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Scottish unemployment - it's up again

Brian Taylor | 15:18 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Worrying figures yet again on Scottish unemployment.

The rate is up and the trend is worse than south of the border.

Politically, this has prompted two strands of debate. Firstly, the impact of coming spending cuts.

Secondly, an assessment of the nature of the Scottish economy.

In political circles, debate number one now centres around the depth and pace of cuts: not, mostly, whether those cuts should happen in the first place.

Political parties at Holyrood, as billed previously, are presently jockeying with each other as to which of them will show their hand first on spending strategy - or, more precisely, whether all the opposition parties will have a substantive response to offer to John Swinney's package when it emerges.

Longer term, debate number two may be more germane still. Is Scotland's private sector economy fundamentally stagnant or merely temporarily sluggish?

Enhancing growth

Is growth forever doomed to lag behind the UK average? Would changes in existing policy, within existing devolved powers, alter that? Or enhanced devolution? Or fiscal autonomy? Or independence?

Can a revitalised private sector replace the jobs which are bound to be lost in the public sector, once cuts are in place?

Or will that endeavour be neutralised or even reversed by the very impact of those cuts on, for example, private suppliers?

In response, we have the union sector broadly resisting cuts, most notably at the TUC.

We have the business sector attempting to straddle both debates by arguing that priority must be given within public spending to those programmes which sustain and enhance growth.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:37pm on 15 Sep 2010, Dunroamin wrote:

    Any chance the SNP will share with us their dream of an 'independent Scotland'?

    What tax regime would they introduce?
    What would their spending plans be?
    Would spending be higher than now? If so, where would the money come from?
    Would taxes be lower than now? If so, what spending programmes would lose out?

    All we hear from the nationalists is ill-informed criticism of anything and everything the UK does with no nationalist alternative.

    Salmond wants an 'Oil Fund' but as we already spend our full share of the oil, where would he cut spending from to save the oil revenues?

    Salmond thinks we are going to be filthy rich from selling renewable energy abroad. But all our neighbours can supply their own energy needs so who would we sell it to? One nationalist suggested we build massive stadium-sized batteries and ship the energy further afield (how long would they last/cost, what would happen to the 'empties'?...). Does anyone have any other ideas?

    Well, let's hear it!

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  • 2. At 3:42pm on 15 Sep 2010, Dunroamin wrote:

    Roll up! Roll up!

    Place your bets!

    Will the nationalists stick to their usual insults, abuse, complaints and ridiculous easily-dismissed claims...

    or will we finally see something different? Something informed? Something based in this reality?

    Insert your coins....now!

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  • 3. At 4:07pm on 15 Sep 2010, DibbySpot wrote:

    Sadly for Scotland,Northern Ireland and Cornwall you have to face the geographical realities. Just as in house values the same applies in industry it is all about Location, Location, Location.

    No matter what the Scotish and other local governments may want throwing money into jobs with no significant "raison d'etre" is a waste of money.

    For any Scots or others who want a joob and to be employed the news is move south, or emmigrate like many of your forebears. If that means some towns will die too bad it is economic evolution.

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  • 4. At 4:25pm on 15 Sep 2010, RandomScot wrote:

    Given RE's posting patterns you would almost believe he is paid to do what he does, all negative, all what he is against, damning others, nothing ever positive.

    If he/she/it is doing it of their own bad than, in a way, that is rather sad and full of pathos

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  • 5. At 4:26pm on 15 Sep 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    RE has moved into overdrive of recent. is it any wonder that all these companies are trying to build wind farms?

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  • 6. At 4:38pm on 15 Sep 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    1)

    ‘Does anyone have any other ideas?’

    ‘Well, let's hear it!’


    Here’s my idea, let’s pretend that you are not angry and embarrassed with losing the MOD under spend debate.

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  • 7. At 4:49pm on 15 Sep 2010, birnie wrote:

    Re #1 and #2

    May we please, please have some cool, rational discussion here? I wait in vain for an analysis of the pros and cons of status quo, devo max and independence. There are clearly proponents of all three options (and perhaps more)but all too often they shriek at each other and render this forum of less and less significance and rob it of its potential.

    Moderators - can you not exercise some degree of quality control, rather than the self-interested censorship of which you are sometimes accused?

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  • 8. At 4:56pm on 15 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    3. At 4:07pm on 15 Sep 2010, DibbySpot wrote:
    "Sadly for Scotland,Northern Ireland and Cornwall you have to face the geographical realities. Just as in house values the same applies in industry it is all about Location, Location, Location."

    Not strictly true - if London was not protected by 'The London Allowance'
    to enable it to keep poorer workers doing the less well paid jobs, thus enabling it to function, and if the Government jobs were shared out over the rest of the country and not mainly centred there, then living in London would not be nearly so attractive a proposition as it is now and the rest of the country would fare better as a result.

    My great fear is that there are already Politicians in Scotland who want to see similar arrangements applied for Edinburgh if Scotland obtains Independence and we must resist this at all costs.

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  • 9. At 5:07pm on 15 Sep 2010, Anagach wrote:

    2. At 3:42pm on 15 Sep 2010, Reluctant-Expat wrote:
    Will the nationalists stick to their usual insults, abuse, complaints and ridiculous easily-dismissed claims...


    Are you enjoying the current Union Dividend in employment ?, one assumes not the Scotish end as you are Expat, perhaps you are enjoying the dividend as its is distributed south of the border.

    As for insults I see you are sticking to yours.



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  • 10. At 5:09pm on 15 Sep 2010, Paul McDonald wrote:

    #1, Reluctant-Expat

    "Any chance the SNP will share with us their dream of an 'independent Scotland'?"

    Indeed, they have: http://www.snp.org/independence

    I suggest you read the White Paper.

    Any chance the Westminster parties can give us their vision of Scotland?

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  • 11. At 5:13pm on 15 Sep 2010, Paul McDonald wrote:

    #2, Reluctant-Expat

    "Will the nationalists stick to their usual insults, abuse, complaints and ridiculous easily-dismissed claims"

    Oh, excuse me, I seem to have stumbled into the twilight zone!

