The Unanswerable Case 388


Simon Jenkins gets it with this simple and unanswerable argument.

Scots are now very significantly poorer than the Irish, the Norwegians, the Swedes, the Danes, the Icelanders or any of their obvious comparators. Every one of those nations is in the top 10 of the UN Human Development Index. The UK is not, and Scotland is below the mean for the UK. It is not because Scots are stupid or feckless, it not because of climate and it is certainly not a lack of natural resources. It is because of the draining away of human and physical resource by London over centuries.

Against that fundamental fact, the cloud of stupid obfuscation around the minutiae of transition is a mere distraction, and a deliberate one at that. Countries which are far poorer than Scotland successfully run on their own currencies – scores of them. Why would people believe Scotland is unique among nations in being incapable of having a currency? Yet such pathetic shibboleths are pounded out by the media, and particularly the BBC, on a daily basis to make a significant number of Scots believe that what is possible for every nation that has tried it, is uniquely impossible to them.

It is particularly galling to see those that have made us poor tell us we cannot be independent because we are poor. Particularly when the entire system of government accounting has been manipulated over decades to ascribe Scotland’s revenue to the wider UK, to ascribe a portion of infrastructure projects in SE England such as Crossrail as Scottish expenditure, and to present an entirely distorted picture of the Scottish fiscal position.

I am entirely at the end of my patience. It really is time that we claimed our Independence and stopped this slavish adherence to the laws of the Imperial state which seeks to continue its leeching out of our resources.


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388 thoughts on “The Unanswerable Case

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  • Laguerre

    Things may be becoming clearer. If it is the case, as widely publicised by Brexiters, that if Johnson loses a vote of confidence (if the EU Tories fold, Johnson will have a free run), Cummings’ plan is to hold the GE on 1st November or shortly afterwards, after Brexit. Johnson will get in by a mile with the Brexit bounce. This is fatuous in the extreme. Win an election when the trucks are lined up back from Calais to Lille is not very likely. Ministers tell us that only 50% of lorries will be delayed, not 90% – that’s already a lot. Add in the possibility that the bolshy douaniers de Calais may do a work-to-rule because they’ve got too much work, and you’ve got a disaster.

    No, the only chance that Cummings has is to convince EU Tories to betray their interests. I don’t have much confidence that they will not.

    • Laguerre

      The model to be expected in the case of a No-deal Brexit is immediate confusion at Dover. Little passes for several days. There is very little space under the cliffs at Dover, and any delay will lead to a big build up of trucks returning, or the minor case of British exports. In Calais the land is flat, and they can park trucks to await clearance. But that means delay after Brexit, even without a work to rule. After several weeks, things will have adapted, and passage will continue, but at a lower level. More difficult to pass a truck-load.

  • Doug Scorgie

    The Epstein death:

    “A person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press that Epstein had been taken off suited watch.”

    ………………………….
    Very strange. Unless he WAS a suicidal High Risk and was “allowed” to get on with it.

      • john hartley

        The idea that Snopes is in some quarters considered an authority and capable if serious fact checking and is both sadly depressing and laughable simultaneously.

  • Alec

    So you want a Scottish currency but also want to be in the EU whose aim is to have a federal state with one currency? Interesting double think going on.

    • N_

      The EU would be unlikely to allow an independent Scotland to have its own currency, at least unpegged to the euro or, just possibly, sterling. Meanwhile the country’s border would have to meet the same requirements as other external EU land borders, assuming Brexit had happened. This isn’t “bossing Scotland about” or “banning Scotland from running its own affairs”, but standard for members of the aforementioned international treaty organisation. You join a club; you obey its rules.

      • Republicofscotland

        “The EU would be unlikely to allow an independent Scotland to have its own currency, at least unpegged to the euro ”

        And why would that be?

        “Meanwhile the country’s border would have to meet the same requirements as other external EU land borders,”

        Yes that correct, the EU has currently 41borders with non EU nations, your point is?

        Oh and incase you’re interested an EU member even has a border with Africa.

    • Old Mark

      Interesting double think going on.

      Alec- That also applies to Craig’s comparison of Scotland with ‘Ireland’ when of course he just means the 26 counties. If and when the Republic absorbs the 6 counties , with the consequent termination of subsidies from London to that region, the resultant 32 county state would no longer be richer than England.

      AS for the Nordic comparisons, Scotland has never been ‘Nordic’ other than in the fact that all the Nordic countries share Protestantism with the Scots-a lingering historical peculiarity but in no way an indicator of cultural similarity in this century. Furthermore, in the case of Denmark, during the last century that country developed its agriculture with (like Ireland) the English market specifically in mind. After a ‘hard’ Brexit their dairy farms and especially pig farms would find themselves in considerable difficulty, as Germany and most of the rest of continental Europe turn their noses up at the mass produced pap that is Danish bacon.

    • Republicofscotland

      Alec.

      Its perfectly reasonable to have your own currency for a period of time, then move over to the Euro, many countries that are EU members have done so.

  • Humbaba

    In a centrally governed state like the UK (as opposed to a federal state like Germany), all commercial, cultural, administrative, etc., activities tend towards the center, in other words towards the greater London area. That is what explains the high regional inequality which has substantially contributed to the discontent that fueled the Leave vote.

    • N_

      So the Scottish Highland Games and the administration of the Crofters’ Commission must “tend towards the greater London area” then. How do they do that? Did you bother to think of examples that might contradict what you’re saying?

      • N_

        And the administration of sheriff courts too, all tending towards (whatever that means) the homeland of guys who speak with Cockney accents or is it Mayfair ones?

  • Loony

    Comping Scotland to Denmark is like comparing a bicycle chain to cheese.

