Meme-busting – deficit drivel

Honestly, I cannot believe that I have to respond to such utter nonsense but when MPs (ok, Angus MacNeil) are retweeting and disseminating such complete drivel then I think someone has to point out how wrong they are.  So… this pish:

meme-drivel

Where do you start with this?  I’m not sure there’s a single thing that is accurate in it.

Scotland has no deficit

Pointless sophistry.  Holyrood does have borrowing powers, extended through the Scotland Acts 2012 and 2016, but the overall deficit that is laid out in GERS is the gap between Scotland’s public revenue, i.e. taxation, and Scotland’s spending.  It is a deficit in the same way that health boards have deficits, councils have deficits and… erm… governments have deficits.

1) We didn’t create it

Erm… yeah we did.  For 2015/16 Scotland raised £53.7bn in revenues including our full geographical share of oil and gas whilst spending £68.6bn.  That leaves a £14.8bn deficit, the gap between what we raised and what we spent.

For the usual desperate excuses on “yeah but what about”, see here:

  • we shouldn’t be paying for debt. Nonsense – #4 here [LINK]
  • we pay more for defence than is spent in Scotland – Drivel. Part 1, here [LINK]
  • we pay for Crossrail and London Underground and London sewers. No we bloody don’t. See below
  • GERS Denying and Wishful Thinking [LINK]
  • Reserved and Non-identifiable spending [LINK]

2) We’ll get some assets, DEFICIT GONE

You what?  Are you going to sell the Forth Road Bridge?  Every single year?!

(also, per Ron Sturrock’s comment below, the Whole Government Accounts for the UK show total assets of £1.5 trillion, not the £8.8 trillion cited)

3) Scotland contributes to London projects like: 

  • Crossrail, £18bn – no, we don’t. £0 is assigned to Scotland in GERS for Crossrail because we only pay for rail infrastructure in Scotland. [LINK].  Indeed, we benefit from Barnett consequentials for Crossrail so not only do we not contribute the mythical £18 billion dreamt up by the meme, we gain funds to spend in Scotland.

gers-rail-in

  • Olympics, £8bn – no, we don’t.  GERS assigns £0 to Scotland for capital spend on the Olympics.

gers-olympics

  • Refurbishment of London Underground, £16bn – no, we don’t.  As above, we pay for railway expenditure IN Scotland only.
  • New airport / 3rd runway – well, no.  First, it hasn’t even started yet so clearly it hasn’t cost anyone any money, nevermind Scotland and so clearly hasn’t had any impact on our near-£15bn deficit.
  • New sewage tunnel, London, £16bn – no, we don’t.  This isn’t even public spend.  It’s funded by the private sector and Thames Water customers.  No government money is being spent on this so obviously no Scottish contribution.
sewer-funding
LINK
  • HS2, £50bn – this is the one exception where we actually do provide a contribution.  But not the 8.3% suggested.  In GERS, Scotland contributes 2% of the HS2 spend per the economic benefit agreed in the Economic Case for HS2 paper.  Further to that, we also benefit from full Barnett consequentials for all HS2 spend, meaning that we are net beneficiaries to almost 4 times the spend we are responsible for.

gers-hs2

(for a full debunking of the Wings Over Scotland generated myth on infrastructure spending, see here [LINK])

So not £109bn… but maybe £1 billion of total spending between now and 2033 for HS2, for which we’ll receive almost four times more back in Barnett consequentials.

As for the percentages of power devolved, I think this is trying to refer to the revenue raising powers that are devolved.  As if the Scottish Parliament only receives funding commensurate to the devolved taxes.  This is, rather obviously, nonsense.  All of Scotland’s taxes and revenues are attributed in GERS and we spend them all and then some… hence the deficit.

This pathetic meme is nothing more than the latest desperate attempt from the lunatic online fringe to deny the veracity of GERS.  That they need to rely on such painfully obvious falsehoods should tell you all you need to know.  If there really were something wrong, they wouldn’t need to lie.

Sadly, it’s not just the lunatic fringe though.  Here’s your MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar…

fuck-me

 

That, to be frank, is a disgrace.

 

 

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32 thoughts on “Meme-busting – deficit drivel

  1. UK assets of £8.8 trillion??

    As per the WGA (Whole of Government Accounts) current assets £1.5 trillion, public sector liabilities of £3.6 trillion giving a net liability of £2.1 trillion.

    I’ll have a look to see if it includes a valuation of the Forth Road Bridge.

    They must be including private assets and wealth.

    Like

  2. Coruscating demonstration of whole-picture thinking, sound research & intelligence, in a convincing argument.

    The very reverse of Mr MacNeil’s lamentable intellectual freeloading in the name of his (thereby discredited) Cause.

    Congratulations also on breaking a bloody *sound barrier* of exasperation facing a now familiar (“meme-apeing”) habit of high-indignation, low-rigour, low-standard, nationally-projected self-pity & self-righteousness yet again … and combating it, once again, through gritted teeth … coming out not only in one (well-worded) piece, but flying.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all you missed out so much of the original post:

    Scotland is ruled by a corrupt regime and we are fed lies through their state run British media, the British famous for centuries invading Countries, stealing their resources, belittling the people and telling them it’s all for their own good as they would be useless making their own decisions.