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  • 12. At 5:23pm on 15 Sep 2010, Anagach wrote:

    4. At 4:25pm on 15 Sep 2010, RandomScot wrote:
    Given RE's posting patterns you would almost believe he is paid to do what he does, all negative, all what he is against, damning others, nothing ever positive.


    I'm coming to the same point of view. He does not actually answer or debate, and he has only one topic - so as per his first two posts in todays blog he's off topic, insulting, and factually wrong and all in just a few lines. Off course it could be a case of political autism but I really think it might be a paid position, the steady stream of insults, its almost Rovian.

    High unemployment in Scotland - cant be the responsability of anyone involved in government over the last few decades could it ?.

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  • 13. At 5:27pm on 15 Sep 2010, Anagach wrote:

    1. At 3:37pm on 15 Sep 2010, Reluctant-Expat wrote:
    Any chance the SNP will share with us their dream of an 'independent Scotland'?


    The SNP have a website you can visit. Just type SNP into google, its all very, very easy.

    Now in todays blog the topic is employment data just out.

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  • 14. At 5:48pm on 15 Sep 2010, frankly francophone wrote:

    "In political circles, debate number one now centres around the depth and pace of cuts: not, mostly, whether those cuts should happen in the first place." (Brian Taylor)

    As the brigadier of this parish used to say, more or less, the following remarks, in response to Brian Taylor's article (and naturally disregarding, as always, anglo-unionist invective of a shrill, hysterical and offensive character), represent a personal opinion in purely general terms.

    It is arguably too late for there to be a debate in the UK about whether the expected public-spending cuts should happen, as the previous UK government, in response to the great systemic crisis, set a machine in motion which - so it would appear - cannot now be stopped. That is to say that the UK committed resources to bailing out 'too-big-to-fail' financial institutions to such an extent that there is now a UK public-debt problem which the bond markets require to be addressed urgently. In other words, the bond-market vigilantes of the financial sector, having held a gun to HMG's head, are forcing HM Government to cut its spending in a way and at a pace which distinguished economists such as Professor Nouriel Roubini regard as hazardous and unlikely to produce "a happy ending".

    Apparently unable to prevent itself from pursuing this hazardous course of action, despite the arguable case for stimulating the economy in the short term rather than taking action which will tend to slow it down at a time when the level of unemployment is already high, the UK state is setting about reducing the public sector at dangerously high speed, while the UK economy shows little if any sign of having the capacity to generate sufficient growth to absorb unemployment created as a result of this, not least in Scotland, where the devolved administration conspicuously lacks the powers that would be needed to counteract optimally the effects of both the great systemic crisis that it is faced with and questionable policies pursued by UK governments in response to it.

    Some analysts consider that, when the fall-out from the systemic crisis has settled, the global economic and financial system will reign supreme. Once that occurs the nation-states of the West will tend, so it is argued, to join those of the global south as hollow states: mere shells of states that serve only to enforce the interests of the global economic system. These states, more market-states than nation-states, will offer citizens a mere vestige of the public goods they offered historically. Incomes will fall to surprisingly low levels (due in part to highly portable productivity), and wealth will stratify.

    Regulatory protections will be weak. Civil-service pensions will be erased. Corruption, which is already firmly established in the US oligarchy, where US Congressmen do the bidding of the US Chamber of Commerce for a price and dare not cross it, will spread. The once-dominant militaries of the West will be reduced to a small fraction of their current size, and their focus will be on the maintenance of internal control rather than external threats. The clear and unambiguous message to every citizen of the West will be: you are on your own; you are in direct competition with everyone else in the world, and your success or failure is something you alone control.

    Although some will no doubt assume that this will bring about a surge of peaceful economic vigour, it is argued that it will actually tend to fragment society and lead to perpetual stagnation/depression, endemic corruption and squalor. In the absence of any moral basis (a social compact), stability or (widely-shared) prosperity, new sources of order will tend to emerge to fill the gap left by the hollowing out of the nation-state.

    These new sources of order will be first seen, it is argued, in the rise of the criminal entrepreneur, whether that be the besuited corporate gangster or the gang-tattooed thug, for in the world of hollow states (without a morality that limits behaviour) and limitless connectivity to the global economic system, these criminal entrepreneurs quickly become influential and potentially dominant, coercing or corrupting everyone and everything blocking the path to their enrichment.

    As these developments take hold, you have a choice:

    A.You can stand alone and do nothing, thereby suffering the predations of those whose influence and power have increased at your expense.
    B.You can join them and prey on your former compatriots, enriching yourself in the process.
    C.You can build something new: resilient communities and economic networks based on freedom, prosperity and a new social compact, which would involve, among other things, as President Sarkozy will be recommending to the G20 and G7 in the months ahead, directing banks away from pure speculation and towards greater investment in the real economy and maintaining an effective public sector.

    In this scenario which option might the subjects of Her Gracious Majesty be expected to choose? Mostly options A and B, wouldn't you say, south of Hadrian's Wall? Which option would/should Scots choose? Let us cut to the chase: it has to be option C. In order to be free to do that, however, they will clearly need a state of their own, for, if they do not choose independence, they will be, whether they like it or not, in an anglo-unionist market-state either as described above, in terms designed to illustrate a point, or veering alarmingly in that direction.

    For those who are attached to it the decline and fall of Blighty, accelerated by the crisis, is a disaster, certainly, but it is also an opportunity for Scots, which they should seize with both hands after the winter of discontent that is looming on the horizon as deep and damaging cuts are made to pay for the bail-out of the financial sector so that it can reign supreme.

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  • 15. At 6:13pm on 15 Sep 2010, Dunroamin wrote:

    10. That 'white paper' is awash with utopian spin and devoid of all substance. Not one question I asked in #1 is answered in that document.

    It sticks to the nationalist claim that Scotland runs a 'surplus', again neglecting to add that 'surplus' only exists if you discount billions in spending.
    It mentions the oil fund but not where the money will come from.
    It mentions the 'Arc of Prosperity' but strangely doesn't mention that Iceland and Ireland are either bankrupt or heading that way.

