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Scottish Independence: The Cost of Living Like This

28 May 2014

1:40 PM

28 May 2014

1:40 PM

Yippee! The number-crunching boffins are at war again. The UK and Scottish governments have today released rival forecasts for life in an independent Scotland.

It will not surprise you that the UK government’s projections run towards the pessimistic side of the ledger while their opponents in Edinburgh take a sunnier view of Scotland’s future economic circumstances and performance. Fancy that!

The Scottish government suggests there might be £5bn windfall from independence; the UK government reckons each Scot receives a ‘Union dividend’ worth something like £1,400 a year. 

They can’t both be right. In fact the probability is they are both wrong. That is, Scotland’s fiscal and economic position would be neither as bleak as London suggests nor as rosy as Edinburgh claims.

The truth is that no-one actually knows. Like all such forecasts, these rely on so many assumptions that they should only be treated as some of the many possible outcomes that might be possible. Educated guess-work remains a matter of guess-work.

It is, I think, probable – and unnecessarily stupid – that some of the UK government’s assumptions about the one-off start-up costs of establishing a new state are exaggerated. True too that even on London’s pessimistic forecasts an independent Scotland remains a perfectly viable proposition. Poorer than she might be if Caledonia remained part of the Union but still far from destitute.

On balance, however, the UK government’s forecasts are closer to those made by more independent bodies such as the IFS and the NIESR than are the Scottish government’s. That doesn’t mean Edinburgh is necessarily mistaken, merely that it is worth recalling that the Scottish government’s estimates are the outlier in these competing projections.

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Take oil, for instance. It’s still largely all about the oil. If the OBR’s forecasts for future oil receipts may have often proved too pessimistic it may equally be said that the Scottish government’s projections are as optimistic as others are gloomy.

In today’s analysis for instance, the Scottish government lays out six potential scenarios for future oil revenue. The most optimistic projects £38.7bn of revenue from the North Sea over the next five years; the most pessimistic suggests oil and gas receipts might only total £15.8bn. The scenario upon which the Scottish government bases all its other calculations estimates revenues of £34.3bn over five years. That is, it is very much closer to the highest plausible forecast than to the lowest. Which is fine. Except if it is wrong.

Oil is a useful problem to have, for sure. Nevertheless both governments actually agree that, generally speaking and over the medium-term, oil revenues and higher public spending per capita in Scotland than in other parts of the United Kingdom effectively cancel each other out. Which means there’s no magic oil money to fund additional public expenditure above the levels which Scotland currently enjoys.

The British government’s paper naturally focuses on current trends and many of those are gloomy. It is based upon current trends remaining reasonably constant. The Scottish government’s paper, by contrast, focuses on what an independent might be able to do differently.

That’s all well and good and entirely in keeping with the Yes campaigns’ preference for dwelling in an imagined future. But it does rather mean that even by the standards of these matters the Scottish government’s projections are heavily dependent upon everything improving for the better. Perhaps it would! But how probable is it that everything would be better after independence?

For instance, the Scottish government’s document is stuffed full of If. If and independent Scotland increased participation in the labour force by 3.4 per cent, if an independent Scotland increased productivity by 0.3 per cent each year, if an independent Scotland attracted significant numbers of new immigrants to offset the deleterious impact of an ageing population… If, if, if all these things were achieved an independent Scotland’s net fiscal balance could improve as a share of GDP by 1.2% relative to baseline forecasts.

As the Scottish government puts it: ‘If Scotland was able to increase its population and close some of the gap in its employment and productivity rates with the top performing countries in the OECD, it would boost tax revenues year on year. After thirteen years this could provide an additional boost to tax receipts of over £5 billion a year.’

So here we have it: not only should Scotland be independent, an independent Scotland would have to be extremely well governed. Again, I don’t mean to suggest this would be impossible, merely that the Scottish government’s own forecasts might be best understood as a kind of accumulator bet. Sure, singles and doubles may pay-out but the full impact is only felt if every horse comes in first. Which it might! Though, you know, there’s a reason bookmakers promote these bets…

In the end, I fancy the impact of today’s rival forecasts will be neutral. They will not change many minds. Rather they will confirm existing prejudices. Those minded to vote Yes will have their preferences indulged; those Scots voting No will have their own instincts confirmed. And those in neither camp may be forgiven for thinking that no-one actually knows anything.

So: yes, it can be done. No, that does not mean it would be done well. The early years of a new nation would be difficult but that scarcely means those difficulties are insurmountable. But so much needs to go right for the Scottish government’s assumptions to become reality that it seems mildly improbable that an independent Scotland really could, as Alex Salmond has claimed, spend more, borrow less and tax just the same. There comes a time when heroic optimism descends into foolishness.

 

 

 

 


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Show comments
  • flippit

    Salmond’s gotta be able to say, let’s be an independent country no matter what it costs, which for him is true, but he won’t say it, because it will scare the pants off everyone. The truth is no-one knows. Economists have said it will be ok eventually but will have a hard and rocky road the first ten to twenty years. That makes sense to me, the reality is nearly always harder than the dream and if yes wins the SNP will change, their arrogance and hubris will send them into a tailspin of state control and micromanagement. It won’t be pretty for a while.

  • Blindsideflanker

    I gather the Scots have put a price on the Union, £500.

    If they put any price on the Union, let alone such a derisory sum, then it is best they go.

    Having put the country through years of this, perhaps they should be paying the rest of us £500 each, to compensate for the agro these people who represent just 7% of the population have put us through.

  • DaveTheRave

    What a ridiculous spectacle this is! So long as there is not a huge discrepancy (and there isn’t in reality), surely Scotland must go with its heart, how it feels? I’m English but if I lived in Scotland I would want independence….. but then why go all out for EU membership and manacle yourself to real tyranny?

    • DaveTheRave

      … and why are Scotland playing at Craven Cottage tonight? Last time I looked London was the capital of…

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Perhaps the Smoke is one of the biggest cities in Nigeria?

  • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

    Alex Massie misses the crucial difference between the analysis produced by the Scottish Government and the propaganda pumped out by the UK Government. The former may be founded on assumptions and estimates, but the latter we know to be a construct of lies.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Ludicrous bigoted rubbish.

      • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

        Scream and stamp your feet as much as you like. Reality has little regard for your petulant tantrums.

        The bigots are those who refuse to accept that they are being lied to even in the face of incontrovertible evidence. We know for an absolute fact that the UK Government’s latest “analysis” paper is based on a number of proven untruths.

        But British nationalist fanatics are like religious fundamentalists. They take pride in their ability to believe despite all proof to the contrary. They regard concrete, objective evidence as a challenge to their faith in the divinely ordained British state.

        They are similar to the more demented religionists also in that they consider conduct which would otherwise be totally unacceptable to be not only justifiable but laudable when it is carried out in the name of the “crusade” to defend the ruling elites and their structures of power and privilege – which you know better as the imagined nation of “Britain”.

        It has been truly said that it is futile to use reason in an attempt to move someone from a position that they did not arrive at by reason. So I’ll leave you to your comfortable, immutable bigotry.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Once again, ludicrous, bigoted rubbish.

          • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

            My point is proved.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Your hypothesis is that Scottish politicians tell the truth while English politicians lie. That is ludicrous, bigoted rubbish.

              • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                Again you prove only your own close-minded ignorance. I made no such generalisation. Although I’m sure you have totally convinced yourself that I did, you are once again exhibiting the traits of a religious fanatic by believing in something which does not exist.

