Coffee House

New report puts price on freedom – but we are still none the wiser

22 June 2014

9:08 PM

22 June 2014

9:08 PM

You can’t put a price on freedom. Well now, it seems, you can: or rather, one senior academic has done so and his verdict? Scottish independence will cost £200 million.

On the surface, Professor Patrick Dunleavy’s conclusions on the set-up costs for an independent Scotland look good for the Nationalists.

After all, that £200 million is remarkably close to the figure Alex Salmond has been throwing around for the last week or so and some considerable distance from the £2.7 billion figure the Treasury has been bandying around.

In fact, Prof Dunleavy’s report (which was published today) makes the Treasury look pretty foolish and more than a bit amateurish.

For weeks, Danny Alexander has been warning of set-up costs of £2.7 billion for a new Scottish state – 12 times the figure that Prof Dunleavy has come up with.

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But, as ever in politics, it is not as quite as simple as that (however much the Nats would like it to be).

That is because, being an academic, Prof Dunleavy from the LSE put so many caveats and cautionary warnings into his report that it is easy to understand how the costs could climb well above the £200 million figure.

Indeed, he hedged his bets so many times, it is easy for both sides to feel they can get something from his report.

For instance, he concluded:

  • The immediate start-up costs on an independent Scottish state would be about £200 million – 1-0 to the Scottish Government.
  • The longer term costs could be far higher, particularly if negotiations don’t go well while IT costs could add hundreds of millions to that original estimate – 1-1.
  • The long-term viability of a Scottish state looks “strong” – 2-1 to Salmond and Co..
  • EU and Nato memberships cannot automatically be guaranteed, this could cause huge problems and be very costly – 2-2.
  • Big savings can be made through streamlining services and policy decisions like dumping Trident – 3-2 to Salmond.
  • The changes are going to take years to complete with everything probably not handed over until 2022, well after the First Minister’s target date for independence of March 2016 – 3-3.

For the last few weeks, both sides in the referendum debate have been trading blows on this vital subject of start-up costs. Leaving aside the rather obtuse argument about who has commissioned work and who hasn’t, the argument has boiled down to this: the Yes camp say the start-up costs will be modest, about £200 million or so while the No camp say the bill be huge – about £2.7 billion.

Clearly this issue matters because the set-up costs of the new state will help determine whether it is economically solvent or not. And now we have the definitive report and what does it tell us? It tells us that the Treasury estimates were woefully inaccurate and that doesn’t help the No camp at all.

But it also tells us that everything will come down to negotiations between the two governments. If they go well for Scotland, the start-up costs of a new state will be manageable and if they don’t, the start-up costs will be crippling.

So, even after a major, independent academic report, we are still pretty much back in the same position we have always been in – everything will depend on the negotiations between the two governments.

And, as should now be depressingly clear to everyone in Scotland, no-one will ever be able to predict the outcome of these negotiations with any certainty at all.

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Show comments
  • Tom M

    When considering government project costs in Scotland remember what the original estimates were for their parliament building and how when they exceeded the budget they voted for unlimited expenditure. The project of course came in on budget after that.

  • FF42

    The £200 million seems to cover the cost of headed paper, new websites legal costs, and recruitment costs for policy personnel at Scotland’s new ministries.

    Professor Dunleavy claims new IT systems – which are the really expensive things – don’t count as “setup costs” because:

    (1) They are “investments” instead.
    (2) Scottish systems are much better managed than UK ones, so the horrendous overuns at eg the DWP and NHS England won’t happen in Scotland
    (3) Efficient IT systems lead to cost savings.
    (4) “Investments” only become “setup costs” if the UK government refuses to co-operate, eg by running several systems on behalf of the Scottish government

    My comments on these assertions:

    (1) The one certain thing is that duplication of systems where none are currently needed will cost lots of money. Potential savings are doubtful.
    (2) The one Scottish public IT project that I have been involved is a disaster – at least on the scale of the DWP and NHS England, but much smaller than those and the new systems for Scottish Revenues and Customs, DVLA, passports, welfare payments etc.
    (3) You would only get these efficiency savings if the systems allow you to employ fewer staff. I haven’t any sign of that happening with Scotland-only systems that exist already.
    (4) There is no real reason to expect the UK government to “co-operate” in the running of a foreign country.