    Unionists should hold their heads in shame. Scotland’s economy has suffered this last 2 years due to the drop in OIL price, but they conveniently forget that same OIL has propped up the UK economy for the last 40 years. Scotland gets no thanks for that, we are just told we would become a basket case outwith Westminster Rule. They completely ignore if Scotland is in a mess it’s because the regime they support has failed Scotland, yet they want more of the same.

    The media rarely mention that the UK for the last 40 years has had a deficit and debt, that debt now sits at 1.7 trillion with many experts expecting this to rise to 2 trillion by 2020. Westminster is the true basket case when it comes to finance, but Unionists conveniently ignore this..

    So since we are talking about deficits, I have a question:

    We know Scotland long before Norway started an OIL fund, Westminster was asked to start an OIL fund, they refused. Only 2 Countries in the world that didn’t deem their public worthy enough, the UK and Iraq, my question is if Westminster had said YES would Scotland be in this mess today, after all Norway from the same waters has the largest savings in the world. I am assuming Scotland would have started an OIL fund as they asked Westminster for one. This for me proves a Country looking after their own resources do what’s best, certainly better than a Parliament based in another Countries does. I look forward to your answer 🙂

    You have a problem with this next bit “Scotland has no deficit as we have no borrowing powers, our false deficit comes from the UK borrowing on our behalf, however let’s look at that false deficit.

    1) We didn’t create it..

    2) The total worth of the UK assets are approx £1.3 trillion!! We own 8.3% of this! DEFICIT GONE.

    The original post had 1.3 Trillion of UK assets, so I have no idea where the 8.8 trillion came from, however surely YOUR QUOTE “You what? Are you going to sell the Forth Road Bridge? Every single year”?! is just being stupid, maybe you can have a wee read of this…https://thecommongreen.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/claiming-scotlands-assets/

    Therefore our share of assets wipe out any false deficit, unless you believe Scotland has paid in to the London treasury for over 300 years and doesn’t deserve a share, that wouldn’t surprise me though.

    This other bit you don’t like “Scotland contributes to London projects like:
    CROSSRAIL, LONDON – £18 BILLION
    OLYMPICS, LONDON – £8 BILLION
    REFURBISHNENT OF UNDERGROUND, LONDON – £16 BILLION
    NEW AIRPORT/3RD RUNWAY, LONDON (god knows how many billion)
    NEW SEWAGE TUNNEL, LONDON – £16 BILLION
    REFURBISHMENT ST PANCRAS STATION, LONDON – £1 BILLION
    HS2 RAIL LINK, LONDON TO BIRMINGHAM – 50 BILLION
    and many more future projects like Westminster renovations etc”

    I have a problem with your links they just take me to your opinion, do you have a list with cost of what Westminster spends on behalf of Scotland, until I see some form of list then I can say we supply all Londoners with fish suppers every night. I’m not saying there is no list, so from the 26 billion given back in a block grant to the 53 billion so that 27 billion break down would be nice. For me it’s like me handing my wages over to my neighbour, him giving me some back for essentials like Electric and Gas, my neighbour might feel I need a new set of curtains but I want a new bed spread but tuff titties i’m getting a bed spread. Do you believe your neighbour would run your household better than you could?

    Your Quote “1) We didn’t create it

    Erm… yeah we did. For 2015/16 Scotland raised £53.7bn in revenues including our full geographical share of oil and gas whilst spending £68.6bn. That leaves a £14.8bn deficit, the gap between what we raised and what we spent”

    So let me understand, firstly you say Scotland does have borrowing power, this kicked in 2015 and gives a maximum borrowing limit of £306 million in 2015-16 and of £316 million in 2016-17 are you seriously suggesting we caused this massive 15 billion deficit with those insignificant borrowing powers?

    You conveniently ignored my point “Scotland and England have been in the Union for 308 years, Westminster has had full control of Scotland’s economy for 289 of those years. When Scotland was given her own parliament 17 years ago it had 6% devolved power, numerous years later this increased to 15% by the year 2017 we will have approx 25% if Scotland is in a mess that blame lies squarely at Westminster’s door”.. However I will continue. You seem to be blind to the FACTS that Scotland doesn’t control the levers to better her economy, Scotland doesn’t control of VAT, National Insurance Contributions, North Sea oil and gas revenue (geographical share), Corporation tax, Fuel duties, Capital gains tax, Inheritance tax, Tobacco duties, Interest and dividends, Alcohol duties Other taxes and royalties, Vehicle excise duty, Rent and other current transfers, Export Duties, Other taxes on income and wealth, Insurance premium tax, Air passenger duty, Betting and gaming duties, Climate change levy, Aggregates levy.

    Scotland can’t raise the minimum wage so that people have more money to spend in order to generate retail and service-sector growth, which are the biggest areas of the economy. Scotland can’t reduce VAT to lower prices and bring about the same result, Scotland can’t cut Corporation Tax to try to draw any businesses away from the South-East of England. Scotland can’t reduce fuel duty so haulage firms benefit therefore employ more, Scotland can’t bring in more immigrants to help boast our economy…..The list goes on.

    Perhaps you can suggest ways of boasting our economy, and don’t use Labours proposals as we don’t control the basic personal allowance, the thing that affects every taxpayer. We can fiddle around with the margins of the upper rates but that generates very little and also gets you hammered remorselessly from both sides in the press, besides Labours own figures suggest this would only raise £390m at the most, which is chickenfeed.

    I come back to my point, any deficit Scotland has is down to bad management from Westminster.

