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Wings Over Scotland

Unleashing a firestorm

Posted on February 03, 2014 by

It’s not as if the Financial Times doesn’t have history with dropping great big payloads of high explosive into the middle of the independence debate late on a Sunday night. But a piece coming up in Monday’s edition (and online tonight) is going to choke a few breakfasts in London tomorrow morning.

It’s not the information in itself that’s new. Most of it is stuff the likes of this site have been screaming for the last two years. But the starkness of the language, and more pertinently the source of it, is going to rock the boat some and no mistake.


“An independent Scotland could also expect to start with healthier state finances than the rest of the UK”, for example, is not what we tend to hear from the UK media. (And doesn’t even factor in the effect of Scotland being likely to negotiate a lower debt share than its per-capita percentage.)


Similarly, “Although Scotland enjoys public spending well above the UK average – a source of resentment among some in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the cost to the Treasury is more than outweighed by oil and gas revenues from Scottish waters” isn’t news to us, but can you EVER remember seeing it in a Scottish or UK newspaper, other than as a quote from a Yes Scotland or SNP spokesman?

The article is illustrated with some commendably clear graphics, but the one above in particular is simply dynamite. With the current UK setting the benchmark at 100, it clearly indicates, from Westminster’s own data, that right now an independent Scotland would be 11% better off overnight compared to staying in the UK.

Based on the current total Scottish budget (Scottish Government and UK government) of around £64bn, that’s somewhere in the vicinity of £7 billion a year. We don’t think even the SNP has ever put such a dramatic figure on how much wealthier Scots would be as an independent nation. It’s £1,321 a year for every man, woman and child in the country, or £5,812 a year for the classic 2.4-children nuclear family. Which puts that whole “£500” thing into some perspective.


The table above also paints a picture of strength. Unionists constantly assert that while Scotland is doing relatively well now, oil revenues are projected to fall over the next 40 years. That’s a debateable assertion – scarce commodities tend to increase in price, and independence would open up possibilities for whole new fields of exploration off Scotland’s west coast, currently off-limits due to Trident. The figure also doesn’t include the £200bn of extra cash that’s set to be generated from existing fields. And it also ignores the possibilities of tapping Scotland’s rich bounty of renewable energy.

But even if we take the halfway point between 2012 levels and no North Sea revenue at all, Scotland’s GDP per head comes out at £39,787 – over £600 more than the UK (and that’s with the UK currently getting the oil money). Scotland wouldn’t just be better off independent tomorrrow or next year or the year after, but for decades.

(And ALL of these figures, remember, are based on a Scotland with its current spending plans – it doesn’t factor in extra bonuses like the saving of £800m a year we’d be likely to make on the defence budget, to name just the obvious one.)

Make no mistake, readers – it’s one thing for dreadful cybernats like us to shout these numbers until we’re Saltire-blue in the face, but coming from the Financial Times it’s a whole different story. The article does of course contain a sprinkling of caveats and disclaimers, but as a basic statement of the reality it’s concise, unambiguous and earth-shattering. Hold onto your hats, folks, this might cause a bit of a fuss.

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  1. 03 02 14 11:57

    Scotland will have to quit the sterling if it votes for independence next year - Page 32 - Turkish Living Forums

  2. 31 05 14 23:57

    The EU budget rebate | Arc of Prosperity

  3. 13 09 15 11:37

    Business and independence: learning from Germany’s example : Business for Scotland.

391 to “Unleashing a firestorm”

  1. Andrew Morton says:

    Blimey, game changer!

  2. Ericmac says:

    A firestorm right enough.

  3. redcliffe62 says:

    Simply hand this out and say even the Financial Times agrees.

  4. Steve B says:

    Additionally, the FT had a headline saying Spain wouldn’t interfere with Scottish independence – but unfortunately the text is behind their firewall so I didn’t see the details – but that could also be a very helpful piece of news.

  5. Ericmac says:

    Of course there will be the usual volatility and dependency argument…. But who cares. Its a launch pad to greater things and away from a Westminster disaster.

  6. Calum Craig says:

    Mainstream media reports the truth!!

  7. Ericmac says:

    Is there a political agenda I am missing… Or is the Journalist a frustrated cybernate??

  8. Andrew Morton says:

    I would love to see an update of that article once a few startled comments have been added. How about it Stu?

  9. tartanarse says:

    They will have expected Eck to drop this one in the days before ref so they may simply be getting it now so they can concentrate the next 9 months telling us we, d have no currency, we, ll age faster and puppies will die after independence.

  10. abigdoob says:

    Why do they always include a figure for Scotland without NS oil? It’s ours, and will remain so.
    Do they ever give a figure for London without banking/financial services? Naw

  11. AnneDon says:

    Will the rest of the mainstream media even cover it?

  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Why do they always include a figure for Scotland without NS oil? It’s ours, and will remain so.
    Do they ever give a figure for London without banking/financial services? Naw”

    In fairness, it also reflects the fact that the oil is a finite resource, and one day – albeit decades away – it won’t be there and we’ll have to find something to replace it with.

  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Is there a political agenda I am missing… Or is the Journalist a frustrated cybernate??”

    He introduced himself to me at the rally last September. Didn’t get the chance to chat for long, but interesting that someone from the FT was there, and very late in the day. (Most of the Scottish media scuttled off after 20 minutes.)

  14. Truth says:

    Am I seeing things?

    (I so wanted to add loads of question and exclamation marks after that!)

  15. msean says:

    Serious money.Make Scottish poverty history.

  16. David McCann says:

    I hope Hugo Dixon reads the FT article. His complete load of crap in the New York Times looks like it has been written by a ten year old.

  17. Steve B says:


    Before the days of this interweb thingy, it was said that the FT was more honest than the other papers because it’s readership were the top businessnen, financiers and industrialists who needed to know the truth and not the usual propagander.

    Perhaps that is still the case, and maybe that’s why it has such a steep paywall to keep us plebs out?

  18. TheGreatBaldo says:

    Given the FT’s demographic, this will be read by the City big boys…..

    First step in reassuring the markets that Scotland wouldn’t be a major default risk in the event of Currency Union ?

  19. msean says:

    Fully Tradeable Currency.That is all.

  20. Gaavster says:

    Grab the 3/1 with the bookies while you still can…

    The price is going to get smashed!

  21. Chic McGregor says:

    Only quibble is that neglecting North Sea Oil completely, they reckon Scottish GDP per capita would only be about 93.2% of that of the RUK. This is somewhat lower than other estimates which put Scottish GDP per capita (neglecting oil revenue) at very near parity with that of the rUK.(Which IMO is not the full story either because of various other GDP advantages an independent Scotland would gain).

    However, since North Sea Oil is a reality then I suppose it in effect makes little difference to the basic argument.

  22. Jim Watson says:

    I just posted a link to this on the Better Together Inverclyde facebook page – does that qualify me as a cybernat? Will I be denounced by Jim Murphy? I really hope so…

  23. Mary Bruce says:

    Rev, That £7bn extra, where is it just now? Is it the amount that Westminster is currently scamming off us? Am I able to argue with no voters that if we vote no then it means we will be gifting this amount to London each and every year never to see it again? Christ, and they want another £4bn off us each year through cutting Barnett…

    Steve B : a link to the FT Spain article, archive copy, is on the previous thread, near the bottom.

  24. Chic McGregor says:

    “In fairness, it also reflects the fact that the oil is a finite resource, and one day – albeit decades away – it won’t be there and we’ll have to find something to replace it with.”

    Casino London will long be a thing of the past before then.

  25. Hetty says:

    Hmm I wish I had had this to hand yesterday, at a small event I was at where I had a discussion about our financial security as an Independent country, but didn’t feel armed with the numbers, being a tad lightweight in economics type of thing. Hopefully this will be a good start to the week ahead, crikey, might it even mean some unionists will seek some clarity and even contemplate turning the pages of their copybook, it would be advisable surely if they wish to retain any integrity at all.

  26. The Man in the Jar says:

    Kind of makes Better Togethers “Goodbye” to the pound leaflet seem even more ridiculous.

    Imagine for a moment sitting with the BT “goodbye” leaflet in one hand and the FT in the other. Hmm tough choice!

  27. call me dave says:

    What a start to 2014 all the ‘fear factor’ stories withering on a daily basis. But still not common knowledge in the wider UK society, especially in Scotland.

    Time for the YES to get a bit tougher and up the pressure on ‘better together’ in debates. Mr Salmond, I hope, will be slipping this information into every FMQ’s exchange.

    I can see why Mr Carney came to Scotland, to pave the way for a deal.

    Darling must be sucking his thumb and staring vaguely into the void while somewhere in the background a telephone rings. Is it Blair McDougall or Carmichael wanting advice.


  28. Hetty says:

    oh bleeding el, I keep singing, I’m. Cybernat and I’m ok…

  29. Erik says:

    Maybe we’ll need that border after all….. I think there may be a rush.

  30. Hetty says:

    oh bleeding el, I keep singing, I’m a Cybernat, and I’m ok…help…

  31. Erik says:

    Oh damn my incognito fell off again. I will never make a real CyberNat. And now I’m on moderation!

  32. Midgehunter says:

    Will YES and the SG wake up tomorrow morning and go for it?

    Will Newsnet, Bella and co help to circulate it more?

    Will we copy it, print it and scream it from the rooftops?

    Dynamite only explodes if someone lights the fuse and the Rev’s doing his best with his matches. And well done the guy from the FT.

  33. Morag says:

    You’re only on moderation if you mis-spell your name or email address so Akismet thinks you’re a new poster, or if you include one of Stu’s pet-hate slogans in your post. Or more than about four links.

  34. Erik says:

    From FT

    Lanarkshirecomment | February 2 11:10pm | Permalink
    This is probably on the fairest economic commentaries I have read on the independence issue. As a Scot, firmly in the don’t know camp, I think Cameron’s 2007 comments are very pertinent. Our fellow UK citizens must avoid pushing the emotive line ” Scotland could not survive alone, you’re too small” . It is insulting and inaccurate. Of course, it would….better off in long term ? who knows…..but denigrating the the abilities of a people will play into the hands of the yes camp.

  35. Alfresco Dent says:

    This could very well be the game changer we’ve been waiting for. Great news!

  36. Erik says:


    Reportmaljoffre | February 2 10:30pm
    Whatever the consequences independence would hold for Scotland, it would undoubtedly be a mortal blow for Britain.

  37. Chic McGregor says:

    ““Is there a political agenda I am missing… Or is the Journalist a frustrated cybernate??”

    He introduced himself to me at the rally last September. Didn’t get the chance to chat for long, but interesting that someone from the FT was there, and very late in the day. (Most of the Scottish media scuttled off after 20 minutes.)”

    Admit it Stuart, you gave him a free Wings badge, didn’t you?

  38. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Whoever mans Pacific Quay’s GMS Memory Hole will be getting a very early call, eh?

  39. Yup, that’s dispositive. As you say, not something we didn’t know but the first I’ve seen it so clearly and graphically articulated in Her Majesty’s Press.

    What are the chances of this exposition being published or cited in any British newspaper, or on the BBC? Close to zero I’d have thought. While this effort by the Times is welcome the problem is, it is as this article notes, a sui generis event.

    The Anti-independence campaign would be long since dead in the water were it not for a rabidly Unionist MSM with whom they are united in common cause to crush the independence movement.

    It is a measure of their disciplined control that these analyses of well-known facts are a revelation, not only to readers previously unaware, but to those of us who did know but never imagined we’d see it in MSM print.

    Too many Scots have accepted the meme of Scotland’s relative economic impoverishment and dependency. That pernicious lie can be undone only if the channels of communication to the unengaged and low-information voters who will decide the outcome of this plebiscite, promote this counter meme to allow it to spread organically.

    Still, who knows, it may be that we are starting to see the beginnings of a great ungluing of the Unionist media monolith. Other recent reports in the Herald revealing Cameron’s duplicity in colluding with foreign powers to discredit the case for indy, and the other Times article from the 29th Jan revealing the extent of the alleged fears of the establishment that Scotland is going to be lost, give one hope.

  40. Morag says:

    A wee thought I had. Last May, a group of Flemish musicians came to Scotland for the first time to hold a series of workshops. In one, we were performing a piece by Bach with voices and instruments. There was an interval that had to be sung in the piece, which the Flemish tutor believed was difficult, but we all sang it with no problem. He quipped that we’d managed it easily, and then said, “That’s probably because you’re from the country of Greensleeves.” (Greensleeves has the same tricky leap – a diminished seventh, for the techies – in the middle.)

    About 70% of those present immediately bridled and responded in chorus, “No we’re not!”

    That, my friends, is why we are going to win.

  41. Morag says:

    If I hear about this on GMS in the morning there is a class of students going to be without a lecturer because I will have driven my car straight into a tree or something.

  42. Famous15 says:

    I am still fuming at the faux hurt of the clown pretending that you insulted the Big Issue guy. This blows away that nonsense . We are all being insulted by Better Together. Oh,the irony.

  43. creigs1707repeal says:

    The MSM in Scotland, print media, BBC, STV et al, will just ignore this report. It’s all about keeping the natives in the dark. How many Scots read the FT? It’s ammunition–no more than that.

  44. Gaavster says:


    What it does though is pushes the true economic wealth of Scotland front and centre in the city

    It also may change the narrative behind the scenes down there too

  45. We know we can be a great country,size matters sometimes,and the population matters sometimes but independence matters all the time.

  46. Tasmanian says:

    This is brilliant.

  47. Hetty says:

    sorry I seemed to have been on repeat mode earlier, and sleep tight all.

  48. TJenny says:

    Could we maybe construct a ‘Better Together Myths Bingo Card’ to be issued to all households with each myth being scored off as it’s disproved?

    With the prize obviously being Independence 🙂

  49. west_lothian_questioner says:

    creigs1707repeal… ammunition indeed.
    Order of the day would thus be, “Fire at will.” 🙂

  50. Albert Herring says:

    The country of the diminished seventh?
    What’s that Flemish guy on about? It’s a minor seventh, and it’s no even Scottish!

  51. Oneironaut says:

    I’ve been wondering for a while now, at what point are the people in charge of the various media networks going to realise which way the wind is blowing?

    I doubt their bosses actually care one way or another. They have businesses to run, and I’d be surprised if they have much real loyalty towards Cameron and Co.
    Modern media networks are basically information mercenaries, whose “journalistic principles” are up for sale to the highest bidder.

    Put simply, at some point, a lot of them will start to realise that they’re fighting on the losing side here, and with an eye on the possible profits to be gained in an independent Scotland, might decide to switch sides.

    (Apart from the Daily Hate-Mail who’ll probably continue ranting and screaming its head off in a foaming rage about everything until the last of its readers wanders off shaking their heads in puzzled amusement…)

  52. creigs1707repeal says:

    I think this FT report may finally force Westminster’s hand on the currency union. When the money men read this and see the naked truth of the UK’s finances and how much of a loss Scotland would be, they will be tripping over themselves, demanding the Treasury gets on the phone to Holyrood to agree a Sterling currency union (before we change our mind and opt for our secret Plan B).

    Finally the penny drops; finally they are being told that the English garden isn’t coming up smelling of roses, that the cupboard (without Scotland) is bare.

    Why do I feel little sympathy for them?

  53. Arbroath1320 says:

    Just a wee thought here, but does anyone know if Johann Lamont gets a copy of thre F.T. every day and if so does she plan to stand up waving this page about during her stint at FMQ’s? 🙂

  54. pic says:

    I thought me moving from a pentium4 to an i7 core was going to be my upgrade of the week…but….bloody hell!!!

  55. archie says:

    a but will it be on the early scottish bbc news ??

  56. Extreme0 says:

    While this is a good thing in general, you can’t exactly expect the media to suddenly go “OH WE BEEN PROVEN WRONG BY FINANCIAL TIMES! ABORT! ABORT!”

    It’s going to be limited to the people who go to their site and have a active subscription to pass their paywall and that’s going to be limited viewership.

    The real issue is the more common tabloids and media still pandering and spinning this to reflect their biased views in which, lets be honest. Is almost every media except for cases of The Herald.

    This changes something indeed. But you can’t expect the change to be known without effort from those who fight for it be known to the masses. We already know that a few pro-indy sites have put up these cases before but have been dismissed time and time again.

    I don’t see this working unless somewhere along the line somebody in the middle who remains neutral gives the facts for both sides and proves why this or that is wrong/right backed with legitimate documentation. Scots want an unbiased view on something that would change a lot of things surrounding them.

  57. The Man in the Jar says:

    At a guess I would say no!

    Anyway the economy is just one of those “wee things”

    The big question is. Will this put an end to the “subsidy junkie” “scrounging sweaty sock” slur that we are all so sick-fed up with. Worth it for that alone.

    Oh to be a fly on the wall at BT HQ tomorrow Darling and McDougal in meltdown. Johann will be alright she wont understand a fucking word of it.

  58. ronnie anderson says:

    Is it to early to haul up the Saltire as a Flag of conveniance, & declare Scotland a Offshore country,
    Ed Balls with his 50p tax rate hike they city gents need a handy bole hole for their illgotten gain,s.

    Scotland the Switzerland of the north,this wee Indipendence thingy,s getting serious,is JoLo still in her
    bunker. Mr Carmichiel should get of that flying rug,it keeps dain loop the loop,an put,s him on his erse every

    Joey fae Essex has joined Blair Mac Dougall

    in promoting the Union.

    B MAC. what time is it Joey

    Joey. I dont know

    B Mac. oh I forgot wait an I,ll get you a twig

    B Mac. what time is it now Joey

    Joey. I cant tell you, its the wrong type of twig

    B Mac. what kind of twig do you need

    Joey. one from a Palm tree

    B Mac. Hello is that the Botanical gardens, could I get a

    couple of Palm Tree twig,s

    Botanical G. are you that Ross guy fae Radio Clyde dain a

    windup, Palm Tree,s dont have Twig,s, ya fekin eejit they

    have fond,s.

  59. The Man in the Jar says:

    “Scots want an unbiased view on something that would change a lot of things surrounding them.”

    I think that we just got one.

  60. The Man in the Jar says:

    Ronnie that must be the most surreal post ever on this site. And thats saying something. Keep it up!

  61. Extreme0 says:

    @The man in the jar

    Well yea, but how are you going to get it too them?

  62. ronnie anderson says:

    Yer no getting the Pound.

    Naw we er getting the Whole BoE, Ha HA.

    Next step, World Money Market,s, Gidion gives birth to

    kitten,s,an their no little Darling,s,their Rampant Lion,s.

  63. ronnie anderson says:

    @ man in the jar, am no surreal,am jist no real lol

  64. EphemeralDeception says:

    Nevertheless, Scotlands position is still understated.
    As if Scotland only gets to keep some oil revenue and all else remains shared by the UK. In parallel UK as shown as only losing oil revenues and all else stays the same, which skews everything in the UK favour.

    The article gives the impression that London carries on unimpeded and without impact. The UK position remains overstated.

    A clear example is that it considers the 100,000 direct and indirect London oil jobs and GDP as unchanged. Another: Scotlands GDP from its drink industry is mixed with UK, but tax and excise duty will totally change with a net gain to Scotland and a loss to rUK.

    rUK will continue as a major export for electricity produced in Scotland, whereas I don’t think this is accounted in relation to GDP at all, etc.

    Scotlands spending is also overstated and UKs is unaltered. Scotland would relieve itself of Trident and at a stroke paying less while rUK paying more per capita.

    If only we could see some real projections, you know, the ones that England/rUK won’t see for 30 years yet.

  65. nelliejean says:

    Well, that’s fair brightened up my Monday morning! I’ll send a link to my “But how will we PAY for everything?” brother 🙂

  66. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    @Jim Watson says:
    I just posted a link to this on the Better Together Inverclyde facebook page – does that qualify me as a cybernat? Will I be denounced by Jim Murphy? I really hope so…

    Were you wearing your Proud Cybernat badge at the time, and were you doing it deliberately?

  67. Wee Jonny says:

    Had to check my calendar there as I thought I’d fell asleep last night and woke on the first day of April. Oof!!! This is getting printed when I get home from work and handed out to everybody.

  68. Macart says:

    Oh dang.

    Clear the decks for action, that’s got shit storm written all over it. 😀

    Nice change. 🙂

  69. bjsalba says:

    Did anyone catch the the radio program “Does Scandinavia want Scotland?” on Radio 4?

    One thing they did mention was that if we were sovereign we could sell our renewable energy to the continent at its full market price, not the reduced rate we currently get from the national grid. I wonder how much full price would add to our GDP?

    And I wonder how many other arrangements like that one have been made to the detriment of Scotland.

  70. Patrick Roden says:

    @Famous 15, the guy, Bill Lees, ended up being a failed labour councillor from the English West Midlands.

    Just another Labour trouble-maker out to cause mischief and divisions on Wings.

    And yet another failure. 🙂

  71. JLT says:

    Cheers Rev …another wee article stored away in my ‘wee’ portfolio.

  72. Iain Bell says:

    Hello all, new here….
    Just wondering, comments above like ‘we’ve known this for years’ are common. Also, ‘this’ll make the money men sit up’.
    Why? Do you really think they don’t already know, like we do? Have known, for longer than us? They probably read the McCrone report (and a good deal we’ll never hear of) and worked it all out long before us….if they needed to. Massively rich corporations and people didn’t get that way by being behind the curve.

  73. I don’t think there will be a shit storm over this article. This will either be ignored by the MSM or spun to buggeri, but it is still an excellent source to cite during debates and discussions.

  74. Ken500 says:

    The Truth always comes out.

    Some people have spoken to a FT journalist, the only journalist available, and pointed out rather animatedly, the bias of the MSM.

    The UK Treasury is still spending more in the rest of the UK and giving Scotland the bill.(£4Billion) but not paying off the debt. This makes Scotland poorer than the rest of the UK. The rest of the UK raises less in tax and spends more. There are higher rates of tax in Scotland 60% to 80% in the Oil sector. Multinationals (foreign) tax evade through the City of London, unfair competition for British business and illegal. That is what makes London S/E better off. Illegal under the Union Agreement of 1707 of equality. Since 1928 Scotland outvoted 10 to 1 at Westminster.

