Thursday 22 November 2012

Face reality: We could be as prosperous as Norway

No apologies for lifting this lock stock and barrel from the Herald. It is so good, everyone should be reading it.

Iain MacWhirter, THURSDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2012
I have often regretted coining the phrase "the arc of insolvency" in this column in 2008 to describe the financial crisis as it afflicted Iceland and Ireland.

It was only ever one side of the story. While some neoliberal small nations exploded because of their irresponsible banks, the rest of the Nordic arc – Denmark, Sweden and Finland – passed through the eye of the storm largely unscathed. Certainly, in Norway, where I have been hanging out this week, there is no sign of any financial hangover from the great crash.
Oslo is, as usual, a building site. There can be few cities outside south-east Asia that are so obviously booming. Unemployment here is very low, salaries are very high, beer is ruinously expensive at £8 a pint – though that doesn't seem to stop people going to the pub. Even the banks are doing well in Norway, largely because they didn't get caught up in the property madness that exploded Iceland and Ireland.

Deficit? Nonexistent – Norway has the largest budget surplus of any AAA-rated nation in the world. Growth is "only" 3.7%; inflation is 1.4%; unemployment at 3.3% is the lowest in Europe and poverty is almost too low to measure. This is a country which regularly tops the global quality-of-life indexes. So what is the secret? Why has Norway been largely immune to the economic crises that left countries like Britain as debt zombies, kept going only by zero interest rates and money printing?

Well, oil for a start. Norway is Europe's largest exporter. Mostly the revenues have been parked in the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, which is now the third largest in the world and worth $500 billion. The government is only allowed to take a tiny amount out each year, so this wealth accumulates without generating inflation.

When you visit Norway you really appreciate how giddily altruistic the Scots were in the 1970s and 1980s – giving their oil away in exchange for the Barnett handout and a couple of savage industrial recessions. The Scottish people were the ultimate ragged-trousered philanthropists: the only nation, region, principality or state in the world to have discovered oil and never to have directly benefited.

The oil is running out, of course, but there's still "enough" as Norwegians like to say, and gas is all over the place. Norway is now the second largest gas exporter in the world. There is much anguish in Scotland about how North Sea oil is a "sunset industry", and how no country can depend on a diminishing natural resource. But it can be a pretty long sunset. It might surprise people in Scotland to learn that Norway does not put its economic success down to natural resources but to social solidarity.

Norway is one of the most egalitarian of countries. In 2010, 95% of Norwegians earned less than £50,000 a year, and they have one of the flattest income distributions in the world. They look with horror on countries like America and Britain where millions are in poverty while the top 1% get richer and richer. They believe that low wages damage the economy – and they are right.
In Norway, pay is still mostly negotiated centrally by a tripartite arrangement of unions, government and business. It sounds like something out of the 1970s and probably is. But Norwegians feel this corporatism works well in a small country of five million people and that social solidarity is not incompatible with economic dynamism. The state in Norway doesn't have to spend billions on tax credits to subsidise low pay because firms pay decent wages. And because labour costs are inelastic, Norwegian companies have a strong incentive to grow by innovation in productivity. Compare and contrast with Britain where productivity is flatlining as employers cut wages to keep going through a triple downturn.

Also, consumer demand in Norway is steady and predictable because people feel secure and able to spend for the future. Thus you don't get the debt cycle of boom and bust that happens in Anglo-Saxon countries such as Britain and America where people had to borrow to maintain living standards and are now cutting back, burdened by debt. Effective demand is stable in Norway so companies can invest with greater security.

There are so many lessons for Scotland here, it's hard to know where to begin. Obviously, if Scotland had benefited from its oil wealth since 1970 it would be a very different country to the one it is today. It is doubtful whether we would still have some of the worst mortality rates for middle-aged people in Europe, as the Glasgow Centre for Population Health reported this week. Also, Scotland is not backward or naive in favouring collective solutions like free higher education and elderly care, which are all regarded as essential pillars of the Norwegian welfare state. The feel of Norwegian society is very much like Scotland, in terms of social expectations and outlook. Looking at Norway today, it is hard to argue that Scotland could fail to be an extremely successful independent country, were the Scots to vote Yes – though they don't seem to minded to take this option.

Once independent, Scotland would probably find a place as one of the energy-rich small nations of the true arc of Nordic prosperity. As for the debate about Scotland in Europe, Norway is of course not a member of the European Union and has its own currency, the krona. The Norwegians stayed out of the EU largely on the grounds that it was too right wing – a proposition that astonished the Tory Eurosceptic former defence secretary Liam Fox on a visit here last month. Norway is one of a block of Nordic currencies including Denmark and Sweden that kept the krona though they are in the European single market. Which confirms there are many ways small countries can relate to the EU, and to neighbouring countries.

