Astonishing Coincidence

by craig on August 8, 2014 12:23 pm in Uncategorized

By an amazing accident of timing, the Westminster Select Committee on British Affairs has today published a report saying Scotland will have no currency at independence and may have to barter. The Committee consists of Conservative, New Labour and Lib Dem MPs.

The Scottish Sun has run the currency scare on the front page for the last three days. Labour, Lib Dem and Tory leaders all asked nothing else at First Minister’s questions yesterday. The media and Holyrood frenzy could have been sparked as reaction to the TV debate. But what the publication of the Westminster report today shows is that this massive currency scare has all been pre-planned by Tory, Lab and Lib-Dems with heir media allies for some time. This is their big push keep Scotland’s resources.

What is increasingly plain – and I warned before the debate – is that the conduct of the entire “debate” was a part of this co-ordinated plan, pre-determined to allow the media to declare the currency issue is the only one that will decide the referendum. Salmond was grilled on nothing but currency for twelve minutes, and then the chairman picked out members of the public from the IPSOS/Mori selected audience pre-primed with questions about … currency.

Audience members had had to fill out forms for selection indication if they were Yes or No voters. They were then asked again at the door, and many Yes voters who had been invited were excluded. No voters were seated in a selected central area where the questions were taken from. Better Together staff were present briefing their questioners.

This really is a major test of the power of the mainstream media. There is no currency question. A very large majority of the countries in the world became independent in the last seventy years. Countries with far weaker economies than Scotland
support their own currencies. I have personally in travelling had at least 40 different currencies in my pocket. All over the world, what matters is not the unit of denomination, but how the money is distributed and used.

Scotland like Denmark could have its own currency. It could keep the pound either in a formal currency union or not. It could join the euro. As an independent country it will have the choice – and if the English want to burn the choice of formal currency union, that will not sink Scotland by any means.

Currency is not the be all and end all of independence. But what we have is a concerted effort by the Westminster politicians and the entire media to convince people that it is. Will this work? Or will they stand against the raw aggression and hatred now pouring out from the British nationalist camp?

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125 Comments

  1. I read your blog on a regular basis because sometimes you can be quite perspicacious and give me an insight that night never have occurred to me. This is especially true of pieces relating to your time in the Foreign Office.

    But on Scotland – please, cut the chest beating monomaia. If Scotland means that much to you, why are you living in Ramsgate (presuming you haven’t re-located to get a vote, of course, in which case I stand corrected)?

  2. Mark Hearne

    8 Aug, 2014 - 1:02 pm

    Scotland could of course set up a new digital currency along the lines of bitcoin,with a partner like Google or Amazon. The pound is going to collapse eventually under the weight of debt.

  3. “this massive currency scare has all been pre-planned by Tory, Lab and Lib-Dems”

    True. They’ve dug a big hole for the SNP to fall into. It’s fair enough though. A UK independent of Scotland is under no obligation to enter into currency unions with foreign powers. They gave you lots of notice. They’ve even rigged up floodlights so you don’t accidentally fall into it at night.

    Salmond’s response however has been to put on a blindfold and keep on marching towards that hole.

  4. Salford Lad

    8 Aug, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    RE-POST ON CURRENCY,
    A country cannot be truly free, independent and sovereign, unless it has the power to issue its own currency.
    It cannot control its economy to create employment , generate taxes and support social infrastructure.
    Many people are confused about money. Money is not wealth, it can lose its value overnight by hyperinflation.
    It is a means of exchange , a token. A tool to enable smooth operation of trade and industry. The Govt gives it value because it accepts it as taxes and enforces its use by the power of its laws.
    The wealth of a country is in its natural resources,which includes the ingenuity of its people to exploit those resources and create real wealth from agricultural land, water, forestry, minerals/oil/gas, fisheries, manufacturing etc.
    To exploit these resources a Govt can kickstart an industry by issuing a grant of money. The successful business will generate employment and wealth. The repayment of the granted money is returned in the form of tax, both from the workers and corporation. Thus the issued granted money is returned and cancelled, the wealth from labour and production remains.
    The US dollar is a fiat currency (as is the pound sterling, the euro and most other major currencies). This means, it is monopoly money. There is no gold reserve that its values are pegged to. It is simply made up. So how does money get made? A private, for profit central bank prints it and lends it to the government (or other banks) at an interest rate. So the Central Bank prints £100, and gives it to the government on the basis that it returns £101. You may have already spotted the first flaw in this process. The additional £1 can only ever come from the Central Bank. There is never enough money. The second issue is that all money is debt.
    This used to be the way pretty much all of the money in circulation came to be. That is, until Investment and Retail Banks got tired of the Central banks monopoly on debt based currency, and kicked off the commercial money supply. You might assume that when you take out a loan or other form of credit, a bank gives you that money from its deposit reserves, and you then pay back that loan to the Bank at a given interest rate – the Bank making its profit on the interest rate. You would be dead wrong. The Bank simply creates that loan on a computer screen.
    Let’s say you are granted a loan for £100,000. The moment that loan is approved and £100k is entered on the computer – that promise from you to the bank creates £100k for the bank, in that instant. This ledger entry alone creates the £100k, from nothing. Today, over 97% of all money that exists, is made this way. It is digital money no different from the credit on a bank credit card.
    This is what drove the dodgy lending practises that created the last crisis in 2008. But since then, the failure to regulate the markets means that while bailouts hit public services and the real economy – banks were free to continue the same behaviour, bringing the next crash. They were also issued with free ‘play money’ as in Quantitative Easing to the tune of £345 bilion.
    Govt have ceded control of 97% of the money supply to the private banking system, who invest mainly in the Financial casino sector , Insurance and real estate. This creates little employment and zero wealth, but does create mega amounts of more digital money ,leading to inflation as evident in London.
    Scotland will never be really free until its future Govt takes control of its own money creation by issuing its own currency.

  5. Howard Kennedy

    8 Aug, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    Personally I say let them keep sniping. Come independence, when they have to find a way to get out of the corner Darling has painted them into on currency union, say: “No it’s ok, you made it clear you don’t want a currency union, so we’ll float our own currency and you can keep the debt, cheerio!” The initial costs to Scotland would be higher but the medium and long term flexibility and stability would be better. In the meantime, the armageddon Westminster fears for their privilege based system would come to fruition. I know this would be harsh on the people of England, who have no idea just what a dangerous game of brinkmanship their representatives are playing with their economy but they did, after all, elect the plonkers.

  6. No mention of barter in that article.

  7. Republicofscotland

    8 Aug, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    What’s more frightening than the “Pound fiasco” as we all know a currency union will happen, is the sheer and downright lies that Westminster is prepared to say, in order to obtain a no vote. We’ve all suspected for years,that Westminster has been lying through its teeth on many topics and policies, the last two years have for most Scots been an eye opener on a truly massive scale. Not only has Westminster lied they’ve been backed to the hilt by the unionist press and tv channels, and now they’ve been found wanting by Scots.

    O/T. Craig I do apologise.

    Another Labour councillor sees the light, Stephen Dornan, says, “The only way to protect the NHS in Scotland is to vote YES.

    http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/labour-mans-switch-175311n.24975084

  8. “There is no currency question.” Claptrap.
    You’re hot on paranoia, but not so forthcoming on the idiocy of the SNP not to have sorted this issue long before now. Why has the SNP walked into the trap? Salmond’s language of ‘buff’ – more at home in a poker game – is fatal in this context. He merely looks ridiculous and evasive.

  9. Salford Lad – you may be reposting it – but there’s some big holes in the argument.

    A history of the £ sterling since WW2…. formal currency union, informal currency union (twice), formal currency union, fully traded currency in 1999. So were we not independent pre-1999 or are they talking utter nonsense?

    ================
    History of Sterling….. (credt to Union Kon 2 – a commenter on the Scotsman online)

    1947-1971 – The pound was in a formal currency union with the US dollar in a fixed exchange rate known as the Bretton Woods system. In effect, the UK used the dollar and did not have an independent monetary system. This period is remembered for a long trend of economic growth, albeit not directly related to currency management.

    1971 – After Nixon ended Bretton Woods so that he could pay for Vietnam, the GBP moved to a floating exchange rate with the USD similar to the way that Denmark is pegged to the euro today. In the same year, Decimalisation was introduced. This re-denomination remains the most drastic and noticable change in money handling that the British public has seen in living memory. Only limited control of the pound is possible.

    1976 – Economic turmoil results in the UK asking the IMF for a bailout loan. One of the conditions of the loan is tighter management of the currency peg.

    1979 – 1986 – Thatcher’s government adopts monetarist policies involving loosening but not abandoning the informal peg with the USD.