    Your Quote “As for the percentages of power devolved, I think this is trying to refer to the revenue raising powers that are devolved. As if the Scottish Parliament only receives funding commensurate to the devolved taxes. This is, rather obviously, nonsense. All of Scotland’s taxes and revenues are attributed in GERS and we spend them all and then some… hence the deficit”

    You can think all you want, I’m simply pointing out how long the devolved powers have taken and how little they are. Devolution was never intended to let the Scottish Government run the economy – it was always envisaged as a glorified parish council, handling what are in essence administrative municipal matters like education, health and law. There’s a reason it was originally called the Scottish Executive – it’s not a “government” in any true sense of the word and just calling it one doesn’t change that.

    If the UK government gave up control of the economy, Scotland would be independent on the day-to-day level in all but name, and every “revision” of devolved powers that’s been grudgingly conceded since 1999 has set out with the primary goal of ensuring that that didn’t happen. (But hey, have all the road signs and air guns you can eat.)

    So to recap: the Scottish Government doesn’t have a deficit (the UK one does, and palms some of it off onto Scotland); if Scotland was independent nobody has the remotest clue how big its deficit would be even to within the nearest £10bn (because it would depend on independent negotiations and a raft of policy choices that haven’t been made yet); and until it is the Scottish Government can – by design – do almost nothing to affect the country’s economy.

    Now let’s go on to GERS, try and remember you support a corrupt regime, some say the worst in the world, they have committed crimes that include Murder, Illegal War, War Crimes, Terrorism,Torture, Crimes against Humanity, Corruption, Espionage, Treason, Drug Trafficking, Pedophilia, Rape, Indecent Assault, Sex Trafficking, Arson, Blackmail, GBH, Bribery, Insider Trading, Cash for Questions, Asset Stripping, Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Expenses Fraud, Theft, Perjury, Phone Hacking, Spousal Assault, Perverting the Course of Justice, Cover Ups, Cash for Honours, Conspiracy and Forgery.

    You may trust them I don’t. GERS are provided by the London Treasury and it’s all we have to go on, I won’t go in to hidden revenue just yet, the primary reason for independence is democratic. Scotland should get the governments it votes for, and if Labour lose the 2020 election – as everyone expects it to – then since 1979 Scotland will have had to endure Tory governments it rejected at the ballot box for a shocking 72% of the time.

    That matters not just in principle but because Scotland has different problems and needs to other parts of the UK. It’s not a matter of independence itself making the country richer or poorer by itself, because it won’t. But it ensures Scotland can elect a government which will shape all its policies for the benefit of Scotland, rather than suffering (along with other areas) as the needs of London take priority above all else.

    BTW The Barnet Formula pays for nothing.

    The Barnet Formula is how public expenditure in Scotland AND Wales AND Northern Ireland is worked out to reflect spending in England.

    The spending across the UK is paid for by the TAXPAYER (personal and business), or borrowed for future taxpayers to repay.

    How the countries in the UK then decide to allocate their share of public spending, is up to Governments/Administrations in those countries.

    For England the Dept. of Education, Dept. of Health, Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Transport, (part of the Home Office………………………………………………. decide how public spending for England is allocated/spent.

    Lastly you missed this:

    Scotland is a country with an embarrassment of economic advantages that any small to medium-sized independent country would give their left arm for.

    Just look at similar-sized populations to Scotland

    Norway owns half the OIL in the North Sea, 30% of their GDP is reliant on OIL, when the OIL crashed our GDP dropped by 1% of course they have an OIL fund that Westminster refused for Scotland.

    Denmark would love to have a national drink that generated £120 of exports per second.
    38 bottles were shipped overseas each second.
    99 million cases (12 70cl bottles at 40% vol) were exported worldwide.
    Laid end to end they would stretch about 30,000kms – or about six times the distance between Edinburgh and New York.
    More than 10,000 are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry – many in economically deprived areas.
    Over 40,000 jobs across the UK are supported by the industry.
    Scotch Whisky accounts for around a quarter of UK food and drink exports.
    Scotch Whisky is sold in around 200 markets worldwide.
    Scotch Whisky sells three times its nearest rival whisky.
    Drinkers in the UK often choose to enjoy it with just a little water, but in Spain they mix it with cola. In Japan Scotch is enjoyed with lots of water and ice, and in China with cold green tea.
    More Scotch is sold in one month in France than Cognac in a year.

    Belgium would love to have such a tourist attraction as the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival attracting 500,000 visitors and adding £261m to Scotland’s economy, never mind the beauty of wild Scotland or golf tourism.

    Ireland would kill to have Scotland’s online gaming industry which has grown over 600 per cent – GTA the world’s best-selling game is made in Scotland and industry experts claim the gaming sector could grow to be worth more to Scottish economy than oil ever was.

    Sweden would like to match Scotland educationally, Scotland according to the ONS states Scots are the most educated in Europe, we have 45% who have experienced university degrees and further education, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland all fight for 2nd place with 40%

    Not forgetting we have 16% of world acclaimed Universities and they’re Free

    Finland must be massively envious that Scotland possesses 25 per cent of the EU’s entire tidal and wave energy potential, a source of energy that doesn’t pollute and won’t run out.

    Scotland is rich in resources like Whisky, Renewables, Tourism, Financial Services, Food and Drink, Fishing, IT. Farming, Manufacturing, Creative Industries, Construction, Global Transport, Engineering, Medical Research, Oil and Gas.