    In short Professor Dunleavy makes a number of vital assumptions that not only does he not bother to test, but which are highly improbable. The UK Government figures might have been plucked from thin air,but at least they are plausible. In fact I would say they are realistic, but optimistic. They don’t allow for things to go wrong.

    And here’s the thing, £2 – 3 billion start up costs for a new country is actually a pretty modest cost, if you believe that Scotland would be better off separate. It’s ony three times the cost of the Holyrood parliament ,for instance. The long and difficult untangling of the two countries might be more of an issue, though. Expect lots of squeals from pensioners and others when some welfare payment they are used to doesn’t get processed.

    • allymax bruce

      There’s a report out from Biggar Economics today suggesting Scottish companies would get ‘diversification costs’ met in an iScotland.
      Just thought it might interest you.
      Ally.

    • Jambo25

      The problem you’ve got and one that Professor Dunleavy recognises is that Scotland already is, very largely, self administering and the governmental structures are already in place. They have been for ever and a day. Professor Dunleavy seems to be suggesting that there would be another £200 million or so required for the introduction of IT systems but then these systems, or something very close to them, would be introduced in any case.

  • Alex Creel

    If you want to follow the money – follow Standard & Poors analysis – forget the paltry sums mentioned in the article above – see the bigger picture ‘In short, the challenge for Scotland to go it alone would be significant, but
    not unsurpassable.’ These are the people who matter as they infuence the borrowing we’ll need to make the transition – then we’ll see just how inconsequential the the UK treasury are…… https://www.globalcreditportal.com/ratingsdirect/renderArticle.do?articleId=1264946&SctArtId=217545&from=CM&nsl_code=LIME&sourceObjectId=8486213&sourceRevId=1&fee_ind=N&exp_date=20240227-20:30:44

  • Jimmy R

    Anybody remember the estimates for the cost of building the Scottish Parliament Building? Started at 40 million pounds and any suggestions of that being ridiculously low were scoffed at by the Scottish politicians in favour of a Scottish Parliament as being anti-Scottish and total rubbish.

    Then that figure was accepted as being too low but suggestions that it would cost 100 million pounds were scoffed at as ‘wild exaggerations’ and nothing more than an attempt to frighten Scots off voting in favour of a Scottish Parliament. Finally an upper figure of 60 million pounds was being a realistic figure and any higher suggestions were howled down.

    By the time the building was ready to be taken into use the real cost stood at not 40 million, or 60 or even a hundred million but not far short of half a billion pounds. That is over ten times the original claim of the cost, five times the highest predicted cost and around eight times more that the alleged ‘true’ assessment.

    When it comes to the 200 million setup cost for an Independent Scotland, that is just for duplicating the IT costs of what already exists in Westminster for payment of Pensions and things such as Social Security payments, and we all know how many State IT projects come in on anything near their alleged costs, and that is not taking into account if they actually work or not.

    Once again, one small detail is being cherry picked and paraded as being the full picture. Whilst Dunleavy put a 200 million price as the initial cost he admits that a figure of 900 million pounds is not unrealistic for setting up the other necessary IT systems. The official Treasury predictions of the costs are not, as keeps being suggested, 2.7 billion pounds but 1.5 billion pounds which, taking into consideration the other two figures is quite possible, even most probable as the realistic cost of setting the systems for separation up. .

    • Jambo25

      Could you kindly display your academic and research credentials so we can decide whether you or Professor Dunleavy are the most trustworthy? Its worth noting that the huge failure in bringing in IT projects on time and on budget is Westminster’s. The official Treasury figure started at £2,7 billion and then waas dropped to £1.5 billion a day later so even the Treasury wasn’t sure about its own lies. Both figures were rubbished; not only by Dunleavy who accused the Treasury of overestimating his figures by up to 12X but also by Professor Robert Young who put a very top figure of £600 million on the start up costs and admitted that this was drawn, largely, from research on Quebec.
      Dunleavy is really the sole expert, specifically, on UK start up costs and his views on the Treasury, its competence and behaviour are excoriating. Moreover the Treasury has form here. Cast your mind back to its famous letter of support attacking the idea of a Currency Union.