Norway isn't that much engaged with Scottish independence. Most people still call the UK "England" – the country that helped liberate Norway from the Nazis. They are intrigued at the prospect of a referendum on independence. In 1905, the Norwegians voted to dissolve he union with Sweden by a margin of 99.5%. Only 184 people voted No. So, perhaps a little way to go yet, Alex.


  1. Tris

    The thing that I find amazing is that some people cannot see this even though Norway is the country now that Scotland should be, and will be after the referendum if we have any sense.

    The other thing that is amazing is the fact that The Herald actually printed this, and a very good article by Ian Bell the day before. The bid to turn the Herald into the Daily Record is almost complete.

    Try this little gem for size, from their editorial "When it is time to come clean"

    "But that clandestine corrections procedure gives as much cause for the concern as the First Minister's somewhat shaky grasp, in recent weeks at least, of basic facts and figures."

    What the Herald missed in their report about the green jobs, the First Minister said the there were 18000 jobs I THINK! Why did experienced reporters miss the I think? You might think they are doing it deliberately as Mr Foooks might say.

  2. Ah... that's what it was, Dubs.

    Yes, fancy these experienced and highly paid journalists, total professionals too, managing to miss the "I think". Maybe they are past their best...a bit deaf.

    As for Norway, well, it just makes me so incredibly angry that I live this crap life in a poor country when I needn't, but for the lies of the British government.

    We all live in comparative poverty so that the prat Cameron, and before him Brown, B£air and Minor, not to mention Thatcher, could swan around pretending they were important...while just a few hundred miles away people live as they do in Norway, with relatively unimportant PMs, who will go down in history only in their own country.

    What dreadful misfortune to be born on this side of the North Sea, where our governments prefer to kill people with our tax money, rather than feed and house them.

    It makes my blood boil to think but for a bit of bad luck I could have been Norwegian instead of British.

  3. I liked the article but I have to wonder why is it written now by Ian MacWhirtir who has been known to lose the plot at times. If this is the start of journalists taking some responsibility for their reporting then thats a good thing, but I am not sure.

    I am however sceptical, the same as the attack the man policy which again reared it's ugly head at FMQ. Lamont and others obviously have an agreement and AS rightly pointed out that JL never apologises for anything even though she has form, that will not be what is reported tomorrow. So while I welcome the article journalists will have to go a lot further if they want to convince me that they are willing to do their job properly, they are willing to put aside their petty hatred of the SNP and their obvious agenda of an elite run media whose interests at this time are unionist and nothing to do with the truth.


  4. Dear Niko

    Ed Miliband wrote to you recently asking you to consider re-joining our Party. In that letter Ed described his vision for changing the Labour Party and the country.

    I wanted to write to you today to once again ask you to re-join.

    At our conference in Manchester, Ed gave a brilliant speech setting out his mission to rebuild Britain. He committed to creating One Nation: where we all have a stake; prosperity is shared fairly; and we stand up for the institutions – like the NHS -that bind us together and make our country great.

    Click here to see Ed’s speech, and hear why David Cameron can’t be the One Nation Prime Minister this country needs.

    Cameron’s policies have divided the nation – setting young against old, public sector against private sector, North against South.

    Labour is the only party with more members now than we had at the last election in 2010. Every day more people are joining us from all over the country. This underlines our commitment to be a One Nation party – from Kent to Kilmarnock, Truro to Tyneside; we represent people from all walks of life.

    Click here to re-join the Labour Party and be part of creating the real change this country needs. ­­­

    Harriet Harman

    Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

    PS – Let me know your thoughts about One Nation Labour by emailing

    To unsubscribe, please click here. Privacy: we won't pass on your email address to anyone else. See Reproduced from an email sent by the Labour Party, promoted by and on behalf of the Labour Party at

    What to do????

  5. Niko

    Write back to Harriot and tell her you talk enough P**H on these blogs without having to read P**H from her.

    Amazing the junk mail that gets sent out these days.

    Time to go ex directory Niko, they are desperate for members to try to make up for all the ones Lamentable is loosing.

  6. Niko joined the Tory party A group as the reserves are just not posh enough for him, as he has no morals.

  7. For the most part I have always found Iain MacWhirter to be one of the "few" journalists who is prepared to do what journalists should do but don't, and that is INVESTIGATE.

    Unlike the vast majority of journo's Iain is prepared to investigate his articles properly. Whilst we may not always like what he says one thing is of no doubt, he is sincere in his writings and he definitely does not take instructions from any political party, he is his own man.

