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Wings Over Scotland

The quiet man

Posted on November 11, 2013 by

If we were you, we’d skip ahead to about 18 minutes in this video of a debate hosted by the Cupar Business Network at the start of the month. John Swinney’s oratorial skills aren’t his strongest suit, and Murdo Fraser is reading from the same “Better Together” script you’ve heard a hundred times before.

But the following hour shows Swinney where he IS at his very best. A superb debater with facts at his fingertips and a razor-sharp focus, he takes Fraser apart methodically and comprehensively, with impeccable politeness and clarity.

We’ve been tweeting a few of the most noteworthy bits throughout the day, but if you’ll forgive us for asking you to sit through two hour-long bits of media in succession, we think you’ll find this one worth it.

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    68 to “The quiet man”

    1. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I would also urge everyone to obtain and keep Ivan McKee’s article in todays Herald (page 24).
      Ivan takes the political NO campaigns fiscal arguments (scaremongering) apart as well as promoting Scotlands strengths in an accurate and thoughtful manner.  He doesn’t miss Darling.
      Agree with your comments regarding John Swinney. When he’s debating  in his comfort zone he’s superb and entirely genuine. That honesty comes through to the public. 

    2. Who would you trust in charge of your nation’s finances, Swinney or Ozzy?  Difficult one isn’t it?

    3. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Just a couple of minutes in…….
      but for some reason I really really want to know more about the Cupar Business Network……
      Is there a blazer badge & tie combo available at these excellent networking opportunities ?

    4. cath says:

      I feel a bit guilty as I was at an event with Swinney a while back. It had a Q&A and someone pushed me to ask a question because no women had spoken.  So I stood up for the girlies and asked “should we not be being more aggressive about things like Sterling and our bargaining position?” He said something like,  “I’m not really an aggressive person.” 🙂
      He’s so right though.  His quiet, confident,  gradual approach is way more affective than shouted rhetoric or aggression. 

    5. Bob Howie says:

      I would much prefer to have John Swinney handle an independent Scotlands affairs than a failed journalist handling the UK’s!

    6. gordoz says:

      Excellent informed grown up debate – JS won it for me by adheerence to the facts available the answer has to be YES

    7. MajorBloodnok says:

      @ronald alexander mcdonald
      Got an Archive link?

    8. Breastplate says:

      That’s what I was thinking, Major. 
      I’ve no idea how to do it myself, a bit technical for my brain.

    9. BuckieBraes says:

      John Swinney is indeed seen at his best when responding to an audience in a setting like this: it’s something we need to see more of. As for Murdo Fraser, I actually quite like him and look forward to his playing a key role in (possibly even leading) a new, fit-for-purpose centre-right party in an independent Scotland. Still won’t vote for him, mind you!

    10. MajorBloodnok says:

      @ Breastplate
      You mean like this?

    11. Murray McCallum says:

      Odd that Murdo Fraser can jump from saying he is not a nationalist (but openly stating he is proud to be British) while, fearing for Scottish trade, labeling people in and outwith Scotland as “foreigners”.
      The “foreigner” mantra from better together is a bit sad. Viewing people as foreigners is not a good base to build relationships and develop trade.
      The recent EU agriculture payments to Scottish farmers withheld by Westminster would have fitted in very nicely to the benefit of an independent Scotland in the EU question.

    12. Gav says:

      I watched the whole thing through. 
      A very good debate,  without all the shouty nonsense.   We need more like this out there.
      There were lots of points John did not pick up on that he could have.  Part of his skill was to focus in on his key points and tell his own story, not jumping about rebutting every single item.  
      There were some open shots at goal not taken in this debate.  Plenty time though.

    13. X_Sticks says:

      @Ronald, Major, Breastplate & Another
      I know the Rev is always on about using, but when a paper prints a supportive article shouldn’t we give them the clickthrough? You never know it might have an effect. 

    14. That woman who “works in tourism” was amazing. It sounds like a BritNat had specifically tailor made a worst possible scenario for her. Of course we’ll never know because she didn’t read it and deleted it. Perhaps it never really happened and either she made it up or she dreampt it.