      • HJ777

        “The official Treasury figure started at £2,7 billion and then waas dropped to £1.5 billion a day later so even the Treasury wasn’t sure about its own lies. ”

        The lying is all coming from you. The Treasury did not change its figures. The report always said £1.5bn as the central estimate and and put a top figure of £2.7bn. Nothing was changed. Nothing.

        As for Leslie Young – if you have to go as far as Beijing to find someone to support your case, then you really are desperate.

        • Jambo25

          So Leslie Young is also now to be attacked on an ad hominem basis, rather than being assessed on his work? FWIW Professor Young achieved his PhD at Oxford at the age of 20; has taught at various universities in the USA and UK, has filled ‘chairs’ in both Hong Kong and Beijing and is currently Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Institute of Business. It was, of course, Sir Tom Hunter who commissioned Professor Young to analyse the Treasury letter.

          • HJ777

            Where was my ‘ad hominem’ attack on Leslie Young?

            I merely said that if you have to go as far as Beijing to find someone who agrees with you, then it is a sign that you are desperate. Was there no-one closer?

            • Jambo25

              There is an implied slur on the quality of Chinese universities in there but then why not Leslie Young. He is respected in the field. Incidentally, why not ask Sir Tom Hunter? He commissioned him and isn’t a paid ‘Yes’ campaign member.

              • HJ777

                There was no ‘implied slur’ – or anything of the kind – on the quality of Chinese universities. Sheer invention on your part.

                My point was a very simple one. If you have to go as far afield as Beijing to find someone who agrees with you about Scotland, then it is very likely that people far closer to home don’t.

                • Jambo25

                  Then take that up with Sir Tom Hunter as, once again, he commissioned him.

                • HJ777

                  Why should I? He can commission who he wants.

                  I am merely pointing out that you don’t seem to be able to provide evidence that anyone nearer home agrees with you.

      • Jimmy R

        You don’t need any particular qualifications, other then to be able to read and understand basic English, along with an ability to do a search on the web, to find out a few realistic facts about what is being claimed without just relying on eye-catching screaming headlines and figures jumped on by panicky politicians.
        Oh, and I have never heard of anybody who is the ‘sole expert’ on anything related to economics when it comes to future projections. As for the so called ‘official’ treasury figures of 2.7 billions, those were never ‘official’ but were taken from a ‘leaked’ document and unless the source of any leak is known always need to be treated with great scepticism until the motives of the person behind the ‘leak’ is known.
        What is no secret is that the promised figures put out by the Scottish Parliament for the projected costs of Holyrood Building of 60 million pounds with suggestion of a cost of one hundred millions being howled down as anti-Scottish propaganda, especially by Wee Eck and the SNP, turned out to be a complete fantasy with the end cost being not far short of half a billion pounds or well over seven times the claimed projections. Oh, and that was before part of the roof fell down in the middle of a debate shortly after the building came into use.
        Just one question, how’s such a small project as the Edinburgh Tram System doing when it comes to things in Scotland being brought in on time and on budget?

        • Jambo25

          1) Produce the figures you have been able to get together as to what Scottish state start up costs will be and give some kind of proof as to why they, rather than Professor Dunleavy’s estimates are accurate.
          2) If you have the names of any other experts on UK governmental start up costs, other than Professor Dunleavy and his LSE team, produce them.
          3) The figures of £2.7 billion and £1.5 billion were, indeed the Treasury figures. They’re covered in the FT amongst other media outlets. The £1.5 billion figure was the second one given by Danny Alexander (He’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury so he ought to have known it.) though he did demur from the £2.7 billion figure. The £2.7 billion figure was given by the Treasury which was why Professor Dunleavy complained that the Treasury had multiplied his estimate by 10-12X.
          4) If you’re going to comment on Scottish politics then, at least, know something about them. You are showing stunning, world class ignorance. ‘Wee Eck’ and the SNP were against both the Holyrood Parliament and the Edinburgh Trams project. They tried to kill both on a number of occasions. Their candidate for the Parliament was the old High School building on Regent Road. That was killed off by Donald Dewar and the other Unionist parties as they saw it as a “nationalist shibboleth” and pushed the Holyrood site. The SNP at national and local level were also bitterly opposed to the Edinburgh Trams scheme and have just announced a judge led enquiry as they, no doubt, see it as a win win scenario which will allow them to land knock out blows on their Unionist opponents.