    Maybe you can find one answer to one of my questions in that document?

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  • 16. At 6:17pm on 15 Sep 2010, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    UK Economy and Unemployment.

    3 facts are of primary interest to Scotland, whether considered as part of the UK or otherwise.

    a) All economic levers are Reserved to Westminster and monetory aspects to the Bank of England . Scotlands continual lagging behind to the South of the UK shows that policies are not geared, ever, to our Economy.

    b) As Eddie George the former BofE governer admitted, unemployment in the North is a price worth paying for prosperity in the South. Nothing has changed since then, nor will it.

    c) The Scottish Economy is an Energy Economy and the UK Economy ie Englands is based on Finance and services + property.

    How can Scotland grow when there is absolutely no UK model to allow Scotland to Grow? Simply, it cannot and that is why, as records show, that Scotland always trails the South. There is no mystery.


    Another way of looking at this is from the famous quote on insanity:
    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."

    UK Governence of our economy has year after year, decade after decade, delivered poor growth - even during the oil boom. How can anyone expect a different result without a major change? Those that do, according to the quote, must be insane.

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  • 17. At 6:20pm on 15 Sep 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    RE I noticed you avoided answering my #60. And yes since you are a Tory it would not surprise me that you like PFI. I wouldnt trust you lot to come back with the right change if you were shopping for your granny.

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  • 18. At 6:20pm on 15 Sep 2010, Dunroamin wrote:

    Let's check on our progress.

    Out of nine nationalist posts....

    "Will the nationalists stick to their usual insults, abuse, complaints and ridiculous easily-dismissed claims..."

    I count eight who did.

    "or will we finally see something different? Something informed? Something based in this reality?"

    Well, if you call the 'White Paper' an informed response based on reality....no, not really. But I'll count it here as it was an honest attempt.

    There you have it. An opportunity to promote the nationalist argument but almost all responses were insults, abuse, complaints and ridiculous easily-dismissed claims.

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  • 19. At 6:31pm on 15 Sep 2010, inmykip wrote:

    #1, #2 "Salmond thinks we are going to be filthy rich from selling renewable energy abroad." Hey Expat, Wee Eck obviously reads your postings and has realised just what a rich source of superheated hot air you are.

    What is of much more immediate interest to everyone in Scotland and the UK for that matter is what will the Tory budget cuts be, what economic nightmare will be delivered upon us by your favourite unionist Westminster party Expat? Who will suffer and by how much Expat?

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  • 20. At 6:36pm on 15 Sep 2010, inmykip wrote:

    #4, #12 by the way lads, RE is being paid to spew forth his vile, the problem is his employer thinks they are paying him to do some other job, not waste his employer's time and money making anti-SNP and anti-independance propoganda postings on a BBC website. If he was one of my employees he'd be receiving his P45 for non-management approved use of company resources.

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  • 21. At 6:39pm on 15 Sep 2010, Patch Bruce wrote:

    Ex pat Some questions.
    Are you actually in any way Scottish?
    Really Are you?
    So what economic policies do you think would make Scotland Better?
    English Mp's on the tory back benchers want to hit Scotland, hard with cuts. what do you think about that view?
    How will labour ever counter act the tory cuts in Scotland from within the union?
    Once independence is won will you call yourself Scottish.
    Labour policies have failed Scotland time and time again, what is the answer?
    Electricity is the new oil, What would you do to ensure Scotland benefits from the revenue streams.

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  • 22. At 6:49pm on 15 Sep 2010, Patch Bruce wrote:

    Yes R.E. 9 posts against your one, how do you think that reflects across the country? It shows people who care are nine times in favour of Scotland than britain. The rest need only some gentle persuasion to join us.

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  • 23. At 7:08pm on 15 Sep 2010, Paul McDonald wrote:

    #15, Reluctant-Expat

    "...It mentions the oil fund but not where the money will come from.
    It mentions the 'Arc of Prosperity' but strangely doesn't mention that Iceland and Ireland are either bankrupt or heading that way."

    I suggest that you make use of the Preview feature and read your comments before posting them.

    Not surprisingly, the money for an Oil Fund comes from......wait for it.......Oil.

    And your second point was clearly discredited in a previous blog post where the official IMF projections for Ireland and Iceland show that both will continue to be better off per head than the UK, despite your "expert" analysis. For your convenience, the figures are quoted again below:

    Country 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
    Iceland 36750 37752 38942 40309 42738 45042
    Ireland 39009 40223 41571 43107 44710 46341
    UK 35083 36237 37708 39240 40807 42338
    Norway 52964 54274 55825 57517 59291 61125

    Keep in mind that within those UK figures, which are lower than two countries you believe to be heading for bankruptcy, Scotland is the poor partner and our figures would likely be even lower.

    Now, I will gladly take the SNP's "utopian spin", based on actual facts and figures, than unionist scaremongering, based on peoples fears and misconceptions.

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  • 24. At 7:38pm on 15 Sep 2010, Patch Bruce wrote:

    RE
    oh by the way, re the excess electricity. What will happen is that this electricity will be used to make hydrogen which will be used to run non polluting cars and generators throughout the world. You really must do some reading!

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  • 25. At 8:19pm on 15 Sep 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    Can I ask a genuine question raised by RE's post.
    Is England self sufficient in it's energy supplies? I've done a quick search but can't find much info on this.

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  • 26. At 8:37pm on 15 Sep 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #25 snowthistle ... Am not sure about England but i know that Scotland used less electric one day 2 weeks ago that was produced by wind so Scotland is definitely in a good place. I believe England is in line for 3 new nuclear power stations since they will have to decommission some very near in the future. What RE forgets to mention is that the decommissioning of the old power stations and indeed the new ones to be built will not be payed for by the electricity company but by the taxpayer.

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  • 27. At 8:45pm on 15 Sep 2010, lionelair wrote:

    "The rate is up and the trend is worse than south of the border"

    Wales has no border with Scotland as far as I can see and isn't part of England, so I can only assume that you were comparing unemployment in England and Scotland, not anywhere else in the UK. Or were you?