    1986 – The Louvre Accord. Thatcher’s government agrees to change the benchmark of the currency peg from the USD to the German Deutsche Mark. The UK still does not have an “independent currency”.

    1990 – John Major’s government signs a formal currency union taking the pound into the Exchange Rate Mechanism, the forerunner to the euro.

    1992 – Black Wednesday. The pound is taken out of the ERM, not because of any failure of the Mechanism itself but because currency speculators, encouraged under Thatcher’s policies of the ’80’s, realised that they could make a quick buck by crashing the system. George Soros infamously made himself £1 billion by this move. The pound is now “independent” of any other currency though still partially pegged to gold and silver. The Treasury estimates that the move cost British taxpayers around £3.3 billion.

    1999 – Gordon Brown announces in advance that he’ll sell the UK’s remaining gold reserves and buy euros. Traders short the value of gold and drive it to a near historical low price. By 2002 the move is completed and the UK, for the first time ever, has a fully, freely traded and independent currency.

    You’ll notice all of the options on this list: Formal Currency Union, Informal currency union, fixed peg, floating peg, mixed basket peg and freely floating.

    All of these options are currently on the table for Scotland’s currency choice post independence. The UK has actively used all of them in the last 60 years. I don’t recall at any time the UK declaring that it was no longer an independent country.

  10. The only real currency question is:
    ‘Will this irrelevant and ill understood topic confuse and frighten the electorate?’.
    Most of europe transitioned to a different currency in the last decade and as far as I can tell, the sun still comes up in the morning.
    It is just one of the many things that will have to decided upon after the vote on whether Scotland should be govern itself is taken.

  11. Leslie – how can the Scottish Government sort an issue which is not completely in their control?

    You want an answer on a negotiating point before negotiations begin.

    You’d be better asking Osborne to explain how he plans to save the pound in the event that Scotland does leave & there is no currency union? Do you think the pound can handle losing 10% of the production that underwrites it? And if Scotland don’t take a %age of the debt as a consequence it’d be a double hit on the pound.

    There’s a good reason Salmond is sticking to his guns, because it makes sense for both. A plan B that involved pegging to the pound would be in danger from the weakness of the pound without Scotland. He’s thinking seriously about what happens, Osborne et al are just trying to scare undecided voters.

  12. “All over the world, what matters is not the unit of denomination, but how the money is distributed and used.”

    What matters is that in a currency union, the members give up monetary autonomy, and when that happens, the smaller members effectively cede fiscal autonomy too.

    This isn’t a trivial question, but there’s no reason Scotland couldn’t have its own currency, and there’s no also reason they couldn’t continue using the pound post independence without a formal treaty in place. But with or without a formal union, if Scotland is on the pound and it faces an economic downturn, it will be reliant on the Bank of England to cut rates and possibly even HMT and the Bank agreeing to backstop Scottish debt.

    An independent Scotland needs its own currency.

  13. Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    8 Aug, 2014 - 2:27 pm

    This is the lad you need to talk to:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/people/alun-evans

    Blair’s former head of strategic communications….

  14. I really feel this is a scare tactic by BT, however, I think there is an ever growing
    issue that this is starting to run away from Osborne, Balls et al.
    The fact that they would lose ALL of Scotland’s exports AND the value of our oil and gas going through a sterling zone would be devastating for the very fragile rUK economy is what they are risking.

    A wee reminder, Scotland has every right, as other nations have already proved, that to force Scotland out of a CU, would be very bad for the servicing of the accepted rUK debt in regards to the generous offer the SG is making to pay towards that debt, which is not theirs.

    When osborne has to face this and other realities he has created for the people of rUK, he will have to speak to the SG in more positive terms, at which point the SG may ask,
    “Ok, what will you offer us to join a CU, with a near bankrupt currency? “

  15. Sorry about this O/T but the hypocrisy of; perching atop of the piles of bones of the war dead and holding the planet responsible for the atrocities of the WWII, while screaming antisemite at anyone who abhors the inhuman conduct of the Jewish supremacists, in an absurd aggregation of the total number of incidents across the European Union as the sure fire signs of unforgivable antisemitism.

    All the while the zionist mercenaries conducting the same tactics as the Nazi that are to be abhorred and despised.

    Fact that the corporate media are too busy delivering Der Stürmer style of “news” going unnoticed as to which is the minority under the fire in this round of hatreds and genocide that are raised as standard political tools and control constructs.

    The sooner the Scottish can run their own affairs the better for anyone caught up in this web of deceit and hypocrisy.

  16. Salford Lad

    8 Aug, 2014 - 2:37 pm

    @ Rod C.
    The UK Govt has ceded control of its currency issue to the private banking system. The Bank of England only issues 3% of the pound sterling, when it prints and distributes cash to the High street banks. The Bank of England receives a nominal payment for this called seignorage.
    The UK Govt has minimal control of its economy, because it does not control the 97% of digital currency created by the PRIVATE banking system.
    This is the reason the e

  17. The currency ‘scare’ tactic might have worked 50 years ago, but the majority of Scots are well travelled these days. They are used to dealing with many currencies, and realise that it is a minor matter what it looks like.

  18. So Salford Lad you’re saying the UK isn’t independent, or wasn’t until 1999?

  19. Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    8 Aug, 2014 - 3:02 pm

    This is the reason the e financial system went bang in 2008 and everyone had to give money to the banks.

    …you were about to say?

  20. I survived the Mexican peso crash of 1994 when the country switched over to the dollar, packets of cigarettes and bottles of tequila, before stabilising the currency eventually. Nobody is suggesting that anything similar will happen in Scotland next month.

    If we vote for independence, and I am a yes voter, then we have to accept that the transition may be difficult, but that is the price that we will have to pay to be rid of the Tories forever.

    Sadly, the bulk of the middle class are in the no camp, and to make matters worse, the council estates are still pretty disengaged from this whole process. Many people are not even registered to vote as they are so alienated from it all.

    If places like Muirhouse and West Pilton in Edinburgh turn out in large numbers then yes will win, and that is about the only hope that Yes Scotland has. I blogged an appeal for that today, but I have no idea how that mobilisation can take place.

    I think we are going to lose this one…

  21. Ken, check out the Radical Independence Campaign – they’re targeting the very disengaged areas you’re talking about. Voter registration is up 800,000 since last year. The message is getting there.

  22. John Macadam

    8 Aug, 2014 - 3:16 pm

    Ken
    The best antidote to a poor show in Muirhouse is to canvass it. Don’t bother blogging about it. Get out there and knock some doors. The added benefit is that way you will have definitive evidence of the strength of the vote and not have to rely on second hand info

  23. Jack Fletcher

    8 Aug, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    On Scotland, I see there has been some media reporting of the response to the celebs letter:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2718787/Stars-come-Scotland-Mick-Jagger-David-Attenborough-Judi-Dench-lead-extraordinary-list-celebrities-want-UK-together.html

    The letter itself does not make a claim that the signatories have a vote or that they live in Scotland. Indeed they quite clearly address the letter to voters in the debate rather than pretending anything else.

    So why, Craig, ask about where they live? They are entitled to freedom of speech as much as anyone else which you should know if your ‘Human Rights Activist’ label is based on an understanding of how human rights operate. Don’t lose the plot on the referendum just because the No vote looks to be ahead. Have the good fight on the basis that you are also entitled to your own view. But please don’t trample on others’ enjoyment of their rights otherwise you have already lost the good fight.

  24. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    8 Aug, 2014 - 3:35 pm

    Ken

    “I think we are going to lose this one…”
    ___________________

    Don’t worry too much about it, laddie.

    That’s the wonderful thing about political manoeuvres of the referendum kind : they’re one-offs if you win, but if you lose you can keep coming back again with the same demands after a decent interval.

  25. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    8 Aug, 2014 - 3:39 pm

    But on reflection, referenda do offer possibilities?

    I wonder how many of the “Yes” brigade on here – who are by definition in favour of this referendum, are they not? – would argue for referenda on a number of other issues of public interest such as

    – capital punishment

    – immigration from non-EU countries

    – taxation (in particular, on the idea of a flat-rate tax)?

  26. Ken Waldron

    8 Aug, 2014 - 3:51 pm

    Well I was there

    I recall as I entered through security that most of us went in directly after an id check but there were a number of people put to another queue. I wondered if these people had forgotten id or something, but I’m sure I saw at least one of them show a driving license and still be put in that line. A guy in front of me seemed to be being refused entry by security even though he had his id too.
    In the auditorium next to me initially there were eight empty seats out of ten and very shortly before the start of the debate there where still five empty on my row my side. I looked around and saw there were quite a number of others all around, which was most odd in the situation: that so many people wouldn’t turn up in such large numbers to this top billed debate.
    I mentioned this to the girl one away from me. She said she had heard before we entered that one of the people who was meant to be dealing with the audience ” had not processed the paper work” and that they were refusing people entry because of that. So certainly I can confirm that this story was currency at the event itself.

