Scotland’s real deficit

It’s difficult to get your head into the mindset of Scottish Unionists. There is overwhelming evidence that the Conservatives are cruel and duplicitous money grabbers who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. This is the party which insists that everyone – with the exception of corporations, bankers, and the rich – must pay their own way in life, to the point where they will kick away the crutches of the disabled in order to teach them to stand on their own two feet. In pursuit of that aim they’ve spent the all their time in office since the 1970s slashing social support, axing benefits, and ending subsidies. They are blind to the social damage caused, immune to any appeals to their better natures, because they have no better natures. If it doesn’t pay, it must be axed, and if it does pay it must be sold off to their pals in the City of London.

Yet despite a pattern of bloodsucking which is as obvious as a vampire in a bloodbank, Scottish Unionists affect to believe that the Tories gladly subsidise Scotland to the tune of billions annually, out of a sense of patriotic altruism and nothing more. Scotland is, uniquely, the sole recipient of Conservative largesse. It makes as much sense as Jackie Baillie with a pocket calculator. The truth is if Scotland really was such a massive drain on the coffers of the UK, we’d have been independent long ago. But then the people who propagate the story of a Scottish poverty and fecklessness also tend to believe that the British Empire was a saintly example of self-effacing charity, and not the colonialist exercise in rapacious asset stripping, theft, imperialism, and genocide, that it really was.

Still, the financial lifeline which the benevolent UK supposedly bestows on Scotland allows Unionists to cry “But what about the deficit!?” every time an independence supporter points out the really crippling deficit in Scotland, which is the democratic deficit. And then they tell you how proud they are to be Scottish and British. To be honest, some Unionists will cry “But what about the deficit!?” no matter what an independence supporter says to them. Even the most innocuous statement, from “It’s a bit nippy outside,” to “Would you like a wee cuppa tea?” is met by an anguished cry of “But what about the deficit!?” It’s their trump card, and just like the Trump in America it’s dishonest and misleading.

It’s difficult to understand why Unionists believe that the supposed weakness of the Scottish economy after centuries of Westminster rule is a point in their favour. Given the embarrassing abundance of resources that Scotland has, far in excess of most European countries, our supposed poverty is no advertisement for Westminster rule. It’s an argument that we need to escape a system which has criminally mismanaged our economy.

I’m not going to get into the GERS figures here. It’s enough to point an interested reader in the direction of the analyses carried out by the CommonWeal and Dr Craig Dalzell, which you can read here and here Suffice to say that the GERS figures tell us nothing about the financial situation of an independent Scotland.

The real deficit which cripples Scotland, the real deficit which damages our society, the real deficit that weakens and diminishes us, is the democratic deficit. The democratic deficit means that Scotland is being torn out of the EU into the hardest of hard Brexits, despite the fact that Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU by a larger margin than we voted to remain a part of the UK. And let’s not forget that we voted to remain a part of the UK in no small measure because we were repeatedly told that doing so was the only way to retain our EU membership. The democratic deficit means that the wishes of Scotland’s voters have precisely zero influence on the actions and policies of the UK government. The democratic deficit means that the single Conservative MP, the man who rejoices in the title of Secretary of State for Scotland, tells us that it’s not his job to represent Scotland in the British cabinet. He thinks that his job is to represent the British cabinet in Scotland.

Theresa May’s government, and the government of David Cameron before her, have rejected every suggestion, amendment or proposal from Scotland’s MPs. Every single amendment to the Scotland Bill from Scottish MPs was voted down by MPs from the rest of the UK, who rammed through a Bill that fell far short of what the Better Together campaign promised during the 2014 referendum. They promised us the Moon and the stars, but then they delivered a small rock which they used to batter us over the head saying, “You’re seeing stars now.” And the exact same pattern of arrogant dismissal is characterising the UK’s approach to Brexit.

The UK government has refused even to consider any of the proposals put forward by the Scottish government in an attempt to find a compromise on Brexit. They have ruled out any possibility of a special deal for Scotland, while falling over themselves to promise special deals for their pals in the City of London and Japanese car manufacturers with factories in leave voting areas of the North of England. Scotland isn’t just sidelined, we’re on the track to oblivion. We’re being shunted into the scrap yard by people who don’t care about us.

They tell us how lucky we are to be a part of this great Britain with its red white and blue Brexit. They say that we would have no influence as a small country in the EU, as if we had any influence in the UK. But the truth is that small EU member states like Malta, Latvia, or Slovenia, countries with fewer people and smaller economies than Scotland, have vastly more influence in shaping the form that Brexit will take, and in determining the future for Scotland, than the people of Scotland do themselves. That’s a democratic outrage. It’s the democratic deficit that is really screwing Scotland over. But you won’t hear a Unionist mention it. They only know the prices that the Tory government tells them, but not the value of real democracy.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984

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0 thoughts on “Scotland’s real deficit

  1. Couldn’t agree more.

    Couple of other wee factoids: Scotland has no deficit and has no debt. The Scottish government is not ‘allowed’ to have either by requirement of its devolution settlement and remit. The UK has responsibility for both debt and deficit of which Scotland receives an ‘allocated’ share.

    The UK government is solely responsible for:

    constitutional matters
    UK defence and national security
    UK foreign policy
    immigration and nationality
    UK economic and monetary policy (other than Scotland’s tax-varying power)
    energy: electricity, coal, gas and nuclear power
    employment legislation
    social security (the DWP – Department for Work and Pensions)
    some aspects of transport, including railways, safety and regulation
    regulation of certain professions such as medicine and dentistry
    others, such as data protection, broadcasting, gambling and the National Lottery

    Scotland’s legislative competence operates within an allocated budget and an economic model NOT of its own creation. Our allocated debt and deficit, the economic model and legislation which Scots are obliged to accept as a member of the UK is, by and large, beyond the the control of both the Scottish Government and the Scottish electorate. We voted for that in 2014 y’know.

