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Laurence

The Big Scottish Independence Debate

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That's a bit defeatist, Sneckboy! Anything could happen.

 

My feeling is that Yes only have the support of 35%-40% of the electorate BUT the Yessers are far more likely to get off their backsides to actually vote. 

 

As for the million who supposedly signed the petition, it's a shame it's anonymous because I'm fairly sure you'd find Charles Bannerman's name on it, dozens of times!

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This is just an honest simple question that I would be grateful if one of our "YES" supporting friends would be good enough to answer.

 

Today I got a mailing through the door from the "YES" campaign.  There is a page where it says "Scotland's got what it takes" where it lists a number of things and puts a value to them but with no supporting explanation.  For instance it has "Whisky Export £4,3bn" which I think is an accurate enough annual figure.  It also has "Oil and Gas £1,500 billion".  Can anyone tell me what that figure means?

 

The innocent reader would be excused for thinking these are the sums of money which will come into the Scottish Government to spend but yet total UK tax revenues from oil and gas last year were a mere £4.7bn.  £1,500bn is equivalent to £300,000 for every man woman and child in Scotland and is over 300 times the total annual UK revenue from oil and gas.  I am thinking this might be an estimate of the total value of all remaining recoverable reserves of which only a small proportion of the value will ever come back to the Government as oil tax revenues and even then, this will be spread over 30 to 40 years. 

 

This would appear to be just the latest bit of misleading information aimed at duping people to believe they will be better off in an Independent Scotland.

The figures are the value of Scotlands exports in whisky, oil and gas. We export oil and gas as well as use it. We export refined products from oil and gas.These are nothing to do with revenue income but more to do with demonstrating that we are a thriving nation. Bear in mind that showing a healthy economy also shows that people are in employment and paying taxes. Its not just about the taxes from the profits of the companies its about the taxes from the people. There are around 42,000 employed directly and indirectly in the Scottish whisky industry and close on 200,000 in oil and gas in Scotland. Assuming an average wage of £30,000 and taxes at 20% thats 1.4 billion to the treasury. Add to that the taxes on spending (VAT, Insurance taxes etc) and it comes to a substantial amount from two industries. Yesterday or the day before the Financial Times ran an article stating that an independent Scotland would be in the top twenty of the worlds wealthiest countries. I'd provide a link but I've no intention of paying a subscription.

 

Thanks for trying to clarify, but the figures for oil and gas cannot be annual export value.  The link here http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fff67a62-88fa-11e3-bb5f-00144feab7de.html#axzz3B7Z5SzkA is pretty factual I think and quotes a Scottish Government spokesman as saying the exports of of oil and gas in 2012 (including to the rest of the UK) to be £24.4bn. 

 

In terms of wider value to the Scottish economy, using your figures of 200,000 earning an average £30,000 gives us a wage bill of £6bn in oil and gas related activity.  The value of oil related exports and the wider benefit to the economy is therefore in the region of £30bn - that is just 2% of the £1,500bn quoted in the "YES" bookle

I would imagine that the figure includes sales of oil and gas, sales of petroleum products, sales of expertise, sales of technology, sales of equipment, servicing of rigs etc etc. It may surprise many people not involved in the industry exactly how much of the aforementioned comes out of the country. The installation I'm on at the minute, although built in Singapore, is built from many components sourced from Scottish companies.

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This is just an honest simple question that I would be grateful if one of our "YES" supporting friends would be good enough to answer.

 

Today I got a mailing through the door from the "YES" campaign.  There is a page where it says "Scotland's got what it takes" where it lists a number of things and puts a value to them but with no supporting explanation.  For instance it has "Whisky Export £4,3bn" which I think is an accurate enough annual figure.  It also has "Oil and Gas £1,500 billion".  Can anyone tell me what that figure means?

