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Wings Over Scotland

We’ll pay for this

Posted on March 06, 2013 by

There’s a stereotype of Scottish people that their reaction to a sunny day is that of this post’s title – that good weather now isn’t something to be enjoyed, but merely a harbinger of much less favourable conditions to come.

Rather than make hay while the sun shines, runs the old joke, the pessimistic (and stingy) Scots go out to the shops looking for umbrellas being sold at a discount.


Such is the wholly predictable Unionist response to today’s GERS figures.

You can read the entire document here. But the short version is that in 2011-12, for the privilege of having a Tory-led government in Westminster imposing welfare cuts, public-sector job losses, the bedroom tax and the continuing presence of Trident nuclear weapons, Scotland paid £4.3 billion to the rest of the UK.

That’s the difference between the deficit Scotland ran up as its share of UK finances (£7.7bn) and the one it would have had as an independent nation (£3.4bn), assuming the independent nation would have done everything the same as it did inside the UK.

That last bit is kind of important, because if an independent Scotland was going to do everything exactly the same as the UK, there really wouldn’t be any point in it being independent in the first place. But having control of its own affairs would enable Scotland to make different choices. It could save a billion pounds a year overnight on defence, banishing Trident and slashing the money it sends to Westminster to interfere in other countries’ business to malign effect.

An independent Scotland could abandon and outlaw the crippling obscenity of PFI, which sucks hundreds of millions more out of the nation’s coffers to feather the beds of private companies at the cost of our children’s and grandchildren’s futures. It could ensure companies operating in Scotland paid proper levels of tax. It wouldn’t have to cough up billions of pounds for grand infrastructure projects which will benefit only the already-pampered citizens of London.

Unionists have been carefully preparing the ground for this year’s GERS figures. Treasury secretary Danny Alexander insisted last week that oil revenues would be far lower in 2016-17, inexplicably attempting to create the impression that anyone – let alone him – knows what the price of oil will be in five months, never mind five years.

And of course, the No campaign has even more bizarrely been highlighting that Scotland (if it made all the same choices) would still be running a deficit with oil revenues, as if that was (a) some sort of endorsement of 300 years of Westminster’s economic management, and (b) anything unusual for any modern Western country.

The table below comes from Global Finance magazine. Click to enlarge.


What it shows is that the UK is, even after almost three years of vicious austerity, the fourth most-insolvent OECD nation on the face of the planet in terms of deficit. It also shows that 28 of the top 32 countries run a deficit, even the economic powerhouse that is Germany.

The UK’s much-mocked “Arc Of Insolvency” neighbour Ireland is only one place worse off, and the supposed basket case of Iceland is in fact healthier than the UK on the actual 2010 figures and – to a far more dramatic level – the forecasts for 2011, 2012 and 2013. But another nation’s position in the table is of particular interest.

At the very bottom of the bad-economy charts is a small Northern Hemisphere nation of around five million people, rich in natural resources from the North Sea. (Sound familiar?) Norway regularly earns at least 10% more than it spends, despite having one of the world’s highest quality-of-life indices, far above that of the UK.

Norway’s reaction to the national sunny day of oil revenue wasn’t to spend it all on keeping its population unemployed and miserable. Despite its vast riches, small armed forces and lack of nuclear deterrent, Norway doesn’t seem to have been invaded or besieged by international terrorists (which we’re sure is entirely unrelated to the fact that it hasn’t elected itself the world’s policeman, or to be more accurate the world’s policeman’s bag-carrier). And of course, in addition to that hefty annual surplus, it has a £433 billion rainy-day fund to fall back on if and when the weather does turn nasty.

The cringing army of “We cannae dae it!” Unionists are right about one thing – independence wouldn’t turn Scotland into Norway overnight. The Scandinavian nation’s lavish public services are funded by high taxes. But then, those taxes come out of far more generous wages than the UK’s – the average Norwegian takes home over £4,500 a month, more than twice the UK figure of £2,208. That’s a lot of cushioning if Scotland wanted to pursue a social-democratic model of political ideology rather than the disastrous neoliberalism that’s left much of the West bankrupt after the last 30 years.

