The Privatised NHS

by craig on May 9, 2014 12:30 pm in Uncategorized

The independence campaign in Scotland has re-established the reality of public debate and a genuine political community.  Through old fashioned meetings and face to face conversation, combined with social media, people are hearing a narrative which is blocked by the gatekeepers of the mainstream media.  Philipa Whitford, a surgeon, here talks about Labour Tories, Tory Tories and Liberal Tories combining to destroy the very principles of the NHS. You don’t get to hear this on the BBC.

You can skip the first minute, but after that I suggest you listen to every word, very carefully.

Hat tip to Munguin’s Republic

I might have worked out how to post my recent podcast interview by Michael Greenwell

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140 Comments

  1. Ba'al Zevul (Elämä on hyvä!)

    9 May, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    Very telling speech by Whitford. Measured, logical, factual, and certainly highlights the mendacity of the populist “No” propaganda. If I were part of the “Yes” campaign, I’d be touring the village halls with that one and a projector.

  2. Down south, Labour is shamefully, sickeningly, deafeningly silent on what the Tories are doing to the NHS.

    We know why…

  3. Excellent, encompassing clarification of many of the ills we’re facing and why Scottish independence is vital not only for Scots but the majority of people in the UK.
    Like so much in this Neo-Con “society”, the means has become far more important than the end. Privatisation in nearly every area has nothing to do with the saving of money or efficiency but has everything to do with the transfer of power and wealth from the many to the few.

  4. Aye, a timely warning. How you vote in September could be a matter of life and death!
    On the breaking up of the N.H.S. here’s the best, ie most frightening, analysis I’ve seen:

    “Lucy Reynolds is an academic who has studied the background of the NHS in detail, learning in the process what the appalling consequences of privatisation will be. Here she answers questions put by Jill Mountfield, a member of the steering committee on the “Save Lewisham Hospital” campaign. March 2013″

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkTnCtg_Omk&feature=player_embedded

  5. Thank you for this Craig. A cause dear to my heart is to save OUR NHS. I have said it here several times that we will not have an NHS in 5 years. The people are asleep. They look at me as if I am mad when I say it.

    The fact that Cameron and Hunt have brought in Simon Stevens to head NHS England in place of the execrable Nicholson says it all. He has come from 10 years with United Health in the US, one of the largest private health insurers there. Most of the bankruptcies in the US arise from inability to pay medical bills by those not covered by insurance or with exclusions to policies.

    The good lady surgeon speaking here
    http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/philippa-whitford/6a/383/a78

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UnitedHealth_Group

    Medical Bills Are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies: Study, 25 June 2013 http://www.cnbc.com/id/100840148

    PS Thatcher set the privatisation of the NHS in train when she got the Rand Corporation over from the US. Then followed Major, BLiar and his succession of health ministers including Milburn who chipped away at the NHS and Thatcher’s children in power now who are finishing the job with their Health and Social Act 2012.

    Scotland watch out!

    My comment on the Rennard thread refers.
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/02/rennard-conundrum/#comment-395829

  6. Such a sensible woman. We need people like Philipa Whitford south of the border. It is the dismantling of the NHS that is crippling healthcare. When you recently wrote about re-nationalisation of British Rail this is another industry, if it can be called an industry, which needs to return to the public sector. Scotland must vote Yes to set an example to the rest of this sceptred isle, so we can all have a better scoiety. As she says the wealthy are getting wealthier and wealthier while the poor are getting poorer and poorer. Those who have not noticed this are walking round with their eyes shut.

  7. Just finished listening to you podcast Craig. I don’t know whether I knew before and I’d forgotten about you stumbling into the diplomatic corps but I definitely did not the ancestral history of Edvard Grieg which is very enlightening. Good interview.

  8. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    9 May, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    Liberal-Tory? Is that like a left-handed monkey wrench?

  9. Ba'al Zevul (For All The Wrong Reasons)

    9 May, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    It refers to our coalition government, Ben. Composed exclusively of left-handed monkeys with broken tools…

    (Apologies to any southpaw bigger than me – no general insult intended)

  10. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    9 May, 2014 - 3:28 pm

    “It refers to our coalition government”

    Is that the one where everyone rushes in to sacrifice their principles, Ba’al? We have those, as well. I think it should be called….
    Goobernance instead of Governance.

    Ever thankful for incremental ‘change’ I salute the compromise from single-payer NHS style, to ACA. The entire mess privatized to perpetuity, is what we call ‘victory’.

  11. Ba'al Zevul (For All The Wrong Reasons)

    9 May, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    Hootsmon lets VNB play victim card:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/no-borders-group-in-nationalists-attack-claim-1-3402254

    OTOH:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/pro-union-campaigner-accused-of-attacking-snp-msp-1-3371090

    As Alistair Darling himself said –

    Passion is good in a debate of this nature, but when it strays into personal abuse it is unacceptable.

    “What is not right under any circumstances is when other people, like employers, academics or cultural figures are monstered…

    Darling not monstering Brown –

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/brutal-and-volcanic-alistair-darlings-damning-1080708

    It’s going to get worse. On both sides.

  12. Enjoyed both, thanks Craig.
    Philipa Whitford is outstanding and worryingly not being listened to.
    Govt. policy has put many surgeries into a position that closure will be the only option but menawhile some are trying consolidation with other larger practices.
    They expect them to act and work like business’s but they cannot reclaim VAT on their purchases of medecine, etc etc whereas Virgin does.
    It’s pretty much a similar strategy they used for British Rail. Underfund, remove subsidies, and degenerate the service to the point where everyone is screaming for a change.
    They are trying to cut costs, which of course means labour and that affects quality.
    A surgery I know very well in Surrey has begun to axe nursing staff, keeping on cheaper carers and have lost their ability to treat,and deal with asthma sufferers properly.Ironically a money earner if they had kept the nurses who were trained for that.
    The easy money tasks are being picked off by the likes of Virgin.
    At the sametime payment is being delayed through increased burocracy and rejected claims heaving enormous pressure on Practice managers caught in the middle. It’s sabotage from the top.Doctors earnings are also beginning to drop as practices have begun to asking for overdrafts in order to keep the practices running. So far, banks are compliant but that could very quickly change if Govt. says insolvent practices must close.
    Patients meanwhile are oblivious to the fact that their beloved NHS is being flushed down the toilet in fromt of their eyes.

  13. You were outstanding too !!!

  14. Ba'al Zevul (For All The Wrong Reasons)

    9 May, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    Ben : Principles? What they?

    A starter list of our legislators with direct connections to private health companies:

    http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html

  15. Ba'al Zevul (For All The Wrong Reasons)

    9 May, 2014 - 3:49 pm

  16. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    9 May, 2014 - 3:50 pm

    You have as many ‘revolving-doors’ as we, Ba’al. That way the money flows no matter which direction you go. Really, that nonsense needs to go but won’t.

    I thought perpetual-motion was junk science.

  17. 8 May 2014
    Three times as many A&E patients waiting over four hours
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-27314835

    ‘The number of patients waiting too long in accident and emergency departments has nearly tripled in five years, according to Audit Scotland.

    A report showed 104,000 people waited beyond the four-hour target in 2012-13, compared with about 36,000 in 2008-09.’

  18. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    9 May, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    How many died because of the wait, Mary. It’s a a factor because of delayed treatment.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-195277/NHS-death-rates-times-higher-US.html

    That’s how we treat our Vets.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/23/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/

  19. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    9 May, 2014 - 4:12 pm

    Attempts to destroy NHS start with private contracts between Drs and wealthy persons who must be treated as ‘special’ because they’re more important. As the talent drifts to greater profit locales, the devolution of healthcare for the masses becomes less about patient care and more about costs, which enables the liberal-tories to point at NHS ‘failure’. At that stage they sense the time is ripe for an autopsy to determine the COD of the cadaver. Round up the usual suspects.

