21:31Friday 20 March 2015
I WILL not be giving Mr Murdoch his £12.99 in order to share in the musings of Alex Salmond. Sufficient to rely on the extracts which can be obtained for nothing and all seem to be of the scapegoating variety. Always someone else’s fault. Whose fault is it, I wonder, that Mr Salmond is now confirmed as having attempted the biggest deception in modern political history by arguing a case for Scottish independence that was based on entirely bogus claims about future North Sea oil revenues? Fortunately, he failed.
The UK government will receive less than £1 billion a year in oil revenues for at least the next five years. This compares to the Scottish Government’s insistence that the revenues in 2016-17 alone would amount to between £6.8 – 7.9 billion. The Office for Budget Responsibility now estimates £600 million for that year – surely a record-breaking miscalculation by the Scottish Government of over 90 per cent. Nicola Sturgeon blithely states that “everyone’s projections about oil were wrong” as if that magically exonerates the deception to which she was a leading subscriber. But, anyway, her memory is highly selective. The scale of the fall may be even greater than anticipated but it was the downward trend which the Nationalists stood alone in denying and were prepared to denigrate anyone who dared contradict them. Incidentally, I see that Ms Sturgeon’s word of the week is “gleeful”. Anyone who points out the dishonesty of what she and her colleagues told the Scottish people, or the calamitous implications if they had succeeded, is not doing so because lies should be punished and realities exposed. They are doing so because they are “gleeful”, whatever that may mean in the language of the Holyrood kindergarten.
As far back as March 2013, the Office of Budget Responsibility was forecasting a drop in the oil price to “below $100 a barrel in future years”. Salmond dismissed this as “stuff and nonsense” and accused the civil servants responsible of “political manipulation”. That set the tone for two years of abusing the integrity and motives of anyone who dared contradict him. And what about the debased Scottish civil service? The White Paper insisted that a “cautious” figure to base Scotland’s economic future on was $113 a barrel. As Dr Azeem Ibrahim wrote in a paper for The Scotland Institute: “If any of my PhD students had produced an economic argument this poor, I would have failed them immediately”. But someone, still hiding in St Andrew’s House, did write it, probably under duress. Will Salmond’s book shed light on that murky process?
I accept that there are many in Scotland who do not give a toss about the lies, deceptions or dire economic and social consequences that would have followed, even by now, if the Nationalists had succeeded. For them, as for Salmond, the end justifies the means and if the means involve the flagrant fabrication of numbers to make the case stack up, then so be it. But when history takes a calmer look at last year’s referendum, it is important that the narrative is not written by the loser, for it is he who should be called to account. The parable of the oil revenues should not be forgotten. Neither should the abuse hurled at dissenting voices. The SNP’s projections for Scotland’s jobs, schools and hospitals were based on an oil price of $113 a barrel. That is inescapable.
If Salmond and Sturgeon had prevailed, Scotland would be facing austerity on a scale unimaginable to anyone other than, perhaps, the Greeks. Jobs would be flowing out of Scotland in their tens of thousands as the implications of the folly became apparent. The young would be leaving on the same scale they fled Ireland after the banking crash from which we in Scotland were protected. And it would be too late to do anything about it.
As Dr Ibrahim wrote in his paper: “With an annual borrowing requirement of £20 billion-plus, there would have been simply no way to get finance on the international markets at sensible rates. Throw in the uncertainty over the currency and EU membership and it would have been financial Armageddon”. That is the bullet we dodged and no re-writing of history should portray it as anything other than an extremely sensible decision.
Yet this is more than a lesson for the benefit of history. The “full fiscal autonomy” which Salmond and Sturgeon now demand would exchange the Barnett Formula for North Sea oil revenues. That is the platform on which they say they will contest the General Election – not because even they could conceivably want that outcome in current circumstances, but as the subsequent excuse for more posturing and blame-shifting to absolutely no useful effect.
If almost half of Scotland wants that kind of politics, then it is what they will get. Unfortunately, the rest of us will have to suffer it too, but that’s democracy. I have no doubt the outcome the SNP are desperate to facilitate is the return of another Tory government which they can then portray as pantomime villains for whom Scotland did not vote. And so it goes on – all about process and manoeuvring without an inch of progress in terms of equality, fairness and social justice.There was not much to cheer or boo about in this week’s budget. In fact, it contained a few good things and, as Labour have rightly said, nothing worth reversing. But a pre-election budget is not a reflection of the past five years or the next five years. The General Election offers a broad choice in the kind of society we want to live in. If Scotland helps to facilitate the return of the Tories as a price worth paying for giving Labour a kicking, then it must do so with its collective eyes open.
If it achieves that outcome by supporting the same people who assured them six months ago that their jobs, NHS and children’s future would be secure on the basis of an oil price of $113 a barrel, then we really are in a strange place. Yesterday, the price stood at $55. BRIAN WILSON.
no comments Terry or just none that you agree with?
I see you are still content to sit with your begging bowl asking engerlund to fill it.
but then since you still have your snout in the trough filled with public money even after you have 'retired' it's hardly surprising you have no wish to stand on your own two feet. either as a man or as a nation
No comments fit to print and I am man enough to put my name and ID to everything I write. I am also a citizen of the UK which is my nation.
"I am also a citizen of the UK which is my nation" - so you're a nationalist then!!!???
I was born in the UK and that means nothing to me it's simply a fact and an accident of birth, same as it is for everyone in the world. I couldn't care less where someone comes from and I have no respect for anyone who thinks that someone's place of birth is important. Like Albert Einstein I regard nationalism as a disease.
I'm unsure how that attitude fits in with your defence of the Palestinian people Mr Kelly, if you don't recognise the difference between Palestine and Israel...