Scotland still basks in the warm glow of the North Sea rigs, and will do so for decades to come. The UK is frantically sucking out every drop of oil it can get while it still has its hands on the pipelines. The projections of professional industry experts in that last link seem strangely at odds with Danny Alexander’s view of the next few years in terms of oil revenue. We wonder who could possibly be telling the truth?

Right now the sun is shining. While we might never be able to catch up on the healthy bronze tan of our Norwegian cousins, it’s still not too late for Scotland to get out and make the most of its rays to store up enough economic Vitamin D to see us through some dark times. Because make no mistake – if we choose to stay within the UK, Scots face a cold, bleak winter stretching as far into the future as anyone can see.

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67 to “We’ll pay for this”

  1. turnip_ghost says:

    A sobering article. I wonder if the GERS figures will be on BBC and Scotland tonight.

  2. Hetty says:

    Yep, certainly that winter if a no vote, will be infinite and very very cold. Should we be talking down the Scottish oil resources we may have, in light of what’s happened in Venezuela I ask? I mean if any proceeds were to be spent on anything sensible like, health, education, welfare…shame it’s not so sunny here in Edinburgh today, I see a haze though, feels a bit like being in a bbc news and other tabloid news reports about independence!

  3. It must be shit to be Norwegian!

  4. MajorBloodnok says:

    No doubt this will get kicked off the front pages by some alleged rent-a-quote from Monaco stating that Scotland is too wee to be a ‘separate’ country (and assertions that really, casino based economies are far better than oil and energy based ones, like, er, the City of London).
    Mind you, the front pages were full of the UK government’s betrayal of MOD plans for Scotland, so that will get someone’s blood boiling at the perfidy of the coalition.

  5. MajorBloodnok says:

    And I see Greece is better placed than the UK too….

  6. Macart says:

    ‘Scotland subsidises UK to the tune of £4.3bn’
    A headline you won’t see in any MSM title.

  7. jim ewen says:

    hi rev
    i havent read the full report yet but the headlines say(from scot gov website) that
    The key results for 2011-12 are as follows:

    In 2011-12, total Scottish non-North Sea public sector revenue was estimated at £46.3 billion, (8.2 per cent of total UK non-North Sea revenue).  Including a per capita share of North Sea revenue, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £47.2 billion (8.2 per cent of UK total public sector revenue).  When an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue is included, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £56.9 billion (9.9 per cent of UK total public sector revenue).
    In 2011-12, total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the UK Government, Scottish Government and all other parts of the public sector, plus a per capita share of UK debt interest payments, was £64.5 billion.  This is equivalent to 9.3 per cent of total UK public sector expenditure.

    so we raised £56b and spent £64b?
    i don’t get it, how am i to explain this when friends ask, help please?

  8. Angus McLellan says:

    On the subject of cold, bleak Midwinters, Lamont’s Cuts Commission has been remarkably leak-free. Does that mean that it isn’t actually doing anything? It just isn’t natural for there to be no leaks if it really is working.

  9. BlueTiles says:

    But the Better Together Facebook page says it’s the other way round?
    Surely they are telling the truth? Why would they lie? 
    They claim to have a Top Secret document from the Scottish Government which will totally and utterly destroy the independence argument.
    I wait patiently for whatever they have uncovered to be vanquished once the rays of daylight touch it.
    Keep it up Rev.

  10. BM says:

    I live in Norway, and it’s awful.  The oil fund is so big, the government can’t spend it.  We’ve taken to stuffing our pillow-cases with 500kr-notes, instead, so that we have something soft to cry into.

  11. Vronsky says:

    Lots of resonances for Scots in Craig Murray’s report on the death of Chavez.


  12. pa_broon74 says:

    BBC Scotland on line news has been doing back flips this morning, starting off with an article (head lined: ‘Go-alone Scotland faces challenges’) about how Scotland if independent would ‘face challenges’ as if this would be unique, as ever, the article itself back tracks some what.
    Then they’ve reported the GERS figures, which they’ve been moderately honest about but only after pointing out that we spent more than we raised, again as if this is an unusual situation. Then as a sting in the tail, Michael Moore rears is miserable doom-laden head (with two faces) to tell us its only because we’re part of the UK, we can only assume nicely book ending the notion that if we weren’t, we’d face ‘considerable challenges’… Which as John Swinney said in the first article was true of any other country.
    Boore, I meant Moore, also droned: “This underlying volatility can be much better managed inside the larger UK where oil and gas revenues represent a smaller percentage of overall tax revenues.”
    Much better managed inside the larger UK‘? Aye right then -I think we know what that means.