    Scotland, like the north of England and Wales falls within the ambit of London. London attracts wealth to itself, There is absolutely nothing that Scotland can do to change this situation. Scottish independence may in fact do little more than solidify the power of London.

    Radical thinkers would be considering not Scottish independence but independence for London. Set London up as a kind of occidental Singapore and remove its tentacles from the UK. London seems to like the EU and the EU seems to like London so let London grow rich by hoovering up the wealth of the EU and leave the rest of the UK free to enjoy the show.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Most of the people on this website are writing about local trivia, from their own long held cultures and beliefs, but I have travelled from England to Scotland, and to Wales and Ireland, and I find we are all much the same, and most of the time despite our different accents, religious beliefs, we get on really well.

    Shouldn’t us people in The British Islands be trying to work together, rather than being controlled and dominated and seperated by other powerful peoples from foreign lands?

    Tony

    • giyane

      Tony

      Working together is not politics as it has come to be understood. The British political system has become like the marauding tribes of Africa where winner takes all/ The social contract means that because of the temporary nature of our democratic system winner doesn’t get to dismantle the hard work of their predecessors. The EU referendum clearly sought to do just that. If the Tories get their disgusting No Deal, they will be emboldened to remove many other cornerstones of the Labour Party such as Family Credit, Pensions and the NHS.

      All tyranny is exceptionalist, whether it is the Ottoman caliphate or the British Empire. Exceptionalism, the self-given right to overide natural justice, is never stable and therefore both of these and all other exceptionalist empires are rapidly dismantled. Mr Xi should take note. Mr Putin should take note and Mr Johnson should take note. If Mr Johnson tries to dismantle the British heritage of socialism and only keep capitalism he will lose his mini-empire’s vassal states and his mini empire will become a nano-state.

      If on the other hand he has the brains to retain the international socialism/capitalism that is the EU, he will probably retain his mini-empire within the EU. If not England will become just another of the United States.
      GM food. Daily school massacres. Gun-fodder against non-aligned sovereign states. He has no choice.
      generosity of spirit, big heartedness towards other opinions will lead to big politics, while narrow Tory bigotry will make us like Turkey, charging 50 p to use a public convenience.

      • nevermind

        Very well presumed dear Giyane, not to mention the lack of an economic plan/rescue service B. After we leave the EU with no deal, we will be in no position to say NO to the advancing US ideas of GM foods and chemically blitzed chickens.

        We will not be able to say NO to their ideas of carving up our public assets? They will be live bait with nothing to fall back on, a oneway scenario of smash and grab.
        The Tories will cheer on every srll off with fanfares of supportive noises and the genetal public will be victimised by legal beagles who will insist on their Taylorite measures to our workers. I can’t hear any union voices foreseeing this one sided relationship with Trumpian fervour.
        We should not negotiate without a safety net? a plan B that would ensure that our businesses and workforces have a fall back
        Leaving without a deal will leave the little blonde emperor and his Cummingo’s naked gor all to see.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Shouldn’t us people in The British Islands be trying to work together, rather than being controlled and dominated and seperated by other powerful peoples from foreign lands?”

      If you look into history Tony you’ll see the Irish union and Scots union and the subjugation of Wales occured by force and bribery. To form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

      It is/was a ideological construct created in Westminster, through mostly force. The RoI has moved passed the union, to go its own way as will Scotland and Wales will probably too, but of course as you rightly say we can still, all be friends.

      • Old Mark

        If you look into history Tony you’ll see the Irish union and Scots union and the subjugation of Wales occured by force and bribery. To form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

        Really RoS ? I think you’ll find that the principality of Wales was constitutionally merged with England under a Tudor (ie Welsh origin) monarch, and that the unions of England with Scotland and then with Ireland both occurred when England (in 1707) and Great Britain) in 1800, were at war with France- in other words they were principally motivated by security, and not economic, concerns.

        • Republicofscotland

          Well Mark, what do you make of this.

          The conquest of Wales by Edward I, sometimes referred to as the Edwardian Conquest of Wales, took place between 1277 and 1283. It resulted in the defeat and annexation of the Principality of Wales, and the other last remaining independent Welsh principalities, by Edward I, King of England.

          As for Scotland in the union, several influential tomb tabards were paid the Equivalent (Lets not forget the Alien act) to force the union through, no common person had a vote on the matter, and according to Cecil Woodham-Smith in his book The Great Hunger, Irish politicians and the Gentry were shall we say enticed into a union.

          • Old Mark

            Glad you mentioned the Aliens Act RoS; if South Britain does actually leave the EU and single market in the long run, and Scotland and a united Ireland stay in the EU (and in Scotland’s case, joins the Euro) there would be no logic at all to the continuation of the existing CTA in these islands, and Brussels would exert pressure on Scotland & Ireland to join Schengen instead. After all, you both claim to be ‘good Europeans’!

    • John2o2o

      Tony, being friendly to your neighbour does not mean having to run his life for him. The dissolution of the UK need not be an act of hostility. If the four countries were run independently they could still have very close relations.

      I often think that too many nationalists are actively hostile to England. I’m half English and half Scottish on the green side of that divide. I’ve heard all of the prejudice against the sassenach and so forth, but I think that this is counter productive. An independent Scotland must have good relations with England, it’s closest and most important neighbour.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        John2o2o,

        I have absolutely no problem with an Independent Scotland, and |I honestly think The Scottish people voted for it in the Referendum, which I very closely followed, because I belive in the concept of Democracy.

        I watched the count. I even monitored the Twitter Posts and all other methods I could find.

        I was completely convinced that the majority of Scottish people, had voted for Independence.

        However, there was massive opportunity for The Intelligence Services (and the Scottish Labour Party) to corrupt the vote by numerous different methods (especially postal votes).

