m not an expert on pensions.

    251. Murray McCallum says:

      NI “fund”

      “The accounts are prepared on a cash basis.” So it is just money in/out of the biscuit tin.

      The balance of the “fund” was £29 billion (the UK’s pension payments alone are £74+ billion per year). Well at least it is something.

      I wonder what will happen to the balance of the fund if PAYE and NIC are merged?

    252. YESGUY says:

      I remember reading in southern papers that the UK pensions black hole was around 20 Billion.

      Thats a few quid in anyones language

    253. Andrew says:

      Off topic.

      Dear Wings Readers,

      The Yes Scotland Information Hub is crowdfunding for four advert trailers to cover the STIRLING constituency. These will be vital in helping secure a Yes vote in the STIRLING area for the referendum on 18th September.

      Our crowd funding page is at:

      Please visit and donate what you can afford. If you are unable to donate then please help by sharing this link on Facebook and Twitter.

      Thank you for your support.

    254. kendomacaroonbar says:


      20 Billion ? don’t think so, that’s less than a 1/3rd of the annual UK Pension costs. I was told that our National debt of 1.5 TRILLION excludes Civil Service pensions and the figure could take total UK liabilities to 4 Trillion.

    255. clochoderic says:

      Jim – my comment was in reaction to the obvious tone of disdain and revulsion in the manner in which the result of tonight’s match was reported on the main ITV news immediately after the same channel’s extended coverage of Argentina’s penalty win.

      I see from Stuart’s twitter feed that the media has already begun to take sides on which is the more “British” team to support in the final. A promising start.

      Most of us who comment here are well aware of the utter hypocrisies of the unionist attack dogs – I was merely pointing out the delicious irony that their hateful world view has brought them to and look forward to some foaming-chinned editorials and media gaffes as the commentariat in London choose sides.

    256. kendomacaroonbar says:

      check this out for UK Pension liability craziness.

    257. North chiel says:

      Ref Patrician says:
      “What use is a pension at 70 if a lot of your population
      Doesn’t live to that age” .? Well the answer of
      As they consider every option to “diddle” people
      Out of their entitlements at the end of their
      Working life .

    258. Bugger (the Panda) says:


      Lumiluni is Finnish. She lives there and comments from there out of interest and solidarity with a “foreign” country she loves.

      Cut her some slack wrt pedantry.

      How good is your Finnish?

    259. macart763m says:

      This is well worth a read.

      Derek in fine form.

    260. john king says:

      “Cut her some slack wrt pedantry.

      How good is your Finnish?”

      What BtP says
      Lumilumi is the light of my life, the wind isn’t allowed to blow on her.

    261. Robert Kerr says:


    262. Colin says:

      The SNP white paper “Scotland’s Future” says this.

      The key points of the Scottish Government’s proposals for State Pension entitlement are:

      for those people living in Scotland in receipt of the UK State Pension at the time of independence, the responsibility for the payment of that pension will transfer to the Scottish Government.

    263. gordoz says:

      C’mon ‘he Tims, C’mon ‘he Prods … join together … become Scots !

    264. Nana Smith says:

      Great and quite surprised to see this article in the daily rag….

    265. heedtracker says:

      @ Colin, “responsible” has a different meaning from “funding” or “paying for” etc.

    266. macart763m says:

      Two handy links

      The exact wording from the white paper:

      Current pension arrangements

      “On independence, everyone currently in receipt of the Basic State Pension, Graduated Retirement Benefit, State Earnings Related Pension Scheme or the State Second Pension will receive these pensions as now, on time and in full.

    267. Ken500 says:

      Scottish taxpayers pay UK gov pensions in Scotland now.

      The UK has a lot of debt but it also has lots of assets. The assets outweigh the debts. That why it can keep going. Swings/roundabouts. Snakes and ladders. The division of the wealth creates the problem. The wealthiest has increases 15% in wealth in the last year. 5 people own more than 20% (1/5) of the population. It is the vulnerable who are being targeted. People being sanctioned and walking to food banks. Hungry people get sick. The NHS being underfunded £30Billion by 2020.

    268. Ken500 says:

      Sectarianism in world football now?

    269. Patrician says:

      @north chief, exactly my point. They will do everything they can to reduce their pensions burden, and not just because the Scots leave. I would rather the Scottish Government take responsibility for the pensions and pay a realistic level of pension than take my chances with the rUK.