  13. Bill Fraser says:

    Great article Stu. We need to point out the negative consequences of a No vote more and illuminate the spin of Better-together which for some inexplicable reason thinks that Scotland will make exactly the same choices as the UK Government on everything after independence. (and thanks for the link 🙂 )

  14. Angus McLellan says:

    Finally getting round to reading the latest issue of History Scotland. It has an article on the early years of the Scottish Unionist Party. A little sidebar covers one of the best-known Scottish Unionist politicians of the inter-war period, John Buchan. (To be fair, he’s more famous for his books than his politics.)
    It includes a quote that deserves to be better known. I’ll let the authors of the article tell you about it: “[Buchan] had a strong belief that Scotland should be an independent nation, stating that: ‘I believe every Scotsman should be a Scottish nationalist.'”
    So that was the view of a leading Unionist figure – and Governor-General of Canada – in the 1930s. What changed to make that kind of thinking alien to the modern-day successors to the Unionist party?

  15. tartanfever says:

    Personally I’m bewildered by a couple of lines in the BBC report. They say;
    ‘Scotland spent more cash than it raised last year’ 
    How is this possible ? Aren’t BBC Scotland aware that Holyrood doesn’t have any money borrowing powers ? We all now the truth would read;
    ‘Westminster borrows more money and lands the debt on Scotland’
    Another one:
    Scotland had debt of £3.4bn, or 2.3% of Gross Domestic Product, if a geographical share of North Sea oil was included.
    Why this apologetic attitude towards Oil ? Isn’t it ours ? In our waters, and for us to make use of. Are the BBC trying to make us feel that somehow the Scots are unworthy of such riches, that we don’t deserve them ?
    I’d also love to know what figures Westminster use when they say ‘ a geographical share’ . Is that 60%, 70% or even 90% ?  When we vote and say Yes, this figure is going to be critical as it will be a recognition by Westminster of exactly how much of the North Sea’s resources fall into Scotland’s net. So when they turn round and tell us we can only have 20% of territorial waters, we can say ‘hold on, you’ve already recognised in years of GERS reports that our geographical share is X amount’.
    Or vice versa, if the GERS reports of today only give us a 20% geographical share, then we know that we are being stitched up and should start that protest immediately.

  16. Keith B says:

    @ Rev.Stu
    “An independent Scotland could abandon and outlaw the crippling obscenity of PFI”
    Just to clarify – your not suggesting we default on the existing debt? That, IMO, would be a mistake. Don’t get me wrong; all ways should be investigated as to how we can reduce and minimise this obscenity, but I think it is something we will end up having to shoulder.

  17. Doug Daniel says:

    Blair McDougall is currently going absolutely round the bend, tweeting to everyone who mentions the GERS figures that they have hold of a secret document, so watch their website for details. It’s the most cringeworthy thing I’ve seen so far, and that’s fucking saying something.
    Hilariously, this is the “top secret report”:
    Ah yes, because the Scottish Government regularly publishes documents referring to “a separate Scotland”. Oh wait, no it doesn’t.
    It’s like an 8 year old boy has just found a nudie mag in the bushes. This is just dire. This is what they’re reducing the debate to. This is what they think we deserve.

  18. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Just to clarify – your not suggesting we default on the existing debt?”

    Not default, no, although it should definitely be renegotiated, and in a very aggressive manner. (“Play ball if you ever want another government contract, and not to have your tax affairs scrutinised extremely closely.”) But what the piece says is “abandon and outlaw”, meaning “never use again, and indeed expressly forbid using again”.

  19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “so we raised £56b and spent £64b?

    Hi Jim. No – our deficit was £3.4bn, not £8bn. You’re counting the net fiscal balance, rather than the more directly relevant current budget balance.

    i don’t get it, how am i to explain this when friends ask, help please?”