  20. Wexham Park Hospital Slough in ‘special measures’, ie targeted by Hunt and co, is being ‘merged’ with Frimley Park Hospital Camberley.
    Distance apart – 30 miles
    Journey time 1 hr 9mins shown on google maps currently.
    http://www.frimleypark.nhs.uk/news/hwph-in-special-measures

    Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Chertsey and Ashford are being ‘merged’ with the Royal Surrey Hospital Guildford.
    http://www.ashfordstpeters.nhs.uk/press-2014/4076

    To provide a better service of course. How many departments will be closed and how many staff will go? How are the staff and patients feeling now? Was there any consultation? No. Discussions have been taking place privately for the last 18 months.

    ~~

    You are correct Donny Darko. Branson’s Virgin Care took over Surrey NHS community health services in 2012. The contract was for 5 years and he paid £500m for it. It includes community hospitals like Milford and Haslemere. He also has multiple GP services and clinics. Nice one Richard. Of course we will never know how much he is being paid and how much profit there is in the large contract. There was no public information until after the contract was signed.
    http://www.virgincare.co.uk/2012/03/30/virgin-care-signs-contract-for-community-services-in-surrey/

    He also acquired NHS Children’s Services in Devon a few years back.

  21. Thank you for bringing the wonderful Philippa Whitford to our attention, Craig.

    Philippa’s warning about the creeping privatisation of the NHS in England is timely. According to Wednesday’s Guardian (GPs to vote on charging patients for appointments) we may soon have to pay £25 to see a GP:

    “The BMA’s Wiltshire local medical committee, one of the doctors’ groups backing the proposal, said a national charging system should be explored. It said the idea that healthcare should be free at the point of delivery – one of the key founding principles of the NHS – was no longer viable.

    “The Gloucestershire committee agreed. In the conference agenda [pdf], it said: ‘The time has come to impose a national charge for consultations as part of a strategy of demand management’.”

  22. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-195277/NHS-death-rates-times-higher-US.html
    I think that is from their archive Ben.

    In any case, there is an ongoing agenda of daily attacks on the NHS, especially by the BBC.

    The ‘veterans’ as you call them (always ‘Heroes’ here) are very well catered for. There is a newly built hospital wing in Birmingham. Very high tech and all bells and whistles. Malala was treated there too.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Elizabeth_Hospital_Birmingham

    http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Militarymedicine/Pages/Newhospital.aspx
    A £545m ‘Private Finance Initiative’. That means Craig’s little boy will be paying for it in 20 or 30 years and his children maybe thereafter.

    In case this is new to you. A rip off. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_finance_initiative

  23. Ben Could you outline your experience with the US health system, cost, efficiency etc and your opinion of Obamacare. Thanks.

  24. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    9 May, 2014 - 4:39 pm

    Mary; Just an anecedote. My spouse had to attend to a kidney stone, but to verify we got a CAT-scan prescription and our local provider first told us (December 2013) that we would have to wait for 5-7 business days for approval from insurance. A few minutes later as we were leaving, they caught up with us and said; “We got immediate email approval on the inquiry. This has never happened before.”

    ACA’s directive to Ins. Co’s insists on greater efficiencies (electronic) for such things. It’s a pale horse, but we were grateful for a ride.

    My long-term concern is that such things are like introductory offers. They sucker you in.

  25. Patrick,

    I am shocked by that from the local BMA

  26. You can sense the turmoil and chaos within the system. Well done Jeremy!

    The agenda for the conference for reps from local medical committees at the end of the month.

    http://bma.org.uk/-/media/files/pdfs/working%20for%20change/negotiating%20for%20the%20profession/agenda%20lmc%20conference%20-%20ac4%20final%20with%20cover.pdf

    GPs have been landed with managing the commissioning under the H&SC Act 2012. They are doctors for goodness’ sake, not accountants or lawyers. The Clinical Commissioning Groups are now set up all over the country.

    Doctors’ requests for hospital appointments with specialists are now being triaged. In March, I received five sheets of A4 giving me an appointment following my doctor’s request when one sheet of paper would have sufficed. That appointment was cancelled at a late stage and a new appointment was given for a scan and blood tests which I had had done at the start, the results of which being the reason for my doctor requesting the hospital appointment in the first place. That appointment was for April 23rd. That was then cancelled and another given for the end of this month. Keeping everything crossed!

    ‘Demoralize, Destabilize, Destroy.’ Those are the ConDem aims and Labour will not change them.

  27. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    9 May, 2014 - 6:32 pm

    BTW; Mary, the system here is fully privatized. Yet I note with my recent experiences that there is no efficiency, except in billing.
    Drs like to blame staff for losing specimens and failing to return phone calls, but they bear the full responsibility. After six months, they have the staff they deserve. Our last experience was the 2nd procedure, followed up because the first was an abject failure.

    She agonized for an entire month as they tried to cobble together their patented assembly lines “Pop, zip….ah chalk up another 20,000 dollars…next please.” We were to be there two hours ahead of the scheduled procedure. They called the day of; ‘can you come in 3 hours earlier than your 2:45?” Hurry up and wait. They got her in at 4 p.m. THEIR time is INDISPENSIBLE. Your time; not so much.

  28. I’m sure someone will be along shortly to call her a Brownshirt.

  29. If you succeed and gain independence, with promises of free university tuition and national health etc,and assuming you retain EU membership. The first thing you’ll have to do is ban the English from settling(but you won’t be able to) otherwise you’ll end up with all her old and ill and unproductive citizens,demanding free heath care,and education.
    This will drive up government expenditure,and taxes,your young will leave,and then it won’t be long before you have your very own SKIP with 50% in the opinion polls!
    Then what will you do?

  30. Hi Craig

    I have just listened to your podcast. Your points were well explained and illustrated by interesting facts. Why not come up to Scotland before 18/09 and engage in some public debating? I am sure that you would get a very good reception.

    This is a very exciting time to be in Scotland and suddenly people who for years have been politically apathetic are actually attending public meetings and thinking about what they really want from society. We suddenly have a real choice before us, a choice that is not “more of same” Labour/Conservative. A yes vote will actually change things.

    Cheers
    geomannie

  31. Thanks for that excellent video, have shared on some websites and facebook. The amount of crookery in both houses this creeping privatisation exposes is fascinating, we are being taken for patzies by the system and its gatekeepers, it will cost us, I fear by means that will not be mutual.

    O/T sorry, but in a way closely related to our survival and food supplies. Neonicotionoids are responsible for causing bee collony collaps, bees not returning to the hive, dying whilst harvesting pollen.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/09/honeybees-dying-insecticide-harvard-study

    Now this should make a Government act within 24 hours, if they have any nous, because without bees we will lose a lot of our fruits. I would not whince if rape would not be pollinated, because some in oure village are suffering from horrible stuffy noses and throats, but if we don’t curtail the chemical industry now, then we are giving a green light to our own demise.

    enjoy the wet weekend, why not write a poem

  32. Geomannie,

    I am desperate to do so. I am speaking in Dundee on August 29 at the Steps theatre, but I don’t have any other invites!

  33. This might be of interest Craig. I know you were the rector.
    http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/scottish-students-say-yes-to-boycotting-israel-12032

    This decision is puzzling. What is it in the Education Act 1994 I wonder. It doesn’t say.

    ‘In Dundee, the response from the DUSA executive has been that it couldn’t implement the motion in its entirety, citing restrictions imposed by the UK Education Act of 1994. The association’s response did not explain why it felt restrained by that law.’

  34. Yes. Sadly DUSA is no longer run by the students. It has a board of trustees or something similar which tells the students what they can and can’t do, and which is ultra right wing (controlled by the Labour Party like the rest of the University’s governing bodies). Went through the same thing six years ago when a referendum agreed to boycott Eden Springs, and the trustees came out with same bollocks that it was illegal.