        As far as us English are concerned, I did a snap poll of about 25 people in my local pub (some Scottish and some Irish and some Welsh but mostly English)

        The ovewhelming majority was in favour of Scottish Independence, and some people used some rather strong words in favour of the idea even the Scottish in England.

        I was much too polite, cos nearly all my family on my mother’s side were born and raised in Bonny Scotland, even though her family name, does back a long time, giving the distinct impresion of being Welsh.

        My surname is most definitely French in origin. Some of my family have traced it back to 1601, when the French told us to go away, which we did. We arrived in Yorkshire (Staithes), and asked the locals
        Voulez-vous du poisson?

        We had a boatload.

        Tony

    • Merkin Scot

      I too have lived and worked in other parts of the UK. However, I would still like to be governed from Scotland. We were promised that the only way to remain in the EU would be to vote No. This was a lie. Independence for Scotland and Ireland is the natural state of affairs.

  • Pp

    I am completely sympathetic to a popular desire for Scottish independence. But please clarify why you believe that London drained away Human Resource from Scotland? I would agree that higher wages and the promise of opportunity has indeed proved sufficiently tempting to so many of Scotland’s most talented youth. However, average salaries in Edinburgh are well above the national average and an argument against currency unification with the UK presumably is the same argument against currency unification with the EU? So does this mean that you are sceptical of Scotland’s position as a member of the EU, considering the bloc would almost certainly deny membership to a member not prepared to accept the single currency? Presumably this will provide the same incentives for any young talented Scot to relocate to the centre of power in a Europe as do the exotic incentives provided by sterling? Presumably logic dictates that any independent Scotland would therefore flourish putside membership of the EU?

  • Pp

    Key example as you reference – Denmark’s currency remains the Krone. It’s very interesting to chart the rate of exchange between Krone and the euro, and Krone and sterling – particularly when considering gdp per person as measured in dollars. Scotland 100% has the fundamental base to succeed as an independent nation with its own currency, far more so than many other existing or aspiring independent nations. It’s tough to see, however, how joining a European single currency or decentralised political union with even more reduced democratic accountability than the present London-centric system will make anything better rather than significantly worse. What’s the argument for leaving the United Kingdom that doesn’t undermine the case to join the European Union?

    • N_

      “What’s the argument for leaving the United Kingdom that doesn’t undermine the case to join the European Union?”

      Good question. If rump Britain is outside the EU, there isn’t a strong argument for Scotland to be inside, since rump Britain would be the most important country for an independent Scotland to have free trade with, free trade which wouldn’t be allowed under EU rules. So it would be a case of “another fine mess you’ve got me into”. One could imagine that that would not necessarily be so if one were to look 20 years into the future – a future with Hadrian’s wall replaced with a 20 foot high razor wire barrier and some method found for disenfranchising Scots living in England if they come back to Scotland with the intention of voting to leave the EU and join a union with rump Britain…and if one also inserts the utterly wacko idea that there isn’t going to be a global economic crash. But in the short term anything other than good trading relations with rump Britain would be a disaster. And of course with Scotland independent, people would find out what “London not caring about Scotland” really meant.

      • Pp

        A truly independent Scotland would have the freedom to pursue a free trade agreement with both England and the European Union.

        Presumably this would only strengthen Scotland’s economic position.

        It seems contradictory to me to propose disenfranchising Scottish people who have chosen to live in England while promoting an independent Scotland based on its merits – surely these people should be welcomed home as proud citizens with the knowledge and experience they have built away from home?

        Scotland has a proud tradition in this way with great thinkers and leaders having spent time outside Scotland before returning home.

    • Republicofscotland

      “What’s the argument for leaving the United Kingdom that doesn’t undermine the case to join the European Union?”

      Removing Trident, taking back reserved powers from Westminster, always getting the government we vote for, keeping our very important ties with Europe. Not being dragged into illegal British wars at the behest of the USA. Remaining part of important scientific and medical agencies in the EU, and that’s just off the top of my head.

      • Pp

        I fully support a popular movement for Scottish independence, which would indeed remove trident and take back power from Westminster.

        I just don’t understand how devolving many of those same powers to the European Commission doesn’t undermine precisely the same freedoms as being part of the United Kingdom.

        I suppose Scotland’s foreign policy would also be significantly affected by whether it chose to remain a member of NATO, particularly in supporting US foreign campaigns. France’s role in Syria and Libya being a prime example.

        Of course having fully accountable democratically-elected government in Scotland would enable the Scottish people to have greater control over foreign policy.

        Again though, with the European Parliament’s strong lobby to a federalised European Defence Force, surely membership would undermine the Scottish people’s control over foreign policy in this area as well?

        I just don’t understand here why becoming a new member of the EU would increase the democratic accountability of Scottish government.

        There’s no need to join the EU in order to maintain close ties with Scotland’s friends in mainland Europe.

        Switzerland and Norway are two often cited examples of economically strong and democratically accountable countries that do just that.

        Remaining (or indeed rejoining as the case would be) European scientific agencies is indeed a great benefit of joining the union.

        But are these benefits worth sacrificing so many of the same freedoms Scotland currently does to Westminster?

        I respectfully don’t think you’ve addressed this key point in your reply.

        • Republicofscotland

          “I just don’t understand how devolving many of those same powers to the European Commission doesn’t undermine precisely the same freedoms as being part of the United Kingdom.”

          We’d be a independent nation amongst independent nations, at present we are not, Christ we don’t even control our own broadcasting at the moment, as does Catalonia, and even a small, ethinic area of Moldova has its own independent channels, and that’s just one benefit.

          • Pp

            I completely agree with, and support the case for a popular independence movement in Scotland.