 

The innocent reader would be excused for thinking these are the sums of money which will come into the Scottish Government to spend but yet total UK tax revenues from oil and gas last year were a mere £4.7bn.  £1,500bn is equivalent to £300,000 for every man woman and child in Scotland and is over 300 times the total annual UK revenue from oil and gas.  I am thinking this might be an estimate of the total value of all remaining recoverable reserves of which only a small proportion of the value will ever come back to the Government as oil tax revenues and even then, this will be spread over 30 to 40 years. 

 

This would appear to be just the latest bit of misleading information aimed at duping people to believe they will be better off in an Independent Scotland.

The figures are the value of Scotlands exports in whisky, oil and gas. We export oil and gas as well as use it. We export refined products from oil and gas.These are nothing to do with revenue income but more to do with demonstrating that we are a thriving nation. Bear in mind that showing a healthy economy also shows that people are in employment and paying taxes. Its not just about the taxes from the profits of the companies its about the taxes from the people. There are around 42,000 employed directly and indirectly in the Scottish whisky industry and close on 200,000 in oil and gas in Scotland. Assuming an average wage of £30,000 and taxes at 20% thats 1.4 billion to the treasury. Add to that the taxes on spending (VAT, Insurance taxes etc) and it comes to a substantial amount from two industries. Yesterday or the day before the Financial Times ran an article stating that an independent Scotland would be in the top twenty of the worlds wealthiest countries. I'd provide a link but I've no intention of paying a subscription.

 

Thanks for trying to clarify, but the figures for oil and gas cannot be annual export value.  The link here http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fff67a62-88fa-11e3-bb5f-00144feab7de.html#axzz3B7Z5SzkA is pretty factual I think and quotes a Scottish Government spokesman as saying the exports of of oil and gas in 2012 (including to the rest of the UK) to be £24.4bn. 

 

In terms of wider value to the Scottish economy, using your figures of 200,000 earning an average £30,000 gives us a wage bill of £6bn in oil and gas related activity.  The value of oil related exports and the wider benefit to the economy is therefore in the region of £30bn - that is just 2% of the £1,500bn quoted in the "YES" bookle

I would imagine that the figure includes sales of oil and gas, sales of petroleum products, sales of expertise, sales of technology, sales of equipment, servicing of rigs etc etc. It may surprise many people not involved in the industry exactly how much of the aforementioned comes out of the country. The installation I'm on at the minute, although built in Singapore, is built from many components sourced from Scottish companies.

 

Sorry, can't buy that one either.  The sum quoted is £300,000 for every man woman and child in Scotland and therefore cannot relate to annual figures as the rest would appear to do.

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The sum is a poulation share of the current value of the oil remaining in the wells at current market prices. This was converted to population share to demonstrate how massive the value is. Scary volatile oil!

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I'm sorry, but the one sure and certain thing about Westminster is that either they deliberately lie through their teeth or they are as thick as two short planks who have never lived in the real world or had to balance a budget.  You choose!

 

One thing is clear, I'm not going to be watching Monday's debate,as it appears to be going to be a reprise of the previous one with Darling demanding Plan B and Salmond rolling his eyes  and thinking "read the White Paper, why don't you?"

 

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/23/ed-balls-scotland-euro-least-bad-option-independence

 

Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, for the love of God, is on record as saying "I fear that an independent Scotland would end up finding that joining the euro would be the least worst of all the bad options," he said. "It's not what I would choose for Scotland. And I am not surprised at all that Alex Salmond doesn't want to admit it now, but joining the euro would likely be his only realistic plan B."

 

Is Ed Balls completely brain dead?  Plan B is the pound...when is Westminster going to concede that, whatever they say...they can't fecking stop us using the pound!   And we can't join the Euro, even if we got into the EU on 19/9/2014, (which is more than highly unlikely), as there is a requirement to elect to be in the ERM for two years and meet various economic criteria prior to adopting the Euro. If I know that as an ordinary punter, it does make one wonder at the calibre of UK politicians when they appear not to know as much as me......doesn't it?

