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War on satire continues

Posted on December 09, 2013 by

Oh dear lord. The No campaign really does seem hell-bent on making life hard for those of us who occasionally enjoy mocking it by (slightly) exaggerating the depths of its “Project Fear” scaremongering strategy. They’ve attempted to terrify Scots with uncertainty over the price of stamps, mobile-phone roaming charges and having to buy in Strictly Come Dancing, but none of it’s worked.

tescovalue

So now they’re pulling out the big guns: baked beans.

A story in yesterday’s Financial Times, also picked up today by the Telegraph (although oddly at the time of writing it’s vanished from the paper’s “Scotland” section), quotes executives from three of the “big four” supermarket chains suggesting that independence could see the price of groceries rise in Scottish stores.

Alert readers will of course already be applying the Unionist-Media Language Adjuster:

adjuster

…and a closer examination of the articles appears to justify its use. Andy Clarke, the chief executive of Asda, for example, is quoted as saying this:

“The cost of doing business in different parts of the country does vary. A yes vote in 2014 could result in Scotland being a less attractive investment proposition for business, and put further pressure on our costs.”

Particularly keen-eyed analysts will have noticed that he didn’t actually say anything about increasing prices to compensate for this “cost pressure”. And there’s a similarly heavy qualification in the comments from Dalton Philips, head of Morrisons, which we’ve helpfully bolded:

If the regulatory environment was to increase the burden of the cost structure on business, that would potentially have to be passed through to consumer pricing, because why should the English and Welsh consumer subsidise this increased cost of doing business in Scotland?”

There is, you’ve probably already guessed, no reason whatsoever to expect an independent Scotland to increase the regulatory framework on supermarkets. Indeed, the Scottish Government spokesman in the piece notes that the SNP proposes to use the powers of independence to lower Corporation Tax and fuel duty to cut transport costs, making Scotland more competitive and less costly than it is now.

But more than any of that, the entire story is obviously complete bunk, because for it to be true some of the world’s largest companies (Walmart, which owns Asda, has an annual global turnover of close to £300 billion and more than 2 million employees) would have to abandon the entire fundamental principles on which they do business.

Supermarkets are one of the few genuinely competitive sectors in British commerce. While isolated incidences of cartel-operating (the most recent a decade ago) do occur, food shopping is an area where red-fanged capitalism really does drive consumer prices down – albeit often at the expense of suppliers.

The “big four” are under constant attack from smaller chains, including low-end outlets like Aldi and Lidl as well as the likes of Poundland and Home Bargains. (Scotland in particular also retains a strong presence from the Co-op and Scotmid.) They simply can’t afford to give competitors an advantage by unilaterally hiking prices, because all but the most remote rural communities have plenty of options.

So the notion of Scotland – the vast majority of whose population, remember, is conveniently concentrated in a narrow strip across the middle of the country with abundant transport links, the dream arrangement for large-volume unit-shifters – suddenly seeing the cost of a box of cornflakes rocketing compared to England is one of the most laughable/insulting attempts to scare Scots into voting No yet.

But don’t get too relaxed.

“Major food price rises are all but inevitable, the chief executive of Britain’s biggest supermarket chain has admitted. Speaking exclusively to the Observer, Philip Clarke of Tesco, which was heavily implicated in the horsemeat scandal, said that rising global demand means the historic low prices to which British consumers have become used are now unsustainable. 

‘Over the long run I think food prices and the proportion of income spent on food may well be going up,’ he said. ‘Because of growing demand it is going to change. It is the basic law of supply and demand.'”

As ever, then, the doom-laden warnings about what MIGHT happen in an independent Scotland are in fact the things which definitely ARE going to happen if we stay in the UK. Unlike the chief executives of Asda and Morrisons, Philip Clarke attached no qualifiers or disclaimers to his bald statement that prices in the UK are going to go up.

A Scottish Government with full control of all the levers of the economy might or might not be able to do something to mitigate the situation. But what we know for sure is that if we stay as we are, our wallets and purses will definitely be getting lighter.

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    144 to “War on satire continues”

    1. The Penman says:

      So, let’s count the liars who are lying about what the supermarkets have said and what the implications are:
       
      1. Blair McDougall (tweeted “fuel prices WILL rise in independent Scotland”) (emphasis mine)
      2. Daily Mail
      3. FT?
       
      Right, who else?

    2. Michael says:

      Well said Rev. – I’m always amazing how the Telegraph and other assorted Unionist papers manage to paint a picture of terrifying doom and gloom which verges on the absurd, so much so that people have to start (thankfully) questioning – “hang on a minute, I am being fed a load of rubbish here?”.

    3. Kirriereoch says:

      This is mind numbing stuff being “reported.” Nicely deconstructed Rev.
       
      I´ve used a documentary when teaching marketing students that is an investigation of how Tesco uses the 4 Ps of marketing, Place, Price, Product and Promotion. The documentary is far from flattering for Tesco as it deconstructs their techniques. It also includes a 5th “P” – Power and how Tesco flexes its buying power in the marketplace and to farmers etc.
       
      With interviews with a variety of people, including George Monbiot, they all concluded that supermarket prices are unsustainable in the long run anyway. And this documentary was made nearly 10 years ago.
       
      One final point, the documentary also highlights how prices already vary by around 10% across the UK as it stands. 
       
      Basically, as you´ve expertly done, this “story” is scraping the barrel and the way it is presented is far more telling than the actual background story.
       
      Right, I´m off to buy some teabags and maybe I´ll get a bottle of wine for this evening to go with some french cheese. These are “foreign” products (don´t let Margaret Curran know there are “foreign” things in the shops btw!) 

    4. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Food prices going up ooh goody,cant afford heating and food soon wont be able to afford anything thx God for food banks lol

    5. Kirriereoch says:

      Ps, meant to add that food prices at Tesco are up to 10% higher in the South East of England. Not Scotland.

    6. Horacesaysyes says:

      When I saw this yesterday, I actually thought that, although unlikely, if we did see an increase wouldn’t it open the door for a potential Scottish supermarket chain?
       