    Scotland represents just 8.3% of the UK population. Remember that number 8.3%
    We have the following share of UK resources –
    32% Land area
    61% Sea area
    90% Surface fresh water
    65% North Sea natural gas production
    96.5% North Sea crude oil production
    47% Open cast coal production
    81% Coal reserves at sites not yet in production
    62% Timber production (green tonnes)
    46% Total forest area (hectares)
    92% Hydro electric production
    40% Wind, wave, solar production
    60% Fish Landings (total by Scottish vessels)
    55% Fish Landings (total from Scottish waters)
    30% Beef herd (breeding stock)
    20% Sheep herd (breeding flock)
    9% Dairy herd
    10% Pig herd
    15% Cereal holdings (hectares)
    20% potato holdings (hectares)
    All with 8.3% of the population!

    We also have a…
    17 billion pound construction industry
    13 billion food and drink industry
    10 billion business services industry
    9.3 billion chemical services industry
    A 9.3 billion tourism industry
    7 billion financial services industry
    5 billion aeroservice industry
    4.5 billion pound whisky exports industry
    3.1 billion pound life sciences industry
    Scotland still has 350 million pounds worth of textile exports
    Gold– one working mine in production last month. Second mine or gold field, found by Aberdeen University, This field has been extended to 200 square miles in Aberdeenshire

    There are very few countries in the WORLD that rival Scotland’s resources per head and in such rich diversity. We absolutely, unequivocally can be an extremely successful independent country.

    So the question should be, knowing some Countries survive on Tourism alone, why is Scotland doing so badly under Westminster rule and HOW QUICK CAN WE GET OUR INDEPENDENCE…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the angry, rambling, misinformed comment. I’m afraid I didn’t finish it, got bored halfway through when I realised it was just a list of the same nonsense meme-fodder that’s been foisted on me for the last 3 years or so.

      I assume you are the author of the meme which I have so comprehensively debunked? Frankly you should be ashamed of spreading such nonsense in an attempt to mislead voters.

      Some quick responses:

      – on the Common Green nonsense on assets, you can read this – https://whytepaper.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/some-thoughts-on-beyond-gers/

      – you are confusing borrowing powers and having a deficit

      – “do you have a list with cost of what Westminster spends on behalf of Scotland”. Yes, it’s in GERS. Of course you’d think that someone writing a meme attacking the deficit which is assigned to us in GERS would have the slightest fucking scoob how the numbers are worked out. Otherwise on what basis are you claiming that we are assigned a portion of this cost? Are you just guessing? Because you’re wrong, as I have proven – not my opinion.

      – there’s no such thing as export duty

      – please, please “inform me” on the hidden revenue” in GERS. It’ll be more drivel

      – I know how Barnett is calculated and it is entirely down to the Scottish Govt how the block grant is spent

      etc etc etc

      I look forward to your next angry, misinformed response.

      Like

    1. Screenshot? Of what? My response?

      You are angry and misinformed. I was simply pointing out that your angry, misinformed rant was… erm… angry and misinformed.

      And I use the words which are best suited to the situation. If these happen to be “pish”, “fucking” or “drivel” then that’s what I’ll use.

      Like

  4. You can say the word “debunked” a million times, that only works for your little brain washed followers all 69 of them who just cream their pants at anything that brings Scotland down, its what you thrive on. Your corrupt precious Union is coming to an end, best to run that bath, splash around a little, create a few waves and sing Rule Britannia until your voice goes hoarse, the end is nigh…

    Like

  5. No I wrote the post, others edited and changed part in to a meme.

    First of all I am still waiting for answers from you. since we are talking about deficits.

    1) We know Scotland long before Norway started an OIL fund, Westminster was asked to start an OIL fund, they refused. Only 2 Countries in the world that didn’t deem their public worthy enough, the UK and Iraq, my question is if Westminster had said YES would Scotland be in this mess today, after all Norway from the same waters has the largest savings in the world. I am assuming Scotland would have started an OIL fund as they asked Westminster for one. This for me proves a Country looking after their own resources do what’s best, certainly better than a Parliament based in another Country does. Don’t you agree.

    2) Our share of the 1.5 trillion assets (quoted by Ron Sturrock) wipe out any false deficit, unless you believe Scotland has paid in to the London treasury for over 300 years and doesn’t deserve a share of assets.

    3) How can Scotland be blamed for a massive deficit when we don’t control our economy, up till now Westminster controls “Income Tax” VAT, National Insurance Contributions, North Sea oil and gas revenue (geographical share), Corporation tax, Fuel duties, Capital gains tax, Inheritance tax, Tobacco duties, Interest and dividends, Alcohol duties Other taxes and royalties, Vehicle excise duty, Rent and other current transfers, Export Duties, Other taxes on income and wealth, Insurance premium tax, Air passenger duty, Betting and gaming duties, Climate change levy, Aggregates levy. If Sweden controlled all revenue raised in Norway and messed up would you call Norway a basket case or Sweden?

    4) The primary reason for independence is democratic. Scotland should get the governments it votes for, and if Labour lose the 2020 election – as everyone expects it to – then since 1979 Scotland will have had to endure Tory governments it rejected at the ballot box for a shocking 72% of the time. Scotland hasn’t voted Tory since the 1950s. Why do you believe Scotland is not worthy of the same status that all Nations around the globe take for granted.