 

Would any other ordinary punter care to explain to me how using the pound, without the permission of the omnipotent  UK, would leave us in a worse situation re control of our economy than we are in now?  We  technically are in a sterlingisation situation in the Union atm, because we (or at least our issuing banks, have to back every single  Scottish pound issued with sterling assets deposited in the Bank of England (which is much  the same as a currency board) .and we have no input into the decisions made by the Bank of England...but in the Union, we have no fiscal  control of anything, though we do have pocket money distribution rights.....if we were independent we would have full fiscal control of income and expenditure.

 

An aside for DD..........we will have to agree to differ over the definition of privatisation as practised in England in the NHS compared to Scotland...but perhaps you can explain to me the dichotomy between Andy Burnham's media proclamations for English consumption..like....in July “NHS privatisation is now proceeding at pace and scale… if things stay as they are, the competition framework foisted on the NHS will in the end break it up. It won’t survive five more years of this.” He added “five more years of [privatisation] would push the NHS off the cliff‐edge.”   Mr Burnham has said that the current reforms represent “The first steps towards an American healthcare system. English hospitals now asking for credit cards before they give care.” If his claim is true, this would see patients paying for services, with private cash replacing public investment. That would automatically mean spending cuts for Scotland."  And Mr Burnham is also on record as wanting to harmonise the Scottish and English NHS.....which will not mean all of it becoming a public service, as Scotland would prefer....but will mean Scotland complying with England's competition ethos and aspirations. .

 

Yet during this referendum campaign, the No campaign is saying Scotland’s NHS can’t be damaged by Westminster cuts...so either your Westminster Government is lying to you re NHS privatisation , or the NO campaign is lying to Scotland re NHS privatisation.  Care  to help me understand which is correct........the English consumption version.......or the Scottish Version being used to bolster the NO campaign?

.

Edited by Oddquine
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This is just an honest simple question that I would be grateful if one of our "YES" supporting friends would be good enough to answer.

 

Today I got a mailing through the door from the "YES" campaign.  There is a page where it says "Scotland's got what it takes" where it lists a number of things and puts a value to them but with no supporting explanation.  For instance it has "Whisky Export £4,3bn" which I think is an accurate enough annual figure.  It also has "Oil and Gas £1,500 billion".  Can anyone tell me what that figure means?

 

The innocent reader would be excused for thinking these are the sums of money which will come into the Scottish Government to spend but yet total UK tax revenues from oil and gas last year were a mere £4.7bn.  £1,500bn is equivalent to £300,000 for every man woman and child in Scotland and is over 300 times the total annual UK revenue from oil and gas.  I am thinking this might be an estimate of the total value of all remaining recoverable reserves of which only a small proportion of the value will ever come back to the Government as oil tax revenues and even then, this will be spread over 30 to 40 years. 

 

This would appear to be just the latest bit of misleading information aimed at duping people to believe they will be better off in an Independent Scotland.

The figures are the value of Scotlands exports in whisky, oil and gas. We export oil and gas as well as use it. We export refined products from oil and gas.These are nothing to do with revenue income but more to do with demonstrating that we are a thriving nation. Bear in mind that showing a healthy economy also shows that people are in employment and paying taxes. Its not just about the taxes from the profits of the companies its about the taxes from the people. There are around 42,000 employed directly and indirectly in the Scottish whisky industry and close on 200,000 in oil and gas in Scotland. Assuming an average wage of £30,000 and taxes at 20% thats 1.4 billion to the treasury. Add to that the taxes on spending (VAT, Insurance taxes etc) and it comes to a substantial amount from two industries. Yesterday or the day before the Financial Times ran an article stating that an independent Scotland would be in the top twenty of the worlds wealthiest countries. I'd provide a link but I've no intention of paying a subscription.

 

Thanks for trying to clarify, but the figures for oil and gas cannot be annual export value.  The link here http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fff67a62-88fa-11e3-bb5f-00144feab7de.html#axzz3B7Z5SzkA is pretty factual I think and quotes a Scottish Government spokesman as saying the exports of of oil and gas in 2012 (including to the rest of the UK) to be £24.4bn. 