    There were indeed a lot of people suddenly lacking at that debate at VERY short notice.
    In fact there were so many people missing that near to transmission I had an ipsos mori/STV? employee sitting next to me to fill in the final space of a missing member of the public: the very employee who had phoned me to confirm my attendance, until she managed to find a replacement who was another lady who had an STV id around her neck. before she did so I asked her about the curious shortage of people and she told me that “this happens all the time…” “…some people delayed because of traffic accidents” etc
    Interestingly, Another gentleman “member of the public” whom I was sitting next to and chatting to in the foyer before we entered the auditorium and whom it turned out lives quite near me and was tather vocal at the event itself, also let slip he himself worked in polling for, well… Ipsos Mori.
    To me the audience itself seemed very loaded with the middle classes: indeed with a very large number of English or Public school accented Scots.
    On the performance, the vehemence of the heckling of Salmond from the audience on the currency issue took me by surprise… I didn’t quite seem natural and had the feel of an organised ambush to it.
    Considering the numbers missing in the auditorium and the refusals I was seeing at the main door I was unsurprised to find out later that a good number of people who HAD been invited (From a paired friends group it seems: on YES one NO) had been refuse entry. Of the refusees I know of both were indeed from the YES side of those pairs.
    One has recently contacted mt to tell me that Ipsos Mori claim STV had “dropped the ball…got the numbers they needed and didn’t phone the people that were not required.” He found this most suspicious as the STV rep had told his details were never actually given to them. Also, though blaming STV Ipsos Mori had itself now offered him a financial compensation deal…
    I never did get to ask my own question but I did take advantage of a situation when the fellow in front of me forgot his question to try and turn the question of the likely bucketing of the pound without Scottish assets and oil behind it in a currency union back round on Darling. Alas he never did answer…

  27. It was Rupert Murdoch who tweeted there was “no such thing as free press in UK” so it is hardly suprising that there is a coordinated effort against independence for Scotland throughout much of the UK media. Indeed as David Leigh of the Guardian wrote in British Journalism Review way back in 2000 “British journalists – and British Journals – are being manipulated by the secret intelligence agencies.”

    Without oil to back it, or the cooperation of an independent Scotland in a currency union, the pound collapses – so it is hardly suprising that a coordinated effort is being made in the media against independence. What is suprising is the unmitigated gall of the London establishment and its intelligence agencies in pretending that they wouldn’t want a currency union. In my view it is Scotland with its potential for a strong oil backed currency that wouldn’t want to tie itself to a weak pound.

    But as Snowden revealed when he leaked those slides used by GCHQ in its training program for operatives, covert action includes “The 4 D’s: Deny / Disrupt / Degrade / Deceive”. Masters of the art of denial and deception (i.e. lying) as our spooks are, it shouldn’t suprise anybody that there is a coordinated campaign of propaganda against independence.

  28. Republicofscotland

    8 Aug, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    Sorry to go off topic Craig, but I thought this was rather poignant, on BBC radio Scotland this morning there was heated debate over Palestine/Israel, anyone one man who’d visited Gaza, said that a journalist had told him this. Palestinian children are writing their names on their arms, legs and torso’s when asked by a foreign journalist why they were doing this, the reply was, when I’m blown up, they’ll know who I am and they’ll collect all my body parts, with my name, and bury me.

  29. @ Jack Fletcher, where they live might not matter – but it might just be pertinent that the Dan Snow (who started the ‘petition’) is the son in law of the Duke of Westminster who owns a vast swathe of Scotland & is presumably perturbed at the Scots getting power and moving to the left. You know, since his wife stands to inherit that vast estate…..

    As for the rest of the signatories, in a lot of cases it reminds me of Brass Eye’s ‘Say No to Cake’ episode.

  30. Salmond talking about why he cannot entertain the plan B chat

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VFtfs_CFx28

  31. I am in part exasperated by this ridiculous non-issue being pushed forward as if it was the make and break of Scottish independence and in part heartened since it shows how desperate the ‘No’ campaigners have become.

    As a half Scottish ex pat UK citizen I am looking forward to seeing what happens and hopeful the Scots will reclaim birthright. They really do have nothing to lose. Better together? Hard to see how it could be any worse really.

  32. Jack Fletcher

    8 Aug, 2014 - 4:22 pm

    Rod C: The extent to which an individual’s voice matters or is pertinent does not however change their entitlement to freedom of speech.

  33. Robert Peffers

    8 Aug, 2014 - 4:32 pm

    What a great deal of total ignorance in the above comments. Mind you the posters are not alone as some of the pure ignorance from the laughable expert political figures in the red/blue/yellow Westminster de facto parliament of the country of England is clearly seen.

    Let me put it this way for you : –
    What was David Cameron’s job before he entered politics?
    What was George, Gideon, Osborne’s CV before getting elected?
    What was Nick Clegg’s employ?
    What was Darling before he had to resign as an advocate?
    What of the brothers Miliband?
    What did Ed \balls do before Westminster called?
    Now what were the jobs very well done by Alex Salmond before becoming a full time politician?
    Which of the above should I take as an expert economist both from their university and actual work experience.

    I’ll give you a clue – it wouldn’t be the one whose first job after a modern history degree sat at a London NHS computer terminal typing in the data about recently dead Londoners, then worked at refolding towels and re-hanging ties. It would be the one who studied economics, became a top economics man with a then top bank as well as a top journalist.

    Go figure which one that is.

  34. The extent to which an individual’s voice matters or is pertinent does not however change their entitlement to freedom of speech.

    Typical double speak.

    Anyone can exercises their freedom of speech, so long as they are in a solitary in the middle of the Epping forest in the permitted containment area that has an eight mile wide exclusion zone, and is guarded by some outfit that has direct Isreali ownership or has close links for traning the relevant staff in Isreal.

    Hey baby you have freedom of speech, say what you want, now!

    As the good rabbi said on the telly; We cannot allow people running into a packed theatre and shouting fire, that is no freedom of speech!

    Why would anyone wish to run into a packed theatre and shout fire, is besides the point, but sounds mendacious and mischievous and that is what matters!

  35. David S Briggs

    8 Aug, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    @MJ

    You have that back to front. The FM set the trap and shouty, pointy Alistair fell into it, as will become apparent between now and referendum day.

    The FM is a very adroit politician, you just haven’t realised it yet.

    I commend you again Roderick Russell for another excellent post.

    @Craig

    Why are the unionist trolls circling you like flies round a cow pat. Have you said something to upset the poor dears?

  36. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    8 Aug, 2014 - 4:49 pm

    David S Briggs

    “@Craig

    Why are the unionist trolls circling you like flies round a cow pat. Have you said something to upset the poor dears?”

    ___________________-

    David, I’ve just awarded you today’s OBN (in case you don’t read Private Eye, that stands for Order of the Brown Nose)!

    Enjoy!

  37. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    8 Aug, 2014 - 4:52 pm

    Passerby

    “As the good rabbi said on the telly; We cannot allow people running into a packed theatre and shouting fire”
    _______________

    That’s very true. Always listen to your rabbi *, he’s a very wise man!

    _______________

    * Cue for various loonies to start quoting Rabbi Ovadia (or whatever he’s called)

    ******************

  38. Cue for various loonies to start quoting Rabbi Ovadia (or whatever he’s called)

    Is this not rank antisemtic tropes?

    Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: Torah’s Commander-in-Chief

  39. You are calling someone else a brown nose, Habba?
    That’s sweet coming from someone that only has the soles of his feet showing.
    Mind you, it is your blog, and you can say whatever you like.

  40. “The FM is a very adroit politician, you just haven’t realised it yet”

    Silly me.

  41. Reluctant Observer

    8 Aug, 2014 - 5:19 pm

    There are 10 posts listed in the “Recent Posts” list at the bottom of the page, which includes this one.

    Out of those ten, only two are not exclusively about Scotland, Scotland, and Scotland. And also – in fairness – about those beastly English who aren’t cheering on an independent Scotland.

    The exceptions being, that one post about Baroness Warsi which contained two short paragraphs, and the other some drivel about golf for nine paragraphs.

    A good thing that there isn’t anything important going on in the world worthy of informed comment these days!