    All part of the fundamental change to the University sector brought about by New Labour and continued by the Tories. The see themselves as corporations now.

  35. Thanks for that. Terrible state of affairs.

  36. Alarmed readers in England may be interested in this group

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Health_Action_Party

    http://nhap.org/

  37. Hang out in any health forum and you’ll find posters from American saying they don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to see a doctor. Sad to see and it makes me appreciate the socialised health care system we have here. The one they’re dismantling.

  38. BrianFujisan

    10 May, 2014 - 2:09 am

    Craig, Mary, Ba’al

    Re VNB, and M.Offord…

    i went into the Inverclyde registry Office the other day to enquire about Offord’s Birth Cert….

    They Do indeed have a record of A Mr Malcolm Ian Offord DOB 1964 in their records… and for daylight robbery of £15 i can obtain a copy for ya Craig…if you still want it…

    Re the above Podcast ..Pleasant listening to that…. Regards a Maritime issue… And a teeny bit ot, but J.R’s Supper Yacht ( Hampshire ll ) left Greenock on Monday .. last i saw it was passing Gourock about 6;30… but just over 2 hours Later… it was Nowhere to be seen in uk waters ( according to – marinetraffic.com )… i searched all over the joint Zilch…Daft Question But – Can they Buy themselves Off the Radar… :(

  39. Fascinating that people talk about Darling’s passion.

    What utter horseshit.

    Look into the vacuum of the cunts eyes.He’s not had an original thought since he smoked his first joint in Stockbrisge,Edinburgh in the 1980’s and decided his career would be better served on the First Tuesday of every month at Edinburgh’s main lodge on George Street.

    Please,look into his eyes.There aint nothing there but a servile toady MK-Ultra droid.

    Am i wrong Brother Ally?

    Bitter Together indeed.

  40. Craig,

    If u need crash space in Glasgow whilst up north in August don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    You’d be most welcome in a chilled flat,with your own crash space, of like-minded souls. ;.)

  41. Brian Fujisan, Sites like marinetraffic.com get their information through shore and satellite stations that monitor the collision avoidance system AIS, which is compulsory on vessels over 300 GRT.
    There are many gaps in the coverage of these monitoring stations as the system is ship to ship and the vessel tracking is a supplementary use.
    What is interesting to me though, is that another super yacht, Solandge, that came into Cammell Lairds a few months ago also seemed to only switch on it’s AIS when close to the Mersey shipping channel and promptly switched it off again when she left.
    It looks like they are placing secrecy above Maritime Regulations and operating with a clear disregard for the safety of other ships. The IMO need to crack down on these pirates.

  42. Where I have been working this week the senior electrician submitted a quote of 75 thousand pounds for approval to his manager for some electrical work and the manager doubled it to 135 thousand.

    That seems to be the logic of post-Thatcher managers. The concept of human viability does not seem to enter their minute brains.

  43. She is quite correct and we are seeing privatisation in England. However the problems with any model are an ageing population, the ability to treat more health problems with more and more advanced methods, the tendency for people to demand medical solutions without taking more responsibility for their own health and trying to prevent disease. One of the biggest and growing health risks is diabetes which is not helped by obesity.

  44. Logically the ageing population must have remained healthy in order to age. There may be less interest in caring for them inside their families, but the need for care would not increase just because the population reached older age. They were going to need care anyway at a younger age, and their healthy years are irrelevant.

    Similarly, those who talk about food supply shortages in the UK turn out to be the ones who want to export our food.

    This country is saturated with media spun lies. I am more concerned about intellectual dishonesty than by meanness. The message is: if you ignore the lies, you will get a good job and pay your own way. You will not get a good job anywhere if you subtely question the integrity of your spiritual/social/work managers.

    We are building ourselves up for a defeat on the scale of the first Afghan War described in Craig’s book if we promote Thatcherian dishonesty, and refuse to listen to the warnings of the recession about lying to ourselves.

  45. Thanks Brian for looking.

    You referred to ‘JR’. Not the one from Dallas. The one from Ineos.

    This is the yacht. Not a 12ft dinghy. This one – http://www.superyachts.com/motor-yacht-9003/hampshire-ii.htm

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/grangemouth-crisis-billionaire-ineos-boss-2474762

    There is Hampshire 1 which he also owns.
    http://www.superyachts.com/motor-yacht-2809/hampshire.htm

    Wonder what his position is on Scottish independence.

  46. Geoffrey
    9 May, 2014 – 6:58 pm

    “If you succeed and gain independence, with promises of free university tuition and national health etc,and assuming you retain EU membership. The first thing you’ll have to do is ban the English from settling(but you won’t be able to) otherwise you’ll end up with all her old and ill and unproductive citizens,demanding free heath care,and education.”

    “This will drive up government expenditure,and taxes,your young will leave,and then it won’t be long before you have your very own SKIP with 50% in the opinion polls!”

    “Then what will you do?”

    Not true Geoffrey.

    Your entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of your residence in the UK.

    People from the EU cannot simply come to the UK for free treatment. There are strict rules on those from other countries claiming free healthcare.

    The same would be true in an independent Scotland even within the EU.

    You can only get free NHS hospital treatment if you are lawfully entitled to be in the UK and usually live here.

    Also if you have come to the UK to work, either as an employee or self-employed person. In England and Wales, if you are employed, your employer’s main place of business must be in the UK or be registered in the UK.

    In Scotland it is different:

    In Scotland you can receive free healthcare if you normally work in the UK but are temporarily working abroad. You must have lived in the UK continuously for at least ten years and taken home leave in the UK at least once every two years. However, if you are studying abroad you may not be entitled to free NHS treatment.

    And there are other restrictions in Scotland.

  47. In all honesty, I must say that this is a powerful argument for the ‘Yes’ campaign. I wonder, though, whether Milliband couldn’t decide to reverse the break-up of the NHS. It would be a good way of forging a clear identity different from his brother and the New Labour of the past generation.

  48. I reckon the SNP have already got all the hope vote, mainly comprising young people who’ll vote for whoever offers them a lollipop, plus a swathe of not-so-bright careerists laden with especially big chips on their shoulders and who can’t have managed very well getting out of their teenage years because they’re still imagining a shiny Camelot future.

    What? Camelot? In present economic conditions? Are you joking? Here’s the truth: things are going to be shit whatever the referendum result is. That’s S-H-I-T. Just, if you want national bankruptcy sooner rather than later, vote YES.

    What worries me is that scumbags on the international derivatives markets might talk UP Scottish independence so as to bring the economy crashing DOWN soon after the vote. Anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at George Soros and Russia. Of course, there’s nothing they’d like more than a hopeless ‘poond’ that they could all speculate against – borrowing the worthless crap in order to sell it – but that ain’t going to come into existence. Right? Right?

    The YESniks like congratulating each other, but the reality is that even if Better Together look like the shower of unattractive zombie idiots that they are, the front position in the polls doesn’t exactly seem to be rushing into the SNP’s hands. When they go home at night they’re starting to wonder whether they actually will gain many percent in the polls from waving the saltire ad nauseam at the Commonwealth Games.

    I mean, what are they going to say? “A Scottish athlete ran round in circles faster than everyone else. This shows that the new epoch of national pride has begun, if only we all do the right thing in September”? Most people will think ‘get a life’.

    The Games PR is appallingly badly run – there’s no doubt about that! Just look at the Red Road fiasco – completely out of touch But much of the mediascape will be focused on Glasgow during that time. For any East Coasters reading this, that’s a big city in the West, the biggest city in the country. Ruled by Labour. The one you’d like to see vanish except for a few art galleries and wine bars, the Merchant City and half of the Byres Road. And don’t deny it. How much disgust was there in Morningside at the idea of blowing up Red Road for entertainment, without so much as a thought of what’s happening in the lives of the people who lived there and whether they’re worse off or better off?