      Good video though, I likes the one about England not wanting to buy its energy in. What they need to realise is that England currently takes energy from Wales and Scotland and buys from France. You don’t do that if you can generate your own. It also is looking to import energy from Irish wind farms because it has signed up for green targets but has neither the want nor the tolerance amongst its people to make that happen.

    15. norrie says:

      Just watched the whole lot and have to say I even enjoyed Murdo who seemed to have his tongue in his cheek when giving his side of the argument. However John Swinney with performances like this will bring over more votes than I imagined. Very articulate and easy with his vision for Scotland

    16. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      I am with Buckie Brays. the Murdo Fraser was better than his brief allowed him to be.
      Just imagine what he and some Lab (certain tossers removed,  and all the f’n LibDums (cannot think of any of them worthy) could contribute in the chamber in anew balanced Scotland. Sad that Aunty took the Ermine so, for my money she is now beyond the pale.
      Looking good, with JS doing very weel.
      I can but imagine what JS and NS could do in a progressive round table negotiation for the benefit of all?
      What I would want, post Indie.

    17. Atypical_Scot says:

      “Where it’s taking us philosophically as a country”
      Whether it’s sound bite or not, Swinney hit a home run with that one. The question is now but surely rhetorical. Should we deliver to ourselves the chance of a fairer society? Or should we accept the unfair society, along with the rest of the UK?
      Sharing the same fate as the rUK may sound valiant, but showing the rUK another way is possible, is by far a more generous gift.

    18. kininvie says:

      Glad you found that, Stu.  It’s what the debate should be like…Whnce came all the fear and loathing?

    19. Jingly Jangly says:

      That’s ok if you can read the article, but the Herald only allows you to read about 5 articles every couple of weeks. And yes I have looked but my browser does not allow me to delete cookies without deleting history which I would rather keep.

    20. Breastplate says:

      Thank you Major, you show-off. 🙂

    21. Morag says:

      And yes I have looked but my browser does not allow me to delete cookies without deleting history which I would rather keep.
      Firefox has a cute little add-on that lets you delete cookies for a single page or site with two mouse clicks.  Then click “refresh”, and you get the whole article, just like that.
      Why not install Firefox just for that, even if all you use it for is reading the Herald?

    22. HandandShrimp says:

      I see the latest ICM poll for the Guardian reports 5% for the SNP. Presumably a small sample size but that must have Scottish Skier in calculator overdrive. That is a ridiculously high figure.

    23. William Stirling says:

      Scotland has a fantastic opportunity to build a strong, rich and compassionate nation. One that everyone can benefit from.
      I have been very impressed with a number of the current government team including John Swinney. JS shows a great deal of maturity, common sense and articulates strong reasons why Scotland should be a success. There is nothing like making your own decisions, leading the way and the confidence and results that come with it. Scotland will grow in so many ways with a Yes vote.

    24. Chris says:

      If only the rest of the debate could be like this we might be in the position of the Scottish people making an informed decision. Both men appeared to respect each other and that is what will be needed in the months and years ahead. I am afraid that the tactics of Better together will create a split in the country that will take a long time to heal no matter the result of the referendum.

    25. kininvie says:

      I’d never seen John Swinney as a philosophical politician before…. but I do now.

    26. @Jingly Jangly
      Use a new private window gives unlimited access.

    27. TYRAN says:

      Regarding using archive for links..  IMO if it is worthy then it should get a direct link as a result.  That way will register a site hit rather than bypass. 

    28. Arabs for Independence says:

      About 10 or 11 years ago I had invited Jack McConnell to talk at our annual conference. We had been invited by one of McConnell’s aides to ask him to speak. Anyway many emails and phone calls later no response from McConnell or his team (who had asked us to invite him in the first place). 
      I then contacted Mr Swinney and he replied straight away; turned up on his own at the conference venue in St Andrews, wrote his own speech and didn’t alert the media. He was a perfect gentleman and spoke well and intelligently on a subject I am sure he had limited knowledge on. 