  42. @ Robert Peffers 4.32pm:

    Like you, I place no great faith in the economic expertise of politicians. But we don’t need to. Luckily for us, the Centre for MacroEconomics has conducted the first and, I believe only, survey of independent professional economists on economic issues raised by the Scottish Independence debate. The results can be found here:

    http://cfmsurvey.org/surveys/economic-consequences-independent-scotland

    A summary overview can be found here:

    http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/would_scotland_be_better_off_as_a_independent_nation

  43. Just saying

    8 Aug, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    Robbie Burns 1786

    Poem: Lines Written On A Banknote

    Wae worth thy power, thou cursed leaf!
    Fell source o’ a’ my woe and grief!
    For lack o’ thee I’ve lost my lass!
    For lack o’ thee I scrimp my glass!
    I see the children of affliction
    Unaided, through thy curst restriction:
    I’ve seen the oppressor’s cruel smile
    Amid his hapless victim’s spoil;
    And for thy potence vainly wished,
    To crush the villain in the dust:
    For lack o’ thee, I leave this much-lov’d shore,
    Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more.

    Will the currency “NO” voters kiss Scotland goodbye for a “cursed leaf”?

  44. I really do find it hilarious that Westminster thinks currency is a vote winner.
    Projection in action.

  45. On currency, this is an interesting read. It’s a summary of Sir Walter Scott’s Letters of Malachi Malagrowther in which Scott attacks English plans to introduce £5 notes. Scottish banking had been stable at this time, English banking anything but, and Scott’s campaign was eventually successful.

    By the by, it’s curious to see Unionists claiming Scott as one of theirs. In the Letters he refers to the Union as ‘that odious surrender of our sovereignty’.

  46. doug scorgie

    8 Aug, 2014 - 6:43 pm

    Windsock
    8 Aug, 2014 – 12:54 pm

    “If Scotland means that much to you, why are you living in Ramsgate…”

    ——————————————–

    Windsock, why not pose a similar question to Habbabkuk and the other Zionist trolls here?

    Ask them if Israel means so much to them why don’t they live there?

    I don’t know what response you might get.

  47. Superb post, Doug Scorgie.

  48. First tell us why you’re not living in Gaza.

  49. Doug-maybe they do, already.

  50. Vronsky (8 Aug, 2014 – 6:43 pm) on Walter Scott

    As Mary pointed out in an earlier thread, the BBC’s Radio 4 have done a re-written version of Ivanhoe set in 2035 in a post-independence world of cross border conflict. This follows on from a re-write of Rob Roy, set in 1924 compounding Scottish national identity with Irish republican terrorism. They really need to be taken to task for this disgraceful re-writing of 18th century classics into poisonous modern day political unionist screeds. Whoever manages the estate and papers, the legacy of Scott should have dissociated the author’s name and works from these malicious travesties of the originals. It all the more annoying that Scottish studios have done some great drama work in the past, often involving Patrick Raynor or Gaynor McFarlane, and often with tremendous haunting traditional musical scores and performances. These new U-KOK versions of Scotts’ works I suspect were under London or Manchester oversight, and the opportunity was squandered to produce high quality productions. I’m surprised that David Tennant willingly participated in the malicious Project Fear version of Ivanhoe. I agree with you that SWS bitterly regretted the union of parliaments, consistently throughout his work.

  51. If, after independence, savers have no confidence in the new Scottish government and decide to withdraw all their savings, causing a run on the banks, then, yes, you would have to barter.
    Saying things like ‘the currency is not the be all and end all’ is burying your head in the sand about a potentially disastrous situation for millions of Scots, which you are choosing to ignore. If people have no money in the bank and no ability to borrow then it certainly would be the be all and end all.
    Yes, countries can become independent and adopt their own currency – but they do so having worked out which currency they will use well in advance of becoming independent. Salmond doesn’t have a proper plan, except hoping the British will fall into line and do what they are told.
    What a liar and a charlatan the man is.

  52. DavidFromScotland

    8 Aug, 2014 - 9:39 pm

    “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!!!”

    Economics is THE most important issue in this referendum – Bar None.

    An independent Scotland cannot be the land of milk and honey promised to us without a sound financial underpinning.

    Currency union is not just using the same notes and coins as another country, it means agreeing to use the same macroeconomic policies – i.e. interest rates and government spending plans. It entails as Bruce Carney puts it – “A loss of sovereignty.” What is the point of setting up an independent sovereign state and then immediately surrendering that independence to another nation.

    All the Plan B’s have severe flaws as well that will make it harder for Scottish industry to compete in a global economy

    I’d like my children to have the opportunity to make a prosperous future for themselves in Scotland if they want to stay here. An independent Scotland will make it harder for them to stay here.

    Love and Kisses

    Your Tory Friend

    David

  53. “If, after independence, savers have no confidence in the new Scottish government and decide to withdraw all their savings, causing a run on the banks, then, yes, you would have to barter.”

    That isn’t going to happen. The Scottish government are incompetent but they aren’t that incompetent.

    It isn’t a question of boom or bust, neither would be likely to happen as what either side says. It’s a question of if quality of life would be better for the residents of Scotland. Independence would not be all good or all bad for the average person in Scotland it’s a question of if the good would outweigh the bad. For some it would, I think for myself it wouldn’t. It would more likely benefit those in the cities down south and then not all of them.

  54. Oops, it was a new version of Red Gauntlet that Mary spotted, set post-independence, which I’ve heard too and deplore, not Ivanhoe. The objectionable rework of Rob Roy was broadcast in April 2013.

  55. George Soros broke the bank of England like a twig. LIBOR and related options markets are a cesspool of corruption. London private banking is the last redoubt of money laundering. And this is a currency I should be scared to give up?

  56. “George Soros broke the bank of England like a twig. LIBOR and related options markets are a cesspool of corruption. London private banking is the last redoubt of money laundering. And this is a currency I should be scared to give up?”

    Hell no, give it up, by all means.

    Just let us know what you were thinking of replacing it with.

  57. http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/euro-pound-or-scottish-pound/

    “Keeping the Bank of England, and the pound sterling, still gives us a choice to launch our own currency in the future should that be the right decision. Interestingly we don’t have the option to join the Euro (if we ever wanted to) until our own Scottish currency has been launched and has participated in the exchange rate mechanism for at least two years.

    So, far from the scare story of being forced to join the Euro, we couldn’t join, even if we wanted to. Launching our own currency would be more costly and more difficult than agreeing a currency union at the outset of independence, but it would also upset the trade balance with our friends in the rest of the UK by making cross border trades also a cross currency trade. If this damages the rUK economy then that isn’t in anyones best interest, independence can be a boost to all the nations of the UK economically and democratically.

    The economists who work for the UK Government and in the treasury know all of this, and would move heaven and earth to ensure an independent Scotland kept the pound – everything else is just political manoeuvring in the hope of maintaining control of Scottish taxation at Westminster.”

  58. The currency question is becoming the nemesis of the Yes campaign – the unthought-out flaw of a love for independence that dare not speak its name, in case it frightens the voters. In a campaign that can be thrown by £500 either way, to be left looking at your wallet is a Yes campaign disaster. And the Maestro brought it on himself. Juggling aliens, the EU and the right hand side of the road – he fell on his arse. The cocksure bluster collapsed before the boos. And the little dull man, AD, nailed him with an eight year old metaphor. We love it!

  59. Alan campbell

    9 Aug, 2014 - 10:07 am

  60. David S Briggs

    9 Aug, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    Habbakuk

    It doesn’t make it any less true. At least you are a regular whilst I see new ‘No’ folk on trolling. The same with James Kelly’s site with a sudden influx of ‘No’ supporters. They even try it on with Wings, but don’t stay around for long.

    To be quite frank your OBN comment is a bit loony.

  61. “Just let us know what you were thinking of replacing it with.”

    Fred, I’ll presume you’re a dullard and not a manipulative weasel. The little catch-phrases you’re parroting are premised on the notion that the Scottish, like the English ruling class, are timid bed-wetters afraid of their shadows, terrified of the unknown and fit only to hide behind America’s skirts. Accordingly, they seek to frighten you with the idea that you must work out every jot and tittle before you assert your sovereignty, otherwise you’ll be lost, abandoned, floating in some void. Horseshit.

    Once Slovakia asserted its sovereignty, the Slovaks took the better part of a year to work out the details with their Czech counterparts. Slovenia got out while the getting was good, then sussed out the particulars with nugatory support from the US or the EU. By contrast, Palestine inched toward statehood in a painstaking series of tests and tasks. All that did was give their colonizers a hundred opportunities to trip them up. Does anyone here think that the British ruling class wouldn’t do the same to Scotland if they got the chance?

    So which is it, Fred? Are you trying to play Zionazi tricks on the Scots? Are are you really afraid you’ll lose your mite if you don’t submit to City of London pedos?

    Assert the people’s right to self-determination. First things first.

  62. It’s difficult not to laugh at the frantic desperation of the Natsis – why are they are so keen to become Oblast 28 (or is it 29) in the EU ?
    They’re even reduced to Fanon-speak about colonisation.