    270. John H. says:

      bugsbunny says 6.13pm.

      Proposed STV debate.
      Bernard Ponsonby says “The First Minister will be able to at last answer economic questions that he has managed to avoid for the last two year’s”. What a prize idiot.

      Ponsonby is far from being an idiot Stephen.I haven’t forgotten the Sturgeon – Lamont debate.I smell a rat.

    271. John H. says:

      On the bright side though, I’m quite sure that the FM is up to any tricks they might try.

    272. ronnie anderson says:

      New film comeing to a PC / Laptop of yours

      The Wrath of the D D O S.

      Anybody else haveing problem’s today.

    273. Ken500 says:

      It is not the Pension liability that will decrease in Scotland. It is the debt liability that will decrease. £4Billion on monies Scotland doesn’t borrow or spend. £3Billion surplus going to Wedtminster. £3Billion could be saved on Defence(Trident) and a tax on ‘lose leading’ cheap alcohol. The debt decreasing + £6Billion could be spent on higher pensions.

    274. Auld yin says:

      Interesting. One group not covered by this though. Those of us rapidly nearing pension age and reaching it post Independence, like me in 2017. Who would pay us our pension? I would hope the rump UK would honour the obligation. If they didn’t, I imagine a future Scottish government could easily say not their problem. Still voting YES btw.

    275. ronnie anderson says:

      In any Indy negotiations I hope that Carmichiel isent part of them,Jim Nauhtie this morning on the shared energy I was more confused after the programme than at the start.

    276. Robert Peffers says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill says: 10 July, 2014 at 12:39 am:

      O/T : “Had a very interesting day today in our YES shop.Stream of people coming in (every day now).

      I had an interesting incident too. There seems something strange going on. Yesterday GMS had a story of Better Together having a sudden rush of NO voting grass-roots support. Over a fairly long period of time I’ve spoken with a young guy delivering flyers of all sorts. Take-away delivery menus, DIY shop bargins, factory shop offers. et al.

      I saw him along the road while I walked the wee dog. I said, “What are you delivering today, then”? “Oh! Better Together stuff”, was his reply. I remarked that I didn’t have him down as a Naysayer. His reply was, “I’m not but I get paid for doing this”.

      Is this perhaps the explanation of the GMS claims of a flood of grass-roots workers for Better Together?

    277. ronnie anderson says:

      @Lumilumi,ach dont worry yerself over they Pedants,you are a long time Winger & a much valued contributer on WOS xxx.

    278. X_Sticks says:

      Sorry O/T

      Another BT story bites the dust:

      “Scottish independence: Whisky boss says he has not been bullied”

      As ronnie says, dinna fash yersel aboot they pedantic numpties. If they contributed a quarter of the value of your input to our debates they would be held in high esteem.

    279. desimond says:

      Im astonished.
      Saw that picture and assumed it was ripe for a “Mags Curren and Jackie Baillie celebrate Johanns abdication” mouseover gag!

    280. Ken500 says:

      UK raises average of £600Billion in taxes. Spends average of £700Billion. Pensions are a relatively small % – 10%. If pensions are £74Billion UK – Scotland £6Bilion? Scotland has a smaller (pro rata) pension liability than the rest of the UK.

    281. liz g says:

      O T

      Had a disturbing conversation with a young Asian laddie in the local petrol station at 3am

      He said
      My friend I have a very good reason for voting no
      My flatmate has been to a meeting and he was told that after
      independence,all the people from the EU will be sent home,and only Scottish people will be allowed to stay.

      Since he has worked in London for a few years he would go there but was worried for his uncle and his uncles family as this garage was their living and they had not lived anywhere else.To send them back to Pakistan would not be a good thing

      Once I picked my jaw up off the floor
      I spent the next hour talking him through what the real debate was

      I think he saw how shocked I was at the things he had said
      and my horror convinced him some what that at the very least his flatmates information was suspect.

      We left it at
      If I could clear up the “Deportation” issue for him everything else sounded good[especially the bit about not killing brown people for their oil]and he would vote for it
      In return he would try to find out about this meeting.

      So I am asking if any of you can help with pointing him towards the information he needs to convince him Scotland is not about to be ethnically cleansed.

    282. ronnie anderson says:

      @ X Sticks are you trying to teach LumiLumi the dielect o Aberdeen, she stayed in Emburgh, ah thought Fash wiz Fish or an ah needin lessons lol.