    Your Quote “I assume you are the author of the meme which I have so comprehensively debunked? Frankly you should be ashamed of spreading such nonsense in an attempt to mislead voters”

    That’s a little rich…

    Vote NO to secure our place in Europe (LIE)
    Vote NO to save 2000 HMRC Income Tax jobs (LIE)
    Vote NO or companies like Scottish Widows will leave, now based in London (LIE)
    Vote NO to secure the building of Frigates on the Clyde, now reduced and the frigate factory shelved, (LIE)
    Vote NO to save British Steel jobs, it took the Scottish Government to save the plant (LIE)
    Vote NO or subsides for Scotland’s renewable energy sector will stop, now stopped (LIE)
    Vote NO because only the broad shoulders of the UK could save the OIL Industry, now mass unemployment (LIE)
    Vote NO Cameron promised a 200 Billion North Sea Oil boom with investment (LIE)
    Vote NO and lose the HS2 planned for Scotland, now we are told ‘no business case’ for taking fast train service to Scotland (LIE)
    Vote NO and lose the £1 billion to develop “carbon capture and storage” technology on power stations, now cancelled (LIE)
    Vote NO Cameron said “Scotland should lead the UK not leave” on the same day as the NO vote EVEL is introduced making it impossible for a Scot to become a Prime Minister ever again… (LIE)

    Your Quote “you are confusing borrowing powers and having a deficit”

    Nope I know the difference and I don’t understand where your response fits in, I remember it being said a million times during the referendum, is it now just said on automatic pilot LOL

    Your Quote “there’s no such thing as export duty”

    Yet again I have no idea why you brought this up, I know this already but are you suggesting an Indy Scotland wouldn’t benefit from Whisky sales and revenue.

    Your Quote “please, please “inform me” on the hidden revenue” in GERS. It’ll be more drivel”

    Even you must find it funny, the UK announced that more OIL last year had been extracted from the North Sea than since 1980 yet no revenue? I understand about the value drop and we privatised where Norway didn’t, however Norway registered 19 billion of revenue and extracted less OIL?

    If unlikely as it seems these guesstimated GERS figures approximate the truth, then whose fault is that truth? Decades of mismanagement of the Scottish economy, by an indifferent Westminster, or a few years attempts by a Scottish government, with its hands tied behind its back. Who could not want change?

    http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/08/24/gers-or-a-wayward-exercise-in-the-capricious/

    Lastly I don’t believe anything that comes from Westminster, they even refuse to respect FOI regarding devolution and that for me sums everything up….http://newsnet.scot/archive/discussions-on-devolution-to-remain-secret-after-whitehall-blocks-publication-of-files/

    Like

    1. Do you have a link to the original post? The meme tries to dismiss the £15bn deficit figure, which is derived from GERS, and so any attempt to suggest that the deficit is not accurate must, necessarily, deal with the GERS methodology. Once you have stopped attempting to deflect from the actual point at hand, perhaps you could tell me where in the GERS methodology Scotland is attributed the spending you erroneously claim?

      On to your list of copied-and-pasted gripes…

      1. The oil fund argument is well-and-truly worn out. A country of 60 million people doesn’t need an oil fund, for a start. Indeed taking even the Yes campaign’s optimistic estimates for what an oil fund would have amounted to and assessing how much it would have provided towards bolstering public spending in the last few years – AND including the White Paper’s best-case increased growth from “alternate policy decisions since 1977” – only provides the same value as the current union-dividend. So no gain.

      Besides, no-one actually argued for a sovereign wealth fund like you are describing. It was an investment fund that would have been spent. This would have been welcome. 40 years ago. But it’s gone now and unless you think independence comes with a time machine then I’ll stick to relevant arguments.

      2. You are again clinging on to this assets nonsense. Are you going to sell the assets to balance out the deficit? Which assets? And what happens in year two? The whole “what about the assets” line is just so misguided it’s not even funny.

      Following your own logic, the UK’s deficit of £75bn last year doesn’t exist because there are £8.8tn worth of UK assets. DEFICIT GONE.

      You see how stupid that is?

      3. I don’t care about where the blame lies. I don’t even think Scotland’s deficit is a problem. It’s only a problem if we’re independent. The GERS figures are GOOD news for Scotland. Our revenue has taken a big hit thanks to oil but being in the union has supported our public spending at levels that are £1400 per head higher than the rest of the UK. This is not a bad thing.

      So what if Scotland’s share of the deficit is higher than the UK average? We paid in to the pot in the 80s, now we’re taking out. That’s how countries work. It’s how an independent Scotland would work. Would Dundee be at fault for its larger deficit in an independent Scotland? Would Skye? Should they become independent to solve a problem that’s only created by independence? Of course not, that’d be ludicrous.

      Scotland has done well out of the union. We’re a very wealthy country, the 14th richest in the world some would say!, and we have a fundamentally strong economy. And we currently spend ~45% of our GDP on public services whilst paying ~35% of our GDP in taxes. That’s a bloody good deal.

      4. “Scotland should get the governments it votes for”. if you think that is all that matters then vote for independence. I’m not a nationalist so I don’t. I think this is just one consideration that goes into the pot to produce my decision. I don’t think the franchise should be based on artificial national borders to the exclusion of all else. Just seems stupid to me.

      And I brought up “export duty” because you’ve mentioned it in your copied-and-pasted lists of taxes. Twice.