    The entire debate about the Pound is a charade. If the Euro wasn’t a complete car crash Salmond et al (including Craig Murray) would be desperate to join it. For some reason you’re all so keen to suck up to the EU you can’t even see that you’re just replacing London with Brussels. In other words, you’re not even choosing independence, you just want to kiss someone else’s arse. Unfortunately, since 2008, the appeal of being another Celtic Tiger has dissipated, there’s no more room at the trough for Scotland.

    Most of you, like Craig Murray, probably aren’t even Scottish.

  63. Are you an ethnic nationalist, Ed L?
    If you live in Scotland, your vote is exactly the same, born in Scotland or not.

  64. “Ethnic nationalist” ? What does that even mean ?

    Like it or not, Craig Murray’s only claim to Scottish-ness is ethnic.

  65. pete fairhurst

    9 Aug, 2014 - 6:29 pm

    Clearly the “Independence” campaign has played straight into the hands of the uk unionists with their badly thought through approach to the vital currency question. Do they really not realise how the world turns, and how the London money power operates? Or maybe they do realise, which is even worse in it’s implications for your nominal “Independence”.

    If you read your history, the real history not the authorised version, then you will understand that this was central to the union in the first place. The City of London based oligarchs are a cancer on humanity, never mind Scotland.

    There will be no credible Independence without your own money, and your own central bank. But you don’t seem to realise this, or even how the worlds fiat money system works.

    Your proposed central bank is the Bank of England! It is nominally “nationalised” but in practice is fully under the control of the private, money power banks. And if you put your faith in them, which appears to be the only option on the table, then you really will have have been sold a diseased pup

  66. Tom 8/8/14 at 9:19 p.m.
    How do you know that the Scottish Government do not have an alternative plan? Do you really think that given that their preferred option is a currency union, and that this is subject to negotiation after a Yes vote, they would disclose their fallback negotiating position? Is it not a bit naive to think they would?

    Everybody knows that following a Yes vote, the posturing will stop and reality will take over. So let’s look at it from an rUK perspective. The debt belongs to rUK – we know this because Osbourne and Alexander said so. No currency union = no sharing of the debt. The economy of rUK will be reduced by roughly 10% following Scottish independence, but if there is no currency union the debt will stay the same. The rUK balance of payments will, without Scotland’s trade surplus (including but not restricted to oil and gas) become even worse than it already is.

    So rUK will have a reduced overall GDP, all of the debt and a deteriorating balance of payments. How do you think the money markets would view this? The leaders of rUK, despite their posturing for the purposes of the referendum campaign, are not completely stupid. They will swallow their pride and act in the best interests of their country – if there is a Yes vote there will be a currency union.

    You just need to think it through – as Alex Salmond has done.

  67. In 1979 the anti-devolutionists warned that if Scotland gained devolution, the factories, mines and shipyards would close. They closed anyway.

    Today we have a situation where government debts are only kept at bay through a deliberate policy of devaluation (quantitative easing). What an irony it would be if Scotland votes no and the pound becomes worthless soon after anyway.

  68. Craig, iScotland cannot, immediately, join the Euro as you should know. In order to join the Euro you must have had an independent currency in ERM II for at the very least 2 years. Since Sterling is not in ERM II this cannot be used as an argument.

    In order to join the Euro, on which matter I’m in a small minority here in Scotland in being in favour, we would first have to mint our own currency, put it into ERM II and be fiscally and economically stable for 2 years. A tough ask for the first ten years at least of independence in my opinion. There will be all manner of shocks and unanticipated stuff (good and bad, good shocks count against you in ERM II) after independence.

  69. ” The debt belongs to rUK – we know this because Osbourne and Alexander said so. ”

    They’ve said no such thing and as yet nothing is decided, however the concept of an independent Scotland refusing to shoulder it’s share of the debt would be unacceptable to rUK and the politicians know it.

  70. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    9 Aug, 2014 - 9:12 pm

    Argyll

    “The debt belongs to rUK – we know this because Osbourne and Alexander said so”
    ___________________

    That’s quite an assertion, Argyll.

    Can you refer us to the speech(es) or paper(s) or article(s) in which Osbourne and
    Alexander said that?

    Thanks.

  71. @Kempe

    You are wrong. After the Sermon on the Mound when Gideon flew up here told us no currency union then flounced off stage left pursued by Bernard Ponsonby (a journalist wanting to ask questions! whatever next) the markets got the jitters and the interest rates wanted on gilts rose. Thus to calm the fractious markets a statement was made, jointly between the Treasury and the BoE if memory serves, affirming that Westminster takes responsibility for ALL the debt regardless of what happens.

    This is a matter of historical record so your denial of it is both curious and futile. Can I suggest you inform yourself a mite better about our wee referendum and matters pertaining in Westminster before mouthing of?

  72. Nobody in a hurry to post up any links I see.

    Osborne has promised that “rUK” will cover all Gilt Edged Securities to quieten fears of a default otherwise nothing has been decided.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/02/flaw-osbornes-pre-emptive-strike-against-currency-union

  73. Habbabkuk and Kempe

    See this UK government site:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-debt-and-the-scotland-independence-referendum

    From the document “UK Debt and the Scotland Independence Referendum”, first paragraph:

    “In the event of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (UK), the continuing UK Government would in all circumstances honour the contractual terms of the debt issued by the UK Government.”

    It then goes on to say that there is an expectation that Scotland would take its share of the debt and that this would be subject to negotiation. And that is the critical point – if either party stonewalls the other, e.g by refusing to consider a currency union, then the other party will not make concessions. That is the nature of negotiations.

    So, to sum up, give Scotland the currency union we want and we will, in all probability, take a reasonable share of the debt, even although we are not legally obliged to do so. But in any event, rUK will need the currency union more than Scotland does for the reasons stated in my previous post.

    We do have a fall back option of just adopting a Scottish pound which will harden rapidly as a petro currency. Some initial set up costs in that, but in the long run many of us think this would be the best course of action. If you want verification of that, just read the McCrone report which was kept secret for 30 years because it was deemed to be too supportive of independence for Scotland. Finally released in 2005 under FOI.

  74. Kempe

    I think your posts are crossing with mine.

    Re your last, yes of course Scotland will be willing to take on a share of the debt. But not unless we get something in return. After all, there is no contract between an independent Scottish Government (yet to be created) and the markets. So there is no legal obligation.

    And lets be clear, if Scotland agrees to pick up some of the debt, the mechanism will be that rUk government deals with the markets to make interest and capital payments. The Scottish Government would pay money to the UK. Scotland would have no direct dealings with the market in respect of any existing UK debt.

    We need some clear thinking on this stuff and less in the way of unsubstantiated assertion.

  75. I very much like this piece here and the fact whatever currency we chose we walk away ScotFree, not a penny debt….if the south want to play dirty then no CU/assets……..no share of debt will we take.I’ve been Labour 40 years and this has seriously angered me and whatever currency I’m taking that leap with Scotland,no way are the enemies from the Westminster screwing us over!Hell mend them! From the Financial Times recently:
    “Scottish refusal to take on UK debt would not constitute default, however”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/30d3c914-1f19-11e4-9689-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz39qyv6ljL

  76. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    10 Aug, 2014 - 8:41 am

    ElaineS

    “..if the south want to play dirty then no CU/assets…”
    ________________

    Not sure if I understand this. What is “dirty” about

    – rUK declining to enter into a currency union with an independent Scotland?

    – rUK assuming that an independent Scotland will take over a part of the national debt?

    Re. 1 : why should a seceding part of a national entity have the right to insist that it remains part of the UK currency union after independence? Is this not chutzpah of a high order?

    Re.2 : surely some of the UK national debt represents the cost of general expenditure and various public services, etc, from which Scotland has benefited?

  77. Scottish independence will not be achieved by compromising the independence of the rUK pound. The rUK will take the hit. To see this merely in financial terms is an error. The whole political landscape would alter if rUK were to be looking over it’s shoulder at whether or not another country was happy to be in the currency union. The judgement has been made that the financial hit is manageable. It will be an unfortunate start to the new relationship but that too will fade. Eventually, both countries will get on well – with their separate currencies.

    Not that any of this is going to happen. There will be no Scottish independence. The yes campaign have failed to demonstrate enough negatives for the Union, and, seemingly increasingly, failed to demonstrate the positives of independence.

    What the debate has done is to win a few extra powers for Holyrood and alerted the rUK to the threat of change. You will quietly see the North grow and an increasing revitalisation of the rUK. That is the real achievement of this debate. The UK is coming back to life. The post- WW2 sleep is over. We shall have a newer, more independent relationship with the EU – and that will stiff for good a united Ireland and Scottish independence.