 

In terms of wider value to the Scottish economy, using your figures of 200,000 earning an average £30,000 gives us a wage bill of £6bn in oil and gas related activity.  The value of oil related exports and the wider benefit to the economy is therefore in the region of £30bn - that is just 2% of the £1,500bn quoted in the "YES" bookle

I would imagine that the figure includes sales of oil and gas, sales of petroleum products, sales of expertise, sales of technology, sales of equipment, servicing of rigs etc etc. It may surprise many people not involved in the industry exactly how much of the aforementioned comes out of the country. The installation I'm on at the minute, although built in Singapore, is built from many components sourced from Scottish companies.

 

Sorry, can't buy that one either.  The sum quoted is £300,000 for every man woman and child in Scotland and therefore cannot relate to annual figures as the rest would appear to do.

 

Yeah you're right in your assumptions about what it is maybe less so about misleading /duping assumption. It's the estimated total sale value of known oil & gas reserves . The accepted range for known finds to be recovered is 15-24 billion barrels. Broadly speaking the £1.5 trillion pounds is based on 24 billion barrels at  roughly 100 dollars per barrel. Doesn't take into account prediction for higher recover than 24 billion barrels from known finds( and there are some) or stuff not found yet. PS we don't need the oil to say Yes but it certainly a bonus to have whatever the final reserves figure comes out as.

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8.30pm tonight - the big debate.

Surely it's last chance saloon for YES - if Salmond doesn't excel tonight, this vote's not even going to be close.

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He's 1-0 down with 5 minutes left, and needs a tactical change to break down a resolute defence. Expect lots of scaremongering from him.

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Inclined to think that Salmond beat the keeper to win this time (though I didn't think he had lost last time.....and nor did the after the event polls of undecideds)......with an able assist from the wee wifie in the audience. The scaremongering all came from Darling, apu. There's a lovely youtube of Darling (looking a bit like Rev Stu, beard and all) coming away with all the same guff in the run up to the 1979 referendum as well..so he is at least consistent, if not intelligent.

 

To be fair, though, I gave up half way through because I found myself picking up ashtrays to chuck at the screen every time Darling blustered and refused (or couldn't) attempt to answer questions...so turned it to watch the extremely safe, oft-repeated NCIS/CSI stuff on 5 USA  before I didn't have a telly left to watch anything on (and anyway, as I'm not paying a licence fee in protest at BBC bias, kinda feel a bit guilty watching BBC.)  Maybe Darling upped his game later and said something positive to recommend the Union?

Edited by Oddquine

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To be fair, though, I gave up half way through because I found myself picking up ashtrays to chuck at the screen every time Darling blustered and refused (or couldn't) attempt to answer questions...so turned it to watch the extremely safe, oft-repeated NCIS/CSI stuff on 5 USA

 

Salmond definitely got his points across better this time. But to your average punter it was a complete turn off and NCIS or CSI would have been the better option. And even if you'd seen the episode before, it would still have been less repetitive than the debate!

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A surprising number of people I've spoken to in work today (in Englandshire) watched the debate last night, even after al lthe shouting and bickering over each other I got the impression that most stayed tuned in until the end. Opinion overall appears to be that it was a total clusterfuck and the NO campaign have offered no reason to not vote YES.

You know, even after me telling people the likely outcome will be a NO vote with a 10-15% swing, the majority of the thoughts shared ignore that blindy and ask 'well if you don't want to be in the UK, why don't you **** off then?'. People around here quite rightly couldnt care less what Scotland decides.

Yet, when asked, you find most people willing to talk about it agree theyve no love for Westminister or the rows and rows of career politicians calling the shots on their behalf, yet somehow hold a grudge against the minorioty of Scottish people who want a referendum at all?