    283. Flower of Scotland says:


      Just heard on Morning Call that councils in London, Swansea and Glasgow have put spikes down in front of some residential and commercial buildings to DISCOURAGE homeless sleepers!

      In Vancouver however they have installed new benches for the homeless!

      I hate this Con/Dem Gov.! Surreys Tory Council awarded THEMSELVES a 60% pay rise! but recently opposed a living wage for the Councils poorest workers!

      Says it all really .Help the rich to get richer and stuff the poor!

    284. ronnie anderson says:

      or an ah needin lessons, to satify the pedants ,or am I needing lessons,must remember to use the Edit function, aye rite.

    285. desimond says:

      The one thing I can see reading into all of this is the fact that all negotiations will be very clandestine. Even though the Scottish Government may want to be totally open about everything, the first item on the Westminster Agenda will read

      The First rule of Negotiation Club is NO ONE talks about Negotiation Club!

      If the rest of the UK realise exactly how far David and Co have to bend to accommodate our demands and how much they have in fact been lied too by people like Danny Alexander, there really will be hell to pay ( by them, not us)

    286. Murray McCallum says:

      The First rule of Negotiation Club is NO ONE talks about Negotiation Club!

      Although Danny Alexander has been authorised to seek views on sandwiches, biscuits and refreshments in advance.

      Pragmatic, common sense negotiations right there.

    287. Robert Louis says:

      Rebert Peffers at 1241 am.

      Totally correct. It is nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of Westminster to suggest that the treaty of union meant the incorporation of Scotland into a ‘greater England’. Aside from that it is an odious assertion to make of any country – i.e ‘you don’t exist because we say so’.

      The treaty of union was a treaty between two sovereign nations, with acts of parliament from both the English and Scots parliament. It did not cause Scotland to cease to exist, and nor did it even remotely suggest that England survived, and Scotland was swallowed up by it. Indeed as you correctly point out it says no such thing. Anywhere.

      You see unlike in many other circumstances of independence claims, Scotland was never subsumed by force or a war into England (although bribery and threat of force was used). It agreed to an international treaty between both nations, and that is all.

      There is another more important point regarding the treaty of union howeveer, that many wesminster obsessed people find hard to grasp. It is this; a treaty between two nations only exists so long as BOTH parties agree to it. It matters not if a treaty says the equivalent of ‘forever and ever, cross our hearts and hope to die’, because it is only a treaty, which is valid whilst both parties still concur.

      Sometimes to get a clear perspective, it helps to imagine a treaty between two different countries, say France and Germany. The text of the treaty might say ‘Germany promises to only ever buy red wine from France, foerever and ever, in all time coming, amen. This would then be agreed to by the French and German Governments. However, twenty years later, the Germans might decide that you know what, Spanish red wine is better (It invariably is), so let’s end that silly French treaty. It really is that simple. Of course France might be unhappy, and complain, but it wouldn’t matter. THAT is the nature of a treaty, no more, no less. Treaties are agreed to and ended unilaterally all the time. Peace treaties, trade treaties, border treaties, and so on. History is littered with them.

      Of course the old duffers in Westmindden will carry on believing what they believe partly because they cannot get their heads around the idea that the treaty of Union was in fact, just a treaty between two sovereign nations.

    288. faolie says:

      Great post btw Rev. Absolutely one of the best and most interesting so far

    289. Robert Louis says:

      Liz G, at 1002 am.

      A good starting point might be to highlight the pro independence group Scots Asians for yes

      And the groups own website;

      Sounds like that guy in the garage had been told a pack of pretty evil lies.

    290. heedtracker says:

      @ liz g, that’s also one of George Galloway project fear frighteners, “they” will turn on “us” if it doesn’t work. There are some really nasty British characters operating in Scotland right now.

    291. Robert Louis says:

      Liz G,

      Oh and another point, the current Scottish SNP Government is made up of many nationalities, including the French born SNP MSP Christian Allard, who made his Scottish Parliamentary oath in French.

    292. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Liz G, could you find out about the meeting the friend was at? And who it might have been that was spreading the rumour of cleansing. Might be useful to see if there were “official” participants peddling this misinformation

    293. Leo Foyle says:

      O/T but watching Cameron on the telly now talking of emergency legislation on surveillance has made me think: Westminster could banjax the referendum by rushing through an act to give Scotland Full Fiscal Autonomy… if it wanted to… Funny, that, innit?