    I pretty much covered that in the feature:

    1. An independent Scotland almost certainly wouldn’t make the same spending choices the UK does. We could save billions on that budget without any cuts to public services.

    2. Almost every nation in the OECD – 28 out of 32 – runs a deficit. It’s nothing unusual. Nevertheless, we’re running a much BIGGER deficit as part of the UK than we would be on our own, even if we DID make all the same spending choices.

    3. Also, a lot of money in those figures that’s spent “on Scotland’s behalf” isn’t actually spent in or for Scotland. See countless recent stories about how the UK massively underspends on defence in Scotland, for example.

    4. Scotland’s oil revenues for decades to come are likely to be mostly even better than last year’s, improving our financial situation still further, especially if wisely invested in renewables rather than Trident.

    There’s more, but those are the main points.

  20. John Lyons says:

    The other interesting thing that needs to be remembered in negotiations is the assumption that we will take about 10% of the debt. We should not. We should point to these figures which indicate we contribute more than we get back and argue the toss. We should also refuse to be saddled with the debt attributed to us for UK projects which are wholly in England, like the High speed rail. Equally we should accept 100% of the debt for any UK projects wholly in scotland. (Can anyone think of one?)

  21. jim ewen says:

    hi can anyone help
    what page of report says”Scotland paid £4.3 billion to the rest of the UK” i can’t find it. Also i don’t understand what swinney is saying that we are £800 each better off, how is this if we spending more that we earn £56b and spend £64b?
    can someone explain this to me because i’m lost.

  22. Boorach says:

    Aye, gone are the days when we were bought and sold for English gold. Nowadays we are bought and sold for our own gold while the artful dodger’s hand is deep in our purse.

  23. Macart says:

    Just for a laugh it would be worth looking at all the savings we could make from not ‘contributing’ to the uk exchequer.
    As Stu pointed out 1bn on defence spending alone. What else could we add to that? How many millions in Westminster MPs expenses, Trashing PFI schemes, all revenues retained from Crown estate and airport duties to name just a few. I’m betting if some clever clogs did the sums that defecit would look a damn site tinier from savings alone, never mind revenue building initiatives. The cost of being attached to the UK should be looking like pretty high maintenance to all Scots.
    Westminster parties wrecked the economy and trashed our ability to ride out financial storms. Even with the windfall of Scottish oil, did they save for that rainy day? NO! They spent the cash like it was going out of fashion. Did they reinvest in communities, rebuild a manufacturing infrastructure? NO! They set Britain up as the gambling capitol of the world finance sector and took the breaks off. Vote NO if you’d like to see more of the same.

  24. Iain says:

    @Doug Daniel
    This is the BT ‘scoop’. I think as many as…ooh, let’s see… 3 people may have their minds changed over it.

  25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “As Stu pointed out 1bn on defence spending alone. What else could we add to that? How many millions in Westminster MPs expenses, Trashing PFI schemes, all revenues retained from Crown estate and airport duties to name just a few. I’m betting if some clever clogs did the sums that defecit would look a damn site tinier from savings alone, never mind revenue building initiatives.”

    I’m on the case of that very article, and have been for a wee while. It’s a long job, though.

  26. Doug Daniel says:

    And, rather predictably, it appears Better Together’s promise of a porno mag filled with full-frontal nudity and sex acts which are illegal in 49 US states is, in fact, a woman’s clothing catalogue.

  27. Davy says:

    Aye, wanting to enrich and better my life and the lifes of my family and friends and upgrade the reputation and social society of my fellow countrymen & women within the boundarys of our own country, appears to make me a right bastard in the eyes of the unionist’s.  
    Hey ho thats still the way I will go, Vote yes and aim high.
    Alba Gu snooker loopy!

  28. chicmac says:

    @ Doug Daniel
    It is the fact they have used only the second listed image from a Google image search for ‘top secret’ that is most hilarious, although quite endearing in a pitiful sort of way.…0.0…1ac.1j4.5.img.OCE4TgJZQrM&biw=600&bih=904&sei=r0U3UZ_cIoPMPb-5gPAM#biv=i%7C1%3Bd%7CF2j1tzYWRUCQiM%3A

  29. Vronsky says:

    “Just to clarify – your not suggesting we default on the existing debt?”