  78. Habbabkuk

    “Re. 1 : why should a seceding part of a national entity have the right to insist that it remains part of the UK currency union after independence? Is this not chutzpah of a high order?”

    Scotland has the right to argue for and seek to achieve a currency union. I think everyone accepts that neither country could insist that the other enters into a currency union. What Alex Salmond is saying is that it is so clearly in the interests of rUK to do so that, once the bluster and bluff around the referendum campaign is out of the way, pragmatism will kick in and rUK is most likely to agree to a CU. As an aside on this point, if rUK decides not to enter into a CU it will be interesting to know what currency rUK would use. The £ sterling is as much Scotland’s as it is England’s so if rUK does not want to share, then they can use anything else they choose.

    Re.2 : surely some of the UK national debt represents the cost of general expenditure and various public services, etc, from which Scotland has benefited?

    This is true. We need to decide if we are looking at this from a legalistic perspective or from a moral perspective. The legal perspective is quite clear – an independent Scotland would be under no obligation to contribute to the debt. How can it be? It is not a party to the contract and as stated earlier the UK government has confirmed that the responsibility is the UK’s.

    From a moral perspective – yes, perhaps Scotland should contribute. That is why the Scottish Government has stated that it is willing to do so – but in return for the currency unions it wants. Negotiation means making concessions on both sides in order to reach a common position. It is not about one side dictating to the other what they can or should do. Of course I could point out that from a moral perspective, the UK has plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years and that walking away from the debt would therefore be justified. And while plundering our wealth, the lie that Scotland has been subsidised by England has been perpetuated.

    But the Scottish government are not saying that – their position is quite clear.

  79. @Leslie

    “The yes campaign have failed to demonstrate enough negatives for the Union”

    Enough for what?

    Nuclear obscenities based right next to our biggest city.
    The Bedroom Tax hitting primarily the disabled.
    People sanctioned and left destitute.
    Workfare for the benefit of private companies thus reducing genuine employment.
    Zero hours contracts.
    Minimum wage not a living wage.
    Pensions the second poorest in the EU.
    Illegal wars and noises about more.
    A government so up Israel’s rectum it cannot condemn obvious war crimes.
    Pissing the income from oil up the wall instead of investing like the Norwegians have.
    Making sure Scotland has to help pay for: Crossrail; HS2 & 3; Trident renewal and more I can’t remember. Note we also contributed to London’s Olympics but Westminster contributed not a single bean to Glasgow’s games.

    Better Together my arse. The Unionist campaign they titled ‘Project Fear’ and full of negativity. Positive argument for the Union? a mythical beast rarer than pink unicorns.

  80. Oh I remembered another one: London’s new sewage scheme. Scotland is set to help pay for that.

    Not only to we have to listen to the sewage emanating from Westminster spewed onto our TV news but now we have to pay twice: once for the license fee and again to have it all taken away and dealt with.

    How would you like it if your neighbour insisted you pay for his new car, his new security system that means bright lights will be trained on your property and if it goes off you will be deafened at best, his new drains AND you have to do the work for nothing and work any hours he wants?

  81. Muscleguy.

    ” Enough for what? ”

    The voters. The polls.

  82. ” Note we also contributed to London’s Olympics but Westminster contributed not a single bean to Glasgow’s games. ”

    Well it was entirely Glasgow’s idea to bid, surely they should’ve done so without any help from taxpayers in Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland.

    As for the Olympics some football matches were held in Hampden Park so you got something back.

  83. @Leslie

    Firstly the polling companies have a bad record at predicting Scottish voting intentions on Scottish only issues. Secondly they do not measure all the newly registered voters the vat majority of whom are Yes supporters. Thirdly referenda are notoriously hard to accurately poll for.

    Canvassing returns consistently find a majority of Yes voters.

    When YouGov earlier this year put in questions to try and detect what it believed were ‘shy Noes’ what they found instead were ‘shy Yeses’.

    75% of undecided voters snap polled by ICM after the debate thought Alec Salmond won it. So did a majority of women, a constituency that has lagged men on the Yes side. So watch this space.

    Finally when people are fully informed about the issues they become Yes voters. Many leave it late before engaging in such things. The Yes Campaign in all its myriad manifestations has an order of magnitude more boots on the ground than No. RIC alone are out every night of the week in deprived wards canvassing and getting people registered to vote, many of whom have never voted for Poll Tax reasons.

    And finally, the Yes Campaign are offering hope and progress. No are offering negativity, scare stories and more and deeper austerity. History says positive campaigns win over negative ones.

    BT and the British Government strategy from Day 1 has been to use scare stories to frighten supporters into staying with the Union. It has all been about shoring up the core vote. The problem is firstly their tactics are backfiring. Osborne’s initial no currency union intervention was a significant boost for Yes and most of those votes were Labour voters who anyone could have told you would recoil at being lectured by an old Etonian Tory chancellor.

    The story the polls have been telling is people being detached from No to Don’t Know and from there to Yes. Once someone decides for Yes, they do not go back. It’s like a ratchet and it only works one way.

    Tick tock, tick tock.

  84. The most No-friendly pollsters, ICM, Ipsos-Mori and Yougov all find samples that are significantly unrepresentative of the Scottish population. Either finding too many elderly and not enough young people or too many English born people. Not that being English stops you voting Yes, there’s even an English for Yes group and English SNP MSPs, but these things explain why their samples are at variance with the other pollsters who don’t have to update or downrate entire demographics in each poll.

    So be careful which polls you look at and take all of them with a grain of salt. There are structural reasons as I explain, why they specifically undercount the Yes vote.

    And finally in the war of window and car bumper stickers Yes is much more prominent while BT is hard to find. These signals matter.

  85. Kempe

    I notice you have gone quiet on the currency issue.

    On the costs of the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, if we apply your logic, could we not argue that London bid for the Olympics so should not have burdened any other part of the UK with costs?

    And bear this in mind – in round figures Scotland paid as much towards the Olympics as the entire budget for the Commonwealth Games. Which do think was better value for money?

    Finally, to say that Scotland benefitted from the Olympics because a few football matches were played at Hampdem is, to put it in the mildest terms, disingenuous.

  86. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    10 Aug, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    Argyll

    Actually, I was hoping for an answer from the original commenter – a “ElaineS”.

    Nevertheless, I was about to respond to you until my eyes alighted on the following:

    “Of course I could point out that from a moral perspective, the UK has plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years….”

    That sort of silly comment disqualifies you from receiving my response, I’m afraid. Pity.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    On a technical note, Argyll, may I leave you to ponder whether that sentence wouldn’t have made slightly better sense with the following amendment:

    “Of course I could point out that from a moral perspective, the UK HAVING plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years, {and that- deleted} walking away from the debt would therefore be justified.”.

    How can a country morally plunder another country’s wealth?

  87. Habbabkuk

    I could argue the semantics of the construction of the sentence, but instead why don’t we deal with the substantive issues?

  88. I thought that this article was pertinent to the economic debate surrounding independence. It suggests that a basket of supermarket goods costs twice as much in the UK as it does in Germany, France or Spain.

    There is something fundamentally wrong either with the current exchange rate for the Pound, or with the underlying structure of the UK economy, or both, when the cost of basics in the UK is twice what our neighboours are paying.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2720938/Aldi-It-isn-t-half-cheap-Europe-British-shoppers-bargain-supermarket-pay-nearly-twice-Germans-Spanish.html

  89. nevermind, it will happen anyway

    10 Aug, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Thanks for your account of the fraud TV debate, Ken Waldron, it was obvious that the live audience would be manipulated, thats the only way The BBC canm be ojective, i.e conducting, controlling and manipulating debate.
    I’m not surprised That the SNP refuses to entertain another live debate.

  90. Muscleguy.

    I appreciate the detail about the polls and I understand the need for hope amongst the yes campaign. But none of it will save you. There is a long term consistency about the yes/ no divide in favour of no. The campaign has failed to shift it. It has now got bogged down in money talk – fatal for the yes campaign.

    However admirable the glazed eyed refusal to countenance reality on the currency question, the yes campaign are going down on this one.

    But look on the bright side – you are part of the regeneration of the whole of the UK.

  91. Leslie

    Why is money talk fatal for the Yes campaign? We know that according to polls, many people in Scotland will switch their vote for £500 per annum, so don’t you think that the saving of £800 per head per annum that Scottish independence will bring to Scotland might persuade them? Not to mention getting rid of Trident, not being ruled by a Tory / UKIP coalition and still having an NHS?

    Remember that although this campaign might seem to have been going for ever, it will really only warm up in the last few weeks. All to play for.