                Back in the real world, all I have said is that we have absolute, incontestable proof that your British nationalist masters have lied brazenly and repeatedly throughout the referendum campaign. The fact that your faith does not allow you to see, or acknowledge, this evidence tells us nothing about the facts and a great deal about the workings of your sadly afflicted mind.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Christ, you don’t do irony do you. “The former (SNP) may be founded on assumptions and estimates but the latter we know to be a construct of lies”. No qualification simply the assertion that the SNP tells the truth and Westminster lies”. You have no means of knowing that is the case you are simply a fanatic propounding bigoted rubbish.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  You don’t keep up with current events, do you? is that because you’re more comfortable in your ignorance, perhaps?

                  But maybe it was my mistake. Maybe it was wrong to simply assume that you would be aware of what is going on in the referendum debate. Maybe it would have been safer to assume that you are one of those poor souls who view the world only through the distorting lens of the mainstream media. Let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your ignorance is not wilful but the unfortunate consequence of some vary naive choices.

                  It is quite possible that those who rely on the BBC and the British press for information might be totally unaware that the UK Government’s latest “analysis” paper has been totally discredited. The mainstream media has, after all, put considerable effort into concealing this fact from those who are slaves to its messages.

                  Unless you read well beyond the headlines or, preferably, seek alternative sources of information, you could be forgiven for not knowing that both of the academics on whose research the British Treasury based its estimates of the set-up costs of independence have condemned the misuse and misrepresentation of their work.

                  “Patrick Dunleavy, a politics professor at the London School of Economics whose research was used to come up with the figure, said that it overestimated the cost by a factor of 12.” – The Independent

                  Professor Robert Young of the University of Western Ontario, whose research was also critical of the way the British Treasury used his research.

                  As I say, it is perfectly plausible that you might be unaware of all this. Especially given your evident inclination to filter out any information which conflicts with your prejudices.

                  Less easy to understand is why you were unable to figure out for yourself that the claims made in the “analysis” paper were complete nonsense. alarm bells should have rung as soon as you saw that they had confused/conflated government departments and public bodies. This glaring error really should have prompted you to wonder about other aspects of the claims being made.

                  For anybody of normal intelligence with an interest in the truth it was a very simple matter to discover that the claim about the Scottish Government having stated that, post-independence, 180 new government departments/public bodies would be required was also – not to put it too strongly – misleading. Actually, it was totally false.

                  The rest follows on from there. Anything more rigorous than a cursory glance at the arithmetic shows it to be nonsense. The claims made in the UK Government’s latest anti-independence propaganda fall apart under only moderate scrutiny.

                  But this was the word of the divinely ordained British state. So you were never going to question it, were you?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Do you honestly believe I am going to read your bigoted blather lad?

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  Silly child.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Better educated than you lad.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  And yet too stupid to realise that you have no idea how well educated I am.

                  It’s like trying to have a conversation with a mollusc.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You are far too absurd to have a debate with lad. You take the view that everything you opponents say is wicked or a lie whereas you believe everything the great leader tells you. Your absurd lad and a cybernat nutter. Nobody is going to take you seriously apart from your fellow nutters.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  I think you mean, “you’re absurd”. An educated person would not have made such a childish error.

                  But then, an educated person would hardly mistake assumptions based on ignorance and personal prejudice for genuine knowledge.

                  Another ranting British nationalist fanatic dismissed.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Asserting everything your opponents say is a lie is definitely ignorant, uneducated and absurd lad.

                • HJ777

                  “But then, an educated person would hardly mistake assumptions based on ignorance and personal prejudice for genuine knowledge.”

                  At least that’s an admission of your lack of education.

                • HJ777

                  The Treasury document is about 70 pages long and the sources and assumptions are all there for anyone to examine and dispute.

                  Where is the SNP’s analysis so that we can examine whether that is likely to be realistic?

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  It has been published. If you were really interested you would have found it by now.

                • HJ777

                  If it had been published you would have pointed me towards where it can be found.

                  The entire press would also be grateful if you could do so because they haven’t been able to find it either.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  It took me two mouse clicks and three seconds to find a PDF copy. See if you can match that.

                • HJ777

                  Yet you are incapable of posting a link.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  I just thought you needed some practice doing your own research. But it seems that you will always depend on others.

                  https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0045/00451336.pdf

                • HJ777

                  You misunderstand.

                  I was looking for the SNP’s assessment of the transition and set-up costs of Scottish independence.

                  Where can this be found? Alex Salmond, after refusing 11 times to put a figure on it, then came back with a figure of £250. Where can we see how this figure was arrived at?

                  We know that John Swinney estimated that the cost of a new Scottish tax agency alone would be between £575 million and £625 million but other than that we have no detail.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  You should learn to express yourself more clearly.

                  You might also want to try thinking instead of just parroting the British nationalist propaganda line. How would it be possible for anyone to produce a useful estimate of start-up costs without knowing what would be the arrangements for sharing existing assets?

                  Learn a lesson from from the recent antics of the British Treasury which published what purported to be realistic estimates of the costs of new administrative infrastructure but ended up being an embarrassing fiasco for all involved – especially Danny Alexander.

                  Besides, the idea that something is bad just because it has a cost attached is plainly idiotic. Take the estimated cost of setting up a new tax system, for example. Just about everybody who knows anything about the issue agrees that the UK tax system is a shambles. But it is never going to be reformed. Partly because the shambles suits the vested interests that the British political system is designed to serve. But also because it is seen as too costly. Although this is really just an excuse for inaction.

                  Scotland has an opportunity to start afresh and learn from the appalling mistakes of the British state. That is the huge opportunity that must be set against any cost.

                  British nationalists cannot see opportunities. That is their misfortune. But when they try to blind others to those opportunities that is malicious action.

                  There are two sides to every transaction. You’ll be a better person when you grasp that simple fact.

                • HJ777

                  Says the man who specialises in interminable fact-free waffle…

                  I repeat my question: Where is the SNP’s assessment of costs so that we can assess whether they are being realistic? Why haven’t they published it?

                  Do they expect Scots to select from a menu without prices?

                  As the report says, the UK government estimates are closer to independent ones from the IFS and NIESR, so they have credible support.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  The British Treasury’s “analysis” has already been totally discredited. Largely because it was not analysis at all but crude, clumsy propaganda. So, even if the Scottish Government did publish its own realistic estimates of start-up costs – which cannot, of course, be known with any degree of certainty – the people of Scotland would still have nothing with which to compare those estimates.

                  The only thing we can know for sure about these costs is that they can never exceed the benefits of bringing our government home.

                • HJ777

                  It seems to be the favourite accusation of CyberNats to say that their opponents have been ‘discredited’ without ever being able to specify in what way.

                  As is well known, and as you would know had you read the Treasury analysis, although some of the possible higher figures quoted have been disputed, it did not use these higher figures in its assessment of costs – it used rather lower figures.

                  You excuse as to why The SNP has no published its estimate of cost is wholly disingenuous. It seems perfectly capable of publishing its claims about financial benefits. How can it know what those benefits will be if it doesn’t look at costs?

                  We know that Salmond has now come up with a figure of £250m. That is less than half the leaked cost estimate by Swinney for an independent Scottish tax agency. So who is ‘disredited’ – Salmond or Swinney?

                  If you think that the secessionist campaign is not about costs and money, why has the “Yes” campaign put so much effort into documents and advertising promising that Scots would be much better off financially after secession? It knows that its core support is far to low to win the vote – so it is trying to bribe Scots with money (their own money, incidentally).