    Alas, we probably won’t default, but specifically in the case of PFI I think a case could be made for doing doing just that.

  30. TheGreatBaldo says:

    Anyone else notice that the Unionist Parties now speak about the Oil Industry in the same way Ship Building, Mining, Heavy Engineering, Steel etc where by the Tories in the early 80’s….?
    There also seems to be no appreciation (certainly outwith the North East) that the Scottish Oil Industry isn’t actual physically restricted to the North Sea….it’s a Global player….go to any decent sized Oil field anywhere and you’ll find folk working for companies based or ran from Aberdeen.

  31. Doug Daniel says:

    Jim, it’s quite simple. The difference between what Scotland earns and spends is £800 a head less than the difference between what the UK as a whole earns and spends.
    Now, while it may be true that we’re “spending more than we earn”, this is also true of the rest of the UK and, as Stu’s article shows, also true of the vast majority of the countries in the OECD.
    Put simply, the UK is saddling Scotland with debt it simply doesn’t need to have.

  32. Matt says:

    @jim ewen

    We are not literally paying £4.3bn to the rest of the UK, but each year we are taking on that much more debt (if we are to take a population share of the UK’s total) than we are building up ourselves (including what we spend on a population share of the UK’s interest payments).

    If it helps, here is a comment I made on a friend’s facebook when he was asking about the question of us spending more than we raise:

    “That’s true as far as it goes; we DO have a deficit. However, our deficit is a substantially lower percentage of GDP than the rest of the UK’s is, and it also fails to recognise that of the £64.5bn that is spent ON Scotland, a lot of that is not spent IN Scotland. For instance, Westminster spends £3.5bn on defence every year “on our behalf” (so it is part of that £64.5bn) but only £1.9bn of it is actually spent in Scotland, and so the rest of it is benefiting local economies elsewhere in the UK instead of in Scotland.”

  33. chicmac says:

    Great article Stuart, bang on the money, literally.
    I wonder if that report included the 1.5 billion defence savings for an independent Scotland suggested by a report  from the Royal United Services Institute (think that’s right) last week?
    Also, the debt of the UK is in an even sorrier state than the deficit

  34. Macart says:

    Excellent Rev.
    Look forward to that posting. 🙂
    As to BTs big release on super secret papers……… they’re having a laugh aren’t they? (speaks in whisper) Their revelation isn’t really all that big a secret. Oil will run out eventually, times are about to get tougher in or out of the union (tougher within it) and yes our military spending will be getting seriously curtailed from over 3bil to just under two and we’d still be spending more in Scotland than they are. And we knew all this without asking John Swinney.
    We’re still voting YES, because we trust Holyrood and Mr Swinney a damn site more than Westminster and any troughing, expense swindling piece, corrupt and politically inept piece of work attached to ‘gonnae no’.

  35. Angus McLellan says:

    It’s GERS logic for heaven’s sake! Never mind Trident, it includes a roughly £4 bn share of debt charges.
    But Westminster said that we’d have had far less debt if we’d been independent. So why should we take any figures seriously which include a simple arithmetic share of debt charges? 
    Just to emphasize the importance of this point, that argument was one which the Irish Free State’s negotiators used to reject the idea that a fair and equitable share of the UK national debt should resemble an exercise in long division. And they won the argument!

  36. tartanfever says:

    Jim, the debt that we have £3.4bn is what Westminster spends ‘on our behalf’.
    Remember Holyrood can’t borrow money, we get our block grant and thats it. However, Westminster can borrow money and does so every month to the tune of £9bn because they can’t balance the books. 
    So this extra debt includes things like our share of the Olympics, The Olympics cost £10bn and Scottish tax payers have to stump up nearly £1bn for the privilege of London’s games. Thats money spent or borrowed by Westminster thats added on to Scotland’s tab. The new £4bn London sewer system will cost the Scots tax payers nearly 10% of that total, £400m, and because it’s been shifted to the DEFRA budget, there will be no Barnet effect that sees a similar proportional investment in Scotland. The recent feasibility study into new Trident (£300m) will cost the Scottish taxpayer £30m – even though a majority of Scots want it scrapped. High speed rail at a cost of £32bn will cost Scots taxpayers £3bn even though we will never see a high speed train anywhere near Scotland. These are all examples of Westminster spending which we Scots have to pay for.
    What is misleading is when the BBC report it, as they did today, that, ‘Scotland spent more than earned in tax revenues’. Thats not strictly true – it should be the ‘Westminster Government that spent more than it earned.’