    £1.6tr in debt, set to become £1.8-9 by 2020 according to Mr Hammond. An eye watering sum, yes? Which government ran up this debt? Which government controls the levers of the economy? The Scottish Government didn’t catastrophically crash an economy (its not allowed to). The Scottish Government hasn’t waged war on anyone in centuries, spending yet further eye watering sums on maintaining a global military footprint (see under foreign adventures and Trident).

    So who truly owns responsibility for ‘the black hole’, for debt, for deficit, for poverty, for food banks, for hardship and suffering endured?


    For we allowed it to happen. Governments rely on our permission to underwrite their actions y’see. If there are bad bastirts in central government making your life a misery, its because a majority of the voting public put them there. We had a shot recently at changing that system (democratic deficit and all) and for a vast mix of reasons, cultivated fear and uncertainty being right up there, a majority of the electorate decided against self government. Some would say ‘your choice, so suck it up’, or ‘you’ve made your bed, now lie in it’ kinda thing.

    Me? I’d say it’s a perfect illustration of where power truly lies. Without you, the voter, those fuckers are powerLESS. What you can vote into power, you can vote out. The people you give power to, you can remove power from.

    Scotland doesn’t need lessons on macroeconomic theory from a failed political class, z list Westminster politicians or fuck witted policy wonks and drones, meeja punditry or party Klingons from the establishment. We’ve got a parliament. We’ve got a government that actually gives a shit about what kind of country we want and need to be.

    Up to you though. You’ve got the power.

    • I appreciated your information as to which major matters UK are solely responsible for and which we, in turn, are allocated our proportion.
      What constantly frustrates me is why the Scottish Government (SG) appears to be party to the GERS figures without comment or qualification.
      Surely SG would be in a better place with the ‘maws’ and ‘mibbes’ if some clarification was given?

      • Would that they could, but they are the party of government. GERS are basically what Westminster allows as an accounting by the devolved parliament and government of the day.

        Debt allocations, deficit allocation, UK spending guesstimates and Scottish contributions to UK spend actual: eg. Trident and defence, are all contributed figures by HM Treasury. Who knows if they are accurate? They are merely what is supplied and what the SG are bound over to use as the basis of GERS.

        Scotland has NO full official accounting of its finances available to the Scottish Government and even if they did, it would remain, as GERS, an accounting of Scotland’s finances as part of the union and the economic model of Westminster.

        This is where a media that is not corporately or politically compromised is meant to step in and explain this appalling situation to the public. This is where the media should be asking questions of central government and holding them to account.

        But since we don’t have one of those, its up to us grumpy. 🙂

  2. Corbyn ‘turbo charged’ into Glasgow for an hour or so yesterday, looking for the life of me like a homeless old man whom the Social Work had rescued from his Zanussi Fridge box home on the Broomielaw, scrubbed up, given a fresh set of War on Want charity togs, and made presentable for his Housing Department interview. (now I know what happened to my favourite old herring bone tweed jacket which I donated to the Hospice shop in the 70s)
    Well, he picked a good day for it, didn’t he?
    To an audience of about 60 of the followers, plus the same number of Scottish hacks and TV crews, he again warned us that there would be ‘turbo charged austerity’, and a ‘black hole’ (the fabled £15 billion?) in Free Scotland’s economy and there would be cuts in Health Education …ya de ya. The railways are fucked and we all know who to blame for that, don’t we?

    The Nats were implementing Tory Cuts for them, and slashed £375 million from the LA budget.

    Kezia was at his side. That would be the Kezia who backed Smith in the Leadership II rammy, declaring that the Labour Party could never win an election with Corbyn at the helm.
    That would be The Dug whose Federalism and New Act of Union nonsense was rejected by Jezza last week.
    That would be the Fifi who backs renewal of Trident, but her guest doesn’t.

    From memory, turbos are used to suck more air into an engine, upping fuel injection, revving up speed.
    Was Corbyn’s visit designed to rally the troops?

    How do we do that, Kezia?

    Jezza, tell my fellow Scots that they are too wee too poor and too stupid to run their own country, and that they will be billed with £15 billion of debt that England ran up if they opt for Self Government.
    Oh yes, and just to rub it in, mention that ‘The British People’ voted Brexit, so the Scots, who didn’t, will just have to bow down and follow their colonial masters over the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover ‘
    Who gave this sad old man Blair Mac Dougall’s 2014 Project Fear briefing as a turbo speech in 2017?
    A tired old Greybeard (my age) from North London where flats start an half a million, is paraded in Glasgow to lecture us on black holes in the economy?
    The online Daily Record doesn’t feature his whistle stop tourette, and online Herald buries his triumphant address to the 60 Faithful among the PPI clickbait.
    Dugdale and the Branch Office’s days are numbered.
    Corbyn came North on a day that he knew the English media would be covering the madness of King Trump.
    SNP BAD. Too wee too poor too stupid.
    Job done. Any chance of nipping ’round to the Fruitmarket to bag a couple of courgettes/ They’re like gold down in London.

    • ‘tourette’ Isn’t that an unfortunate condition where you involuntarily spout constant abusive language? A subconscious association on the part of Jack, I’ sure 🙂

      • I am forever pleasantly aware of the intellectually high standards of the contributors and readership of this excellent forum, Marco.
        They say that if the Bard came back and read Barclay’s critique of Shakespeare’s works, and his analysis of what Old Will really really meant, an’ ‘at, Shakespeare would hardly recognise Barclay’s interpretation of his works, intrigued by the ‘hidden meanings’ which he had subconsciously inserted in his canon.
        I cannot admit to such genius lurking within my subconscious muse.
        I knew fine well what I meant by ‘tourette’.