            I don’t agree that Catalonia or Transnistria are good examples of regions with independent power and control in Europe.

            The brutal Spanish government (supported by the European government) crackdown on the recent symbolic independence referendum in Catalonia and the arrest and imprisonment of members of Catalonia’s equivalent of the SNP seem to me excellent examples of how the EU does little to help democratic accountability and the regional devolution of powers.

            And Transnistria remains a region that continues to passionately seek independence but remains unrecognised by the EU, and all other governments and international bodies, despite already being broadly autonomous.

            Indeed should the EU recognise either of these regions’ desire for popular independence I could agree with your point.

            But presumably the Scottish people would not be satisfied by having control of broadcasting as a worthy replacement for becoming a independently-governed and internationally-recognised nation?

          • Republicofscotland

            “I don’t agree that Catalonia or Transnistria are good examples of regions with independent power and control in Europe.”

            No I was just using them as a for instance.

            “But presumably the Scottish people would not be satisfied by having control of broadcasting as a worthy replacement for becoming a independently-governed and internationally-recognised nation?”

            No.

  • John smith

    [ MOD: Caught up in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    If you want to emulate the irish economy, you are going to have give up on socialism and move very far to the right. If you are not willing to do that, independence will be painful. If you are willing to utterly transform scotland into an open low regulation economy success awaits.

    • giyane

      John Smith

      Are we trying to emulate the bankruptcy that followed the Irish property boom?
      If they are building a new property boom based on England being unable to survive after brexit, they are not reading the runes right. Because if brexit destroys the British economy, the Tories will be swept from power like pigeon shit. In its place Corbyn will put Norway + , maybe even this year after the election at Xmas.

      There is no such thing as “open low regulation economy success”. Unless you mean Grenfell Tower, which did not survive the “open low regulation economy” but did successfully manage to self-destruct.

      • Dave

        People mostly favour the status quo, because most people are doing ok and don’t want to put that at risk and compare their fortunes to their neighbours, hence why there are only occasional windows of opportunity for radical change.

        The dilemma for SNP is they gain office by pitching as a stronger voice for Scotland party against Westminster austerity, but if they pitched for so-called independence aka devolution in EU, the reality will be exposed that Westminster austerity is actually EU austerity to save the Euro and potentially suffer the same fate as Greece.

        Now there is no prospect of UK joining the Euro, suddenly Boris has found the money tree that was always there with spending promises that Labour refused to make due to their own support for the Euro, albeit under Gordon Brown there was over £200 million in PFI off the books accounting.

        I would prefer a Brexit compromise to save the union, but the SNP have in fact been supporting the austerity they claim to be against, but as a pro-EU party have deceitfully attributed it to Westminster rather than Brussels.

          • nevermind

            And by the yellow and red Tories who supported every reprehensible measure against the disabled and needy without a public voice, and without anybody scrutinising their austerity measures.

        • Dom

          “the reality will be exposed that Westminster austerity is actually EU austerity to save the Euro”

          Can you provide a link to anybody, even a Tory, providing a shred of evidence for this bizarre, counterintuitive claim? Or is you stating it the sole evidence?

          • Dave

            I have explained it a number of times. In 1997 Labour was elected on a promise to improve public services and join the Euro-currency (following a Euro-referendum). But this created a dilemma as improving public services required an increase in public spending, but joining the Euro required staying within certain public spending limits (which Gordon Brown called his Golden Rule)!

            To resolve the dilemma Gordon Brown promoted PFI mickey-mouse accounting, which was de facto public spending dressed up as private spending and was rebuked by the National Audit Office for this off-the-books accounting, but this form of accounting was taking place throughout the EU to meet the Euro rules.

            This was an expensive poor value for money way of providing public services but deemed acceptable to keep within the Euro joining rules, a objective shared and continued under New Conservative.

            Austerity in EU is clearly a case of meeting the Euro rules, with member states being told to balance the books over the short term, but because UK is outside the Euro, the fiction promoted by the Pro-EU and anti-Tory politicians was austerity in UK was purely a UK matter.

            As Corbyn rightly said, “austerity was a political decision, not an economic necessity”! Yes a political decision to join the Euro, because once that objective was removed the economic argument was to balance the books over the long term, which provides the money tree, which Boris has now found to the bewilderment of Labour and SNP.

          • Dom

            So no corroborating evidence whatsoever then. Not even a citation of some Tory making the same claim. All of them just silently enduring this “fiiction'” being told about their austerity, no doubt under strict EU instructions.

          • Dave

            Neither Pro-EU Labour or Pro-EU Conservative wanted to admit to the purpose of austerity to join the Euro, because they thought it would lose them votes, hence both offered “balancing the books” instead.

          • glenn_nl

            Dave: Since you cannot offer a scrap of evidence, how do you supposedly know all this for a fact? Since your story is rather hard to believe in any event, can you think of any reason anyone should take your word for it?

            I know you “have explained it a number of times” – must be very trying for you! – but repetition is not, in itself, proof.

          • Dave

            The evidence is PFI. This method of funding public services makes no sense other than as a ruse to get round Euro joining rules. This showed New Labours objective of joining the Euro (which they had promised in their manifesto) and PFI was continued under New Conservative (with Carillion getting government mega-contracts) who shared the same objective. Now there is no prospect of joining the Euro, Boris has found the money tree.

          • Dave

            Pro-EU and Anti-EU Conservatives maintained the fiction, because they preferred to blame ‘spendthrift and reckless’ Labour rather than EU for the need to ‘balance the books’ and to use “there is no alternative” (TINA) and PFI as the smokescreen to privatise things to ‘balance the books’ and it worked (fooled the members) because many ‘right-wing’ conservatives associate public spending with communism!