  37. Macart says:

    Does anyone else think its helluva spooky that this super top secret document coincides with the release of the GERS figures?

  38. tartanfever says:

    Yes Mac, I’ believe that what they are referring to is this report on the BBC website.
    It’s a 1 year old government draft paper that looks at Oil prices and revenue and concludes that volatile prices could prove problematic. Douglas Fraser announced on Reporting Scotland at lunchtime that he had evidence of a ‘leaked Government document’ 
    I think the Unionists have been saving this one up for a rainy day to try and divert attention from GERS figures. They also have their good pals at Fraser of Allander putting out some fictitious report today that we’re all going to be homeless soon, or some such tripe.

  39. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Yep, the Scottish cringe and the biased MSM. North Sea Oil is great for the UK but too unstable for an Independent Scotland. Don’t forget there is £2bn of cuts coming, from the Scottish budget.  End up with annual defecit of £1.3bn?
    Even with a £3.4bn debt (2.3% of GDP) this is classified as safe (under 3% of GDP) by The IMF, in 2007, i.e.  pre recession.  With Independence we can make cuts to Invest in the economy/expand Universal benefts.   Such cuts can be made fairly without undully effecting ordinary people e.g. defence, restrict tax relief on pension contributions to basic rate tax (raise £500m- HMRC 2011-Scotland).  We could also increase duty on booze and introduce a transaction tax on financial dealings.    

  40. Macart says:

    Rings about right to me TF. As I posted earlier, none of this is really ‘top secret’ at all, many forums and discussions have taken place on this subject many times over for the past year. I’m getting a distinct whiff of ‘don’t look over here, look over there’.

  41. John Lyons says:

    Scotland posted a debt of £3.4 Billion.
    The figures from Tartan fever sugest the following costs to Scotland for UK projects that are not in scotland.
    Olympics £1Billion
    London Sewers £0.4 Billion
    Trident study £0.03 Billion
    Highspeed rail £3 Billion
    I make that £4.43 Billion
    We made a deficit of £3.4 Billion. Being in the UK costs us £1Billion more than that. Surely that suggests an Independant Scotland would actually make a £1 Billion SURPLUS???

  42. John Lyons says:

    Can I sum up this Volatility arguement?
    Oil is 1-2% of UK revenue.
    It would be 10-20% of Revenue in an independant Scotland.
    If the Oil companies in the North sea came to George Osbourne and David Cameron and said “We’ve found 10 times as much oil as we thought there was AND we can get it out of the ground ten times faster so we can pump ten times as much money into the UK economy!” Do you honestly believe either of them would say “No thanks, it’s too volatile.”?

  43. Vronsky says:

    I received the ‘top secret’ document as an email from a Mr Gordon Aikman, accompanied by the suggestion that I should post it on Facebook.  Just in case it starts to appear it would be handy to have a smart rebuttal tready.  In the meantine, I sent Mr Aikman a reply.
    Dear Mr Aikman,

    Your organisation seems excessively anxious about money.  I could wish that they were similarly exercised by morality.  I presume if we stay in the UK the Tooth Fairy will continue to fund your weapons of mass destruction, your resource wars in the Middle East, your collaboration in the genocide of the Palestinians?  Where’s your balance sheet for mass murder?

    I, all my (very extended) family and practically everyone I know will be voting Yes.  I’m sure you will be puzzled to hear that I haven’t heard anyone mention money as a reason.  Perhaps your script might play better at lower latitudes.

    Hail alba


    And we can all leak.  Here’s Mr Aikman soiling his linen when Labour fouled up on the 45% tax rate.

  44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Just in case it starts to appear it would be handy to have a smart rebuttal tready.”

    Shredding it will be fun, but doing it today would play right into their agenda of using it to try to distract attention away from GERS.

  45. scottish_skier says:

    As I understood it, support for FFA/Devo max, where Scotland raises all of its own taxes, stands at ~7 in 10 and has been at around that level since pollsters started asking years ago.