    294. Robert Louis says:

      Lee Foyle,

      Exactly. If Westminster REALLy wanted to give the Scots Parliament more powers, it really doesn’t need to wait for the referendum, it could do it right now. In many ways, such an act would ensure a high NO vote.

      Pretty clear the ‘more powers’ are an empty promise, just as they were in 1979.

      Jam tomorrow for all of us.

    295. schrodinger's cat says:

      so what you are saying is
      if i retain my british citizenship and my british passport and i “acquire” a PO box number in spain, I can still apply for a UK pension?

      meanwhile, while paying into the scottish pension fund for the next 15 years, obtaining at the same time scottish citizenship and passport too, i’ll also be eligible for a scottish pension?
      result guys:)

    296. Footsoldier says:

      Ian Macwhirter in today’s Herald does not seem very positive about a Yes outcome and goes on to say maybe it is too late to change things.

      There may be many like me who believe there is an intentional holding back by Yes and SNP in order to launch a last minute offensive which hopefully will be a game changer.

      However if there is not any plan for a late offensive and there is a No vote, would you then consider the independence campaign to have been a good one?

      We are right to complain if the MSM do not report Yes positives but when Yes people are on the MSM, especially live TV and radio, the opportunity is not taken to attack No assertions while maintaining a positive theme

      One recent example was the other night on the referendum TV debate from Portree. At one point the discussion centred on UK pensions and how could Scotland afford it or something along these lines. Keith Brown gave a reasonable down the middle uninspiring answer which would do absolutely nothing to convert a No voter to Yes.

      These very important opportunities are being missed on air and there are loads of them. Why did Keith Brown, not introduce a comment like; if the Republic of Ireland can pay its pensioners (figures March 2013 in Pounds)£10415pa why is the UK so miserly with £7488. “Are we really Better Together – No thanks” or something along these lines.

      I have heard countless times from Westminster politicians in independence forums and debates that Scotland has a population ageing much faster than the rest of the UK and consequently our pensions would be much more costly to finance. Very seldom have I heard this countered by the fact that our wage earners have to go south or abroad to earn their crust ; more Union dividend? No thanks!

      There is time but it is running out. All Yes politicians need to get some fire into their bellies and up their rhetoric. Run a course for dismantling unionist assertions, sing from the same song sheet and get our best crowd working orators out there now, more than a few spring to mind. More than anything, for goodness sake inspire the people.

      I remember being at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo a few years ago, a fine Unionist spectacle promoting Scotland, and many around me were very moved for a short time about being Scottish. We need to get to the heart of the matter now. Perhaps our SNP politicians have the comfort zone of knowing they will probably still be in power in Holyrood even with a No vote. The approach might be a bit different if a No equalled out of power everywhere, annihilation.

    297. liz g says:

      Thanks everyone for the information

      @Alan Mackintossh
      Will do my best to find out about that meeting and pass on any information

      I also intend to find out if the uncle also thinks that stuff is true

    298. X_Sticks says:



      Not Aiberdonian ronnie, just Scots:

      I thought is was frae Fife, but it appears not.

    299. desimond says:

      @liz g
      Regards misinformed folk,…yours sounds better than my experience.

      I had a ranter on Twitter last night going on about how he was pulling all his money out of scottish banks and moving it to England as The Telegraph was telling him there would be a run on the banks following any Yes vote.

      I pointed out timescales for negotiations and even down to how the saver protection was due to EU etc but they carried on ranting and even went as far as feeling sorry for the banks as any problems would be due to an “Ego trip of Salmonds” and no fault of the bankers.

      Some folk truly are beyond help, I did try reasoning with facts and referred them here but all they could hear in their heads was ahhatealiksammind and of course by the end they were accussing me of Scaremongering by saying the NHS UK plc would appreciate his savings when he became unwell.

    300. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Liz G at 10.02

      The torrent of lies below the radar is huge. At a club for disabled and vulnerable people here they have been told they will lose their mobility vehicles and other benefits if we vote YES. I know the wee Tory ladies who are telling these lies and I hope to pin them but vulnerable people are very reticent

    301. R-type Grunt says:

      @ Footsoldier

      I would not consider the campaign to have been a good one even if we win, after all we are but amateurs against the professionals of the British state.