          • Dave

            And Labour went along with it, partly because they accepted the MSM blaming Gordon Brown, (after all New Labour had deregulated the banks leading to the crash) and were scared to make more reckless spending commitments which fed into reckless Labour narrative and because they wanted to keep within the rules for joining the Euro which was the priority.

            Hence Pro-EU Ed Miliband only offered a symbolic increase in public spending compared to conservatives and its only now under new leadership that Labour has emerged are offering an end to austerity, but have been stymied by the Remainers and outflanked by Boris.

          • Dave

            An In/Out referendum was a reckless call for Euro-sceptics (albeit a welcome result), because Cameron called the referendum to secure a Remain vote to over-turn the existing Labour and Conservative promise to hold a referendum before joining the Euro-currency. I.e. he wanted to use the Remain vote to join the Euro.

            At the time greater fiscal integration of EU was being secretly prepared to solve the “Euro-Crisis”, but Brexit threw a spanner in the works. Hence the determined attempts by Maybot to sabotage Brexit rather than secure a compromise with Labour votes, but her sabotage was sabotaged by the Brexit Party, hence the No Deal panic to avoid the same wipe out suffered by the Lib Dems over tuition fees.

            Corbyn is still sitting and hoping Boris will offer that compromise (Leave the political institution and single market but stay within the customs union) but can’t offer it himself (until a General Election) due to the Remainiacs and Zionists in the guise of Remain, trying to sink Labour by betraying their own manifesto promise to honour the referendum result.

  • Sharp Ears

    Johnson and Patel (“make them afraid”) are definitely in control. The level of police seniority able to sanction stop and search is lowered so that an order can be made if local police think crime ‘may’ occur rather than ‘will’ occur as previously.

    Crime clampdown: PM pledges tougher stop and search powers and more prison places
    The PM announces £2.5bn will be invested into prisons, as 8,000 more officers will be allowed to use stop and search powers.
    https://news.sky.com/story/criminals-be-afraid-pm-pledges-tougher-stop-and-search-powers-and-more-prison-places-11782570

    The decision to create more prison places is a complete reversal of decisions made by previous Tory prison ministers, such as Rory Stewart, to reduce them. These are the new incumbents.
    https://www.clinks.org/community/blog-posts/moj-shuffles-responsibilities-well-ministers
    Note that Buckland is also i/c Brexit planning with assistance from Argar. YCNMIU.

  • Willie

    On a different but in many ways related wasn’t it fabulous to learn that a million people in England and Wales were left without power the other night.

    Homes in darkness, trains stranded, hospitals on emergency generators just like a third world country unable to balance supply and demand. A truly exemplar example of the strong and stable environment that our Conservative government has delivered as the U.K. slides remorselessly backwards.

    And today, Prime Minister is announcing that his government is going to build another 10,000 prison places to add to a country that already jails more citizens per capita than elsewhere in the EU.

    And so as you enjoy your Sunday morning coffee chill in the further knowledge that the UK is moving into recession and think about what a lucky bastard you are to live in such a wonderful first world first class country.

    • giyane

      Willie

      Tories talk conservation while ratcheting up actual consumption. Then they blamed the offshore wind farms for making too much electricity and downing their system.

      Any survivor of Thatcher will remember how the Tories drove people to despair. I expect they flicked off the lights on purpose to create fear.

    • giyane

      What’ll happen when we all switch to electric cars. The Scots will have green energy but the English will have to fall back on the illgotten spoils of their illegal wars, Libya ready yet for plunder? Once the bodies have been cleared.

      • Willie

        Electricity generation is only one side of the equation.

        Scotland may have sufficient generation and then some, but the ability to distribute that power across the grid is the other side of the equation.

        Currently England does not have enough generation capacity hence the headlong rush into nuclear which also supports the UK’s atomic weapons programme. However, in addition to not having enough generation capacity, the UK, A’s this incident has shown does not also have an adequate transmission infrastructure.

        Think as to why the Denny – Beaully line was constructed and you get the picture as to what’s required.

        But the movement to electric cars will bring further issues in that by 2030 it is proposed that all cars will be electric. That in anybody’s thinking is a lot of power needed. And if one thinks of the additional demand of maybe 30,000,000 cars all needing charging, sufficient generation capacity together with substantial infrastructure reinforcement will be an absolute critical.

        This week’s power outage shows just how off the mark the UK is in being able to deliver that. The nuclear re-build programme is in disarray and the transmission enhancement is woefully inadequate. But that’s years of Tory mismanagement that has delivered that.

        But at least we’ve a new aircraft carrier, with a leak and no plains, some very expensive warships that all had to be returned to their yards due to engine break downs, and some even more expensive nuclear subs that can run aground on islands like Skye.

        The busted buffoonery of the UK knows no bounds as the economy and national infrastructure crumbles. Not for us a bright, smart, prosperous, and socially inclusive economies like Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Iceland. Relative poverty and subservience to a blimpish UK elite is our birthright.

        The power outage this week is but one small example of it.

        • Republicofscotland

          “But the movement to electric cars will bring further issues in that by 2030 it is proposed that all cars will be electric. That in anybody’s thinking is a lot of power needed. And if one thinks of the additional demand of maybe 30,000,000 cars all needing charging, sufficient generation capacity”

          You know I can’t understand why we have an alternator that charges the battery of a standard car when driving. Yet car manufacturers (One I think has so far has) haven’t or won’t create a similar gizmo to allow cars to self charge when driving, thus removing some of the need for countless charging points and surplus electricity.

          Surely converting the forward motion of wheels into electricity to recharge a battery is now possible.

          • Republicofscotland

            Thank you Kempe for the info, however as the name suggests isn’t that energy recovered via braking?