    • allymax bruce

      Holyrood project was a parasitic Westminster ‘brown-envelopes’ elitist trougher pig-sty greed-fest; it was Westminster Labour stealing off the tax-payers that made the costs extortionate !

      • Jimmy R

        Would that be Donald Dewar who was born and educated in Glasgow and, before becoming Scotland’s First Minister, was MP first for Aberdeen and then MP for constituencies in Glasgow? Wow, that really does sound like the resume of a Westminster troughing upper class twit. Still, I enjoyed your typical Nationalist well considered and fair minded rant.

  • William Haworth

    Is this £200M, like the £40M that Holyrood was supposed to cost, or £2B, like the £400M that Holyrood ACTUALLY cost?

    You can’t unpick 300 ears of intertwined government for £200M, that’s just a fantasy. It’ll cost more than that to sort out the passports for Scots living abroad, setting up embassies (how much does a big house in London cost, for a start?) and so on.

    • allymax bruce

      No, this is what it would cost a propr iScotland government; being held to account by the People of Scotland. Not some ‘brown-envelopes’ parasitic Westminster PFI troughers-pig-sty of a Class System of elites stealing from the tax-payer!
      Just look at who was ‘managing’ the Holyrood project; it was parasitic Westminster Labour !

      • P_S_W

        Right, because no one in Scotland was monitoring the costs at all.

  • sir_graphus

    Trying to read that poster behind. If it says what I think it says, it’s the most crass political lie I’ve ever read.

  • starfish

    Well, we’ll know soon enough if there is a yes vote

    I wonder who the voters will believe?

    It will be cheaper than we expect?
    or
    It is more than we feared?

    • P_S_W

      Will they remember that on time and on budget Edinburgh tram service come the time of the referendum.
      The English can’t blamed for that at all.

      • Wessex Man

        I’ve given you tick up but you should realise or have known that’s a Scottish pastime to blame we English for everything that has happened since the year dot.

        I will be such a relief when they vote to go!

        • P_S_W

          I’m trying to be charitable.

          • Wessex Man

            well there is that but are they ever?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Oh I’m sure they can and no doubt most of the blame will be laid at the door of Margaret Thatcher.

  • Blindsideflanker

    The Scots it would appear to know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

    They talk about being so communitarian with their Celtic brethren but if it means they have to dip into their pocket to support them they quickly ditch them on the hated English.

    They tell us English about how crass and commercial we are , but have turned membership of our country into a calculation of pound shillings and pence.

  • Maidmarrion

    You will forgive me Mr Macdonnell if I trust the words of an economist , nay two economists ,against that of a journalist.
    Westminster have already shown themselves as utterly incompetent by multiplying that economists vision by a factor of 12.
    I will trust Mr Salmond and Mr Swinneys figures long before I would trust Mr Osbournes or yours.
    And remember the old adage ,
    “he knows the cost of everything and the value of none”

    • Shinsei1967

      And he says the start-up costs will be £200m with “hundreds of millions” more to come over the next decade.

      Do you really have that much difficulty reading the whole of the Prof’s assessment ?

      • Jambo25

        Those “hundreds of millions” more to come would be coming anyway, even if Scotland remains part of the UK. Administration doesn’t get to a plane of perfection and suddenly stop. Re-orderings and reorganisations keep on coming. Governments continually change organisational structures and bring in new IT packages. Could you remind me of how much the current government’s NHS reforms, in England, have cost?

      • HookesLaw

        The Treasury’s official estimate was a figure of £1.5 billion – the higher end of an estimate (starting at £600
        million) from a Professor Robert Young of the University of Western
        Ontario.

        • allymax bruce

          Nobody believes what ‘The Treasury’ says; it lies to the People all the time !

          • Inverted Meniscus

            As does Salmond.

      • Maidmarrion

        And this relates to my comment in what way?
        I have no difficulty reading at all , do you?

  • swatnan

    £200m might be worth it just to get rid of Westminster; a small price to pay.
    Its likely to be recouped anyway when they get rid of Trident, streamline and impose tariffs at the Border.