      I remember as a child being dragged around William Low’s for our weekly shop, and I have to say I’d be quite happy to support a local chain again.

    7. seoc says:

      Aldi and Lidl will welcome price rises from their competitors, I’m sure.
      BTW, I’ve yet to see large disclaimers in the UK stores to the effect that “There is now no horseflesh in any of our meat products. there was none and there will be none”
      Ah – the sound of silence.

    8. richard says:

      I’m a bit perturbed by Rajoy’s continuing intervention and worry that the EU is increasingly looking as undemocratic as the House of Lords following today’s piece in the Guardian. I wonder if his declaration of eternal love for David Cameron gives any colour to his position. Indeed, he would throw Scotland out the EU the day after the vote for Yes even though we would still be part of the United Kingdom. If I knew Spanish, I would write to him asking that he point out the particular articles that apply from the EU treaty

    9. msean says:

      This has just been (or should that be  ‘bean’) don’t think i heard an opposing view.

    10. Craig P says:

      Food prices in the UK are low by north European standards, look at the cost of eating in Scandanavia for example.
       
      On the other hand land prices are high, so what we save in food bills we more than pay out in rent and mortgages.

    11. The one thing that’ll help when global food prices go up is higher salaries, which is exactly what the Common Weal project (and many other independence campaigners) are proposing.

    12. Illy says:

      Catchy name for what the posters are saying:
       
      FUD: [the spreading of] Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
       
      It’s an old, old style in some sectors when dealing with certain monopolys.  I know the term from IT and Microsoft’s use of the tactic.
       
      It also has the advantage of being an existant term, meaning exactly what you are talking about, that a decent segment of the population will already know.

    13. kininvie says:

      Rumours on Twitter that Tesco is denying the story….can’t find chapter & verse though.

    14. The Man in the Jar says:

      @richard at 10:08am
      If Rajoy is worrying you take a look at the “Wee Ginger Dug” blog where the Spanish question is well and truly put to bed!
       
      http://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/

    15. msean says:

      @10:10 correction-This has just been(or should that be “bean”) on the news,don’t think i heard an opposing view.

    16. David says:

      Be interesting to see how much these chains have invested in current political system with donations to the pro union parties.

    17. Ian Brotherhood says:

      It’s Supermarket Sweep – Darling is Dale Winton, saying to the Big Four: ‘You lot stand over there and I’ll come over myself in a minute…’

    18. Harry Shanks says:

      “Dragged round William Low’s”?

      Couldn’t your mother just have dressed you in boys’ clothes?

    19. The Rough Bounds says:

      Here’s something to note:
       
      Speaking in the sixties on Scotland’s struggle for independence, the late Hugh MacDonald once said to me, ”I’m not in this game to get fourpence off a can of beans you know”.
       
      My God, how prescient were those words. They are almost an epitaph.

    20. Mealer says:

      Farmers are currently selling tattles for about 20p per kg and consumers are buying them from supermarkets for about five times that.Theres plenty room for the supermarkets to absorb farm gate price rises.They just need to take a tiny bit less profit.After all,how many billions do they really need?

    21. Suzanne K says:

      The Co-op already operates three price levels across it’s branches. Our local one in an affluent area is at least 10% higher than one situated 15 miles away in a less affluent area.

      I see Leasky is on twitter querying prices between Ireland and the UK. Is he jumping on the Asda bandwagon?

    22. Wayne says:

      As someone who has the privilege (if that is the right word) of living in St Andrews, and enjoying the absolute hell that is Tesco Metro (quite possibly the most expensive Tesco in the UK), I am relieved to hear that I won’t be voting for even higher prices to match the long queues and crap customer service I already get….phew!
       
      There are simply no depths BT and their media lackeys will not go to in order to put fear into the undecided Scottish voter. Whilst we can collectively laugh at their stupidity, it sadly has an effect…..is someone keeping a list of all of the scare stories? It will be fun to look back on some of project fear’s greatest scare stories once the referendum is past.

    23. desimond says:

      Caption…”We need a catchy name for this”

      The Montford Effect…a total Stramash of reality

      The Grimhilde Twist – Taking something and twisting into an ugly deceitful form

      The Melchett Theory…its all absolute Tish-Tosh

    24. gerry parker says:

      Support farmers markets wherever they are.

    25. Ken500 says:

      Asda supports the SNP. Many companies are non political to protect their markets. Goods could be priced lower in Scotland with lower corporation tax. Fuel/energy could be cheaper with lower costs because of being close to the source with less distribution costs. Goods could be imported through Scottish ports, increasing job opportunities. Increase tax on cheap ‘loss leading drink,could cut comsumption and save on healthcare and social costs

      Corporates/Banks support the Tory/Unionists Parties. Trade Unions support Labour/Unionists. SNP is supported/financed by it’s members. Largest Political Party (pro rata) in the UK.

      The SNP gov in Holyrood is the only protection against the Westminster corruption. It is the only way people in Scotland know what’s going on through Westminster misadministration, financial mismanagement and secrecy.

    26. Scot in Spain says:

      @Richard 
      I wouldn’t give much creed to what Rajoy says. As someone living under the current corrupt and increasingly fascist ·government” in Spain, I can assure you that the man is a spineless, corrupt liar who will bend whichever way he’s told to by others.

      The Spanish government have done so many 360s since they came to power that it’s simply ridiculous. And despite nearly the entire cabinet being implicated in an outrageous corruption scandal they refuse to resign. To give you an example of his character,  his “press conference” about this corruption was on a TV screen with him in a different room and refusing to answer questions.

      Basically, shouting about Scottish independence is the same about shouting about Gibraltar, it’s a convenient way to  try and distract the Spanish public from Spain’s increasing economic and social problems and crumbling democracy and loss of social freedoms (recent law which has been passed outlawing demos, harking back to Franco’s time).

      Which is why I’ll be moving back to vote yes in May!