    Leaving his one "exploding" episode, on Newsnight apart, I believe though I missed it, he has been, for the most part, almost like a continual thorn in the side of the Newsnight team. Every time I have seen him on the programme he has, for the most part, sided with the Scottish Government despite the fact that he is, I believe, more leaning towards the Lib/Dems in his political thinking.

    With regards to this article I believe that this is the sort of article that should be delivered to every household in Scotland. Everyone should be made aware of
    a) the prospects of Scottish Independence and
    b) the losses as a result of voting NO.

    Surely no one who reads this article, as well as other similar articles, can not be left asking the question WHY?

    Why are we even considering voting NO?

    Surely the prospect of IMPROVING everyone's life, health, education etc MUST be considered worth the YES vote in 2014. No one who cares about the health of our people, the education of our young folks, the financial stability of our people, the financial stability of our country, etc, etc, etc can possibly be even thinking that remaining within this broken, corrupt, financially broken union is a good idea.

  8. Oh I don't really think that they will stop this Bruce.

    It is in the best interests of their proprietors to be a part of teh UK, so they write that kind of stuff whether they believe it or not.

    I see from Wings over Scotland that some of them have got personal with people like the Rev Stu, who writes a blog which is dangerous to them, because it has a huge readership, and he is a clever professional journalist, who can change people's minds.

    McW has always been the fairest, to my mind, of the unionist journalists, although there are a few otehrs at the Herald, and none at the Scotsman, who are worth reading.

    They will probably go on fighting till their, or our dying breath.

    What I liked most about it, was the picture it painted of Norway, with its $500 billion fund, its government that looks after people, and its wealthy, happy citizens.

    I don't think the article marks a sea change in what they will say here.

    I admire McW having the nerve to say that his "arc of insolvency" was well off the mark, as we all said at the time to the unionists... but they wouldn't listen.

    Both Ireland and Iceland, the two "basket cases" are now in growth, compared to this place which is going down the pan. And good riddence.

  9. ch

    Those are my morals, and if you don't like them... well, I have others


    yeah yeah whatever

  10. My first concern Niko was, if people all over are joining,and they are the only party with more members than at the last election (I suspect she means the London election?) they why are they having a membership drive?

    What to do?

    Well, I dunno. I mean you have to evaluate if you think that they have changed back into the party you joined years ago. Have they become more socialist under Ed?

    If you think they have and the direction of travel is right for you, then, rejoin.

    What do you think of Lamont? Is she taking the Scottish branch back to the days when it cared about the poor and the dispossessed? Is it the party of the working man?

    I mean, I clearly don't think so. Ed has made it quite clear that he's been put right (literally) about which votes matter, and I think Lamont just does what he tells her... but they aren't asking ME to join. They are asking YOU.

    Good luck. It's not an easy choice.

  11. PS: They don't seem to be picking up members in Wales?

  12. PPS: Harriet. One Nation Labour, is like One Nation Conservative. It's just spelled different.

    But seriously, if you want to make it one nation, you can either shut down all the independent schools (public schools in England), or you make everyone go to them.

    You can either shut down your Russell Group universities, or bring the rest up to that standard.

    And you can either shut down private old people's homes, or you can bring the pig sties up to the standard of the private ones.

    The alternative is that you will NOT have one nation, even supposing you can hold the UK together.

  13. I think that Niko should write something along the lines of that above to Harriet.

    What nonsense they talk...and I mean all of them.

  14. Awwwww....I'm sure Niko does actually have morals, CH. That's why he has this problem. He has enough to have left Labour... not maybe that easy when you were brought up with it.

    He has to decide if they have changed enough for him to rejoin.

    I think they have moved to the right myself, under Ed and his brilliant speech.

  15. Arbroath: I thought that was the why I should print it here. Yesterday we featured all the things that we lose by staying with the UK; today what we gain by leaving the UK.

    Of course there is more, I'm sure, that what was said yesterday, and today, but it's not a bad basis for making a decision.

    And no one has actually questioned any of the assertions in either article.

  16. Tris

    No one can question the article. All the facts are there.

    Massive oil fund, 3.7% growth low inflation and almost full unemployment. Whats not to like?

    Mind you we get to keep the nukes, thats always a vote winner!

  17. Tris

    Opps almost full employment, will I get asked to justify my mistake or will Labour accept my apology.

  18. Uneven geographies of the British crisis

    As to morals if one wishes to see the poor continue to suffer by supporting a club that has no concern, or sincere willingness to change that situation, over those individuals then in my opinion they have no morals.

  19. Aha, I think you have just hit the nail on the head there Dubs. Almost FULL employment! Now we know why Labour are against the idea of Scottish Independence.