      And we already benefit from whisky sales and revenues with all appropriate taxes being attributed to Scotland in GERS.

      As for “he UK announced that more OIL last year had been extracted from the North Sea than since 1980 yet no revenue”, that’s just utter bollocks. It was the first *increase* in production in 17 years but is still nearly 100mmboe below peak production in 1999 (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/503852/OGA_production_projections_-_February_2016.pdf)

      And the reason we have lower revenues than the NCS is because it costs approximately twice as much to extract on the UKCS; And, contrary to your mistake, we had approximately half the production of the NCS last year. Can you stop making shit up? Thanks.

      And yes, I’m aware that many nationalists now try to undermine the GERS figures after having lauded them for years. Funny how people change their minds when they don’t like the results.

      Now, please stop copying-and-pasting grievance lists at me and deal with the point at hand. The meme is based on your post somewhere which claims that we contribute to a whole bunch of spending which we don’t. If you disagree, then please show me where – either in the methodology or the numbers themselves – these contributions appear.

      Because they don’t. And you made it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fraser, I don’t know where you find the energy to keep debunking this garbage, but please don’t stop. The problem this ill-informed nationalist has is that 3 years ago they could knock up any old drivel and it largely went unchallenged. Not now, thank God. I almost want them to get their yes vote, because the meltdown when the truth dawns would be something to behold. Almost.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Look at Andy, the old typical British response “I almost want them to get their yes vote, because the meltdown when the truth dawns would be something to behold. Almost”.

    We in Scotland are a basket case outwith the beloved Westminster rule LOL pathetic..Fraser liked it though…

    Fraser I could continue, but as we have been discussing on your “About” page you are British not Scottish, if you had been honest I would not have bothered you, I believe you guys are to far gone. I target the voter who voted NO but feel more Scottish than British as they can be swayed with a little knowledge, something they will never find from the state run media.

    I could go through all your points but I find them ridiculous, for example :

    Your Quote “A country of 60 million people doesn’t need an oil fund”

    So the UK being only one of 2 Countries not to have an OIL fund all the others are wrong. We Brits just prefer to have a massive 1.7 trillion debt with Interest payments of a billion a week LOL who are you people..

    BTW it was a Sovereign Wealth Fund not an investment fund , the Callaghan government refused to set one up and then everyone after. Google…

    You have also proved on numerous occasions you don’t read my posts anyway, for example Your Quote “there are £8.8tn worth of UK assets. DEFICIT GONE”

    I have already stated that I never mentioned 8.8tn I also said I didn’t do the meme, what others do is up to them, I say its all fair enough, whatever it takes to win, after all that’s how Unionists operate, fight fire with fire I say, my original post can be found here…. https://www.facebook.com/RodricSelbie/posts/1379572735391050

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  8. So… begs the question… where is the money coming from because according to wales’ and northern ireland’s independent revenue and expenditure figures they are both in 20% and above deficits for GDP… so are you saying england is paying for all this? Not very fair on the english people to subsidise the rest of the uk… while not even producing an independent revenue and expenditure figures document…

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      1. The ‘city’ surplus is of questionable validity bearing in mid that a good deal of it is actually about where tax is accounted, not where it is earned. GERS is not simply estimates, it is poluitcally-motivated extrapolations of estimates and it was arranged – by Lord Lang – to ensure that Scotland would look bad. The nats are pretty crap, but it does not help to use the ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to refute them. If any WM government had the honesty to dump GERS and replace it with something reliable we would all be rather better informed.

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  9. Interesting debate and some silly stuff. The simple fact is no one knows how a sovereign Scotland would fare economically as Scotland hasn’t reclaimed its sovereignty yet. The GERS figurers you quote will show good years and not so good years, you highlight the financial black hole that Scotland would have based on the GERS figurers, £14.8bn deficit, all countries have debt (UK 1.7 TRILLION, £103 billion deficit in 2010) and Scotland pays a pretty crippling amount of debt interest due to UK debt for things like wars, bank bail outs etc. However Scotland has shown a surplus in other years and GERS is a political tool and doesn’t really tell us what things would be like in a sovereign Scotland making different decisions and doing things differently. In fact Scotland generates more in tax per head of population than the rest of the UK, around 9.9% of tax generated with 8.4% of the population. You also talked about the Olympics but I seem to recall that many millions were taken from the Lottery Good Causes Fund for example to help pay for London Olympics, around £70million pounds and things like cross rail and the sewers, again if I remember correctly, were funded either partly or totally from the UK reserve fund, the clue is in the name UK or is Scotland only a part of it when it suits.

    The question of sovereignty cannot and should not be based on economics alone, apart from Norway, every country in the world has debt. When looking at Scotland’s current situation I’m not so sure that I would be singing the praises of the UK, in 300 plus years of union, and in a country with oil and multiple natural resources, Scotland has actually gotten poorer. Better Together anyone? But the simple reality is do you want a Government that is elected by the largest part of the UK, and which your votes have no effect in deciding other than blind luck, or would you rather get the government that Scotland votes for at every election, I know what I would prefer. So while the economics can be used by either side the argument comes down to politics and democracy. I’ll go for a sovereign Scotland governed by Governments elected by Scottish voters every time, but then I’m a democrat and don’t really feel the need to allow another part of the UK to decide my government and make my decisions for me, if you do, which you obviously do, then I feel sorry for you, and for the rest of the Scottish people who would prefer to live in a democracy.