    27. Brian Powell says:

      From the FT article:
      “Dalton Philips, chief executive of Wm Morrison said: “If the regulatory environment was to increase the burden of the cost structure on business, that would potentially have to be passed through to consumer pricing, because why should the English and Welsh consumer subsidise this increased cost of doing business in Scotland?”
       
      Plenty of other companies ready to step in Mr Phillips.
       
      Some day I must visit the strange other land of Scotland, I know the journey may be terrifying because the Unionists tell me the distance to it are vast. I thought from Carlisle to Gretna was 10miles but apparently that may be light years. The inhabitants may appear friendly but are likely to fall upon you and dismember you if they think you are foreign, even if you you say my granny was born there.

    28. Ken500 says:

      The price of food could rise in the UK because of the CAP cut in the EU, required by Westminster. Scottish farmers receives the lowest CAP payment in the whole of the EU. The UK Treasury took the increased payment awarded to Scotland and distributed it to farmers south of the border. The Farming Minister made a statement about ‘Better together’, while discussing it. The gall of some people is astonishing.

    29. Cath says:

      “as well as the likes of Poundland “
       
      BUT WHAT WILL POUNDLAND BE CALLED IN A SEPARATE SCOTLAND? ALEX SALMOND CANNOT ANSWER THIS.

    30. Vincent McDee says:

      Apropos of today’s beans, even the Daily Express has come on the Yes side when Jim Murray, author of the Whisky bible said:
      Generally speaking bourbon has overtaken Scotch. The best whisky is coming not from Scotland any more, but from Kentucky”.
       
      To which the “Scottish” Express rebutted: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/447519/Whisky-bible-author-has-a-dram-cheek-to-say-US-tipple-is-better-than-Scottish?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+daily-express-uk-news+(Daily+Express+%3A%3A+UK+Feed)
      “THOSE who enjoy a dram could take Jim Murray’s opinion that American brands are outshining Scotch with a pinch of salt – after all, he’s English”
       
      How long before the OBR forecast of Whisky export dwindling and/or prices going down?
       
      BLOW TO ALEX PLAN FOR INDY: NOBODY WILL BUY SCOTCH

    31. Jeannie says:

      @NGH75
       
      Brilliant!

    32. Molly says:

      Ken500 , not sure Asda support the SNP. I know of a local Councillor who had great difficulty in getting Asda to allow  a card (with all his surgery details ) be placed on their community board, although there appeared to be no issue with the local Labour Councillor having his surgery details displayed prominently.

    33. Big Drone says:

      So, if you actually read what this says – in precis, ‘it is enevitable that food prices will go up throughout the UK!’  It makes not a jot if Scotland is independent!  I despair of ‘britsh’ journalism – how low is their reporting going to sink!

    34. JimW says:

      I believe that, at the moment, the big supermarkets do not actually pay tax in Scotland, but in England, mostly in London, where their headquarters are registered. Perhaps they would enjoy lower tax rates in an independent Scotland, and would be able to reduce prices here.  There is certainly no reason to suppose that their tax commitment would be any greater.

    35. Brian Powell says:

      Classic FM news reporting this as all four main supermarket chains going to increase prices. I would guess the drones on BBC will be reporting the same.

    36. Dorothy Devine says:

      There are advantages to all things!
      No more money to buy expensive food – obesity and its attendant links to nasty diseases cured in a oner!
      Will Poundland be called Poundandahalfland?

    37. Doug Daniel says:

      One of the things I would like to see after independence is an effort to ensure farmers are properly supported, and to neuter the purchasing power of supermarkets. I’d also like to see fewer Tesco Metros and Sainsbury Locals on our high streets – Holburn Street in Aberdeen has recently seen a Tesco Metro appear right next door to an existing Co-op (with a Spar just a couple of minutes down the road as well), and a Sainsburys Local open up another two minutes up the road where an excellent Chinese restaurant used to be. Both are completely unneeded, but the parasites buy up any empty retail space, just to stop their competitors getting it first.
       
      An independent Scotland needs to support small and medium businesses, as those are the lifeblood of the economy. The likes of Tesco simply put smaller businesses out of business, hoover up profits and dump them in an offshore tax haven.

    38. HandandShrimp says:

      Of the three, Tesco made no specific mention of Scotland but rather talked about global food price pressures, Asda and Morrisons need to explain themselves. Perhaps they would rather not have our custom at all.

    39. handclapping says:

      I am disappointed in the FT. Normally its foreign reporting is excellent and has saved me from many a nasty shock but on Scottish independence they have really dropped a clanger. The risk of iScotland to the rUK is not negligable and the consequences could be severe and alarming and yet the attitude is it wont happen, la, la, cant hear you. I dont mind that in the Telegraph because you get what you pay for but I expect a better, business oriented reporting from the FT. There is a risk to Sterling in all of the referendum outcomes and it is not being addressed.

    40. Gillie says:

      The only big supermarket to increase its market share this year was Sainsbury’s. There is a market rumour that Tesco will actually announce a loss.

    41. Jeannie says:

      @Doug Daniel
       
      An independent Scotland needs to support small and medium businesses, as those are the lifeblood of the economy
       
      Couldn’t agree more, Doug.  What’s wrong with having a small business that gives you a wage to live on or allows you to take on a few employees?  I’ve never really understood the drive to grow everything into a multi-million pound operation.  
       
      A relative of mine had a small fast-food business for a while but found that the local council were often the problem – largely due to the parking restrictions they placed on the road outside her shop.  It’s a problem for a fast-food establishment if you’ve to find somewhere to park, then walk a distance to the shop.  Also, there were no restrictions in place on the number of similar businesses that could open up.  When they allowed a branch of Subway to open up right across the street from her, the writing was on the wall and she had to close.  The Scottish Government had been supportive with their policy of reduced business rates for small businesses, but the local authority seemed to fail her at just about every level.  There’s a lesson in there, somewhere.
       

    42. Vincent McDee says:

      More beans, this time black:
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25300398
      Preston: “For the avoidance of doubt, the point here is that the basic facts – as seen by these big stock-market-listed companies, I stress – would frequently pose more questions to those in favour of independence than those against”
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25299332
      Some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets may consider increasing their prices north of the border, should Scotland vote for independence next year.
       