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  I know the British media have been doing their level best to divert attention from the embarrassing fiasco of the UK Government’s latest faux analysis paper, but in the age of the internet there really is no excuse for your ignorance.

                  Those not as blinkered as yourself will have noticed that Danny Alexander only resorted to Professor Young’s research AFTER Professor Dunleavy had castigated the British Treasury for “misrepresenting” his findings. It was a classic episode of political back-pedalling that seems to have passed you by completely.

                  And when Professor Young also slated the UK Government’s “analysis” the propaganda machine shifted immediately into diversion mode with the demands for figures from the Scottish Government that you are now dutifully parroting right on cue.

                  Incidentally, how does it feel to be used in this way? Don’t you feel dirty?

                  But we didn’t need Professors Dunleavy and Young to tell us the “analysis” paper was a load of crap. The lies and distortions and fallacies were evident on even the most cursory scrutiny. the conflating/confusing of public bodies and government departments was, perhaps, the most obvious sign that we were dealing with some serious idiocy in this document.

                  Then there was the dishonestly misleading stuff about 180 government departments (Or public bodies. The British Treasury seems unable to make the distinction.) and the flat-out lie about this being the Scottish Government’s own figure.

                  And, despite your best efforts to pretend otherwise, the “analysis” did arbitrarily multiply that erroneous figure of 180 by the highest cost identified by Professor Dunleavy. Other than for devoted British nationalists, Danny Alexander’s efforts to rewrite recent history are doomed to fail.

                  You wouldn’t qualify as one of the anti-independence mobs little band of amateur propagandists if you weren’t capable of lying with casual ease. You show off your talents in mendacity with the claim that Alex Salmond came up with the figure of £250m. It was, in fact, Professor Dunleavy who came up with that figure.

                  One of the idiocies of the UK Government’s latest “analysis” (Can we please stop the pretence and just call it propaganda?) was to assume that its ludicrously exaggerated estimate of the cost of setting up a new government department (Or public body. Or unicorn farm. Who knows what they actually mean any more?) would be the same for every one of the 180 new unicorn farms… sorry! public bodies/government departments that they claimed the Scottish Government had said that Scotland would need, although this was actually a brazen lie.

                  You emulate this idiocy with your comparison between the average cost cited by Professor Dunleavy (NOT Alex Salmond! Have you got that yet?) and the specific estimate for a particular government agency (Not a unicorn farm.) quoted by John Swinney.

                  Nobody, least of all me, has claimed that the economic aspects of the issue are unimportant. You make the foolish error of imagining that, because I put those aspects into a more comprehensive context, I must be discounting them completely. Just because you are unable to see or appreciate that wider context doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

                  Whatever their protestations to the contrary British nationalists continue to rely on the insulting and, by their own admission, false argument that Scotland is “Too wee! Too poor! Too stupid!” to be independent. What we are getting now from the campaign to deny the sovereignty of Scotland’s people are merely clumsily contrived variations on this contemptuous, dishonest line. let me tell you that nobody outside the ranks of unthinking British nationalist drones is in the slightest bit impressed. In fact, the more the unionist camp push this line, the easier it is to persuade people to vote Yes. Not “bribe”, as you so contemptuously suggest, but persuade with a positive, aspirational message that speaks of far more than just money and is, therefore, likely to be quite incomprehensible to poor souls such as yourself.

                • HJ777

                  You have verbal and mental diarrhoea and an inability to engage with fact, logic or truth where it is inconvenient to your agenda.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  Thus you deny the known facts about, among other things, what has been said by Professor Dunleavy. No! perhaps I am being unfair. It’s not so much that you deny these facts as that you are intellectually incapable of acknowledging them.

                  I have tried to respond to you in a meaningful and comprehensive manner. All you have to offer is infantile taunts about diarrhoea. Get back to me when you grow up a bit.

                • HJ777

                  You have tried and failed.

                  You, talking about intellect? Very amusing. You’re as dim as ‘terregles2’ – and I never thought that possible.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  Despite your infantile behaviour, I have endeavoured to be patient and reasonable. I have tried to explain things to you that you are obviously incapable of understanding in the way that one might with a young child. I have no intention of descending to the playground level where you conduct what you no doubt genuinely believe to be political discourse.

                  To prove my point, I will respond to your latest tantrum, not with echoes of your own puerility , but with something at least relatively thoughtful. I do so in full awareness that it will go way over your silly wee head but, nonetheless, in the hope that some part of it may penetrate such intellect as you have not abandoned to British nationalist ideology.

                  You ask why the Scottish Government has not published its own estimates of the infrastructural set-up costs associated with independence. You ask the wrong question. You ask the question to which you have already prepared your own answer based on your own prejudices. But you do not ask the truly pertinent question.

                  Why should the Scottish Government publish its own estimates?

                  You make the facile assumption that, because the UK Government has published something, the Scottish Government must do likewise. This is not a game of “Monkey see! Monkey do!”. And thankfully not, given the embarrassing mess that the UK Government made of its latest “analysis”. Why would the Scottish Government want to emulate that?

                  You ask for these figures only because you have dutifully picked up on the cues fed to you by the unionists media. Politicians started demanding these figures, not in the expectation that they would be provided, but solely to divert attention from the British Treasury fiasco and the farcical Danny Alexander show. It simply doesn’t occur to you to ask whether it is even sensible for the Scottish Government to come to the rescue of their floundering opponents by providing a further distraction from their woes.

                  It doesn’t occur to you that the Scottish Government would need to have a reason for publishing whatever analysis it may have. It doesn’t just do stuff willy-nilly.

                  And there simply is no good reason to publish such analysis. As the UK Government has proved in such magnificent fashion, this does nothing to inform the debate. Even estimates that stand in stark contrast to those concocted by the British Treasury by being rational are likely to vary so widely across a range of different possible scenarios that they would effectively be meaningless.

                  There are simply too may unknowns prior to negotiations on sharing of assets for any estimate of set-up costs to focus in on a narrow range of possibilities.

                  One must never forget, also, that this is politics. The Scottish Government knows that any analysis it might publish at this time would have to be so vague and hedged around with so many provisos and caveats that it would serve no useful purpose for those trying to make up their minds how to vote. But they also know that it would serve as a useful target for the anti-independence mob to shoot at.

                  Why would the Scottish Government do that when they can just sit back and watch the unionists’ “analysis” crumble to dust while Danny Alexander writhes on the stake on which he has impaled himself?

                  It may be that the Scottish Government will be able to produce some sort of synopsis of whatever analysis it has. But it would be political folly to do so at the moment.

                • HJ777

                  More dreary waffle from a man endlessly prone to trying to patronise and accuse others of infantile behaviour whilst exhibiting a complete lack of self awareness.

                  Going on and on an on and on is not a sign of intelligence or a powerful argument. Did your teachers never tell you that?

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  Thank you for taking the trouble to prove my point.

                • HJ777

                  You had a point concealed in all that pompous self-justifying waffle?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Don’t bother. That nutter is up there with Terregles etc.

              • JPJ2

                Alexander is indubitably Scottish and also indubitably a liar.
                I find that to truly contradict YOUR racist theory :-)

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  How do you live with being so stupid?

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  I didn’t understand this comment at first, until I realised that it was yet another distasteful example of the British nationalists obsession with ethnicity.

                  When you refer to “my racist theory” you actually mean the one that somebody else imagined on my behalf. But I’ve no doubt you long since lost the ability to distinguish between facts and the tenets of your British nationalist faith.