      If we lose I will only conclude that the majority of my countrymen are morons and deserve all they’ll reap in the future English county of Scotland. Myself? I’ll be leaving.

    302. Training Day says:


      MacWhirter told us a No vote was assured after Osborne’s currency intervention, albeit one secured with a ‘heavy heart’. He is too bound up in the mainstream narrative IMO (and why not, that’s the world he inhabits) and probably has little idea of what’s really beginning to happen on the ground.

      The real campaign will not start until folk are back from their holidays. It’s frustrating that the future of the nation will effectively be decided in a condensed four week period (or even less), but that’s the reality. Keep the faith.

    303. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      O/T ALERT

      We should all buy a Record today for the two page spread it gives Dr Philippa Whitford warning that a NO vote will spell the end of the NHS

      (The Record gave double page to Nicola yesterday and Joan McAlpine’s first class page)

    304. desimond says:


      Remember the calvary charge in Braveheart….


      I have shared your frustrations but given how Alex and Co have been playing the long game for so long now, the powder is simply being kept dry, of that I am sure. A shotgun is no use from a mile, despite Better Togethers claims otherwise.
      Its rope-a-dope and the knockout blow is still to come.

    305. Les Wilson says:

      Footsoldier says:

      Yes you are right, I posted a similar thing on a previous article.
      They need to be a bit attacking, and stop being old sweety wives.Rebuff at every turn the nonsense of BT and the restof the Unionist conspiracy against democracy for Scotland.

      In the tv debates, EVERY time, they need to put in a fired up talker, one who has the facts to publicly debunk their crap.
      Otherwise,they are being negligent to all the YES supporters who have went the extra mile.

    306. gerry parker says:

      @ Ronnie,
      Fash isnae fish, tho feesh and fush are.

    307. schrodinger's cat says:

      X_Sticks says:

      10 July, 2014 at 11:02 am



      Not Aiberdonian ronnie, just Scots:

      I thought is was frae Fife, but it appears not.

      medieval French verb ‘fascher.’ is a subjunctive form of the verb Fairer 🙂

    308. schrodinger's cat says:

      Faire…….to do

      as in dont beat yersel up about it or give yersel a doing
      © Ian Davidson

    309. Footsoldier says:

      @Training Day

      Don’t worry, I’ll keep faith, independence it’s been a liftime ambition (well perhaps not until I was 6 months old).

      I have attended various events with Ian MacWhirter speaking and I think he is quite clued up as to what is going on on the ground.

      I know lots of No people who have genuinely never heard of websites like Wings.

      I still think we need more passionate orators on TV & radio. Our people are definitely letting No off the hook in debates. A pet hate of mine, any debater who interrupts the other and often goes on to lose the debate.

    310. Robert Peffers says:

      @liz g says: 10 July, 2014 at 10:02 am

      “I am asking if any of you can help with pointing him towards the information he needs to convince him Scotland is not about to be ethnically cleansed”.

      Nae bather, liz. Explain to the laddie that the matter is not one for Scottish born people. If it was those of Scottish descent living in Pakistan, India, Africa and all other areas where the native populations tend to be a wee bit more tanned, would be voting in the referendum. As would those in the Americas and Australasia with slighly more tanned white skins.

      The Referendum is for, “The people of Scotland”.
      These are defined as, “Anyone of any colouer, creed or country of origin who are mainly domaciled in Scotland and who have registered to vote in Scottish elections”.

      Then tell him that as his family are Scottish residents & taxpayers, he and they are legally, “People of Scotland”.
      Then, if you really want to make a convert for our great cause, gie the laddie a wee cuddle and say, “Welcomer tae the YES campaign, Jock”.

      The official information is here :-

    311. Spansco says:

      I am a Scot living in Spain and I get my pension paid directly into my Spanish bank. As I paid into the UK. System all my life I am entitled to it and the UK government could not stop paying Scots who have done the same as that would be theft. This is a huge bonus to an independent Scotland and one we should shout from the roof tops.

    312. liz g says:

      @ Robert Peffers

      Thanks for that Robert
      I did think that if he had a vote then he was Scottish
      but did not want to tell him anything I had not checked.

      As I Think he has had quite enough misinformation!!!

    313. Robert Peffers says:

      @Robert Louis says: 10 July, 2014 at 10:24 am:

      “Totally correct. It is nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of Westminster to suggest that the treaty of union meant the incorporation of Scotland into a ‘greater England’. Aside from that it is an odious assertion to make of any country – i.e ‘you don’t exist because we say so’.