    Economic argument was won a long time ago.

    Incidentally, looking like winter’s coming back next week. Don’t put the woollies away quite yet.

  46. Morag says:

    If I clicked the zero button the right number of times, that Olympics bill comes out at £200 for every man woman and babe-in-arms in Scotland.
    Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoyed watching the Olympics, but you could never have induced me to pay £200 for that, voluntarily.

  47. helpmaboab says:

    Having scanned the Top Secret government doc, I must say I don’t follow Better Together’s tactics:

    If you even care to read a response to a GERS document, if you even know what GERS is, you are a bit of a political anorak. So you would be tempted to read the document, not just the wee post it notes.
    So you would also read the positive sections and see that it was fairly balanced, with reasons to be cheerful, and of course “challenges”
    You may even spot that it is about a year old
     You may even amuse yourself by spotting the typos in the post it notes (Christ they only had to write a couple hundred words!

    So either tthey’re incompetent, they think we’re stupid, or (OK, clearly) both. 
    And if they win we’re screwed

  48. Macart says:

    Shameless punt for Wings in place on Mr Carrell’s GERs article.
    Couldn’t resist. 🙂

  49. Albert Herring says:

    I only watched the Usain Bolt finals That works out at £24,870.47 per hour. Bit steep if you ask me.

  50. cath says:

    “support for FFA/Devo max, where Scotland raises all of its own taxes, stands at ~7 in 10 and has been at around that level since pollsters started asking years ago.”
    It’s nothing like that no the NO pages. British Unity have a poll on devo+ which is solidly against, followed by a huge number of posts against any devolution at all, wanting to claw back powers. They really have left themselves with a small rump of people in Scotland.

  51. Westie7 says:

    So someone stop me if im wrong but this £64.5bn which is “Spent on Scotland’s Behalf” is part the money that Holyrood is “Given” and the remainder which Westminster spend on the likes of Trident, Crossrail, HS2 etc.etc
    Can someone break down that £64.5bn, Im guessing based on previous illustrations the figure which is given to Scotland for devolved costs is vastly less than the £56.9bn in tax take

  52. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Can someone break down that £64.5bn”

    Roughly half of it comes to Holyrood in the form of the block grant, the rest is controlled by Westminster and spent as it sees fit “on Scotland’s behalf”.

  53. Craig P says:

    John Lyons – I can think of a UK project wholly in Scotland – Trident.
    (Other infrastructure projects that you might think were ‘UK’ ones, like the Forth Bridge, and events, like the Commonwealth games, are apparently funded entirely by the Scottish Government and not UK government – whereas for the purposes of Barnet consequentials, the new London sewers are a ‘UK’ expenditure that will benefit the whole UK, therefore no increase in block grant from that.)

    Rev – beautiful beach! Where is it – Traigh Eais, Barra?

  54. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Rev – beautiful beach! Where is it – Traigh Eais, Barra?”

    Google 😀

  55. Westie7 says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    6 March, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    “Can someone break down that £64.5bn”
    Roughly half of it comes to Holyrood in the form of the block grant, the rest is controlled by Westminster and spent as it sees fit “on Scotland’s behalf”.
    Cheers, thought it was around £40bn ish

  56. John Lyons says:

    Fair call Craig, but I meant one that only Scotland benefits from cause you know, no matter how you cut it, My wee granny in the outer hebrides does not benefit when cameron Flushes his toilet unless he’s the turd floating away down it!
    If you believe we benefit from Trident you must also belief that the Terrorists and foreigners who are too scared to attack because of it are also too scared to attack England Wales and Northern Ireland.
    Maybe upgrading the A9 is a UK project. Nope.
    What about the Edinburgh trams? Nope.
    To be honest I think Angus Robertson and the rest of the SNP in Westminster should be making more of this…

  57. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Cheers, thought it was around £40bn ish”

    £34.2bn last year, just slightly over half:

    (para 58)

  58. velofello says:

    I think there lots of wee nibbles on the table to sample regards income from Scotland but not credited to Scotland.
    instance: if your PAYE tax office in in England is your income tax, from earnings or pension, credited to England?
    And corporation tax of companies operating in Scotland yet registered in England? 
    The VAT returns of the big supermarket stores? Their employees income tax? Income tax paid by the armed forces? BBC Scotland employees? Post office employees? British Telecom? British Gas? Banks?
    Road vehicle tax revenue, is it credited by country or all in a big UK pot?  -The BBC, the supermarkets, English registered companies? British telecom? British Gas?
    Recently a BetterTogether leaflet floated thro’ our letterbox.and it grandly declared that a benefit being together in the UK enables the UK to squeeze every last drop of oil and gas from the North Sea. Seems an odd sell to me.