    All this anti SNP malarky is just a sham. The REAL fear of the Labour party is that Scottish Independence will bring something similar to Scotland, almost full employment.

    As we all know it goes against all of the Labour party's morals, they do know what they are and they do actually have morals don't they. It is the central core of Labour to ensure that the vast majority of Scotland's people are either poor or do not have a job. This is what keeps Labour going.

    If Scotland were to ever achieve anything approaching what Norway has then the Labour party in Scotland would be dead. They have no concept of what it means to fight for the people they only know how to fight for themselves!

  20. Hmmm Dubs... Norway doesn't have nukes. Norway has a happy, rich population with absolutely NOOOOOO fears for the future.

    UK has nukes. UK has a largely dissatisfied, highly divided population many of whom are dirt poor and the future looks worse and worse.

    I'd go for Scotland without nukes. In fact, the nearer we can go to being like Norway, the better.

    Still, I suppose it isn't everyone's cup of tea.... Eh Johann.

    And does anyone know the name of the Norwegian prime minister... and much more important, does Mr Obama call him by his first name, and let him sleep in his bed?


  21. Ha...Justify!!!!

  22. Yeah, but that's my point CH. Niko left the Labour party because they turned into the B£air party of the wealthy...

    Now, in fairness, although he still sides with them against independence, he is no longer a member.

    So there must be something that's not too bad about him...

    Oh yeah, it's Taz!

  23. Tris

    Taz was a Labour supporter when he was a pup, but then his eyes opened.

  24. LOL...Dubs.

    Quite literally, he saw the light.

  25. Niko,

    As a Socialist myself, I feel your angst. As the Belters Together say, go for the best of both worlds.

    Rejoin the Labour Party and use your incredible debating skills to try to turn them back from their current race to the Right.

    But also align yourself with Labour for Independence which represents the last hope of achieving true Democratic Socialism in any part of the UK.

  26. Now that IS good advice, Barney.

  27. Niko

    "prosperity is shared fairly" I've heard, in the strictest confidence, you understand, that you wrote to Lard Foulkes and asked him to share his prosperity fairly with you and in return you would rejoin the party. Have you had any reply yet?

  28. Barney

    Bit of pish. Take there I thunk.
    Truth is I am a dinosaur going
    Extinct and am in me death throws
    Just prior to disappearing into
    Ancient history.

    Although early 2013 sees the arrival
    Of two tiny diinos in the nikostratos clan.
    And the future will belong to them

  29. Niko

    You now need to think what type of future you want for the two tiny dinos.

    Do you want a prosperous future for them built on the Norwegian model, where we use all Scotland's assets to benefit our people, or do you want to continue to decline under tory toffs (Both Labour and tory count as tory toffs as there is no difference between them)

    If we continue with this one sided union they may be lucky and get jobs handing the tory toffs their golf clubs or shotguns, but not a lot else.

    You do not want them growing up saying "how could he be so stupid to vote NO could he not see what was happening"

    Join Labour for Independence, not right wing partys for dependence.

  30. I was going to suggest that a copy of Iain's article be sent to everyone at the top, or should that be bottom, of the B.T. camp. As C.H. has highlighted I needn't have worried. Obviously they have all read the article and are now willing to fork out for ALL our rail tickets to Independence.

    It's just a pity that having copied the SNP youth group of 2007 in making their offer of free rail tickets they couldn't match the Young SNP group and actually offer FIRST CLASS tickets.

    Still even though the B.T. tickets are only STANDARD class I hear they are going like hot cakes.

    Could this be the beginning of the B.T. camp openly SUPPORTING Scottish Independence?

  31. £6 quid a pint?! Nae chance pal!


    But in all seriousness, I think the opposite would be the case. Scotland becoming independence would probably deregulate, and reduce the state by appealing to international FDI flows. This isn't a bad picture, but if you are a socialist, or social democrat it isn't perhaps a risk you want to take by voting for separation.

    Stick with the devil you know, don't chance it and end up like Eire.

  32. Sorry Dean, I wouldn't trust ANY of the bunch of jokers currently running the country from Westminster, or the wannabe's either, as far as I could throw them. NONE of them have the interest of Scotland OR its people at heart. What they DO have at heart is THEIR own self preservation.

    I don't drink, but even it I did I would reckon that £8 a pint is a small price, VERY small price, to pay for the standard of living that the Norwegians currently have and will continue to have for generations to come.

    Surely we have a right to look to the future, a future where WE are in command of our dealings and NOT having to rely on a bunch of millionaires looking to protect their millionaire buddies at all costs!

  33. John. Niko are the Noble Lord are very close I've heard. I'm sure they share and share alike...

  34. Two Niko?

    Grandpappy Niko ...well congratulations old chap. What's Taz saying about that?