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  • 28. At 9:06pm on 15 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    25. snowthistle
    "Is England self sufficient in it's energy supplies? I've done a quick search but can't find much info on this."

    No and the same negative fits water, food and oil.

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  • 29. At 9:11pm on 15 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    "Scottish unemployment - it's up again"

    Its called the union dividend Brian you should know by now, oops you work for the BBC so these things dont affect yourself its like the nuclear industry jobs for life at taxpayers expense.

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  • 30. At 9:19pm on 15 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    I hear Ross Finie lied to Holyrood the other day Brian has that not been flagged up in pravda house yet. I also hear that 300 - 400 BBC employees have been assigned to some visit starting tomorrow any ideas to what is going on with our taxes bar keeping the bankers in a life of luxury.

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  • 31. At 9:46pm on 15 Sep 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #28 clammyleg ... and soon to be gas. New terminal in Wales to import frozen gas by ship to supply the country.

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  • 32. At 10:01pm on 15 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    The similarities between GB and RE are very striking in that one thought he saved the world and the other thinks he can save the union using lies coupled with manipulation in their assesments over the economy.

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  • 33. At 10:15pm on 15 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    31. Ubinworryinmasheep

    Isn't satisfying to be sucked dry by a leech!

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  • 34. At 10:25pm on 15 Sep 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    #1. Reluctant-Expat

    OK. Arsenal are up at half time and the game is kinda over, so nothing else to do other than pass a few moments reading the posts here.

    I'm probably not the one you want answering your question because I don't actually belong to any party. I would like to vote for somebody who was away at whichever parliament and looking after MY interests, rather than the interests of a party. That means I don't particularly agree with all of the policies of any party but currently the SNP gives me the closest to what I would want to see happen. My interest in Labour stopped when Real Old Traditional Labour (Rotlab if you like) lost the likes of Michael Foot and Tony Benn and stopped thinking and acting for the people they represent and thought more of their own self interest. My interest in the Conservatives ended when the midwife skelped my erchie all those years ago, and I never really considered any of the other minority parties in a position to have the clout to change things to what I saw as a better future. So, again probably not the person you want here but ...

    I can't obviously speak for the SNP but independence to me would mean my country running it's own affairs and making it's own decisions without having to ask for permission. If any other party gave me that option, I would consider them for my vote if their other policies were acceptable. It would be a weighing up process. But runnning things for ourselfs is the top of the list. If that is not included in their list my vote is not included on the ballot for their party. I am of a mind that I don't expect it always to be better. I expect good time and bad. But running things on our own for ourselves at our own pace is all that matters to me.


    "What tax regime would they introduce?"

    That would probably depend on who won the election for the parliament in question. If Labour it would probably differ from SNP which would probably differ from Tory which ... etc ... personally, don't know, don't care. I am realistic enough to know I have to pay tax. If the government elected to serve the country at that time decided all tax should be paid in one lump sum so be it. If they decided to keep the current system of 'tax by a thousand cuts' then so be it. I would probably end up paying about the same in the long term - I can't envisage anyone varying this much because they are looking for re-election every few years and I think this might not be a wise move to change it too much. Personally, I would be happy tidying up the whole system with an income tax for general taxation, a local income tax for council expenditure and a VAT style tax which would allow me to choose the products I wanted and the more I wanted to buy the more I would need to pay. The more I earned the more I would spend. To me it spreads the load, but I am sure some here might not agree. I think that I would then know exactly what I was paying rather than VAT/road tax/fuel tax/income tax/water tax/community tax/... etc. I don't hold a degree in economics so could be totally wrong or simplistic. As for business taxes ??? no idea. Don't have a business, so I would need to leave this to someone in the parliament to negotiate/decide. How do you yourself feel about this? What kind of tax system would you want the people in Scotland to pay?


    "What would their spending plans be?"

    I would hope fair ones. Again it depends on the colour of the rosettes worn by the winning party at the election. My simplistic view would be a general spending plan for the country as a whole, plus a central budget given to each region to cope with local spending issues which could be topped up by the local income tax. I would hope that this was based on a formula of population needs (central belt more populated than other areas) but also on land coverage (Highlands has many roads to upkeep, etc compared to central Glasgow or Edinburgh. That would see improvements to all of the country being possible rather than all of the money being spent buying a train system for Paisley for example. What type of spending plans would you like the people of Scotland to have? Do you differ from my thoughs?


    "Would spending be higher than now? If so, where would the money come from?"

    Probably over the long term it would grow. My salary in 1972 when I started work was £240 per year and houses were about £5000. Over time both of these have risen. I would expect this to be a continuing trend, with some minor hickups along the way as at present. Spending would be based I would hope on income. If there is a flux of incomers to the country because the life style is good there would be more money available to raise spending. If a lot of people became ex-pats then probably less spending. I would imaging it is called the economy. Would it stop me wanting to run our own country in our own way if spending went down? No! I would have the satisfaction that we were in that position by our own decisions rather than other people with other interests putting us in that position. What do you think the spending plans would be for an independent state? Even give an analogy from a different country - China? Brazil, Leichtenstein, Norway, Cyprus, Monaco, Azerbijan, ..... Which of these independent countries would be most like us and why do you think that. I would happily settle for any of the Scandanavian or Iclandic economies or the likes of Holland or Ireland. I think their standard of living is acceptable and I think we are financially better than the likes of Luxemburgh and Cyprus, but that is only my opinion. What do you think?


    "Would taxes be lower than now? If so, what spending programmes would lose out?"

    Don't know but I suspect they would be about the same. Most governments try to live within their means (most I said ...) Setting the same tax levels as now would give the same spending power more or less, setting the same business taxes would give the same income more or less. I would assume there would be some changes in money available from feul duties etc. but I would still think that if the elected party are not acting in our best interests they would not get voted back in to serve another period in government so at the backs of their minds this should keep them on a direction that was a benefit to us rather than a hinderance. So far I don't think the SNP party have done that badly when you consider they have to battle the other parties to make any headway. The comparison would be Westminster where a majority party could do anything it wanted because there is not enough votes in the opposition to stop them. That I think is dangerous and has been shown so recently with the amount of overspend we have at present. I think I would trust the Scottish parliament so far to work within it's means, but obviously I could not be completely sure until they get the chance to put it into practice. That is why I would always vote for independence.