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    1. Hi, thanks for the comment.

      I’m afraid you are quite wrong on a number of your assertions, though.

      1. UK may have a deficit but it is currently less than half (4%GDP v 9.5%GDP) of Scotland’s. Not sure if you’re saying deficits are fine, just not the UK’s?

      2. The debt interest Scotland currently pays is not “crippling”. We pay a per capita share of UK debt repayments which amounted to £2.7bn last year. Large perhaps but historically not unprecedented and almost certainly less than an independent Scotland would be paying in debt repayment.

      3. GERS is not a political tool. The FAQ within the document itself states this explicitly.

      4. Scotland has not run a surplus since 1991 (the UK last ran a surplus in 2001)

      5. Scotland does not generate more tax per head than the rest of the UK anymore (indeed it was only ever oil which meant that we did). Last year we raised 7.9% of the UK’s tax revenue and received 9.1% of the spending. It would be useful if you used the actual, most recent figures.

      6. The whole “uk reserve fund paid for these items” thing is a myth. Scotland, as recorded in GERS, did not contribute to any of those items and receives full Barnett consequentials for Crossrail etc, see here – https://whytepaper.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/meme-busting-wings-over-scotland-infrastructure-spending/

      7. On “Scottish priorities” changing the numbers, please give me specifics. The Scottish Government is currently responsible for around £38bn of the spending in Scotland which covers nearly all public services (health, education, emergency services, transport, etc etc). The majority of reserved spending is on welfare and pensions, do you wish to cut these? The rest is debt repayment, defence and govt administration; all of which we’d still have. Where are you finding £9bn difference to fill the deficit gap from our current position?

      8. On sovereignty – well that’s a personal opinion. The idea that Scotland has become poorer in the union is ludicrous, however. We were told Scotland was the 14th richest country in the world during the indyref, now it’s “oh but actually we’re terribly poor”. Give over.

      The rest of the second paragraph is simply you arguing that everyone should be a nationalist. If you believe that the only thing which should dictate the size and scope of the franchise is a national border, your narrow definition of “us”, regardless of what impact this has on the people within that border, then you are a nationalist.

      The rest of us look at outcomes and what is best for our families and our community. The idea that I should be content to be outvoted by people in the central belt but not by people in the Midlands is nothing but base nationalism. I’d rather get the government *I* vote for in every election, it wouldn’t make me any less pissed off to get a different government because the people who outvoted me happened to have a vaguely similar accent to me. That’s just ludicrous.

      Every person in the UK has the same vote, every MP in the UK has the same vote. That’s democracy and it’s the one the people of Scotland voted for in 2014. If you wish a different franchise then fine, that’s your right. But it’s not the one we voted for so don’t pretend that what we have isn’t democracy because it doesn’t suit your narrow nationalism

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok.

        Running deficits is perfectly normal, Japan has one of 7.1%, so while 9.4%(actual figure) is high, in the current economic climate not surprising. The aim would be to get that down by growing the economy which I suppose could be done in a wide variety of ways.

        If 2.7 billion, p;ease provide a link to this stat if you can, is not crippling then I don’t what is.

        Gers is a political tool as noted in hansard in 2007 – Ian Lang, wrote to the then Prime Minister in 1992, when the general expenditure revenue Scotland statistics, which I shall refer to later, were being developed. The then Secretary of State said that he judged that it was just what was needed at present in the Tory campaign to maintain the initiative and undermine the other parties, and that it could score against all of them. GERS was designed to be a political tool, not to offer an enlightened or accurate description of the Scottish economy.

        Scotland, according to Professor Arthur Midwinter Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research Univerisyt of Edinburgh, ran a budget surplus in 2006/7 and 2009, I suppose he is wrong. That doesn’t take away from a poor fiscal positioning currently but shows that you Scotland has been in surplus since 1991.

        I stand corrected, Scotland Revenue per person: Scotland and UK 2010-11 to 2014-15 are £10.000, as are those in England £10.000.

        £150m of Scottish lottery money (including £14.11m from SportScotland) being diverted from the grassroots causes north of the Border to help fund the Olympics (scotsman).

        Included in NIP Projects paid for by the public and deemed to be benefitting the whole UK include an extension of the London Underground, a bridge in Liverpool, the Lower Thames Crossing in London, the Thameslink and Crossrail networks in London, various roads (most notably including the A14 from Warwickshire to Suffolk, Scotland share of the cost 12 billion if you work it out from the figurers but I suppose the UK Gov are lying too.

        As far as bridging the 9 billion as you say Scotland would need to find, that would be called growing the economy, you know like countries try and do, but of course a sovereign Scotland couldn’t do that.

        Scotland has become poorer if you take it from 1974 onwards and the total abuse of the North Sea to pay for unemployment, de-industrialisation and wars. Culturally I would say very poor but that is a matter of opinion.

        There is a democratic deficit in the UK, only a fool would deny that. You might be happy to allow voters in the largest part dictate your future but I am not, the simple reality is that my vote is not worth the paper it is written on at UK level when those voters can impose the Government on Scotland every and any time they want, and do.

        At the end of the day you will quote GERS blah blah and I can find things that will contradict those or offer an alternative. It comes down to vision and hope, I believe that Scotland can and should do things differently, I would prefer to not live in a country that punishes the poor, targets migrants, abandons children, bombs other countries and sells weapons to those who bomb children. You can defend that all you want using a narrow economic argument that is more about how much money you have in your pocket, screw everyone else.