  92. The Bigger The Lie – Media Bias in the Scottish Independence Referendum
    Posted by The Editors on August 10, 2014, 4:56 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajd4R-9BEIw&app=desktop

    An exclusive look into mainstream media bias and the techniques they use to influence the independence debate.

    ‘The Bigger The Lie’ focuses on the significant research of Professor John Robertson into media bias during the Scottish Independence Referendum. The film covers Professor Robertson’s meticulous approach to the research and the subsequent suppression by the mainstream media of his findings. Overall, the findings did uncover some general evidence of bias and particularly repetition of ‘bad news’. The techniques used such as sequencing of stories, reliance on sources such as the Treasury, OBR and IFS, demonisation of First Minister Alex Salmond and use of ‘experts’ were all more telling. This film might just change the way you look at the BBC’s coverage of Scotland’s most important political event.

    Professor Robertson promotes the idea of greater political transparency of those offering media opinion on the debate. As the filmmaker of this work I have never been very political in the past. I am a former Labour and SNP voter who will be deciding on Yes because I believe this is a great opportunity to achieve a more equal, wealthier and, above all, democratic Scottish nation.

    /..

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1407686219.html

  93. Money talk is fatal for the yes campaign because it roots you in the present. You put your hand in your pocket and you count your pennies. And ‘hope’ and ‘maybes’ however nice, are not a currency – rather like McPound.

  94. Argyll Waste none of your time with Habbabkuk.

  95. Leslie

    Money talk does nothing of the sort! The present is that Scotland subsidises the UK and our money is used to pay for things we either don’t want (e.g. Trident, Aircraft Carriers) or things that will not benefit us (e.g HS2, London sewer.) The future is that we will not subsidise rUK, we will continue to have a publicly funded NHS and we will do away with the need for foodbanks.

    The independence referendum is certainly not only about money, but to say that even talking about it “roots us in the present” is just nonsense.

  96. Mary – get real on this one. The Maestro was caught lying barefaced about his non-existent legal advice on the EU. “general evidence” of negative news seems quite reasonable. A plane crash hits the news; the many thousands of planes that land safely, don’t. Is that evidence of bias?

  97. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    10 Aug, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    Argyll

    “..but instead why don’t we deal with the substantive issues?”
    _________________

    Because, as I’ve already said, I doubt if reasoned and reasonable discussion is likely with someone who comments emotively, as you did,

    “the UK has plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years….”

  98. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    10 Aug, 2014 - 6:13 pm

    Argyll

    Mary instructs you to ” Waste none of your time with Habbabkuk.”

    You betta lissen to da Boss Man coz if u dont she’ll be calling u a TroLL…LOL!

  99. Habbabkuk

    Or maybe it’s all getting a bit hard for you.

  100. Argyll.
    Thank you for your response. But have you never heard that people don’t trust politicians? So ‘dreams’ and ‘promises’ and ‘what you will-and-won’t get if you follow us’ are not believed. What is believed is what is in your pocket – the pennies that you presently hold in your hand.

    And as for your list of your fantasies of what the Scots do and don’t want – enjoy!

  101. Leslie

    You are not making sense. The cash flows from Scotland to England are well documented by HM Treasury. These are facts. And those flows will stop when Scotland becomes independent – I do not need a politician to confirm that.

    That Scottish people do not want Trident is beyond doubt. Are you seriously suggesting that they do? That Scotland will not benefit from the London sewer is – well – obvious. That Scotland will not benefit from HS2 is hardly contentious.

    Scotland will use its wealth for the benefit of the Scottish people rather than to prop up a bankrupt post-imperial England. It is England that will need to think of a way to earn a living without Scottish subsidy. And that is why Westminster politicians are fighting so hard to prevent a Yes vote. They are worried – and they should be.

  102. Argyll.

    Thank for your response. Sadly, what you think, or indeed myself, is neither here nor there in this matter. It is what the voters think that counts. And too many voters are indifferent to all the points that you make. They do not recognise the quaint language about a ‘post imperial England’. Who does? Such esoteric terms declaim your marginality.

    Does anyone in London – a world city – worry about the absence of Scotland from the UK? In fact, the indifference to the presence or otherwise of Scotland as part of the UK is one of the most striking things about this debate. The debate is seen as a purely Scottish thing. The rUK will make its moves when the vote is over.

    Who wakes up worrying about the absence of Ireland from the UK? No one. It would be the same if Scotland went. Hence sanctioning the vote. But Scotland isn’t going. The door is wide open but too many Scots are sufficiently comfortable with being in the UK for them to get up and leave. Scotland will stay.

    The yes campaign have failed. But, of course, they always knew they would. And they will tell themselves that Rome wasn’t built in a day and next time… Next time the Scots will do what they did in the days of empire – be first in the queue for a slice of the action. They’re never going. The young don’t want ‘borders’ and limitations and quaint talk of ‘identity’ and ‘nationality’ – it’s all so irrelevant. They want to travel and to spend and talk to the world. That is what makes sense to them – not some dated rant of littleness.

  103. Leslie

    Well, we will just have to wait and see. There is no certainty, but I think that Scotland will vote Yes. Why? Because my personal experience and that of thousands of other Yes campaigners is that as people become more engaged, they move from No to Yes. The intellectual argument was won months ago and now that people are listening to the arguments the polls are narrowing. And I think that the polls lag the actual position on the ground by weeks.

    So neither of us can say for sure what the outcome is going to be. But I can say one thing with certainty – I have not yet come across a single voter who used to be Yes and who has become No. On the other hand, I have personally come across tens of people who used to be No and who are now Yes. My experience is replicated across thousands of campaigners. Whether this will be sufficient, we will not know until early on 19 September.

    PS – what people in London think does not matter as far as the referendum is concerned. But when people in London realise that without the currency union their credit rating will plummet along with the balance of payments, they will be clamouring for that currency union.

  104. Kempe

    I read your article and it is interesting. If I had the time and access to the raw data I would like to reconcile the numbers given with the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures which only deal with Scotland, but which show a net contribution by Scotland to the UK of £800 per person per annum (2011/12) around £4.5 billion.

    However the two sets of figures are arrived at, it is clear that London’s taxes fund much of the rest of the UK – in particular Northern Ireland and the poorer parts of England. Even your article shows that Scotland holds its own.

    But this is a simplistic view. The concentration of public sector spending in London in the form of the institutions of government is immense. Take for example MOD jobs. The vast majority of these are in London. But every part of the UK is charged for these as the “benefit” is deemed to be provided to all parts on a per capita basis. So the expense is shared, but the economic benefit of these jobs goes to London and the taxes paid by these civil servants counts towards the “taxes raised in London” figure.

    In an ideal world, the jobs paid for from public funds would be evenly distributed around the country so that both the costs and the economic benefits were spread. In the past, there have been efforts to implement this sort of move. I think, from memory, the Callaghan government tried to move MOD headquarters to Glasgow. (It might even have been the Wilson government) But these attempts failed, mainly due to civil service resistance and a feeling that moving out of London, as a civil servant, was career suicide.

    Of course in an independent Scotland, the jobs that Scotland pays for will be based in Scotland so we will get a double (positive) whammy. First we will only pay for the jobs we want. Second, the jobs we do pay for will be located in Scotland with all the economic benefits that will bring.

  105. London has the greatest proportion of Civil Service jobs yes but then as it’s UK PLC headquarters perhaps that’s not surprising. According to this though 10% of Civil Service jobs are based in Scotland and 8% of Civil Servants describe themselves as being Scottish so really the distribution isn’t so bad.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_329977.pdf

    There are of course various agencies outside Scotland that provide servies across the border such as DVLA in Swansea and the HSE in Liverpool. I’m guess that post independence Scotland will at some stage want to set up it’s own agencies but in the meantime?

  106. Scottish Office (Edinburgh) standard reply to representations concerning their anti-independence propaganda.

    Constitutional Policy Branch
    1 Melville Crescent
    Edinburgh EH3 7HW
    Website: http://www.scotlandoffice.gov.uk
    Our ref: OR 14/4197
    11th August 2014

    SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM
    Thank you for your email of 29th July.
    I can advise you that the Scotland Office is the UK Government’s office for Scotland, with offices in both Edinburgh and London. The UK Government is one of Scotland’s two governments and it acts in the interests of everyone in the UK, including people in Scotland.Our role is to ensure the smooth working of the devolution settlement in Scotland, represent Scottish interests within the UK Government and represent the UK Government in Scotland. Our Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP, represents Scottish interests within the Cabinet of the UK Government.
    The UK Government passionately believes in the United Kingdom and wants to keep that United Kingdom together. As a United Kingdom we are forecast to have the strongest growth in the G7 this
    year. Together we have a strong and stable currency that has the respect of the international markets.
    We have a truly single jobs market with no barriers to movement, national insurance, tax or pensions. In 2012, Scotland sold £48 billion of goods and services to the rest of the UK while buying
    £60 billion worth of goods from the rest of the UK, demonstrating the contribution Scotland makes to the UK economy.
    For these reasons and many more, the UK Government is clear that the United Kingdom is stronger with Scotland in it, and Scotland is stronger within the United Kingdom. In the run up to the
    referendum, it will continue to explain the benefits that people in Scotland gain from being part of the UK and the contribution that Scotland makes to the UK To inform and support the debate on Scotland’s future, the UK Government has undertaken a
    programme of analysis on Scotland as part of the UK, and how it contributes to and benefits from being part of the United Kingdom. This work is known as the Scotland analysis programme and each of the papers is available to read online here:www.gov.uk/scotlandanalysis As mentioned above, in the remaining weeks until the referendum, the UK Government will continue to make the positive case to keep Scotland in the UK.