  • The Masked Marvel

    It’s still largely about the oil, is it? Presumably the Warmists will have a word or two to say about Scotland drilling up all that oil and destroying the pristine ocean? Can we expect a celebrity-presented BBC documentary on the environmental havoc an independent, oil-drilling Scotland will cause? Or not, depending on who wins Ideology Top Trumps, eh?

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Both sides are lying. Both arguments are not particularly relevant. Nobody should be selling his vote for a few quid. It shouldn’t be about money, it should be about principle. Identity. Freedom. Resentment. Whatever. Independent Scotland can do well, after a probably uncomfortable period. As part of the UK Scotland can also do well. It’s principle which should decide, not filthy lucre.

    (Go, stay, Rhoda doesn’t really care, I just don’t like to see argument conducted this way.)

    • allymax bruce

      ” Independent Scotland can do well, after a probably uncomfortable period.” (Rhoda). Rhoda, the uncomfortable period is now, in the Union with Westminster. Who do you think Crashed the economy to force us to ‘endure’ Westminster austerity?

      “As part of the UK Scotland can also do well.” (Rhoda). No!
      If Scotland stays in the Union with Westminster, then the £60 billion more worth of Westminster austerity cuts planned, is on their way to literally make Scotland a third world country. If you live off benefits & foodbanks now, in the Westminster union post iReferendum, you’d be better off in prison, or dead.

      • Wessex Man

        erm, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, BOTH SCOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • allymax bruce

          And?
          So is Danny Alexander, and yer-man Darling, and they’re no better. Politicians that are really bad at their job; really doesn’t matter where they were born; or hail from.

          • Kitty MLB

            Take no notice of him Ally.Some cannot find any
            Scottish Kippers to ride a bicycle with.
            And people are good and bad regardless of
            where they come from.

            • allymax bruce

              It’s ok, Kitty; I’m only ‘playing’ with him.

        • JPJ2

          You don’t seem to get it. Supporters of independence will vote for those who support Scottish independence, regardless of their “bloodline”.
          Ethnicity is a unionist pre-occupation.

  • Swiss Bob

    All you need to know is that socialism is a disaster, everything follows from that.

    Scotland will be bust in ten years if the SNP hold onto power for that long.

    • allymax bruce

      England will be bust in 2 years if they re-elect Labour.

      • Kitty MLB

        Yes we will indeed dear, Ally. We are still living with the consequences
        of Labour. If they resume their reign of destruction then the horsemen
        of the apocalypse will appear across the heavens.

        • allymax bruce

          Hi Kitty. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are with us now; in the ethos of G4s, we are ‘run-forward’ (gee-gee), relentlessly by Fed’ Res’, World Bank, IMF, and ECB.

      • Swiss Bob

        Probably even less.

        • JPJ2

          I would agree with you there-look at poor old Wales. The SNP regularly use what is happening in a Wales run by the Labour incompetents as a warning to Scots not to let Labour in.
          Fortunately the warning continues to be heeded :-)

    • http://google.co.eu Sentinel

      Isn’t Norway a good comparison with Scotland, Bob? Population about the same, oil & gas industries, renewable energy provides nearly all their electricity.

      Norway has a large state sector, welfare system far more generous than Scotland … and a sovereign wealth fund of $830 billion. Perhaps that is what Salmond et al wish to copy.

      • Swiss Bob

        You are joking.

        Norwegians are all very well educated and I doubt very much their social security bills are anything like Scotland’s.

        It’s like comparing Switzerland with Zimbabwe.

    • JPJ2

      Swiss.
      I am sure you must be familiar with the description of Switzerland being provided without its name (landlocked etc etc), until the name of the apparently utterly hopeless country is revealed to be….Switzerland :-)

  • Jacobite

    Money, money, money…. I think you have a point Alex you really can’t trust either side. So you have to decide what do you want- independence or to continue as a partner of the Uk. Not too sure if there will be a yes vote but I think politically eventually Scotland will go their own way maybe not yet.n

  • Jambo25

    Professors Patrick Dunleavy and Robert Young have both dissociated themselves from statements on the start up costs of a Scottish state and the UK Treasury has been forced to admit that it was lying. The Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, jumped into the political debate over the proposed post independence Currency Union as a partisan participant and later had to admit that the well considered advice he said he had given Osborne and chums had never actually been discussed at any scheduled or minuted meetings: something absolutely inconceivable to anyone with any civil service experience. Sir Nicholas is a personal friend of Alistair Darling with whom he has the odd drinky poo. I’ve been out of the country for 10 days and can see neither hide nor hair of Al. Is he still about?

    • MaxSceptic

      I recommended this comment by error.

      • Jambo25

        In that case you could perhaps say which of the points I raise are inaccurate.

        • MaxSceptic

          From what I heard on ‘Today’ this morning the truth of the matter remains in some dispute.

          From past experience, I can only assume that the SNP’s cost estimates will be as accurate as those used to cost the construction of the Scottish Parliament.

          • MichtyMe

            Ah, the cost of the Scottish Parliament, a Westminster Government project.

            • MaxSceptic

              A Scottish project from Donald Dewar downwards.

              Please don’t attempt to re-write history.

              • MichtyMe

                DD was a Westminster Cabinet Minister and it was decided in London.

              • Jambo25

                MichtyMe hasn’t. You have. The SNP was a London Labour project to dish the “Nationalist shibboleth over the Royal High building+ as inveterate Unionist, Donald Dewar, said.

              • JPJ2

                A UNIONIST mis-managed project-just like Scotland under Westminster

          • Jambo25

            The SNP weren’t responsible for building the Holyrood Parliament. In fact, they opposed the parliament being built there. They always favoured the old Royal High School building.
            Incidentally, Channel 4 News has just backed the view of the events which I gave.

            • MaxSceptic

              Oh well, I guess I shall have to butt out of Scottish affairs and hope they extend the same courtesy to England.

              • Jambo25

                Actually, most Scots have little or no interest in purely English affairs. We only tend to get interested when it has a direct effect on ourselves. I’d imagine that English people feel the same way about Scotland.

                • HJ777

                  Not every Scot is an insular and inward-looking as you.

                  And from where did you acquire the authority to speak for most Scots?

                • Jambo25

                  And why would you think that Scots are that interested in England’s domestic affairs? Few, if any, people I know are. How many English people could really care less about Scottish internal affairs?

                • HJ777

                  The people you know are hardly likely to be typical, are they?

                  Small-minded inward-looking people aren’t known for associating with people with a broader outlook.

                • Jambo25

                  That’s strange as my extended Scots-American family contains people of Polish, Slovak, Italian, English, Native American, French Canadian and Japanese origin. My friends and acquaintances also include South Asians, Chinese, Polish, Czech, English and Irish people.
                  Do you suppose that they are all “Small minded inward-looking people” as well? I must say that I get the impression that you are a rather affluent, “Small minded inward looking” English Tory.

                • HJ777

                  Nice try, but totally unconvincing given the history of your posts.

                  Still, you’re not quite as bad as ‘terregles2’ with her constant “everything about the UK is discredited” rants and panicky assertions that the sky is falling.

                • Jambo25

                  Terregles is the voice reason compared to you. She also doesn’t go out of her way to insult people.

                • HJ777

                  What would you know about the ‘voice of reason’ and if you and terregles2 are somehow under the impression that you don’t go out of your way to insult people then you exhibit a chronic lack of self-awareness.

                • Jambo25

                  Its not me who stared calling people “small minded”, “insular”, “inward looking”. That was you. Nor have I accused people of “rants” and “panicky assertions”. That was also you.