  35. There you have it Dubs. Does Niko want his kids to grow up like little Nor-wegians, or like little Glas-wegians?

    Richness or poverty?

    I truly cannot see an end to this mess in the UK.

    But I like the idea of bringing children into the world in Norway.

  36. Oh brilliant wheeze CH.

    If we don't get independence we'll be looking for train tickets to anywhere rather than here.

  37. Actually, Arbroath, the way trains in Britain run I'd be careful offering tickets on them. They either cancel at the last minute or they'll get held up for hours because of a signal failure or the wrong kind of passengers on the line.

    I've just been watching Michael Portillo's (yeah I know, but I'm a train fanatic) Great Railway Journeys of Europe, and so far he's done France, Hungary, Austria and Germany... Ohhhh to live in a country where they have trains that run, on time, on lines, fast, clean...argh...


  38. When the nearest example to us is Norway, Dean, why would we end up like Eire?

    Of course Eire is doing rather well now, growth has kicked off again, as it has done in Iceland. So maybe it wouldn't be that bad.

    If you just read what Iain has written about Norway, and then start to compare our lives with theirs, can you seriously question that we would be mad to stay where we are?

    What exactly does Better Together offer us? Apart from our prime minister getting to big himself up; there being embassies in darkest everywhere in the world; (and according to David Cameron) a strong voice in the EU; and the ability to bomb seven bells out of wherever, as long as America gives us permission (and the codes) to use the nuclear weaponry WE paid for.

    Sorry. I can't see one single reason to make me want to stay with the UK. Can you?

    BTW it was £8 a pint, but as Iain said, that doesn't seem to stop them going to the pub. In short they can afford £8 a pint, as I'm sure the likes of Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne, Prince Charles, Niko and David Beckham can. It's only us plebs that can't.

  39. To be fair Tris, it is not the late cancellations, rain,snow or even leaves on the line that worry so much as the inability of the Dependence brigade to keep their dependence special on the track.

    My worry is that the dependence special will end up like the B.T. brigade, a train wreck. I just hope we can re route our Independence Express around the inevitable wreckage!

  40. Ohhhhhh....very clever Arbroath!!!!

  41. Niko -
    Congratulations on your future joy.

    But the newcomers will not be dinosaurs like us.

    Species evolve.

    (Sorry you thought my earlier comment was a pishtake. It wasn't completely. You sometimes make more sense than any Nu-Labour budgie I have heard (honestly) and we have to find some way to give real Socialism a voice again!)

  42. We aim to please. :lol:

    Just remember to keep an eye out for that dependence train wreck up ahead. :D

  43. Truly remarkable that given such evidence the quislings still want to vote to be better together in the most successful union in the history of time. Except if you actually live in Scotland where we have the highest poverty in the UK (child and general), lowest life expectancy, highest incidence of domestic violence, highest incidence of teenage pregnancy, highest incidence of alcoholism; drug abuse; suicide etc etc etc. And where the Westminster Government insists that we do not include our natural resources in our GDP thus making us look too poor to go it alone. Would David Cameron have done that for the UK’s GDP? Oh no they include OUR oil and gas in THEIR figures. So in actual fact THEY are BETTER TOGETHER with US as they get all OUR money to buy THEIR nuclear weapons (that will never be used) to keep 30 miles from OUR largest city while we get the poverty, the depravation and the misery. THANKS!!

  44. It’s interesting that the Herald allows people like Bell and Macwhirter to tell us all how it really is while maintaining their “better together” pro union editorial policy. An example of sitting on the fence? The Herald’s circulation is a little short of 42,000, while the Scotsman (that would never never utter a pro-independence word) is a little short of 35,000, so perhaps the Herald hopes to hoover up both sets of readers! By the way the Dundee Courier’s circulation is just a little over 56,000, that is how bad it is for our national titles!

    As for Alex making two mistakes in one week. Well did Gordon Brown never mis-speak? Did he get everything right? Oh no he went around calling people bigots and making silly spelling mistakes and catastrophic decisions. Do David Cameron and Nick Clegg get everything right? Or do they go around telling us all that U-turns are a sign of strength and gaffes are normal practice? What’s remarkable about this is that when Alex makes a small mistake it is sufficiently news worthy for the quisling press to blow it out of all proportion. When DC and NC make a mistake it’s hardly noticed because it’s in such a large company they and their odious government of fools have to make a real whopper before it’s news worthy.