            Isn’t it possible yet to produce storable energy from car wheels whilst in motion?

          • Willie

            Ah Republic of Scotland you, like many others, are not alone, in not understanding the basic laws of physics.

            You need to utilise power to get the car moving in the first place. A machine that recovers the energy from forward motion can only be a machine that recovers the energy put into it to move it, less of course mechanical inefficiency losses. Put another way, You cannot propel the car and brake it at the same same time.

            Your proposal therefore Republic of Scotland to create perpetual motion cars is sadly an aspiration not allowed by physics. But hey, what a country, or in fact world it would be, if we could create magic, ignore the laws of physics, and have all our cars running on perpetual motion.

          • Republicofscotland

            Right Willie let me get this straight in my ignorant mind.

            A wheel that is first put into motion from a rechargeable battery on the vehicle, cannot produce energy (By rotation) that can be carried back to the battery to recharge it to further propel the wheel in the first place?

        • Ascot2

          “30,000,000 cars all needing charging, sufficient generation capacity together with substantial infrastructure reinforcement will be an absolute critical.”

          Yes, and think of all those electric cars travelling long distances all looking for charging stations and needing several hours plugged in to “fill up”. The math doesn’t bode well. Every rest stop along the M1 will be a traffic jam.

          This is why for transportation we will need to move to hydrogen, which fills almost as fast as petrol.

          Yes, currently Hydrogen cost many times more than electricity, ( not much more though than the current cost of petrol for a large internal combustion engine car or lorry) but it can be made using off-peak unused electric capacity. Over time building up local rural production using wind, solar etc.

          The Orkney’s provide 100%+ of their power needs from renewable (wind and wave), and are moving towards a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen cars have proven to be safe, reliable and popular, but the government will need to build the infrastructure. They are already doing some of this in Northern Scotland.

          Hydrogen is certainly one of the main energy sources of our future and Scotland is well placed to be a technological leader.

    • Kempe

      ” On a different but in many ways related wasn’t it fabulous to learn that a million people in England and Wales were left without power the other night. ”

      Not really no and only a truly vindictive and immature person would think that it was.

        • Willie

          Yes N- , Willie was indeed being ironic, sarcastic even.

          A so called First World country like the UK having a power outage like this is indeed absolutely fabulous. Don’t you think so Kempe. A million without power, light heat. Hospitals with no power, trains stuck, computer systems down, essential public maintenance equipment like sewer pumping stopped.

          Yes it would be a fabulous story we’re it not true. But it is true, absolutely true.

          Just like the power strikes of the 70s half a century ago but this time due to Tory mismanagement and failure to invest in an inadequate power infrastructure.

          Only a vindictive immature and poorly educated person could think otherwise.

      • Old Mark

        Kempe- very true!

        Another factor in the mass of power cuts on Friday was the disconnection of one of the wind farms in the North Sea from the National Grid-because there was too much wind! This was nasty precursor to what could happen if we get (as in December 2010) a long spell of cold,still, weather in midwinter, when both wind power and solar power will be as much use to the National Grid as a pork butcher plying his trade in Saudi.

    • N_

      It as a cyber attack, like at Gatwick and Heathrow three days before. It wasn’t just homes. King’s Cross railway station was taken out. Who supposes that such places aren’t prioritised in the grid (just think of the money) or that they aren’t cyber-defended. Take a look at Estonia in 2007.

  • Sharp Ears

    This country has certainly let down the Chagos islanders, having evicted them in the first place and then bringing them here and housing them in rotten conditions in Crawley. Nearly 3,000 were removed from the island for a US air base on Diego Garcia. (See Craig’s previous articles)

    Chagos children ‘stuck for years in unsafe lodgings’
    Families of islanders housed in council-allocated accommodation deemed inappropriate by social services https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/10/chagos-children-stuck-years-unsafe-lodgings

    Previously, the Observer publicized the fact that they were being pressured to return to either the Seychelles or Mauritius.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/28/windrush-scandal-continues-in-crawley-as-chagos-islanders-told-go-back

    We should be ashamed.

  • Hatuey

    The big news right now as far Scottish independence is concerned revolves around the possible creation of a new Pro-Indy party (perhaps under the “Wings” brand and banner), which would only contest “list” seats in Holyrood elections.

    The logic of this is obvious; it would potentially help secure more Pro-Indy support in the Scottish Parliament where the d’hondt system effectively sends hundreds of thousands of SNP votes to landfill.

    I hope they crack on with this. Stuart Campbell is a guy I admire a lot for his conviction and dedication to the cause of Scottish independence. I hope Craig Murray gets involved too and through this initiative ends up an MSP.

    If there are potential risk and pitfalls here, we should point blank ignore them since they are only likely to come from SNP party-loyalist wankers, who have largely ignored us for the last few years, and the usual unionist sources.

    Experience has taught us that loyalty to parties, ideology, and people is for fools, making them easily divided and easily ruled. If there’s to be a new party committed exclusively to the cause of independence — and nothing else — then nobody who supports independence has any reason to oppose it.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      I for one would welcome that development. It would save the increasing irksome task of voting Green for the regional list. The hyper-woke agenda being pushed by the Greens is hard to stomach.
      Incidentally, why does James Kelly continue to insist that D’Hont can’t be gamed, it clearly can?

      • Hatuey

        Who can guess what goes on inside the heads of dolts like Kelly…

        The Greens don’t bother me. I think they have exerted some pressure in positive directions and without their support the SNP would have struggled to get indyref2 policy through Holyrood. It would be better if we didn’t depend on them for that, though, which is the underlying logic of the new party.