  3. I would like to know one very simple and fundamental fact. How much tax revenue is raised as a result of activities in Scotland?

    I am told that most of the tax from whisky exports goes through English books since the tax is levied at the ports of export which are, for the most part, in England. The tax for businesses is levied at their head office which, for many large businesses, is in England.

    So, if all taxes were actually retained in Scotland, what would the financial value be?

    • Lee,

      The answer is simple..

      More than they would want you to know about. Much more. Enough to leave Westminster with a deficit that would sink them.

    • Les, UK companies are not providing, now are they obliged to, breakdowns of their economic activity by country within the UK.
      For example Tesco or Sainsbury’s do not provide a separate balance sheet , revenue, taxes paid etc., in Scotland.
      If a Scottish farmer sells his meat products to Tesco’s, and a Scottish Consumer buys their product in a Scottish Branch of a UK store, then that business transaction is considered as part of the inaccurate ‘ Scotland exports 4 times as much to England’ as our real exports to the EU.
      Produced in Scotland, sold in Scotland, profit generated in Scotland by UK wide company; ergo Scotland is importing its beef to the UK, ahem, the Scottish Region of the UK.
      Nice game played slow.
      When Mundell, Rennie, Davidson, Dugdale, Baillie, and WATP Tomkins leer about us selling England 4 times as much as we sell to Europe, they are lying. There are no stats to back this lie up.
      Buy Edinburgh Rock in a Morningside Morrisons and we are suddenly exporting it to England. If the Union didn’t exist, who gets the dosh from my purchase?
      Rennie Dugdale and Davidson are an anachronism:uber councillors with no role but to ya boo for the SE Establishment.
      Corbyn is a sad old man. Whatever the aim of his sortie into the Far North yesterday, it failed too wee too tpoor too stupid spectacularly.
      Why didn’t they hire the Hydro and invite 12,000 of the Faithful to a rally? No, titter ye may. No, don’t.
      Labour in the UK is dead.
      LIbDems, deader.
      Right wing madness walks these islands, unchallenged except Up Here in Jockland. That’s the truth/truth.
      But for the Yes Movement, I doubt that Holyrood would survive..
      The US will be reopening their base in the Holy Loch some time soon now.
      I think I’ll buy a taxi in Dunoon.

      • Jack, I am having difficulty explaining myself. What I am trying to say is that if we were to construct a budget, showing predicted income and planned expenditure, for Scotland we would need to estimate the income from all taxes levied as a result of activities carried out in Scotland.

        Yes, I appreciate that the figures are not readily accessible at present, but estimates can be made. For example, if Tesco has x% of its stores in Scotland, then we could assume that x% of Tesco’s corporate tax liability would be retained in Scotland. Similarly, if Scotland has y% of the total workforce, then y% of the total personal income tax going to HMRC would be Scotland’s.

        More easily, all of the excise duty on whisky, and all of the oil revenue would be ours.

        If this exercise were done, it will kill off the ‘too wee, too poor’ comments and be a key to winning the next referendum.

        • Sorry, Les, I tried to reply to you but GCHQ must have found an offensive word and/or my offering got lost in the ether.
          Briefly, we agree, We can apportion 8-9% of UK supermarkets profits, taxes to a notional Scottish GERS/GDP.
          I’d imagine that come Independence in Europe, Lidl, Aldi, Carrefour, Leclerc and the rest of the big European giants would want to expand in Scotland, muscling out the Old Guard.
          But that’s another tale.

    • So who are the people to who calculate GERS? Are they all stationed in Scotland? If not, how many operate in the ruk sending their figures [on Scottish products exported from ruk ports for example] to Scotland? How does Edinburgh and Glasgow check these figures provided by ruk operators? How can Scotland be sure these ruk figures are not manipulated for political purposes? How can any of us be sure? Why is Holyrood forced by Westminster law to publish these figures?

      Why did Ian Lang, the then Secretary of State for Scotland, in a letter to the then Prime Minister, John Major, on March 3rd 1992 state:
      “I am disappointed that both you and the Chancellor have reservations about publishing the booklet I have had prepared and printed, setting out the details of the government’s expenditure and revenue in Scotland. I judge that it is just what is needed at present in our campaign to maintain the initiative and undermine the other parties. This initiative could score against all of them”.

      It’s difficut to see how figures can be collated completely separately for Scotland without a calculated imput from England. It’s worrying, especially since Westminster’s handling of the uk’s economy is woeful to say the least. In short, Westminster can send up any old calculations to Holyrood and, because of Westminster law, Holyrood has to publish them. Perfidious Albion indeed.

      • Exactly. I see GERS as a tool invented by the Tories to undermine the Scottish people using smoke and mirrors.

      • The so-called black hole in Scotland’s finances will be a major attack theme for Unionists in the new referendum, and it must be responded to simply and clearly. It surely can’t be that difficult to work out an Independent Scotland’s finances, ie total income versus total expenditure, free of part-funding UK debt, Trident, Brexit etc, and including selling Scotland’s renewable energy to England, Whisky revenues etc. I just wish someone with some academic standing would just get on and do it. It won’t have much credibility if the SNP provide the figures.

    • Exported goods are not taxed. They may be subject to import taxes (duties, tariffs, etc.) but those are levied and retained by the government of the importing country. Exporters do not tax their exports.

      • Holebender, perhaps you miss my point.
        When a Unionist politician states that we ‘sell’ 4 times as much of our produce and services to England than to the EU, it is based on nothing; there are no stats to confirm this.
        A Tesco Branch in Scotland selling Scottish cheese to Scots customers is considered as Scotland selling(as part of the 4 times as much) to England. The produce is Scottish sold to Scots in a store based in Scotland, but it is not recorded as such.
        Tesco HQ in England will record Scottish beef as being ‘imported’, because company accounts are UK/England based, although the meat never leaves Scotland.
        Post Independence, this will change.
        As to the revenue generated by transactions in Scotland, that is another story.
        However, ‘exported goods are not taxed’, is strictly correct(ish).VAT, labour costs, transport/fuel costs to take the goods to foreign markets are taxes on exports in transit. Enough already.
        If I buy a Scottish bun in a Scottish branch of ASDA, the bun has not been exported to England.

