Wednesday 15 August 2012

I urge you to read the interview that James Stafford conducted with the First Minister on behalf of Oilprice. It answers a lot of questions you might have wanted to ask. James, at Scot Goes Pop has their permission to print it in full here

Barney Thomson, who has posted here on occasion, was kind enough to provide the figures for the Arc of Prosperity (Ireland, Iceland, Norway) that the First Minister suggested that we might join after independence. 

We all know that both Ireland and Iceland suffered some financially embarrassment pretty soon after that, and that the then Scottish Secretary in the London government, Jim Murphy, and his colleague, the leader of the Labour Group in the Scottish Parliament, Iain Gray, insulted both Iceland and Ireland in their attempts to ridicule the Government's position. (Murphy was called out by the Foreign Minister of Ireland and invited to debate the subject with his on RTE. Mr Murphy said he was too busy. He was also criticised by the Icelandic government when he called their country backward looking!)

The last laugh of course is with the First Minister. Ireland's most recent figures show a growth of 1.4%; Norway shows a growth of 4.1% and Iceland, a growth of 4.2%. The most recent figures for the UK show growth of  minus 0.2% and minus 0.8%. George Osborne blames all this on the Euro-zone, of which Ireland is a part, and with which both Iceland and Norway trade, just like the UK does. Goodness knows what their figures for growth would show if only the Euro-zone were not "dragging them down".

Carwyn Jones has now officially said that Wales is happy to host Britain's Weapons of Mass Destruction when Scotland becomes independent. He had previously hinted at the offer, but now it it is reported to be in the Cabinet minutes of the Welsh government. 

I had this weird idea that real Labour (not the effete Blair/Mandelson version) disliked WMDs, but it seems I was wrong. 

I wonder how this will go down with traditional Labour voters in the principality. There are precious few jobs involved in it, and it costs a lot of money in local security. 

Plus of course, there is the downside that if someone decided to blow them up, say by flying an aircraft into them, the explosion would wipe out half your country.

I wouldn't wish that on the Welsh, but I'll be glad to see them out of Scotland, no matter where they go.

I wonder if Mrs Lamont has any opinion on this, or indeed on anything else. Where the hell is she?

This photo isn't related to anything, but a friend from Uruguay sent it to me, and I thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it.

I was amused to read this article in yesterday's Guardian, and very happy to realise that this will not be happening in Scotland.


  1. Actually your biggest problem could be that if you were to go it alone, Wales might just ask for the civil service offices based currently in Scotland. 31,000 in the Dfid alone.

  2. tis

    dont be silly growth from a downturn is hardly the same as steady rising economic growth as Gordon achieved.

    The Scottish nation could crash 50% after the forced separation by the snp from our beloved UK.

    and then the following year grow due to an IMF bail out some 5% at which you and other Nats would say how wonderful look at out rates of economic growth now.

  3. tris

    Arc of leave that one alone or on the other hand its a gift to the Unionists.

    Alex - Err just so as you dont forget hers is a reminder of the biggest cock up i ever made.

  4. What GB did essentially was allow the city to blow up a rather large balloon which went pop in 2008.

    It was a serious case of economic wind, except when the city farted, it also followed through leaving many in the shit.

    What did Gordon do? He allowed it, encouraged it and nurtured it because it made his books look good.

    The man is a git.

    As for the arc of prosperity, it seems to me Osbourne is picking up where Brown left off and with people like Ed 'fucking' Balls waiting in the wings, it doesn't fill us with hope.

    I have no idea what Swinney's background is but he didn't seem to get where he is by folding towels or by kissing any ones arse, at least he manages to balance the books which I always thought was a prerequisite as opposed to an option.

    Its actually quite telling, you have Ireland and Iceland who were way more fucked than the UK was, or so we were told, but they seem to be doing ok now. Meanwhile, we're all still wallowing in the shit, I think Salmond was probably right even although at the time he was wrong.

    And, on civil service... This is a bit like the UK tax take, there is an assumption that people in Scotland pay no tax, we just get 'given' money by Westminster, so if we were independent we'd be stuffed. The same applies to the civil service, because it makes sense that an independent Scotland just wouldn't bother with one...


  5. Quiet Man

    Which Civil Servant offices and jobs based in Scotland serving the UK?

    Can't think of any.

    The others would be needed for Scottish purposes after.

    pa_broon74, Swinney's background is as a Chartered Accountant, boring yes but someone who, at least, balances the books and no leger-de-main either.

  6. pa

    dont be a total dick you just make your Nats selfs ridiculous
    Rival Moody's said last week that the country's credit rating was "rightly positioned" at junk despite the National Treasury Management Agency's return to international bond markets last month.

    Moody's cut Ireland's credit rating to Ba1, the highest non-investment rating, from Baa3 in July 2011, and kept the outlook on "negative".

    Standard & Poor's also affirmed a BBB+ earlier this month, three levels above junk, saying the country was making progress towards full market access

  7. Moody's full of the City's placemen doing the banksters work with Westminster's endorsement just the the gaolers being being the inmates.

    I see Rennie is still stiring it.


  8. Niko, you're an arse.

    I know this because of the amount of crap that comes out of you.

    Which coincidentally is also true of the credit agencies you are so keen to quote.

    They're just arms of the banking sector which as we all know serves nobody else but itself.

  9. They might well QM. I'm sure we cannot have English/Welsh Civil Service jobs in Scotland. However, we shall need a civil service of our own. So that will make up the numbers, plus ou moins.