        Can we guess that the SNP leadership would be hostile to the idea of a new indy party? I’ve been busy for the last few days and haven’t had a chance to ask or look into it…

        • Republicofscotland

          “Who can guess what goes on inside the heads of dolts like Kelly…”

          Kafkaesque, with a large dollop of Edvard Munch’s Scream, if one could see inside his mind.

          “Can we guess that the SNP leadership would be hostile to the idea of a new indy party? I’ve been busy for the last few days and haven’t had a chance to ask or look into it…”

          A couple of negative yesterday from the SNP on the Rev’s Twitter feed yesterday.

          Still I’m hoping the Rev’s idea is the impetus that forces the SNP to become far more proactive on launching indyref2.

          • Willie

            The proposal by Stuart Campbell to create a list Independence Party is a sound one since it would maximise the number of independence MSPs elected, and on present form guarantee a majority without reliance on the Greens.

            The electorate and SNP voters are also sophisticated and receptive enough to take such a proposal on board. Moreover, such a proposal would reinvigorate the current compliment of elected members and party officials comfortable with the sinecure of devolution, and that I think would be something that would be a very good thing.

            It would also allow other with legacy party loyalties to maybe cast their list or vote for an independence party to the side of the SNP and aside from the now very centralised selection control of the SNP.

            As a member of SNP for very many years I see this as a potentially exciting development in the pursuance of Independence.

            We need to maximise our independence majority at the next Hollyrood election. No ifs, no buts, and no time for complacency.

            And wouldn’t the author of this forum Mr Craig Murray not make an ideal list candidate?

          • Republicofscotland

            Thank you Willie for that comment, I did read the proposal over on Wings yesterday. I think it could be a good idea, and yes I’m sure Craig if he stood as a candidate would be successful.

  • Mary Pau!

    I am a supporter if an independent UK and an independent Scotland. Scottish nationalists would like to see Scotland remain the EU, In which case it’s currency would likely be the euro.

    The questions I am interested in are,: would the EU actually let Scotland join? In the short to medium term anyway? Wouldn’t that be seen as encouraging other separatist movements in Europe? Secondly, assuming the pro independence Scots are correct in claiming that Scotland does not need English (/UK) financial subsidies, I should be interest to read any budget forecasts of income and expenditure for a newly independent Scotland. Can anyone point me in the direction of some?

    • Goose

      The leader of the biggest bloc in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, has already stated they’d smooth and expedite the process towards EU membership for an inde Scotland. Sturgeon held meetings presumably exploring this with Barnier and other EU officials, hence why the FCO pulled hers and the Welsh FM’s Westminster support for such discussions in future – they were getting nervous.

      Scotland would have already gained independence in such a scenario, so that’d be a new fact on the ground or a new reality. The rUK would have left. As an analogy(highly unlikely), if say Spain left the EU, the EU would no doubt be much warmer to the idea of Catalan independence too, If the leaders of a prospective independent Catalonia, stated it planned to rejoin the EU.

    • Hatuey

      “Wouldn’t that be seen as encouraging other separatist movements in Europe? Secondly, assuming the pro independence Scots are correct in claiming that Scotland does not need English (/UK) financial subsidies, I should be interest to read any budget forecasts of income and expenditure for a newly independent Scotland. Can anyone point me in the direction of some?”

      More of the usual concern trolling from this person.

      I normally wouldn’t lower myself to responding but as far as encouraging other separatist movements in Europe is concerned, you are forgetting that Rule Britannia is leaving the club and as such the EU has no obligations towards it.

      More to the point, once Britain has left, we can expect the EU to play a much more positive and encouraging role towards the SNP and Scottish independence movement. I personally would hope that the EU would send vast sums of money to help us counter the constant state-funded propaganda we face, as well as supportive press releases and assistance towards establishing the true economic nature of our neo-colonial relationship.

      The idea that a country with the resources Scotland has wouldn’t be able to stand on its own two feet is an insult to the intelligence.

      And once we achieve independence, I’d be very happy to see us (as a priority) deepen our relationship with the EU and embed ourselves firmly in any future military arrangements that are formed. That as an alternative to NATO and the current predilections of Westminster towards bombing Muslims could only be a step in the right direction.

    • Republicofscotland

      I see no reason why Scotland couldn’t be fast tracked into the EU, as we currently meet much of the criteria as part of the UK.

      Separatist movements, spoken like a true unionist, your separatist movements are other folks independence movements.

      “I should be interest to read any budget forecasts of income and expenditure for a newly independent Scotland. Can anyone point me in the direction of some?”

      In 2014 a extensive White paper was released by the SNP covering all aspects of the economy. It was derided and lied about by the British unionist press and politicians. We are currently exiting the EU, where the same British unionists (And uninformed voters) decided we’d leave without first assessing the financial impact of such a move, we now know it to be disasterous.

      I see no reason why the Scottish government should produce another economic forecast as an independent country in the EU, when as part of the UK after Brexit, forecasts have shown that our economy jobs etc will be severely impacted upon.

  • Goose

    Apparently the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson will “do anything ” to stop a no-deal Brexit. Anything, except work with the official leader of the opposition to form a blocking majority temp’ govt until an election can be called.

    Shallow or what?

    • Greg Park

      Liberals are more frightened by the prospect of a social-democratic government than by a no deal brexit. A Corbyn government would expose them once again for what they are.

      • Goose

        Anyone toying with supporting them in seats Labour need is a fckin’ numpty.

        Johnson could potentially win a seat majority with as little as 30% of the vote if the LD’s split the vote with SDP levels of support. You’d think the UK people would have understood the UK’s awful ‘winner-take-all’ unrepresentative fcuk-up of a vaguely democratic system, by now.

        The only satisfying thing is the knowledge of what’s likely happens to said LD numpties if we do no-deal. Scottish Jo Swinson might find herself not only losing the LD leadership, but like Ruth Davidson, politically irrelevant in an independent Scotland she opposed.