    "All we hear from the nationalists is ill-informed criticism of anything and everything the UK does with no nationalist alternative."

    Sorry can't help you here, but the above would be along the lines of my hopes. Whether the Nationalists of GBPLC or ScotlandPLC agree is open to discussion. My thoughts may very well be ill informed - as I said I am not an economist or a politition, but they are my thoughts and I hold them dear to me. If a prospective candidate or their party tell me I am mad for picking the party of my current choice I would certainly not vote for them - they have no right to TELL me I am stupid - I can work that out for myself. If the other party or candidate tried to convince me to view things differently I would then politely listen and think about what was being said. However, under no circumstances would I be persuaded to vote for a party that did not want to make my country independent. I have to say I would also not vote for as party that's sole reason for voting for them was to stop others. They have to convince me their ideas are BETTER and not just jump up and down shouting 'na na na na na - we stopped you getting in - na na na na na'. My vote should be worth a darn sight more work than that and if not they are definately not worth voting for.


    "Salmond wants an 'Oil Fund' but as we already spend our full share of the oil, where would he cut spending from to save the oil revenues?"

    I haven't quite been convinced by this arguement you have used recently but as I said above I am open to persuasion. Where is the printed official data to confirm this. Does it brake it down into regional data at the same time. For instance, how much has been used to benefit the Highlands so far? Do you have a percentage chart for head of population for the different areas of the UK? Has it all been used here or has some of the funds been used for other things like Foreign Aid, or Defence budgets, or Olympic stadium or MP expences, etc. What has the money been used for? I did hear that a new oil find has been announced in the North Sea and there have been a few big announcements regarding renewable contracts in the past few days. Are all of the taxes and incomes from this already spoken for or is this still to be decided? If it is still to be decided why can't the decision be to start a trust fund if that is what the independent parliament wanted to do? Are there any rules to stop this happening? Surely by becoming independent we would be able to make new decisions ourself anyway. If the current direction of this money's use is not what we want or desire, we could divert it to whereever we wanted to aim it. Surely decisions like that are what governemnts are for. If we can change tax levels and spending as you suggested above we can surely do the same to income from oil and renewables, cant we?


    "Salmond thinks we are going to be filthy rich from selling renewable energy abroad. But all our neighbours can supply their own energy needs so who would we sell it to?"

    Does he. That is not the best turn of phrase I would have though for someone in his elevated position as the leader of the Nation, but I will take you at your word. In an independent Scotland, England and Wales would be classed as abroad - are they self sufficient in energy? Are ALL of our neighbours fully self sufficient? Where do the Faroe Islands get all their energy? Is it bought from outside (Russia - Iceland - UK?) and therefore they are not self sufficient? Is Ireland fully self sufficient? We know Norway is, but what about Sweden and Denmark or the Isle of Man. What about France? I don't know the answers to these so I am hoping you can tell be definitively what the current situation is. Are you sure they are ALL self sufficient. I was under the assumption that Norway at least sold some of it's resources to it's neighbours, but I could obviously be wrong. If this is the case why would a self sufficient state buy extra resourses? Are they storing it up for a rainy day? Is there another reason I can't think of?



    "One nationalist suggested we build massive stadium-sized batteries and ship the energy further afield (how long would they last/cost, what would happen to the 'empties'?...). Does anyone have any other ideas?"

    Sorry this is a new one on me. How do you know he/she was a 'nationalist' and what Nation was he/she a nationalist of? Do you have a link to this data? A stadium sized battery would be pretty big and would be difficult to get along the road system north of the central belt, so I hope they are going to build it close to the shore. Having said that, stranger things have been discussed before. There was a plan to blow up a mountain in Harris and transport it by ferry to give stone for the London motorway system so anything is possible. As for the empties - I am old enough to remember when you used to get 3d back on empty lemonade bottles. That might be a good source of income for someone - returning the big battery empties. Might need to pay a bit for the big lorry though and the petrol for that up here would cost a fortune. Just as well we would be independent and able to set our own fuel tax level.


    "Well, let's hear it!"

    Well that is some of the views I have. Again, you might not count them as worth very much because I tend to be independent of party as well as in hope for my country, so maybe I am the wrong clientelle.


    But what of yourself.
    I assume your 'expat' means that you do not reside in Scotland any more and therefore will not be affected by any of these decisions. So I would assume for yourself the following answers would apply -

    "What tax regime would they introduce?"
    Wouldn't matter because you would be paying the taxes of the state you currently stay in.

    "What would their spending plans be?"
    Wouldn't matter because the state you live in will have its own spending plans.

    "Would spending be higher than now? If so, where would the money come from?"
    Wouldn't matter because it would not benefit or hinder you and the money would come from us.

    "Would taxes be lower than now? If so, what spending programmes would lose out?"
    Wouldn't matter because your taxes would remain the same and your spending would remain the same unless you are controlled by Westminster post independence and they decide on your behalf to change things.

    How do you think all of the above questions will be answered in England and Wales post independence? Do you go with the same fate as you think Scotland will face or do you think they will thrive uncontrolably? Where will they get their finances to move forward? Will their taxes rise, fall or stay the same? Obviously if there is a break in the current situation, both sides will inevitable change. How do you see our neighbours coping?

    As you concluded in your own post -

    "Well, let's hear it!"

    PS Arsenal just won 6-0 so entertaining here and on the tele.

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  • 35. At 10:28pm on 15 Sep 2010, fairliered wrote:

    The private sector, like so much of Scottish society, needs confidence in the future to help revitalise it. Independence would help, as would a reduction in the stifling control with which it has been burdened by Labour controlled governments, councils and quangos. Given their record over many years, a case could be put forward for membership of the Labour Party being a reason to disqualify a person from holding senior office. But then, who would run BBC Scotland, Brian?