    Scotland £60 Billion raised £60Billion out. £8Billion to the UK Treasury. Could save £Billions, less spent on Trident, illegal wars, administration/defence/jobs based in Scotland growing the economy, tax on ‘loss leading’ cheap alcohol etc.

    Total taxes raised in the rest of the UK £540Billion. Total gov UK spending £700Billion. The rest of the UK is borrowing/spending £100Billion more than Scotland.. Pro rata £10Billion. Scotland would need to be spending £70Billion pro rata, to be on par with the rest of the UK borrowing/spending,

  75. Will the FT break all sales records today then?

    (Oh and 5th paragraph, there might be no I in team but there’s definitely one in Westminster)

  76. Croompenstein says:

    This is the fuckin Financial Times FFS, the City of London’s capitalist bible of course it’s dynamite. The big burd might not mention it and shift her eyebrows on Disreporting Scotland but this will be cited at debates up and down the country and the live televised debates.

  77. Dcanmore says:

    The ultra BritNats will be frothing that it’s ‘British oil’, not Scottish, and the wet Nu Labour sheep will be harping on about ‘selfish’ Scotland wanting to keep the oil for itself. But remember Alistair Darling (increasingly turning into a nutter) will keep on trying to tell the Scots that the oil will run out in 2017!

    The important thing about this article is now it’s a legit source, a point of reference that can be put to the DKs. All that will be left in BT’s argument in the coming months is Darling going ‘Boo’ behind a curtain… cue more cash desperately making its way to ‘independent’ think tanks to try and come up with some method of debunking the truth.

  78. scottish_skier says:

    Did the FT not first break the Tories slagging off Darling story too? If so, a pattern emerging?


    Labour of course are not going to devolve more powers and are busy infighting over the issue. Even Ken Macintosh recognises how ‘more responsibility’ would hit Scotland’s revenues…

    MSP claims income tax deal could lead to ‘independence by default’

    SCOTTISH Labour’s former finance spokesman Ken Macintosh has issued a stark warning against his own party’s proposal to hand Holyrood full control of income tax.

    In a move that threatens to reopen deep internal divisions, Mr Macintosh has urged colleagues to step back from plans to devolve income tax entirely to the Scottish Parliament if Scots reject independence in September’s referendum. Writing in today’s Herald, the Eastwood MSP warns the policy would reduce Scotland’s revenues over the long term and edge the country towards “independence by default”.

  79. Lou Nisbet says:

    Surprised to see ‘The oil’s going to run out’ fallacy here. There is no historical fact behind this. Were we all greeting when the whale oil ran out? When did we run out of wood, coal, etc? Think about it a little more. If hydrogen replaces
    petrol as the major fuel of the future then petroleum like whale oil need never run out.

  80. Ken500 says:

    Scotland would be a fairer and more equal country because people would vote for that.

    No ‘bedroom tax’.
    Social care/bus passes for the elderly.
    No prescription charges.
    More affordable University charges.

  81. Ken500 says:

    Scottish Oil (taxed at 60% to 80%) is subsidising tax evasion in the City of London. That is what makes the City of London better off. The rest of the UK borrows and spends more. All UK taxpayers subsidise the City of London. (Banking and tax evasion)

  82. Andrew Morton says:

    GMS headlines. Smooth bit of deflection, they used the FT story about Spain not opposing EU entry and totally ignored the finance story.

  83. Tattie-bogle says:

    But we will still be worse off no one will buy my big issues . sigh

  84. Ken500 says:

    Re The Marching Rally

    All is not lost. The Marching Rally costs £12K. There is no funding available.

    If someone (Rev) wants to set up a fund, and everyone donates £1, the Organisers will go ahead.

  85. with fracking in the news again bbcradio4 this morning, perhaps a wee hint that when Scotland votes Yes, this new technology is all Ruk are going to have left.
    Also rubbing in that a No vote will be a total humiliation if in the face of our own riches, we turn them over to big brother to look after for us. unthinkable.

  86. Futureproof says:

    I’m actually going to buy the FT today for the first time ever. I might buy two and leave one on the train for a stranger to peruse.

  87. Macart says:

    Its got to be pretty fair to say that BT and their W1 string pullers have had a car crash first month of 2014. They’re going to have a pretty tough time in the next eight months, but they are certainly not quite yet on the back foot. They’ve also still got all of the big cannon on their side. Their problems, other than a dearth of imagination, aspiration or wit? Its got to be the current economic and social state of the UK. They can’t argue that this is an attractive selling point in any way shape or form. Goes back to a campaign point by Blair Jenkins last year. Were we already independent would you buy into this?

    Point two: They’ve already travelled a fair ways down a certain route of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt propaganda. Its failed to a great extent, in that they pulled a ‘Chewin the Fat’ routine. ‘Here, you’ve jist goan too far’, kinda thing. Love bombing a la Captain Jack and his multi coloured jaiket is simply cack handed and bloody insulting. Next thing up should have been the bribes, but oh wait…

    … Cameron, Osborne, Lang, Broon, Curran, Sarwar, you name it have all pretty much put the kibosh on this. We’ve been told in no uncertain manner that austerity is set to run deeper and for much longer than first expected. That ‘according to Mr Lang’:-

    The question of whether or not to walk away from the rest of the United Kingdom would be one for the people who live and vote in Scotland. But what happens afterwards will not be. More devolution — or less — is quite a different matter. It is a matter for the whole United Kingdom, and that includes Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England. As others have pointed out; to resign from a club is for the individual member. To change the rules of the club is for all the members.

    There seems to be an extraordinary mood amongst many in the Scottish political parties who oppose separation, that they can simply agree on a shopping list of further powers for their parliament and that such powers will be granted as of right. Scotland is going to have to abandon this mood and, I say gently, get real.

    They can’t frighten the electorate any more than they have and they certainly can’t/won’t offer any bribes. The UK is already in a deep state of economic recession and deepening social division, so just what is left to sell the UK state as a worthwhile bet?

  88. Kalmar says:

    Hydrogen isn’t going to replace oil, it’s just a (relatively poor) way of storing and transporting energy.. Renewable energy sources are the only thing we know of today that could replace oil.

  89. Simon says:

    I like the little detail on the first chart, that government spending in Scotland is not only bigger than the rest of the UK, but is simultaneously a lower proportion of GDP.

  90. fairiefromtheearth says:

    On Scottish GDP I was told that all the companies in Scotland that have headquarters in SE England pay their taxes in England, looks like another way to distort Scotlands true GDP

  91. Chris says:

    I take it the original article will end up in the repository?

  92. redcliffe62 says:

    There is a point you fast become the voice of Scotland. You are getting near.

  93. tartanfever says:

    Funny when you see these figures in a national newspaper and although they have tried to represent Scotland reasonably fairly in these charts, theres a lot of information missing that would make Scotland’s position look even rosier.

    Like including other parts of England just to show how low their relative GDP figures are, not just the lucrative and much subsidised London and South East.. Throw in the North West or North east figures and then we’d really see a difference.

    Also, let’s get over this with/without oil scenario. It’s rubbish. Either we have it or we don’t and we most certainly do.

    Do we see English figures put up ‘with and without the heavily subsidised city’ ? No – because that’s proved to be the most unstable of all markets in the last five years.

    And on that note, why do we never see UK figures ‘without oil’ ? It’s only ever Scotland ‘without oil’

    This is a deliberate ploy by English media to have two effects on it’s readers:

    1) Scotland doesn’t deserve the oil, it’s a mistake that somehow a feckless bunch of tossers like us have been blessed with such a gift on our soil.

    2) It could all go away so quickly, treat oil like anomaly, it’s not real, you haven’t worked for it, it will be going away.

  94. bjsalba says:

    Didn’t hear any reference to FT/IFS report on GMS. However it did not get my full attention as I was getting ready to go deliver lots of YES newspapers.

  95. Roberto says:

    Do the oil figures include the 6 oil fields that we’re annexed when T.Blair G.Brown and A.Darling gave 6000 sq. miles of Scottish North Sea waters to England when they moved the border.

  96. Stevie says:


    Andrew Skinner’s ugly contribution to the twitter debate (a picture is in record on cyberbrits):

  97. neil mackenzie says:

    £2.50 for a newspaper? Won’t get the exposure it needs.I got two for showing undecideds.

  98. Les Wilson says:

    Some point out, rightly, that oil is a finite resource of income, however, they never take in two things when they say that.

    These are- What we would save being out of this crippling Union, and further revenue streams, new ones and existing ones which will increase, like renewable energy.

    In line with serious oil production falls, other sources of income will rise to balance things out.We are doing well on the export ladder for example, and our aim is a min of 50% from manufacturing alone, there are so many other things.
    Scotland has it all going on, let’s make sure it is for ourselves not used to prop up Westminster.

  99. Les Wilson says:

    Kalmar says:

    On hydrogen, it is a live contender for renewable energy. In America the have just found a way to create it and mix it with natural gas, which it does nicely. Then it can be piped through the EXISTING gas pipe network. They have some new ways of storage for it also.

    I can see hydrogen solving a world energy problem, without fracking, without deep sea drilling and other benefits. This is something Scottish brains could add something to. Which would assure us of lower cost energy, vastly lower co2, and help the rest of the world at the same time.

  100. Training Day says:

    Forget this story. BBC Scotland now focusing on what really matters – are there enough allotments available?

  101. yerkitbreeks says:

    At last !

  102. Alec says:

    I can’t help feeling that I’m the only person who has actually read the article. This isn’t ‘dynamite’ – merely a restating of known statistics regarding the relative positions of per capita GDP. I’ve already seen these figures on the BBC and elsewhere, and the article even points out that key supporters of the union have accepted for a long time that Scotland could be a viable small country.

    The entire ‘debate’ on here seems to be a conversation of the deaf. No one appears to have commented on the actual point of the article – namely, that despite the current state of GDP and exports, it is not guaranteed that Scotland would be better off with independence. This is what the journalist is actually saying, if you read the article properly.

    Take note of the bits where it says – “…an acknowledgment that Scotland could succeed alone does not mean it would be better off than within the UK.”

    Or – “Scotland’s fiscal health will also be challenged by the relatively rapid ageing of its population and the long-term decline of oil output from depleted North Sea reserves.”

    Or – “…James Knightley, senior economist at ING, said the high transition costs of separation and uncertainties over currency and the terms of EU membership meant that the material benefits of independence were “far from clear”.”

    It’s actually a very well balance article, not some incendiary device that will destroy the No campaign. There are actually more questions in here for Yes to answer, along with a repetition of known and accepted facts.

    The fact that everyone here seems to be wetting their knickers over it just goes to show how empty and one eyed the whole debate has become.

  103. Luigi says:

    And I thought that January was a terrible month for BT.

    February has started off even worse!

  104. call me dave says:

    A little straw in the wind here. Mr I Davidson mp on manoeuvres.

  105. Edward says:

    Slightly O/T
    Anyone have any idea why Cameron is bringing his cabinet to Scotland on exactly the same day the Scottish cabinet is in Portlethen and Cameron and his cabinet are 7 miles away

    No doubt to make the case for the union but still refuses to debate with Alex Salmond

  106. Ken500 says:

    Cameron/cabinet visit. Even more YES votes.

    Haste ye back.

  107. Luigi says:

    This is great news but it is not a “game-changer”. It is not that type of campaign. With the entire MSM against YES Scotland, it is more a case of people slowly becoming aware of the real situation. Each scare story has to be painstakingly dismantled and argued, until an opposing media has no option but to grudgingly accept defeat and quickly move on. Against he powerful forces of the union, it is, by necessity, a campaign of death by a thousand cuts.

    The cuts are now coming faster and deeper, however.
    Today’s article certainly continues the trend.

  108. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @call me dave –

    From the article you linked to:

    ‘The Labour back-bencher, who chairs the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, said: “The Scottish Labour Party should be considering what its priorities are and not blindly following what is done in the UK as a whole.’

    Hear hear Mr Davidson. Hear hear.

  109. rabb says:

    Does anyone else get the distinct feeling that the establishment has been patiently watching Better Together build itself up to a crescendo and is now taking aim to ram a rather large size 11 steely right up their negative scaremongering arse?

    I may be wrong but Scottish_Skier’s theory seems to be playing out to a plan.

    I will show no complacency but I think we’ll do this chaps & chapesses 🙂

  110. Clootie says:

    When oil income reduces in 50 to 100 years then our renewable energy capacity will be significant. If the rUK does not want to but it then Ireland / Scandnavia will. The critical peak loading for London depends on Scottish hudro-electric plants.

    Renewable / cheaper energy would enable us to attract industry back to Scotland as Shale gas has for the USA. The difference being renewable energy is forever.Steel making back in Scotland for example.

    Then we have water the next “Oil” – who has most of it and why are unionists so keen to have Scottish water put in private hands.

  111. The Man in the Jar says:

    Regarding the UK cabinet visiting Scotland. I read that Cameron will be visiting local businesses in Aberdeen including oil and gas.

    Is he up here to tell them that they are wasting their money as the oil and gas is about to run out?

  112. Brian Powell says:

    This will only be a game changer if the media, television and Unionist politicians in Scotland start telling the truth about information like this and stop lying deliberately about information like this.

    Judging by the reactions to Mark Carney’s statements, this is unlikely.

  113. Triangular Ears says:

    This point about Scotland’s figures without oil and not seeing London’s figures without the City is missing the point a bit.

    The point is that we never see UK figures without OIL. If Scotland has no oil (because it has run out), then neither has the UK. The impact of oil on the UK economy is always totally understated (for obvious reasons).

    The other point is that by comparing Scotland’s figures with the UK figures it is also understating Scotland’s relative strength, because our own figures work against us by strengthening the UK’s figures, albeit in a diluted form because of our relatively low population.

    The only fair way to do these comparisons is to have Scotland without oil compared to EWNI without oil, but I have never seen such figures.

    I once, many years ago, did a comparison of Scotland minus oil vs UK minus oil and it made a massive difference to the argument which I was having with a typical London ‘we pay for everything in Scotland’ type. Of course, the original GERS figures deliberately compared a Scotland with 0% of oil revenues against a UK with 100% of revenues, which was an out-and-out fraud. Not only were our revenues stolen from us in these calculations, but they went to strengthen what we were being compared against, therefore doubling the effect of the fraud.

    Of course, as other posters have said, even doing these simple corrections doesn’t get the full picture because of the headquarter effect and the London oil jobs etc that would have no reason to be down south any more.

    Our subsidy to London is absolutely huge, and means that from day one of independence Scottish government will have much more money than now, such that we will be able to increase spending AND cut taxes. I would estimate that our subsidy to London is of the order of 20% of Scottish spending, possibly even more.

  114. G H Graham says:

    London won’t reach 171 gross value added per head for a very long time after independence because of the effect of moving the place where the current revenues of many UK businesses are reported.

    For example, Diageo creates huge wealth in Scotland from the production of whisky at its 29 distilleries.

    All the excise duty, VAT & gross production/sales in pounds is aggregated & reported at their head office in London from where the taxes are effectively collected by the Treasury.

    And while collection of some taxes will remain after independence due to some income being earned in England, the bulk of duties & VAT will be collected by a Scottish tax agency instead.

    You can find plenty of similar examples which is why I believe the revenues, GDP & GDP to debt ratios are heavily skewed to make London look better & Scotland worse, than reality suggests.

    The charts are at least closer to what is current today but I do expect Scotland’s economic performance to look even better once we have extracted & correctly reported all the income that is currently mixed & hidden in London.

  115. kalmar says:

    @Les Wilson

    On hydrogen, it is a live contender for renewable energy. In America the have just found a way to create it and mix it with natural gas, which it does nicely. Then it can be piped through the EXISTING gas pipe network. They have some new ways of storage for it also.

    You’ve misunderstood my point. Energy or fuel was used to create the hydrogen in the first place. Hydrogen is NOT a source of energy, other than when it comes out of the ground as a component of natural gas.

    In terms of renewable electricity, that is best transmitted by the grid at >99% efficiency, rather than converted to hydrogen and back at a very poor efficiency.

    Hydrogen can make sense in places where you’ve got more energy than you know what to do with and can’t export it – places like Iceland for example. Certainly not in Scotland – we have cables!

  116. theycan'tbeserious says:

    When they say that “Although Scotland enjoys public spending well above the UK average – a source of resentment among some in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the cost to the Treasury is more than outweighed by oil and gas revenues from Scottish waters”

    Is the figure quoted as Scotland’s share actually spent on/in Scotland, or is it the figure before Westminster bill us for WMD, London centric projects, house of lords and house of commons etc. actually leaving us with what to spend in Scotland?

    My question is…do we really get more money to spend in Scotland by way of the block grant? Can anybody enlighten me?

  117. Flower of Scotland says:

    I’m still waiting for BBC news to mention this ! Aye and that will be right !

  118. Macart says:


    Then we have water the next “Oil” – who has most of it and why are unionists so keen to have Scottish water put in private hands.

    Spot on clootie.

  119. McHaggis says:

    Sorry, but can someone direct me to a recent post where Cameron, Darling etc all confirm in quotes that an indepenedent Scotland would be entirely viable?

    They were all together in one spot but for the life of me I can’t find it now.

    I’m pulling together a FB update and wanted to lump them in with the FT piece.

  120. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I’m still waiting for BBC news to mention this! Aye and that will be right!”

    Thing is, it’s not actually news. Most of it is GERS stats, which have been available for months. So the Scottish media and BBC have what’s actually a pretty legitimate excuse for not covering it. The point about it appearing in the FT, so bluntly worded, is that the next time some eejit tells you “We’d be too poor!”, you can hit them with a single link to a source that can’t be dismissed as just a bunch of nutty nats. That’s why this is big, not because it’s revealed anything we didn’t already know.

  121. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Although Scotland enjoys public spending well above the UK average – a source of resentment among some in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

    Also, is that true? Doesn’t NI actually get even more than us? I’m too lazy to check right now.

  122. G H Graham says:


    I predict that the British media will do exactly what they did with the results of the second Panelbase poll you/we commissioned last year (

    Some stuck their fingers in their ears and their heads in the sand, & waited for the story to evaporate from memory.

    Others waited for BT to get their propaganda spell checker to work & then concocted a bunch of rubbish scare stories & accusations about fairness.

    I expect then that this will hardly get a mention if at all from the BBC, Sky, STV & the print media this week.

    Later it may get referenced once the guru of economic incompetence, Alistair Darling, has had the opportunity to smear the author & the report with a large dose of gloom & doom.

  123. Gordon Smith says:

    It is interesting the article does not highlight that the City Finance is ~14% of all UK GDP, and will be an even bigger proportion of r’UK GDP. Perhaps even close to the relative size of the Scottish oil industry. What would be the r’UK GDP if the Finance from the 170% GDP generated from the Coty is removed – just a a comparator to the “Scotland without oi”l figure

  124. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Is the figure quoted as Scotland’s share actually spent on/in Scotland, or is it the figure before Westminster bill us for WMD, London centric projects, house of lords and house of commons etc. actually leaving us with what to spend in Scotland?”

    It’s the total, the block grant PLUS the money spent by Westminster “on behalf of” Scotland.

  125. DonnyWho says:

    No reporting or spun reports all that can be said is that over time poeple will notice and this website is more than capable of letting hundreds of thousands know!

  126. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I can’t help feeling that I’m the only person who has actually read the article. This isn’t ‘dynamite’ – merely a restating of known statistics”

    Our piece explicitly states that several times, and explains why this IS nevertheless a big deal. You, on the other hand, seem to be desperately trying to spin away some pretty stark facts by clutching at semantics.

    Nothing is “guaranteed” in politics. One incompetent government can squander even the richest bounty. The point is that Scotland is FUNDAMENTALLY economically stronger out of the UK.

  127. TheGreatBaldo says:

    rabb says:

    3 February, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Does anyone else get the distinct feeling that the establishment has been patiently watching Better Together build itself up to a crescendo and is now taking aim to ram a rather large size 11 steely right up their negative scaremongering arse?

    Always thought the criticism of Darling by the Tories last year was them marking his card for when the polls narrowed….

  128. James S says:

    It is clear this year’s GERS figures will not be as good as last year. Still better than the UK’s revenue per capita but not as great as last year. Unless there has been significant savings in the spending column, the No side may have a wee bit of ammunition.

  129. Geo says:

    The link to FT that Rev Stu has at the top of the page also carries the headline :- Spain promises non interference on Scotland… Madrid will consider any application to join as a separate state.

    Apologies if this has already been pointed out.

  130. Look Skye Walker says:

    Release the Krankies!

  131. Peter Macbeastie says:

    It is indeed a re-hash of figures known to US, but they’re not known to everyone and that’s the point. This needs to be as widely spread as possible. Pick your format; social media, email, word of mouth. But it needs to be distributed by us because it’s in a mainstream publication but one which near no one but the business sector sees remotely regularly, and as the Rev says, it is dynamite because so many people will never have seen it. Reading the article is not the point; getting it to those who have never picked up the FT in their lives is the point. Making sure more people read it is the point. I already have my target; he’s intending to vote no and won’t really engage, but he’s also an accountant and he will be more likely to read a report in the Financial Times than anything else I ever send him.

    It is an article that has the potential to take Scotland and shake it warmly by the throat until it enters the collective conciousness that actually indepenedence WILL make us a more prosperous nation. And it’s not just us saying it.

  132. Dcanmore says:

    Oil should always be considered a bonus as we maximise a diverse economy in an independent Scotland. Even after the black stuff becomes a trickle Scotland still has an oil industrial base that will operate in other countries that are just developing their oil finds now. However I can see the world shifting to a hydrogen based energy economy by the middle of this century and if Scotland can use it’s oil money to get a foothold in that research and development now then all the better … see hydrogen energy park in Methil.

  133. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Are we doing anything to mark the 2000th post? Can we do something fun but productive…can’t think of anything off the top of me heid, but preferably something to irk Darling & Co.

  134. bunter says:

    The media will deal with this as they did with the last GERS report. Seems the story of Spain declaring they will not interfere in Scottish referendum also a positive. Is this just co incidence this is all coming out at same time as increasing YES poll results.