      Worst thing is we pay for that drivel. About time Scotland stops paying the “TV tax”, as the catholics in Northern Ireland did at the time of the troubles.
       

    43. Cath says:

      . I would guess the drones on BBC will be reporting the same.
       
      BBC “Scotland” reported it this morning. 
       
      I’ve only just started listening to BBC Scotland in the morning. Hadn’t realised quite how dire it is. It really does feel like some 1930s throwback – “this is the BBC, speaking to you from London.”

    44. Les Wilson says:

      Two things here 1, Companies will always be friendly to countries who allow them a better business friendly environment. They have to think of their shareholders and are always likely to befriend such an environment, not discourage it.

      2, I had a chat with an English chap who was against a YES vote on a blog. He said that supermarkets would likely recede from Scotland in such an event as a YES vote. I took the line that if such situation were to occur, I think it would be a great chance for Scottish food producers to ramp up  their businesses. Such a thing would be creative in Scotland and would result in very many Scottish jobs and other companies that would be attracted here would make up the slack. I also pointed out that these supermarket chains supply at a rough guess 95% of our food from English producers, so if they moved the status quo  that now exists.

      Scottish producers would gain, the Scottish job market would gain, and others more friendly would make up the short fall. So I suggested he had not thought through the consequences of what he had suggested as far as the points I had mentioned in my reply. I invited him to come back and remake his case given my scenarios of what would happen in my opinion.

      Of course, just like the latest scare tactic, he never came back to challenge me, he just faded away. That is what will happen now too. Ill thought out and sure to backfire on the supermarket and thousands of jobs across England. We need not worry about this one, while realising that the markets will determine food cost rises, but these will be UK wide not only for the free Scotland. 

    45. Training Day says:

      It’s not just food that’ll be affected.  Like Sharleen Spiteri, I like to express my Scottish culture by purchasing a ‘see-you-Jimmy’ wig in places like Asda.
       
      Dear God, won’t someone think of the wigs?

    46. Bunter says:

      BBC news 24 quoting this story. If these supermarkets are being prompted to play some sly political games, then we have the means via social media to make them rather uncomfortable.

    47. proudscot says:

      Well one thing’s for sure, our Westminster Unionist Troughers, mainly Labour and LibDem MPs, won’t be bothered about rising prices of anything if we remain in the status quo of the UK. Their soon-to-be-announced 11% pay rise to £74,000 per year will see to that. Does anyone really wonder why the likes of Murphy, Curran, Sarwar, Davidson and the Alexanders are so opposed to Scotland’s independence? It couldn’t be naked self-interest, surely?

    48. desimond says:

      To be fair it makes sense for all the multi million pound making Supermarkets to give up on Scotland. Given the horrendous delays at the new  Border controls, we would see all the Asparagus wilt and the Wensleydale go right off!

      Scotland would be left to weep into its copious bounty of fresh fruit and veg, dairy, fish and all that world renowned lifestock…well hell mend them!

    49. gavin lessells says:

      Inspiring video from launch of Common Weal yesterday for anyone interested.
      http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2013/12/08/all-of-us-first/
       

    50. Doug Daniel says:

      @Jeannie – spot on. You have to laugh at councils who express concern at the death of the high street, yet seem to do everything in their power to shift everything into out-of-town retail parks through things like draconian parking charges and shoving double yellow lines everywhere. No joined up thinking going on there, too busy trying to squeeze as much out of the golden goose as possible.

    51. kalmar says:

      Illy says:
      Catchy name for what the posters are saying:
       
      FUD: [the spreading of] Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
       
      It’s an old, old style in some sectors when dealing with certain monopolys.  I know the term from IT and Microsoft’s use of the tactic.
       
      It also has the advantage of being an existant term, meaning exactly what you are talking about, that a decent segment of the population will already know.

      It’s funny, I thought exactly the same thing yesterday as I recall the term FUD from the operating system battles of the ’90s – I think it’s very appropriate to this debate – sums the NO campaign up perfectly.  Hi 5 Illy!
       

    52. John Kerr says:

      “Low End supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi”.  Well seen you don’t do the messages – sic, in your household.  Clean efficient supermarkets selling the same goods as Marks and Spencers et al under their own labels, but produced by the same manufacturers, just at 1/3 of the price.

      Also both of these supermarkets swept the Best Grocery awards yet again and I think Lidl was supermarket of the year for 2013.  Both also heavily promote Scottish goods here in Scotland. Whereas I couldn’t get Scottish butter in Tesco for the first 6 months they were open and really kicked off about it.

      If the big four want to try and stick it to us on prices, they are in for a fright.   The Scots will not take kindly to being ripped off and can and will take their business elsewhere.  Cannot imagine for a moment that considering the level of investment here by the likes of Tesco that they would cut their own throat.

      Sorry for the rant, but we need to forget about the snobbery factor on this one and should be supporting the supermarkets who are selling Scottish produce.  I am aware that the likes of Lidl really do screw their suppliers on price, but so do all the others.  At least Aldi and Lidl pass this on to their customers.

    53. scotchwoman says:

      Vincent McDee – Robert Peston’s BBC piece shows just how out of touch others are with what’s going on up here and in the real world. His attitude, like so many others, seems to be that the restless natives will never survive without the empire behind them.
       
      It remains the case that most in the rUK are in denial, failing to recognise that Scotland’s transformation says as much about them (and their illusive empire) as it does about our own nation. It may only be after the YES vote that the realisation finally dawns. Politics in the rUK might become a little more interesting at that point. 

    54. ronnie anderson says:

      Brian Powell, I hope you have had all your inoculations before you leave Carslile, we are VIRUS INFECTED, Decontamination Tents are available at Gretna on returning over the border lol

    55. scotchwoman says:

      Meanwhile, the anecdotal evidence of the reaction against this nonsense continues. Had a nice chat last week with a long standing friend who is a bricks and mortar Tory. For the first time, she was asking questions about what Scotland might be like if we vote YES.

