A Scottish Nightmare has begun. Someone needs to wake them up.

Fifty percent of Scots voted for the Scottish National Party, which some people consider Stalinist – I confess that I am no authority on Stalin, so I had to look it up but it does seem to tick a few of the boxes so it isn’t an entirely unjustified label. However, in response to recent comments, I feel obliged to clarify that it only ticks a few of the comparison boxes, even those traits at a much lesser degree, and there is certainly no comparison to be made with the nastier side of Stalinism. I actually quite like Nicola Sturgeon and Alec Salmond apart from their politics and I can’t imagine either of them in such a light.

I do feel sorry for the other half. There are very many fine people in Scotland, many are my friends, and they deserve better. But as the old Scottish saying goes, ye cannae overestimate the stupidity of the man in the street, and they turned out in droves to vote in the SNP.

Now that the election is over, the SNP wants another independence referendum, or at least Salmond does. Prior to that they want full fiscal autonomy and the government is already hinting at that, in fact you could well argue that the SNP is playing right into their hands, leaving themselves at the very least open to a detailed re-revaluation of the Barnett formula and its certain demise, along with repeal of Scottish votes for English matters. But the real problem ahead is Scottish finances will not survive independence without very major changes so if they do get their second independence referendum and tribalism hasn’t subsided enough for clear thinking to win for continued union, Scotland will be in deep trouble. I’m no economist but even a toddler soon learns that if Mummy has no cash left, sweeties become less likely.

Already, many of the wealthier Scots are planning to leave because of the threat of high taxes, especially property purchase tax. It already has hints of Greece. When rats start leaving a ship and are taking all the food with them, it’s time to worry.

The SNP wants to take care of poor people and the old, give people lots of nice public services, and generally provide lots of free milk and honey, paid for by the state. Well every party would like to do all those things, but some realize the state can’t necessarily pay for infinite levels of services. Some live in the real world and figure out what is realistic and how to pay for it, and then they spread the load across the whole population, making sure that no-one has to pay so much they can’t live in dignity, and taking the money needed as fairly as possible according to ability to pay.

The SNP understands that richer people can afford to pay more, as does every party, and they understand better still that less well off people want richer people to pay more, or indeed all of it if they can vote for that, but they don’t seem to understand the reality that if you want to keep money coming in, you have to make sure you don’t take so much off the people that make the money that they walk away.

It is very easy for Scots to walk away; indeed many do already. If people have to emigrate to a country that uses another language or has a very different culture then they will stay longer and accept higher taxes. If they can just move next door to another part of the UK with hardly any change, fully accepted and fitting in easily, then there is very little penalty and the extra taxes simply can’t be punitive. Worse still, looking at the apparent anger and hostility of late in Scotland, the SNP seem to have created an aggressive anti-rich culture, where the wealthy are seen as the enemy by many. That can’t make it a pleasant environment in which to enjoy the wealth you’ve earned, knowing that many of the people around you hate you simply because you are wealthier than they are.

Many of the wealth generators will therefore leave Scotland if the SNP continues to increase taxes on richer people to pay for more and more public services and benefits for the less well off. That would all happen if they get total fiscal independence without hefty subsidies from the English.

But the main goal for the SNP is independence. They’ve come up with all manner of means to get cash, but none of them stand up to even casual inspection. I’ve argued in previous blogs that Salmond’s dream of getting lots of wealth from wind farms isn’t infeasible. If all of Scotland were to be covered in farms at maximum density, the energy generated would only be equivalent to coal use in England, so it can’t finance an entire economy. Here’s some of the detail:

https://timeguide.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/scottish-independence-please-dont-go/

and

https://timeguide.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/scottish-independence/ discuss some of the financial consequences of separation.

If Scotland separated from the rest of the UK, there would be a strong incentive for Westminster to use the opportunity to greatly reduce the size of the public sector to reduce costs, and to bring many of the remaining jobs away from Scotland to reduce unemployment elsewhere (jobs perhaps for the Scots migrating to England). This would help massively in reorganization and efficiency improvements while reducing unemployment in England and Wales (Northern Ireland is trying to reduce its dependence on public sector jobs).

Separation would also mean losing the subsidy received from England, which the BBC calculated at £3000 per head. Unless morons are appointed to the English side of the separation negotiations, Scots will also take with them a share of the national debt, currently £1.6Tn, or £4.5Tn if you include public sector pension liabilities. Since a disproportionate number of Scots work in the public sector, it would certainly be hard to argue that they should be paid by a foreign power, so Scotland might even take a larger share.

So an independent Scotland run by the SNP would start off with massive debt, immediately lose £3000 per year per person subsidy, see massive rise in unemployment as surplus public sector jobs are withdrawn and others relocated to England, and see many of the entrepreneurs and the wealthy migrate South. Young people will see the clear choice. They could stay with no hope, any attempt to better themselves squashed and scorned by resentful people seeing their benefits being reduced after many promises of milk and honey, and having to pay very high taxes in a rapidly crumbling economy. Or like many young Scots today, they could take the train south to a much more realistic promise of prosperity and freedom, where they can become rich without being forced to feel guilty.