                • HJ777

                  I didn’t call ‘people’ that.

                  I called you that. Correctly.

                  You routinely dish out abuse but you squeal when you get a few home truths back.

                • Jambo25

                  Look at what you write. You appear to be not aware of what you write.

          • HJ777

            You don’t understand.

            Anyone who disagrees with Jambo25’s assertions or interpretations is ‘lying’.

    • HJ777

      Come off it.

      The Treasury estimate published a range of forecasts but it did not use the disputed one for its calculations, it used a much lower forecast of cost.

      The SNP’s white paper, curiously, managed not to even mention ANY transition/start-up costs. Not one mention in nearly 700 pages!

      Salmond was asked 11 times in an interview and failed to give any answer when quizzed on the costs . Then he magically came back later with a figure of £250m – based on no data that anyone can examine (unlike the Treasury, whose data and assumptions were published for all to see and dispute n detail). Meanwhile we know, thanks to a leaked report by John Swinney – Salmond’s own finance minister – that the cost of a new Scottish tax agency alone is estimated by the SNP to be between £575 million and £625 million.

      • Jambo25

        Listen to Professor Dunleavy’s interview on BBC Scotland’s ‘Drivetime’. He shreds the behaviour of the Treasury accusing them of misrepresenting his work and spreading misinformation. It is also fairly clearly stated that an estimate of about £250 million as start up costs has been given by the SG and Dunleavy is, generally, in agreement with that. The Treasury figure appears to have changed (Virtually halved, actually.) within a 24 hour period.

        • HJ777

          You still can’t avoid the fact that the £250m is less than half the figure given by John Swinney in a leaked memo on the cost of setting up a Scottish tax agency alone.

          Dunleavy may or may not have been misrepresented but, as we know, it wasn’t his figures that were used by the Treasury in their calculations.

          Neither can you avoid the fact that The SNP has refused to publish their own estimates for examination.

          You also can’t avoid the fact that when I previously asked repeatedly about these costs – from you, answer came there none. You simply ignored me, like you routinely ignore difficult questions that you can’t answer.

          • Jambo25

            I’ve set out the facts as put forward by the acknowledged expert on the subject. If it doesn’t support your view of things then hard luck.

            • HJ777

              You’ve set out precisely no facts.

              You cannot point to any analysis of the costs that adds up to just £250m. No-one has produced any such analysis – it doesn’t exist. You can’t tell me where it can be found.

              What we do know is that the Treasury has produced an analysis which is pretty consistent with previous analyses such as produced for Quebec. We also know that the SNP has carried out an analysis – but has refused to publish it for examination. Why? What has it to hide? The one thing that we do know – because his memo was leaked – is that John Swinney has put an estimated cost of over twice your £250m figure on setting up a separate Scotitsh tax agency alone.

              Anyone who thinks that the set-up costs would cost Scots just £50 per head – which is what you are saying – is either a fool or being transparently dishonest. And you are the person who regularly accuses people you don’t like of ‘lying’. Hypocrite.

              • Jambo25

                Why don’t you read Professor Dunleavy’s piece in the FT or listen to his interview on ‘Drivetime’. He is the expert on this subject. Of course, you do not want your bigoted prejudices challenged so you will, as usual, stick your fingers in your ears and go ‘La,la,la,la’ etc whilst thinking of the good old red, white and blue. I accuse the Treasury of lying and so did Professor Dunleavy. Incidentally, Professor Young wasn’t entirely happy with them either.

                • HJ777

                  I repeat – Dunleavy’s figures (which he disputes) were given only as an upper estimate of the cost. They were not used for the Treasury’s central estimate and not used in their overall calculation. The breakdown of the Treasury’s figures is entirely consistent with previous work on the costs of secession, foe example relating to Quebec.

                  You cannot answer – indeed, simply ignore – basic and perfectly reasonable questions. You will not even acknowledge that we know that Swinney’s estimate for the cost of the tax agency alone is around £600m, or answer or the issue about why the SNP refuses to publish its own forecasts (which we know exist), and so you resort to calling me a bigot.

                  You are a thoroughly unpleasant and dishonest character.

                  If you had any scruples you would hang your head in shame at your disgraceful behaviour. Unfortunately you lack even basic decency and prefer to go around abusing others and call them liars when the inadequacy of your arguments is exposed.

                • Jambo25

                  I repeat my previous advice to you. Dunleavy is as close to an expert on this topic as you are going to get and he 1)Pretty much agreed with Salmond’s figures and 2) Savaged the Trasury. Young, while bweing much quieter di

                • HJ777

                  I repeat – where can I see the breakdown of these figures to see whether they are likely to be credible?

                  Why will not the SNP publish its breakdown?

                  Salmond didn’t have any figures. He was asked repeatedly for his figure and would not answer. He later mysteriously agree with the £250m figure – so they are not his figures. If he agrees with the £250m figure, then let us see how he worked that out – and perhaps he can also explain why he disagrees with John Swinney’s analysis which we know to be over double that amount for a tax agency alone.

                  Anyone who claims that all the institutions and necessary agencies of a seceded Scotland can be set up for jut £50 per head is either a fool or a liar.

                • Jambo25

                  And I repeat, listen to Dunleavy’s interview on ‘Drivetime’ or read his piece in the FT. Simple really. Dunleavy and his colleagues at LSE are probably the prime experts on this in this country.

                • HJ777

                  You mean those experts at the LSE such as Robert Young?

                  Those experts that you previously repeatedly chose to ignore when I posted this link?

                  I quote: “In the Canada-Quebec case, cost estimates of institutional restructuring ranged from .40% to 1% of GDP.”

                  Scottish GDP is £170bn. 0.4% of £170bn is £680m. 1% is £1.7bn. I think I am correct in saying that £250m is not within that range. Please correct me if it is.

                  Oh dear. And that’s before other costs and GDP effects are taken into account.

                  Game, set and match.

                  http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/38032

                  “There are three main components of transition costs. These are transaction costs, fiscal costs, and the effects of uncertainty. Transaction costs include the resources devoted to disentangling the two states, which bear on both the continuing state and the seceding state. They also include the costs of creating the institutions of the new sovereign country, which mostly bear on it. Transaction costs can be substantial. In cases of peaceful secession, the two parties generally deal with a relatively short list of items, and they negotiate expeditiously. But negotiations can be difficult. In the Czech-Slovak case, for instance, the disposition of cultural properties and secret-police files was problematic. Then there are the costs of transferring programs, revenue sources, public servants, and pensions. Dividing the armed forces and its assets is costly. Further, the new state must devote resources to international treaty negotiations and foreign representation. It must also build a range of institutions, and the cost of this varies with the extent of prior institutional development in the seceding region. No advanced industrial capitalist state has ever undergone such a breakup, but transaction costs obviously could be very large. In the Canada-Quebec case, cost estimates of institutional restructuring ranged from .40% to 1% of GDP. And not all transaction costs show up as measurable losses of GDP. There are also considerable costs to individuals and firms learning about and accommodating themselves to new arrangements.

                  Fiscal costs are the costs of higher taxes to provide the services that are currently provided in the seceding region by the central government. These costs depend on the flows of taxes and transfers between the regional and central governments. Such effects also depend on how the national debt is apportioned, and this is a matter for negotiation.