        • I saw a comment recently posted by someone who used to be in Customs and Excise, based at English ports. If goods made in Scotland and exported from Scotland to the rest of Europe are transported though an English hub (which most are) they are documented as British or English not Scottish. Takes the flippin’ shortbread that one.

          • I seen the same post Therapymum and was suspicious because there was no identity of authore, job description or date.
            I checked the Scottish Government website under exports FAQs and it was clear that if the goods are made in Scottland then it doesn’t matter what port the goods are exported from – they are documented as Scottish goods.
            The FAQs prove that the post from the supposed Cusoms and Exise person, was false.

    • Most of the tax from Whisky comes from Spirit Duty. This is a producer tax, nothing to do with sales, exports, location of corporate HQ’s or any other excuse.

      The most recent figures will be in The Treasury’s big red book.But from a budget from a few years ago they stated that Scotland produced £500 Million from duty on Whisky but London somehow managed to contribute£2,000,000,000. 4 times the amount despite not having a single distillery within 100 mile radius.

      Under FFA, Federalism and obviously post-Independence every penny is restored to Scotland. Have a thinky about why they are desperate to prevent that ever happening.

    • Munguin has a good piece with some info on this from an ex-customs officer,scroll down till you come to , “I’ve wondered about this”. Its about the money that pours into the coffers from the whisky exports. II this is right, its no wonder we’re kept in the dark.

  4. What a sad, non-smiling figure Corbyn cut on EBC. He is humourless, unconvincing and patronising. A westminsterite, anti -EU hypocrite and centralist.
    He offers no vision, no ideas, no policies. He just ridicules by mumbling about the wealth Engerland generously gives to Scotland! His opponent, Kezia, smiles and accepts it! She is such a non-politician, it makes one laugh and cry at the same time.
    The SLab-yoons are vanishing fast. LfI within the party will call time soon.
    The other yoon party, The LibDems will split. The Liberal party of yore was split internally along two lines – the Liberal -Unionists and the pro Home Rule all rounders prior to 1914.
    These two strands still exist. Where Rennie stands would seem to make him a unionist!! But one would likely see a peeling off of their supporters who favour more devolution to create a “LibDemfI” grouping if they want to have any credibility in an independent Scotland post Brexit/Engxit.
    The group LfI within Slab are seeing that clearly and have an eye to the future. The Scottish Greens have seen the future too.
    The Anglo-Welsh-Britto-Nationalist-Exiteers are pinning all hopes on a 90-day agreed trade deal with Trumo who puts America first to make America great and to favour American industry, banks and economy! Global “Britain” is in for a shock!!
    The banks in the City and even Nissan-Renault’s CEO is thinking about reevaluating its centre in Brexit Sunderland!!

    • I would love to see a “LibDemfi” group.

      There was a post on the Lfi group along the lines that the people of Scotland should be made more aware that the fight for independence is a fight for all political parties.

  5. I can tell you where the fifteen billion deficit is. It is the UK’s balance of trade deficit for the month of November in euros.

    That is just one month. The figure for the year is €201.2 billion. So we have a UK economy which is, as Macart above says, £1.6trillion in debt and losing a further £200billion a year from its economy, and that is supposed to be the bedrock that supports the Scottish economy?

    I recall a comment from a Labour figure back in 2014 that he had a berth on a luxury liner, why would he want to swap that for a berth on an old tanker (presumably thinking he had made a clever reference to Scotland’s supposed reliance on oil revenues). I would suggest that luxury liner is now holed below the waterline and Labour in Scotland should be asking themselves if they wouldn’t rather have a seat in the lifeboat.

    It is as if they still fail to recognise the scale of the problem, believing that “proposing a convention” which no one, even their own party in the rest of the UK has any interest in, is a solution to what is facing us. They are the passengers listening to the band playing on in the ballroom of the Titanic, mesmerised by the opulence of their surroundings. Even though those surroundings are at a bit of an alarming angle and there are ominous splashing sounds coming from the deck beneath, they still refuse to believe their luxury liner is about to disappear beneath the waves and if they ask the band to play their favourite tune once again everything will be fine.

  6. “The UK government has refused even to consider any of the proposals put forward by the Scottish government in an attempt to find a compromise on Brexit. ”

    The impression we are getting here is that the UK government has dismissed pretty well any statement from the EU about what Brexit means and what the consequences will be, so it i doubt they are open to hearing from their own citizens.

  7. It is interesting that in 1707 England had 486 MPs and Scotland 45,

    Today England is currently represented by the highest number of MPs ever – at 533 (in 2015) with Scotland at 59

    Country 1922 1945 1950 1955 1974 1983 1992 1997 2005 2010 2015
    England 492 517 506 511 516 523 524 529 529 533 533
    Wales 36 36 36 36 36 38 38 40 40 40 40
    Scotland 74 74 71 71 71 72 72 72 59 59 59
    North’n I. 13 13 12 12 12 17 17 18 18 18 18
    Total 615 640 625 630 635 650 651 659 646 650 650

    The democratic deficit is simple, there is mathematically and in voting terms at Westminster no ‘equal’ Union.
    There is in effect a 10:1 majority for England over Scotland, so where the matter is a ‘UK’ matter where 58 Scottish MPs vote against the continuation/impostion of nuclear weapons (with bases in Scotland) and 1 MP in favour – the /majority view, whatever that is, in England, is effectively the one that prevails.