    29. Macart says:

      First class debate. John was on good form throughout calmly tackling the tough issues. Loved the digs about Ed Balls. 🙂
      This is how all the debates should be handled.

    30. Hetty says:

      I do think Murdo really struggled here to answer questions coherently. I particularly thought his, ‘we don’t know’ stance was an excuse and not only that, the better together lot are consistently telling us how horrendous it will definitely be if we vote for Independence, not quite the unknown scenario, it seems. J Swinney did miss some points, and focused on the oil, which so many even in Scotland are sceptical about, but he couldn’t cover everything like the issue of massive revenues going to Westminster from production and spending here in Scotland. That alone, as far as I have read from the knowledgable folk here, is much more than the pocket money we are handed, which at the moment is being managed very well by the Scottish government,  against the odds. Be interesting to see what is reported of the white paper in the msm.

    31. themadmurph says:

      To be honest, I thought MF did a reasonable job.  Apart from the usual tired lines about the banking sector (surely everyone knows the truth now!) and the unanswered questions nonsense.
      Glad JS pulled him up on a couple of blatant lies or exaggerations.
      I thought at one point the direction was going to travel into the fact that there is no certainty or vision being portrayed for a Scotland in the union, but it only skirted around it.
      On the whole I thought JS came out on top, but after the build up I was expecting an absolute humiliation of MF! In the end it was probably as good a debate as we’ll get. If Scotland can’t fathom the opportunity being laid out in front of it, even with the unionist media, well it doesn’t bear thinking about!

    32. mutterings says:

      Here’s the archive link to Ivan McKee’s article in to-day’s Herald:
      The numbers do not add up for Darling and No campaign

    33. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I have to say that Murdo Fraser is in a different league to Ruth Davidson. Long may Ruth lead the Tories in Scotland

    34. turnip_ghost says:

      There was two things that struck me about this debate;

      1)js actually answered the questions put forward where as Murdo just said “we don’t know, can they guarantee (which I note got a derisory laugh from the audience)

      2) Murdo is ok with foreigners. As long as they aren’t his friend or in his family. Wonder if that word “foreigner” was to be replaced with another one…or am I stepping over a line there?

    35. MajorBloodnok says:

      Good point.  However, the upside is that on this thread we now have a choice of clickable options for the article in question.

    36. braco says:

      Murdo still basically peddled the same fear uncertainty and doubt mantra, and on many subjects that he knew fine well already to be disproven. That is lying.
      I also thought the sneaky RBS and HBOS dog whistle during his summing up was intentional and cheap, as he knew full well mentioning it in open debate would have seen the argument demolished (again). By waiting until his summing up, the proposition that the ‘UK treasury bailed out our biggest companies, something that may not have happened in an Independent Scotland’ was simply allowed to hang there in the air, having succeeded in repeating it one more time.
      All in all I have to disagree with what seems to be the positive vibe being expressed about Murdo Fraser’s performance and integrity so far on this thread. The fact that he can happily speak weasel words while appearing personable, simply makes him a more dangerous politician, not a better one.

    37. Bannock Hussler says:

      I’m with braco there – but with a word of praise for the chairman, happily persuaded to lead the discussion. Something he did even-handedly, and without any of the self-importance that masquerades as authority in so much television. We can listen and make up our own minds, surely.


    38. scottish_skier says:

      I see the latest ICM poll for the Guardian reports 5% for the SNP.
      Yes, 60%, but on average they have 4% which is 48% in Scotland. Even yougov which gives the lowest SNP share is consistent on 3% (36%).
      I have the SNP on at least 44% for UKGE VI.