      Thank you Robert Louis and I love that, “you don’t exist because we say so”, bit. I’ll borrow that if I may.

      However, there are several other points that do not stick out quite so prominently as the proverbial, “sair thoomb”.

      The term “United Kingdom”, legally describes only a united Royal Realm. A royal realm wherein the only two signatory Kingdoms agree, (within the Treaty), to retain their own legal, education and religious systems but to establish a new joint parliament. Westminster is thus legally, ”The Parliament of the United Kingdom”, but in which the Crown only has legal sovereignty over the English Kingdom.

      This brings up some very important matters of legal difference within the Treaty. First up is the vital matter of legal Sovereignty. Scotland’s legal system is firmly based upon the long established fact that the people of Scotland are legally sovereign. Our modern laws reflect this fact. Scots own Scotland. Hence we Scots have no English style Trespass law. You cannot trespass upon that which you own

      We have free right to roam, subject, though, to certain other restraints. Such as invasion of privacy. No private person can clamp or restrain a vehicle on their land and demand payment for its release. Now consider that in a bigger perspective – In 1688 the three country English Kingdom became a Constitutional Monarchy. Scotland never has. Thus Westminster’s claimed sovereignty over Scotland is, to use a technical term, Mince.

      As we Scots have never been asked individually, (until now), there is no legal way we can have ceded our sovereignty to Westminster. Can you find where in the Treaty of Union anything that says we did?

    314. JT Broadhurst says:

      The State pension is Pay-As-You-Go. Pension payments are paid out of State revenue. The liability to pay falls on the State so anyone living in Scotland will be paid by the Scottish State. The Scottish State will have to earn enough to pay all of their pensioners right from the start. There is no revenue or savings source in the UK which would support the payment of Scottish pensions only.

      To decline accepting that burden would be a sign that the Scottish State doesn’t give a damn for its citizens.

    315. Phil Robertson says:

      As ever when numbers are concerned, SC gets the logic all wrong.

      As I read his argument the liability for pensioners currently LOCATED in Scotland will become the responsibility of rUK after separation. So by the same logic, the assets currently LOCATED in Scotland would remain the responsibility of rUK. Where’s your budget without the oil?

      Of course, the logic is bollocks. There would be a negotiated divisions of assets and liabilities so the £6bn is a hallucination rather than a vision.

    316. You and My Comb says:


      You missed what. The minister in charge of uk pensions said to the select committee. The pensioner would be treated a s if they had emigrated to Scotland. In effect, the contract is with the UK and not with iscotland. Of course like many other items on the separation list, negotiations might see Scotland take over that responsibility. However, given the position adopted by the union parties over other items, the rUK could be left holding that pension baby.

    317. You and My Comb says:


      My iPad finger is really bad today.

      The assets are another thing entirely. Pensions are a liability to each person that paid uk NI. Physical property will be divided by where they are sited if immovable. If movable they will be split by negotiation. As for oil, if it’s in territorial waters it belongs to the country with rights over these waters.

    318. Phil Robertson says:

      You and My Comb
      “the contract is with the UK and not with iscotland”

      You’re not comparing like with like. Scotland is, like it or not, part of the UK and will therefore have a share of the liability when it is divided between rUK and iScotland.

    319. Black Douglas says:


      As previously mentioned on this thread the pension system in the UK is a benefit not a fund. If you have paid into the scheme you are entitled to recieve benefits from that scheme.

      It is not a fund to be divided. You neither need be resident or a national of the UK to recieve benefits just a historical contributor.

      Any changes in a future Independent Scotland to the benefits from the pension scheme over and above the basic benefits provided by rUK would be a liability from the SC.

    320. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The State pension is Pay-As-You-Go. Pension payments are paid out of State revenue. The liability to pay falls on the State so anyone living in Scotland will be paid by the Scottish State.”

      Just flat-out wrong. People paid their contributions to the UK government. The UK government is liable for their payments. If they lived in England, France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Greece or just about anywhere else, the UK government would have to pay. The same is true of Scotland, pending negotiations.

    321. schrodinger's cat says:

      @Phil Robertson
      As ever when numbers are concerned, SC gets the logic all wrong.

      logic is vastly overated, (see goedels theory of incompletness and russell’s paradox)

      i was just trying to work out a way to screw westminster for another pension after we vote Yes

      The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
      Bertrand Russell

    322. Brotyboy says:

      @ Andrew

      Give it a fucking rest.