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  • 36. At 10:32pm on 15 Sep 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    #2. Reluctant-Expat wrote:

    "Insert your coins....now!"

    Now you can see why independence interests me so much. Putting more coins in would mean a further drain from the Scottish economy. There are many ways of reducing the budget overspend but asking for an extra contribution solely from independence seekers is surely not a fair way to proceed. Maybe a better financial direction should be sought - in fact should have been sought many years ago.

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  • 37. At 10:54pm on 15 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    34. highlandarab

    Bated breath awaits the reply.

    Away to view the site that can't be mentioned on here which has over 950 subscribers which has a speakers corner and is always open to freespeech and extra contributions by individuals.

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  • 38. At 11:08pm on 15 Sep 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #37 Come on in boys the waters fine an warm !

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  • 39. At 11:23pm on 15 Sep 2010, oldmack wrote:

    The question was asked, where does the power come from.
    System Transfers
    N.Ireland to Great Britain: -172MW
    France to Great Britain : 1484MW
    15/09/2010 22:00:00 GMT

    North-South: 3251MW
    Scot - Eng: 1745MW
    15/09/2010 22:15:00 GMT
    Try this for the answer RE, NI was drawing 172Mw from the UK
    France was sending to the UK 1484 Mw
    The North of England was sending South 1745 Mw
    Scotland was sending to England 1745Mw
    So we have the situation that England SE requires power from France, the North of England and Scotland to enable that same SE England to export to NI.

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  • 40. At 11:36pm on 15 Sep 2010, ziggyboy wrote:

    highlandrab should edit his name to highlandrabbit - God you do go on and on.

    Unemployment will be allowed to rise in Scotland to protect our neighbours downs south. I would bet we ain't seen nothing yet.

    By the way has anyone seen anything from GrannyAnne recently.

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  • 41. At 11:40pm on 15 Sep 2010, oldnat wrote:

    39. oldmack

    Interesting data (which I didn't even know existed!) - but I thought the NI transfer was via the power line across Ayrshire. ie direct from Scotland. Is there an additional transfer system?

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  • 42. At 11:52pm on 15 Sep 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    #40. ziggyboy

    ??? He wanted a discussion. I gave him the option to join in.

    He wanted to know some thoughts from the independence side. I gave him my thoughts in case they were of interest to him.

    A discussion needs to be at least 2-way. If it results in yes/no points then why bother?

    I'll give it until tea time tomorrow to see if the conversation continues. If no reply then I can safely assume any result I like. I win or I have converted him to my way of thinking, or maybe scared to discuss or ... anything else.

    There is nothing on the tele anyway so why not try to get his point of view.

    As for granny. The one I live with went to bed to watch the tele and miss the footie. Not the same one as you are probably looking for but I am sure if you are in desperate need of the company of a granny I could work out some sort of deal. Does that sound fair?

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  • 43. At 00:07am on 16 Sep 2010, ziggyboy wrote:

    highlandarab you will soon be in the running for writing a book longer than War and Peace.

    By the way I am not in need of granny I have one of my own but thanks anyway.

    Still wondering about Grannyanne.

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  • 44. At 00:44am on 16 Sep 2010, oldnat wrote:

    42. highlandarab

    I always assumed that it was the Onionists who would sell their Granny!

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  • 45. At 03:08am on 16 Sep 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #44 oldnat did you not see my 17 ? Grannys are useful

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  • 46. At 07:50am on 16 Sep 2010, redrobb wrote:

    #34+ Highlandarab

    Do you have any Irish blood,cos I suspect you can talk the hind legs aff a donkey! Crikey I recall when these rantings were text limited!

    Given the approaching papel visit (not to mention co$t$), we had a rather public confession in the form of the governor bank of sassenachs! It was bankers and fininacial gurus that cost this particular recession, but somehow we must now all pull together and take the decades of pain! If we don't these very same groups of bankers and financial whatevers will make us suffer again and again! The gap between and financial clout of the haves and those have nots, shall grow ever wider! Being a bit of a heathen was it the bible that said that the root of all evil, is MONEY! So does that suggest that those with the most are exactly just that! I sure this little thought does not go unmissed by his papelness, rather than conviently averted with no hyprocracy, aye richt!

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  • 47. At 08:59am on 16 Sep 2010, Fit Like wrote:

    "44. At 00:44am on 16 Sep 2010, oldnat wrote:
    42. highlandarab

    I always assumed that it was the Onionists who would sell their Granny!
    "

    Maybe they just shoved her off a bus...

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  • 48. At 09:11am on 16 Sep 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Conservative MP Bernard Jenkins:

    He said he did not think that the(Trident)delay would happen because it would "disturb the Conservative Party very, very much" and would be the "maddest" decision to take, increasing the long term costs of replacing Trident and undermine the UK's foreign policy.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The capacity of our W.M.D. dictates our foreign policy ?

    I find this attitude astonishing.




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  • 49. At 09:44am on 16 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    34. At 10:25pm on 15 Sep 2010, highlandarab wrote:
    "My interest in the Conservatives ended when the midwife skelped my erchie all those years ago"

    If you advise the PC brigade they will get her arrested for child abuse :-)

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  • 50. At 09:52am on 16 Sep 2010, Westie wrote:

    34. At 10:25pm on 15 Sep 2010, highlandarab wrote:
    #1. Reluctant-Expat

    You can add this to your WHAT-IF scenario.
    What would the required Tax revenue be if it didn't have to support a bonkers foreign policy and the military hardware required to support it.

    Personaly I think the nutters of the world wouldnae bother about Scotland, especially if we took a Sweden like stance and kept neutral, designed and built our own planes and "patrol" boats.

    After all we have the bases and infrastructure, Strategic Power Projection wouldn't even be a thought. The UK is looking at a budget that includes WMD, the new Joint Strike Fighter which doesnt do half the job of the harrier and carriers it cannot afford which is beside the jobs issue. Scotland doesnt need this.