                  The third type of transition cost, and the most important one, is caused by uncertainty. When conditions are changing fundamentally, economic actors have less confidence in their expectations about the future. Perceived risk increases. This applies to individuals deciding where to live, firms deciding where to invest and to place orders, creditors deciding where and whether to make loans, and all other economic activity. Borrowing costs rise during the transition to sovereignty, because lenders worry about (1) political risk, or uncertainty about future public policies, (2) default risk, because of uncertainty about the creditworthiness of both the continuing and the seceding state, and (3) currency risk, arising from uncertainly about future exchange rates. But the effects of uncertainty are much wider, involving migration, savings propensities, firms’ decisions about sources of inputs and market outlets, and investment decisions.”

                • Jambo25

                  Robert Young isn’t at the LSE. He is a Canadian professor whose initial research was done, specifically, in relation to Quebec, not Scotland. Patrick Dunleavy and his colleagues are at the LSE. He is the expert on the British situation and he is the chap who thought Salmond’s estimate was probably fairly accurate. He is also the chap who strongly attacked the Treasury estimates and accused them of not being able to add and subtract.

                • HJ777

                  It was you who claimed that Robert Young “disassociated himself” from the Treasury’s figures.

                  You were wrong. Perhaps I should adopt your practice and just say that you were lying.

                  I am well aware of where Robert Young is from – but he is on the LSE blog and he was talking specifically in relation to Scotland. The figures he gives are consistent with the Treasury’s figures.

                  Like I said – Game, set and match.

                • Jambo25

                  Young complained that the Treasury had presented what would be the very top end of his estimates. This is not normally seen as academic good practice.

                • HJ777

                  The bottom end of his estimates works out at £680m.

                  And that is just for the cost of setting up new government agencies – not the total cost which, as he makes very clear, would be considerably greater and which likely would take decades to recover even if the SNP’s promised faster growth materialised.

                  The SNP uses the top end of projected oil revenues for all its post-independence forecasts and promises.

                  Is it academic good practice to propose secession and to produce no estimate of costs whatsoever, like the “Yes” campaign has done?

                • Jambo25

                  It depends whose figures you trust and I do not trust HMG at all. I have somewhat more trust in the SG but not a total amount.

                • HJ777

                  So you trust a figure from Salmond and Swinney even though they refuse to publish any information about how it was calculated and it is less than half of Swinney’s own estimate of setting up a Scottish tax agency alone.

                  Remember that their figure didn’t exist – and then half an hour later, it did! Magic!

                  You really are remarkably gullible – or you think other people are.

                • Jambo25

                  Tell you what. If the Treasury intervention on this such a whizz bang attack on the idea of independence why has it vanished from the scene so quickly? Why has the ‘No’ campaign not been using the arguments you are putting forward to hammer the nats?

                • HJ777

                  I note you’ll say anything other than address, or even acknowledge, reasonable questions.

                  I’ll mention Swinney’s figure of £575m to £625m for the Scottish tax agency alone. You will, of course, fail to say how this is compatible with the claim that the total cost will be just £250m. In fact, you’ll just ignore the issue, as usual.

                  I am not discussing campaign tactics. However, my guess is that the “No” campaign is just following Wellington’s maxim: “Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake” or rather when they are making fools of themselves in full view of the public.

                  The ‘Yes” campaign is coming part at the seams. Keep up the good work.

                • Jambo25

                  Once again read the FT web site article and listen to the Dunleavy interview.

                • HJ777

                  As predicted, you ignore the fact that Swinney predicted around £600m for the tax agency alone. You won’t even acknowledge this fact – and it is a fact.

                  I have addressed the Dunleavy piece. He doesn’t include key elements (such as the tax agency) in what he describes as his “guesstimate”, he has no research to back up his figure, he’s not an economist, and in any case, the Treasury didn’t use his figures in their ‘best guess’.

                • Jambo25

                  Sorry but I simply don’t accept things as facts because you happen to say so. I’ve presented the sad story of the Treasury estimate and the way its 2 main sources demolished it before it even got off the ground. You don’t like it. Tough. Utterly dishonest.

                • HJ777

                  Apology accepted. About time.

                  It has long been apparent that you won’t accept any facts that contradict your view of the world (not that yours is exactly a world view, more an inward looking one)

                  No need to sign off with the moniker ‘utterly dishonest’ – I already took it as read that you were.

                  Still heroically ignoring John Swinney’s £575m – £625m estimate of the cost of a new tax agency, I see. You really ought to go to the optician for your myopia – it will save you the embarrassment of walking into reality and looking foolish.

            • HJ777

              Acknowledged experts.

              How about the the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland? As you are keen to keep telling me to look in the FT, I did:

              http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3a3c834e-e02e-11e3-b709-00144feabdc0.html#axzz33MW1bNQF

              “The costs of establishing a separate revenue and customs system would run into the high hundreds of millions, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland said. It attacked the Scottish government , in a report released on Tuesday, for not identifying the cost of a separate tax system.”

              Oh dear. You do look rather foolish.

              • Jambo25

                Why don’t you respond to the research and reaearcher on which the Treasury figures were supposed to be based. You keep twisting in the wind.

                • HJ777

                  If you point me towards the research which says that the cost will only be £250m then I will be delighted to respond.

                  I can hardly be expected to respond to research unless I have seen it, can I? The thing is, I can’t find it anywhere, and as you are defending it, then I presume you must know where can be seen.

                  Of course, if it doesn’t exist and you haven’t seen it, then you look, as I said, rather foolish.

                  Please also point me towards the SNP’s analysis. The only bit currently released (albeit inadvertently) is the estimate of £575m – £625m for the new tax agency

                  By the way, I repeat – Dunleavy’s figures (whether he was referenced correctly or not) were not the figures on which the Treasury analysis was based. That is made entirely clear in the Treasury analysis (which is published for all to examine).

                • Jambo25

                  I’m pointing you towards Dunleavy who is the expert and knows more than me. There isn’t much point discussing the Treasury figures as they seem to be pretty worthless.

                • HJ777

                  Dunleavy describes his own figures as a “guesstimate” and he admits they omit some key costs (such as the cost of the tax agency – estimated by Swinney at £575m – £625m). Dunleavy hasn’t produced any analysis to back up his “guesstimate”. He’s not an expert.

                  The Treasury figures are based on those that Robert Young quoted. You know, the Robert Young whose opinion you were so keen on not long ago.

                  Everyone knows more than you.

                • Jambo25

                  You mean the Robert Young who complained that the Treasury had taken his most extreme high estimate as theirs.

                • HJ777

                  He said nothing of the sort.

                  The estimate wasn’t his, he merely reported it. Neither did he say it was ‘extreme high’.

                  The lowest estimate amounts to £680m. Inconvenient that, isn’t it?

            • HJ777

              Question: “The Treasury press release also estimated that an independent Scotland would face extra IT and administrative costs for tax collection of ‘as much as £562 million’ and for ‘a new benefit system … £400 million alone’. Were these included in your estimate? And do they look right to you?”

              Patrick Dunleavy: “Our original 2010 research only covered Whitehall reorganizations, not whole scale new policy systems, so these elements were not included in my guesstimate …”

              http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/blog/financial-reflections-patrick-dunleavy-independent-scotland-costs-controversy

              • Jambo25

                Writes the man who cannot tell Canadians from Brits and the University of Western Ontario from the LSE.

                • HJ777

                  That’s pathetic.

                  You are a sore loser.

                • Jambo25

                  You still couldn’t tell the difference though: could you , Oh almighty all knowing one?

                • HJ777

                  Only an imbecile would think that.

                  And one who knows he has humiliatingly lost the argument, to boot.

                  You’re not exactly bright, are you? When you’re in a hole did no-one ever tell you to stop digging?