        Please don’t call me a nationalist, I’m a democrat who does not accept that the current parliamentary representative system is a true democracy. Governments elected by as little as 36% of the vote is not democracy, an unelected second chamber and unelected head of state is not democracy. You talk about not caring if you are outvoted by someone in the Midlands or the Central Belt. I can only guess that’s because you are British through and through, that’s fine there is nothing wrong with that, if you want your vote to not count that is also fine but there are many of us who actually do want our vote to count, have a vision of something better and learned a long time ago that England is Britain and the UK is a failed construct that has had its day. If it hasn’t then God help us all because we are going to need all the help we can get.

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      2. I’ll call you a nationalist because that is patently what you are. If you don’t like the associations that go with that then tough shit. Fundamentalist adherence to a belief that the franchise should start and end at national borders is the very definition of nationalism. So there you go.

        The £2.7bn is the figure for debt repayment assigned to Scotland in GERS. I guess it’s no surprise that you didn’t actually read it before dismissing its inconvenient contents.

        And yes, the Ian Lang argument. How original. Yet since then we’ve had 18 years of devolved government, including 10 years of nationalist rule and countless revisions of the GERS methodology, including advising by nationalist sympathising economists like the Cuthberts; we’ve had the independence White Paper cite the GERS figures as “the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances” and we’ve had countless nationalist politicians quote them (in error) when the numbers look helpful. But now they show the strength of the union and it’s “eh… no… they’re biased, can’t believe them”. How very convenient.

        No idea who Prof Midwinter is or which paper you are referring to. Is it possible he was referring to a current account surplus? Because this is a different thing.

        And if you bothered to read the link I sent you, you could have saved yourself the embarrassment with the NIP claims. I thoroughly debunk that nonsense in said link. Seriously, try reading it.

        Ah yes, the “growth” argument. Magical mythical growth that only Scotland could manage… when at the rate of growth the not-known-to-be-conservative White Paper suggested, it would take 120 years to fill the gap to our corresponding position within the UK. And for what?

        And then we move onto the Scottish exceptionalism arguments of nationalism. And no, I don’t support everything that has ever or will ever happen in the UK. To suggest so is pathetic. Nor would I support everything that would ever happen in hypothetical independent Scotland. The notion that the only way to oppose a policy is to run the fuck away and break up the country is beyond ludicrous. What would you do if you disagreed with a policy of the Scottish Government?

        But by all means keep going with the self-aggrandising proclamations of your nationalism’s inherent moral superiority. That always works.

        Try explaining this is not nationalist terms:

        You said: “You might be happy to allow voters in the largest part dictate your future but I am not”

        So why should I be happy, living in Aberdeenshire, for the largest part of Scotland to dictate my future? Why should I be happy to get the government the central belt votes for, no matter what?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Shit is pretty much what you talk. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/293688/PU1656_Infrastructure_Finance_Update.pdf that would be these I suppose that you believe you rubbish. I didn’t say GERS was bias, and acknowledged both sides use it, but hey why bother actually reading what I said. Maybe you can campaign for Aberdeenshire to stay part of the UK once the UK dissolves since democracy means so little to you. You call me a nationalist in it’s narrowest definition, I would rather be that than a Unionist if these terms mean anything. You say I want to run the fuck away, nope, I would rather vote the fuck away because no matter what Scotland wants it gets what England says, you can shove that. We will never agree, history will judge both sides. but as you say, when Scotland takes back it’s sovereignty, tough shit.

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      4. That’ll be the National Infrastructure Plan which I reference in the link I sent you. But hey, too hard work for you to actually read it.

        And Unionist with a capital U is a nationalist. Something I am not.

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  10. I was sitting on the train from Inverness to Wick the other week, and it struck me that this journey pretty much exemplifies Scotland’s deficit. The train was dead, and there is not a cat in hell’s chance that fares would come anywhere near paying for the depreciation of the train, the staff, the diesel, the track, the stations, etc etc etc. So where is the money coming from to keep this route open? That will be the taxpayer. And a sizeable chunk of that will be from taxpayers in England. And herein lies the entire reason for Scotland’s notional deficit: Scotland’s sparser population makes it more expensive to provide public services than the more densely-populated England. So, if Scotland leaves the Union, with its massively reduced tax resources it seems probable that the Wick/Inverness service – as well as all other subsidised bus and train routes – would be cut drastically, or even scrapped altogether. Cutting such services would, after all, be some of the least painful cuts to initiate (far less painful than, say, having an across-the-board public sector pay cut of 20% (which, in my humble opinion, would probably be on the cards in any event)).

    Incidentally, reading the GERS deniers above, I am thoroughly with Ian Smart, who believes that, when the next referendum comes, the British Government should state that the Barnett tap will be cut off the very day after a ‘Yes’ vote – meaning that the Scottish Government would be forced to come up with a provisional budget before the vote, which, with its inevitable swinging cuts, would expose all the GERS deniers as the conspiracy nuts that they undoubtedly are, as well as dooming ‘Yes’ to less than 30% of the vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure I’m keen on the idea of a “punishment” for voting yes / leave but it would be useful to force them into producing an actual budget.

      My opinion is that the sparse population is certainly a factor but the geography is more important – island communities in particular are very difficult and expensive to provide services for.

      It’s a good example though.

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