  59. Westie7 says:

    velofello says:
    6 March, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    “And corporation tax of companies operating in Scotland yet registered in England?”

    Nearly as bad as SC registered companies pilling all their CT to Westminster. My own company is registered in Scotland so i guess for every £10000 of corporation tax I Have to pay, less than £1000 comes back here!
    Makes me Puke

  60. Taighnamona says:  
    Someone posted this link to the ‘secret’ document over on Newsnet

  61. John says:

    Interesting how you spin it because in the leaked Swinney report to the Government a very different picture is being presented which is the actual reality of what independence would mean to us all from a financial perspective. Read it here

  62. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Interesting how you spin it because in the leaked Swinney report to the Government a very different picture is being presented which is the actual reality of what independence would mean to us all from a financial perspective.”

    Yawn. Year-old badly-photocopied poorly-spun atrociously-spelled bollocks for gullible idiots. Desperate, laughable decoy attempt mocked even by Unionist journos all over Twitter this afternoon.

  63. Bill Fraser says:

    John, that was a year old planning document which, if you read it, and ignore the comments added by bitter together (which are spin, full of inaccurate assumptions and opinions) is a sensible attempt to o ask thst departments plan for all eventuallities. It is a pity that that the UK government didn’t do any planning for yhe inevitable financial crash!

  64. Matt says:

    I saw that “top secret” document, and tried to read it, but it was so hard to read, with small font and text angled to the side, that I gave up. Doubtless this is deliberate, as from what has been said by those who are more committed to than myself, risking their eyesight for the cause, it seems that anyone reading it will realise it is all completely harmless.
    In fact, are the Unionists now actually trying to attack the Scottish Government for being sensible and cautious, planning for the future and acknowledging all the challenges and potential pitfalls we may face? That’s a bit of a strange turn for them! Contradicts about 90% of what they say every single week in FMQs.

  65. Les Wilson says:

    What I would like to see is an end to the “Parliamentary Privilege” certainly in the Scottish Parliament. Westminster too but that will never happen as they all hide behind it, frequently.
    Think though what that would mean if we abolished it. Politicians would HAVE to tell the truth, or they would be open to the courts and possibly personal loss IF they cannot substantiate what they are saying. As we all know the Unionist parties all lie , manipulate and deceive. If the possibility of personal loss was a possibility,the the public would definitely be served with more honest answers.
    Then there is the BBC, hmm and all the MSM hmmm, Westminster would hear the wails all the way from Scotland. 

  66. CameronB says:

    Matt says:
    6 March, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    “In fact, are the Unionists now actually trying to attack the Scottish Government for being sensible and cautious, planning for the future…”

    Its worse than that Matt, the Scottish Government is doing it deliberately.

  67. Les Wilson says:

    Combating the MSM/ Unionist conspiracy. ( Let us call it what it really is!)
    Is it beyond the realms of possibility that all the Pro Yes website band together at certain times and release condemnations of a Unionist position in unison!
    If all the Pro YES bloggers could also be brought in to help spread the words we want to get out, all of the output from the combined efforts of these groups and people could be considerable and could at least help to undermine the conspirators messages.
    If you like, a call to arms by all the supportive elements of Independence, in unison, to defeat the UNIONIST CONSPIRACY at their own game.
    Someone with the ability to form such an alliance of the like minded, could create a very powerful weapon against the corrupt MSM, and all it’s cohorts.
    I point out that in between calls to be negative or positive against certain  circumstances, their own sites would just continue as they do, but when the call comes then a concentrated effort to debunk of vilify would be done in the protection of the cause for our country and spread to every corner.
    The people deserve the truth.

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