    • HJ777

      Who is proposing the change in the constitutional status of Scotland from which these costs would arise?

      Why will these people not show us their figures and how they were calculated, so that we can see the likely bill for their plan?

      Would any sensibly run business propose a project, publish no costs and expect investors to fund it? Would they then just resort to criticising others when they produce an estimate but still then still refuse to come up with any calculations of their own?

      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/record-view-how-can-250m-3619987

      • Jambo25

        Well, if you look at today’s newspapers you’ll note that the Tories are proposing major changes in tax and welfare powers for Scotland so why not ask Dave and George or are you against Tory proposals as well?

        • HJ777

          Weak.

          • Jambo25

            You mean something embarrassing that you, therefore, wish to ignore.

            • HJ777

              I mean it isn’t relevant to what the cost of Independence would be.

              You are just clumsily trying to distract from the fact that you have shown to be wrong, so you change the subject.

              if you’re not embarrassed, you should be.

  • FF42

    These projections assume that nothing changes. Independence will change people’s actions. Companies serving the UK market will base their operations in the UK and not in a, by now foreign, Scotland. Companies wholly or mainly serving the UK market from Scotland currently employ 300 000 to 600 000 people. A large chunk of those jobs will disappear if Scotland leaves the UK. There is no realistic prospect of jobs of that number being added after independence.

    It’s almost certain there will be massive job losses if we become independent.

    • Jambo25

      And you are sure of this; how?

      • FF42

        I run a company that serves the UK market from Scotland. 90% of our customers are south of the Border. That situation is replicated by thousands of other Scottish companies. We would find ourselves in a foreign country to our customers. Over time that’s not sustainable. Within a half life of a company, say within five years, much of that business and the jobs it represents will have melted away.

        There are other companies that serve a genuinely international market that will be unaffected by independence. But they won’t add jobs for independence. You don’t sell more whisky to the world just because you stop selling pensions to the UK.
        .

        • Jambo25

          And if you are a sane businessman you don’t spend large sums of money replicating already carried out staff training and established company infrastructure. Perhaps you will. If you do, I’ve got a couple of mates in the insolvency business who’ll do it cheap for you.

          • FF42

            I am not saying all 300 000 to 600 000 jobs will go on the instance of independence, or in total. Businesses are dynamic things – they get sold and buy out others, they set up new operations and they are dissolved. New companies are set up all the time. In most cases these new, merged or reorganised operations will be based in the UK to replace operations that were formerly in Scotland.

            100 000 jobs losses are entirely plausible, which would take Scotland’s unemployment to its worst ever rate. It could be a less than that, but still substantial. It could be even worse.

            • Jambo25

              And I assume that with better macro-economic management, lower corporate taxes etc that an independent Scotland could pinch 100,000 jobs of rUK. In reality I don’t think either scenario will transpire. Things will go on, economically, being, boringly, largely the same. Change will be slow.

        • allymax bruce

          What your one company sells to England, 20 more Scots companies are selling to China, Russia, Europe etc. It’s not all about you.

          • Wessex Man

            Your biggest trading partner is England, so please explain how your logic works.

            • allymax bruce

              I’m not so sure you’re right by saying England is our biggest trading partner. Besides, Scotland’s trading partner was ‘managed’ by England, to be England’s biggest; same as pre-1707 treaty of union ‘persuasion’. But Scots companies have diversified their product and strategy to sell to the world. As political boundaries change, markets, currencies, tradeable assets change; nothing stays the same.

              • FF42

                We don’t sell to England. We sell to the UK from within the UK because right now it’s one market. That will change if Scotland becomes independent. And by the way that situation applies to thousands of companies operating in Scotland.

                • allymax bruce

                  Are you telling me Eire don’t sell to UK?
                  If they do, then why can’t an iScotland?

                • FF42

                  Ireland is a very relevant example.

                  No, they don’t sell to the UK market at anything like the level that Scotland does. In several UK market businesses that I have been involved with I have never come across an Irish competitor, Many English and Welsh ones though. In fact there is remarkably little cross border trade and movement of people with the North, even though they share an island and theoretically are one nation.

                  Ireland eventually found success with a different Union, but people forget they went through fifty years of misery before they got there. Scotland would go through a similar, if less extreme, pain if we voted for independence. We would have to make the best of a bad situation and no doubt we would eventually get through it.

                  But we don’t have to, of course. We could do the sensible thing and stay in the Union and keep our prosperity.

                • allymax bruce

                  It’s not sensible for me to stay in the union; if it’s inconvenient for you, then I would ask you to begin to diversify. I’m sure there would be government grants to help in an Independent Scotland. You might even find Europe a better customer.

                • FF42

                  As you say, it’s not about me. It’s about whether those hundred thousand, or whatever it is, people want to keep their jobs. It’s about reducing poverty in Scotland through employment. And it’s about opportunities that come from the Union and which will be closed off if we become independent.

                  The YES camp have the clear argument on self-determination. But I think most people would determine to be in a job and wealthier.

                • allymax bruce

                  No, that’s a defeatist attitude; one that Westminster have dangled like a sword over our heads, for 1000 years. Time to cut loose brother. Now’s the best time ever for Scotland to be independent; we have the oil, gas, renewables, and we also have a brilliant European, Chinese, Russian, global platform to make-the-change from Westminster enslaved compliance. We can do it; there’s never been a better time than now, to vote Yes! Now or never bruv.
                  Vote Yes.

                • Andy

                  If I were you I would relocate to England no matter the result.

    • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

      This one seems to have adopted as a tenet of his British nationalist creed that there is no such thing as international trade. It’s amazing what zealots can make themselves believe.

      I prefer a more rational approach to these matters. While some firms may relocate this is no more than happens in the real world anyway. Businesses close down, New businesses start up. Businesses move out of Scotland. Businesses move into Scotland. That’s how the real world operates. The one-way process that you describe exists only in the world of your fevered imagination.

      Relocation is not something that firms do lightly. It can be a very disruptive and expensive business and businesses don’t like needless disruption and avoidable expense. They certainly aren’t going to undertake this disruption and expense simply to pander to British nationalists’ petty desire for revenge against Scotland for having the impertinence to exercise their democratic right of self-determination.

      Blinkered as you are you fail to see the range of factors that businesses take into account when choosing a location. A lower rate of corporation tax in Scotland would certainly be one factor that would tend to firms want to stay or relocate here. Uncertainty over rUk and the EU may, however, be the biggest consideration of all – at least for some firm. No firm is going to risk losing access to the European single market by moving its operations to a country that is likely to quit the EU.

      The world is rather more complex than your simplistic caricature allows.

  • Kitty MLB

    Apologies for not being sure but Shetland has rather a lot of oil. If they chose to have
    independence from Scotland at some point ( Scotland says the will never go) but
    if they did. Would not this oil belong to them and besides if Scotland join the
    EU she is a greedy beast and Scotland will not have this foreign country to help her.
    If there is a lack of a immigration problem to help with Scotland’ s economy, then we
    have an awful lot of people, especially from middle eastern countries and Scotland has a lot of space, fresh air and mountains.
    And there is still the issue of currency that has not been resolved, Scotland cannot keep the pound at the expense of the English taxpayer as a security blanket. There
    are only 4 months to go and a lot of unanswered questions.

  • UniteAgainstSocialism

    I’m told by Salmond that immigration is good for the Scottish economy. Englands got about 5 million of them from the Indian sub continent we can give him as a golden hand shake if he wants them. Anyone who says no is a racist, islamophobe and a bigot.