  135. Roland Smith says:

    In yesterdays Observor there was a patronising piece as is the norm and quoting the two Scottish Banks as being a problem for Independence and the size of our GDP.
    This is an area of argument that needs killed off.
    Unless I am mistaken, so open to anyone telling me that, the banks operating within Scotland are BoS, owned by Halifax, owned now by LLoyds and UK taxpayer, RBS owned 85% by UK tax payer, Virgin (old Northern Rock good bit), Tesco, Clydesdale owned by Australians and Santander owned by the Spanish.
    Though obviously there are a lot of people in Scotland working for banks and in other financial services which banks are Scottish?

  136. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Ephemeral Deception a 5.18

    We only get pieces of the balance sheet. Were Scotland to get its appropriate share of national procurement (especially defence procurement expenditure of which we get less than 50% of our population share) our GDP would arguably be above the UK figure, without oil.
    The carefully chosen “identified public expenditure” which does not represent all Government spending is skewed by providing the higher cost of services for geographic reasons in Scotland.
    In the meantime we contribute our share to lots of Government expenditure which benefits mainly the South East of England but is counted as “national” rather than being apportioned regionally

  137. desimond says:

    @Ian Brotherhood

    Post nbr 2000….Honorary Golden Nat award?

  138. G H Graham says:

    In case anyone doubts how incompetent/reckless the British Government was while Labour was last in government…

    The Tony Blair-Gordon Brown duet DOUBLED the annual deficit from £15.6 billion in 1997 to £36.3 billion in 2007.

    Clearly affected by his bitter working/personal relationship, Alistair Darling, now Chancellor, decided to make a name for himself when he almost DOUBLED the annual deficit again to £69 billion in 2009.

    That’s right, he borrowed in one year the equivalent of the GDP of the whole of Scotland. But just like a cocaine addict, he couldn’t stop himself.

    So in 2010, he smashed all the records by borrowing £156.3, more in one year, than the Conservative Party borrowed during all the previous 18 years while in government. And that period included funding the Falklands War when 6 expensive war ships were sunk.

  139. Flower of Scotland says:

    Ok Rev . I’ve added that to my home screen with some other stats and will certainly use them in my continued PERSUASION of my NO voter friends to a YES vote . Thanks for that

  140. TYRAN says:

    If Scotland is strong is a case for UKOK, then how can they explain Wales as per second graphic?

  141. Les Wilson says:

    kalmar says

    Sorry friend, but hydrogen can be created even from sea water, electrolysis for example. the power for pumps can be got from wind or sea turbines. There are other ways to. Not mined.I get a lot of this stuff sent to me from America,it is cutting edge but is being developed.

  142. James S says:

    Interesting that when the figures for GVA are quoted in the media, the figures for the English regions invariably only show London and the South East. They never show the other regions of England, which are hugely net detractors from the UK, choosing instead NI or Wales.

    Heaven forbid, the English find out that most of the regions in their country is not even ahead of Scotland without oil.

    Here’s the data for 2012, Scotland WITHOUT OIL

  143. Gillie says:

    Statement from Strathallan;

    Strathallan School The School was happy to host Brian Taylor’s Big Debate for Radio Scotland on Friday. Pupils at Strathallan are encouraged to think about all issues and to engage in debate on them. They are concerned, as all young people will be, about a number of issues in Scotland today. The discussions during Friday’s programme engendered a keen sense of engagement with the political process reflecting the independent thinking which we promote. A number went into the debate broadly in favour of independence but changed their minds during it. The issue is the basis of the motion for the forthcoming Senior Debating Final so the debate will continue…

    Comments from a small number of pupils via twitter after the debate were inappropriate; they will be apologising to Mr Wishart. Clearly they were upset by the attacks made upon them but this does not excuse the nature of some of the responses

    Does anyone find this an adequate or believable response by the school?

    It seems that Strathallan are raising the drawbridge and hoisting the Union Jack. That’s privilege for you.

  144. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Just think what it would look like when Scotland’s entitlement to shared assets is built in.

  145. Les Wilson says:

    Edward says:
    Maybe they intend turning up as spectators at FMQ time, in Holyrood!

    Or Alex could hijack them after that !! LOL!

  146. Alec says:

    @Clootie – you say “If the rUK does not want to but it then Ireland / Scandnavia will.”

    I’m afraid that’s somewhat pie in the sky, to be honest. The total capacity of all the continental interconnectors is tiny (about 4% of peak UK energy production) and even though these are going to be increased significantly, you’ll get nowhere near the net export capability to London. You also forget to think about the fact that rUK will be looking to link with the continent more and more, which is closer and therefore cheaper than importing from Scotland.

    Long term, post independence there will be no incentive for a UK based grid development, and rUK will naturally look to import power from cheaper sources, which means the continent. At the same time, Scotland will become ever more dependent on renewables, which means a highly variable power supply system. (You’ve got one huge coal fired station and a big nuclear plant closing in the next 10 years – about 50% of your requirements at present).

    It’s actually far more likely that Scotland will become heavily dependent on imports from rUK to balance out the variable renewable production. Laying some extremely expensive interconnectors to Scandinavia won’t really help you – unless you think the Scandinavians don’t have a very well thought through power policy, with plenty of HEP etc.

  147. Alba4Eva says:

    Just a we correction to your post Rev… Quote; “scarce commodities tend to increase in price”

    Should read; “scarce commodities always increase in price”

    ie. A commodity is something which is in demand… and when demand increases relative to supply, price always increases.

    There are no examples of this not being the case.

  148. Luigi says:

    How many Scots read the FT? It’s ammunition–no more than that.

    Indeed, but surely the point made today, is that it is very powerful ammo. Used in the right way, at the right time, it can be devastating. Rightly or wrongly, the FT is highly respected and carries so much more weight than if a YES supporter simply cited these figures.

    Can you imagine, for example, if the FM is interviewed about the Scottish economy, on GMS, and cites the FT article? The BBC reporter can hardly use the usual response (“well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?”), when it comes from the FT. No, this makes it very awkward indeed to peddle the lie that Scotland gets more than it contributes from the UK.

    Expect this line of attack to gradually fade in the coming months, as BT and the MSM realize it is no longer sustainable.

  149. kalmar says:

    Sorry friend, but hydrogen can be created even from sea water, electrolysis for example. the power for pumps can be got from wind or sea turbines. There are other ways to. Not mined.I get a lot of this stuff sent to me from America,it is cutting edge but is being developed.

    Sorry mate, you’re clearly not well aquainted with the physics of this situation 🙂 Hydrogen sounds good on paper, until you understand the energy equation and ecomonics of actually doing it. That’s the reason we don’t use it for anything serious, despite untold millions spent on research.

    I am a qualified engineer and my job involves these realities – so I can go into further detail, but this is not the place. Just understand there’s more spin involved in promoting “the hydrogen economy” than there is in better together’s best efforts.

  150. heedtracker says:

    Why do they all keep on differentiating between Scots GDP with and without North Sea oil? Shared custody in the pipeline no doubt, we’ll give you our sterling/BoE and we take our share of our oil…

  151. Proadge says:

    Training Day says:
    Forget this story. BBC Scotland now focusing on what really matters – are there enough allotments available?

    Just as they did on today’s ‘Morning Call’ on ‘Radio Scotland’, where the discussion topic, crucial to the nation’s future at this historic time, was: ‘What was your favourite childhood toy?’

  152. Atypical_Scot says:

    11% better off.

    5% deficit.

    Borrowing required?

  153. Luigi says:

    Statement from Strathallan

    This should be published in the Daily Mail!

  154. MajorBloodnok says:

    Alex says: “Scotland’s fiscal health will also be challenged by the relatively rapid ageing of its population and the long-term decline of oil output from depleted North Sea reserves.”

    MB says: Just to counter the point that’s always trotted out about Scotland’s ‘more rapidly’ ageing population. The reasons are clearly that folk from the rest of UK have a tendency to retire here because it’s nice, and young folk from Scotland have to leave to find work and progress their careers (and to be able to afford housing in their home towns). The latter emigration at least will surely reduce when Scotland becomes independent.

    Also, you forget that Scots currently don’t live as long as others in the UK and therefore the pension payouts are less here than elsewhere, even though we contribute more to the pot.

    As for the awfully frightening decline in oil output that gets waved about all the time (“OMG but it’s like so volatile! Not like risk-free casino banking! No wealthy country relies on oil, even thicko Scots know that!”), this does not mean that revenues will decline at the same rate and of course, with a sensible oil fund the income from oil could theoretically be available in perpetuity.

    Aec says: “…James Knightley, senior economist at ING, said the high transition costs of separation and uncertainties over currency and the terms of EU membership meant that the material benefits of independence were “far from clear”.”

    MB says: Do you think that transition costs could be more than £0.5bn say? – the equivalent of how much better off Scotland would if we didn’t have to subsidise the rest of the UK for a month, (approx.)? What about the assets we are due from the UK, the VAT and other substantial tax revenue gains that are missing from the calculations? But of course, these uncertainties are entirely in the power of Westminster to resolve. Seems like these bankers know the value of nothing and don’t know the costs either.

    Alec says: It’s actually a very well balance article, not some incendiary device that will destroy the No campaign. There are actually more questions in here for Yes to answer, along with a repetition of known and accepted facts.

    MB says: The point is that we have known all this stuff for years but the Unionist press could and do dismiss it. But now it is in the MSM, the FT no less. Better Together’s main tactic is to prevent people from knowing the facts and to try to stop them thinking and talking about it. Because when they do, they tend to YES.

  155. Alec says:

    @Rev Campbell – “The point is that Scotland is FUNDAMENTALLY economically stronger out of the UK.”

    With respect, it isn’t, and you are wrong. The article clearly states that at present Scottish finances would stronger than rUK’s, and this is what you stress in the article.

    But you, and everyone else here then fail to repeat what the article says in full, which is that the uncertainties, the aging population, and the declining oil means that this relatively strength now may not last.

    This also isn’t new at all – the BBC were showing very similar figures on GDP income when the referendum was first announced, and I’ve seen these figures repeated many times since.

  156. Macart says:


    I reckon its a nervous tick heed. 😉

    Mention oil and automatically its in that Extra Regio wossiname wherever that is. Naw, a resource is a resource and those deposits are firmly in our waters. The whole with or without thing is absolute nonsense. There is only WITH.

  157. Rod Mac says:

    On the matter of finite oil ,this very interesting article I read some time ago about self replenishing oil wells in Gulf of Mexico.
    It might go some way to explain the longevity of some NS Oil wells

  158. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Don’t know if you have seen this but the Spanish Foreign Minister in an interview with the FT says that Spain is neutral wrt Scotland and the independence position.

    2 articles on the trot.

    I wonder if the City realises that without Scot;and the UK is well and truly stuffed.

  159. Kenny Campbell says:

    This won’t change anything, all of this is in the public domain. It will be ignored or caveated in some way by MSM/Unionists.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Lamont/Davidson(x2) et al are arguing this based on the bare facts.

    This is down to something more than could we or should we financially or even politically. Scotland leaving the UK strikes at the establishment on a number of fronts. It threatens a number of core components of the ego of the state, including financial disaster and their beloved nuclear boats. Westminster politicians are fighting for their very jobs and futures. A lot of people in London depend wholly on Scotland being part of the UK.

  160. Seasick Dave says:

    I’m with Alec.

    The only way that Scotland could possibly survive is under the benevolent, nurturing hand of Westminster and its’ wonderful politicians.

    It seems like we have been getting carried away with ideas well beyond our capabilities and the idea that we should control our own resources and pay our own way in the world is fanciful beyond belief.

    More than that, it suggests that we have no faith in Westminster and to want to stand on our own two feet shows massive disrespect to all that they have done for us.

  161. McHaggis says:


    the point is, that the FT has published (with pictures for the more economically challenged such as myself) an article that clearly demonstrates Scotland right now would be in a better position financially than the UK overall.

    Yes, there is uncertainty going forward (as there is for the rUK) but I and others are pretty clear tha we’d rather have an independent Scottish Government looking after the position than the current Westminster setup which over the last decade or more has had pretty much an abysmal record of lookign after our finances.

    As for oil, lets just say that when major multinational firms are still making 30, 40 and 50 year commitments to the North Sea and have confirmed major supplies available in the west… well I think we’ve got the bases covered for a long time to come (I won’t even bring up ‘oil fund’).

  162. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “But you, and everyone else here then fail to repeat what the article says in full, which is that the uncertainties, the aging population, and the declining oil means that this relatively strength now may not last.”

    That, however, is meaningless scaremongering pish. Nobody actually knows what the population demographic will be 40 years from now, and even on the projections we can afford it easily, many times over, out of the money we’ll save on defence alone.

    I addressed the oil issue in the article. Norway has built up a half-trillion-pound oil fund in just 15 years. We have far more time than that, the likelihood of Atlantic exploration, and renewables. Only if Scotland’s economy is managed by absolute psychopaths are we going to be worse off in 20 years’ time than we are now. That’s what “fundamentally” means.

  163. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Alec exposes himself. Quelle suprise.

    Can you provide any evidence to support any of those assertions?
    for instance
    “Long term, post independence there will be no incentive for a UK based grid development, and rUK will naturally look to import power from cheaper sources, which means the continent.”

    “At the same time, Scotland will become ever more dependent on renewables, which means a highly variable power supply system”

    Both those statements are nonsense wrapped up in sensible sounding jargon. I’m also having difficulty picturing the continent being nearer to England than England is to Scotland, which shares a border with it.

  164. creigs1707repeal says:

    Of course, had the FT run a story with all manner of graphs and statistics showing how Scotland benefits from the Union it would have been all over the press, BBC & STV. And so this becomes another of the many positive stories for the YES campaign the pro-dependence media won’t run.

    If it’s a bad story for YES, they run it.
    If it’s a bad story for NO, they bin it.
    If it’s a good story for NO, they run it.
    If it’s a good story for YES, they bin it.

    Thank our lucky stars for Tim Berners-Lee. The man should be given a sainthood in indy Scotland.

  165. Alec says:

    @majorbloodnook – Several points I guess. I may be mistaken, but casino banking wasn’t restricted to London based banks – the Scottish banks weren’t entirely sensible, so I understand.

    On the aging point, there’s no guarantee emigration would fall after independence (ref Ireland)and the problem with the Scottish demographic isn’t that old people die early. Once Scots get to pensioner age they live as long as in rUK, but the big difference is in death rates in the older working age groups. This is particularly serious in Scotland, meaning that you get hit by increasing pensioner costs but with tax paying workers dying early.

    Transition cossts are interesting. I really don’t know the answer, but £o.5B looks small I would have thought. One key area is finance costs. The UK has guaranteed all government debt up to the referendum, which is a fascinating situation. I assume that in the event of a yes vote, this guarantee would cease to have effect, so some form of shadow bonds would be issued (in proportion to Scottish population possibly?) that would be offered to the markets as ‘Scottish’ debt.

    The general view in the city (independent, couldn’t give a fig about independence, lend money to anyone) is that as a new country, Scotland would automatically face a 1.5% interest rate surcharge over the UK. That would be around £120m a year at current borrowing levels, but it would probably fall over time if Scotland proves a good creditor, which would probably be likely.

  166. Alba4Eva says:

    Rod Mac… you always have to be careful on the internet. There is lots of guff. The vast majority of hydrocarbon fuel was produced during a possibly one off and very short geological time period. In any event, we are consuming oil at a rate far in excess of the time it takes to produce it.

    Simply put, hydrocarbon fuels are not a sustainable resource.

  167. James S says:

    Alec assumes we’ll make the same cataclysmic mistakes the UK consistently has.

    That we uniquely won’t be able to adapt to changing circumstances as they arise like other countries.

    How odd.

  168. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Seasick Dave

    Indeed, and to add to your sound opinion, I’d much rather have unelected and crapulous ermine clad peers telling me what to do rather than someone I can elect in or out. I mean I might vote for the wrong person and end up starting an illegal war or something. No I’d much prefer to have the wise guiding hand of our unelected betters on the tiller of state (even if it is a little shakey) rather than some council educated local who’s never been fagged properly. No sir.

  169. Les Wilson says:

    kalmar says

    Again, sorry but parts of America are preparing now to add hydrogen to the existing gas supply lines. That is true. If you have further doubt I will endeavour to find the link for you. The company who is pioneering this will use wind turbine and solar power for the pumps. Once the hydrogen is split off it is added to supplement the existing gas supply. In a stroke they have come up with a way to store hydrogen at the same time.

  170. Paul says:

    O/T the Daily Labour mouthpiece the Record is trying to take the credit for the Scottish government putting in an extra £15 million to get rid of the Labour thought up Tory introduced bedroom tax. When I commented on their breathtaking double standard on why they never castigated the 47 Labour MP’s especially Sarwar it was up for over two hours but my comment has now been removed ny the Daily Pravda Record the media in Scotland is worse than in the former Soviet Union.

  171. Malc says:

    Great – I’ve printed off the FT article (plus the images) and I’m leaving copies all round the office. This has already led to some good chat at tea break.

  172. Alec says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill – I think if you look at a map, you’ll find London is a bit closer to much of France than it is to much of the power producing parts of Scotland. It’s the main centres of consumption that really matter.

    My point on the incentives for grid development are very simple – we are at present, a single economic entity, after independence we won’t be. If it suits rUK to hook up to French nuclear or Spanish wind systems, rather than Scottish, we will. There are good technical reasons for doing so anyway (which is why it’s already happening). Scotland will simply become another foreign country which and rUK will have a vested interest to drive down import costs.

  173. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Rev at 11.27

    Spot on. Better Together relies more and more on the cynical ploy of feeding sensible sounding bullshit to half-wits that will believe it.
    Alec picked the wrong forum to chance his arm

    I’ve just been talking to somebody who is back down from Ullapool. All the rage up there is the fact that oil exploration chaps have been about locally saying there is oil in the Minches.

  174. Raphie de Santos says:

    Scotland’s Economic Situation


    The big issue with data on Scotland is the year that is selected. In the analysis tax year 2011/12 is taken when Scotland’s geographical share of North Sea Oil revenues was approximately £10.2 billion. It is the volatility of oil earnings which is the challenge for Scotland. In the following year (2012/13) these oil revenues fall to £5.9 billion. This saw Scotland’s share of the tax revenues fall from 9.8 to 9% over the two years while Scotland’s share of total UK public spending was 9.3% whereas its population is 8.3% of the total UK’s. So in 11/12 the tax revenues are above the spending ratio while in 2012/13 they are below. Scotland also collects less in income tax compared to its geographical share – 7.3% in 2012/13

    This takes the gap between revenue and spending per head of the Scottish population to £2335. The oil revenues are very volatile ranging from £5billion to £12 billion over the last four years. Leading to big swings in the annual deficit. It is for this reason that the SNP want to have the protection of a Sterling zone where also debt will be underwritten and issued by the Treasury as well as the banking system underwritten by the Bank of England

    There is an alternative which is to take the Norwegian road and nationalise North Sea oil and introduce progressive taxation. This would allow Scotland to smooth the volatility of its deficit and establish its own currency and central bank as well as fund projects in renewables, public transport and social housing.

    Scotland also collects less in income tax compared to its geographical share – 7.3% in 2012/13 .

  175. Alec says:

    @Rev Campbell – “That, however, is meaningless scaremongering pish. Nobody actually knows what the population demographic will be 40 years from now…”

    Agreed, so best perhaps to have a quiet word with the SNP and ask them not to use demographics to justify claims they can afford higher pensions.

  176. Macart says:


    The oil has been a declining resource since the first teaspoonful was extracted, what you do with the benefits makes the difference though. With approximately £1.4tr yet to be extracted over a minimum fifty year period I’d say there’s some merit in stating positively transformative change can occur with good stewardship in that timescale. Then of course there’s a more basic maths involved, those benefits aimed at transforming the lives of five million as opposed to making little difference to the lives of sixty million.

    There is also this presupposition that Scottish business community, the Scottish economy and of course governmental spending priorities will remain entirely static over this period. This is fostered by most political and media outlets ably aided and abetted by fairly non objective ‘think tanks’. Figures and forecasts based on standing still for half a century. The position as stated by the FT is a starting position and as such is a pretty fair result I’d say.

  177. MajorBloodnok says:

    Dave McEwan Hill says: I’m also having difficulty picturing the continent being nearer to England than England is to Scotland, which shares a border with it.

    Add to that that a west coast interconnector is going though design and permitting at present and an east coast one is planned, both with the absolute and sole purpose of exporting electricity from Scotland to England.

  178. scottish_skier says:

    If it suits rUK to hook up to French nuclear or Spanish wind systems, rather than Scottish, we will.

    Ok, now your posts make sense.

  179. heedtracker says:

    @Macart, Hello! As a layman, its interesting watching say BBC Scotland vote NO propaganda trying to convince Scotland that “Scottish” oil is worthless and then Westminster/London economists draw a line around said worthless North Sea oil. Are they prepping our simple native minds? Really enjoying your Guardian CiF too.

  180. kalmar says:

    Les: I don’t doubt that is being done somewhere as a demonstration or research project. But hydrogen is still not an energy source of itself, and it’s not a “replacement for oil” by any stretch of the imagination. Feel free to post a link!

  181. McHaggis says:

    Alec Said –
    “The UK has guaranteed all government debt up to the referendum, which is a fascinating situation. I assume that in the event of a yes vote, this guarantee would cease to have effect…”

    nope, thats not the case.

    The UK guaranteed the debt full-stop. The guarantee is not void if we vote ‘yes’…

    Could you imagine the uncertainty if your scenario were true? The commitment was entirely to placate any market jitters on a potential yes vote. So, quite the opposite of what you suggest.

  182. scottish_skier says:

    If it suits rUK to hook up to French nuclear or Spanish wind systems, rather than Scottish, we will.

    Also, if I may enquire… Are you the official spokesman for the rUK or are you just speaking for yourself?

  183. Macart says:


    I do more reading than posting here heed, but I visit every day and get links off to everyone I can. I’d encourage everyone to check out the quality of the posts and posters. Good seeing you here too. 😉

  184. MochaChoca says:

    The figures also do not take any account of the multiplier effect of having significantly increased funds circulating within our economy rather than being spent elsewhere.

    Increased direct public sector employment as jobs funded by Scotland being situated in Scotland.

    Increased private sector employment as Scottish versions of government bodies procure locally. Not to mention a potential influx of multinationals seeking to establish Scottish headquarters, embassy and consulate jobs etc

    Increased employment = increased tax revenues.
    Reduced unemployment = reduced welfare bill.