    39. lumilumi says:

      Oooo, what treats Rev Stu has for us! The previous audio and now this.
      I haven’t had time to listen/watch either yet, but I’m looking forward to watching John Swinney vs. Murdo Fraser.
      John Swinney looks and sounds like an accountant, or a bank manager of the old-fashioned kind. Boring but prudent. But he’s balanced the budgets in hard times, and he can get very passionate about independence and finance.
      He didn’t exactly set the heather on fire as the leader of SNP but he’s excelled as the finance minister. My dream is a YES vote in 2014 and then an SNP-led government after the 2016 indy Scotland general election, with John Swinney in charge of the money. Who would you trust with your money, John Swinney or Gideon Osborne?!?
      Murdo Fraser, then… I think he secretly hopes for an independent Scotland. He could then set up his right-of-centre not-tory party, of which he’d be leader without Westminster interference. Hell, he even stood for the Tory leadership in Scotland on that platform. London, of course, chose the naive and eager and biddable “head girl” Ruthie and sidelined their most able politician in Scotland. But mark my words, we haven’t heard the last of Murdo Fraser, especially if Scotland becomes independent.
      I hear Auntie Annabel is now Baroness Goldie of somewhere or another. What a shame. I quite liked her and her sparring with Alex Salmond back in the day.
      Poor “barons” and “baronesses”. What will happen to them if Scotland becomes independent? Where will they wear their ermine? Scotland won’t have a well-paid nursing home for political has-beens.

    40. Roland Smith says:

      One and half hours well spent. Aided and abetted to be fair by Murdo Fraser, made a pleasant change from the tactics of Labour at these events. This sort of debate with questions needs wider exposure, not sure how you achieve that.

    41. kendomacaroonbar says:

      Swinney was cool calm and collected throughout, and I for one was very impressed with him.
      Does anyone know if there exisits an estimation of costs saved upon independence that otherwise would have been charged by Westminster to the Scottish P&L ?

    42. mealer says:

      That was a very good debate.John Swinney is the right man in the right job.And Murdo?He conducted himself very well.A stark contrast to anything the Labour party have to offer.As to Murdos future in an independent Scotland,wouldnt he be forever taunted with the accusation of……”well,you didn’t believe in Scotland,why should anyone believe in you”.

    43. CR says:

      I agree, I thought MF handled himself well too, calm. measured, he’s not worried about losing his job and the two men obviously had respect for each other.  I thought he was going through the motions tbh, he may well believe in the UK being Better Together, but he’s following the party line. He wouldn’t lose out whatever happened, though I think he’d be more than happy to have a role in an independent Parliament. 

      Both JS and MF obviously do not think much of Ed Balls, and I must say I agree with them completely, I don’t like Gideon, but Balls is terrifying!  The poosibility of him becoming chancellor is yet another reason for voting yes.
      Thanks for sharing Rev, yet another fascinating item

    44. Truth says:

      A good, courteous debate.
      It is though sad to see the fear in some of the questions put by the audience. The old guy who asked the energy questions. I mean for goodness sake, and I don’t mean to be rude, but how many years have you left? Do you not want something better for your fellow Scots?
      As the other guy put it, things may fall back initially, though I doubt that, but we’ll build more and stronger replacements.
      Have some bloody belief in our abilities!

    45. Ivan McKee says:

      @ kendomacaroonbar
      GERS has all of Scotland’s costs listed.
      About 85% of them are directly related to spend that actually happens in Scotland (Health, Education, Police etc)
      The other 15% (about £9bn) are costs allocated from the central UK spend.
      The biggest part of that is Debt Interest payment (£4.1bn) and Defence (£3.3bn).
      There is a clear argument that most (if not all) of the Debt Interest shouldn’t be charged to Scotland as we didn’t generate any of the debt.
      Of the Defence number the actual spend in Scotland is about £1.9bn,and the budget for an Indy Scotland defence force is around £2.5bn (the same as Denmark spends).
      Google GERS, download the report and the spreadsheets and have a look at Table 5.12 for more details of the full break down of the £9bn.