If you aks people flat out, do you think its fair that banks regulate themselves and change the amount of money you have sitting in your pension/house/bank account, without being accountable themselves.. people say of course not.

If asked outright, do you think the current first past the post system, which elects hundreds of former etonians and PR men into government is in the best interests of the people whom government was created to protect.. they say no.

Ask people if they would rather pay for their health care on top of taxation. Ask people if they would rather pay for their higher education on top of taxation, ask everyone you meet if they dont want a consitiution that writes into law protection of their few remaining privacy and human rights.

I hope the people of Scotland are not cowards come September. As I said on this topic earlier, there are working class people all over the world watching Scotland, hoping they do the right thing.

A Scottish YES vote will have a ripple affect all accross the EU and around the world, Scotland can force those who still believe the media and the self proclaimed academic/politicval elite can force people to do what they have always done, expecing us to bow at their feet, to take note of what a grassroots movement can achieve.

It will breathe live into people at the bottom everywhere, even if it amounts to nothing in the long term, it will prove that people can still have a voice under democracy. When the leaders of NATO, the USA, the IMF, the UK and other organisations of questionable morals firmly level themselves on one side of the arguement, everyone else has to take the oppoiste view, as this is truely a once in a lifetime opportunity for a modern, westernised and rich country to make a decision ons something that actually matters. Party politics and the usual round of electioneering are playschool compared to what Sctoalnd is deciding next month.

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If asked outright, do you think the current first past the post system, which elects hundreds of former etonians and PR men into government is in the best interests of the people whom government was created to protect.. they say no.

 

Just FYI, we had a referendum on this just 3 years ago, and 2/3rds of voters chose to keep FTTP and reject PR, including every single region of Scotland.

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Just what I have been saying in my post a couple of days ago about the contents of the pamphlet produced by the Government scribes giving the background and reasons for not upgrading the pensions of ex pat pensioners who live in ex-Commonwealth countries.

I.e The Government in Westminster has no moral compass. They lost it a long time ago and have never

found it because they also found it very convenient to NOT search for it. Whether or not the new Scottish self-goverment will turn out to be any different morally remains to be seen but, at least, a change is as good as a rest....eh?

I agree with much of your post CH2, especially the second last paragraph which sums things all up in a nutshell.

Change doesn't take place overnight and usually it's after a cataclysmic event like the 2nd world war, or even the Great War (the 1st World War) which was supposed to be the war that ended all war--yer having a laugh SP?

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Thought I'd hold off responding to Oddquine's post at 1056 till after the "debate" between Darling and Salmond to see what they had to say about the subjects.

 

It is clear that Oddquine's plea that someone clarify why an independent Scotland can't use the pound without a currency union needs to be answered by someone in the "YES" camp.  Oddquine seems very clear that this is option B and that seems fair enough to me, but the question really needs to be directed to Alex Salmond because again last night he refused to state what plan B was.  It seemed to come as a revelation to him when Darling explained that of course he was free to use the pound, the rouble or whatever.  Bizarrely Salmond then went on to say there were actually 3 plan Bs!  As usual he thought he was being frightfully clever but as we all know, 3 plan Bs means no plan B.  He is focused on what he has been told time and time again is not an option yet now he grandly states that he is seeking a "mandate" from the electorate to negotiate for a currency union.  This is just mind bogglingly arrogant, inept and irresponsible.

 

What was also of note was Salmond's clear assertion that if there is no currency union (which there won't be) Scotland won't pay it's share of the UK debt.  Do we really want to start life as an independent state with the world knowing we are a country that does not honour its debts?