    In voting terms there is no ‘equality’

    in Spirit /intent is the Union equal .?…well that is question you have to ask yourself…. are you happy with this ? is it acceptable in the modern democratic age… or are we, all generations, simply to accept a medieval Treaty in perpetuity that is simply not fit for purpose.

    For this (and many other reasons), many have already, not unreasonably, determined that Indpendence is the only sensible option. The Union is after all ‘indissoluble’… but the evidence is that after almost 310 of Union almost half, at the last count, wanted to leave it (and the Union would have been dissolved with a greater than 50% vote) not exactly a ringing endorsement of a fair and equal Union if ~45%+ want to leave it , clearly, there is something wrong… and what in practical terms or in spirit has been done to fixit it?

    The current EU ‘crisis’ simply crystallises for all to see the ‘democratic deficit’ – if all consitituencies vote in favour of something (either by Referendum, as in the case of the EU in/out vote, – and how often do all Scottish constituencies vote in the same way?! or if all 59 MPs vote the same way on a matter – it matters not one jot -given the arrangemnets in place.

    Remembering of course that Westminster already voted down all recommendations/proposals arising out of the Smith Commission and put forward by Scotland, including the call (by the Liberals) for a Constitutional Convention. The Labour Party and Conservative Party have no place to hide in this (they had their fun voting all of it down, not turning up at Westminster, abstaining) they played an active part in ensuring that Scotland would not benefit in any way following the Smith .Commission,
    and from the recent Supreme Court case the view the Government took clealrly shows to all their view on the permanence of the Scottish Parliament .. so a ‘plague of boils’ seems headed their way (as warned by Lord Smith if anyone tries to prorogue the permanence of the Scottish Parliament).

    If this is not clear, just consider what is to stop the following by vote at Westminster: once all EU Law passes instantaneously to UK Law under the Repeal Bill that will shortly be put in place:-

    Repeal of Human Rights Act, repeal of any/all EU social/working directives/employment law/ EU Health and Safety/Environmental legistlation and even closer to home pension law/protections,

    Can you think of any others?

    So maybe (to provide a practical, reasonable solution, in the interim) Scotland should have not 59 but 533 MPs (maybe we should have a vote on it!) just to make a bit more ‘equal’ in this ‘equal’ Union… if that seems unlikely, maybe Independence is the solution to change this.

    • The Scottish Parliament is NOT permanent in UK law. I watched them vote down the SNP amendment. I have seen information since saying that it is permanent on government websites but that is not what it says in statute.

      We only got the Scottish Parliament in the first place because the EU forced it because of the democratic deficit. What is going to guarantee the Scottish Parliament once Brexit occurs?

      Theresa May said that things would change for Scotland after Brexit.

  8. Great post Dug and great responses by other posters. Nothing I disagreed with.

    I noted Christine McKelvie’s tweet reprising Mundell’s statement about devolution only being part of membership of the EU (looked it up and it’s true) and that once out of the EU the relationship with the Scottish parliament (his words) would change. Coupled with the implied threat in TM’s article in the Times about doing everything to protect the Union from the SNP and that the support for Independence waning (WHO SAYS?) and the legal argument recently that the Scottish Government only governs at the behest of Westminster, what’s the betting that they will try to reverse devolution?

    One more reason to head for Independence. I still think that we will have to have better arguments on the economy and currency although I have already been recently shot at for saying so. However, for my generation they are vital questions and we clearly didn’t convince last time round.

  9. I don’t understand why unionists are able to get away with scaring folk about the hypothetical “independent Scotland deficit” when they are advocating the continuation of the UK with its actual, real deficit.

  10. I agree with everything said here. But we do need to get something more definite on the economy and currency after independence. It doesn’t matter to me – my vote is in the bag – but there are still people out there who need to be convinced, and the Scottish economy is the sticking point in many cases. Is there no way of disaggregating these GERS figures???

    • Agree, …Scotland does not have control of its economy (despite what the media puts out at every opportunity) – see Macart’s post above for some of what is still reserved to the UK Government.

      The state of the economy remains principally in the control of Westminster / UK Government and, if it is the case that is not in a healthy state, after 310 years of Union, with all the ‘pooling and sharing’ we hear so much about, that certainly pools but always seems to ‘share’ more to the South East than to the regions of England, Wales, N. Ireland or Scotland. …. perhaps it is inevitable that any area other than the South East will always be disadvantaged; – then responsibility /criticism for for a poor economy should be directed where it is due….. maybe Scotland’s interests are not best managed in the present arrangement is a polite way of putting it. Independence seems the logical option.

      It seems improbable that, with all of the resources Scotland has (or could have entirely) at its disposal as an independent country, irrespective of oil reserves, that Scotland could not make a reasonable go of it..

      Given the abysmal fiscal record of recent Conservative and Labour goverments, it is unlikely that the books will be balanced or even favourable now or in the forseeable future under the present incumbents..(and that could be for some time),
      so the case for Scotland as an independent country really has to be made to all in Scotland, positively, in terms of what resources Scotland has at its disposal and what it could do with these for the benefit of all (but with due care of the environment!) if not shackled to the dead weight of the present arrangements.

      [again pinched from a posting on WoS]:-

      Scotland has 8.3% of the UK population , but has

      32% of the land area.
      61% of the sea area.
      90% of the fresh water.
      65% of the natural gas production.
      96.5% of the crude oil production.
      47% of the open cast coal production.
      81% of the untapped coal reserves.
      62% of the timber production.
      46% of the total forest area.
      92% of the hydro electric production.
      40% of the wind wave and solar energy production.
      60% of the fish landings.
      30% of the beef herd.
      20% of the sheep herd.
      9% of the dairy herd.
      10% of the pig herd.
      15% if the cereal holdings.
      20% of the potato holdings.
      100% of the Scotch Whisky industry. 70% of all Gin.