    46. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      We do have to nail the “Scottish banks” myth and it’s fairly easy to do in very simple language
      The conversation starts with the comment “The last time I looked Halifax was in Yorkshire” and Halifax basically tookover BOS and then proceeds with the information that much of RBS was actually Natwest and that it was the London behaviour of speculators in two banks with about 5% of their activity in Scotland and about 5% of their ownwership Scottish. That they were actually large multi national banks which had retained a Scottish name (like Scottish Widows for instance) is explained. And then the protocol of how banking failure is paid for where the banks operate is flung in. All this can be put into simple words.
      I’ve never met anybody yet who knows that NatWest and Ulster bank were RBS.

    47. The Rough Bounds says:

      One of the worst mistakes the Tories have ever made was in electing Ruth Davidson as their leader instead of Murdo Fraser.

    48. Linda's back says:

      It was the UK regulatory authorities headed by Alistair Darling that had the powers to investigate the RBS / AMRO take over  but ignored fact that no  proper due diligence was done by RBS on a deal worth £49 billion before they gave its approval for world’s biggest bank take over  deal that brought about the collapse of the Royal Bank.
      The UK  FSA did briefly consider a rethink, but chief executive Hector Sants and chairman Sir Callum McCarthy concluded that they did not have sufficient grounds to intervene. RBS was a big bank, and surely it knew what it was doing. Incredibly, Sants then overlooked the rules on capital. He allowed Goodwin and RBS to dip below 4%, below the minimum regulatory requirement on capital, to do the ABN Amro deal.   So much for relying on the UK regulatory body.
      In a BBC Today Programme Lecture on 2nd May 2012, the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King criticised the lack of action by Alistair Darling and the last Labour government in the earliest days of the banking crisis when the first UK Bank, sorry English bank, Northern Rock, failed, which King said could have cost up to one million people their jobs.   Decisive action would have at least mitigated the problems encountered by other Banks including HBOS and RBS some 10 months later. 

    49. iain taylor (not that one) says:

      JS came along to one of my business networking groups in August. 2 hours over lunch, round the table with 20 SME folk. Just took his jacket off, rolled up his sleeves and talked to them.
      They were impressed that he was willing to come and impressed by how he came across.
      I was on a beach in Turkey at the time, but then I don’t need converting…

    50. CR says:

      @Ivan Mckee, just wanted to say how much I’ve appreciated your report and how your clear explanations helped me understand a little more about complex economics and quite how the Better Together campaign have managed to spin the arguement and the figures whenever the economy is mentioned.
      Also thought you were excellent on AQ, I said this elsewhere on Wings, but just wanted to reiterate here
      Thank you

    51. Seasick Dave says:

      Why were the banks bailed out anyway?
      Wasn’t it the case, as well, that Labour (Scottish branch) were celebrating when RBS went down?

    52. Morag says:

      One of the worst mistakes the Tories have ever made was in electing Ruth Davidson as their leader instead of Murdo Fraser.

      And you must never interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of making a mistake.

    53. Neil MacKenzie says:

      @Major Bloodnok

    54. rabb says:

      Dave McEwan Hill says:

      We do have to nail the “Scottish banks” myth and it’s fairly easy to do in very simple language
      I make it even simpler when I hear this line.
      If Better Together and Alistair Darling applied the same logic to the UK then the whole UK would have been sunk if the USA hadn’t bailed out Barclays et al to the tune of £600 billion. They like to keep that one quiet.

    55. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Nice one.

    56. Ron Burgundy says:

      Swinney is no orator but he has as they say “gravitas” and in a nutural unaffected way he communicates authority and common sense. He is a real treasure in a setting like that.
      Superb performance, unruffled calm, clear and detailed. Fraser, give him his due, was civil and gave the usual Project Fear boilerplate without rancour or spite. He offered the Unionist view in a polite and detailed way which would have been impossible for a SLAB cretin like Sarwar, or Grey.
      Both SLAB offerings are thick – I mean a Dentist and a Physics teacher. They would have tried to cover their lack of understanding of the detail through slogans, abuse, evasion and lies.