Gordon walker said...Wednesday, April 01, 2015 3:29:00 pm
I'm unsure what you are talking about, would you like to explain?.
"I was born in the UK and that means nothing to me it's simply a fact and an accident of birth, same as it is for everyone in the world".
I haven't seen your blog devoted entirely to the Israeli's killed and maimed in attacks from Hamas, although I haven't been a 'follower' of yours for long. Did I miss it?
Please don't address this comment with a diatribe on Israeli atrocities in Palestine, I am well aware of them, but your 'a man's a man for a' that' platitudes do not sit well with your one-sided support of the suffering in that God-forsaken area.
Gordon walker said.Thursday, April 02, 2015 3:23:00 pm.
My "mans a man for a that" attitude does not include those who invade another country, murder and torture the men, women and children of that country, steal their homes, and their farms which they have lived in for centuries, turn them in to refugees and illegally occupy that country while periodically slaughtering them by the bushel.
I would be no more interested in naming dead Nazis, White supremacist supporters of apartheid or Israelis who treat Palestinians as they do, if that surprises you then you have not been paying attention, either that or you are a liar.
But the vast majority of the victims of Hamas attacks had nothing to do with the deprivations you describe. They just happen to be born in Israel, and have been targeted simply because of an "accident of birth".
As per my previous comment, I have no time for the atrocious acts of violence committed by the Israeli government and armed forces, but will denounce all acts of terror.
Did I miss your full blog post denouncing the terrorist acts committed by Hamas?
You did not miss my condemnation of Hamas because I did not write one. Hamas were democratically elected and they are fighting as they are entitled to do to oppose the brutal racist Israeli invaders, they are fighting to free their country from the Israel occupiers.
So you don't care which nation you live in. They are all the same to you? Why oppose scottish independence then? It seems like you are saying it makes no difference. Unless your UK identity is secretly quite important to you...
Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:03:00 am
Where someone comes from is meaningless to me, It doesn't interest me. I want to stay connected to my trade union brothers and sisters and my Socialist comrades in the UK and I don't want to see my friends and neighbours suffer which I believe would be the result of separation.
'I want to stay connected to my trade union brothers and sisters and my Socialist comrades in the UK'
are you disconnected from your socialist comrades in the rest of the world because you do not share a union or border with them?
the convoluted positions you take to protect the british state are beyond a joke.
The irony is that independence for Scotland would push UK-wide politics to the left and that by opposing independence you are standing in the way of people having more democratic influence over their lives.
If anything, opposing independence is aiding the UK establishment's power over ordinary working people.
We do not need to be governed from a corrupt Westminster in order to show solidarity with our friends in the rest of the UK - rather, real solidarity would be to lead the way in socially progressive politics here in Scotland (something Scotland cannot do when we are governed by a UK Conservative government).
Anonymous said...Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:12:00 pm
I am connected to my union brothers and sisters and my socialist comrades in the UK why should I want to separate from them?.
Anonymous said...Monday, April 06, 2015 12:28:00 pm
Independence would destroy Scotland and make us in to low wage slaves to compete with Tory UK. There is no lack of democratic influence in people’s lives in Scotland despite your continual winging. A constant Tory UK would be a capitalist dream and Scotland would have to join them in a race to the bottom to compete for jobs, separation is economic suicide.
. A constant Tory UK would be a capitalist dream and Scotland would have to join them in a race to the bottom
do the electorate of england realise that it is our job to make sure they dont get the govt they want?
Why do you assume scotland would be an economic failure? And why do you assume the rest of the UK would be governed by continual Tory governments? These assumptions seem to have little basis in reality.
Sadly what currently happens is that Scotland is forced to have Tory governments against its political desire. (And Labour's drift to the neo con right has helped little)
Why are you defending a political system which disenfranchised millions and limits democratic choice for the Scottish people?
Anonymous said...Monday, April 06, 2015 8:37:00 pm
The electorate of the UK are waking up to the fact that the snp want a Tory government.
Anonymous said...Monday, April 06, 2015 9:47:00 pm
If Westminster lost it’s Scottish Labour MP’S the tories would be in constant power and they would destroy the unions. The UK would become ‘de facto’ a capitalist paradise, companies would transfer south and new investment would ignore Scotland and locate south where profits are more easily made. Scotland would become a third world economy and would have to follow the capitalist UK to secure whatever menial jobs which were available. But that would be OK because we would have nice flags and tartan clothes to wear, we would be a destitute shambles but at least we would be a good old patriotic Scottish destitute shambles wouldn't we?. Scotland does not have governments against it’s desire because Westminster governments are not elected by Scotland they are elected by the people of the UK, that’s you and me. No one anywhere in the UK is disenfranchised including that part of the UK which is known as Scotland. No need to thank me I’m happy to relieve ignorance.
I have to say, the only person you seem to be convincing of anything is yourself Terry.
I find your logic incredible, almost to the point of delusion. Its quite fin to read actually! Some light relief.
Thank you for sharing that with us.
'Scotland would become a third world economy and would have to follow the capitalist UK to secure whatever menial jobs which were available'
long live socialism Terry, what what old boy.
do you even stop to think about what you post anymore?
Anonymous said...Thursday, April 09, 2015 9:40:00 am
Constant Tory government means emasculated unions means poor wages and conditions and easy profits. Scotland has to follow the UK example to have any chance of investment or employment. Unless of course you think that international capital will invest in Scottish jobs because Scots. are nice and they like us.
'Constant Tory government'
do you have any qualms about the people of scotland trying to impose a socialist govt on a country that quite clearly doesn't want one?
Anonymous said...Friday, April 10, 2015 2:39:00 pm.
I am completely in favour of Socialism, I have stated several times what will happen to an independent Scotland but you do not seem to want to discuss that.
Post a Comment