    I see that the greenest government ever has sanction a domestic fuel increase of about £100 pa as a levy to allow investment in the new nuclear power stations that they want to build in England. But French national energy producer EDF are not now the only bidder to build the next generation nukes, they have been joined by Hitachi. You may remember them they built the nuclear power station at Fukushima that exploded when it was engulfed by a tsunami. The people living in its vicinity have still not been allowed home! Just to recap then every Scottish energy bill payer will be coughing up about £100 so that England can have new nuclear power stations.....Better Together??

  45. tris

    The one thing you neglect in your homage to Norway is they have vastly different political partys .

    More in line with old Labour than nu-snp to have the life of norway.
    would require a realignment on politics within Scotland and the death of the snp.

    The Norwegian Labour Party has a warm ring to it..............

    yeah if you want a society like Norway it must follow the Labour party(old style) would have a leading roll in steering the nation to freedom and liberty.

  46. Mungy

    you like all snp extremists who dont give a feck for parliamentary democracy or the rule of law.

    Ignore the fact the Scottish Parliament its rules and procedures should be upheld.

    The truth is even in westmonster even at its most partisan even the tories do at the end bow down to rule of the Parliament.
    and if had been at westmonster Russell would be gone and Alex more contrite even curtailed.

    His and yours like the snp show the idea of governance you lot favor is more reminiscent of Nazi rule

    we have no yet had

    Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich

    although under current Nationalist trends a attempt no doubt will be made.

    applauded by yourself and other nat extremists.
    the law is not what emerges instantly from Alex Salmonds mouth but from the Scottish parliament.

    The shameful truth is the snp and Alex Salmond cannot be trusted to the traditions of Parliamentary democracy.

    Perhaps a greater truth is the Scottish people can not be trusted with Parliamentary democracy.

    The way Scottish society is so polarised. I wonder if Scotland would more resemble present day Egypt under a Alex Salmond power grab.

    ''As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."

  47. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

  48. Niko with so many parliamentary democracies to choose from its hard to pick. Its touching that a stalwart of the Labour Party that uses the votes of dead people and bawls abuse at the PO had such a dewy eyed regard for the correct democratic procedure.

  49. mungy

    Democracy at risk from hate-filled Holyrood exchanges, warns Henry McLeish

    Seems other right minded folk feel the same as moi.

    Your snide ill-informed remark doesn't answer the pertinent point slagging each other off online and other places (pub etc).
    Is not the same as subverting the Democratic procedures at the Scottish Parliament for self or party advantage.

    After all the nats go all dewy eyed and mystical over Scottish Democracy and the love for ALL scots.

    And then become the most secretive rules abusing fact concealing Government ever in Scottish history.

    Who daily spit hate and revilement towards the rest of Scottish society who do not agree with their policy's of objectives.

  50. Barney:

    I think it's likely that younger socialists will be of the opinion that the richer Scotland is, the more people that we can take out of poverty. Independence will involve using our wealth for good, not for buying horrific weapons and fighting wars that are not ours to fight.

  51. Yes, Arbroath. I'm preparing the bandages as we speak. There are going to be injuries!

  52. yes. All true Munguin.

    There is barely a week goes by, sometimes not even a day, without hearing of something else in Britain that is the worst in Europe, or the West or the so called "developed" world.

    Today, on 'Moneybox', they were talking about how the poor are going to be getting less help with their electricity and gas bills. They cited a disabled lady whose bill reduction was changing from £250 to £130 at a time when bills were increasing at a ridiculous pace and the government in London has sanctioned additional increases of up to £120 to pay for nuclear and green fuel.

    They added that this is in a country with the coldest houses in Europe.

    Another FIRST for Britain.

  53. "More in line with old Labour than nu-snp to have the life of Norway.
    would require a realignment on politics within Scotland and the death of the snp." (Niko)

    Niko: Exactly. But in order to achieve this you have to get rid of Mandelson and B£air's New Labour invented solely for the purposes of getting themselves elected in Southern England, where the rich people live in their millions.

    If Lamont didn't have to tow the line with Miliband, Scottish Labour could be itself. It could spend money on helping people rather than killing them, and keeping the likes of Cameron and Miliband at the top tier in world politics.

    A more socialist approach is what brought Norway to the place that it is in, with the wealth that it received from its share of oil.

    So, how do YOU think Scotland would vote in the first election after the referendum?

    Well, of course, the SNP has been relatively efficient in its delivery of services. As you have said there are many people who vote SNP but won't vote for independence.

    And they do that because the SNP put Scottish people and Scotland first, bending the limited finances to help the kind of people Scotland has.

    An independent Scottish Labour party would have no need NOT to put Scotland first. And with the influx of some of the talent that Labour currently sends to London, into the Holyrood parliament (and presumably the replacement of Lamont as leader), I'm pretty sure that the government of Scotland in 2016 will be Labour.