    Jobs can be created by building ourselves a country and the tools the country needs. Then you'll be able to afford and army without ripping the heart out of your regiments, be able to afford and engineer a coastal navy which meets your needs, and build aircraft that are fit for purpose, defend you skys and "patrol you waters" which is something that is missing right now.

    Can anybody think of any possible threat once we are no longer associated with the madness of UK foreign policy. After all look what we have given the world. I see it everytime I walk through a foreign city with a Scotland shirt, Kilt and Glengarry and about 5000 of my countrymen.

    Subjugation no longer.

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  • 51. At 10:08am on 16 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    50. At 09:52am on 16 Sep 2010, fasteagle100 wrote:
    "Can anybody think of any possible threat once we are no longer associated with the madness of UK foreign policy."

    What if some nutter plants or drops a nuclear bomb in Newcastle or Carlisle or Northern Ireland - remmeber the after affects of Chernobyl.

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  • 52. At 11:20am on 16 Sep 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Assuming we could identify the " nutter" are you advocating MAD?

    Personally I think that the most ludicrous attitude for renewing any nuclear weapon.

    If some " nutter " ( and I can see one very large one in the West) drops a WMD anywhere in the world then Armageddon is on!

    We've all had it and some religious bunch will claim it as Gods doing prior to dying.

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  • 53. At 11:29am on 16 Sep 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    51.

    'What if some nutter plants or drops a nuclear bomb in Newcastle or Carlisle or Northern Ireland - remmeber the after affects of Chernobyl.'

    The after effects of Chernobyl are the very reason why nuclear disarmament is essential.

    Are you aware that the UK is not in a position to launch retaliatory strike without US permission ?

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  • 54. At 12:41pm on 16 Sep 2010, bingowings87 wrote:

    #25, 28, 31,

    Just a wee point. You may be under the impression that Scotland is self sufficient in oil. Well it isn't. Scotland imports around 20 million Tonnes a year of crude (typically from West Africa) to supply its only oil Refinery. This accounts for around 40% of the refinery capacity, and there are plans afoot to increase this. The reason - North Sea Oil is increasingly not of a suitable quality to run through the Refinery, therefore to meet Scottish demand it is necessay to import this amount of crude.

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  • 55. At 12:41pm on 16 Sep 2010, oldnat wrote:

    51. Sheneval
    "What if some nutter plants or drops a nuclear bomb in Newcastle or Carlisle or Northern Ireland"

    So Iran and North Korea are right to want WMD in case some nutter drops a bomb on Tehran or Pyongyang?

    And what about someone sending trained porpoises with nuclear attachments to attack Aberdeen? Clearly we need to plan for that unlikely scenario as well. The obvious answer is to surround the entire coastline with porpoise resistant nets. Hang the cost! Plan for every possibility.

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  • 56. At 12:50pm on 16 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    53. At 11:29am on 16 Sep 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:
    "The after effects of Chernobyl are the very reason why nuclear disarmament is essential."

    I agree and I'm all in favour of nuclear disarmament but that has nothing to do with with fasteagle's question which I was answering:


    "Are you aware that the UK is not in a position to launch retaliatory strike without US permission ?"

    Like most ordinary people in this country, I.m not privy to the secret military agreements between Britain and the USA, but thanks for the information.

    However, I don't think it will make much difference if some nutter plants a NB as we could hardly retaliate against another country for actions of this nature.

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  • 57. At 12:53pm on 16 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    52. At 11:20am on 16 Sep 2010, Diabloandco wrote:
    "Assuming we could identify the " nutter" are you advocating MAD?

    Personally I think that the most ludicrous attitude for renewing any nuclear weapon."


    I was merely answering fasteagle's question, not advocating anything.

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  • 58. At 1:27pm on 16 Sep 2010, frankly francophone wrote:

    #46

    The causes of the financial and economic crises can certainly be stated in personal terms. Persons and organizations, specifically bankers and financial institutions, can be blamed and indeed should be, as the governor of the Bank of Blighty has unavoidably acknowledged. In order to identify means by which a recurrence of the particular phenomenon in question might be prevented, however, assuming for the sake of argument that this is possible, one needs to look beyond the scene of the crime, as it were, to identify what factors made it possible.

    Stated in very general terms, and cutting a long story short while striving not to make a political point, it is generally recognized that the actors in this drama did what they did because the global regulatory framework in which they were operating not only was conducive to such conduct but made it inevitable. When, under pressure from the US Chamber of Commerce and its considerable injection of 'campaign contributions' to persuade the US Congress to open the gates wider to casino capitalism, the Clinton administration in the United States removed the Glass-Steagall regulatory safeguards which had been put in place in the 1930s to prevent a recurrence of the Great Depression or the occurrence of anything comparable to that, it set in motion a process which gathered pace inexorably until other jurisdictions, notably the UK, followed suit with comparable deregulation. So the global financial system eventually found itself up to its neck in worthless toxic derivatives consisting in packages of bad loans made by banks and other financial institutions for the purpose of speculation. There is so much more that one could say about this, but the point that I am making is simply that deregulation broke the financial system. A painful lesson was learned in the 1930s, and commerce paid politicians to unlearn it in the 1990s and to keep it unlearned.

    Has the system been fixed? Very doubtful, but we shall see. What we can see at present is that the damage which has been caused by the crisis is still unfolding. Governments of states such as the UK felt constrained for short-term political and other reasons to devote vast resources to rescuing the financial institutions which had become insolvent. Accounting regulations were changed in various countries, most notably the United States, to allow stricken banks to conceal the true extent of the damage which they had sustained, and governments, not least the UK government, plunged their public finances into disorder, because rescuing financial institutions from this particular gargantuan mess actually required resources which were far in excess of the capacity of states to provide without damaging themselves, unless they had prepared themselves sufficiently for a rainy day, as Norway did with its oil fund, for instance, a measure for which Professor Joseph Stiglitz, for example, has nothing but the most fulsome of praise.