      • Doug Scorgie

        Sorry Greg but Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters are democratic socialists not social democrats. There is an important difference.

    • Republicofscotland

      Jo Swinson yes to a second EU vote, democracy in action she say.

      No to a second divisive Scottish independence vote, the Nats are subverting democracy.

      • Goose

        I don’t really rate her at all.

        She’s low intellect imho ; her view of Corbyn appears entirely shaped by the billionaire, tax-exile owned, right-wing press in the UK. She’s clearly bought into the outright lies being peddled about the prevalence of antisemitism in the Labour party. Incapable of seeing the people behind this smear nonsense and their agenda to thwart a leftish govt who’ll recognise Palestine.

        Watch her water their 2017 manifesto down too. It was quite good in certain areas.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      I feel compelled to call out James Kelly twice in one day. The idea that Swinson is a dead cert to hold her seat at the next GE is nonsense. A five and a half thou majority and a “leadership bounce” (if such a thing exists) does not render her safe. I would put money on Alistair Carmichael holding on to Orkney & Shetlands on the basis that they have voted Liberal for decades but East Dumbartonshire is just another central belt seat. If the SNP can put together a lucid, compelling campaign (unlike 2017) Swinson’s goose is there for the cooking.

      • Goose

        Leave the ‘goose’ and ‘cooking’, out of it please… 😉

        Wish I’d never picked this name tbh, too easy to get the ‘go goose-stepping somewhere else’ reply, lol.

    • nevermind

      The Lib Dems willensure that the Torys get elected, they have chimed in with their austerity program and voted for poor people to get even poorer.
      Some 62% of the electorate supports action on the climate crisis we are in, so soon they will face a young clued up extinction rebellion protester as well as a doctor or postman opposing the Tories continued drive to accelerate pollution, ill health and death, not just abroad, but here, in our Cities and transport hubs.

      A couple of local workshops to go to here in Norfolk.
      There is axe throwing, pitchfork sharpening and due to an increased demand, an Odin hammer throwing and swinging workshop.

  • anon

    ” the entire system of government accounting has been manipulated over decades ”

    Can you recommend an article or book that discusses this well ? e.g if scotland had been independent, how much north sea oil money would it have got compared to what it got as part of the british state ? how much tax revenue that was collected in scotland was spent in scotland ? etc

    the fiscal federalism literature may be a source. for example, is this a good book ?

    Paul Hallwood The Political Economy of Financing Scottish Government

    perhaps you might add book suggestions as an update to the blog-post ?

    Thank you.

  • Steve Hayes

    “It is because of the draining away of human and physical resource by London over centuries.” Says a man who volunteered to work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Oh, the irony.

    • Goose

      Where’s Craig’s hypocrisy?

      You can be part of something while acknowledging it’s less than ideal. Besides, Craig left that system.

      London does brain drain the rUK. In the Midlands and northern England for example. I’ve had four friends who’ve made it to Oxbridge, all settled in the south after Uni. Two work in finance in London, another for a major telecoms provider, he now lives in Brighton. Anecdotal admittedly, but I’d wager this is common among deprived communities.

  • Dave

    Leave the EU for Britain to take back control. Leave Britain for Scotland to take back control. Same message but not the same in practice. Britain (and Ireland should leave too) is a big enough multi-cultural/racial union to stand on its own two feet, with devolved government to make it work.

    But actual taking back control from Brussels is part of a process of taking back control from the City of London. An independent Britain will have the strength to do this, but with Scotland opting out, not so likely.

    And although opting out of Britain due to despair of Westminster/London rule (a despair shared throughout Britain) is understandable, its a case of out of the pan into the fire because Westminster austerity is really EU austerity to save the Euro.

    I appreciate some mistakenly argue for independence to escape austerity, but beware because economic success outside the UK will soon make Scotland less independent then ever, because as a small nation, you will soon be overwhelmed by the migration magnet due to your prosperity and civic nationalism can only go so far before it gives way to separatism within Scotland.

      • Dave

        In 1997 Labour was elected on a promise to improve public services and join the Euro-currency (following a Euro-referendum). But this created a dilemma as improving public services required an increase in public spending, but joining the Euro required staying within certain public spending limits (which Gordon Brown called his Golden Rule)!

        To resolve the dilemma Gordon Brown promoted PFI mickey-mouse accounting, which was de facto public spending dressed up as private spending and was rebuked by the National Audit Office for this off-the-books accounting, but this form of accounting was taking place throughout the EU to meet the Euro rules.

        This was an expensive poor value for money way of providing public services but deemed acceptable to keep within the Euro joining rules, a objective shared and continued under New Conservative.

        Austerity in EU is clearly a case of meeting the Euro rules, with member states being told to balance the books over the short term, but because UK is outside the Euro, the fiction promoted by the Pro-EU and anti-Tory politicians was austerity in UK was purely a UK matter.

        As Corbyn rightly said, “austerity was a political decision, not an economic necessity”! Yes a political decision to join the Euro, because once that objective was removed the economic argument was to balance the books over the long term, which provides the money tree, which Boris has now found to the bewilderment of Labour and SNP.

  • Sharp Ears

    Large sums in the form of royalties received are declared by Boris Johnson. Most have this addendum – (This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.)

    Obviously he does not bother very much with the detail.

    There are also hundreds of £thousands declared for speaking engagements and from companies and from private donors. Repeated large donations from Bamford (JCB) were received plus many from other donors in June and July, presumably for his PM campaign. Thus he would not have become PM if it were not for these rich private individuals able to give him sums of £10k, £20k and the like.

    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10999/boris_johnson/uxbridge_and_south_ruislip#register

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