  • flippit

    If the SNP insist they’ll get rid of Trident then they have no negotiating hand left. What else is there that cUK really needs from them? Yes, we’d cede some of the BBC and the debt would have to be sorted, but the cUK can look elsewhere for cheaper energy and withhold its subsidy, so will have the winning hand. Scotland will have ‘self determination’ or so it seem to think.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      “If the SNP insist they’ll get rid of Trident then they have no negotiating hand left. ”

      Ah well here’s a potential bargaining scenario…

      Alex… Get Trident off my lawn.
      Dave… (sorry just soiled my pants)…but I have nowhere else to put it!
      Alex… OK then, leave it there for, say, 10 years, and here’s my list of non-negotiable demands in return.

      • P_S_W

        Or alternatively:

        Alex: Get Trident off my lawn.
        Dave: OK, we can store it in the US for now.
        Alex: Can we have some money to re-train all those local staff I’ve just made redundant?
        Dave: No, we need that to build a new base in England.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “we can store it in the US for now”

          Good luck on that one.

          • P_S_W

            Really? I wouldn’t have thought it would be that difficult personally.

            • AtMyDeskToday

              With that level of confidence you should lead the negotiations with the USA.

              • P_S_W

                Quite happy to do that if asked.

  • 2trueblue

    Nice round sum! What a load of twaddle. If you believe the figures of some academic who suddenly pops up then you are in noddy land.

    • Shinsei1967

      It’s a “nice round sum” because to quote anything but a round sum to the nearest ten million or so would definitely be twaddle.

  • CameronB

    I am afraid you have the advantage over me Mr. Macdonell, as I have not read the report myself. However, I hope you won’t mind me commenting on what you have written. I have come up with some alternative whataboutery and I wondered what you might think?

    The longer term costs might be less than forecast, particularly if an atmosphere of mutual cooperation develops, while IT costs could be managed much more effectively than by Whitehall – 2-0.

    EU and Nato membership seem likely and could prove straightforwards as Scot;land is already functioning within both bodies. As such, Scotland could expect to gain international representation and influence without too much disruption.– 3-0.

    The First Minister’s target date of March 2016 is ambitious though achievable.– 4-0.

    Prof Dunleavy’s “definitive” report suggests independence is readily achievable and that negotiations between the two governments will play a significant role in Scotland’s democratic rebirth.. With the necessary will, comittment amd cooperation, Scotland could look forward to a manageable transition to independence and self-determination.

    Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
    Wi’ bickering brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

    • CameronB

      .

      • CameronB

        I might win the lottery. 😉

  • vfr100

    Rumor has it professor dunleavy has a “Yes” badge superimposed onto his twitter account, which would mean he is hardly neutral wouldn’t it?

    And just talking about the immediate set up costs s like saying a £20 taxi drive to the airport is the cost of your holiday, but t may incur more costs later!

    • Jambo25

      Then demonstrate said professor’s twitter account so we can see it.

      • Wessex Man

        why don’t you check yourself?

        • Jambo25

          I’m not making this rather weird claim.

          • Wessex Man

            It would make you feel less angry so check it!

            • Jambo25

              Not angry: merely asking vfr100 for proof that the Professor is a ‘Yes’ supporter.

  • Radford_NG

    Why negotiate?If Scotland votes Yes then England and Wales should declare UDI on the next midnight.Did Latvia spend years negotiating?All conventional H.M.Forces in Scotland should come under the temporary command of a Canadian (NATO) general.The nuclear submarine base should be declared to have the same status as Fort Sumter until it can be relocated.(Perhaps as a temporary measure the subs can be based in the USA.)

    The Scots could have nothing to complain about as we would be taking over the UK national debt;which would be worth it rather then years of argument:especially as the Whitehall method is always to negotiate terms of surrender rather then speak for England/Britain.

  • Ronnie Strachan

    smells very fishy this assessment. £200 million was the figure Salmond rolled off the top of his head 3 weeks ago in response to a reporter – then suddenly this Professor comes up with the same figure after a thorough assessment – the same assessment which 3 days ago Salmond and the SNP were assuring everyone had not taken place because there were too much variables to take into account. I dont believe a word of it – the SNP stink and so does their economics

    • Jambo25

      If you’re calling the professor a liar then do so openly. If you’re calling the SG liars then try and produce some evidence. The problem you’ve got is that the only people who’ve definitely been caught lying are your Unionist chums in the Treasury.