    Despite Scotland’s disproportionately high revenues our public sector is understaffed (8.02% of UK full time equivalent staff) and underfunded (3.16% below UK average public sector wages).

  185. Kenny Campbell says:

    The oil runs out in the union and out of it. If we are still in the union when it runs out we’re all in trouble.

  186. Alec says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill – “Spot on. Better Together relies more and more on the cynical ploy of feeding sensible sounding bullshit to half-wits that will believe it.
    Alec picked the wrong forum to chance his arm”

    I genuinely feel saddened that you take that line. I understood that this was a forum generally populated by pro independence posters, but having read the comments policy, I did think there was an interest in genuine debate. Sadly not, it seems.

  187. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I did think there was an interest in genuine debate. Sadly not, it seems.”

    You’re being debated with. It’s just that we’ve heard all this tired old doom-and-gloom cobblers a thousand times before and we’re a bit bored of it.

  188. Tamson says:

    @Rod Mac:

    Have you actually read the stuff on It’s conspiracy theory central! The guy’s a headcase.

  189. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “have a quiet word with the SNP and ask them not to use demographics to justify claims they can afford higher pensions.”

    You greatly overestimate my influence with the SNP, what with my not being a member or even a voter.

  190. scottish_skier says:

    Alec: If it suits rUK to hook up to French nuclear or Spanish wind systems, rather than Scottish, we will.

    SS: Also, if I may enquire… Are you the official spokesman for the rUK or are you just speaking for yourself?

    Sorry, let me re-phrase that:

    Are you the official spokesman for private sector international electrical power companies operating in the UK/rUK or are you just speaking for yourself?

    I’m making the assumption it’s the latter for now.

  191. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Alec at 11.36

    Ah, You were talking about London. Not England with places like Newcastle and so on. We are well aware that the metropolitan ruling classes have abandoned the North East of England and the other bits.

  192. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “There is an alternative which is to take the Norwegian road and nationalise North Sea oil “

    We heard you the first three times, fella.

  193. Alec says:

    @McHaggis – apologies – you are quite correct. The promise was indeed up until actual independence.

    The point regarding differential interest rates may well still apply before then however, although this would be within the general negotiations. It would certainly apply after that point.

  194. Brian says:

    Actually, I remember reading somewhere (in the days i was struggling to learn to play the recorder)that ‘Greensleeves’ was an old Scottish tune to which Henry VIII set words and took the credit ever after. So the Flemish musicians were, in fact, correct, if not in the manner they probably meant.

  195. Alec says:

    @Rev Campbell – “You’re being debated with.”

    Err no – I was being accused of talking bullshit. Others have debated more pleasantly, it must be said.

  196. Alba4Eva says:

    Alec, you are correct for once. Yup, the UK currently imports gas from Russia and Norway. Energy markets are global however, your comments after that, that somehow rUK’s soul reason for existing after Scottish independence will be to ‘do us down’ is quite frankly laughable.

  197. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Err no – I was being accused of talking bullshit.”

    That’s part and parcel of most debates between humans. (One might argue, in fact, that suggesting another person is talking bullshit is the core basis of debate. Of course, someone else might argue that that was bullshit.) Don’t talk bullshit and it won’t happen.

  198. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Still providing no evidence to support your assertions.

  199. Rough Bounds says:

    It’s a pity that ‘Kelly Gibson’, the Big Issue seller, doesn’t in fact exist otherwise we could show him/her (we still don’t know this non-person’s sex) the information in the FT.

  200. McHaggis says:

    Alec Said –
    “The promise was indeed up until actual independence.”

    Sorry, wrong again.
    The UK has guaranteed the debt finance full stop. There is not and will not be a timeframe attached as that would lead the markets to assume a default could be in the offing and damage the UK’s borrowing ability.

    What has happened is the UK has guaranteed all existing borrowing and will expect Scotland to negotiate a share for which Scotland will pay the BoE, not the borrowers.

    Of course, this means the UK will actively seek a currency union to keep things simple – contrary to what UKOK would have us believe.

  201. Alec says:

    @majorbloonok – “Add to that that a west coast interconnector is going though design and permitting at present and an east coast one is planned, both with the absolute and sole purpose of exporting electricity from Scotland to England.”

    That isn’t actually accurate. The east and west coast interconectors are actually part of a pan European network, with the intention of allowing the transfer of power (electricity , not the kind of power we’re talking about in more general terms1) up and down the western seaboard.

    Of course, rUK will be a major buyer of Scottish power exports, if you have any spare, once Torness and Longgannet close, but equally it means rUK will have access to far wider power markets, potentially undercutting Scotland’s ability to guarantee power exports.

    @Scottish Skier – I have no connection with the power industry, rUK government, or any other body with an interest in independence of the union. I’m an environmental consultant, big supporter of renewables, Scot living in the south, with a more or less ambivalent attitude to independence.

    I don’t like ‘shouting debates’, if I can put it in those terms, so thanks for your politeness – much appreciated – and I am seriously worried that the general standard of the independence debate, on both sides, is dreadful.

  202. scottish_skier says:

    that somehow rUK’s soul reason for existing after Scottish independence will be to ‘do us down’ is quite frankly laughable.

    Certainly, if that was the case, it would be crucial that Scotland votes for independence immediately. Who would want Scotland to be in a partnership / union with a country that would attempt to crap all over it if things don’t go the latter’s way all the time.

    It’s like the whole ‘Well we’ll maybe take our ball (£) away if you don’t agree to us be gang leader’. I fail to see how this makes the union look like a welcoming place.

  203. G H Graham says:

    Not a single person, group, think tank, government or bookie can predict the economic future with any accuracy further out than say 3 to 6 months. Evidence?

    Company CEO’s spend disproportionate energy & time explaining & justifying quarterly performance variances ad nauseam.

    Any attempt to rubbish independence then because of predictions which describe the future in 30, 40 or 50 years away are therefore puerile & utterly meaningless.

  204. Alec says:

    @McHaggis – I think we agree, but to be clear, the Treasury has expressly not guaranteed an independent Scotland’s debts after it becomes independent, which your last post suggests.

    Up until that time, whenever it may be, all debt is UK debt as you correctly assert. My original post on this was incorrect.

  205. Alba4Eva says:

    Alec, im glad your here amd your most likely a decent guy or girl. You just have to realise that folk on here are very clued up to the propaganda and somewhat immune to it. You on the other hand are displaying symptoms of being infected or a carrier of propagandalitis. We are just trying to cure you. 🙂

  206. scottish_skier says:

    have no connection with the power industry, rUK government, or any other body with an interest in independence of the union. I’m an environmental consultant, big supporter of renewables, Scot living in the south, with a more or less ambivalent attitude to independence.

    Thanks. I’m an Oil & Gas consultant, a big supporter of renewables, a Scot living in Scotland with a pro-independence attitude (having once been fairly content with federalism but gave up on that post 2007).

    As for where the private companies providing the UK/rUK’s power get it from now and in the future… from whoever is selling it at a good price (with green targets taken into account of course). It’s how it works in energy which I imagine you fully appreciate. Such is the nature of privatised utilities.

  207. G H Graham says:

    I have to agree with the Rev.

    An argument is the process of attempting to convince the other side that their belief, hypothesis, assertion, proposition, conclusion is wrong & yours is right.

    How & why you do it is another matter.

    But by arguing, what one does in very simplistic terms, is to basically tell the other side that they are talking “shite”.

    Yes, we could sit around a camp fire & have a sing song & cuddle, empathising with each other but what’s the point?

  208. MajorBloodnok says:


    Yes, I take your point. The problem as you know with power transmission is that the further it has to go the greater the losses are, so shorter and more efficient lines of transmission are likely to be cheaper (and more reliable) and therefore more attractive to the rUK.

    Of couse, the other side of the coin is that with an effective european power network Scotland can export its power to someone else if the rUK doesn’t want it (or can’t afford it any more), particularly if the rUK actually follows through on the often psychotic rhetoric of seeing to ‘punish’ Scotland for having the audacity to seek and gain indendepence.

    (You can understand why we can appear somewhat jaundiced with the tiresome daily abuse Scotand and independence supporters receive, particularly when it’s the same old hackneyed untruths and misrepresentations we have had to refute time and again).

  209. cearc says:

    G H Graham’

    I’ve always thought that the corporate head office issue was one huge elephant in the room and the main reason that London ‘boasts’ such high earnings.

    Not only will there be the transfer of these hidden Scottish revenues to Scotland but Diageo, Tesco et al will have to have full national head office administrations in Scotland which will create jobs.

  210. Alec says:

    @Alba4eva – “You just have to realise that folk on here are very clued up to the propaganda..”

    Yes indeed – propaganda runs both ways, and there’s plenty of it about, it seems.

  211. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Alec, sorry spelt your name wrong. Force of habit.

    Environental consultant myself – mainly O&G these days, overseas a bit.

  212. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    As you have conceded at 12.07 Scotland holds all the cards on negotiations following independence. No sterling union? Byeeeee. Deal with debt yourselves, folks, with a devalued pound and no oil revenues in your balance of payments.

  213. Alec says:

    @Majorb – yes completely understand. No supporters feel equally jaundiced with tiresome daily abuse (some people think it’s acceptable to shout ‘bullshit’ as a debating point – I find that strange).

    I am fascinated in the power issue, which is full of possibilities and potential problems. The issue for Scotland is geography, as it is on the edge of the main power markets, so your point about transmission length is significant, and something of a potential negative.

  214. cearc says:


    Yes, it’s funny that you never see figures for say Saudi Arabia shown as ‘with oil’ and ‘without oil’.

    It seems to be a uniquely UK thing. How kind of them, it must be a benefit of togetherness.

  215. Ivan McKee says:

    Anyone looking for an easy way to digest all the info around the economics of Indy – watch the video.

    and then forward onto any undecideds who have questions around affordability of iScotland.

  216. chalks says:

    Alec, why exactly would rUK import energy from France etc when they would be in a currency union with Scotland? Surely it’s better to keep the money flowing in-house… for everyone.

  217. Iain Ross says:

    “My point on the incentives for grid development are very simple – we are at present, a single economic entity, after independence we won’t be. If it suits rUK to hook up to French nuclear or Spanish wind systems, rather than Scottish, we will. There are good technical reasons for doing so anyway (which is why it’s already happening). Scotland will simply become another foreign country which and rUK will have a vested interest to drive down import costs.”

    This is a very interesting topic as a friend of mine is a civil servant involved in Energy and has had the pleasure of dealing with the UK government given that Energy is a reserved matter. This is a summary of their thoughts:

    “At present it is the case that the UK government has decided to focus all its efforts on nuclear (which they are guaranteeing with a massive subsidy, and which the unit price of does not include decommissioning costs) and shale as they feel that is what benefits them (us) best.

    As a result their interest in upgrading infrastructure in Scotland (which has suffered from years of under investment by the UK government) and providing a fairer grid charging system is limited. This has created a great deal of uncertainty in the Renewables industry in Scotland and is damaging attempts to build the industry. For example the date for the Minch Interconnector is in constant flux and there are now rumors that it may not even go ahead.

    As an additional extra the UK Government also has green targets to hit and is planning to essentially subsidise the renewables industry in The Republic of Ireland to help met these, as they already have infrastructure in place. As such they are prepared to sacrifice the development of a brand new industry, potentially world leading, in a part of their own country which could desperately do with the thousands high skilled / high paid jobs as it does not suit them (us). “

    Market driven economic policy which is set up to benefit London / south east of England, a concept to which all the main Unionist parties are commited. This is a perfect example of why the UK settlement is not in Scotland’s best interest and why the claims of the No campaign that we are ‘Better Together’ are completely hollow.

  218. Tony Little says:


    To come back to the UK debt guarantee by the Treasury, this was absolutely necessary to eliminate even a minute possibility of doubt or the AAa rating (not sure where the UK is right now) would be further hit. Not a good thing in the circumstances.

    After a YES vote, should Scots choose o reaffirm their Independence, the negotiations between iS and EWNI would involve what share of the debt an iS would be prepared to accept. The point is “Scotland” as such does NOT have any debt. (In that sense neither does EWNI – the debt is the UK’s) so the “guarantee” was to assure creditors that no one was about to run away. So any debt interest is negotiable and would NOT be “backed” by shadow bonds etc. (Although perhaps that might be one option – I am not an economist)

    Obviously after Independence (and for practical purposes after a YES vote) any debt would be the sole responsibility of an iScotland.

    But, Alec, this is only my understanding. As a non-expert I may be wrong.

  219. Kenny Campbell says:

    Any new debt post independence will likely be Scottish but all debt up till that point will be guaranteed by UK.

    Any payback to UK for past debt will be negotiated but there is no legal liability on Scotland to take any. Rates would be based on issuing rate of past past debt will remain at fixed rate, future debt will be market driven.

    Its not unlikely that Scotland will borrow from the rUK.

  220. G H Graham says:

    What’s the GDP of Ecuador when bananas are excluded?

  221. Alec says:

    @G H Graham – the corporate HQ position is interesting. However, CT doesn’t bring in that much compared to income tax and NI, which is collected where the jobs are based, or VAT, where the goods are bought.

    I think it’s also doubtful that a currency union would be agreed where CT rates can be varied other than centrally – there will be very substantial political pressure south of the border not to concede on things like this I expect.

    Also, with a more global, collectivist head on, the 40 year mistake of courting multinationals with more and more lenient national tax policies really needs to come to an end, for everyone’s benefit. It may well be that the exact location of company HQ’s becomes a far less significant factor, as there is mounting anger here and elsewhere at the way multinationals use this to their advantage. I suspect we may see a new approach to cross border taxation that brings the taxes back more to where the trade is, rather than the head office. At least that’s my hope.

  222. Kenny Campbell says:

    Bonds/Gilts liabilities cannot be transferred by the issuer. So there is 0 chance of iScotland picking up debt obligations of UK directly.

    Any suggestion of such could be construed as default and that is why Treasury has acted.

    rUK wants to remain UK in eyes of the world, that is critical.

  223. Robert Kerr says:


    Sorry mate but the anti-independence lot don’t do “debate”.

    We have had an ongoing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt campaign for many a month.

    Please read as much of this site’s archives for verification and the Rev’s excellent forensic dissections of their efforts to make us doubt ourselves.

    In the ultimate the choice is either Scotland the country or the region. I know what my choice is.

  224. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    How do you describe suggestions that we wont be able to watch Dr Who? Or that Alex Salmond is a dictator? Or that Scotland will soon have a third world economy? Or that the rUK will refuse a currency union? or that we will have border posts? or that we will be foreigners to our families? Or that England will seize the oilfields? or that Shetland will stay with UK and keep all the oilfields for London? Or that the EU will throw us out? Or that UK will keep Faslane?

    All the above -and thousands more – have been thrown at us in the media by Better Together spokepersons who think we are all as stupid as they are.
    I’m sure the Wings team can provide hundreds more.

    Bullshit is a fairly mild description of it

  225. call me dave says:

    Lamont lectures Milliband to get finger out.

  226. Alec says:

    @Chalks – in a currency union, it wouldn’t be ‘in house’. It would be buying from another foreign country.

    If sterling strengthened against the Euro, it would make sense to buy from France, and vice versa.

    @Iain Ross – your post makes a good deal of sense. Up here in the north of England we are equally badly served by London. It’s such a waste.

  227. MajorBloodnok says:


    I think the point about being jaundiced is not that the odd cybernat calls bullshit when they (think) they see it (and we’ve seen a lot that tried on here), but that the weight of the MSM and the BBC is pretty much against independence; it’s anything but a level playing field. You need thick skin to debate Scotland.

  228. Alba4Eva says:

    Alec… what do you mean propaganda both ways? I and others on this site can point you to unionist propaganda and lies by the barrowload. I bet you cannot point to one thing pro-independence have lied about. Does anyone fancy a wee game of provide a link. I’ll start..

  229. Kenny Campbell says:

    Surely it’s better to keep the money flowing in-house… for everyone.

    Its actually less risky for forecasting as you take away currency risk from transaction.

  230. G H Graham says:

    UK corporation tax has been systematically reduced since it was introduced in 1965 at 52%.

    The current Main Rate (MR) is only 23% and the Small Profit Rate (SPR) is 20%. Contrary to Gordon Brown’s scare stories, there is no effect upon minimum wage since that has risen by 58% since it was introduced in 1999. It hasn’t kept up with the RPI but that’s another argument.

    But all the Corp Tax, VAT & NI & income tax collected in Scotland will remain in Scotland once independent.

    Currently some of it is used to fund Trident, an unelected House of Lords, illegal wars & massive projects in London which benefit no one in Scotland.

  231. Robert Kerr says:


    You are conflating multi-national corporations with British companies. Both types have their HQs south of the border and all their profits are taxed, or not, outwith Scotland.

    I am now retired and have never dealt with Easy Kilbride tax office but always with English based offices. Even now my pensions are taxed in England. The efforts of my working live have never accrued to Scotland’s GNP.

    I have also posted on the amount of exported materials from Scotland shipped South by rail and deemed therefore to be English exports.

    I am aware that these are not quantified. But are as valid as your non-quantified assertions.

  232. Kenny Campbell says:

    If sterling strengthened against the Euro, it would make sense to buy from France, and vice versa.

    True but energy I don’t think is bought that way, its not wholly a wholesale open market. Upfront contracts are arranged and required to ensure supply.

    If it were wholly open hour by hour then France might say no we’re selling to Ukraine today as they offer more.

  233. Alba4Eva says:

    I just wanted to say Alec, it is a shame your not in Scotland and dont have a vote, because at least your interest in what is happening is admirable. You put many Scots to shame… and i’m sure that by spending time on this site, your eyes will slowly open and you would end up a Yesser. 😉

  234. muttley79 says:

    @Kenny Campbell

    “The oil runs out in the union and out of it. If we are still in the union when it runs out we’re all in trouble.”

    This is an important point to remember. If we are still in the Union when the oil runs out, then we will very likely be dumped by the establishment in London very, very quickly.

  235. Alba4Eva says:

    Absolutely Rober Kerr, and as cearc also stated above. A huge proportion of Whisky exports for example are accrued to London because of the current taxation arrangements. I would argue that Scotlands productivity and relative natural resources compared to population would outperform even London.

  236. Rod Mac says:

    Tamson says:
    3 February, 2014 at 11:52 am
    @Rod Mac:

    Have you actually read the stuff on It’s conspiracy theory central! The guy’s a headcase.

    Would you also suggest the article in the New York Times and the USA Dept of Energy is another headcase?
    I am no geologist or expert ,however if US DOE thinks it might have credence I would suggest it is worthy of noting at the very least.

  237. Ken500 says:

    The rest of the UK does hook up with France at peak times, but gets 25% Scottish energy, which is surplus. Westminster has contracts with Statoil (Norway) for supply of Gas. (£Billions). The cheapest supply is important. Renewables over time are the cheaper. Coal is cheaper than Gas. Westminster Hulne refused permission for a coal CC project at Longannet, in Fife. There are coal reserves all over the UK. Scottish NS is one of the best places for CC in Europe.

    The UK Gov intent to build a nuclear plant on the flood plains of S/W England but cancelled a £9Billion Humber tidal barrage, as too expensive. Westminster has also cut solar panel buy back by half, from 42p to 21p. It is now not such an advantageous investment for older people.

  238. a supporter says:

    This guy Alec reminds me of someone who has posted here before. The constant carping and return to same old same old tired BT guff and the persistence with which he posts plus his complaints when people don’t buy his guff, suggests someone I know well. I wonder who? Well whoever he/she is I won’t be responding to him because I can see an agenda here to just dismiss the FT report as irrelevant when anyone with half a brain knows it is very important.

  239. Alec says:

    @Robert Kerr – post independence, British companies would become multinational, but I do agree with much of your post.

    @Dave McEwan Hill – “How do you describe suggestions that we wont be able to watch Dr Who?” That, and some of the others you quote, are puerile nonsense. No problem with that.

    Some of the others are more difficult to rebut with complete certainty – such as Faslane, currency union, and EU membership terms (note – not EU membership – I can’t see any prospect whatsoever of Scotland being refused entry).

    This category of issues falls into what Salmond terms ‘negotiations’ and there are many potential outcomes that no one can guess at this stage.

    One point I can make, which is perhaps less appreciated north of the border, is that UKIP will, in my opinion, have a major bearing on the shape of the final independence settlement. They are an increasingly significant (and frightening) force across England, which remains the dominant electoral region within the UK and certainly rUK. A Westminster rUK administration will have to take heed of this strand of voter, and if the negotiations start, the rUK government will have no heed of Scottish public opinion – why should they.

    I really don’t think anyone in England is particularly bothered what Scotland opts for, on the condition that the settlement is fair and doesn’t disadvantage them. The terms and conditions agreed will need to placate right wing nationalistic views to the south, and this will make the negotiations difficult.

    I think it’s pretty clear that the SNP will have to give in some areas – this is what negotiations are about – and just what the shape of the final settlement looks like may well fall some way short of the ideal being presented.

  240. Alba4Eva says:

    Alec, we currently give in to London regarding 93% of Scottish interests at the moment. Going from a position of 7% to 100% with negotiation seems to me to be a wise move.

  241. HandandShrimp says:

    The numbers are not exactly new to most with an interest in economics and they are why, if pushed, Cameron, Darling etc., will say of course Scotland would be perfectly all right as independent country and then go off on shared history, we love you really, better together etc., Then a day later yet another load of FUD is launched by some Whitehall department or other saying we are doomed.

    Best of both worlds? Only when it comes to BS.

  242. Ken500 says:

    ‘Scotland is on the edge of main power markets’?

    Scotland exports £Billions of fuel and energy, and has the potential geographically to develop and export even more. Ideally suited georaphically for wind and water. Scottish could be selling the technology world wide. It already happens with Oil/Gas. Firms based in Scotland win £Billions of related contracts, worldwide.

    As part of the UK Scotland pays a higher price for energy (it’s colder) and pays the transmission costs, which is entirely unfair, as the fuel/energy is sourced in Scotland.

  243. kalmar says:

    As part of the UK Scotland pays a higher price for energy (it’s colder) and pays the transmission costs, which is entirely unfair, as the fuel/energy is sourced in Scotland.