    Yes, the Edinburgh “you’ll have had your tea” brigade are going to hate the Games! Glasgow, Glasgow, Glasgow, until it makes them want to vomit!

    Nor is it going to sell well in Glasgow, telling people that YES isn’t mainly about Alex Salmond. Yawn! So what is it about, then? (Affects a dreamy look: “it’s about the future“. “Oh yeah? What fucking future??”).

    Then there’s the other line: “voting Labour is the same as voting for the Tories“, whereas the SNP and independence are totally different. How’s that crap going to play in Glasgow? All those Labour voters are just a lot of idiots who embraced Toryism in Labour clothing without knowing it, are they? That’s rather than the real left-wing radicalism, coming straight down from Red Clydeside, step forward the SNP! That’s not going to kid many people, is it?

    In 2010, nearly 80% of voters in Scotland supported Unionist parties in the UK general election. (I can’t bring myself to say “Westminster”, which is just a polite word for “FEB”.) And nearly twice as much of the non-Tory vote went to Labour and the LibDems rather than the SNP.

    On the big issues, the SNP don’t do very well. They’re a one-issue bunch of creeps and all talk otherwise is camouflage and misdirection.

    It just isn’t going to convince anyone, telling them that a NO vote is a vote for the Tories, when it patently isn’t.

    I understand that the SNP are trying to make inroads into a part of the fear vote. That doesn’t mean they’ll be successful, though. Dunno what their doorstep intelligence is telling them.

  49. Doug,so if they were “settling” they would be entitled,wouldn’t they?
    Perhaps they are crossing their fingers making their preparations already?.

  50. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    10 May, 2014 - 7:11 pm

    Scorgie

    “Geoffrey
    9 May, 2014 – 6:58 pm

    “If you succeed and gain independence, with promises of free university tuition and national health etc,and assuming you retain EU membership. The first thing you’ll have to do is ban the English from settling(but you won’t be able to) otherwise you’ll end up with all her old and ill and unproductive citizens,demanding free heath care,and education.”

    “This will drive up government expenditure,and taxes,your young will leave,and then it won’t be long before you have your very own SKIP with 50% in the opinion polls!”

    “Then what will you do?”

    Not true Geoffrey. Etc, etc, etc….”
    _________________

    Wrong again – or misleading again at best – Mr Scorgie.

    Geoffrey said “settling” – not just popping up to Scotland for free treatment.

    Nothing to stop Londoners (for example) selling their very expensive houses and moving up to Scotland, where they could buy a cheaper house and have oodles of cash left over. And once settled, they are fully entitled, under EU legislation, to healthcare, etc in Scotland. All they need to have would be a record of having previously paid into the UK social security system. Same as a Frenchman moving to London.

    You should read posts properly and dispose of the facts before responding.

  51. Doug – I don’t think you have answered Geoffrey’s question properly.

    Do you mean that elderly and sick people who move from England to Scotland (many of whom may view themselves as Scottish or at least have some convincing link with Scotland) won’t be entitled to benefit from the free health treatment which is being posited as unavailable south of the border, at least not until they have lived in Scotland (not the UK) for 10 years?

    Might as well say it, if that’s what you mean.

  52. Please can we not assume that an independent Scotland would be a member of the EU. It might be, sure. Then again, it might not be.

  53. I think Craig is probably right that Scotland will be able to stay within the EU,as he says who is going to throw it out?
    However,I cannot imagine an English government allowing a Scottish government to run up an enormous deficit and still use the £.
    Little England will have enough difficulty itself in retaining confidence in the £ without Scotland providing free scips,healthcare and education for an enormous influx of unproductive immigrants.

  54. You can’t be thrown out if you aren’t in.

    Craig’s argument was unconvincing. He talked about Scotland being ‘expelled’ (an argument from a misleading word choice) and he appealed to the authority of professional diplomats (another fallacy). In fact, if Frankfurt – I mean ‘Berlin’ – says no, then no it will be.

    Nobody will be taking the EU Commission to court arguing that they’ll have to let an independent Scotland in. No court would have the jurisdiction to decide!

    Arguing that the EU has no right to decide on Scottish membership because Scotland is ‘entitled’ to membership, and therefore the EU Commission was acting ‘unlawfully’ by denying Scotland membership, would just be ridiculous. There’s no court in which that argument could be heard. Of course the EU has the right to decide on the matter.

    An independent Scotland would have to apply to join, and their application would be considered and might be rejected. If it’s rejected, there would be no appeal.

    In any case, if the EU were to accept Scottish membership from independence day on, there would be conditions.

    What would they be? I don’t know.

    If there were any intelligent discussion in the media, that’s the question it would focus on.

    But of course the SNP government is playing to an audience of morons, who think it’s all going to be sorted out by banging the table and talking about Scotland’s ‘rights’. It isn’t.

    The line about Scotland having a ‘right’ to ‘stay in’ is crap.

    However,I cannot imagine an English government allowing a Scottish government to run up an enormous deficit and still use the £.

    They couldn’t stop Scotland using the pound, however big a deficit they run up. The Scottish government wouldn’t be printing the pounds; it would be borrowing them from abroad. As long as the economy stayed afloat, that would put the price of the pound UP, not DOWN. More demand -> higher price.

    That, though, would only be a short period of time until…CRASH!

    Little England will have enough difficulty itself in retaining confidence in the £ without Scotland providing free scips,healthcare and education for an enormous influx of unproductive immigrants.

    You’re not taking on board the fact that a Scottish government that used the pound outside of a monetary union would have no control over monetary policy.

    The financial hit on rump UK would come when Scotland went bankrupt. At that time, the British government would probably be expected by international money markets to bail it out. Doing so would damage Britain’s own credit rating as well as Scotland’s.

    And the catch is…exactly the same would be true if Britain doesn’t bail Scotland out!

    Scotland is already being compared to Iceland. (See here and here. Yes, those articles are in the Guardian and Telegraph (boo as loudly as you can, kids, the English want to take your ice cream!), but the statement is being made by Standard and Poor’s.

    Still support independence?

  55. Who needs a doctor anyway? Just ask your smartphone.
    http://home.bt.com/techgadgets/technews/your-smartphone-could-now-be-your-doctor-11363900216633

    Dr Ali Parsa, the inventor of the app, founded Circle Health. They took over Hinchingbrooke Hospital from the NHS.

    http://www.hsj.co.uk/hsj-local/local-briefing/analysed-one-year-of-circle-at-hinchingbrooke/5055018.article

    Mark Simmonds MP and now a junior foreign office minister took £12,500 per quarter from Circle Health as an adviser without declaring his interest in health debates in the HoC. Finally, after complaints were made to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, he made a short apology of sorts.

    MP apologises for failing to mention interest in health firm
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17104463

    Cheap at half the price.

    Boston’s MP Mark Simmonds claimed £173,436.96 in expenses last year, according to the latest figures released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

    The figures also show that Mr Simmonds employs his wife Lizbeth as an office manager on £20-25k a year.

    The junior foreign officer minister is the most expensive MP in the county and his claims include £13,005.38 office costs, £5,910.00 staffing expenses and £137,426.92 on payroll
    http://www.bostonstandard.co.uk/news/local/boston-mp-mark-simmonds-claims-173k-in-expenses-1-5489229

  56. Should be nice to have the man sitting in the corner with the clipboard listening in. Yet another attack on our right to privacy from the fascists in power.

    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/regulation/cqc/cqc-plans-for-inspectors-to-sit-in-on-gp-patient-consultations/20006601.article

  57. The point about all the English people selling their houses and moving up to Scotland for free healthcare. Err – they could already do that. They could already have been doing that for the last ten years. Just like they could sell their houses and go live in Sweden for much better healthcare, too. Absolutely nothing stopping them. But they don’t do that, do they? People prefer to stay where they are for all kinds of social reasons, and the elderly and infirm are in fact the least migratory group (with the exception of those elderly emigrating to reunite with children working abroad).