      • HookesLaw

        Who is to determine if the treasury’s figures or this professors figures are correct?
        The official treasury figure was £1.5 billion – the higher end of an estimate (starting at £600 million) from a Professor Robert Young of the University of Western Ontario.
        Dunleavy is a politics professor so make of his figures what what you will. He probably has an axe to grind since he claims the treasury misused earlier research of his to come up with a press release by Alexander of 2.7 billion.

        Speccy journalists could have scouerd the pages of The Independent – like me – or here …
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/10855873/Independence-will-cost-Scottish-families-600-each-Treasury-warns.html
        … The Telegraph, to detarmine the official treasury position, before peddling its inaccuracies.

        It must surely be clear to everyone that seting up a new tax and benefits system not to mention an Army Navy and Airforce will not come cheap, no matter what the existing assets are.

        • Jambo25

          Yes, please read the figures. The first one punted was £2.7 Billion. A day later (or it might have been that same day) Danny Alexander pushed £1.6 Billion. Read Professor Robert Young’s reply to the figures which came in an FT online article. He claimed £600 million was his upper level, not a starting point to go up from.
          Dunleavy is, indeed, a Political Scientist and Government specialist but such people do tend to be statistically and mathematically fluent and have economists and econometrists to call on. He also happens to be the lead in the only research team which has carried out intensive research on the costs of reorganising government organisations in a UK context. I’ll take his figures over those of a Treasury which seems to be rapidly discrediting itself.

        • allymax bruce

          Quoting the Establishment newspapers does you not good what-so-ever; nobody believes a word they say anymore.
          Pravda, and The Ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda have nothing on Westminster’s Establishment Press !

    • allymax bruce

      It’s the Westminster government that stinks!
      The True start-up costs would only be approx’ £200 million (+/- 10%), but that’s the figure calculated in an iScotland; not for the horrendous parasitic Westminster Class System costs; where all the Westminster career politicians, and their ugly ilk, have to get ‘their cut’ before the money trickles down to what it’s actually meant for!

      Vote ‘Yes’ to get away from the parasitic Westminster Class System.

      • P_S_W

        You know what? No one really cares.
        Vote ‘Yes’, go off and do your own thing and then come back and tell us how much it cost you.

        • Wessex Man

          couldn’t agree more, if the English were allowed to vote Scotland would have nailed on Independence, we don’t really care how much it costs you after the event.

          Having said that, I personally wouldn’t trust a word coming out of Westminster either.

        • Kitty MLB

          Scotland must go off and do their own thing P-S-W and
          some of us have friends or relatives in Scotland so we do care and wish her well and financially stable.
          I am afraid Politicians and the media have been feeding off
          what they see as ill feelings.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    More evidence to show that no-one really knows but another brick in the wall which says “It probably won’t make much difference either way’

    So the English say “Yes”.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Anyone who says any major government project won’t cost very much is either lying or very foolish. The gods of the copy book will have their due. There are so many caveats here as to render the projection relatively meaningless. In any case, this is just another superficial issue for those on the public stage to volley back and forth, isn’t it? After all, how many voters are going to change their mind based on cost, really?

    • allymax bruce

      “After all, how many voters are going to change their mind based on cost, really?”
      Well, there’s more than the cost involved; how about telling the TRUTH !
      Danny Alexander seems to think scaring the Scottish electorate with lies (£2,7 BILLION), instead of the truth from Alex’ Salmond (£200 Million), is a good start!

      • The Masked Marvel

        QED.

        • allymax bruce

          Well then, if Danny Alexander cannot be trusted to tell the truth, then why, how, can the Scottish electorate believe anything he says on costs?
          QED.

          • The Masked Marvel

            Nonsense. Even if the high end of Alexander’s estimate turned out to be correct, and it was Salmond who was lying, you wouldn’t change your vote, would you?