    Ken, um, no offence but this comes across as uninformed hand-waving. Facts and numbers are needed.

  244. Ken500 says:

    Under International Law – Scottish/UK/EU – UN – what Westminster is doing is illegal. The UK gov is breaking every association it has signed. No wonder it doesn’t want Scottish representation to these Institutions. Scotland was guaranteed a separate legal system, church (education) forever, a shared (Protestant) Monarchy and equality under the terms of the 1707 Union Agreement. Nothing could overrule these terms. This has not been honoured. One of the reason Scotland has a right to an Independence Referendum – ‘sovereignty’ resides with the people, under Scottish Law.

  245. Ken500 says:

    Those are the facts

  246. Alec says:

    @ken500 – on energy, I actually think this is likely to be an area of relative weakness for Scotland. Torcross and Longgannet are both due to close fairly soon, and this removes (I think) around half of Scottish power capacity. Someone mentioned carbon capture upthread, but this is highly uneconomic and technologically doubtful at present.

    Renewables are building up, but not fast enough to fill the gap, and there may be limits to the tolerance of Scots for wind farms and capacity limits on other technologies. There are options that will come forward in time (hydrogen balancing of wind is technically feasible, but very expensive) so I don’t really see any cheap and easy options, and I’m struggling to envisage the abundant energy scenario some project.

    Meanwhile, the shale gas drillers in England are whetting their lips. I remain unconvinced by the fracking lobby, but if just a fraction of the reserves are tapped and used wisely (hmmm….London using energy reserves wisely is something of an oxymoron, I grant you) then the Scottish power export market ideal could be in real trouble.

  247. Ken500 says:

    Go to the official Scottish Gov website. Search GERS. (P36) etc the figures are all there.

  248. call me dave says:

    If Scotland independent Spain wont interfere but EU negotiations tortuous says ‘better together’

  249. Ken500 says:

    Unfortunately some people in Scotland do not know what is on their own doorstep. There is a pipeline under the Baltic exporting Russian gas to Germany. There is a worldwide market for fuel and energy.

    Scotland voting for Independence will give Scotland the funds to invest in Renewables etc. If Norway/Germany can build ships – ferries and liners – so can Scotland.

  250. So that about puts a cap on the BT strategy claiming ‘Yes’ is lying about the fiscal health of an independent Scotland.

    Clearly the FT want to makes sure the international markets know the truth in the up coming months and is basically saying to Osbourne without Scotland in a Sterling Zone the City of London is in serious poo.

    Back in Scotland the Daily Record is trying to claim a major success for Jackie Baillie in getting the Scottish Government to fund DHP to the maximum Westminster DWP regulations allows while claiming the ‘Bedroom Tax’ has been ditched – yet it is a funding activity the SNP Government committed to last September.

    Jackie Baillie’s actual bill was to stop evictions from being caused by the bedroom tax by bring small claims orders against the tenants instead – hey presto you are evicted for failure to pay the court and not the bedroom tax – clearly Ms Baillie think we zip up the back like she does…

  251. Ken500 says:

    Graham? Every says EU negotiations are straightforward. It is just the contribution that has to be negotiated. Scotland would likely be a net contributor, as one of the wealthier countries.

  252. McHaggis says:


    just had an old school chum on FB tell me he’s an undecided voter then comes out with –

    The FT paper actually makes him more uncertain
    Alex Salmond is untrustworthy
    Not enough information to make a decision
    BoE will make life difficult
    Currency union means we wont be independent
    Questionable EU membership
    Scotland has decided UK general elections on every occasion prior to 1997

    Sheesh, why don’t these ‘No’ voters just declare themselves at the outset?

  253. Churm Rincewind says:

    @ Alec: I think you’re right to point out that the position of UKIP may have a significant bearing on many of the issues involved in Scottish independence, both before and after the Referendum, and that this is probably not very well appreciated North of the Border.

    But I find it hard to detect where they may stand on key issues, especially as Nigel Farage denounced UKIP’s last manifesto as “drivel”.

    This point is pretty much off-topic as far as this thread is concerned, and my apologies for that. But maybe the Rev might consider a post on this subject?

  254. jingly jangly says:

    Welcome to WOS. Regarding the debt and interest in an independent Scotland, Currently we are charged over 4 billion pounds sterling P.A. for “our” share of UK debt interest payments.

    Scotland’s annual deficit is claimed to be 7 billion, the UK’s is still over 100 billion despite various attempts to pockle the books, for example claiming that 30 billion of Post Office pensions is an asset despite a 10 Billion pound black hole in said pension fund.
    Anyway if we are going to be paying the interest on what we actually owe then, it will be substantially less than any small difference in lending rates.
    When a currency zone is agreed we will negotiate our share of the UK Debt, which when asset transfers including those of the Bank of England which holds 350 billion pounds of IOU’s from the UK Government are taken into account then Scotland’s share of the UK debt will be a lot lower than the 100 billion which is always mentioned in the MSM, no doubt playing on fears that we too wee to take that sort of debt on.

    When all the taxes and revenues are included , Scotland will be substantially better off even against the figures quoted in today’s FT.

  255. tartanfever says:

    Alec says:

    ‘there may be limits to the tolerance of Scots for wind farms and capacity limits on other technologies.’

    Oh dear, Donald Trump and wind farms again !

    while he says

    ‘Meanwhile, the shale gas drillers in England are whetting their lips. I remain unconvinced by the fracking lobby’

    So lets get this straight.

    Scots lobbying could bring windfarm building to a halt. But fracking in England is not controversial on a society wide level, just with him personally therefore it will all go ahead with no protest.

    I also like the highly detailed, fact laden, critical analysis comment of

    ‘capacity limits on other technologies.’

    What are we talking about here, do AA batteries not last as long in Scotland ?

  256. Chic McGregor says:

    Les and Kalmar

    Hydrogen, currently is still a relatively expensive way of storing energy.

    However there are many technological developments afoot which can potentially dramatically improve that cost ratio, and of course there are is the ongoing situation of oil running out world wide.

    It is always difficult to predict what exactly will happen but for transportation at least hydrogen will probably be part of it whether it is niche or predominant.

    The key problem in energy supply is storage. Hydrogen could play a significant part in that, especially for renewables.

    The problem for most renewables is that they are weather dependent. Wind, wave and solar(distributed). What this means is that they have an unpredictable intermittancy which has to be catered for with back up generation capability.

    That could be catered for by storage if we had enough of it to cover worse case non generation periods. But we currently do not have that kind of storage. The biggest storage potential we have, and cheapest, is pump storage (hydro electric) but availability of that is dependent on a suitable topography/rainfall mix. There is not enough of it, especially, of course, in areas which need it.

    Even if the demographic mismatch of demand to pumped storage regions is ameliorated by creating a Europe-wide super grid there is not enough of it, in the likes of Norway to provide anything like enough acceptable coverage for a renewables only electricity producing Europe. Even though a super grid would also ‘iron out’ a lot of the geographically distributed production variations.

    This means that a significant backup electricity generating capacity has to be maintained to ensure continuity. Currently fossil fuel or nuclear. The former, especially in a back up role, being much safer.

    This is, of course, an extremely costly thing to have, not to mention a safety hazard, since even if long periods of relative inactivity did not result in energy companies reducing the numbers and quality of back up crews, lack of practice would have an inevitable effect on their performance.

    If we had enough storage, then renewables could supply all our electricity.

    Hydrogen, is one of the avenues down which that may be found.

    It is fairly easy and cheap to ‘covert’ energy to hydrogen, and that makes a lot of sense for something like renewables production since,, fo instance hydrogen could be produced ‘for free’ from a wind farm during the night when there is minimal demand for electricity. The problem is how to store and transport the hydrogen.

    There are two basic options for the storage of hydrogen, you either keep it as a gas at around atmospheric pressure or compress it. Compressing it costs money(energy) and requires more money(energy) to keep it compressed. However compression does make storage and transportation somewhat easier.

    Scaling is always a major factor in commercial viability and large scaling invariably involves government buy in (hopefully well informed by technology strategists).

    Some potential, possible, scenarios if the hydrogen economy is to be significant, to illustrate the point.

    1. Storage of surplus to dynamic demand electricity generation as compressed hydrogen at key points on the grid. In addition to EG backup, allows specialist road tanker distribution for various purposes.

    2. Not impossible that if technology develops, small enough, cheap enough and reliable enough H2 generation and compression units that in some cases, tanker collection from wind farms could be more economically viable as opposed to griding costs.

    3. Uncompressed scenario. Massive storage required (huge tanks or gasometers) to store. Expensive, unsightly, safety hazard.

    4. Uncompressed scenario. If lucky, it might even be possible to identify suitably sized, suitably ‘leak free’ ‘spent’ gas field, conveniently close to future off-shore wind turbine generation which could act as an off shore storage for H2 and which may even still have required pipeline grid.

    But most of these, and other scenarios, require massive infrastructure costs which would require government and large energy company buy in. The exception possibly being the localised production/collection scenario which in turn depends on future engineering viability.

    So a full blown hydrogen economy is by no means certain.

    For example bio-engineered ethanol production has many advantages for the automobile industry. It is naturally liquid so storage and distribution systems would remain virtually unchanged and existing ICE skill sets, knowledge base and most of the automobile support infrastructure would suffer far less change than, say conversion to electrical vehicles. There is an ethical objection if it is based on conventional alcohol production methodology and the required acreage of otherwise potentially food producing land. But again, technological development, e.g. say the efforts to produce ethanol producing algae which can be deployed in otherwise non food producing desert areas diretly converting CO2 into ethanol using sunlight, if successful, would remove that objection.
    OTOH if similar H2 production systems turn out to be more viable, that would swing things back in H2’s favour.

    Another area I am cautiously optimistic about is the development of air cells like the St Andrews AIR cell (STAIR) dveloped about 5 years ago. These use O2 from the atmosphere when discharging so are much lighter and the use of carbon as an anode makes them much cheaper. They should store up to 10 times more electricity than a conventional Lithium battery so would revolutionise electricity storage. e.g. best range of an acceptably sexy electric car just now is about 300 miles so potentially it could be 3000 miles with the same weight of battery. Its capacity would not just mean you only have to charge your cell phone on a seasonal basis, but combined with the much lower cost it would also revolutionise mass electricity storage.
    There are, what are hopefully only engineering, problems with it in that due to a combination some unwanted reactions and physical carbon matrix design, the number of recharge cycles isn’t good enough, But IBM are rumoured to have made a break through on the reactants side and of course many are touting the new techno whizz kid on the block, graphene, as a possible solution or optimization of the carbon matrix issue (especially with the new ‘3D’ graphene developments).
    Tweaked STAIR type cells could well end up being the electricity storage of choice for renewables.

    But hydrogen must remain a reasonable fall back position.

  257. Alec says:

    @Churm Rincewind – thanks. With UKIP, what they actually think is not particularly relevant – they are a repository for all manner of protest votes (in the way that Lib Dems used to be) and so can soak up general discontent, even when their policies would suggest they shouldn’t.

    Fracking is a good example. While UKIP are the most pro fracking party we have down here, they seem to be soaking up ex Tory voters in the shires, disgruntled with promises to frack till the cows come home.

    Farage is by no means stupid, and I suspect he will play merry hell with any government seen to be ‘caving in’ to the Scots.

  258. Davie Park says:

    Just a small vote of thanks to Alec for his contributions to the debate. You raise some interesting points Alec, but most of the potential negatives you identify are based on uncertainty. Uncertainty is intrinsic to democracy and there are as many imponderables within the union as outwith.

    The certainties of continuing in the union concern me more. The certainty of an ever greater coalescence of the 3 main parties around a neo-conservative agenda. The certainty of ever greater privatisation of the NHS (let’s call a spade a spade). The certainty of the continuation of the economic strategy of prioritising London’s pre-eminence as a financial centre – regardless of the effect on the rest of the country. The certainty of following the USA in further military misadventures.

    I could go on and on but I’m sure you can see where I (and many other pragmatic supporters of independence) am coming from.

    Thanks again for your contribution. If nothing else, it’ll help sharpen our arguments.

  259. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    Love to talk to you, off post, re bio ethanol, bio butanol and algal diesel etc.

    I worked extensively in the field of bio ethanol and until relatively recently it was not energy efficient outside Brazil. It is maybe energy positive in temperate climates with cereals but for every litre of ethanol / butanol about 10 litres of high BOD / COD water is produced. Environmental nightmare unless you have the Amazon flowing-by next door.


  260. Ken MacColl says:

    If this candid report from the front page of today’s FT had been as correspondingly negative as it is actually positive for the YES proposition we can be sure that BBC Scotland would have mentioned it in their news bulletins.

    Dr Robertson from the WoS is to be applauded for his efforts to prise unbiased news coverage from the BBC and, may we hope for some corresponding effort from the bulk of the print media.

    Yesterday’s Sunday Times had a particularly moronic article, worthy of Hello on a bad week, from Jason Allardyce conflating the voting rights of Scots living outside Scotland with the entitlement of people of Scots descent, no matter how tenuous or obscure, to apply for Scots citizenship as if they were the same thing.

  261. Tamson says:

    @Rod Mac:

    probably better to mention thlose links first, then. Dense is right up there with David Icke

  262. Taranaich says:

    @Alec: But you, and everyone else here then fail to repeat what the article says in full, which is that the uncertainties, the aging population, and the declining oil means that this relatively strength now may not last.

    And what you, Alec, fail to acknowledge is that even this is based on Scotland’s finances IF it continues the same spending policies it does now – i.e. the policies which are Westminster’s domain. Policies such as spending billions on nuclear white elephants, London vanity projects, and so forth.

    I did think there was an interest in genuine debate. Sadly not, it seems.

    In your very first post in this thread, you said:

    just goes to show how empty and one eyed the whole debate has become.

    Genuine, empty, one-eyed debate?

    Well, prove us wrong. State your case, preferably with citations, and we’ll go from there. But coming in here and ending your first post with a condemnation of the state of debate (not to mention alluding a party political connection to the site runner, and making a comment about there being plenty of “propaganda” about) and expecting people not to get their backs up is a bit of a strange tack.

    In any case, part of the reason we are so quick to rise is because we have the entire UK media against us. Not a single national newspaper, news channel, or other news outlet is outright pro-independence: only on the internet, where corporate interests and establishment links are not as pronounced, do you see a substantial Yes media presence.

    In just the last week, several Yes campaigners – including Wings Over Scotland – were accused of everything under the sun by the Daily Mail. They had their photos taken while they were walking down the street (in one case, with her son), and their real names & towns were published. This grotesque invasion of privacy has been more or less constant for several days now. Politicians like Jim Murphy have called for these “cybernats” to be banned from public debate because of their “abuse” – even though not a single case of this so-called abuse has been brought to the police.

    So yeah, we’re a bit quick to jump the gun, but can you blame us?

  263. creigs1707repeal says:

    @ Alec

    “…I can’t see any prospect whatsoever of Scotland being refused [EU] entry)…”

    Subtle but “Refused entry” implies/assumes Scotland will be outside of the EU and will have to apply to join. How do you know this will happen?

    As part of the UK’s membership, Scots are already EU citizens, complying with all EU laws and regulations. Can you cite any EU law that can be used to eject 5.3 million EU citizens against their wishes?

    Thanks in anticipation.

  264. kalmar says:

    @Chic good points, all. I am definitely interested in hearing more about what independence could mean for the energy pool / national grid side of things.

    You’re right that an increasing fraction of renewables eventually brings with it a desire for storage (or at least, very good connections and arrangements for buying and selling to neighbours). But storage doesn’t have to all happen on the supply side – a surprising amount can be done by intelligently linking non-urgent loads (heating, water pumping etc) to renewable availability in real time over the internet.

    So my point is that we have the technology to manage this without hydrogen, which is very much a “jam tomorrow” aspiration and not something to base current planning around. The hydrogen cycle might well never become commercially viable – in my lifetime batteries have always been a jump ahead in both storage efficiency and cost effectiveness, and as you mention there’s plenty of potential (ha) for that to be developed further. Large, cheap lithium cells are used for peak leveling even today.

  265. Harry says:

    Gaavster – I’ve a sizeable bet on @5/1, placed early December. I’m very happy today! I hope these articles can be re-produced in April’s Yes paper.

  266. Betty Boop says:

    @Ivan @ 12.28pm

    Keep pushing the youtube presentations, Ivan. They are incredibly informative and, better, easy to understand!
    I’ve got the links listed on an information sheet (which is becoming ever longer)I hand out at every opportunity.

    Keep up the good work; if folk vote Yes, it will be in large part down to the efforts of well informed business folks like you and Michelle Thomson.

    For those folks who tend to lose links: will get you to the presentations re the economic case, etc.

  267. Chic McGregor says:


    Sorry, not an expert on algae ethanol production, haven’t worked in it, have only read about it in the science mags and sites I visit on a regular basis. That’s why I added “if successful” when giving it as a potential example.

    Can pretty much say all I know about it here. I know the main players have claimed up to 10,000 litres production from an acre as opposed to the approx 500 litres per acre from conventional grain crops. Don’t know the figure for sugar plantation but I’m sure you do.

    I also know that there are various methods of growing from simple ponds, to plastic tubing to directing sunlight into the water. The latter claiming about 10-20 times more production from the same amount of water. However whether that reduction in water use also results in less BOC and COD pollution or whether the effluent simply has 10-20 times the density I don’t know (just one of the many ‘proprietory’ things they don’t talk about). Can’t remember who, but it wasn’t Algenol.

    I am also aware that at least one company claims to have a GM algae (‘proprietory’ again) which produces enough ethanol in excreta such that it can be harvested without killing the algae. Again whether that reduces oxygen deprivation agents or not I wouldn’t know.

    I suspect algae production may require a higher infusion of phospherous than conventional bio mass conversion, but again, that is only based on the simple fact that it gets a mention at all.

    Also it requires a source of CO2 e.g. a nearby burning operation of some kind or a carbon capture plant, presume sugar refining does too?

    However, they are all potentially, non food production thieves.

    H2 production Algae I read about, haven’t heard anything about it in a couple of years or so, was GM Algae in tube arrays which produced H2 directly in sunlight.

    Their problem was that output quickly dropped off due to some mechanism I can’t remember, but they were confident that they knew why and a further GM tweak would fix.

    Sorry that’s about it. More knowledgeable on wind, tidal and fusion.

  268. Les Wilson says:

    Chic McGregor says:

    Chic you are basically correct, however the process is now working and this algae biofuel is even started to be used on planes. It now done by an improved process that makes it much more viable.

  269. Alec says:

    @creigs1707repeal – I think EU entry is one of those areas where there are undoubtedly difficulties, but where the rules will be made up to suit. This is what the EU does all the time (as does the UK constitution, indeed, in as much as we have one).

    From what I’ve read, Scotland won’t inherit EU membership – it would be opting to leave the entity that has membership, thereby I suppose technically revoking it’s citizen’s membership, but that’s a technicality that will be overcome.

    What the news coming from the commission and from Spain has been, is that there won’t be any block to Scotland re entering in a timely fashion, if the separation is agreed by all sides. If this doesn’t happen – eg if terms cannot be agreed, then the commission, and probably other states, will not support membership.

    There’s enough vagueness around international law to allow many things to happen, but there is serious pressure within part of the EU to prevent contested separations from easy access to full membership.

  270. Alec says:

    @Taranaich – to be clear, my comments on the debate being ’empty and one eyed’ was meant to apply to both sides equally, with some notable and welcome exceptions.

    I would also fully sympathize with anyone on the wrong end of the kind of campaign you state. The British (and English) press are terminally useless in the main, and despicable in parts. I can understand the general sensitivity and twitchiness of the Yes online presence.

    All I can say is that the battles that are won, tend to be won by those who maintain their dignity and integrity. To me, that means addressing opponents courteously and with respect, rather than stating it’s fine to label their valid contributions as ‘bullshit’. I would apply this in equal measure to both and every sides in the debate.

  271. Seasick Dave says:


    I appreciate your reasoned input on here.

    My view on it all is the same as everything else in life; if you want something to succeed then it will succeed, if you want it to fail then it will fail.

    A Yes vote leads us in to a world of opportunity where we decide on policies which are relevant to Scotland, NOT the South East of England.

    A No vote means the direct opposite and a world of pain.

  272. McHaggis says:

    Alec, some of us are a little weary of being cast as the ‘nice’ side of the debate and would dearly wish the ‘Yes’ campaign would put its arguments forward in a much more robust manner.

    Lets face it, UKOK has been pretty forcefull in how it would bomb our airports, refuse to let us use the pound, keep our oil etc – all delivered with a straight face and in a slightly aggresive manner, all the while telling us we are led by a fat dictator and are part of a swivel eyed underworld of tartan wearing, haggis munching, benefit subsidy junkies.

    The polite debate will prevail when UKOK enters into it.

  273. Alec says:

    @Davie Park – I completely sympathise – we here in the north of England face exactly the same issues. Our way out of it is to fight to get better governance across these isles.

    I guess the problem for Scotland is that being so intertwined with rUK economically means that a useless boom/bust government in London will still hurt you, while you have no influence to throw them out. You already run your own NHS anyway, and have some tax raising powers, so you are insulated from the worst they can do in many ways.

    I think in the long term a more federal UK is probably going to happen anyway, largely thanks to devolution. A vote now on regional assembly in my area would probably be won, thanks to the success of devolution, and I’m an optimist that the financial crisis is slowly leading us towards better thinking, although we still have a handful of southern numbskulls that need to die out before we really get there.

  274. Les Wilson says:

    this is the url which you will see the description of the hydrogen process that this particular company are involved in. By the way I never said it was a replacement for oil. It is not a complete replacement of that, however you will see how the Hydrogen process they use could vastly lower energy costs. At least you should find it interesting.


  275. McHaggis says:


    there is absolutely ZERO vagueness surrounding the simple fact the EU would be desperate for Scotland either to remain part of, or become a member of that organisation.

    You will recall how hard Greenland had to fight to actually leave, and how long that process took. The EU is not in the habit of shrinking – particularly if that shrinkage involves a country with the largest share of oil and renewables, and a strategic position in terms of fishing and defence to use 2 examples.

    Nope, the EU will try everything in its power to ENSURE a smooth transition to normal independent Scottish membership.