    57. the journeyman says:

      Ok MF was curteous but he still tried to play the dodgy dossier card which as we all know was released to negate the focus on GERS at the time. JS just wouldn’t play that dirty so he wins by a country mile. Let’s not forget Stuart Hosie did a similar job on Lord Robbo at Abertay in the same style debate. If our national broadcaster or STV were worth their salt they would give the people more of this quality of debate and regain some gravitas in the proccess.

    58. Doug Daniel says:

      I’ll join in the chorus of approval for Murdo. I don’t agree with his arguments at all, but the fact is he treated John Swinney with respect, and vice versa.
      Imagine the same debate taking place with Anas Sarwar. It would have been a rammy, with people in the crowd shouting, John having to try and be heard over Anas’ immature antics, and essentially all heat and no light.
      I think there are two reasons for that. The first is the simple fact that Murdo (and this was true of Annabel in the Inverness debate that John Swinney referred to) has nothing to lose in terms of his career. Not only is independence not a direct threat to his current livelihood since he’s an MSP, but as a Scottish Tory, he’s already climbed the greasy pole as high as he can. Anas, on the other hand, has his job on the line here, and when it comes to the likes of Lamont or Baillie, although their immediate job may not be at risk, they’re seeing their chances of promotion – to the “proper” parliament – being wiped out.
      The second reason is because people like Murdo feel completely confident with their position. When he speaks about the UK, you can see he completely believes in it, and when it comes to defending Westminster policies, he’s more than happy to do so. He’s also, I notice, completely comfortable with using the “I” word, rather than having to go on about “sepurashun”. But despite the digs we all give Labourites for being British Nationalists, I think a lot of them are uncomfortable with what they’re having to defend. Deep down, they realise they’re defending the indefensible, so there’s a battle going on in their heads as their brain struggles to come to terms with being asked to rationalise these conflicting ideologies. The result is anger; anger at being forced to face up to this hypocrisy. They’re angry that they’re effectively being given an ultimatum, being forced to decide who’s side they’re truly on, and more annoyingly still, to declare it.
      Well, they could do us all a favour and just not take part. No one would care if Anas Sarwar, Magz Curran or Jim Murphy never took part in an independence debate ever again.

    59. Another London Dividend says:

      Business for Scotland has ruffled the Scotsman’s white feathers

    60. tartanfever says:

      Sorry but I’ll disagree with the ‘Murdo’ love in (because someone isn’t shouting at us that makes them ok ?)
      Using phrases repeatedly like, ‘you must take everything thats said here with a pinch of salt’ – so the BT mob have moved on from ‘they’re a bunch of liars’ to ‘honestly, we’re all politicians, lying is what we do, you cannot believe anything we say.’
      Disappointed with JS. Thought he waffles and stutters way too much, his answers are long and difficult and he needs to get stuck in.

      Failed on ‘Electricity prices question’ to get across what happens at present, that Scotland is a major supplier to England, who generally have a shortage, that Hinkley Point is a replacement project, not a new so it’s not creating new electricity. 

      Even figures like the SG has spent £290m since coming into office on renewable subsidy, the cost so far of dealing with just nuclear waste UK wide is £83bn. 

      When Fraser made the point that the Nuclear Deal meant Hinkley would be producing electricity cheaper than wind, JS was caught out. He doesn’t have the ability for the quick, sharp rebuttal to put that down – even just to say, ‘you remember earlier Murdo says take everything with a pinch of salt, well now’s the time.’

      or ‘ surprise, surprise, the UK government calculations in support of new nuclear make it seem cheaper than wind, a report bought and paid for to support the new nuclear strategy.’

      He finished by repeating the ‘England are buying renewables from Ireland, a foreign land’ and emphasised the ‘foreign land’ bit. But I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh that means they won’t be needing to buy Scotland’s renewables then, they’ll be getting them from Ireland’.
      He left himself wide open at times and missed obvious chances.
      Swinney should have said the same things about the IFS or Glasgow Uni Policy Centre. That they use data from the OBR which is questionable – and repeat what Darling had said about the OBR being just a talking shop for the Tories.
      More I could say, but without going on forever, I’ll just leave it that I thought Swinney’s performance was not as convincing as it might have been.