With too few people left in Scotland, on too low incomes, unable to pay the bills, the services they so loved would soon stop too, however resentful people become, however much they complain and however much they demonstrate and shout and scream. There simply won’t be any money left and those have the means to escape will do so. The kids can demand sweeties but Mummy won’t have anything left in her purse.

Independence is a field that looks a lot greener to the Scots from the other side of the fence than is the reality. The problem now is that they’ve bitten the hand that feeds them too many times and most of the English don’t care any more if they go.

There is an even worse potential outcome, though thankfully an unlikely one. If the SNP closes down all the nuclear establishments as they promise to and reduces defense spending across the board to save the cash they want for other things, they will have precious little defense in their own right against the increasingly aggressive Russians. They can’t simply assume that England would still defend them after an unpleasant separation. Nor can they assume that they would be given a place in either the EU or NATO. On the other hand, a Stalinist government updated to the 21st century might not find it too hard to just become the most Western annex of Russia. By then the Scots would be used to poverty and oppression so well that it might not make much difference.

 

 

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15 responses to “A Scottish Nightmare has begun. Someone needs to wake them up.

  1. I have mixed feelings about the UK election results. On one hand a regional party now dominates Scotland but with a Conservative majority it has little to no influence on the daily governing of the country. With no national election for another five years that is plenty of time for the SNP to fall on its own sword. If Labour had one with a minority the SNP would have been the tail wagging the dog. But not now.

    As for future referenda until the SNP gets the result it wants, this reminds me of Quebec’s Parti Quebecois and the never-ending drumbeats for referenda. They have risen and fallen over several decades and with language and francophonie culture as their shield and weapon have yet to slay the Canadian federation, but not for want of trying.

    I think the biggest challenge for Cameron to hold the country together is not to succumb to UKIP xenophobia about the EU. Pay lip service to that upcoming referendum but make sure the argument to leave is too weak to succeed.

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    • I think and hope you’re right, it will sort itself out and common sense will resurface.
      I don’t have strong feelings on the EU, but I do hope that Cameron manages to recover a little more independence for us. I like the common market principle it was founded on, but I’m not a big fan of becoming a superstate. He certainly does have a tough job ahead though to keep unity, with a slim majority and a lot of groups fighting for more cake.

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  2. Reblogged this on themusingsailor and commented:
    “Stalinist”?

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    • Cut and paste from my last comment:
      The Stalinist reference is not of my creation, I merely said some people were using the term and when I checked its definition, it did seem to tick some of the boxes. It has nothing at all to do with their sending MPs to Westminster, everything to do with their being very far left, and oppressing views that run against independence, not necessarily directly, but it is impossible watching the news not to notice the enormous hate against those who don’t support the independence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalinism. Socialism, centralised state, cult of personality, subordination of other interests to their own, class conflict, purging society of supporters of opposing views, treating them as threats, persecution… how many boxes need ticked before the label has some sticking power? That is enough for me to say it holds some water, even if it isn’t a perfect match.

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      • Absolutely preposterous and insulting to the many millions who died under Stalin’s rule.

        Hyperbole is fine, but don’t treat it as fact.

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      • If I was saying the SNP was exactly like Stalin, you’d have every right to be offended. I’m not and I made it very clear that there are only a few points of similarity, and that was certainly not one of them.

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      • Even accepting your premise, is it really a fitting description for a moderately left wing party (or centre right, if you believe Scottish Labour) who sought their ultimate aim through peaceful ballot than violence?

        They’re hardly collectivist in outlook, their proposed lowering of corporation tax speaks to that.

        Given the difficulties surrounding tone in written media, I feel I should add, this isn’t meant with any malace or such like. I enjoyed reading what you have written and felt your comments were measured and well constructed – perhaps this is why I personally found the comparison so jarring.

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      • In response to your comments and Kevan’s, I have revised the wording to avoid any unintentional offense in this regard and clarify that there are only a few and lesser points of similarity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I truly appreciate that.

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  3. I don’t normally respond to articles I disagree with but this one has really taken the biscuit. Your ignorance on this matter has genuinely astounded me. First of all let’s do a quick fact check:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-28879267

    http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/10-key-economic-facts-that-prove-scotland-will-be-a-wealthy-independent-nation/

    I have put the bbc one first because I’m (perhaps wrongly) assuming you will attempt to discredit the second source – which I assure you is quite correct.

    Here’s another article from the Harvard Business Review in direct contradiction with yours, just incase you think I’m one of those crazy nationalists you’ve been hearing about:

    https://hbr.org/2014/09/the-economic-advantages-of-an-independent-scotland/

    You are entitled to hold whatever views you like of course, but I find it particularly galling that being so uninformed on the subject you are trying to pass these views off as fact – with no sources for your figures either. Your idea that the public services would have to move to England? I must assume that I have misunderstood your point, public services serve their local public, they would still be needed in Scotland and as it stands we pay for them ourselves and still manage to give England £800 each.

    Scotland has paid more in tax than it has received in spending every year for the last 34 years. Please stop using phrases like “they have bitten the hand that feeds them too many times” for what should now be obvious reasons.

