From Indyref to Euroref: What's been learned?

referendum comp

A rifle through the attic recently turned up a memory of being 11 years old, newly taken by politics, and collecting stuff - the way boys do.

A tube of posters included campaign material from the 1975 referendum on British membership of what was then the European Economic Community.

As political messaging, some of it looks dated now. And just a bit sexist.

vietnam poster

And most extraordinary of all, it seems to indicate that if Britain wasn't inside the European club, it would be too small to face the mighty clashing forces of the Cold War that had forced Vietnamese refugees to take to perilous seas in rickety boats.

Next week will be 40 years on from the referendum, on 5 June 1975. And it's a sad reflection that we are now witness to not just a 21st century seaborne refugee crisis in Asia, but another that comes much closer to home, in the Mediterranean.

Read full article From Indyref to Euroref: What's been learned?

Price inflation: what goes down...

Shopper carrying shopping bags

It's 55 years since we last saw prices falling. It didn't last long, and nor is the deflation of prices announced this week by the Office for National Statistics.

Economists will tell you that deflation is generally a Very Bad Thing. Once people start anticipating that prices will be lower in future, they put off buying goods.

Read full article Price inflation: what goes down...

Jings! Crivvens!

SNP supporters cheer on general election night
The SNP secured 56 of the 59 seats available in Scotland

What's changed?

A lot.

Read full article Jings! Crivvens!

Shopping around

Sainsbury's store in East London

Britain's supermarkets continue to feel the pain from having to adapt to our changing behaviour.

Sainsbury's was the most recent one to report falling sales.

Read full article Shopping around

Lubricating the oil cycle

Total's north sea oil rig

The oil price is on the rise again. Having fallen below $50 per barrel of Brent crude, it's currently trading close to $67.

So while drivers and oil-burning businesses find prices rising a bit (but well below levels seen last summer, when it was $115), is that the crisis over for the oil industry?

Read full article Lubricating the oil cycle

More than merely paper losses

Tullis Russell product

Scotland used to be quite good at making paper. It fed a healthy demand, fuelled by all that world-beating literacy and education.

The industry is thought to have begun in Dalry, Edinburgh, as early as 1590. As a sizeable market for paper in government, publishing, commerce, the university and the law courts, the capital continued to dominate, with dozens of mills along the Water of Leith.

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Who to trust at Alliance Trust?

Electronic read-out of share prices along its front of the Alliance Trust building

You might not notice the big modern black box on Dundee's West Marketgait unless your eye is caught by the electronic read-out of share prices along its frontage.

It's just across the road from Debenhams and the Overgate shopping centre, but this isn't a building most Taysiders would take in on a day in the city centre.

Read full article Who to trust at Alliance Trust?

Go compare: Scotland's place in the world


Ronald Reagan got into the White House with the question: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?". So 35 years later, are you better off than at the last election?

Part of the answer is the highly contested issue of real spending power. Tories can tell a positive story using real household net income (including benefit and tax changes as well as pay), while Labour prefers to tell a negative story about squeezed spending power, using real earnings.

Read full article Go compare: Scotland's place in the world

Scotland's full fiscal challenges

British banknotes

That £7.6bn figure won't go away. Until now, that is. It now has companion numbers. And they're even bigger.

So £9.7bn may now become the big number that gets batted around the final two weeks of the election campaign - and beyond.

Read full article Scotland's full fiscal challenges

Is your job a flexible friend or foe?

Jobcentre window

Something has gone surprisingly right about the jobs market. Even David Cameron is describing it as a "miracle" - generously ascribing to supernatural powers what other prime ministers might have claimed, at election time, as their own handiwork.

The most recent figures show 248,000 more people in work across the UK, when winter is compared with last autumn. At the same time, 76,000 fewer people were looking for work.

Read full article Is your job a flexible friend or foe?