  276. Les Wilson says:

    Dcanmore says:

    I agree, Hydrogen will be a big option and yes, we should get minds thinking about it and get developments moving on that as soon as we can. We are a nation of innovators it just needs the research will to do it.

  277. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Thanks chic

    We’ll have a beer or two some time.

  278. CJ says:

    Lets not forget that after years of propaganda many folk still think we don’t have enough money to be independent. Many folk still don’t have the information we do so we need to keep hammering home that we do have the money and too much has been spent outwith Scotland in the past. We need to point out also that the English now wrongly believe they subsidize us and that it will be a disaster for Scotland in the event of a no vote because we will be powerless to do anything about it when our budget gets slashed by billions.

  279. Paul Kelly says:

    Can we really see the “scots” man (it really is an ironic name given most of it’s content). The Daily Mail and The Daily record reporting this?

  280. EphemeralDeception says:

    Adding to aspects that Ian Ross provided in response to some of Alecs Remarks.

    The UK is split North>South into 3 large Zones for purchasing and consuming generated Energy. Scotland / North England / South England. At any time during the day Scotland usually exports to North England, who have a shortfall and North England exports to South England who have a greater Shortfall. Scotland does not directly export to South England via the inter connectors. So, distance is moot. It is just supply and demand between zones and this won’t change much, since Scotland is already a unique zone.

    Scotland is today and will remain Energy Rich and South England is and will remain Energy poor. This is the basis of everything of import whether it be Oil or Gas or Power.

    Back to Gas.

    England gets 50% of its Gas from Norway. The cost of this is mortaged across the entire UK. There is no infrastruicture for Scotland to even to recieve this Gas as <z ha

  281. ianbeag says:

    The content of the articles in today’s FT is explosive and will have reverberations, particularly within the corridors of London’s investment houses, within the ratings agencies, international banks, business managers etc. etc. It could well be a pivotal moment for the YES campaign if the information is properly promoted to the Scottish electorate and we are indebted to you Stuart for highlighting it to your readership and for us to promote in every possible way.
    However, I have a question directed at the leadership of the YES campaign, the leadership of the SNP and to the notable economists who helped to compile the content of the White Paper. Why was it left to a journalist for a London paper to articulate the huge financial benefit of £5812 that a YES vote can deliver to the averages Scottish household. I have contributed legwork to distributing the latest YES newspaper through letterboxes with it’s front page headline “£600 INDY BONUS” Is there no economist or senior political figure on the indy side of the argument in Scotland who could have extracted the same information from all the available data that a London based journalist was able to present in one article?

  282. EphemeralDeception says:

    Accidentally submitted the last post..

    All this is just more examples of hidden subsidies from Scotland to the South UK.

    All these things are why Calman concluded that Full fiscal control would certainly lead to independence. Its a no brainer.

  283. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Alec sadly has come very late to this debate and is repeating issues which we have dealt with months ago. Some of the media is doing the same on the basis that a good lie is a good lie no matter how often it is exposed and the uninformed section of the Scottish population are easy meat and can be told the same lie on a continuous basis as long it sounds complicated and clever.

    Alec has still provided no evidence to back up any of his unsupported assertions.

    The tactic is perfectly obvious. Fling up some complicated and unproved suggestions and do not bother providing any supporting evidence for them while you start another hare running with another scare story,

    I did not of course at any point suggest that Alec himself was spouting bullshit but making an accusation that I did served to move the argument away from the facts

  284. kininvie says:


    Life may not be quite so simple re the EU as you suggest. The EC, I am sure, will be desperate to avoid the chaos – everything from fishing to EU citizens’ rights – that would ensue if Scotland were to be ‘out’ – even temporarily. But the EC is not all powerful, and there will be other member states looking to extract advantage if they can, especially to demonstrate to their own minorities that secession is not an easy path.

    Scotland will have to work hard – hopefully in conjunction with rUK – to demonstrate the exceptional nature of its case. And there may well be voices – Alec has a point about UKIP – who look to a UK exit, and see no reason to make life easy for Scotland in its attempts to remain ‘in’.

  285. creigs1707repeal says:

    @ Alec

    “…I think EU entry is one of those areas where there are undoubtedly difficulties, but where the rules will be made up to suit. This is what the EU does all the time (as does the UK constitution, indeed, in as much as we have one)…”

    In other words, there is no legal EU mechanism to eject 5.3 million of its citizens who actually wish to remain members.

    You are perfectly correct–the EU will revise and amend the rules as new situations arise. This is a unique situation for the EU and it will be dealt with in a pragmatic fashion, negotiations taking place between the YES vote and Scottish Independence Day, securing a seamless transition from UK membership to indy Scotland membership. Failing to do so would result in chaos within the EU and no one in the EU wants that nightmare scenario to occur.

    Common sense and pragmatism will be the order of the day–and that approach will prevail. You can put your mortgage on it.

  286. Alec says:

    @McHaggis – I don’t disagree with you in that the EU will want to see Scotland remain in, and would prefer a smooth transition, but only as much as they wanted Bulgaria, Romania and other small countries.

    Defence issues really won’t count for much – the EU isn’t a defence alliance, and oil isn’t particularly relevant either. EU member states still buy on the world markets, in dollars, and Scottish production isn’t sufficient to affect prices anyway.

    Given that some in Brussels are already discounting UK membership and planning for life after UK, I think the idea that there is ‘keep Scotland at all costs’ mentality is not realistic.

    They will seek to find a way to keep Scotland within the EU, on the EU’s terms, as they do with all countries.

    Recall that the UK was initially declined membership when we first asked, all those years ago.

  287. twenty14 says:

    @Alec – Alec, just in and going through the threads – I think your a very clever guy and playing a bit of poker here.

  288. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    You see. He’s at it again and some folk are being sucked in.
    All informed opinion states that Scotland remaining in the EU is a formality and continued assertions that this is not the case doesn’t change that.
    We have always said that we will have to negotiate the details of our new individual membership (as indeed will rUK).
    That is not the same as doubts about continuing membership and people should stop treating Alec as though he is an uninformed idiot. He is not, but that is what he wants

  289. Morag says:

    Oh, diminished seventh, minor seventh, whatever. (It’s been a long times since grade 7 theory.) Scottish, not Scottish, whatever.

    The point is the people at the workshop all believed Greensleeves was an English song. And when a remark was made saying that they – mostly douce Edinburghers – were “from the country of Greensleeves“, they indignantly repudiated the identification.

  290. Murray McCallum says:

    “.. the EU isn’t a defence alliance”

    No, but there is a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union. Furthermore, the Westminster government in England are constantly blocking notions of more integrated EU defence (to please the USA).

    … oil isn’t particularly relevant either”

    Rather bizarre thing to say about an economic union that is a vast importer of energy and crude oil in particular. A small population energy exporter like Scotland would obviously help rather than hinder this issue.

    Your invalid comparison of Bulgaria, Romanian and other small nations entry to the EU to that of Scotland is noted. I think the comparison says something about the angle you are coming from.

    I look forward to an independent Scotland working with our EU neighbours. That will likely exclude rUK post 2017 – but that’s their democratic choice.

  291. Alec says:

    @twenty14 – thanks, but I don’t think I’m particularly clever (I hope I’m not an ‘uninformed idiot’ either though) and I’m not into poker.

    The issues are momentous and significant, and I do think they need to be fully explored.

    @Dave McEwan Hill – I’m not so sure that EU membership is a formality, regardless of circumstances.

    As I understand it, the commission have stated pretty clearly (which isn’t to say they won’t change their mind) that the will only entertain opening the negotiations if the split is agreed to both sides satisfaction, as they generally oppose the alteration of existing national boundaries of member states.

    I think this is also the line Spain are taking. They won’t veto membership if the split is agreed with rUK. I frankly can’t see the split being opposed by Westminster if the Scots vote yes, but London will hold many cards in the negotiation and it isn’t necessarily as smooth as some think I feel.

  292. Alec says:

    @Murray McCallum – apologies – my choice of comparator countries wasn’t too bright. Nothing sinister there – just the first names that came into my head.

  293. Murray McCallum says:

    “A vote now on regional assembly in my area would probably be won, thanks to the success of devolution”

    Overturn an 80:20 rejection? The articles I have seen invariably talk of a need for an English Parliament (centralisation), i.e. not regional assemblies.

    I see no evidence whatsoever to back your assertion of a popular movement towards increased regional powers in England.

    The discussion and evidence therefore appears to point to the exact opposite of what you say.

  294. Alec says:

    @Murray – so everything you read about independence in the press is rubbish but everything they write about regional assemblies in England is gospel? Down here, we’re as agin London as you are.

    We now have unitary authorities, we’ve lost our (successful)regional development agency, and the coalition have dismantled all regional planning structures.

    Now, all my regions councils are combining to create a formal regional system to pool resources and coordinate, partly as a response to cuts, and partly in an attempt to reinvent regional planning and development. Obviously something you’ve not been told about by the London/Edinburgh press.

    There is deep concern over how northern England will be affected by devolution, devo max, independence – whatever happens – and a recognition that something else is needed up here to help us access both Scottish and southern opportunities.

    My Cornish friends tell me similar things are happening down there in the south west, and there are even voices in the midlands seeking measures to bolster themselves against London’s influence, especially with talk of HS2.

    If I may say so, you’re behind the times.

  295. Alec says:

    There are a few people talking about this.

  296. Chic McGregor says:

    Thanks for that udate Les.

    BTP hope so some time.

  297. Alec says:

    Somewhat neutered since 2010, but they want it back.

  298. Alec says:

    Quite a lot of regional activity here

  299. NorthBrit says:

    Alec. Suggest you read this on Algeria and Greenland:

    “Of particular interest, however, was that post independence the relevant provisions of the EEC Treaty continued to apply.”

    Also see Gounin (chief of staff at French ministry for European affairs until May 2012):

    “It is doubtless to be expected, that those who are hostile will raise all possible obstacles on the road to independence. Integration, whether automatic or deferred, with the European Union is not the least of these. For all that, one may ask oneself what interest the Union itself would have in complicating the (re)admission of these states. Once the Rubicon of independence has been crossed, Europe would have everything to lose by putting these states in quarantine: its entrepreneurs could no longer invest there, its youth study there, its workers circulate freely, its fishermen sail there, etc.”

  300. Murray McCallum says:

    The overwhelming rejection of a regional assembly in NE England took place more than 5 years after the Scottish Parliament was re-formed.

    As I live in England I constantly hear of a need for an English Parliament. Never regional assemblies.

    Please explain the figures and point to the published manifestos (more than a few concerned friends) behind the massive swing you are claiming towards people reversing their Nov’04 democratic rejection.

  301. Richard says:


    My friend of nearly 50 years lives in Durham and until recently has worked throughout England. He regularly advises me that there is little consideration down south of the Scottish independence issue. This is borne out by lack of press coverage on all main broadsheets as well as the BBC. ( on the day after the White Paper was launched, the Guardian had Andrew Mitchell on the front page as their splash as did the majority of non Scottish based papers) he also confirms opposition to regional assemblies quoting the abortive Blair attempt.

    From the newspapers I read (all broadsheets) I can’t remember much being discussed about regional issues except very occasionally. All the English versions of the nationals run a different version of Project Fear down south in support of UKIP covering immigration and benefit scrounges mainly.
    Admittedly, I don’t follow regional news on the beeb or in the press

    The centralisation of services and pooled resources isn’t unique to England. You can hear the complaints up here about it. The larger local authorities were broken up some years ago in Scotland. I’m not sure that I detect a will to recreate the likes of Strathclyde again and resource pooling appears to be a practical solution go declining resources.
    Looking forward to the additional cuts that are coming our way – not

  302. Chic McGregor says:

    North Brit

    Yeah, I meant to suggest the Gounin comments for the repository.

    On similar theme to your post, worth taking a gander at the recent constitutional histories of St Martin and Saint Barthelemy in terms of relationship to the EU as they seceded from the French Department of Guadeloupe.

    Also something on the ICJ ruling re Kosovo’s UDI would be a good reference as well.

  303. Richard says:


    Just off the phone to Durham. He laughed at me. He is entirely unaware of any substantive moves to develop regional assemblies or other bodies. He also says that there is, anecdotally no support for it in his village. He advised me that he had discussed independence with his neighbours. Their response, universally, was that they didn’t care 2 hoots about Scotland as long as it wasn’t subsidised by England!(?)

  304. dadsarmy says:

    The Guardian has had a few reasonable articles recently, and even dipping into the murky waters of the Scotsman shows better balance there. It’s been an uphill struggle, but as the YES-moving trend of the polls show that Independence is becoming a near certainty, the media is going to have to look increasingly at its future credibility, not so much in Scotland as in the rest of the UK.

    The Times has had a couple of more throughtful articles – this is the best so far though. I think we can, at last, expect more. Perhaps the BBC … well, perhaps not.

  305. Robert Kerr says:

    Well done Alec, 21 entries on this and none on the following two threads to date.

    An interesting effort to persuade us that this FT article is inconsequential. You stated at the very beginning that you had read the article. Fine.

    Lets hope you continue to input WoS in the future. If you disappear then you are a one trick pony and I must assume that the trick was to persuade WoS people and more importantly the new readers that the FT article is only another “wee thing”.

    There are many clever and educated contributors to WoS. We are attracted to Rev Stu’s approach and admire him. We are of course cybernats. We are not monsters nor paranoid fanatics. Just normal people who have the bit between our teeth for Scottish Independence. There is also humour.

    Please continue to contribute, else the FT article must be considered a game-changer.

  306. dadsarmy says:

    Not really following the thread (lack of time), but having a quick look at your comments they look sensible and well put together, even though I don’t agree with them!

  307. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    You are obviously not au fait with the content of the Edinburgh Agreement and I suggest you acquaint yourself with it as soon as possible.

    dads army
    alec’s comments are contentious and based almost entirely on unsupported assertions and false premises.

  308. Croompenstein says:

    FFS Scotland is a fucking country, the regions of England are exactly that..regions

  309. Aidan says:

    Apologies if this link has already been provided by someone else. It’s a short video from the Financial Times website that makes a nice companion-piece to the ‘Independence Debate: Yes, Scotland?’ article.

    Worth watching as it lets pro-Indy people speak for themselves with a tremendously refreshing clarity, free of the usual BT fog to which we have all become accustomed.

  310. alec says:

    @Richard – best tell your friend in Durham about the NE Combined Authority application –

    Greater Manchester already has a Combined Authority, which is a statutory body, and the NE wants to be next, to gain more funding and powers. It’s already happening.

    @Robert Kerr – Today was a day off, so I had time. This is rare for me, but I will try to pick up issues and post on other threads, although I’m afraid I won’t be able to be a regular poster here. I have posted regularly on one other political website for many years, but have to limit my activity, fascinating though this all is.

  311. alec says:

    I know this will upset some people, but I actually think there is a major flaw in the interpretation given to these numbers by the Rev Campbell.

    The original post says “The article is illustrated with some commendably clear graphics, but the one above in particular is simply dynamite. [The one showing Gross Added Value by region]. With the current UK setting the benchmark at 100, it clearly indicates, from Westminster’s own data, that right now an independent Scotland would be 11% better off overnight compared to staying in the UK.”

    It actually doesn’t. It says that Scotland’s GVA would be 11% per head better than the UK average, not that Scotland would be 11% better off. This is because earlier in the post there is a quote from the FT item – “Although Scotland enjoys public spending well above the UK average – a source of resentment among some in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the cost to the Treasury is more than outweighed by oil and gas revenues from Scottish waters”

    So although Scotland would have a higher GVA, it also has higher public spending, which would presumably would have to be set against the 11% gain in GVA.

  312. Cindie aka CR says:

    Great analysis as always, Rev Stu. That video was excellent Aiden, have definitely saved it to favourites. Thanks for all the interesting posts and comments everyone

  313. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Scotland shows higher public spending in the area of “identified public expenditure ” which relates to only a proportion of Government spending and which for geographic reasons is higher in Scotland (and higher in some English areas as well if you break the areas down).
    A huge amount of spending which is described as “national” and is therefore not apportioned on an area basis is in the vast majority in the South East of England. Were this spending to be set properly against the South East it would show the South East as by far the biggest per head recipient of Government spending.
    On the other side of the balance sheet Government procurement is heavily biased also in favour of the South East. Scotland gets much less than its population share of procurement and for instance less than half its population share of military procurement. Were Scotland to get an appropriate share of government procurement its GDP (without oil) would be higher than the UK equivalent.

  314. Douglas Macdonald says:

    I have just completed a trawl through the business sections of all of the Scottish National dailies and not a sungle printed word of this FT article has appeared. Just how long can the fourth estate keep ignoring newsworthy reports from their columns? Don’t hold your breath!

  315. Caroline Corfield says:

    I live in the North East, if a referendum was put on a regional body to represent it, it would still be a No vote. The councils are behind this move to get together, not the people. The councils see the benefits of having a voice for the region, major infrastructure just isn’t happening up here. The development agency OneNorthEast was a casualty of the quango cull, and since then the region has had little success at inward investment without Westminster interference. The vote No campaign called the regional assembly an expensive talking shop and suggested it was a place for John Prescott to retire to as leader of. The councils are looking for powers, they are finally using the devolved parliament in Scotland as a lever to try and get them, but the people still think of Westminster as their Parliament ( indeed my husband says there’s no need for an English parliament because they already have one).

  316. Croompenstein says:

    You may have read these figures before and see these graphics before but FFS this is the Financial Times, hell will freeze over before you see this in any other mainstream newspaper or God forbid it gets reported on the prime time news Dis-reporting Scotland or STV news as it most surely would if it had shown iScotland would be worse off. so get a grip!!

  317. Richard says:

    Combined authorities are not the same thing as regional assemblies but reflect the squeeze on public finances and the challenges arising from that. There is no stated governmental intent to establish a north of England body with similarly devolved powers to those in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
    Indeed, much of the collaborative developments in England stem from the need to develop seamless health and social care policies to deal with closure of large mental hospitals and growth in the need to develop care structures for an ageing population while shifting costs from central government to local authorities. This has been going on since the 90s. IIRC, Cornwall was one if the earlier protagonists in this shift.

  318. Alec says:

    @Richard – I agree. There has been a massacre of regional bodies in England, and as a result there are now huge gaps in combined service provision that authorities are trying to meet.

    I think my point is that while ordinary voters aren’t banging the table in the pubs and clubs of Newcastle and preparing to go to the barricades to demand a regional assembly, there is a growing recognition that some level of regional management is needed within local councils, and some fears beginning to emerge among ordinary that we are going to lose out not just to London, as we always have, but now to Edinburgh too.

    I strongly suspect that Scottish devolution in the long term, and independence in much shorter time frame, will lead naturally to more regional devolution in England.

    Independence would have enormous ramifications for English governance. I suspect that we will quickly move to a position of adopting some manner of proportional representation for Westminster, for example, as without Scotland, FPTP will effectively deliver a one party state in rUK, and large swathes of England will want to have their own ability to challenge Scotland, driving a distribution of power.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that independence will end up showing a significant paradox, that gaining independence actually promotes many changes in rUK and changes many of the things that people in Scotland want to escape from in the first place.

    It’s all supposition, and I could be wrong, but I suspect England has nearly reached the end of the road for our current system of governance.

  319. Caroline Corfield says:

    @Alec but isn’t it utterly pathetic that it take Scottish independence to force that to happen?

    The people of England have a built in majority in the current parliament of the UK of GB and NI, if they wanted something they could have it, but they have voted for tax breaks ( which successive governments of all shades have simply got back in other ways), and they have voted for ‘clout’ on the world stage, they have voted for breaking the unions and they seem to be keen to leave the EU and even more workers rights.

    Yet perversely they are against bankers bonuses, they want to re-nationalise the railways, and they are genuinely not happy with what is happening to the NHS, yet if a party offered all this I don’t think it would win the vote. I don’t know what’s wrong with the English electorate: it’s the result of decades of abuse, that’s for certain; it’s apathy stoked by the press, yes; but that sort of thing has been happening in Scotland too.

    I don’t think Westminster will let itself be re-modelled to the extent that it needs to be, I think a wee bit of tinkering will go on, they may well get rid of First Past the Post, but I don’t think there is much appetite in the electorate for PR, so what they put in it’s place won’t be radical and will in effect reproduce FPTP. (they are definitely not going to allow what happened in Holyrood to be repeated there). The set-up in London is too cosy, it will adapt to survive but it isn’t going to self destruct. (my husband actually thinks it’s good that London sucks so much out of the rest of the country, because it’s his capital city, if it’s highly regarded then by inference so is the country even if that’s not true.)

    UKIP is the real game changer in English politics, they appeal across the political spectrum because they appear to be real people (it’s part of Boris Johnson’s popularity too), they tap into the sense of ‘Greatness” that many English people have been brought up with, and they hark back to a mythical golden age ( modelled roughly on the 1950’s a la Heartbeat), while the Tories seem to be dragging us into an actual different age, namely the Victorian. Labour are a mess, they have no credibility as long as they do not stand on the left, and the Libdems will be gone at the next election, only MPs who have a personal standing will get re-elected.

    I’d love to be more upbeat but it’s going to be just as long a road for the English to shake off Westminister as it’s been for the Scots.

  320. chalks says:

    @Alec, you should also point out that these figures are taken based on current Westminster policies… you could free up millions from various things which we wouldn’t have to pay for…..THUS increasing our GDP per head……

    If you want to be balanced of course.

  321. Alec says:

    @Chalks – to be honest, I was posting in the interests of balance all along. I understand WOS is trying to address a perceived lack of balance elsewhere, but there still needs to be a factual accuracy if you are to retain any credibility.

    The analysis placed on the FT article, and the notion that this is some kind of shock bombshell, is simply wrong. I did a quick search this morning, and within 5 minutes I found this –

    This is the BBC clearly showing Scottish GDP per capita inc oil £4K above the UK, published in November last year.

    This was on C4 news and online last September –

    h ttp://

    This from the Guardian from 2007 – h ttp://

    And this from the Herald last April – h ttp://

    Of course, the Mail and Telegraph are less inclined to publish these kinds of stories, but the broadcast media in England has been very open about the differences between tax and spending north and south of the border.