            • allymax bruce

              I see your logic; but it’s flawed; I’ll prove it with a conundrum later. And, you’re right about one thing; I wouldn’t change my ‘Yes’ vote for the world; my ancestors have fought-for, died-for, been impoverished-for, and strived-for, this chance for me to vote ‘Yes’ for Scottish Independence. I won’t let them down. I’m a definite ‘Yes’ voter for Scottish Independence.
              Here’s the conundrum for you; there’s only really a Yes vote on offer at the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum; why?

              • The Masked Marvel

                You could simply have said I’m right three comments ago and saved us both this effort.

                A No vote will start a violent revolution and Scotland will be free from tyranny anyway?

                • allymax bruce

                  You’re amusing; you remind me of the ‘shitter of ducats’; you won’t give up anything!
                  No; a ‘No-vote’ is a vote for the status-quo; only a ‘Yes-vote’ offers change.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Salmond might be lying as well.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Alex Salmond 200 million, Danny Alexander 0

    The Treasury ‘s “misbriefing” has undermined its own credibility and seriously embarrassed the No campaign.

    • Shinsei1967

      Don’t be ridiculous. The Treasury has always said the likely total costs involved in iScotland will be £1-£1.5bn which is pretty much what Prof Dunleavy suggests.

      Of course, like pretty much all government expenditure it will probably end up being higher. But stating a £200m figure is clearly disingenuous and misleading.

      • Jambo25

        Sorry, but it started off at £2.7 billion, then hit £1.5 billion and now you seem to be suggesting £1 billion. Keep on going down and you’ll get to the right figure eventually.

        • HJ777

          Completely untrue.

          £2.7bn was the Treasury’s top boundary. Its central estimate was always £1.5bn but it said the costs could be as high as £2.7bn.

          Nothing Dunleavy has since said contradicts that. As we have no estimate from Salmond and his crowd, they canl’t produce any counter-argument either.

          Anyone who thinks that the cost of setting up all the institutions and systems of a new state could be done for just £40/head is either a liar or a fool.

          • Jambo25

            So back to the personal insults again. No support so simply insult.

            • HJ777

              There was no personal insult – that is your speciality.

              No-one has supported a figure of just £200m with any evidence. Certainly not Dunleavy (contrary to any assertion to the contrary). To suggest that it could be done for such a cost is the assertion of a liar or a fool, as I said.

              Of course, if the cap fits, then you might like to wear it, but that is your choice.

              • Jambo25

                Thank you for confirming my opinion of you.

                • HJ777

                  In your mind, everything conforms the opinions you already hold.

                  That’s why you wont ever address inconvenient facts. You just pretend they don’t exist – and here is an example of you doing it again.

            • allymax bruce

              Yes, shehe did slander you with an insult; shehe called you, (anybody), a “liar or a fool”.

              • Jambo25

                Its par for the course with dear old HJ.

                • HJ777

                  Yes, exposing the fact that you can’t address facts does seem to be par for the course.

                • Jambo25

                  Keep digging HJ.

                • HJ777

                  I can afford to, because unlike you I’m not in a hole.

                  When it is pointed out that you are factually incorrect, it is revealing that you immediately go off on another tack.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Yes try asking why a currency union will be good for UK taxpayers. No cybernat has ever offered an answer to that question.

              • HJ777

                Jambo is the past master at calling people liars.

              • Kitty MLB

                Yes he did, and Jambo responded like a gentleman the same
                as you would Ally.
                This place is somewhat a Roman Colosseum, with all you chaps and fearsome ladies battling to the end, much blood is spilt.
                But you will always be my poetic champion gladiator even if you are killed in the fighting.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Also, who decided that the word of Professor Dunleavy was final? He has apparently crunched some numbers as have the Treasury and I suspect many others so what makes his assumptions and they are assumptions not facts, more valid than anybody else’s? £35 per head seems somewhat optimistic to me and his assertions do not become inviolable simply because he chooses to criticise the UK Treasury? What is his agenda and how does that impact on his objectivity? This is a very strange debate where the SNP refuses to engage and inconvenient ‘costs’ are ( very new Labour this bit) characterised as ‘investments’ as if that means they do not have to be paid for and are inherently virtuous.

            • HJ777

              I agree. His latest assessment seems particularly flimsy to me.