    I should say that the idea that all those English students would come to Scotland for education would be absolutely great. An enormous boost to the Scottish economy both short and long term which would vastly outweigh the direct costs of giving the education.

  58. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    11 May, 2014 - 10:16 am

    Craig

    “The point about all the English people selling their houses and moving up to Scotland for free healthcare. Err – they could already do that. They could already have been doing that for the last ten years.”
    ______________

    They could indeed. But the point the commenter was making was about possible developments in a future characterised by the “privatisation” of the NHS in England (and therefore more expensive healthcare in England) and the provision of “free” healthcare coverage in an independent Scotland.

    As for your comment about people not havong moved to Sweden, you are correct, but you disregard the fact that a move from England to Scotland would be a lot easier from let’s say a psychological point of view – eg, same language, closely related cultures, etc.

  59. and the elderly and infirm are in fact the least migratory group (with the exception of those elderly emigrating to reunite with children working abroad).

    That exception is quite a big group. The English are the biggest non-Scottish national group in Scotland, and most are of working age.

    There are also Scots, or the spouses of Scots, who have lived in England for decades and who might move north in their old age. I’ll tell you, if they don’t get treated well by a Scottish government which is ostentatiously welcoming hordes of English students, they are going to be well pissed off.

    (This is all based on a shaky premise anyway, because health provision in Scotland won’t differ much according to what the referendum result is. Not even if the SNP say otherwise. A far more important issue is whether Scottish citizens, who may find that they are not EU citizens, would be entitled to much health treatment south of the border. Anybody in Scotland who wants to be sure of staying an EU citizen should vote “No”, and the same is true a fortiori for anyone who wants to be sure of staying a UK citizen, which of course means they automatically stay an EU citizen. If you don’t want to be British, vote “Yes”. Why can’t the SNP say that? Proper independence movements say exactly that. Venetian secessionists don’t want to stay Italian. Shetland secessionists don’t want to ‘stay’ Scottish. Why don’t the SNP say it? Because otherwise they wouldn’t get any support outside of their core.)

  60. Why doesn’t the SNP address the currency question in the way that a proper independence movement would?

    If they did that, they’d promise to introduce a Scottish currency. They might also say that they would then endeavour to enter a monetary union, either with rUK or the eurozone.

    Anybody in an ‘independent’ country, and any diplomat anywhere, could tell you that negotiations would be needed and the target might not be achieved. OK, fine – so Scotland would be left with its own currency. That would be no problem for an ‘independent’ country, right?

    Wrong. The reason the SNP doesn’t say any of that is they known damn well that nobody would want to buy the Scottish currency and it would fall through the floor. That’s why a ‘poond’ is out of the question.

    (But every cloud has a silver lining. In saying they don’t want a ‘poond’, they can engage in their favourite xenophobic activity of blaming the English for not letting them have some seats on the board of the Bank of England, which is what a monetary union between an independent rUK and an independent Scotland would mean. The gall of these guys!)

    SNP types always say things like “let’s be like Denmark and Norway”.

    Notice that those two countries are conveniently in NATO, unlike Sweden, Switzerland, or the obvious choice, Ireland, which countries they never cite as comparisons. I wonder how many SNP voters or members or activists are even aware that Denmark and Norway both have their own currencies? (As do Sweden and Switzerland.)

    Most of the punters in Scotland probably think Scotland already has its own currency, because they see “Scotland” written on the banknotes.

    Quite a few people buy the line that “it’s Scotland’s pound too” and that therefore an independent Scotland would have a “right” to demand a monetary union with rUK, just as it would supposedly have a “right” to belong to the EU.

    How about actually seeking to address these matters independently?

    I.e. not like a jumped-up local council?

    Here’s what addressing them independently would look like:

    1) “if we’re not accepted into the EU, we’ll thrive outside of it, thanks”

    2) “if no other country wishes to enter into a currency union with us, we’ll thrive using our own currency, thanks”

    What’s the problem?

  61. Come on, has a single leading figure in the SNP got the guts to say

    “if we’re not accepted into the EU, we’ll thrive outside of it, thanks”

    and

    “if no other country wishes to enter into a currency union with us, we’ll thrive using our own currency, thanks”

    ?

  62. 13,600 viewings of Miss Whitford’s video so far.

    ~~~

    I wish Suhayl was still around to comment on the NHS in Scotland as he works within it. I know he got fed up with the multiple pages of bickering here some time back but be assured Suhayl if you are seeing this, that new moderators have improved things greatly.

  63. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    11 May, 2014 - 4:57 pm

    Margaret

    Thank you for those three posts; you have hit a couple of nails well on the head.

  64. Brian Fujisan and Myself on 10th May,

    Re JR’s yacht we are wrong about her AIS being switched off. Although she does not appear on marinetraffic.com she shows a trail on shipais.com from Greenock to Oban where she is anchored and from where she did a run up to Fort William and back yesterday. His other yacht is also on the West Coast and moved up from Oban to Skye/Wester Ross a few days ago, where she looks like she’s anchored.

    If you search for Hampshire 2 on marinetraffic.com they say they have later satellite positions, which probably means signing in or even paying a fee.

  65. yes I would like to see Suhayl posting again, he must have lost to say about this. Today some 100 GP practises have come together in Norfolk and Suffolk, as a counterbalance to private companies bidding for contracts that can be done inhouse.
    http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/more_than_100_gps_across_norfolk_and_waveney_join_forces_to_create_new_federation_1_3594676

    A friend was on holiday in Salford and talked to a chap at the Laury museum, a fairly well off Scotsman by the looks of it. He was adament that should Independence ensue, that he would move back to Scotland lock stock and barrel. he also mentioned a lesser know connection opf the Independence movement with Canadian financial backers….

    anybody heard of this or know what this is all about?

  66. Margaret, the SNP exists to deliver Independence via a referendum. People will vote Yes who have never voted for the SNP in their lives. After a Yes vote all these questions that you have can be debated in Scotland by parties who will seek the mandate of similar minded people to enter parliament and steer the country where the people desire.
    Have the courage to grasp the freedom to enable us to make these decisions for ourselves.

  67. Scotland is an essential part of the EU, it is trading with the EU in a reciprocal manner. That its people speak out for Independence, such as the Catalonians and Basque’s, an internal change of self determination which is not agaionst EU rules, should not make any difference, whatever the biased civil service in Westminster comes up with.

    Scotland will have to pay its fair due and sit at the table, participate and I feel that it would not be worse off within the Eurocurrency. The only stoics in this saga are raised by those establishment figures who will have to make changes to work within or who’s vested interest lie a little too close to the City of London.

    I don’t think that Scotland would be allowed to change the EU Commissioner, selected previously whilst within the UK alliance, until that position is due to be renewed. Its an unelected person anyway and such is the disgust with an unaccountable EU that this manko will hopefully rectified in future.

    The EU is imperfect and needs Europeans to set it on to a sustainable and accountable path. An EU without Scotland would be like cone without the silver sprinkles.

  68. These are supposed to be arguments for independence?

    After a Yes vote all these questions that you have can be debated in Scotland by parties who will seek the mandate of similar minded people to enter parliament and steer the country where the people desire.

    Why don’t you want to debate now what the ‘independence’ proposed by the SNP actually consists of?

    Why should we vote “Yes” and then wait and see?

    The SNP currently forms the Scottish Government. It is supposed to lead the country on many issues. If the vote goes “yes”, we can expect them to lead us towards independence day, right? Especially since ‘independence day’ will be before the next Scottish general election.

    Let me spell this out: if you vote “Yes”, you are voting for the SNP government to lead Scotland towards the implementation of full independence in 2016 and for at least a short time afterwards.

    Don’t you realise that in the event of a “Yes” vote, some very important decisions will be taken during that time, decisions which won’t be put to a popular vote?

    Why should we buy a pig in a poke?