    On the other hand England may wish to have the civil service jobs and tell the Welsh the deal is that they get the WMDs and Newcastle get whatever it is that we currently have.

  10. Oh Niko, are you applying for the job of court jester?

    Gordon Brown's growth was based on a policy of allowing everyone to have as many credit cards and store cards as they wished and for them to support the economy by racking up the biggest personal debt in Europe.

    To pay for this he allowed house prices to rise at a rate and to a point where no one could genuinely afford to buy a house without taking out a massive mortgage 6, 7, 8 times their salary. If interest rates went up by half a point folk would be throwing themselves out of windows.

    The banks were allowed to loan amounts that were plain crazy; that had people in desperate straights because 3/4 of their salary went on servicing their debt...

    ...But height ho, the house that was worth £125,000 at the beginning of the month, was worth £128 by the end of the month, so they were "getting richer" all the time. I remember a friend of mine telling me, with a straight face, how much money his house had made over various periods... He genuinely thought he was getting better off.

    Brown allowed people to re mortgage and re mortgage on the increased value of their homes so that they always had money and their debt got larger and larger.

    But all the time their houses went up in price till only Charlie Windsor could afford a home and thanks to the fact that we bought him his homes, he didn't need one.

    And that was fine till the bubble burst and people found themselves jobless with negative equity.

    House now worth £150, of £195,000, credit card debt of £12,000 and money in bank £1,73.

    Yes Gordon's magical alchemy with the economy worked wonders.

    And to make it even funnier, he blamed the whole thing on America, from whence it had come via every other country on Earth... and then thought that the President would still welcome him with open arms.

    He's a complete idiot. If Camergoon hadn't been sooooo awful, Brown would be the worst prime minister Britain ever had.

  11. As I pointed out, the arc of austerity thaqt Murphy and Grey went on and on about is now very comfortable thank you.

    (Of course they never mentioned Norway, which is the nearest equivalent to Scotland, as it has oil, unlike Ireland or Iceland. It was always well off with an oil fund that could bale out Europe.)

    I'm sure that Alex is quite happy with the arc of prosperity being mentioned.

    And yes, I know that after sever recession growth cannot be counted like growth in China can, but I think you forget here that the UK hasn't exactly been booming. Double dip remind you of anything?

  12. As usual Pa, you put it a deal more eloquently that I do... but we were saying the same thing.

    Of course, to be fair to Alex, when he talked of the arc of prosperity he was talking about Norway, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland and Ireland.

    Norway and the FI had no downturn, Iceland had one a short time after, but until a couple of days before the crash, the FSA was giving Iceland's banks triple A ratings... I guess Eck was daft to trust the FSA.

    Ireland of course is a different kettle of fish, although it too had been playing the fool with money but had no room to manoeuvre because of being in the € zone.

  13. Wolfie.... I think QM probably means the DWP offices; passport offices; tax offices, but as you say, there's nothing there that we won't need ourselves.

    We don't have anything much that is special to England, as far as I know.

    I think people forget that the civil service, like the Bank of England, belongs in part to us and that we have been paying for our share of it (or, as it goes in recent years, slightly more than our share of it).

    There may be offices which deal with English callers too, but likewise there are call centres in England, in Wales and in NI which deal with Scottish matters.

    I think I'm right in saying that going through some benefit forms is done by phone from Newcastle; all car tax is done in Wales and Scottish passports are arranged from NI.

    John Swinney is a bit sharp with money. He seems to be able to really work wonders with it, without having to do things 'off the books', which was something I forgot to batter Niko with.

    PF bloody I which has landed us with debts for the next 30 years, all to make that fool's government look good.

    Worse still Camerass is doing the same thing.

  14. Niko. I wrote an answer to you which managed to get lost as the computer had a tea break.

    In essence I see it was precisely the same as Pa and CH said.

    Moodies and S&P are private companies uninterested in the truth, but with one function, to make a lot of money for their shareholders. They will say whatever brings that money in.

    They were all absolutely certain that Iceland was safe until about 24 hours before the country imploded.
    They are useless.

  15. CH. Poor old Rennie, the man who will turn up to the opening of a fridge if he can get his name in the paper for "calling the First Minister to account" (although I've yet to see that happen).

    He should be careful whose reputation he imputes.

    They seem to have no problem when someone gives them some good publicity.

    Rennie should be aware that the SCVO has had talks with Liberals (I mean it's a tiny party; you'd think he'd be able to keep on top of who is talking to whom).

    Rennie isn't up to being a party leader in a local council, never mind our parliament.

    He only got himself elected by being hoist to the top of the list, come to that, a bit like Ruth Davidson, who is also crap.

  16. There are some Civil Service jobs to do with DWP and sch like that are Westminster controlled now, but should transfer to an Independent Scottish Government

    There are MOD jobs though, that are UK jobs in Scotland, that structure won't easily transfer. But those jobs have been getting slashed anyway

  17. Anon:

    It's agrees that Scotland will need some sort of military, regardless of whether we end up in NATO or not.

    Of course the actual personnel might be different ones from the current ones, but, unless of course Philip Hammock was right and no one in Scotland would want to defend his country and would prefer to defend England,others will take their place.

    Fewer would be needed though, as presumably Scotland wouldn't want to go around the world showing everyone the proper way to run a country, and blowing the hell out of them until they comply.