              What is more he talks about potential future savings but does not mention any risks. He says that many UK IT systems will have to be replaced anyway in the next decade (true) but does not acknowledge the extra cost of replacing one UK system with two new systems (one for Scotland and one for the rest of the UK).

              Neither does he include an assessment of likely costs of setting up a separate military or overseas representation. He also doesn’t look at the cost of uncertainty over certain arrangements – business doesn’t like uncertainty and Scotland would certainly suffer for several years.

              He thinks £1.1bn is reasonable without taking these factors into account – which is in line with the Treasury estimate. I think the Treasury estimate is conservative.

            • Jambo25

              Actually, it appears that “many others” haven’t been crunching these numbers. Dunleavy and to a certain extent, Young were/are the only games in town and both disagree with the Treasury.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Firstly, it does not make any of them, including the treasury, correct. They will all have their own agendas be it pro or anti unionist. Second, there does not seem to be too great a disparity between the Treasury’s estimate of £1.5 billion and Dunleavy’s £1.2 billion (once the distinction between spending and ‘investment’ is sensibly ignored). Neither figure seems insurmountable to me in the context of establishing an independent nation or even the upper estimate of £2.7 billion for that matter. The bigger issue is a currency union which is vital for preserving lower borrowing costs for Scottish citizens but has been sensibly rejrected by the UK.

                • Jambo25

                  Tell me how you get Dunleavy’s estimate to £1.5 billion? That should be interesting.

                • HJ777

                  £200m (initial cost)+£900m (IT systems) + other factors (e.g. overseas embassies) and £1.5bn looks distinctly modest.

                  Although Dunleavy didn’t put an overall figure on it, it’s clear that if you asked him to do so, then he wouldn’t come up with a figure short of £1.5bn (and probably considerably more).

                  Hope you found that interesting.

                • Jambo25

                  Its not the figures Dunleavy produced, however.

                • HJ777

                  He didn’t produce any overall figure but he didn’t argue with £900 for the IT systems and he also pointed out that there would be many other costs.

                  Instead of trying to hide behind Dunleavy, then tell us why the Treasury estimate of £1.5bn is too high. Nobody has said it is apart from you and Salmond, and neither of you have produced an overall estimate that can be examined.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  I said £1.2 billion and it is derived, as the article suggests, by adding what is laughably termed ‘investment’ to expenditure. You don’t believe the entire venture can be undertaken for £35 per head do you? Besides, my point is that even if the Treasury upper limit is correct that should not be an impediment to independence but the absence of a Currency Union is the real problem for an independent Scotland.

                • HJ777

                  Even Jambo doesn’t believe that it can all be done for £35 per head.

                  His (and Salmond’s) agenda, however, is simply to deny any figure bigger than that. They think Scots are stupid enough to be deceived. I have more respect for Scots than they do, however.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Ditto. Interestingly, I was chatting to a Scot last week who claims a friendship with Salmond. In his view Salmond believes they have no chance of winning a ‘Yes’ vote but is spinning things out in order to extract as many concessions as possible in respect of tax raising powers etc. Only one man’s view but interesting nevertheless.

                • Jambo25

                  Show me some back up figures then.

              • HJ777

                Er, no.

                The Treasury came up with the figure of £900m for the IT costs alone (which seems quite modest considering ICAS reckons the figure for the tax system alone would be around £750m) and Dunleavy has simply agreed that it is realistic.

                Dunleavy has come up with none of his own figures for the overall cost.

                Add the £200m initial cost Dunleavy reckons, to the £900m for the IT systems, then add a factor for the costs of setting up a separate defence force and for things like overseas embassies and Dunleavy’s figures are pretty similar to the Treasury’s £1.5bn.

                Only you and Alex Salmond seem to think otherwise. Arithmetic clearly isn’t your strong point.

                • Jambo25

                  And any form of systematic research or open-mindedness don’t appear to be yours. Dunleavy and his colleagues are the people who have the track record on researching start up costs. You have no track record on anything, as far as I can tell, other than gratuitous rudeness.

                • HJ777

                  Your normal resort to an ad hominem attack as usual when you lose the argument.

                  Everything I have said is consistent with what Dunleavy has said. It’s only you who disagrees.

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