    They are treating us all as if we are idiots.

    For example, they haven’t even said there’ll be a constitutional convention after a “Yes” result. Why not?

    Do their supporters even know what a constitutional convention is? Or do they just think in terms of national pride?

    You are intelligent enough to post to this blog. Surely you are intelligent enough to address the very serious point that an independent country should, if it’s not allowed to join a union of states, and if it can’t find any partners with which to form a currency union, be able to print its own currency and thrive, er, independently?

    Because ‘independence’ ain’t worth zilch if that’s not the case.

    That’s what ‘independence’ means.

    Don’t you want your leaders to be able to lead even if they don’t get what they want in the international arena?

    Or do you want to go on blaming the English forever?

    Blaming the English forever isn’t very ‘independent’, is it?

    These issues can’t sensibly be addressed in terms of blaming “Westminster” or chanting that Scotland’s already in the EU – or all that other specious rubbish.

    Take it down to basics and ‘Scottish independence’ as proposed by the SNP crumbles into dust.

    Have the courage to grasp the freedom to enable us to make these decisions for ourselves.

    You what? Far more people in Scotland vote in UK general elections than in Scottish ones. Those who vote in the former but not the latter are cowards in your book? You think it’s brave to put an ‘X’ on a bit of paper?

    Tell the SNP leadership to have the “courage”, not me. Tell them to say very clearly that if Scotland is not accepted as an EU member or a member of a currency union, then the country will thrive with its own currency.

    Those are circumstances which a government of an independent Scotland may very well have to face.

    Will they be up to it?

    Or will they be saying they don’t want to be ‘independent’ any more if they can’t get what they want when they actually are ‘independent’?

    The problem with that is that rUK probably wouldn’t have them back. Oh dear!

    Do you really think the SNP are being unselfish on these issues, because they want to leave them up to the people to decide?

    Then it’s bloody funny that they do manage to say that an independent Scotland will be in NATO and have a monarchy then, isn’t it?

    Have the courage not to believe in the Camelot you’re being sold by self-serving creeps.

    Scotland is an essential part of the EU, it is trading with the EU in a reciprocal manner. That its people speak out for Independence, such as the Catalonians and Basque’s, an internal change of self determination which is not agaionst EU rules, should not make any difference, whatever the biased civil service in Westminster comes up with.

    Just look at your premise: “Scotland is an essential part of the EU“. No it’s not, any more than Perth is. The EU is a union of member states, and Scotland isn’t one of those member states. (Those are facts, not opinions). And most people in Scotland say they’re not going to vote for independence. I have no idea what an “internal change of self-determination” means, unless you’re saying that a single member state can split into two and both then have the right to be EU members, or that the government of a territory that secedes from the territory of a member state has the right to be a member. (Contrary to myth, Britain is not actually a union in the technical sense, but I digress.) There’s no EU rule that says anything like that. You’re kidding yourself.

    Do you think there’s a court that an independent Scotland could go to, arguing that Scotland has an automatic right to EU membership, without any negotiations as to conditions? If so, what court would that be?

    Opposition by one EU member-state would be sufficient to stop Scottish EU membership. I can’t see Berlin (or should I say “Mitte“? :-) agreeing to membership, can you? Whether or not to accept Scotland will be a political decision taken by the other member states, and if there is no unanimity then the status quo will prevail.

    If you want independence, start seeing rUK as one foreign country among many.

    And anyway, if you want independence, then surely you think Scotland can thrive outside the EU anyway? Otherwise, logically speaking you should resolve the issue with the EU first. Then, if it goes against you (which it would), stop saying you want independence.

    I’d have much more respect for the SNP if it took that approach. I’d also have more respect for it if it said Scotland will thrive whether or not it’s accepted as a member of the EU and whether or not it successfully negotiates a currency union with rUK.

    To take either of those routes would be to give leadership.

    As for the “biased civil service in Westminster”, that’s such typical Scotnat verbiage. All it means is “We blame the English”. Please try to grow up if you want to be ‘independent’. I suppose Whitehall is located in “Westminster”, but for everyone except Scottish nationalists trying their best to pronounce ‘Fucking English Bastards’ in a superficially palatable way (I’m thinking of Dr Strangelove for some reason!) that political metonym usually denotes the British legislature (and maybe sometimes the Abbey across the road), not the administration.

  69. “Whether or not to accept Scotland will be a political decision taken by the other member states”

    Oops! I meant to type:

    “Whether or not to accept Scotland will be a political decision taken by all the member states”

  70. @Nevermind – “he also mentioned a lesser know connection opf the Independence movement with Canadian financial backers….anybody heard of this or know what this is all about?

    No, but I’d be very interested to know more.

    Can we draw up a list of billionaires who are on record as backing Scottish independence?

    The only ones I know of so far are

    Jim McColl
    Jim Ratcliffe
    Willie Walsh
    Mohamed al-Fayed

    Does anyone know of any more?

    I’m not sure that any of them have significant Canadian connections.

    See also Malcolm’s point (7:03) about the possibility that markets may build the chances of an independent Scotland up and then go hell for leather to short it. At the moment that doesn’t seem to be happening (George Soros isn’t positioning himself that way at all), but things could change.

  71. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    11 May, 2014 - 8:16 pm

    Sounds familiar…(Anyone noted attempts at voter intimidation for Scots/Ref? How about the Ukraine?)

    http://historyatstate.tumblr.com/post/66776985822/germanelections

    ” The victory marked the bitter end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Adolf Hitler’s uncontested reign over Germany. The absolute triumph of the Nazi Party resulted from the simple fact that all other parties were outlawed, and voter intimidation was widespread. The U.S. Ambassador to Germany, William Edward Dodd (1933–37), reported that even “in the concentration camp at Dachau 2,231 inmates voted for the Government (Hitler), while only 9 cast invalid ballots and 3 voted against the Government.” (November 15, 1933; Berlin 263) Regardless of the election’s inevitable outcome, the Enabling Act, passed earlier that year, granted Chancellor Hitler the power to enact laws without submission to or ratification by the Reichstag.”

  72. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    11 May, 2014 - 9:07 pm

    They keep calling them ‘insurgents’. Words are important.

    http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/content/ukraine-regions-hold-sovereignty-vote

  73. Sorry Margaret and N_ but your No position sounds scared of change, you don’t seem to grasp that leaving a diminishing unsustainable past means an opportune future. Scotland has more than one option to choose as an Independent state and the scaremongering from Westminster is coming through loud and clear.

    Scotland, if it scrutinises its political eminences closely, has a future in Europe and the world.

  74. N. As Ratcliffe has Ineos registered in Switzerland for tax purposes, I shouldn’t think his view on Scottish independence has any relevance or validity.

  75. Sorry Margaret and N_ but your No position sounds scared of change,

    That’s about the only ‘argument’ the YeSNP has got. And it’s no argument. All elections and referenda are about Better-the-Devil-You-Know versus Time-For-A-Change. Ask anybody who’s involved in political PR.

    you don’t seem to grasp that leaving a diminishing unsustainable past means an opportune future.

    That’s verbiage.

    Here are two extremely concrete things.

    1) The Scottish Government has NOT promised to retain the protection of bank accounts which is currently provided in the UK by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

    Under the terms of that scheme, the UK government promises to protect the first £85000 in each of your bank accounts in the event that a bank collapses or otherwise can’t pay you your money back.

    (If you look in the Scottish government’s white paper, you will just find circumlocution and misdirection on the issue. The point here is that they do not promise, regardless of what anyone else does, e.g. rUK or EU, that the protection will continue. The UK government does.)

    I would really like to hear you respond to that point in a non-starry-eyed way. If you still support independence, perhaps you could say that yes, that does represent one of the very real risks of independence, but it’s overweighed by other concrete considerations.

    But no…I suspect you will say I’m just scared of stuff because I’ve been misled by “Westminster”.

