Tuesday 10 December 2013


Dear Old Niko reminded me last night in his post of the scare stories about food becoming more expensive in an independent Scotland. 

And I don't blame him for believing it, because it wasn't one of the Daily Mail howler headlines warning that Christmas celebrations will be banned in Scotland after independence (although there are some that wouldn't have a big issue with that!) or moronic MPs warning that all young people studying at English universities will become foreigners in 2026 (gotta admit Maggie will go down in history for that one...).

No. This came from no less an organ than the Financial Times.

It seemed to me from minute one that the story was ridiculous.

Because, while many things in this country do not operate in a free market… electricity, gas, telecoms, etc all seemed to be fixed… in general, the retail industry does seem to be pretty cut throat  and if you have the time, energy and transport, you can go round all four getting the cheapest deal on everything. Why would that change?

Of course getting past the ‘Sunesque’ opening paragraph in the FT: “Scottish consumers will pay more for food if they vote for independence in next year’s referendum because Britain’s big supermarket chains plan to raise their prices north of the border, senior executives have warned”, you find that senior executives did nothing of the sort.

The UBC masquerading as BBC, reported in a rare moment of honesty: “Neither Asda nor Morrison’s said they had any plans to raise prices in an independent Scotland”.  Meantime, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have distanced themselves from the report.”

The executives of the four large supermarkets reportedly told the FT that they currently absorbed the extra cost of doing business in Scotland into their overall costs.  I’m assuming they mean that they accept that trailing everything from their head office to Scotland costs them more distribution, but then that is true of the whole group of islands.

ASDA is based in Leeds; Morrison’s in Bradford. So presumably it costs it very little to distribute food in the North of England, but much more to Shetland or the Scilly Isles, Cornwall. Sainsbury in based in London and Tesco in the home counties of England, so different story there.

The truth is that the supermarkets have warned that if an independent Scottish government increased the cost of doing business, then they would have to look at the prices. However, as the only two parties that might form a government in Scotland are committed to lowering the cost of doing business (the SNP have indicated that they would lower corporation tax, and Labour while in power in the UK did so, with Gordon Brown promising to do it again as soon as he could), that is unlikely to happen. 

Business for Independent Scotland has an excellent article here for much more detail.

And what we have learned is that the once reputable Financial Times has sunk to the level of bending the news to suit its agenda. Fortunately their Scottish sales figures are laughably low (35% of the Paisley Daily Express and 20% of the Greenock Telegraph), not a lot of people will have been glued to the story.

If BT quoted it as fact, it says as much about them as it does about the FT?


  1. Mmm...

    The FT is an organ?

    Written by a bunch or male sexual organs mair like.


    PS: Ban xmas? I'd vote for that.

    1. I was thinking of you when I wrote it!

      Actually don't really know anything about the FT as I have never bought one. I always thought it was weird that it was printed on rose coloured paper though. Green is easier to read! Certainly the Daily Mail and the Express come into the category you mention though...


  2. Well the FT might not have many readers but of course the story was picked up by other papers - Herald, Guardian, Mail, Record at least and on the UBC so the meme gets distributed far and wide.
    Of course the clarifications from the company will get equal billing, NOT. It will depend on Yes voters commenting BTL to correct things, if anyoen is still reading.

    Sometimes I despair that the MSM will lose the referendum for us :-(

    1. Yes. That's true.

      It is sad that the press are so unprofessional. I can understand that they are nearly all either Tory papers (P&J and Courier) or foreign owned (England or America) but printing news that simply isn't true is a distortion of a journalist's whole raison d'etre.

      Opinion pieces could condemn independence to hell but the news should be the news. I'm now at the stage where I simply don't trust anything they say, about anything. if you can lie about this; you can easily lie about anything else.

      It is sad and yes, they may be responsible for us losing. If they are, and the hell that is predicted comes about when we lose £4 billion in funding and are forced to follow England into privatising everything, I hope that the media suffers the consequences.

  3. Welcome to the totalitarian UK regime where we write the news to keep us in power as we have no conscience or morals of any sort rule brittania brittania waves the rules. Stuff them all and let them rot in hell and if these so called journos lose their jobs tough as they have brought it all on themselves.