    But proper Labour. Not this wishy washy blue-pink version we have now, designed to serve the Home Counties.

  54. Niko.

    I haven't read McLeish's piece yet, but I think the general sense of it is right.

    I've been worried for some time about the level of hatred that is coming from Scot to Scot, and from Englishman to Scot.

    One of your MPs actually tweeted that they instinctively vote against ANY SNP policy, even if it ties exactly with their own policy on the subject. That would explain why they vote against council housing.

    It often seems that Labour wants the SNP to fail, regardless of how this impacts on ordinary Scots. Wanting the government to fail is fine for an opposition party... but not at any cost.

    It is easy to see why. If education or health or law and order are doing well under the SNP, where the UK ones are falling to pieces (and they are in may ways, particularly health), then it looks good for independence, where we wouldn't just control the running of these things, but would control their financing.

    It's bad for Scotland. I'm not suggesting that the SNP is perfect. Of course it's not. But all the opposition parties in Holyrood, just seem to be determined to carp and criticise all the time.

    They seriously could learn a lot from Annabel Goldie's approach.

  55. Also Niko. You seem to want SNP people to resign when they either make a mistake or are perceived to have lied. (Let's face it no one really ever knows whether people have made mistakes or told an out and out lie.)

    You don't all for the British government's representatives to do that.

    Danny Alexander using incorrect figures for Scotland; Maggie Curren telling STUC representatives that the SNP was wasting money from G4 contracts, when it doesn't GET money to waste or otherwise.

    Or indeed your leader using a rape case which actually was mishandled by the labour executive, and changing the date of it so that it appeared to have been mishandled under the SNP government...

    Was that a lie or did she just get mixed up?

    The same woman insisting that the SNP went out of its way to disregard Scottish steel manufacturers by buying from China instead...when there ARE no Scottish steel manufacturers, because they were closed down by the London government.

    So they respect the rule of law...

    Or are they just ignorant of the facts and being fed misinformation by their researchers, which are paid for by taxes?

  56. Apropos of nothing other than I felt the need to share, I've just returned from a walk around Edinburgh, taking in such sights as Leith Walk, Ocean Terminal and John Lewis' at the St James Centre.

    Who, or what did I see blocking the big revolving door of JL's? The Better Together road show.

    I really wanted to stand with a sandwich board with 'Oh no it isn't' written on.
    I was offered a flyer (and those tickets seen over at wings) but I declined. In hindsight I should've taken as many as I could, it would've been less for them to hand out to unsuspecting members of the public.

  57. tris

    Even I dont know what Labour is any more.

    Look at what he said

    Lord Freud says benefits system is dreadful and discourages poor people from taking risks

    ex nu-labour advisor no less

    Perhaps some poor people should take a risk and burgle his house steal all his belongings hold him for ransom and when paid out murder him to get rid of any evidence.

    Bit of risk taking in a entrepreneurial spirit he should applaud there risk taking dont you think.


    full of racist white English men
    get called racists and then they complain.............

    go figger that one out?????

    Gove said social workers had made "the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons".

    but how does he know that seeing as

    ' said he will launch an investigation'

    Make a judgement and then find reasons to justify actions afterwards............

    Or in other words a Tory Unionist investigation

  58. Afternoon Pa.

    Nice long walk.

    I think I could be tempted to stand there with a sandwich board that said...

    "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...are you mad?"

    And with a monitor showing what life is like in Norway.

    Seems like you got the best of the day.

    I'm off our before the great storm arrives from the south...

    I fell compelled to point out that Iain McWhirter has now put his article up on his own blog:

  59. tris

    to put it simply for you and others being wilfully blind.



  60. I know it's hard Niko.

    I'm only guessing that an independent Labour party in Scotland would return to its roots.

    I base it on the fact that trying to appeal to the upper middle classes in Scotland (as they are doing in the southern counties) is a bit of a waste of time.

    These folk already have the Tories, and there aren't that many of them.

    I'd expect the population to get richer, for obvious reasons. But there is a mass of poor people in Scotland, and problems that break your heart when you look at the lives people live in some of the post industrial towns.

    And surely they desperately need a Labour party with money to spend, and with the ideas for creating work for them.

    Welfare as a way of life IS wrong, but we need to find work for the people that were thrown on the scrap heap when heavy industry bit the Thatcher dust.... and their descendents.

    Off out now. Will read the article and comment after.

    Interesting discussion though


    Perhaps you should send this message to ALL Labour and Tory MSP's then Niko. After all is it not THEM who have regularly LIED in the chamber and NEVER returned to apologise for their "error"?