    As I say, the interpretation placed on the FT article is statistically illiterate, ignores any negative facts highlighted by the FT authors (see the chart the FT produced on demographics – directly counter to the SNP’s claims that Scottish population is aging less fast than UK] and misrepresents the central thesis of the FT report. The authors were saying that Scotland could be better off, but equally might not be.

    That would be balance.

  322. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “the broadcast media in England has been very open about the differences between tax and spending north and south of the border”

    Speaking as a resident of England, LOL ROFL PMSL ETC.

  323. kininvie says:


    On the demographic: Don’t know if you saw my article on the immigration problem:

    Certainly Scotland has trouble ahead with the ageing population; I don’t think anyone is denying that. Whether or not we are worse off than others in that respect is debateable. The point I was making is that so long as our immigration policy is controlled by Westminster, it’s going to be nigh-on impossible to do anything constructive about it.

    There are few areas where Scotland’s needs are so radically different from England’s. It’s an important additional reason to take matters into our own hands.

  324. Alec says:

    @Rev SC – fair enough – we’re obviously listening to different outlets. I’ve seen these positive figures for Scottish GDP on the BBC evening news, the BBC website, R4, R2, Channel 4 main evening news and website, and I caught the end of a story the ITV lunchtime news that I think covered these kinds of numbers, but I can’t be certain. There was even a phone in on my local BBC radio station discussing the disparity between Scottish earnings and spending and my own region.

    I’ve posted a couple of links that quote these figures for you to have a look at, but we’ll just have to leave it that we watch different channels, different programmes, or that you nod off whenever the BBC or anyone else broadcasts something that backs the naationalist cause.

  325. chalks says:

    @Alec – See current immigration policy, Scotland requires immigrants, yet as this is a reserved matter we are not in control of our very own labour market.

    It’s in the hands of Westminster who have made it quite clear, England is full. Doesn’t matter that we require more workers.

    I’d rather be in control of things directly, that way you are able to cater for any needs you require.

    As it stands, we are akin to shouting from the balcony of the House of Commons, whether they listen to us is entirely up to them, but with 59 MP’s, soon to be 52 out of 600 odd, chances are they won’t.

    Time to take things into our own hands.

  326. Alec says:

    @kininvie – just read your article – very impressed, both with the analysis and the truthfulness of it. I will take note of you and look out for other posts from you.

    You do say above – “Certainly Scotland has trouble ahead with the ageing population; I don’t think anyone is denying that.” – which isn’t correct. The SNP have specifically quoted demographics to justify suggestions that they can provide a higher state pension, when the reverse is currently the case – it’s a straightforward lie from the SNP, although I’m wise enough not to conflate the SNP with the independence movement. I can also see the sense that Scotland may have better pensions that rUK after independence if that choice is made – it’s just that it will cost more to do this, not less.

    I think you are also dead right on the immigration issue. It really is a problem for the UK, as Scotland has to find a way to stabilise it’s population demographic, while the south on England is really struggling for space and needs to plot a path to population reduction. How we manage this, independent or no, is something of a nightmare. Like you, I tend towards the view that decisions on migration need to be made at national level, but how we organise that with an open border is the problem.

  327. chalks says:

    @Alec, the only answer for Scotland is independence, nearly every issue you can explore around it, Westminster has somehow screwed us over, the fact is this, you cannot be in an equal political union and the resulting effects of that with two countries of such massive disparity in population and geography.

    Not to mention such differences in industry!

    5.2 million in a union with 50 million….it’s never going to be equal and fair with both sides considered…it will always side with the bigger population as the majority of MP’s at Parliament are from there!

  328. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Aidan –

    That video is good.

    I don’t understand why Henry McLeish isn’t openly Yes. Doesn’t make sense.

  329. Alec says:

    @chalks – That’s a completely fair observation. One of the risks of democracy is the domination of the majority, with the location of administrative borders a key factor. I hear the same logic expressed within Scotland, but borders need to be drawn somewhere.

    My personal view is that there are very few powers that need to stay at Westminster. Even foreign policy can be devolved to an extent. I would like to see the situation where all 4 parliaments/assemblies need to approve an act of war, for example.

    The currency union is the one area I have a real problem with. I think I’m right in saying that no currency union, ever, has survived long term, without full fiscal, monetary and political union. The idea of sharing the pound (or the Euro) without political union is doomed.

    I tend towards thinking that macro economic policy needs to be centralised if you are to operate under a single currency, because otherwise the currency will fail, but to compensate for the loss of regional/national sovereignty that entails, strong automatic stabilizers needs to operate.

    The UK wide problem is that politics has become so regionally defined, and so such stabilizers become political footballs, and much of northern England and Scotland have lost out as a result. The independence debate is an opportunity to rejig these, but frankly I’m not holding my breath.

  330. NorthBrit says:


    If you are right, these researchers have got the demographics all wrong.

    ” as others have suggested, the
    economic costs of old age dependency have typically been
    exaggerated, especially in the UK.”

    How very balanced of you to accuse the SNP of “a straightforward lie”.

  331. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Time to stop feeding the troll

  332. Captain Caveman says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill
    Sorry, that’s a daft comment which does you no credit at all IMO.

  333. Alec says:

    @Northbrit – I would completely agree with everything in the article you link to, and respectfully point out that it is entirely compatible with what I posted earlier.

    I’m an environmentalist, and very keen to see a global population stabilization and then managed reduction, and I personally feel that it’s abundantly clear that an aging population in itself isn’t as great a burden as some assume, for the precise same reasons that are mentioned in the WSJ article.

    That doesn’t alter the basic point, which was the SNP claimed Scotland would be able to afford better pensions relative to rUK because their populations dies younger and is aging less slowly than rUK. This is plain wrong.

    On reflection, I shouldn’t have used the term ‘straightforward lie’ – I normally avoid the L word, and I understand it isn’t conducive to happy debate, so if I’ll withdraw that statement but maintain my substantive point, which sits alongside the WSJ research rather well.

  334. Alec says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill – I had a read through of the comments policy for WOS before I started posting, and it has something to say about accusations of trolling.

    Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll – yours is not the only opinion out there, and as with all things, in as much as there are ever ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ opinions, sometimes I may be right and you wrong, and at other times you will be right and I wrong.

    But please rest assured – I will never accuse you of being a troll.

  335. Caroline Corfield says:

    I think you’ll find that political union is not something Mr. Carney thinks is necessary for good currency union. You should read his speech, it’s available via an article on here, from the day he gave it.

    I read it yesterday, he includes the US as having a currency union, and Canada as having a currency union along with the EU eurozone. Much of his analysis is based on what is going wrong with the euro, and what you need to do to stop that happening in a Sterling zone. However, most commentators from south of the border seem to think the Sterling zone is some sort of long term plan/aim; it isn’t, it’s merely the most sensible solution to begin with.
    Some of the aspects of the differing economies of Scotland versus England (I can’t quite recall if Mr. Carney used England or continuing UK throughout his speech) also come up in the speech.

    I must admit I rarely watch the main BBC news these days, though I often catch Look North, and I do still read the BBC website not just the UK pages, but also the England, Scotland and occasionally Wales pages, I don’t see quite the pelthora of articles highlighting the differences in tax, but Look North do indulge in ‘my how wonderful it all is just North of the Border’ articles wrt spending. Which annoys me greatly.

  336. NorthBrit says:


    I appreciate the graceful retraction – would be much better if everyone did that.

    It would help if you sourced any facts you’re quoting. Noone is in a position to assess your claim about the SNP’s position on pensions without a link.

  337. Alec says:

    @Northbrit –

    In this, Kenneth Gibson say “While Westminster is rushing towards raising the state pension age well ahead of schedule, we in the SNP are not convinced that this is right for Scotland where life expectancy is lower on average compared to the rest of the UK.”

    This is technically correct, but misrepresents entirely the Scottish population demographic – ably analysed by Kinnivie in the link in his 11.43am post.

    Here – – Nicola Sturgeon says – “Westminster changes fail to take into account the life expectancy differences between different socio-economic groups and between Scotland and the UK average.

    “On average, people in Scotland have fewer years in retirement receiving the state pension than our counterparts in the UK because life expectancy is lower.”

    again using demographics to justify better relative pensions.

    If you look at the ‘Demography’ graph in the FT article that started this thread, you can see that while Scotland’s life expectancy is expected to remain below rUK, the population growth in Scotland is currently forecast to be entirely in the 65+ age cohort.

    The link provided above by @Northbrit also suggests, paradoxically in terms of his original intentions in posting it, that a reduced life expectancy is less relevant in terms of assessing elderly care requirements than the numbers of people reaching the end of life. As Scotland’s population is due to age, these are significant issues.

    I hope these references are acceptable.

  338. Alec says:

    @Caroline Corfield – thanks – I read the Carney speech when he delivered it. I was particularly struck by his identification of the ‘fiscal stress’ arising with the withdrawal of currency movements as a shock absorbers, and the obvious statement that wages and employment would become the effect shock absorbers.

    he quotes the US and Canada as successful c unions, and the EZ and an less successful one. Two political unions against one group of separate nations, which is all I am saying.

    Some time ago I did try to find an example of a currency union that was successful in the long term, without full fiscal and monetary union, and I couldn’t find one.

    As with the Euro, people will become the grease for the wheels of industry, with their jobs and wages forming the sole adjustment in the absence of full fiscal union.

  339. NorthBrit says:


    Doesn’t look much like a lie.

    It looks like a fairly reasonable position based on current circumstances. Currently our population does die younger. One of the many Union dividends. End of life care doesn’t make pensions more expensive.

    I wouldn’t guess at others’ intentions if I were you. Lest people do the same to you.

  340. Caroline Corfield says:

    I agree a long term currency union would probably end up requiring a federation. The Us, Canada (and latterly Germany with the deutschmark) are large countries and I found Mr. Carney’s tables about the differences in industry across their federations versus Scotland/England very interesting, maybe these things only work across big geographies? It might be a major thing to move state in North America, but it’s commonplace to move about in the UK.

    I’m a federalist, but I think the only way to get a successful federation is if all the constituent nations of the UK of GB and NI firstly become independent countries, then they could choose themselves what amount of sovereignty to give up for currency stability.

    I think a Federation of British Isles would be the best unit to go forward with, and that requires a lot of changes in England to take place before any of the other nations are going to feel comfortable getting back into bed with them. Essentially it requires parity of representation, not per capita, but one nation one vote on any shared matters. That I think will stop England from coming into it for some time, but it certainly doesn’t stop Scotland from making useful alliances in the meantime.

    I think that is also why those who are not federalists don’t see the problem with the Sterling currency union, because they see it as a short term thing. Depending on how it goes, it may even put future Scottish governments off any other currency union longer term.

    What is important is that the people of Scotland get to choose in that situation, and that only comes with a Yes vote.

  341. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The currency union is the one area I have a real problem with. I think I’m right in saying that no currency union, ever, has survived long term, without full fiscal, monetary and political union. The idea of sharing the pound (or the Euro) without political union is doomed.”

    (1) The Euro seems to be surviving, despite incredible pressures far in excess of anything a Sterling union would ever be likely to have to endure, and despite constant “expert” predictions of its imminent collapse every other day for the last five years. In fact, it hasn’t just survived, but has been stable and strong.

    (2) How many years did Ireland share Sterling for?

    (3) The Sterling union doesn’t NEED to survive long term. It’s an overwhelmingly sensible thing to start off with, until Scotland has demonstrated economic stability and creditworthiness over a period of perhaps ten years, but beyond that point it’s much better to have our own currency when everyone isn’t crippled by deliberately-stoked-up fear of the notion.

  342. Alec says:

    @Rev C – if I were one of the 50% youth unemployed in parts of the EU, I wouldn’t be quite so sanguine about the Euro. As I say, it’s surviving because the financial stresses are being born by ordinary people by means of unemployment and suppressed wages. That isn’t an economic model I support.

    I appreciate your point about there being no need for a long term sterling union. That’s perfectly sensible as an approach.

    @Caroline Cornfield – “..maybe these things only work across big geographies?”

    It’s not the size that matters, it’s the internal fiscal flows. Something has to replace the safety valve of currency devaluations/appreciations, and with currency union you remove a great deal of automatic flexibility that allows areas of different economic speed to adjust. The only relative adjustments left are wages and employment.

    In the USA, there is a large federal budget which transfers capital across the different areas. In mat ways, currency unions are very socialist enterprises – richer areas cross subsidise poorer ones, as compensation for the removal of currency fluctuations.

    In the proposed sterling union, if the nationalists are right, Scotland would be transferring wealth to England as part of the deal.

    @Northbrit – “It looks like a fairly reasonable position based on current circumstances. Currently our population does die younger.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s an entirely incorrect interpretation of the facts. A higher proportion of Scots are projected to be over 65 than in rUK. It doesn’t matter what age they die on average – there will be relatively more pensioners full stop. End of life costs are broadly similar regardless of the age of death (see WSJ article) so the lower life expectancy can’t be used as a justification for pension promises.

    One significant issue as well to consider. I have been impressed by what I’ve seen of SNP policies on health, and if they work, there is a real opportunity to alleviate obesity and alcohol consumption. If this happens, you’ll get the double whammy of more older people living longer. However, I would still call that a welcome success.

  343. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Still absolutely no evidence to support Alec’s various meanderings as he moves seamlessly from one unsubstantiated scare to another (in the nicest possible way).

  344. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “it’s surviving because the financial stresses are being born by ordinary people by means of unemployment and suppressed wages”

    Totally unlike the UK, of course.

  345. Alec says:

    @dave McEwan Hill – “Still absolutely no evidence to support Alec’s various meanderings…”

    Sorry – I thought I posted a number of references in earlier threads. Did you not get these?

    @Rev C – “Totally unlike the UK, of course.” Of course – what’s going on in parts of the Eurozone it totally unlike the UK, thankfully.

    Of course we have our problems here, and we haven’t got the long term fiscal flows and rebalancing right, but it’s infinitely better than what Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland and Italy are having to face.

  346. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “what’s going on in parts of the Eurozone it totally unlike the UK, thankfully.”

    No it’s not. It’s EXACTLY like it in everything but scale (and in parts of the UK, not so far off even then). In or out of the eurozone, the poor and the young are paying the price for the bankers’ crash.

  347. Finnz says:

    Wish I had access to the FT whilst debating the issue with a colleague offshore today. He was convinced that taxes would increase in an independent Scotland.

    But then he intends to vote Labour despite being of the opinion that they were useless. Pointed him in the direction of LFI.

  348. Alec says:

    @Rev C – I absolutely agree with you. I’m still incandescent with rage over what’s happened. With UK government spending cuts, we can also see what happens within a fiscal union when the internal capital transfers are reduced – absolutely.

    But that’s no excuse to establish a system which is even more exposed to these flaws.

  349. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    You posted no authoritative references to anything that had anything to do with the Scottish constitutional issue.

  350. NorthBrit says:

    You appear to have difficulty distinguishing between facts and opinions. Perhaps I can help you:

    “Currently our population does die younger.” This is a fact.

    “there will be relatively more pensioners full stop” This is an opinion about the future, which you have not supported with any evidence.

    “Full stop” and “entirely” do not magically change your opinions into facts. They make you sound like a Labour apparatchik. Why not finish with “end of” for increased credibility?

    “I’m sorry” – I don’t think you are. This is of course an opinion.

  351. MajorBloodnok says:


    Do you think that the Scottish Government and indeed the Bank of England are unaware of these potential flaws?

    If there is one thing that Mark Carney made clear (even if the MSM deliberately misinterpreted him) is that the BoE will expect to have the powers to enable it to be a strong stabilising influence and that both governments will need to cede sovereignty to ensure that the arrangement is secure and less exposed to maniuplation for the benefit of the banks against the people and our respective wider economies. Surely a good thing overall?

    I mean if we can’t learn from other people’s mistakes (particularly Alistair Darling’s as CoE) then what’s the point?

  352. Alec says:

    @Northbrit – ““there will be relatively more pensioners full stop” This is an opinion about the future, which you have not supported with any evidence.”

    I’m very sorry, but I have –

    Look at the original FT article, and have a look at the chart on population change – I think it’s their third chart.

    There is also this post on WOS – h ttp:// – which states clearly Scotland’s aging issue, but very fairly suggests it needn’t be an issue if immigration can be increased.

    I don’t really know what other evidence you would like.

  353. Alec says:

    @Majorbloobnok – I find the currency issue really interesting.

    I understand what you mean by both sides ceding sovereignty, but I’m doubtful that’s politically acceptable to England.

    Scotland is opting to leave, not England, so English voters will be very averse to the idea of establishing binding limits on spending, or any suggestion that budgets must be set in consultation with Scotland. I simply don’t see this type of arrangement ever getting past the starting blocks, as no rUK PM will want to face their electors with that kind of package.

    My strong suspicion is that the deal will be that Scotland has to submit to Westminster budgetary control, but not vice versa.

    I know people talk about this being a shared currency etc, but to be honest, it isn’t. A currency is a system – you can’t divide a system and allocate shares as such. We share the assets and liabilities for sure, but the currency system is a way of operating, and in effect Scotland would be asking rUK to change the system it is quite happy with, so I suspect they will give a big raspberry to any requests to accept limits on their ability to tax and spend, however sensible those might be.

    I’m not stating this as any kind of fact – we are all guessing here – but as I’ve said before, how do nationalists think UKIP might react to such an idea?

    The ultimate point is that rUK has no incentive to say yes. Salmond has set out his timetable, but no one else has. If rUK voters don’t support the proposals, we’ll just say no. The EU negotiations can’t start until a deal has been agreed, and everyone just carries on, waiting to get a deal. Even if they wanted to agree, I don’t think the rUK PM could.

    Once you start changing the way rUK is run, then you have to contend with rUK democratic will, and this is where the notions of a currency union look very uncertain.

  354. Richard says:


    As with the EU, the reason for a lack of clarity over the pound is that the bitters need FUD to operate.

    Let’s be honest. Why hasn’t Gideon or gat Balls fella said that ‘under no circumstances will SCOTLAND be entering a currency union with the rUK’? Why did the chancre of the exchequer need to make an announcement about debt? It’s the markets dear boy, the markets. What would happen to the £ if London including Balls said a definite no? There is no agreement on debt or asset distribution. The rUK has owned up to debts amounting to approx 95% of GDP if Scotland leaves. What impact on interest rates on lending? Already, the UK 10 year gilt has been drifting around Ireland’s rate. Would play havoc with debt, interest rates and rUK standing in the world. Probably prolonging rUK recession.

    Clearly, to me at least, continued shared use of the £ might be attractive to both sides. However, I suspect that a plan B exists. I am certain that no one in the SNP will admit that

  355. NorthBrit says:


    That chart you cite shows 4.4% growth over 50 years and is prepared by the famously reliable IFS. Even if it is right 1% over the next ten years is hardly going to be a problem and could be easily managed over time. If you’re going to accuse people of “lying” and “wrong” you need to come up with something better than that.

    Scotland is voting to dissolve the Union, not to leave it. The state formerly known as England is trying to claim to be the UK to cling onto what Portillo elegantly described today in the FT as “an unmerited seat on the UN Security Council”. If this legal fiction is disputed at the UN England has very little chance of keeping that seat. So it is in England’s interests to be very nice to Scotland.

    I thought I’d check out some of your previous “concerns” further up. On debt you are hilariously wrong. What you suggested would be a clear technical default. To be fair it looks as though the Treasury was dumb enough to suggest this approach to the rating agencies and got a dusty answer. The Treasury has not offered a guarantee. It has said that the “UK” will honour its obligations under its debt documents. That’s what comes with pretending to be the UK – you have to honour all of its obligations.

    Good luck with your further concern trolling efforts!

  356. alec says:

    @Northbrit – genuinely quite saddened with your response – I thought we were getting along OK, but clearly not. I’m getting the hang of this now though.

    When the IFS raise something like an aging population, they are open to accusations of being unreliable. When they produce charts showing Scotland has a better revenue and spending balance (the last chart in the piece) everyone here [no that’s wrong – some people here] says it’s ‘dynamite’ and ‘unleashing a firestorm’.

    I’ve already picked up that a standard tactic on WOS seems to be to demand evidence or references to any poster suggesting an alternative view, while the majority of pro independence posts aren’t asked for such factual discipline. [For example, you’ve just said that meeting the cost of a rising population ‘could easily be managed’ – reference? Source? Cost?] When said evidence is produced, the source is trashed, even when the same sources data is being used simultaneously to support a yes vote.

    I’d also politely remind you that did previously graciously accept my retraction when I mistakenly applied the L word. It’s a shame you found the need to go back to something I thought we had settled on.

    Yes, I agree – I’m probably not the world’s best expert of international debt and the bond markets, so some of what I say is likely wrong. I suspect you’re probably not an expert in that field either – although who knows – you might be.

    But to return to the chart in question. Do please check that you are reading the projections correctly. The chart suggests Scotland population total will rise by 4.4% by 2062. The 65+ cohort is forecast to rise by 79.6%, while all other age cohorts fall. That’s the problem, and I suspect you won’t find it quite so easy to solve as you assert.

  357. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    FFS Give us a break from this sanctimonious waffle. You are obviously suffering from a misconception that we are either all daft or 12 years of age in the Girl Guides

  358. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “When the IFS raise something like an aging population, they are open to accusations of being unreliable. When they produce charts showing Scotland has a better revenue and spending balance everyone here says it’s ‘dynamite’ and ‘unleashing a firestorm’.”

    Sigh. Because one of them is a FACT (ie has actually happened and can be measured) and the other is a GUESS (a meaningless stab in the dark from an organisation with a track record of wrong predictions).

  359. Alec says:

    @Rev C – “Sigh. Because one of them is a FACT (ie has actually happened and can be measured) and the other is a GUESS (a meaningless stab in the dark from an organisation with a track record of wrong predictions).”

    Sorry Rev – I’m not letting you get away with such a logically vapid position.

    Two points;

    1) The original debate on pensions arose because the SNP made claims that pensions were more affordable in Scotland because of demographic projections. So it’s OK for the SNP to make a ‘meaningless stab in the dark’ but no one else is allowed to?

    2) Everything – and I mean everything – about independence (or voting no, if we’re being honest) is based on projections. Income and expenditure is exactly the same as a population projection. We take known current data – birth rates, mortality levels, migration – your ‘facts’ that have ‘actually happened’ – and make a projection from them.