    56. ronnie anderson says:

      Cath, Scottish Poundland, / renamed THE WEE BAW BEE

    57. The Penman says:

      Scotland is a net exporter of food. 
       
      Why would Asda, Morrisons etc be shipping so much of it up here in the first place?

    58. ronnie anderson says:

      Vincen McDEE, keep sending the message,STARVE THE BBC OF FUNDS DONT PAY THE LICENCE FEE, JOIN THE EVER GROWING BAND

    59. molly says:

      The Penman,
      for the same reason, there is a Tesco Metro in Budapest- profit and their stake in the market.Why do we allow our food to be transported 400 miles is a different question.

    60. Morag says:

      I don’t understand Asda.  They sponsored a big event at the SNP conference, lots of free buffet food for people invited to the donors’ reception.  Their people were making very positive noises.

    61. Chic McGregor says:

      Like I keep pointing out, the UK, because of the overpopulation of England, has to net import more than half its food and drink.  That represents a net annual grocery bill of tens of billions of pounds.
       
      A bill which has to be paid before anything else starts to be paid off.
       
      It means the UK is over a barrel.  For example, you cite Aldi as an example which exerts a low pricing pressure in the UK, which is absolutely correct – relatively speaking.  However in a recent holiday in Bavaria, the wife and I were astonished at how much cheaper prices were in Aldi there compared to the UK.  We bought clothes, chocolates etc. To bring back as much as we could.  To give a specific example.  Clarke’s Bourban, in Aldi Munich €6.99, in Aldi UK £12.79.
       
      Scotland, is not overpopulated and is a net food and drink producer.  Furthermore, a lot of the value added currently attributable to England is actually on Scottish sourced produce, a situation which is unlikely to survive independence very long.

    62. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “we need to forget about the snobbery factor”

      It wasn’t snobbery. I use all the chains I mentioned in the piece. It’s a simple descriptor. Low prices don’t necessarily mean low quality. The word “low” is therefore not pejorative.

    63. chalks says:

      Jesus, are you lot actually taking this seriously?
       
      Food prices might go down.
      Food prices might go up.
      Food prices might stay the same.
       
      What is true is that we would be in a position to actively grow our own economy and help local businesses expand internationally and actually grow quality produce, rather than relying on the global market to dictate to us.

    64. Norrie Sewart says:

      Headline if we had an independence supporting news paper.
      SCOTLAND WILL BE THINNER WITH INDEPENDENCE.
      Might help a bit with the yes vote.

    65. Norrie Sewart says:

      Could have fun with is.
      MOBILE PHONES WILL NOT FRY BRAINS IN AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND

    66. MochaChoca says:

      How can Aldi and Lidl possibly compete with the big four ‘homegrown’ supermarkets on price when they have to trade not just across a land border but across the North Sea?
       
      Could it be that political boundaries have zero effect on such trade, prices will always vary from shop to shop, town to town and region to region.
       
      The laws of supply and demand are what governs prices.

    67. Roboscot says:

      We get our groceries from a box scheme run by a local organic farm. Started by a  young couple on a smallholding, they now employ about 30 people in a rural part of Scotland, and pay them a living wage. The cost of the groceries are comparable with the local supermarkets. Even if you don’t go with the organic thing, those are good reasons for supporting them.

    68. ScotFree1320 says:

      @richard

      It took three years (from 1982 to 1985) for the agreements to allow Greenland to secede from the EU to be drafted and verified.  

      The EU can’t and won’t throw us out overnight.

      http://bit.ly/18vYbjA

    69. Les Wilson says:

      The Penman
       
      Yes I agee and have been saying so for some time. If they did anything negative to us in that way, Scottish producers would ramp up production and take on more workers, produce more home based tax by doing so. 
      However, I do not think they would be so stupid as to put so many of the rUK suppliers at risk. They make fortunes up here, looking around their shelves will soon tell you that they hardly support Scottish manufacturers, that should be addressed.

    70. Chic McGregor says:

      Chalks
       
      The food and drinks differential between Scotland and rUK which is likely to ensue after independence is serious in terms of financial impact.  It could quite easily exceed the much better known oil revenue benefit but is mired by its complex nature.
       
      Because of the common border and short distances, this benefit is unlikely to be distributed in point of sale price differnces but it will still, if less visibly, accrue to a Scottish exchequer for use in other ways.

    71. Dunphail says:

      Asda has previously incurred the wrath of the UKOK mouthpiece the Daily Mail

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2114634/Asda-tells-suppliers-Dont-fly-Union-flag-packets-offend-Scots.html

      I am fairly sure their chief exec Andy Clarke has been quoted out of context. If not his collar will being felt by Walmart  

    72. A2 says:

      They really don’t believe in keeping their powder dry do they?

      It’s clear that drip feed is the strategy and this one was entirely predictable, It’s just working out which order the frighteners come out in that’s tricky.

    73. TheGreatBaldo says:

      As I notice Ian Bell and others have noted this isn’t really about distribution costs….from the FT piece the Big 4 (sans Tesco) are whinging about the health increments….
       
      In other words….minimum prices and the end of BOGOF bevvy deals, the age cigarettes can be bought being raised to 18 and the ban on open displays of tobacco products…..all of which are happening or happened under the current constitutional arrangements.
       
      Also it suggest that ASDA for example would establish a separate Scottish arm….but Supermarkets big power comes from their massive economies of scale….treat Scotland and rUK as separate markets and you decreases the economies of scale for everyone in the UK.
       
      In other words it would make economic sense for the Big 4 to keep their current procurement set up AFTER independence….or put another way…make no sense to break it up.

    74. iain taylor (not that one) says:

      Could someone have a word with the CEOs at the likes of Auchan (France, mostly) or Edeka (Germany, mostly) about their market opportunities in Scotland if the English brands decide they don’t like the Scottish market much?
      we might end up with better supermarkets than we have now. 