    Baillie, Macintosh, Baker, Lamont, Davidson. There are just a "few" of the opposition MSP's who have "lied" in the chamber but have, as yet, NEVER apologised for their errors. Once they apologise for their lying then and only then will I take your rant (above) with any sense of seriousness. Until such times wind your neck in Bubba!

  62. Arbroath 1320
    Do you actually know the code of conduct for Munguin's Republic.
    I fear from your behaviour you do not.

    Never mind when tris returns from having tea with his mum I wll get him to make a copy available to you.

    Then mayhap we can all start living a bit more harmoniously in Munguin's Republic.

    in terms of the debate

  63. Look I am NOT voting for anything that will push the price of my pint up to £8.

    A man must make a stand chaps!

    Better off together = cheaper pints, happier hours in the pub! The SNP have already priced up our whisky! They shan't and will not get away with pricing up our ales!


  64. Deano

    you like my son are a 'ALE' and not a Lager man..............

  65. I see like the dirty low down slag Salmond Cameron alters the record

    Fostering row forces David Cameron to backtrack on claim Ukip members are 'racists'

    The row took a further twist when No 10 was asked about statements David Cameron made during a radio interview in 2006, in which he described Ukip's members as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly". Downing Street said the Prime Minister had not intended people to understand that he thought all Ukip members were racists.

    six years later he he he

  66. I always thought that one had to have actual facts not smears and innuendoes to be able to debate something, oh well.

  67. Exactly my point, Arbroath.

  68. Oh Niko... How could you?

  69. Dean... You are right. A line has to be drawn somewhere and if the nationalists want my vote they will have to [promise to keep the price of the beer down.

    Mind you, it the unionists want my votes they will have to promise to ditch nuclear weapons....


  70. Poor Mr Cameron.

    I'm glad to see that he fosters a high level of debate:

    "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly"

    He could be describing the right of the Tory Party methinks, and I suspect most other parties.

    Actually, I once heard a UKIP man say that he thought it was disgusting that people came form al over the world and brought their foreign customs with them. They should, when here, he said adopt English customs.

    Yep... UKip? might be more appropriate to call it EIP.

  71. CH...have you spent a LOT of time abroad then? :)

  72. Must of I suppose as the only labour prospective cooncillor I have ever met was as lazy as sh!t and utterly selfish.

  73. Ahhhh, I've met a few like that.

    Mind you, I don't think that that is exclusive to the Labour party. The SNP, I'm sure, has its share and the Tories... Ha ha ha ha ha. Hardly a day goes by with out a story somewhere about a greedy grasping lazy sod of a Tory councillor.

    Private Eye is really good at unmasking them...

    I dunno about Liberals. There aren't that many of them that you'd notice.

  74. " A line has to be drawn somewhere and if the nationalists want my vote they will have to [promise to keep the price of the beer down.

    Mind you, it the unionists want my votes they will have to promise to ditch nuclear weapons...."

    Tris I think the former is at least possible however the later is DEFINITELY IMPOSSIBLE!

  75. I'm counting on that Arbroath. I'd hate to have to vote unionist!!!! eeeeeeek!


  76. Judging from Niko and Deans comments it should maybe be Better pissed together. Then again some might say you would need to be half cut to swallow the Unionist line.
    Was it not a tactic employed in Rotten Burghs to get electorate fu prior to casting votes?

  77. Hey North Easter. Hello, and welcome to the blog.

    I actually don't think there's much of a line to follow. Most of what they say is simply bile directed at anything to do with independence.

    I'm not sure about the rotten burghs (you obviously know more about history than me), but I suppose, it's something that they might think about.

    Like Rice Christians in China, we could have beer unionists. :)

    But woe betide them the say they stop serving the free beer! So the funders in the English Tory party had better have deep pockets. Because Scots can be right thirsty buggers! :)


  78. Thanks for your warm welcome to the blog Tris. Research on Rotten Burghs was actually memory of Blackadder 3 sketch.
    On Norway topic besides sovereign wealth fund Norway used oil wealth to ensure (amongst many other long term benefits)dominance of fish farming in Europe. Most Scottish fish farms (Marine Harvest etc)are Norwegian owned. Scotland has a lot of catching up to do for lack of "can do" spirit in recent years.

  79. You are welcome NE.

    Ahhhh good old Blackadder. Better than a history book (actually MUCH better).

    Yes, independence and wealth has done a great deal for Norwegian get up and go.

    I think it's because the love their country, because despite its very close ties to Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, it is THEIR country.

    Ours is just a northern region of someone else's country. And I think many people (even people who are not nationalists) feel somehow undervalued.

    Of course, when the bulk of the riches that we could have had are spent on nuclear weapons, imperialistic wars and maintaining London and the south east, it's not really surprising.

    I hope you'll enjoy the blog.