  107. Referendums are about the PEOPLE, self determination and their well-being and not about economic growth and GDP, which are just indicators of the wealth and well-being of corporate and establishment interests.

    Max Neef wrote: “It is necessary to counter logic of economics, which has inherited the instrumental reasoning that permeates modem culture with an ethics of wellbeing. The fetishism of numbers must be replaced by the development of people.”

    Its a pity that your standard letter of reply has failed to answer either of my questions while reaffirming that not only is the UK government not willing to allow the people of Scotland to decide their own destiny unhindered but that it has sunk to the lowest of the low Orwellian propagandist tactics of fear mongering about the economic consequences of independence in attempt to scupper the referendum.

  108. Johnstone.

    Interesting to read the letter. Your reactions are off-key. Referendums are usually about specific issues. They are coloured, in their hinterland, by many concerns but specificity is an essential attribute.

    And despite your aspirations to well-being, it is not unreasonable to know the status of your currency. What is unusual is to see the Maestro in extremis on this matter. He’s cornered, and with him McPound – the Panama Pound. This will ‘do’ for him.

  109. Johnstone

    Your point is well made. It is fair enough for Carmichael as Secretary of State for Scotland to personally argue the case for the Union, but to use the apparatus of the State to spread fear whilst, to put it in its mildest terms, being disingenuous about the economic impact of independence, the currency issue, the EU, Defence and virtually every other aspect of government is despicable. If we were staying in the UK, I would want to fight the corruption of the British State with all my being.

    There is however an easier way – we just need to persuade 50% +1 of the Scottish electorate to vote Yes. Then we will be on our way to being out of the reach of the British State for good.

  110. Kempe

    We’ve got off the topic of the currency union a bit. But I do accept that London is simultaneously an economic power house for the UK and a black hole that sucks resources and people from the rest of the UK. I do not know whether overall London benefits the rest of us.

    What I am quite confident about is that if Scotland stops sending £4.5 billion every year to Westminster, then we in Scotland will be better off. And I would bet my life savings that, in the event of a Yes vote, rUK will seek to agree a currency union. The UK government and the Labour party know that failure to do so will be catastrophic for the rUK economy. The question will be: how long will Scotland be prepared to committ to staying in the currency union? My guess would be 5 years max. That will be problematic for rUK because the markets will become increasingly concerned about rUK’s balance of payments and ability to service its debts. That is why the Westminster government is fighting so hard to get Scottish people to vote No.

    If you want a good summary of the pertinent facts, fully sourced and referenced, try this:

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/weebluebook/

  111. Here’s an interesting piece regarding the audience make-up of the debate.

    http://munguinsrepublic.blogspot.com/2014/08/serious-allegations-made-against-stv.html

  112. Leslie
    There are way more deep-seated issues, than what’s written on the bank notes, issues that can have a really significant impacts upon the lives and well being of the people who live in Scotland and for perpetuity. Currencies are adapted to and become old hat in a matter of weeks. The issue of land reform, although the process has stalled somewhat lately, has the potential to transform communities all over the country. Then there’s education and health care these issues trump currency because they are about people not banks, corporate institutions and the establishment elite. People matter!

  113. Thanks Argyll

    I think and I hope that most Scots see through to the UK Government disingenuousness, so these tactics will ultimately and ironically backfire upon them.
    Yes, let’s hope a ‘YES’ majority will make that fight unnecessary!

  114. Johnstone

    Thank you for your response. I agree with you that land reform has significant potential for changing lives – across the UK. And not just land reform, excessive concentrations of wealth do not seem well suited to our modern times. Globalisation is an issue here. But a cavalier attitude to the wealth that most ordinary people have – the pounds in their pockets – ill-behoves someone who proclaims the value of people. People do care about their currency – both in its symbolic aspect and its purchasing power – especially the latter. And because they do, they note the evasive equivocation of the Maestro on this subject. The currency issue has killed the yes campaign. And if the word ‘disingenuous’ has any place, it is surely in the mouth of the Maestro.

  115. I do not see any currency problem. The Scots have for a long time printed their own notes although, I understand, they have been required to maintain an equivalent amount in Bank of England notes. May countries around the world ‘peg’ their currency to another – typically the US$.

    So far as I can see, the Scots could do likewise: print their own currency, as they do now, and peg the value to its equivalent Bank of England note/coin.

    Bert.

  116. Leslie
    Only Scotland within the UK has a land reform policy Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. There is no equivalent in England.

    No ‘Excessive concentrations of wealth’ DEFINE ‘our times’!

    I would tend to say imbalance of wealth, but what ever. Greed and megalomania are symptoms of a capitalist society wherein corporate institutions have found ways to get people to buy things they really don’t need with money they actually don’t have. Wake up! Its all one gargantuan scam!

  117. ‘our times’ – our current period of high transparency, information sharing, democratic ethos and excessive wealth. These are the terms that immediately come to mind. I am aware of a radical critique of all of these points – nevertheless, they are serviceable ideas for me.

    Terms such as ‘capitalist’, ‘communist’, ‘mixed economy’ etc. are too large for this discussion. The idea that ‘greed and megalomania are…’ – well, there is greed and megalomania in most modern societies – again too large for this issue. ‘It’s all one gargantuan scam!’ might be true in the pub on a Friday night, but it also might just be crass simplistic crap. Not analytically interesting however emotionally satisfying for some who’ve done what others haven’t and ” seen through it all”.

    On the smaller issue of your dismissal of currency concerns, you are nowhere to be seen. You are gliding aloft on your up-woken thermals.

  118. Leslie
    What ‘high transparency’? What ‘democratic ethos’? Don’t you ever read this blog?

    OK but to be able to discuss the small picture it is necessary to understand the big picture. David Kortens When Corporations rule the World is a good starting point. Korten was indeed once a World Bank economist

    Synopsis
    When Corporations Rule the World suggests that the promises of the global economy are based on a number of myths: that growth in GNP is a valid measure of human well-being and progress; that free unregulated markets efficiently allocate a society’s resources; that growth in trade benefits ordinary people; that economic globalisation is inevitable; that global corporations are benevolent institutions that, if freed from governmental interference, will provide a clean environment for all and good jobs for the poor; and that absentee investors create ‘trickle-down’ prosperity.
    Korten believes that these myths are finally being unmasked and challenged by an Ecological Revolution that calls us ‘to reclaim our political power and rediscover our spirituality to create societies that nurture our ability and desire to embrace the joyful experience of living to its fullest’. He argues that, instead of concentrating on increasing economic growth and GDP, we should concentrate on ending poverty, improving our quality of life, and achieving a sustainable balance with the Earth.

    http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/content/pdfs/top50_korten.pdf

  119. Paul Barbara

    13 Aug, 2014 - 3:17 pm

    Bring back the Bradbury Pound, and call it the ‘Burns’ or something. Government printed money, no private Central Bank ‘skimming’, no interest. Money based on the country’s resources, not on thin air.
    Read ‘The Creature from Jekyll Island : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve’ (G. Edward Griffin); it gives a very good explanation of how the Federal Reserve came into being (or watch the video of the same name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu_VqX6J93k

  120. Johnstone

    ‘up-woken one’ – still in the thermals.

  121. Craig,

    In his paper Salmond points out that Scotland runs a deficit but states that this is normal. How is Scotland going to fund itself if it runs a deficit but no longer receives funding from the UK?
    The only way is to issue bonds but this would necessitate a separate currency from the UK as tax revenues for bond payments would be from Scotland not the UK. No investor would buy a Scots bond using sterling as the currency, tax revenue, interest rates, legislation and country credit worthiness (of Sterling) is controlled from London. Thus Scotland would have to have a separate currency as it would not be in control of its own credit market. This issue appears to have been overlooked. Any explanation?

    Regards.

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