    75. Michael says:

      Come on guys, stop using that ridiculous expression, ‘up here’ when talking about the place you live. Can you imagine anyone in England referring to their own country as ‘down here’. Horrid piece of colonialist thinking where you define yourself against an external model.  

    76. desimond says:

      Rev, dont you mean …War on Saltire continues 

    77. scottish_skier says:

      Auchan (France, mostly) 
       
      French supermarkets are to die for. All that Scottish produce on offer at cheaper prices than at home. That and whole aisles devoted to cheese…

    78. Jim Mitchell says:

      Actually when you think about it, it has taken the forces of darkness longer than we might have expected to use scare stories about food prices aka how will we feed our selves in an independent Scotland? And I see the BBC’s politics page has Robert Peston banging on about it too,http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25299332 

      Again he mentions a story regarding someone he knows but won’t mention names, I wonder why?

    79. desimond says:

      Can someone maybe check with renowned speaker Anas Sarwar and ask if this would be the perfect opportunity for a budding overseas Entrepreneur to step in and sweep up the Scottish retail market?

    80. Robert Kerr says:

      Iain
      Indeed,
       
      I was most impressed with Auchan in Paris and Fano (Italy).
       
      Local supermarket here is mostly sweets/crisps/fizzy drinks/booze. 

    81. Mark Coburn says:

      People on this website should not be demanding any change to this sort of journalism. They should let them continue. It is turning folk off. It is working to our advantage. By the time we get to the referendum, are they still going to be talking about baked beans ffs?

    82. kininvie says:

      O/T
      Following Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at Livingston last Wednesday, Yes West Lothian has been busy splitting the full-length video into watchable chunks of 5-7 mins, each dealing with a different part of the case of independence.  The aim is to make these useful points of reference for undecided voters.
       
      May I suggest you bookmark this Youtube page (or subscribe of course) and use the videos as seems best. We still have a few to go, including some of the questions & answers.
       
      http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL0jche7m8_t4e6qnkk3FyA?feature=watch

    83. chalks says:

      @Chic McGregor
       
      If it leads to someone actually working out the exact figures we would garner in our backpocket from the tax revenues of the big four….rather than it being counted as London’s…then so be it I guess.

    84. Morag says:

      What happened to the “Celebrity endorsement” post?  Did Sarah Palin threaten to sue?

    85. mogabee says:

      There is an issue with some food producers in Scotland being taken over by companies from rUK and goods for eg. cheeses having to be packaged down south then returned to Scotland for sale, or onwards to Europe etc.

      I also know that said companies are dismissive of Scotland voting yes and are not preparing in any way. Could be a lot of surprised folk!

    86. Spout says:

      Phone Morrisons (0845 611 5000 ask for Public Relations)
       
      and Asda (0800 952 0101 then press 5)
       
      and ask them to confirm their overt political stance regarding Scottish independence and taking part in a Scare Campaign on behalf of the No Campaign.
       
      As a customer of both periodically  – I just did.

    87. Morag says:

      And?  What did they say?

    88. cirsium says:

      scottish skier “French supermarkets are to die for”
       
      Agree.  It was a mouth-watering experience shopping in a Carrefour supermarket.

    89. patronsaintofcats says:

      Guardian has picked it up as well, and my comment calling it FUD and asking why Mr Carrell was recycling yet another scaremongering story was modded off.  I mean, all I said was “Wolf!”, something I’ve done many times on stories like this, all acceptable until today.
       
       They don’t like it up ’em!

    90. Bunter says:

      Just phoned nice Asda lady, but she was unaware of the story, tho not surprised. If it’s ramping up, she soon will be.

    91. Illy says:

      You know, if they’re trying to scare people about “how will you feed yourselves after independance”, maybe they shouldn’t be providing so many examples of how they plan to feed us if we stay with the union.  Foodbanks are such an eyesore, aren’t they?

    92. JasonF says:

      Peston is claiming on the BBC website claiming that bosses at big companies are worried about speaking out on independence – yet the general consensus is that governments are almost powerless when faced with big business; yet another example of everything being the other way around in Scotland.
       
      It’s difficult to believe that Alex Salmond is that scary. Then again maybe they’ve been watching Nicola Sturgeon’s debates on STV.

    93. WND says:

      O/T
      That Alistair Carmichael blog’s really roaring along. Three posts now. First one with 36 comments, nearly all negative.  Second with 2 comments; tried leaving one a while ago  – bit negative, I’m afraid – but got modded out. Third one, posted Friday, 0 comments.
       
      I’d post a link, but I don’t want to waste 30 seconds of anyone’s time.

    94. theycan'tbeserious says:

      Cath:
       
      How’s about “BAWBEE LAND”…..I’ll get ma coat! 

    95. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “What happened to the “Celebrity endorsement” post? Did Sarah Palin threaten to sue?”

      Pesky RSS readers…

      I accidentally clicked “Publish” instead of “Save draft” when it was half-finished. It can’t have been there for even a minute.

    96. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Come on guys, stop using that ridiculous expression, ‘up here’ when talking about the place you live. Can you imagine anyone in England referring to their own country as ‘down here’. Horrid piece of colonialist thinking where you define yourself against an external model. “

      Maybe a wee bit paranoid there. Scotland is “up” on a map, because it’s to the north. I always think of England as “down” and Scotland as “up”, and it’s not out of any sense of inferiority. Indeed, things at the top are usually considered to be the best 😀

    97. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I mean, all I said was “Wolf!”, something I’ve done many times on stories like this, all acceptable until today.”

      I like that. If folk must respond to troll pieces on the Scotsman, Mail, Telegraph etc, just posting one word seems a pretty pithy reply, and makes an eloquent point concisely.

    98. Illy says:

      @Stu: I’d make a joke about Iceland and Norway there (maybe even Svarlbard), but I can’t put it together.

    99. Onzebill says:

      O/T: Can you help please, on a post yesterday it was stated that Danny Alexander recently jabbered about there being 830,000 Scots living in England, does anyone know where this figure came from?? I vaguely recall that just 3-4 years ago the Scots population in England was estimated as 530,000. Or have I got that totally wrong?? 