      17 billion pound construction industry.
      13 billion pound food and drink industry.
      10 billion pound business services industry.
      9.3 billion pound chemical services industry.
      A 9.3 billion pound tourism industry.
      7 billion pound financial services industry.
      5 billion pound aeroservice industry.
      4.5 billion pound whisky exports industry.
      3.1 billion pound life sciences industry.
      Scotland still has 350 million pounds worth of textile exports.
      25% of Europe’s wave and wind energy potential

      and ……1.5 trillioin pounds of oil and gas reserves… and believe me, they are out there, and they are drilling for them.

      I think the case for the Scots Pound has been made and gaining momentum.

      More important than any of the above is being able to decide, for yourself, on what happens in the Country you live in, and for that vote to count.

  11. What about all the countries just queing up to sign deals with the UK?
    they’re queing up all right, not to sign sweetheart deals but to give their old masters a kicking
    and point and laugh, I know I would in their shoes!

    • Some folk you need to drag to the coalface (shrugs). They’ll find out soon enough.

      Average shop this week, a good £10 more expensive. Noticed a fair chunk of our regular buys had gone up in price and not by 1 or 2p, but closer to 10 and 20p in some cases.

      Won’t take long for folk to notice static wages and price increases.

      • “Noticed a fair chunk of our regular buys had gone up in price and not by 1 or 2p, but closer to 10 and 20p in some cases”

        Same here Macart.

        I have also noticed exactly the same in the last couple of weeks. Prices are definitely going up and for some of the products the increase is close to a 20%.

        • You’ll note that newscasts and print alike are a bit light on reporting these hikes? Yet by anyone’s measure these are pretty big jumps in price.

          I reckon its a case of don’t frighten the horses over the true cost of Brexit. A waste of their time really. Folk are already beginning to notice for themselves.

    • I rather a thistle, wi a’ they barbs openly on display, that a rose that hides its thorns behind a pretty face and a sweet enticing scent. Why does Bliar’s grinning face somehow come to mind?

  12. Another humdinger, Paul but it just makes me so angry No voters can’t open their eyes. How much contempt and lies can they put up with?

    Patience is a Virtue: thanks for those statistics, which are pretty damning re. democratic deficit. But just wait, Tam Dalyell will be along in a minute to spout nonsense about the West Lothian Question. Remember that once-topical hogwash?

    Therapymum: what’s the betting on Westminster trying to reverse devolution once the UK is out of the EU? Odds on, I think.

    Another reason why we must win Indyref2.

    Perpetual brutal, corrosive Torydom or life in an inclusive, progressive and prosperous country which will cooperate with its European neighbours, where the government governs for the benefit of all its citizens.

    That’s a hard one, eh?

    • Glad you agree with me Tinto Chiel. I’ve just had an argument with my nearest and dearest about a possible reversal of devolution. He thinks they wouldn’t dare. Hah!!

        • I honestly believe Removal of the Scottish Parliament on the cards if Brexit proceeds as May and Co want.

          The Stormont Assembly has already fallen for other reasons and may never be back up but NI has the Republic at its back and the EU and the UN written into certain agreements with the UK .

          The Welsh Assembly doesn’t count – they voted Brexit.

          Scotland is the big sticking point – we must hold firm and press on to Independence before the Brexit negotiations end

  13. Great rhetoric by wee dug,mac,jack et al. I joined SNP at 14 in ’65. What was said above still stirred me. We need to cover all the bases, especially economic to reassure the unsure, however we need also to reassert our historical right to sovereignty AND galvanise the emotional need for self determination and the self respect it brings.
    Plus we need outlets such as billboards and pamphlets which bypass the msm to reach the technophobes among us.

  14. Thanks everyone for the stats. Although I knew some, there are lots here that are new to me and very impressive. Good ammo for the future “to reassure the unsure” (thanks Aitkenheed!)

  15. As an aside, I’ve just read Blair McDougall’s vacuous piece on Indyref 2. the Leave or Remain campaign as he would like to call it. Aye, right. It will be YES for Self Dteremination, No to remain as a colony of England.
    I won’t set out the giant holes in his argument, why would I? But I hope he uses this pap as the basis of Project Fear 2.
    It is arrant nonsense and easily refuted, all of it.
    Bring it on, but at our time of choosing, Mr McDougall. BTW I am not a member of the SNP, therefore assume that you are not addressing your lightweight pamphlet to me.
    We have thrown more out the road to get to a fight.

  16. In the European union – everyone has their say, which is heard, voted on, respected, and influential;

    in the British union, in total contrast – only one member has a say that is heard. Other nations can vote however they like – it’s not relevant, has zero influence and wins zero respect.

  17. Fantastic read – from Paul’s article to every last comment. How fortunate we are to have such well-informed Yes Voters. With such inspiring people we WILL win the battle!

  18. This makes many erroneous assumptions. The conservatives are cruel, duplicitous money grabbers? hell yes, no doubt about that. So do you pull out and run away leaving England, Wales and Northern Ireland to suffer, but worse because leaving the union means the Tories have a greater majority in Britain. Feeling no doubt sorry for the people like Kent, or Liverpool, who don’t have an easy line to cut, to say ‘its my ball and I don’t want to share with the other kids?’ Its a lot like Trumps health insurance arguments: why should nice healthy people have to pay for sick ones with pre-existing conditions? Why should Scotland be forced to support starving people in Wales, a place that is really really struggling in Britain?

    Scotland is not really a deficit to Britain, no figures really support that except for bent ones. But that doesn’t mean Scotland can survive financially better independent than in union. Many national services for a 75 million population wouldn’t cost 93% less to run for a country 93% smaller. This article whines about the deficit like its really the whole argument and the only reason, but it sounds more like it was the justification of some guy in the pub last week who thumped you and wouldn’t listen to deficit rants.