    1. It brings to mind the North Korean regime


  4. I thought food prices were already rising but the fact is that competition between the supermarkets will dictate whether prices rise on not. Up until recently there was only a Co-op supermarket in Stornoway, my nearest town, until Tesco opened a store where-upon the co-op prices immediately came down to those offered by Tesco. There is now talk of a Lidl opening with, I suspect, an effect on prices again.It always stuck me as strange that Lidl who import a lot of their goods could still offer better value for money than local supermarkets..

    1. Exactly. There's money to be made in Scotland John, and they will make money. If one of them wants to attract more customers than the others they will bring [prices down, just as they do at the moment under the current regime.

  5. I bought a bunch of bananas t'other day. Six full sized bananas for £1.00. Produce of the Ivory Coast. From TESCO. I have no idea how that can be sold that cheaply on our supermarket shelves.

    1. Ha ha... 75p in Lidl Douglas.

      I've no idea how they can make them so cheap.

      mind you the workers in the Cote d'Ivoire probably don't get much of a living out of it. No more than the farmers here do. They are getting pennies for each lamb, and have you seen the price of a lamb chop with one bite of meat on it...?

      Still, bananas are very good for you, but didn't someone say that there is going to be a dire shortage of them because of some banana disease?

      So enjoy them while you can!

      Soon they will be 1 for £6 instead of 6 from £1!

  6. me i have bought a disused nuclear fallout shelter
    ( no i wont tell you were so i stay safe and well )
    and am stocking up with life essentials such as
    tunnocks bics and beer......

    on the off chance of a yes win god help us all.

    have seen the latest about
    Ian Dunce Smith only been a few hours
    before his latest pack of lies has fallen apart
    before his lying eyes.
    Must be a Unionist thing!!
    ha ha ha,

    put the evidence before him of his own
    waste and inefficient use of public money
    and he says your nit picking.
    and yet some poor disabled sod gets
    over paid tuppence halfpenny.
    an he wants to and indeed is crushing them
    into the ground.............

    Referring to the £90m additional writedown, the chair of the public accounts committee said: "Whilst these figures are truly shocking, I do not think we have heard the end of this matter and would not be surprised if further write-offs emerge over the coming period.


    1. You stock up Niko. Times will get hard for died in the wool unionists. Taz may be ordered to eat you!

      PS, if these nuclear weapons blow up from lack of investment, can Munguin and I come and share your shelter?

      I'm off to read about the vile one now.

    2. He is a lying pile of dung, isn't he?

      I hope he's a Christian (or believes himself to be one, because he's very obviously not one), because when he gets to St Pierre he's gonna get such a tongue lashing before they put him on a down elevator.

  7. Replies
    1. Was that Johann, before she got old... or Alistair Darling in drag?

  8. Tris

    As I noted on my last entry to your blog the news is now just a cheap channel five drama. I have given up expecting anything even remotely resembling journalistic integrity or honesty anymore. It does really annoy me that my tax funded BBC would take the story verbatim, run with it on every Scottish bulletin and website, radio etc without actually checking out the story. That should be illegal, I bet journalists for the BBC now don't tell people who they work for for fear of laughter, journalist / BBC, your taking the piss.

    We just have to accpet that until the very end we are getting no fair treatment in the arguments, the BBC may change a little in the last 16 weeks of the official campaign but I am not putting my money on it. Any victory for YES will be won by activists/bloggers and the man and woman in the street but it can be won.

    As I noted months ago, the YES campaign have got to ramp it up in the new year. I am sure that they have not even started spending their money yet but I do hope they start going after the Currans of the world big time in the new year and take the gloves off. Being nice is not going to win this, fear of upsetting people and scaring them is not going to win this, people need to be scared. They need to know a no vote is a vote for the Tories because Labour can't and won't win, they need to know that a no vote will result in an attack on not only the parliament and it's powers but also on our day to day living. The UK is already one of the most unfair in Europe, a no vote will give the Tories all the courage they need to really go for it and make the changes that will never be reversed and if we want change after that we will have to fight for it and given Scotland right now that won't happern. No for me it;s time to get down and dirty with the media, with labour and the rest.