    100. HandandShrimp says:

      Indeed Stu which is why places like London and Cambridge prefer to use the expression “going up to…” even if it involves going down.
       
      I see Severin has a piece on the supermarkets. Is there no scare story too lame for him to pick up and run with on behalf of BT?  

    101. Robert Kerr says:

      I beg toy differ Rev Stu.
       
      Up is towards London at least as far as railway usage.
       
      On most of the network, up is the direction towards London. In most of Scotland, with the exception of the West and East Coast Main Lines, up is towards Edinburgh.
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_directions
       
      It’s imperialism writ large.

    102. Chic McGregor says:

      “Can you imagine anyone in England referring to their own country as ‘down here’.”
       
      Well we hear ‘Darn Sarf’ often enough.  OK that might just be from the working class.
       
      But what about ‘Home Counties’ from the knob end of society?
       
      Stranger still is the term ‘Middle England’ which would appear to actually mean the SE corner (minus the Estuarine plebs of course).

    103. A2 says:

      ‘Indeed, things at the top are usually considered to be the best’
      What Like Mr Cameron, top man at Westminster?

    104. Chic McGregor says:

      “What Like Mr Cameron, top man at Westminster?”
       
      Well he does certainly try to spin things.

    105. Morag says:

      I accidentally clicked “Publish” instead of “Save draft” when it was half-finished. It can’t have been there for even a minute.
       
      Must have been just that minute I clicked “refresh” on this page, saw there was a new post, and clicked on it.  There’s always one….

    106. Chic McGregor says:

      “@Stu: I’d make a joke about Iceland and Norway there (maybe even Svarlbard), but I can’t put it together.”
       
      What about Denmark and Sweden or are they all under the Oresund now?

    107. ronnie anderson says:

      Rev, I had that discussion in the 70s with one of HM guards on the royal train Wee Darkie ( no racism intended thats what the man was called ) anyhow Wee Darkie simplefyed it for me Sth of Carslile is UP Nth of Carslile is up, he was my Instructor at kings X, Iwas a confused scot

    108. Andy-B says:

      Very good disection of this particular doom monger story Rev.
       
      As for Tesco’s didn’t they lose a fortune trying to make an impact on the USA market, with there “Fresh& Easy stores” which failed miserably to make any inroads in the US.
       
      Therefore Tesco’s have covertly for some time now, slowly increased there prices in stores all over the UK, sure Tesco’s are bigger than Sainburys and Morrisons put together, but Tesco’s sales have been in a slump recently.

    109. ronnie anderson says:

      desimond, ah dont think I would be shoping at any shops named ANUSOL,mr sarwardy can fek aff

    110. Jamie Arriere says:

      Looks like the Food Bank monster has sprouted another limb, and the re-stratification of society accelerates.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25264865

    111. Kev says:

      O/T Humza Yousaf on the excellent investigative RT show “Going Underground” talking about indy, don’t know how many folk watch the show but the more airtime the Yes camp get on these alternative media outlets the better:
       
      http://rt.com/shows/going-underground/scotland-independence-workfare-scheme-928/

    112. Illy says:

      Mainland Denmark is about as far noth as Scotland, and unless my geography is wrong, the most populated parts of Sweden are as well.
       
      So technically Denmark and Sweden are “sideways”, while Norway and Iceland are “up”.
       
      (And Switzerland is both “down” and “up” at the same time, depending on which axis you use)

    113. Bertie K says:

      Saw a very good piece of word play outside Tesco the other day where someone had creatively blanked out the first and last letters of their slogan “Every little helps” slogan.
      Totally apt I thought.

    114. Bertie K says:

      Saw a very good piece of word play outside Tesco the other day where someone had creatively blanked out the first and last letters of their slogan “Every little helps” 
      Totally apt I thought.

    115. ronnie anderson says:

      Bradford getting surplus stock from all the supermarkets for their Community shops at a third of the price,how long will that last

    116. Mary Bruce says:

      Latest from Business for Scotland, please spread far and wide, good people of Wings:
       
      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/supermarket-prices-may-fall-after-independence/
       
       

    117. bjsalba says:

      British supermarkets do not succeed in the USA because they put profit above serving the customer. Walmart is the nearest thing to nationwide USA but like supermarkets here food is only a small portion of what they sell. Most Foodmarket chains are regional but they mostly sell just food.

      In the UK the manager is a drone who does what head office tells him/her. Make a complaint here and you are lucky to get an apology. Complaints to head office get bibblebabble burocratspeak answers.
       
      In the USA even Department managers have authority to change things, try new lines etc, etc. Make a complaint in the USA and you are likely to get swift action. A manager who turns off customers is not there for long – but then customers expect more and depart if it is not forthcoming.  

    118. Salt Ire says:

      Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never inflate…..OUR GROCERIES!

    119. Churm Rincewind says:

      I’m rather against the advice of various commenters above to contact the supermarkets direct – all that means is that you’re taking the point seriously.

      Don’t rise to the bait.  Hugh MacDonald’s remark quoted above by The Rough Bounds says it all – ”I’m not in this game to get fourpence off a can of beans you know”. Enough said.

    120. Bill McLean says:

      Is anyone else having trouble with “Wings” – takes ages to get into, if I click on a link it takes ages to get back to “Wings” and often not to the thread I was reading?? Been happening for about a week now!

    121. ronnie anderson says:

      REV, error 503 coming up for the past week, I see others having the same problem

    122. Aye, the site is very slow this evening.
      Time for a server upgrade?

    123. David says:

       @ Onzebill , 2:45pm . Have a look at this Wikipedia article  
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_England 
      The section Place of Birth lists 708,872 people, currently living in England, as having been born in Scotland. This is based on the 2011 census figures.  
      (Not sure if Ronni Ancona is included in the figures…) 

    124. ronnie anderson says:

      Churm Rincewind , RoughBounds , Ah would think theres a bit of satire in there by Mr Mac Donald £.s.d a tin of beans would be about 1/- = 10p bargain beans lol

    125. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Aye, the site is very slow this evening.
      Time for a server upgrade?”