    2) One of the Big Three ratings agencies, Standard and Poor’s (in fact it’s one of the Big Two, although people usually don’t look at the Bank of International Settlements, which also does ratings) has warned that the economy of an independent Scotland would be very similar to that of Iceland before the Icelandic financial system collapsed.

    So do you really think there is good reason for the Pollyanna-like attitude which says oh no, that won’t happen in an independent Scotland because Scotland is so great (and ‘sustainable’) and if Scotland can’t do something then the only reason is that England (sorry, ‘Westminster’) is holding it back?

    Would you go so far as to suggest that ‘Westminster’ (often a very ill-chosen term) has put Standard and Poor’s up to it?

    I think that would be a very silly suggestion, because you must realise that credit ratings agencies, makers and breakers of reputations, live by the value that people put on their own reputations.

    Scotland, if it scrutinises its political eminences closely, has a future in Europe and the world.

    Abstract and largely meaningless.

    Is there some reason you object to discussing concrete matters and the issue of whether they substantiate certain specific fears?

  76. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 8:27 am

    What? Camelot? In present economic conditions? Are you joking? Here’s the truth: things are going to be shit whatever the referendum result is. That’s S-H-I-T. Just, if you want national bankruptcy sooner rather than later, vote YES.

    I refer the pottymouthed gentleman to the case of a small country which admitted it was bankrupt (effectively) WHEN it went bankrupt:

    Whereas billions of public money was pumped into the banking system in Ireland so that financial institutions could pay back their creditors, Icelanders voted against this route in two separate referenda. They couldn’t see why they should pay for the greed of foreign investors who followed the Siren song of high interest rates to the island nation.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/financial-recovery-of-iceland-a-case-worth-studying-a-942387.html

    Much is made of the currency issue, notably by Margaret. Worth noting in this context that the currency – the sole currency – of the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos is….the US dollar. Now that would really piss Westminster off, wouldn’t it?

  77. Ratcliffe’s ‘view’ has relevance insofar as there is money behind it. The story of Ineos, formerly part of BP, is one of many where huge assets in Britain ended up in the hands of foreign-registered companies with the involvement of mysterious private equity firms or cocky billionaires or both.

    Some examples:

    Heathrow Airport (Spain)…

    Felixstowe port facilities (Hong Kong)…

    Clydesdale Bank (Australia)…

    Scottish Power (Spain) (even if the company name might make ‘Nevermind’ proud)…

    Santander (Spain)…

    (I can’t resist riffing on Santander. How long is that company going to last? For a few years after Lehmans, the chattering classes talked very ‘expertly’ about ‘subprime’, meaning the ‘proles’, whereas in the US, they often meant the ‘poor blacks’. Nowadays, because their superiors in the opinion chain haven’t given them the OK, they don’t notice that subprime lending by banks such as Santander has gone through the roof. They think its passé to talk about ‘subprime’ now. They’re too busy raising their glasses to high house prices.

    But for anyone who can notice stuff and think about it for themselves, the continuing explosion in subprime lending is a fact that screams out at you as you walk down any British high street.

    It’s obvious that the next crash will dwarf Lehmans.)

    With regard to Ineos, I’m not sure how many assets of any value it still retains in Scotland, now that it’s written down the value of Grangemouth to zero (from £400 million, wasn’t it?), but I assume Ratcliffe didn’t get where he was by helping political campaigns for free.

  78. @Ba’al – If you want an example of a bigger country that uses the US dollars as its sole currency, rather than tiny places with populations of less than 50,000, try Ecuador, population 15 million.

    Oh, wait a minute, SNP types won’t want to compare that country to Scotland because it isn’t in NATO.

  79. @Ba’al – Did you read to the end of that Der Spiegel article? :-) The shtick from the Icelandic comedian?

    The line that Iceland has recovered is puff.

    Some pieces putting the opposite view: here and here.

    Financial interests did it once…they’re going to do it again…and I don’t mean just in Iceland.

  80. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Oh, wait a minute, SNP types won’t want to compare that country to Scotland because it isn’t in NATO.

    There are all sorts of reasons no-one in their right mind would compare Venezuela to Scotland, IMO. But the BVA and Turks and Caicos are (occasionally) self-governing British possessions and are comparable in that respect.

    It’s not the quantity. It’s the quality. And the hedge funds, naturally.

  81. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 9:26 am

    The line that Iceland has recovered is puff.

    I’m aware that there are two views on this. Nevertheless, the Icelandic government’s position is that it accepts no responsibility for the losses of corporate speculators, and this is one with which I would hope you would agree. Time will tell. Meanwhile, the prospects of our own equity and hedge-fund swine are rosy, as long as the bubble can be pumped up –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27062239

    Best way of disguising structural inflation so far invented…

  82. @Ba’al – Yep, I do agree, and was a strong supporter of letting Lloyds TSB and RBS go bust in the UK.

    I got the point about the Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands being in the British sphere, but they aren’t independent and they have populations of less than 50,000. Only two countries with populations in the millions use the US dollar as their only currency: Ecuador and Panama.

  83. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 10:22 am

    N_ – I was only being provocative re. the dollar, in any case. Serious underlying point: an independent Scotland is free to put the denomination of choice on its bills. And hopefully it will be more careful about who it allows to invent its money than UKplc?

    Anyway…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/9965215/Time-bomb-to-the-next-crash-is-ticking-as-debt-sales-surge.html

  84. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 12:20 pm

    Meanwhile, chilling out before his (rumoured – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/08/hugh-muir-diary-strongman-of-kazakhstan-tony-blair ) next diplomatic triumph in Kazakhstan –

    http://www.newsdeskmedia.com/publications/categories/international-relations/2014/astana-economic-forum-2014

    Tony’s putting on his jammies and slipping into bed with some distinctly rich people –

    http://gulfnews.com/business/markets/hedge-fund-faithful-and-tony-blair-head-to-vegas-1.1331146

    Makes a change from Wendi Deng, I suppose.

  85. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 12:30 pm

    (Actually, he’s probably already there. G-CEYL departed Farnborough on the 8th.)

  86. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    On the 6th, he seems to have been here –
    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/government/2014/May/government_May12.xml&section=government
    He’s described as a ‘thought leader’. Eat your heart out, Einstein.

  87. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    April 27th-30th saw the Milken conference, at the Beverly Hilton, LA. Hardcore finance is what it’s about. And talking to very rich people. Guess who was there.

    http://bhcourier.com/beverly-hills-news-matt-damon-charlize-theron-tony-blair-share-wisdom-milken-conference-beverly-hills/2014/05/01

  88. Someone mentioned conditions for EU membership. Here’s one: all EU member states are obliged to guarantee the first £85,000 (€100,000) in each personal bank account.

    The government of an independent Scotland would have to sort this out (to the satisfaction of the ratings agencies), otherwise they wouldn’t be allowed in to the EU. And you can’t leave it until after you join: the protection must be there from the moment you join.

    Which sounds like a tall order, given that nobody seriously thinks the Scottish economy would be strong enough to support its own currency. So no-one’s talking about converting €100K into poonds here.

    It’s all right to say the stay-at-home Scottish politicians who haven’t made it to London (in the case of most SNP MSPs, the statistics show they wouldn’t get elected to Westminster if they stood – talk about sour grapes!), and that the Scottish people are competent and proud and capable of chucking telegraph poles long distances, and a Scot’s as good as a Sassenach or a Dane any day of the week (yes, the SNP have the mentality of middle-class football hooligans), but international finance says the Scottish financial books would be a crock.

    And, guess what, it’s international finance that decides. You don’t go places on the basis of your view of yourself.

    The newly tall-walking Scottish ministers in the run-up to Independence Day would basically have to go round with a begging bowl.