    The ‘Better together’ campaign was bloody awful, and was somehow trying to bribe Scotland to stay, which was a lousy argument and clearly an impossible one, just like Brexit voters didn’t get their 350 million a week for the NHS. The Yes campaign were trying to suggest everyone would be richer independent, but the figures for that were as stupidly lies as the better together bribes.
    Will amateur politicians based in Edinburgh be better than Tories? perhaps, maybe. Or more likely they will be just as bad, but from incompetence instead of evil.

    Personally I think it might have been better if every SNP voter had actually voted for a British party with MPs in every county, not just the Scottish ones, and actually use their vote to compete with the Tories instead of voting to hide from them and throw non-Scottish friends and neighbours to the Tory wolves, and end up throwing ourselves to the wolves too.

    No-one in the independence vote was really honest. It was never about money on either side. It was who you call ‘Us’, and who you call ‘Them’. Are we Scottish and them British? Are we British and them European? are we European and them outsiders? Oddly enough, Pro independence anti Brexit works out calling Us European and Them English.

    • It’s not Scotland’s job to sacrifice itself on the altar of English self-harm out of some misplaced sense of solidarity. Real solidarity brings hope, what you’re proposing is a suicide pact.

        • Laving the English WC to the Tories *Which Tories?) was a silly argument against Independence traditionally put up by Brit Nat leftes and the likes of Owen Jones, boy revolutionary and English media favourite.

    • We’ve tried that whole ‘everyone in Scotland voting for unionist parties’ thing. Been doing it for a wee while too. Participating and such.

      Its been in all the papers for the past century or so.

      Didn’t work out too well.

      • To take the 2015 General Election as an example … If every SNP voter had actually voted Labour instead, then David Cameron would still have become PM, the Conservatives would still have had a majority of 12, and we’d still have had a EU Exit Referendum! (And I rather suspect the overall results of that would’ve been the same too?)

        The only substantive difference I can think of would be that Miliband would likely have remained leader of Labour, and no-one would ever had heard of Corbyn? And opinions may differ as to whether that would’ve been a good or a bad thing? 😀

        • Was it not our Ed who swore he’d go farther with austerity measures and immigration than the conservatives? Seem to recall some campaign memorabilia from Labour on that. Car crash marketing. 😀

          Seriously though, you really couldn’t put a fag paper between them. The only noticeable difference between the two would be that when (and I do mean when), Labour enacted the self same policies as the Conservatives, they’d do it with their ‘awfy sorry’ face to camera. The conservatives openly gloat at the societal carnage they wreak, whereas Labour smirk behind closed doors.

          • You got me thinking, Sam, so I’ve been off trawling the ‘net.
            Leaders’ Debate , ITV, 2nd April 2015.
            Miliband Cameron Clegg Farage, the Four Horsemen, and Natalie Bennett(Greens) Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) and our very own Nicola Sturgeon, the Sisters of Anti Austerity Mercy if I may be so bold as to torture the ‘Apocalypse’ analogy to breaking point.
            Only three months after the Blue Red and Yellow Tories marched arm and arm into the division lobby in January 2015 to almost unanimously vote through the Charter for Budget Responsibility, that’s £30 billion in ‘austerity’ cuts, £12 billion in cuts in welfare, £13 billion in cuts to public services and associated jobs, and £5 billion to be raised in taxes chasing Non Doms, and the Starbucks of this world.
            It’s still on the internet, but I recommend that you make your last will and testament, and implore your Nearest and Dearest to call the polis if you’re not back in an hour. Some of the guff pouring forth from Cameron and Clegg, Miliband, and the disgusting xenophobe bile oozing from Farage would bring many of us to consider ending it, now that we know how that turned out for them all, and us.
            Clegg, the man who broke his pledges on Tuition Fees, whose mate Cable privatised the Postal Service, selling it off cheaply to his mates in the City who made £1 billion ‘profit’ in a week, selling the business on, and Danny Alexander’s boss, the man who cut 500,000 public service jobs, and now, beknighted, makes his wedge working for a Hong Kong Bank, was still all for cuts, but more ‘balanced’. Miliband was an embarrassment, but would still have ‘better targeted’ cuts to public spending, but still cuts.
            The Red Blue and Yellow Tories would fund the NHS by introducing ‘efficiencies and savings’, that’s cuts in jobs and services to the rest of us, while Nicola, Leanne and Natalie pledged to keep the NHS in public ownership.
            Cameron was all for saving a ‘pound in every hundred pounds’ of public spending over the term of the next Parliament.
            That’s a five per cent cut in schools, hospitals, the Emergency Services, Policing, care for the elderly, the frail, the disabled, BTW, Ruth, Kezia and Wullie.
            He boasted that the Cameron Clegg Co op had ‘saved’ £21 billion in benefits and allowances over the previous five years, and that there was more where that came from if he were elected. He got that right, didn’t he?
            You may recall Farage’s evil lie that Health Tourism costing the NHS (England) £2 billion a year, and that of the 25,000 treated for HIV, 60% of them were ‘foreign nationals’, and that a house had to be built every seven minutes just to house the foreign hordes coming to the UK.
            Disgusting little man then, never mind now.
            But the sisters were doing it for themselves. End Austerity cuts. stop punishing the poor and rewarding the rich, the Bankers, extend the timetable to cut the deficit, borrow to invest in infrastructure, jobs, training, apprenticeships, and go after the Tax Dodgers.
            Well, we are where we are, Sam. The joint owners of the Vow are gone, Clegg, Miliband and Cameron, and indeed Farage, will not be appearing at the podium when another ‘leaders’ debate is held, if ever.
            We have Corbyn May and Tim whatshisname, and a shaven head UKIP son of Nigel who is fed up of English Tax payers’ money being thrown over Hadrian’s wall so that the Sweaties get Free prescriptions, and don’t pay tuition fees.
            I’ll stop now. It is small wonder that the three women had a wee group hug at the end .
            A lot has happened in the 21 months since.