      We’ve been having some trouble in recent days with another site on the same server, which has been getting up to some shenanigans that have killed our bandwidth. The host keeps taking it down, the site says they’ve fixed the problem, it passes checks and goes live again, and then the same thing happens. Evidently it’s gone back online tonight and is screwing everything up again.

      We could move to a dedicated server all of our own, but those are TEN TIMES as expensive as our current hosting, which is a lot of dosh. I’ve been looking into alternative plans, but for now we’ll just need to give them some time to work it out.

    126. Bill McLean says:

      Do you know what the “site on the same server” is Rev? – you know there are many untrustworthy b…..s out there!

    127. big_al says:

      On topic, watch the opening piece on the one show tonight, about the shop for those on benefits. At the end of the piece (about 7 or so mins into the prog) Tony Livesy wades in with a completely erroneous statement about grocery prices going up in an independent Scotland.

    128. Les Wilson says:

      Was just watching STv and BBC Scotland news ( Mon night ) what is now ever apparent that this supermarket issue is a well planned campaign. It was also on SKY News and at least in the Scottish MSM outlets. It is tosh of course but it is meant to deter the population from voting YES.

      All this can be no accident this is a sustained action across all the MSM including all of the TV station News reports. I have to reach the conclusion that someone somewhere is co-coordinating these attacks. I also feel sure we will get more and more of this scaremongering as Westminster gets more and more unsettled over the very real possibility of a YES vote.

      I would sorely like to know what organisation is putting all of this together…?

    129. Blackford Wheeler says:

      Re big_al says comment

      I also saw the fearbomb cued up by the presenter and delivered by Livesey. It was like they finished off an otherwise balanced piece about a pilot “social” supermarket in S Yorkshire by gratuitously blowing a big raspberry at the Jocks.

    130. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Do you know what the “site on the same server” is Rev? – you know there are many untrustworthy b…..s out there!”

      I don’t, but curiously enough we DO share a host with the Conservative Party…

      (True.)

    131. X_Sticks says:

      Les Wilson says:
       
       

      “I would sorely like to know what organisation is putting all of this together…?”
       
       
      Probably not one organisation Les. You can bet the whole establishment is behind this. Royalty, the HoL, the Cabinet, the Treasury, MI5, MI6 and whatever other ‘shadow’ networks they can use.
       
      We are up against the british establishment all of the british establishment. We have already seen that when it comes to keeping Scotland in chains they will do anything, absolutely anything, to prevent us getting self-determination. Party politics go out the window. This is about the preservation of the westminster way of life and the greater good for London.
       
      I’m guessing we’ll see a lot worse yet, but they do have to be very careful because whilst Europe aren’t officially overseeing the referendum there will be eyes upon us. Whoever is organising (probably a completely unofficial group) will leave no trail.  

    132. Hetty says:

      I am mostly going to grow tatties in my half plot allotment next year, too expensive to buy in the supermarkets, and my local wholefood shop is better and either the same or cheaper than the big supermarkets, how come I wonder. Its to keep up the profits and shareholders happy, simple. 
      One gloomy vision I have often had is that anyone growing their own might one day need armed guards, or be forced to grow for the greedy and rich. Just a thought. 

    133. Edward says:

      Anyone seen this ?
      https://twitter.com/tesco/status/410044746699395073
      Kinds of shoots everything the morons in the MSM are coming out with, down in flames

    134. big_al says:

      The One Show is now up on iplayer.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03ktcd7/The_One_Show_09_12_2013/
       
      Watch from 8m.25s to get Tony’s take on the inevitable price rises in an independent Scotland.

    135. tartanpigsy says:

      Regarding Les Wilson’s comment at 8:04pm
       
      ‘I would sorely like to know what organisation is putting all of this together…?’
       
      Can anyone on here confirm whether or not the building which lies between the BBC and STV in Glasgow is in any way connected to British security services, I’ve heard it said, that’s all.

    136. Gfaetheblock says:

      Most interesting part of Peston’s story on BBC is the aggression from the scot gov to business.  Chimes with what I have been hearing in law circles in Edinburgh for a couple of years.

    137. Paula Rose says:

      Perhaps the SG is bad for the law business?

    138. Colin Green says:

      It is interesting that all Yes people say the No lot are Liars, Scaremongers and the like and their King Alex only speaks the truth.
      Act yer age and wise  up youz are all full o shit. Salmond wouldn’t know the truth if NS slapped him with it.

    139. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Act yer age and wise up youz are all full o shit. Salmond wouldn’t know the truth if NS slapped him with it.”

      Thanks for that thoughtful and well-argued contribution, Colin. You make a persuasive case, and I’m sure we’ll all be considering our views carefully as a result.

    140. Frankie goes to Holyrood says:

      With each new scare story, and the reworking of old ones by MSM (e.g. the Guardian spicing up the EU issue by “interpreting” Rajoy as saying we’d be “ejected”), I keep thinking of a young tennis player at Wimbledon in 1981…
       
      …”you CANNOT be serious!!!”  🙂
       
      Perhaps we could think up a “John McEnroe” index to rank these stories, e.g. 10 for Dr.Who, and then people would know that they shouldn’t waste time reading such rubbish.  However, I can’t decide if the supermarket story should get a 9 or a 10 so maybe that won’t work 🙁

    141. Frankie goes to Holyrood says:

      I judge that the big supermarkets were unwise in allowing themselves to be manipulated into commenting on food prices after independence.  The MSM has propagated the story that the big 4 may or will put food prices up.  Although most of these supermarkets are now on record (if you google, you will find it),  as saying that prices may also go down, this does not seem to have managed to have filtered through to the MSM.
       
      I strongly suggest that these supermarkets use their marketing skills to make sure that customers and voters know that food prices should not be used as an argument in the referendum.  I, for one, will be shopping elsewhere until I see that my local “big” supermarket has made an effort to state that this is indeed their position.



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