    • Angus McLellan

      Look on the bright side. If Scotland is independent, that’ll probably reduce net migration into rUK.
      After all, and contrary to Massie’s “all about the oil” line, it’s about the brain drain and other things as well. And on that note, independence is almost certain to result in fewer Scots moving to London in pursuit of jobs. That’s not my take on things, that’s Mr Wendy Alexander (aka Professor Brian Ashcroft)’s view.
      So a Yes probably means fewer foreigners for you to get upset over, but I’m sure you’ll find something else to replace them in the Two Minutes’ Hate.

      • UniteAgainstSocialism

        the only thing that is going to stop the brain drain from scotland to england is if wee eck does what his socialist comrads in East Germany did and build a wall to stop them leaving.

        So do you want these immigrants or what? They’ll culturally enrich you and add to the diversity of your wonderful country

        • allymax bruce

          No, rebuild Hadrian’s wall to be a border control.

          • Kitty MLB

            A very unique border control Ally. Although hope I still will
            be allowed to climb over the wall and visit Scotland.

            • Richard Ferguson

              You’d still be in England.

              I’ll get my coat…..

            • allymax bruce

              Kitty my dear, you are welcome in Scotland; your friends live in Mull, and you have always been courteous. Besides, ‘the wall’ is only for non-Brits.

      • monty61

        Fewer? More I would have thought. As a (currently) expat Scot, Salmond’s inward-looking pretty nationalist paradise holds precisely zero appeal. I was up in Glasgow yesterday and for kids coming out of school with half a brain, they view separation with horror and are looking abroad as never before.

        The numpties as ever will vote Yes but the net effect of any vote to break away from the UK will be to increase, not decrease, the brain drain.

    • Noel Darlow

      Anyone who argues in this fashion would be well-advised not to pose questions about islamophobia and bigotry.

    • allymax bruce

      Or, Scots women could just lie back and do what UKIP MEP ‘Coburn of Scutlund’, says, and breed more chattle into existence so we don’t have to have an immigration policy at all.

      • UniteAgainstSocialism

        i like it, “Shag for Scotland”

        • allymax bruce

          You used to be able to say that, but now, in Labour’s scutlund, that’s sexist; and Politically Incorect.
          Can’t wait to see how UKIP’s Coburn gets on with Scots women!

          • Jacobite

            My little Scottish daughter thinks he is a balloon. So setting the right impression.

  • Shinsei1967

    I’ve always felt it was dishonest of the Yes camp to campaign on a fictitious amount that Scotland would be richer by in the event of independence. Clearly there are so many variables that any figure would be inaccurate and, more importantly, independence is for the next 300 years, not the next decade.

    If one wants to be independent campaign on that alone. Not on spurious financial benefits.

    And if one is to bandy figures around then the usual way is to report them with various levels of probability attached. Thus Scotland being £1,500 pa better per capita has a 10% probability. Being £1,500 worse off a 30% probability. And largely no change 60%.

    • Noel Darlow

      “independence is for the next 300 years, not the next decade”

      Indeed. All this bickering over whether Scots might be a little better or a little worse off is the kind of thing to consider if you are voting for a new government but is largely irrelevant to the question of independence.

      All the YES camp has to do is give a plausible outline of Scotland’s economic future which shows we have a real potential for success as an independent country (as they have done).

      • allymax bruce

        It really doesn’t matter if iScotland is initially working hard to stand still; I mean, for the first few years it’s going to be absolutely brilliant, or no worse than it is now under this horrendous Westminster austerity cuts union! Scots that vote Yes for Indepednecne know this. Scots that vote No, are buying into the BBC propaganda bs.

      • Wessex Man

        No they don’t even have to do that, all they have to do is to persuade 51% of the population to vote yes, I’m sure they will.

    • allymax bruce

      Carlesborg is ‘probably’ the best beer in the world.
      My granny ‘would’ve’ been my grandad, ‘if’ she had nuts.

      If you’re going to do the probable improbables Rumsfeld style spurious bs, then at least give us credit to know your spouting pash.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      All this talk about the economic advantages and disadvantages of independence. Braveheart must be turning in his grave. We can be sure that he did not carry out a cost benefit analysis before leading his men into battle.

  • goatmince

    Alex, sorry, you missed the boat – that one went yesterday and it will not return for a while. Or will it?

    All the talk right now is about Clegg – will he stay or will he go?
    He is the enabler of the Unionist coalition – will he stay or will he go?
    He enables that great Unionist Cameron to lose Scotland. Only that Unionist can deliver on that. Only that Unionist will – will he stay or will he go?

    Any support for this unrepresentative government that was never elected has vanished. Supporting this government enabled by Clegg will mean supporting the end of the Union. What a Clash of morally inferior values with short-term thinking that would be.

    This bunch of losers want to lose more – will Britain let them?
    Why is that do you think?

    • Inverted Meniscus

      I have no idea. Indeed I have absolutely no idea what any of that utter gibberish means. Are you in favour of the union or proScottish independence? My view would be to ignore both sets of figures which have clearly been massaged to suit particular agendas. Second, wait for the Scottish electorate to express their requirement in September and then accept that result. Third, focus on those matters which can be determined at this point, primarily a Currency Union (thankfully precluded) and transition costs ( indeterminable at this stage but entirely for the account of the Scottish taxpayer). Finally, prepare yourselves for the usual onslaught of cybernats ‘nuttery’ and fantasy following this lates article.

      • goatmince

        Correct, nuttery and massaged figures matter not – what counts is identity and values. Firstly and finally, I like the idea of tricking people until they no longer know what to think. Perhaps they will then begin thinking for themselves.

        • Wessex Man

          I think they’ve made a good start on you.

  • Martin Adamson

    An independant Scotland would not be allowed to keep the oil. Handing over joint control of the oil reserves will be the price demanded to allow us to join the European Union. Salmond, rather than pay the price of utter humiliation, will sign it away to Brussels.

    • Jambo25

      I believe he also wants to hand over our children to fill up the ‘protein banks’ of the EU.

      • Spammo Twatbury

        I heard he was also going to give the EU one of everybody’s kidneys. If you’ve only got one already, you die. Typical of the nationalists.

        • Jambo25

          I’d gladly give one of my kidneys for ‘auld Scotia’.

          • Ronnie Strachan

            well by your posts these last few months it looks like you have given them your heart and certainly your brain as the one-eyed sh*te you blurt is enough to send any undecided voter into the arms of the NO camp – you just confirm the view that outsiders have of the Scot – inward looking, petty, spiteful and envious

            • Jambo25

              In that case Mr Strachan you’ll have absolutely no difficulty quoting that “one-eyed sh*te” to me. Stunningly logical and articulate posting, by the way. Oh and I want plenty of inward looking, petty, spiteful envy in their as well.

            • allymax bruce

              “you just confirm the view that outsiders have of the Scot – inward looking, petty, spiteful and envious” (Ronnie Strachan).

              Now you’re talking, Ronnie; don’t mince about mate, just tell us what you really think of Scotland!

              • Wessex Man

                Pots Kettles and all of that you really are welcome to go your own sweet way!

                • allymax bruce

                  That’s what you say, but I think yer-man Coburn is a ‘built-in’ spy and Scotland wrecker. But you keep saying you want Scottish Independence; same as UKIP not answering their oxymoron; if UKIP are anti-EU, why then, do UKIP want to be in said same institution they want nothing to do with?
                  I think that’s a ruse too. Can’t believe a word yoos kippers say.

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