    Sooner or later the UK's public finances will have to be rescued from the extreme disorder into which they have been plunged. This will apparently entail a contraction of the state beyond anything that one would have conceived of a decade ago or even five years ago. The degree of public-spending reduction which deregulation and the response to the crisis caused by it are leading to is on the way to producing an intriguingly ominous socio-political scenario resulting from the fact that the recuing of the financial system has driven the state to the brink of bankruptcy. In the desperate rush to get back from the brink a strong measure of social injustice and divisiveness appears to be going to be the defining feature of UK politics for the foreseeable future.

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  • 59. At 2:17pm on 16 Sep 2010, bingowings87 wrote:

    #54,

    Whoops that should have been barrels, not tonnes. Apologies.

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  • 60. At 2:50pm on 16 Sep 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #34

    Interesting piece I read recently froma synopsis of the McCrone report on what happened to the oil money.

    "REVEALING COMMUNICATIONS
    There were revealing communications between Brian Wilmot at the Dept of Industry and McCrone where they faced the "problem" that oil revenues could so strengthen the pound that it would cripple Uk exports while sucking in imports. The answer they felt would be to spend the oil money on UK infrastucture projects.
    HERE ARE WILMOT'S SUGGESTIONS
    * The road networks between Tilbury docks and the English Midlands
    * Dealing with trade union "restrictive practices"
    * Building a London outer ring road
    * Supporting the proposed Channel Tunnel

    McCrone pointed out that the Scots would be leas than pleased with Scottish oil revenue being spent entirely in the South of England.
    But we know from history that, while some of it went into the military spending black hole, this is exactly what they did with the oil money."

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  • 61. At 3:34pm on 16 Sep 2010, SC808 wrote:

    The late Jimmy Reid, in his famous acceptance speech as rector of Glasgow University said – ‘Any society which…permits over one million people to be unemployed is far too permissive for my liking.’ We know that there are currently around 2.5 million people unemployed in Britain today, which is not only permissive, but total abandonment on the government’s part.
    The Tory party are holding their Annual Conference in Birmingham on 3rd October- days before George Osborne announces the outcome of the Autumn Spending Review, which pledges cuts of up to 40% across every Government Department, including the Scottish Block Grant, and will undoubtedly lead to further unemployment.

    We can no longer be flippant about ‘the Left’ in Britain; it’s time that we actually stood together to fight these cuts. It’s not just ‘the usual Left’ who are calling for strikes and demonstrations – BBC workers and Labour leadership candidates are also doing so.
    There are plenty of examples of struggles going on just now e.g. BBC workers defending their pensions, Glasgow Defend Our Services Campaign, campaigns to stop the closure of community centres, FBU members from all over the UK are marching on London today, the tube strikes, the list goes on.

    A national demonstration outside the Tory Party conference in Birmingham, on Sunday 3rd October, has been called. I think it's about time we all stood together, using all tools at our disposal and said enough's enough!

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  • 62. At 3:57pm on 16 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    55. At 12:41pm on 16 Sep 2010, oldnat wrote:
    "So Iran and North Korea are right to want WMD in case some nutter drops a bomb on Tehran or Pyongyang?

    And what about someone sending trained porpoises with nuclear attachments to attack Aberdeen? Clearly we need to plan for that unlikely scenario as well. The obvious answer is to surround the entire coastline with porpoise resistant nets. Hang the cost! Plan for every possibility."

    Wow - Three posters replying to my post and each one of them putting his own wrong and misleading interpretation into what was written. A not unusual feature on this blog but surprised to find the brains of the outfit joining in :-)

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  • 63. At 4:13pm on 16 Sep 2010, john wrote:

    #54 and #59
    logical flaw in your argument:

    How much of the refined crude is re-exported?

    What you have quoted is just the amount that is processed here, not the amount that is used here.

    John

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  • 64. At 5:15pm on 16 Sep 2010, oldnat wrote:

    62. Sheneval

    But your post was a great excuse to write about porpoises of mass destruction! :-)

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  • 65. At 5:28pm on 16 Sep 2010, Anagach wrote:

    54. At 12:41pm on 16 Sep 2010, bingowings87 wrote:

    Just a wee point. You may be under the impression that Scotland is self sufficient in oil.


    Em. Well lets see the UK figures for consumption are 1,763,000 bbl/day
    back in 2007 and production was 1,690,000 bbl/day with a neglible fraction comming from south of the border.

    So Scotland would need to consume some 95% of all the oil needs of
    the UK to fail to be self-suffcient.

    Thats a staggering claim.





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  • 66. At 5:48pm on 16 Sep 2010, bingowings87 wrote:

    #63,

    The point is not so much about the balance between supply and demand. The UK is a net exporter of Refined product. However that matters for little in the case of Grangemouth. North Sea Oil is becoming more sour, and Grangemouth is now not commercially viable running on it alone. Hence the need for the significant crude imports.

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  • 67. At 8:03pm on 16 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    64. At 5:15pm on 16 Sep 2010, oldnat wrote:
    "62. Sheneval
    But your post was a great excuse to write about porpoises of mass destruction! :-)"

    Personally I thought it was a bit of a fishy story :-)

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  • 68. At 9:29pm on 16 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 69. At 9:33pm on 16 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    66. bingowings87
    "The point is not so much about the balance between supply and demand. The UK is a net exporter of Refined product. However that matters for little in the case of Grangemouth. North Sea Oil is becoming more sour, and Grangemouth is now not commercially viable running on it alone. Hence the need for the significant crude imports."

    Grangemouth is owned by a Chinese company and it supplies Scotland, NI and N.England with road fuel as to your other assertions they are just that in economics and oil.

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  • 70. At 10:18pm on 16 Sep 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    68. At 9:29pm on 16 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:
    "Mammals aren't fish!"

    I knew some clever fount of all knowledge was going to pull me up for that one, but 'mammaly story' just didn't fit the bill. :-)

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  • 71. At 10:45pm on 16 Sep 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    70. Sheneval
    "I knew some clever fount of all knowledge was going to pull me up for that one, but 'mammaly story' just didn't fit the bill. :-)"

    Thought Richard Baker might of been reading this and we don't wish to confuse him anymore than he is already notwithstanding bingowings87.

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