    61. Ken500 says:

      Thank goodness for John Swinney and the SNP. Roll on Independence.

    62. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Sorry but I’ll disagree with the ‘Murdo’ love in (because someone isn’t shouting at us that makes them ok ?)”

      I agree that we shouldn’t shower someone with praise just because they lied in a calm tone of voice, but I think you’re awfully harsh on Swinney. This was an audience of businesspeople, and he dealt with some complex issues as concisely and clearly as anyone could reasonably ask without dumbing them down.

    63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Business for Scotland has ruffled the Scotsman’s white feathers

      Wow. If you’re ever trying to explain the concept of “sophistry” to someone, you could do a lot worse than direct them to that piece as an illustration.

    64. Ian Sanderson says:

      Thank you for publishing this.  Resisted the opportunity to watch the first 18 minutes – you’ve never lead us astray yet Rev. Stu…
      I think that, when Alex Salmond retires from his position as First Minister of an Independent Scotland, it will be difficult for SNP members, and I’m one, to choose between Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney.
      My feeling at present is that John is the best person to keep our books balanced & Nicola is the natural replacement for Alex.  There are no other contenders on the horizon (at the moment)

    65. tartanfever says:

      Rev says:
      ‘…but I think you’re awfully harsh on Swinney.’
      Possibly, and I agree, he did make some points well and some answers do require a bit of explanation, but there’s some obvious stuff he misses.
      Like the guy who asked about electricity and renewables who was scared at the cost of prices and subsidies. Westminster are the main source of renewable subsidies he claimed, casting doubt on if we could afford them.
      Simple answer is ‘ we already pay for those subsidies – where do you think your tax pounds go ?’ 
      ‘We’ll be supplying energy for Scotland, our 5.2m population, less than 10% of the UK population, and as we’ve already shown we raise more tax per head in Scotland than the rest of the UK. Therefore, your idea of we couldn’t pay for these subsidies just doesn’t stack up.’
      The public in general, including business people, very often forget the most basic premises – that we already pay for everything and we raise more tax money per head than the rest of the UK and we will only be dealing with costs of a 5.2m population, not 62.5m.
      It seems that this has to be repeated time and time again as people still ask the same questions which the most basic critical thought will dismiss. 
      Apply those simple ‘mechanics’ to many unionist arguments and they will all fall away. 

    66. Jamie Arriere says:

      “We’ll be supplying energy for Scotland, our 5.2m population, less than 10% of the UK population,”
      But that’s where you’re wrong. It’s been made pretty clear that we all see Scotland as an energy EXPORTER and that’s to play a crucial role in Scotland’s economic future. You can’t think that we can just say we’ll meet our own needs and screw everyone else. 
      John Swinney’s style is to be reasonable, collaborative, concensual and based on common-sense – he is arguing to maintain the current integrated grid, makes the point that we are already interconnecting with “foreign” countries, therefore continuing connections with an independent Scotland shouldn’t change much, or be anything out of the ordinary.
      However, energy policy is at a delicate juncture at the moment – whether rUK goes full-scale nuclear or commits to renewables to the extent Scotland wants to – or a bit of both. Swinney realises that nuclear long-term is the costlier option for govt. (despite the strike price agreed recently for the new Hinckley plant, which is double the existing price). There’s a strong nuclear lobby down south, and there is more scepticism with renewables, and if the SG is seen too much to be dictating the terms to the rUK, they may react against it.
      Most of the businessmen probably appreciate the costs of nuclear decommissioning and waste storage, so he didn’t have to labour the point. It would have been very helpful if proven tidal power generation  was up and running already, but we are where we are.
      Swinney’s restrained style in a potentially divisive and currently controversial area where two divergent strategies are possible, is the right one for business audiences. If mass nuclear does happen down south, the tone will change.

    67. annie says:

      Oldnat  – absolutely, both statements are true, each time you think they’ve reached the bottom of the barrel they surprise you.

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