    Exactly as you have done for Scotland’s income and revenue. Absolutely and utterly identical processes in terms of logic, but you have to find a difference because one of them doesn’t suit the independence meme.

    You’ve already made an absolute statistical howler at the very start of this thread, and you’re doing it again now.

  360. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Everything – and I mean everything – about independence (or voting no, if we’re being honest) is based on projections. Income and expenditure is exactly the same as a population projection.”

    No it’s not. We already know that we’ve been robbed of tens of billions of pounds by being in the UK.

    That’s damaging us RIGHT NOW, by landing us with repayments for debts we didn’t run up and which were spent on things we didn’t want.

    More to the point, we know FOR A FACT that Scotland regularly gets governments it rejects at the ballot box, and that that will always be likely to happen because we’re so massively outnumbered by English voters. Unless you’re suggesting THAT’S going to demographically change, your core assertion is total pish.

  361. NorthBrit says:


    It could be said that I am an expert on bond markets.

    1% of 5 million people is 50,000 additional pensioners. Or 0.2% or 5,000 a year. I think that’s manageable over time.

    My point on “lying” was use of proportionate language. I thought you would have a better basis for being so certain in your language. “plain wrong” is also inappropriate when it is based on long term predictions from a single source, which is generally in favour of cutting pensions. You might say that you think it is imprudent based on an aging population.

    There is a massive difference in reliability between a current fact and a future prediction.

  362. NorthBrit says:

    Actually 0.1% growth per annum. Fat finger syndrome. This completely undermines my argument.

  363. Captain Caveman says:

    “No it’s not. We already know that we’ve been robbed of tens of billions of pounds by being in the UK.”

    I haven’t time to fully engage with this, but the use of the word “robbed” is surely inappropriate. I’ve skim read your linked piece; if I understand correctly, this seems to suggest Scotland was a net contributor to the greater UK to the tune of £27 billion – since 1979..? Is that right? If so, that’s much less than a billion per annum – hardly anything to get in too much of a tiz about – but much more importantly, the term “robbed” implies rUK Scotland has received absolutely nothing beneficial from the UK in return?

    The rUK is Scotland’s biggest importer, by a country mile. I’m sure you’ll ‘asplode’ when I say this, but I’m sorry, the bailout of Scottish banks – most certainly the RBS and HBOS in part – was tantamount to twice the size of the entire Scottish economy, let alone chicken feed like half a billion per year, allegedly (which since England is also a net contributor to the Union, will have gone to Wales and N.Ireland). Like it as not (and believe me, as someone who has just paid another high 5-figure sum in personal tax I DON’T like it), Scotland would’ve been goosed good ‘n proper without this vast tranche of money, of which the “rUK” are going to have to stump up by far the highest proportion.

    As I say, I’m sure you’re explode with the usual “RBS were/are not Scottish” stuff – but all I can say is that’s the case, someone should’ve told Salmond about that ’cause? he was waxing lyrical about them (and their CEO) at the time, and even just a few weeks ago in Edinburgh airport I couldn’t move for giant “Edinburgh: Home of RBS!!11” posters – the clue’s in the name anyway. Give Salmond his due: he should know, I believe he worked for ’em for years didn’t he?

    As for Alec’s (thoughtful, intelligent) posts, I see things have moved on to troll-calling and GIVE ME ABSOLUTE PROOF, WITH LINKS, OTHERWISE EVERYTHING YOU SAY IS ROT type stuff. Really, you guys should listen and engage with the other side; he has already more than graciously acknowledged he doesn’t know everything/could be wrong about stuff – but by crikey, so could you be too.

  364. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Laying aside the fact that the “Scottish” banks (Halifax – in Yorkshire the last time I looked) and RBS which is mostly NAT WEST, both operate much less than 10% of their activity in Scotland and the bailout by international banking protocol would have had to have involved only about 5% it from Scotland (which all informed people now know)I now get the point of most of Alec’s stuff.

    He thinks we are all stupid. This is fairly common coming from the metropolitan media and they still don’t understand that this misconception is leading them to insulting Scotland on a daily basis. This explains the tiresome, infantile style of his sermons.

    Every one of the numerous issues Alec has brought up is dealt with on a daily basis by numerous countries of various sizes and prosperities all across the world.
    He thinks we are too stupid to do the same and he thinks he can persuade us that we are too stupid to do the same.

  365. kininvie says:


    Back to the ageing population:

    I think the difficulty arises in your making the direct link between an ageing population and affordability of pensions.

    Every government in western Europe is facing the same problem: how to continue to pay meaningful pensions in the face of rising life expectancy. Most of them have arrived at the same solution, which is to raise the age of retirement. The French, if you remember, held mass demonstrations against Sarcozy’s proposal to raise retirement age to 62! Their problem remains among the worst.

    The SNP’s point was that Scotland is in a relatively better position to pay pensions – partly because of lower life expectancy and partly because of greater affordability. But I agree this does not remove the long-term problem, especially given the drop in our under-16 population.

    But there is no doubt we need more skilled young people, and taking in skilled immigrants is the obvious answer. It’s entirely possible to have different immigration policies over an open border: see Scott’s article here:

    The concession we may need to make is to have some form of ID. I was virulently anti this when Blunkett’s compulsory ID proposal was introduced, but I think I’d be happy enough with a voluntary ID scheme, proving permission to work/reside in one British country, but not in another

  366. alec says:

    @Kininvie -“I think the difficulty arises in your making the direct link between an ageing population and affordability of pensions.”

    Ah – while I appreciate your sensible and thoughtful post, you need to be careful in this characterization of what I’ve actually said. I haven’t rechecked all my posts in microscopic detail, but I think if you check you’ll find that I haven’t actually commented on whether the SNP’s pension policy are affordable – only that they will be more expensive than rUK. The other central point I am making, and will stick to, is that the SNP are being thoroughly misleading in their presentation of population demographics.

    They came under criticism by the ONS for failing to separate U16 and 65+ dependents in their projections, which was an unusual treatment of pension planning statistics. This effectively hid the significantly faster rise in pension age dependents (who are much more expensive than children) and was a complete distortion of the statistics.

    Worse than that, they used the projected reduction in U16s as a justification that the increase in 65+ is affordable, when in fact it actually adds to the problem. Fewer younger people coming through means the pensioner/worker ratios get even worse.

    Prof Robert Wright of Strathclyde Uni, who is a seriously regarded population expert, was damming, saying –

    “I don’t know why these guys [the SNP] are doing this. It is just shocking.

    If people look at this issue objectively and make the comparisons with the UK, and run the figures through econometric models, then no matter what we put into this model, the answer is that there are big welfare issues.

    If Scotland is not in the UK, it looks very much like we are not going to be able to pay for this increase in the elderly population.”

    Now there is no question that lots of other countries face the same problem, but that’s a red herring. The debate centres on whether the SNP’s claims that future pensions in Scotland will be easier to fund than in rUK, and the simple answer is that they aren’t, on current projections. The SNP have completely misrepresented the situation.

    But I’m completely with you when you say this doesn’t mean these pensions aren’t ‘affordable’. You could raise taxes, cut other spending, increase GDP, encourage immigration etc. But why not be honest about it? Don’t deny that stats and make claims that are statistically illiterate, but just say that under independence Scotland can have it’s own immigration policy.

  367. alec says:

    Correction – I should have said “This effectively hid the significantly faster rise in pension age dependents ratio…”

  368. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I’ll repeat this bit which is the essence of this whole issue and go off and watch some paint drying

    “Every one of the numerous issues Alec has brought up is dealt with on a daily basis by numerous countries of various sizes and prosperities all across the world.
    He thinks we are too stupid to do the same and he thinks he can persuade us that we are too stupid to do the same.”

  369. Steve says:

    What an amazing discussion, as a Southerner I had always thought money flowed from the South of England to Scotland and that the last Labour government was mostly Scottish what with Blair, Brown, Darling, Smith, Reid, the speaker, The Lord Chancellor, etc, to name a few. It is revealing you viewed them an English supporters and disliked their governance.

    It seems my original perceptions were incorrect and I am changing my original view that England would be better off with Scottish independence, to a view that independence would be bad news for England. I wish you well with your Yes vote campaign and hope that post Independence the increasing Scottish aggression to the English will subside. We did fight many wars together.

    One point I think is worth considering is what will be your new constitution be after the Yes vote wins. Will you have a President / Congress or set-up your own House of Lords? Will your see a new political elite arise from the old Labour / Lib grandees or will Alex S. be a dominate force in defining a new fairer constitution. Without a pre-agreed constitution you may risk a very serous rift as a nation post the yes vote if the constitution cannot be agreed.

    All the best in your campaign,


  370. G H Graham says:


    Nice try at trolling but you are going to have to practice more.

    Almost an entire majority of us who seek independence are driven by the desire to elect our own government which can collect our own taxes and spend all of it in our own country. Aggression towards the English is a condition attached to a minority as you will find in any society. There are bigots, zealots, sociopaths & idiots in every country. Scotland is not unique. But they do not represent or speak for the majority, no more than the BNP does so in England.

    The nationality of members of the last cabinet is irrelevant as it is now. We don’t question people’s birthplace but we do test their incompetence, judgment & integrity. Blair, Brown & Darling strung up Britain with catastrophic debt while engaged in wars with countries that posed no threat to any of us while financing a nuclear deterrent Scots don’t want while shifting ideology to the right.

    We fought wars with Russians, Americans, Canadians & Australians but there’s no chance of those countries merging into one so your war effort point is also meaningless.

    The House of Lords is a corrupt, anachronistic group of unelected peers & English Bishops so Scotland will probably retain a unicameral system until we decide otherwise. Why copy something that doesn’t represent the people anyway?

    We’ll sort out the constitution in due course. Independence first. After all, the British government has done nothing meaningful to reform the HoL or Commons or draft a constitution because it likes it the way it is. We in Scotland don’t.

    You’re always welcome to move here once your NHS is fully privatised, the Royal Mail is also fully privatised & your pensions have been decimated in an attempt to pay down the 1.6 trillion od debt you will have come 2016.

  371. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The UK is one of the very few countries in the world without a written constitution (Israel and New Zealand are the significant others) A constitutional committee will be one of the first initiatives after a YES vote.

    There will be no Scottish house of lords.

    Alex Salmond leads one of the major parties in Scotland. After independence there will be free elections to elect the first Scottish Government. Several parties will contest this election. Up to date polling evidence suggests that at the moment the SNP (led by Salmond) is considerably more popular than any other party but this is not a permanent condition.

    Much is often made of the Scottish complement in the House of Commons. (This is mainly because of the unusual prominence of some Scots in the Blair /Brown years)It is in the longer term no more prominent than any other grouping. I would think that most Scots do not consider Blair to be significantly Scottish despite an Edinburgh education. He was never elected in Scotland and he has very little in Scottish antecedent. There are no significant Scots in this Tory government and were none in the Governments which preceded Blair’s. There are no Scots on the Labour front bench at the moment.

    You should get yourself a copy of the White Paper in which all of your questions are answered Phone 0300 0121 809 .

  372. Alec says:

    @G H Graham – “Almost an entire majority of us who seek independence are driven by the desire to elect our own government which can collect our own taxes and spend all of it in our own country.”

    You should chat to UKIP. That’s exactly what they tell me when they doorstep my house.

  373. G H Graham says:

    You vote for UKIP then. We’ll vote for independence.

  374. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    As they don’t actually exist in Scotland (apart from a few apparently unpleasant nutters)they are unlikely to be doorstepping anyone near me

  375. G H Graham says:

    And UKIP is a party. Independence is an aspiration to match the status of 190 other independent countries. The SNP is just the means to get there. After, many will vote for different parties. Just not the UKIP now or in the future.

  376. Richard says:

    Not quite the same. The majority of Scots when polled show a preference for remaining in the EU. That appears to be the position of most, but not all, of the groups aligned in the YES Scotland alliance.

    Speaking for myself, a non party supporter of independence, I would like to see Scotland in control of 100% of our income. I would expect, in the future, to be consulted about a position in Europe (I need to say that the anti-democratic position of some of the players in Europe has caused me to be slightly less positively disposed towards the EU).

    I do seem to remember taking part in a referendum about the Common Market or am I mistaken in my old age. It would appear that the UK made a decision to join what is now the EU. UKIP are perfectly entitled to campaign to leave it. Polls appear to show that the majority outside London and Scotland support the UKIP position. The difference between the UKIP/UK and the Scotland/UK situations are, IMO quite different. There was no universal suffrage when Scotland joined with England.

  377. Alec says:

    @Richard – no, it is actually exactly the same, in broad principle. As with the Freedom Party in Holland, the SNP believes it is costing more to remain in the union than it receives, and that therefore it would be better off out and independent.

    It’s essentially a reductionist, inherently selfish response to a perception of being a net contributor, with the basic driver for independence being to look after your own, and have less regard for the needy who live across a line on a map. This is UKIP’s precise rationale, and it’s one of the reasons why I am reluctant to support nationalist movements unless there is clear evidence of anti democratic persecution and such like.

    If London declared that they would be much better off if they didn’t have to give so much away to the UK, most people would take a dim view of that, but essentially the thought process behind such a move is identical.

  378. Richard says:

    As I said, I am not attached to any party.

    I am an independence supporter because I fundamentally believe it is right that we take responsibility for our own affairs. I suspect that you will find that the majority of people who support independence are of a similar mind. It is the ‘bitters’ who have driven the currency/EU agenda ably aided by their press lovechildren. In the modern age, we are reduced to discussing economic arguments that are circular. It would appear that, depending which ‘think tank’ is bought, a different interpretation of a given paper can be reached.

    I am a Scot. I was born in Scotland. I do not, and have never, recognised what is called ‘British values’. I was brought up in a Scottish education system, worked in a Scottish NHS and live under a Scottish Legal system. England, Wales and Ireland are as foreign to me as Norway, Germany or Spain. It is, quite simply a matter of self determination. If the oil runs out tomorrow as some of the OBR predictions suggest or if we continue to run our country as a parallel of the rUK as the IFS suggests we might and we run out of money, it would be Scotland’s problem to resolve. (wonder how that compares with the UK success in solving the banking crisis single handedly)

    UKIP although a Democratic Party, is an offensive organisation for its attitude to immigrants and is, in my view, indistinguishable from the current Tory Party, the BNP and the others smatterings of the right south of the border (I’m not sure how much traction they have in Wales).

    There is yet to be a balanced case put forward that gives light to a positive view of Scotland in the UK other than to consider selective historical perspectives (and you haven’t added anything either). I suspect that there are a number of reasons for this

    Firstly, there is no such vision of the future of the UK itself.

    Second, since the Thatcher years, successive Westminster governments have been driven only by the (mis)management of money and in particular, the city of London. Strategic investment in a modern industrial policy doesn’t figure in anyone’s thinking ( an interesting perspective can be seen in the dying Tory party industrial policy in Scotland when Forsyth and Lang were Scottish secretaries and where they threw money at short term solutions by paying companies to come to scotland. Check what happened to Chungwa and Motorola to name but 2)

    Thirdly the UK has long misled people about Scotland’s wealth and now the truth of that deception is out, some people are no longer prepared to accept what they are told. The eye opener for me was Waldegrave releasing papers on the last day of a parliamentary session that showed Scotland carrying around 20% of UK debt.

    The people of Scotland are more inclined towards the EU and this doesn’t fit with emerging Tory policy

    If a vision was put forward, no universal agreement could be achieved about the main components of such a vision.

    You can find the similarities with whichever right wing parties in the rest of the world that suit your argument if you like but you would be confusing me with someone who gives a shit about your ignorance of the real issues that I am finding on the doorsteps (one interesting aside has been the small number of people who are undecided but await the result of the Euro elections in May where UKIP success means they will vote Yes).

  379. Alec says:

    @richard – I too was born in Scotland, know all about Scottish history and culture, but now live in England.

    Yes, I can see some differences in education and schooling and social attitudes (to an extent at least) but the similarities between large parts of Scotland and large parts of England are far more than the similarities between different parts of Scotland. The idea that England, Wales and Ireland are as foreign as Norway, Germany or Spain is laughable, to be honest. I see a lot of time and effort goes into distinguishing Scotland from the rest, but being perfectly honest, all my life I’ve looked at this and thought that the differences are relatively slight.

    I always tend to focus on what units, rather than what divides, and I think that the search for false differences is not the best foundation for political thought.

    I would accept entirely your characterization of UK governments industrial policy and inability to accurately discuss economic matters – most parts of England have suffered more from this than Scotland has, as has pretty much the whole of Wales, and again, Scots are not alone in this – you have many allies in the south.

  380. Steve says:

    G H Graham – sadly I think you are right in that the English will get saddled with the 1.6Tn debt as our English negotiators will be so inept, do we agree these debts are the result of a largely Scottish born Labour Elite led Government’s excessive spending on social welfare, wars and rescuing RBS and HBOS, followed by an incompetent Con/Lib government that has not reigned in expenditure?

    It Is of course absolutely Scotland’s decision on Independence and as a non-Scot it makes me wish the English would recognise our own heritage and work to control our own English government.

    From a Southern perspective it seems the Labour Party has always had strong leadership influence/control from Scotland, and your comments seem to forget the large impact the Lib Dems are having on the present Government. The last time I looked Danny Alexander was Scots and there is a very strong Scottish representation from your MPs in all aspects of the parliament. Is it not wrong Scots MPs vote on English only legislation and today there are 90 born Scots representing English constituencies but no English born representing Scots constituencies.

    My point on fighting previous wars together was to say some of the Anti-English propaganda is inappropriate and not that Independence should not go ahead. Many English support your Yes campaign as it will bring control of our Government back to the English – so no trolling from me.

    The constitutional issue of how Scotland is governed is fundamental to the new independent Scotland – how can people know what they are voting for in the future. What happens post-election and who will have the decision making authority? What happens if you cannot agree – potentially your own internal rivalries will re-arise and with no formal governmental structure how will you resolve in a fair way?

    Your are all directing your fire on Westminster, however what about the EU sovereignty issue? Why would you campaign for Independence from England and maintain the EU control of many aspects of your nations governance, the EU is the biggest threat to all of our freedom and this is being ignored by both yes/No campaigns. The UK governmental is increasingly powerless in controlling its borders, laws, etc.

    A smart move could be to leave the UK and not to continue in the EU. A dream for the English to work towards.

  381. Richard says:

    Alec, my views on foreign countries are mine. Whether you think them laughable or not. I only ever visit England as a tourist. Customs and practices are as alien to me as any other foreign country. An interesting place to visit as the Chinese said but beyond that a foreign country. Funnily enough, my daughter lives and works in London and I have brothers in Nottingham and the Birmingham area.

  382. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I see the EU red herring is being drawn across the debate again.
    When Scotland is independent its people will freely decide what to do about the EU.
    That’s all that can sensibly be said at the moment

  383. Richard says:

    Am I alone in wondering how UKOK and the EU are going to cope with the result of the Swiss referendum? It’ll be border posts at dawn. A royal drumming out the brownies for the Swiss.

  384. Steve says:


    The new constitution and its relationship to the EU are paramount to how your independence will work. How you are to be governed will determine how ultimately democratic and Independent your independent nation will be post 2016.

    The EU are very largely dictators of your and my countries present and future laws – you will not be an independent Scottish nation if you have to fully comply with all EU dictates but you will move towards being ever more controlled by a European political class.

    Who says your ruling class will give you a say in a vote on Europe?

    Is not the danger that the ruling Scottish political elite take further control of your country through a yet undefined constitution and then increasingly move you towards a European super state.

    How it all fits together post a ‘yes’ win needs to be addressed now, as the result of not addressing gives the same Scottish leaders and Scottish political class that rule you today the opportunity to a create constitution that gives them more powers and control over You.

    Let’s not forget how your bankers and Scottish elite landowners etc benefit from huge EU tax avoidance, environmental and agricultural payments, and the politicians naturally will not risk losing their generous EU pensions and benefits.

    Your currency, laws, borders, foreign policy, agriculture, financial systems, are and will continue to be dictated from Europe, if you vote as a nation to go independent from the UK only then to be controlled from the EU effectively the Germans and French will control you and your oil. I I suspect it will not be long until you start paying into the EU coffers as net contributors.

    You all say it will Scotland’s decision alone, or do you mean it will be the Scottish elites decision alone.

    How do you know the Scottish people will not be stitched up under a new constitution put in place by your ruling class if these issues are not discussed at this stage?

    My simple advice is to get these issues sorted pre-vote so you know what you voting for.

  385. Richard says:


    Your mince factor has risen beyond control. You should join the bitters!

    I will accept the same independence that Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark et al have. It us considerably more than we have now.

    Are you telling me that these countries aren’t independent? As for the price? Self determination obviously comes expensive if you are at pains to ensure I understand that.

    But thanks for your advice. When I next see Kim Il Eck our esteemed leader I’ll be sure to tell him to consult Steve who has been dribbling all over Wings.

    As for being stitched up by our ruling classes, I will leave that to recurrent UKOK governments and the unelected troglodytes that inhabit the HOL. Iraq, Afghanistan GCHQ and drones in recent memory but the Mau Mau, Malaya and Suez are just a few of our past glories brought on us by our ‘ruling classes’

  386. Steve says:

    Hi Richard…

    Not sure what a bitter is…I want you guys to win the Yes vote….it gives more chance of England leaving the European superstate that is looming over us all.

    Germany is now running Europe and you will see how quickly the EU extracts it price for your continued membership.

    One thought before I drop, if Britain no longer exists what nationality will Blair, Lord Smith, Lord Faulkener, Lord Rennard, all Scottish peers in the HoL etc then become, can you please take them all back, along with the BBC cronies we have to endure such as Kirsty Walk, Andrew Marr, Nicky Cambell etc….although we do want to keep Andrew Neil.

    I will stop dribbling as you kindly refer to it and wish you every success,


  387. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Isn’t remarkable how unionists in the absence of any coherent arguments very quickly take personal insult.

  388. Caroline Corfield says:

    Isn’t it remarkable that when Scotland leaves there will only be England left.

    “more chance of England leaving the European superstate”

    aw, bless

  389. David Mannion says:

    What’s best. Sharing Scotland’s resources (not just oil) between 5 million people with a Yes! or between 65 million people with a No!?

    No brainer as they say.

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