 

As to the NHS, Salmond continued with his scaremongering tactics yesterday and just sailed blithely on completely immune to the utter hypocrisy of what he was saying.  Oddquine specifically asks about Andy Burnham's remarks and my response to that is to remind folk that we are engaged in a referendum debate about the long term future of Scotland and should not get over-exercised about speculation voiced as part of the internal cut and thrust of English politics.  Let's just stick to the facts and ask questions about how we might cope with the ever growing pressure on the NHS in an Independent Scotland.  Fact is that despite their scare tactics of talk about the "privatisation threat", the SNP have increased the involvement of the private sector in the NHS in Scotland.  Fact is that despite scare tactics of talk suggesting Tory cuts into the NHS will  result in reduced funding here, the current Tory Government have delivered increased public spending to the NHS and are pledged to continue to increase spending year on year despite the post recession austerity programme.   Fact is that Scotland gets something in the region of £1,200 per head of population more for public services that the rest of the UK and this gives Scotland the opportunity to provide more public funding into the NHS than the English NHS gets.

 

Much of the greater engagement with the private sector in England and speculation regarding future policy is because their lower level of funding means that they are having to cope with the growing healthcare demand pressures sooner that we will.  But even if we may not like their responses or speculation at least they are grappling with the problem.  Up here, the gradual but steady increase in using the private sector is proof that Salmond and his crew are well aware of the coming pressures but publicly they pander to the public affection for the NHS and condemn what's going on down south whilst having no public strategy for dealing with the inevitable crisis.  This is both hypocritical and irresponsible.  Ah, but of course, the NHS in an independent Scotland is going to be protected in the Constitution so we don't need to worry!  Obviously there is no need to say how it is going to be protected or paid for - Alex says it will be OK and we can trust Alex. 

 

A further point made by Darling yesterday in response to smug Alex claiming the moral high ground over Trident was the Salmond is wanting to shelter under NATO's nuclear umbrella but is not prepared to have the nuclear weapons on Scottish soil.  It is worth pointing out that not only is that his line, he expects a NATO partner to pay for resiting them so that he can adopt his hypocritical position. 

 

I can understand why folk felt Salmond won the debate yesterday, but it was all show over substance.  We are no further forward other than receiving confirmation from Salmond that he won't pay his debts and that finally after 2 years of campaigning he now understands that it is possible to use the pound outwith a currency union.  We are left with the usual unanswered questions of what currency we would use, will we be in the European Union and if so, under what conditions? How will pressures on the NHS and other public services be funded? 

 

There are other issues of course.  One which has received little attention is what plans does the Government have for replacing the ageing nuclear reactors at Torness and Hunterston and the coal fired power station at Longannet which are all due to be closed in a few years time?  The SNP's position here is that "The matter of what generating stations will be built, and when, is currently down to the proposals the market brings forward for new or upgraded thermal electricity generation capacity in Scotland."  In other words, not only is there not a plan B, there isn't even a plan A!  In a few years time a supposedly energy rich independent Scotland could be importing electricity from England to keep the lights on!

 

The sad thing about last night was the inability of Darling to exploit the hypocrisy and lack of substance behind all of Salmond's arrogant and often patronising bluster.  Whether or not we break from the Union is a massive decision to make and the people of Scotland deserve to have that decision made on the basis of a clear understanding of what independence will mean for Scotland.  The people of Scotland deserve better debate than we witnessed at last night's shout fest. 

 

 

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Just FYI, we had a referendum on this just 3 years ago, and 2/3rds of voters chose to keep FTTP and reject PR, including every single region of Scotland.

There is a depressing parallel between that farce and the independence referendum incoming.

Voters were told by the leading parties and the media that proportional representation wouldnt work in the UK as it does in other countries because people here are too stupid to figure it out. We were told that it would confuse us having a different looking bit of paper to tick, ushering in the apocalypse when trying to count votes.

Then of course people lined up in their millions to agree.

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I am a supporter of PR and always have been, but one of the downsides from personal experience is how you are represented on an individual level.  Over the year I have occasionally written to my elected representatives at various levels on a number of issues.  Where there is a specific single representative I have always received a reply.  Where there is some multiple representation I rarely get a reply and, in fact have never received other than an automated holding response from a representative elected by virtue of a list system.  It seems these people feel accountable only to the party that determines their place on the party list and not to the electorate. 

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