    First they’d go to the British government. After getting told “no” (what bargaining counters have they got?), they’d start whinging about their “rights”. Then they’d snivel to the Saudis or Goldman Sachs or some other possible creditor. Does anyone really fancy their chances? How many mountains can you mortgage before the price collapses?

    I hope for the sake of everyone in Scotland that the result is “no”.

    But if it is “no”, I wouldn’t like to be an English person in Scotland. What do you do? Go on holiday and come back to a burnt-down house? Or stay in town and get your car keyed the day the result comes in? Most of the “some of my best friends are English” thing is as disingenuous as it sounds.

  89. From the mouth of Standard and Poor’s:

    (T)hese arrangements would likely be unfunded, leaving the comparatively very sizeable deposit bases of the largest Scottish banks backed with an implicit guarantee by the Scottish government. We note a possible parallel here with Iceland, where in 2008 the national deposit insurance scheme could not honour claims when the country’s outsized banking system failed.

  90. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    12 May, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    “Someone mentioned conditions for EU membership. Here’s one: all EU member states are obliged to guarantee the first £85,000 (€100,000) in each personal bank account.

    The government of an independent Scotland would have to sort this out (to the satisfaction of the ratings agencies), otherwise they wouldn’t be allowed in to the EU. And you can’t leave it until after you join: the protection must be there from the moment you join.”
    ____________________

    Yes, that’s part of the “acquis communautaire” which the Scottish govt would have to accept if it wanted to rejoin to EU.

    Good post (especially the third from last para). Keep them coming, it’s good to drill facts into the cranium of the England-haters.

  91. Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    12 May, 2014 - 2:42 pm

    Potato – A crock? Please supply checkable sources. Otherwise this is no more than your opinion, and the extent of your qualifications to hold that opinion is unknown.

    This informed opinion – http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r88.pdf – is by no means overoptimistic, but highlights the real problem, and it is one which the Yes campaign has not yet addressed:

    In most probable scenarios …Scottish debt would rise as a share of national income every year, in the absence of further policy action. The fiscal pressures facing an independent Scotland would therefore be more immediately pressing than those facing the UK as a whole.

    Given this, the Scottish government should be clear now about the fiscal
    challenges that could be faced on independence. This is important for any
    government, especially those that are reliant on external creditors. However, it
    would be particularly important for a newly independent government of Scotland without an established reputation for fiscal management. Scotland would therefore be likely to reap significant rewards from putting in place fiscal rules and introducing an independent fiscal council that could reassure potential investors that the Scottish
    government was committed to prudent management of the public finances.

    Thus far, the set of policies that the current Scottish government has suggested for an independent Scotland would serve to increase public borrowing, not reduce it. An independent Scotland would have the freedom to make its own decisions about spending priorities and the appropriate design of the tax system, but it would be constrained by the necessity to deliver a significant cut in spending and/or increase in tax revenues in order to put its public finances in a sustainable long-run position.

    Note, however, Appendix B. Note also that public borrowing is still a major feature of the UK economy, and that fiscal restraint rather than increased investment in productive enterprise is still the panacea for what ails Western economies (as this approach enables the creation of imaginary wealth for the usual suspects)

    Re. Iceland, do please note that the UK’s debt crisis, which has yet to be resolved as far as the man in the street is concerned, however happy the estate agents and vampire hedge funds are becoming, has its roots in the willingness of one government to hand over regulation of the poachers to the poachers, and its successor’s willingness to allow the banks to further devalue the currency in order to recoup the losses for which they alone were responsible. We are still borrowing like sailors on shore leave, issuing bonds against a very uncertain future, and rely on exactly the same combination of Ponzi and three-card trick schemes to stay afloat which the No campaign (accidentally rightly) deplores when considering what an independent Scotland might have to do.

  92. Ba’al The thought of BLiar in pyjamas is just too much.

    I see that Sir Richard Evans late of BAE is down to attend the bash in Kazakhstan. From his Wiki page

    Meetings and business relations
    Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed Richard Evans, the former chief executive of BAE Systems, head of Samruk, a state-owned holding company that controls five Kazakh companies, on 23 October 2006.

    He was also involved in the BAE bribery scandal in BLiar’s time.

    ‘Also, the role of Sir Dick Evans, the BAE chairman at the time, in winning the Al-Yamamah arms deal should not be underestimated. It is believed by some that he managed to secure the deal by his ability to swallow sheep’s eyeballs as though they were cocktail canapes at banquets, thus impressing his Middle East clients.’ Nice.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Yamamah_arms_deal

  93. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    12 May, 2014 - 3:08 pm

    Baaa’aaal

    “Potato – A crock? Please supply checkable sources. Otherwise this is no more than your opinion, and the extent of your qualifications to hold that opinion is unknown.”
    ___________________

    Well, the first para of Potato’s post at 13h45 is correct, as I’ve already pointed out. Brush up a little on the EU and you’ll see for yourself.

    And the substance of his subsequent post is a quotation from Standard and Poors.

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

    What, by the way, is the extent of YOUR qualifications? On this and anything else for that matter? I think we should be told. :)

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

    PS – off work today?

  94. N_ Would you say that the other banks are any worse or better than Santander for excessive mortgage lending? I was thinking of opening an account where you get interest on balances and cash back on utility payments etc. :)

  95. Back to the NHS. My friend’s motor neurone disease has advanced and she can no longer walk even with a frame. A wheelchair will arrive in SIX weeks’ time. For goodness’ sake. Rise up people and get these Tories out.

    Miliband just might save some of it as he has promised but don’t bet on it.

    The coalition is cracking up, viz Gove and Laws.

    What job is Cleggover lining up for himself in the EU? He’s had it in this country. If he does get an EU job, he will be returning to home base.

    The College of Europe
    https://www.coleurope.eu/website/study/ma-european-political-and-administrative-studies

    Prominent graduates of the Department include:
    Helle THORNING-SCHMIDT, Prime Minister, Denmark
    Nicholas CLEGG, Leader of the UK Liberal Democratic Party
    Josef JOFFE, Editor and Publisher of Die Zeit, a leading German newspaper
    Alexander STUBB, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland
    Helen WALLACE, Centennial Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Per WIMMER, Owner of Wimmer Financial

  96. Perhaps we could have the tr—‘s age, gender if known, previous and current occupations, country of residence, etc etc.

    What a nerve to question others.

    PS Why all the little French phrases. Is that a relic of time in the FCO?

  97. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    12 May, 2014 - 5:32 pm

    Mary

    “What a nerve to question others”

    ________________________

    You mean like Mr Goss asking me of I was a freemason?

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

    “A wheelchair will arrive in SIX weeks’ time.”

    _____________________

    And 30 years ago, under the wonderful “our NHS” , it would have taken twice as long.

    You have a short and selective memory.

  98. If Scotland does win it’s independence,and contrary to many people’s opinions here,the evil financial markets may impose financial discipline on the Scots.
    You may well find that they will have to dramatically reduce government expenditure,ie health,social security payments,etc,etc.
    The result could be an England full of whining Scots.

  99. The tr— says: And 30 years ago, under the wonderful “our NHS” , it would have taken twice as long
    You have a short and selective memory.

    As usual completely wrong as I know from personal experience when caring for my disabled mother for ten years in the 80s. The kindly GP came to the house, sat with her and shared a cup of tea. Nurses would come in and bathe her if I was incapacitated and aids were easily available. My friend’s care is being doled by Branson’s outfit. Cost is all.

    When I fractured my wrist in 2011, pre Branson, I had a daily visit from NHS care workers for several weeks to help me wash and dress.

    Just hope that you don’t become ill or have insufficient means to pay for your healthcare. It is estimated that before a cap for state help with the cost of care comes in, a person will have had to have spent £140,000. Care homes round here are costing nearly £1,000 a week now and that does not include nursing. You know nothing and are as extremely irritating as a flea bite.

    I have a long and excellent memory, I will not be replying further.

    Planned cap on social care costs ‘will help few people’
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27363896

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