    323. Phil Robertson says:

      Black Douglas and others

      I quote from the Spring 2014 freesheet, Yes!, which is produced by the SNP. “The Scottish Government has guaranteed to pay every state pension after independence”. It will also “meet all public sector pension obligations”.

      So either the SNP is telling porkies or SC has got it wrong (again) when he suggests that rUk will pay Scottish pensions and provide a financial windfall for iScotland.

      You can decide which it is.

    324. schrodinger's cat says:

      @Phil Robertson
      i never questioned that the SG will honor all of the people of Scotlands Pensions

      i was more interested in seeing if there was a way to screw another pension out of westminster for myself, not for scotland.

      why not, if the choice is to sit on my beam end and collect a pittance of a pension or taking the money and running, i could do with the exercise 🙂

    325. Thepnr says:

      Hello Phil

      If you don’t mind me asking, can you please enlighten me with what your reasons are for supporting a No vote? Ta in advance.

    326. Black Douglas says:

      Ha Ha Phil you really are a silly 👿

    327. JT Broadhurst says:

      No, not “just flat-out wrong”. Some very big PAYG schemes are already in Scotland eg Scottish Local Government and Scottish NHS and funded by the SG who act as the lender of last resort. In fact the NHS as a whole was in surplus which means that the contributions made by employees is greater than or equal to the employee benefits paid out.

      The State Pension position was given by ICAS in April 2013 as “If the individual is living in another EEA state and has also worked in that state any entitlement to the UK state pension will be paid through the pension institution in that state”.

      I believe what you are attempting to argue is that there is an accrued pension earned prior to separation which becomes a transfer of cash from the UK to pay a future pension. Think again ….

    328. faolie says:

      @thepnr, @gordon murray, @robert peffers, @Robert Louis

      The Treaty of Union does indeed get rather ignored in all these discussions about currency and trident and pensions and the like. And I suppose some regard it as a kinda dry subject. But actually, it’s fascinating. In fact, after the 18th September the first thing that needs to happen is for the Treaty to be unpicked.

      As Robert P says, the TOU was (is) an internationally recognised treaty between two countries to join in a union with a single parliament to set and change laws. The Articles of the Treaty, ratified in the Acts passed by both (old) Parliaments, set out the terms.

      If, following a Yes vote, the Acts are then repealed and the Treaty dissolved, there cannot be a ‘continuing state’ as the ‘state’ (actually ‘united kingdom’) created by the Treaty now cannot exist. Scotland goes back to being just Scotland again, while England (with Wales, which isn’t mentioned in the Treaty – it was just ‘part’ of England) goes back to being just England.

      With the dissolution of an international treaty between two countries, it is incumbent on the two parties to effect an amicable split and divide up the accrued assets and liabilities of the old united state to everyone’s satisfaction.

      Of course 21st century ‘practicalities’ will influence things a bit (eg see responsibility for international debt already assumed by Westminster), but the point is that you can’t have a union of one. No Treaty, no ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’.

      I expect that both sides’ constitutional lawyers are relishing the prospect of being in the vanguard on 19th September.

    329. Kilty says:

      JT Broadhurst: “If the individual is living in another EEA state and has also worked in that state any entitlement to the UK state pension will be paid through the pension institution in that state”

      Correct me if I’m wrong but even if a current pensioner living in Scotland had worked here, at the time they were working here it would still have been part of the UK and so not a “state”, which means that only the first condition (living in another EEA state) is cleared.

    330. Chris says:

      Has anyone else picked up on the fact that bbc radio 1 have organised 2 gigs in Scotland this year (big weekend and g in the park) – funny how the only scottish events to be arranged by the bbc occured this year

    331. Theweelad says:

      It is truely shocking to think that any New Scotland should be based on a ‘something for nothing’ attitude. The UK as it exists would continue to honour its obligations to pensioners if it carried on. If Scotland chooses to break up that entity it is not credible to NOT share those obligations. To be independent but have someone else pay your pension without any input is morally corrupt. All the semantics about the 1707 thing etc are silly. Get real – why would (predominantly) England-based taxpayers pay the pensions in a newly separate state FROM CURRENT RECEIPTS. Just wrong folks. Gives us a bad name.

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