          • Still. Better Together. Because clearly, y’know, because…..

            We need to… need to…. and then there’s through right and wrong and…and… lead with us and stuff. We… luv you?

            Or we could go with self determination. 😉

          • Just watched Brewer’s Sunday Droop.
            As per, a pre-recorded interview with SNP Mike Russell, then ‘live’ link with two Professors, Christina Boswell (?) from Edinburgh Uni and Brad McKay (?) from St Andrew’s. By their accents she appears English born, he definitely Canadian.
            Brewer was peddling the 16% trade with the EU, 60% to the rUK baseless notion, which Russell turned on its head by asking, would rUK want to cease trading with Independent Scotland while it tried to broker deals with the other 27 EU partners? Course not.
            It’s time the SNP background boys provided a rebuttal ‘line to take ‘ on this 60% , ‘four times as much’ exports to the rUK nonsense, but at least Russell slapped Brewer down for suggesting that an Independent Scotland within the EU wouldn’t be getting strawberry jam and Kendal mint cake following Independence.
            Professor McKay, clearly a Canadian, referenced Quebec’s devolved powers as Brewer tried to sell the ludicrous idea of more devolved powers to Scotland by the Tories come Brexit, citing Jack McConnell’s deal on Education, mumbling unconvincingly about immigration, and such.
            The Canadian Professor repeated the 16% trade to EU, 60 to 70% to rUK fallacy, but yer wummin frae Edinburgh pointed out that NS’ proposals to ensure that Scotland stay within the EU trading bloc, and freedom of movement made it nigh impossible that the Scottish Government would draw back in the vainglorious hope that David Mundell and his puppet masters would deliver any further devolution once WM took back control.
            Kevin Pringle got a spot in the epilogue chair, and refused to let Brewer talk over his answers. As he pointed out, it was in the SNP 2015 manifesto. Leaving the EU against the will of the Scottish people is a material change that would trigger another Independence Referendum.
            Gordon is beginning to look like a tired old anachronism, mumbling about a past glories
            ruefully gone.
            Jack McConnell and Kenny McAskell, and Quebec ..really?
            I’m done tuning into the BBC for a week or so. I need a shower.

    • Is there anyone here from Wales who can explain why they voted for Brexit, which seems on a par with turkeys voting for Christmas? According to one Welsh blog I read their agricultural sector will be completely buggered to start with? Dwi’n deallt y Gymraeg ond dim yn deallt y Cymry o gwbl!

      • I believe the Welsh are now on a 50/59 par with incomers and second homers and will soon be a minority in their own country. I hear some oft hem on the horrible English political chat shows expressing their right wing views.I would take “Welsh” voting results with that in mind. There is a voice not being heard there. I spent a holiday in Llandudno once, without once meeting a Welsh native; not in the hotel; shops. pubs, or even organised day trips.

        • I haven’t really been to Llandudno since I was a kid, but IIRC it always was mainly a holiday resort for the English midlands, but I take your point. A long border and relatively easy access from Birmingham etc. does make Wales very vulnerable to English ‘white settlers’, OTOH there are places right next to England like Wrexham and parts of Gwent which are still apparently very Welsh, perhaps despite their ‘exposure’.
          I can’t help feeling that the Welsh have somehow let the team down though ;-(

          • When I was in Llandudno the accents were Midland, Cheshire and Lancashire, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool. The holiday homers usually brought their own food with them.

            I was in Wrecsham in the 89 for a Welsh Republican Rally. Everyone else seemed to be English. Eventually they took is to a Welsh pub miles away. I was in Merhyr Tidwell commemorating the “Frost Rebellion” of 1832. It was the same. The English landlord of the pub we were in gave us all a free round and a bottle of Drambuie to take back on the coach. He said he hadn’t laughed so much in years and the “Scotch” livened the place up. The police were out in force and soldiers were even up on the roof. Don’t know what they were expecting.

            I was the Eisteddfod with Welsh Republicans. The North and South ones would not speak to each other, except through us. We had no Welsh of course

            I was in the Labour Cub at Pontrypridd and the majority were Welsh Nationalists. Labour make money from these social clubs and it is time the SNP did the same. The locals picketed the supermarket to take the English World Cup merchandise off the shelves and put Scotland merchandise up instead, as Wales was out of the cup. There was a Welsh Nationalist Club in the town and they gave our table a free bottle of Glenmorangie.

            Haven’t been to Wales for years and don’y know how it is changed. I loved the people we met.

  19. Aye, we’d be an economic basket case. We end like some far flung wee country in the north of Europe like……Denmark.
    Whatever happened to the Danish oil industry?
    And it’s so expensive there. They can’t afford cars in Copenhagen – most folk have resorted to riding bikes.

  20. There should be more discussion of Westminster’s economic failures. The argument always gets framed as Scotland needs to stay in the UK because being in the UK is an economic benefit to Scotland. So the discussion gets focused on Scotland. But the UK economy has been mismanaged for decades and Scotland suffers by staying in thre UK as a result. Brexit is only the latest bit of Westminster incompetence. There’s a nice article in the New York Review of Books that details some of the ugly details: The Death of British Business.

    • TVM for the link , Alan.
      Of course Blair Mc Dougall will classify this harbinger of doom as a scaremonger.
      Under no circumstance will we allow May to drag us out of Europe.
      Madness stalks the Corridors of Power Down There.

  21. Alan,

    Indeed, thanks for the link. Funny to see my own views on this idiocy being reflected back at the UK as a whole. Perhaps, to see ourselves as others see us?

    I should really like to see a series of opinion polls – post Theresa May’s Brexit speech – from a Scottish perspective. Seems to be too much to ask.

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