    The fact that you should think of the Scottish as sending a Nationalist party to a Parliament that has consistently ignored the countries needs as stupid on their part and ‘Stalinist’?! in nature sort of speaks for itself.

    I mean you no harm but your views here are very misguided.

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    • Thanks for your comments and for being civil even though we disagree. The crazy nationalists just hurl insults, so obviously you are not one of those and I’ll answer your comments as best I can.

      The BBC source I used in the previous blog I referred to was http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16477990. I don’t normally list sources because google usually turns them up right away, e.g this one was 4th on the google search for ‘scotland subsidy bbc’. The source you cite disagrees, well, you pay your money and you take your choice. I haven’t done a thorough analysis of the economy and picked the most credible recent source I found, bearing in mind I wrote that blog 5 months before your source article was written. The Harvard reference gives no data on what is included in its statements on how much tax is paid per capita from Scotland so I cant debate it sensibly. e.g Does that include oil revenue, or income tax from public sector jobs for service to the rest of the UK? If it does, then I’d have to change the figures substantially to make them relevant. Your BBC reference clearly shows that a great deal of their tax estimate is from oil which is a huge topic for debate anyway, and not just in terms of who owns how much share. Oil fields are suffering enormously right now and the pain is unlikely to go away, especially as fracking comes on stream and solar reduces in cost, so all that oil tax is in doubt in the long term whichever figures we have today.

      I pass my blogs off as my reasoned opinion. I read, I think, I put together an argument or opinion. The blog is only a reasoned opinion. I make my living solely on the basis of forming reasoned opinions that usually turn out to be very well founded. I sometimes get it wrong, but mostly I get it right.

      The public services point: some public services obviously are for the local community, some however are departments of national services and some of those jobs are insourced from England. Those are the ones that would likely migrate. Some others would evaporate as funds get into trouble. An independent Scotland providing public services for its own people would not need as many employees as are currently employed in public services

      The ‘biting the hand’ phrase refers not to tax or subsidy but the anti-english, anti-Westminster sentiments we see so much of in the media.

      The Stalinist reference is not of my creation, I merely said some people were using the term and when I checked its definition, it did seem to tick some of the boxes. It has nothing at all to do with their sending MPs to Westminster, everything to do with their being very far left, and oppressing views that run against independence, not necessarily directly, but it is impossible watching the news not to notice the enormous hate against those who don’t support the independence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalinism. Socialism, centralised state, cult of personality, subordination of other interests to their own, class conflict, purging society of supporters of opposing views, treating them as threats, persecution… how many boxes need ticked before the label has some sticking power? That is enough for me to say it holds some water, even if it isn’t a perfect match.

      I am grateful for your comments and hope that even if you don’t agree, at least now you better understand why I hold mine. I will continue to think on them and try to take on board new data and arguments as they come my way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond to me, and explaining your thinking more clearly. We can agree to disagree here but you have been kind enough to respond to my arguments so if it’s no skin off your nose I would like to respond to yours.
        Public Services – I accept your point there would be a small reduction in numbers with regard to the public sector, but I think you have massively overstated it. The national departments would have to remain just as the local services would, there would be a nation called Scotland for the department to serve. The national services to which your referring residing exclusively in Scotland that are serving the whole of the UK – I’m not sure what these are? But of course relative to population they would have to be massively scaled back. Have you considered the jobs created from national public services residing exclusively in England coming across the border – admittedly the only example I can think of is the Foreign Office but it can’t be a one way street. The point to be made here is that actually the infrastructure of Scotland is already in tact and would not disintegrate without ‘supervision’ as I fear you see it.
        This for me is the biggest point I need to make to you, my issue is not with the ‘biting the hand’ part of your phrase it’s the ‘that feeds them’ portion. As you say you have your sources and I have mine but while we can agree it as least debatable the (forgive the phrase) English arrogance on display here is what is most insulting. To me, a Scot, of the belief that the UK’s own Treasury figures haven’t been lying for 30 years this attitude is very annoying. You are not alone, David Dimbelby himself thought nothing of making a glib remark prefacing a question time question a few weeks ago – it is a very common misconception (down south at least). I appreciate your saying you are willing to listen to new arguments and I am sure you will want to do your own research on this topic so I will wait with interest to hear what your thoughts will be.
        The SNP as I’m sure you’re aware are not a Socialist party – that would be the SSP (who have some fine candidates). I have no idea what you mean by centralised state? In what way is the Scottish state centralised differently to the English state? Cult of Personality I’m assuming refers to the SNP current popularity – has being a popular politician become so rare that it is seen as Totalitarian? Purging society of supporters of opposing views, treating them as threats, persecution? I think you’re getting a bit carried away here, I can assure you from the front line, there are no secret police, there are still labour and liberal democrat supporters living and voicing their opinions freely amongst us. Even tories get votes admittedly very few – but that’s because their policies don’t wash the arguments are still made by the few that remain. You will see angry Scottish people shouting at Labour politicians and of course any Tories that would dare to cross the wall – these incidents will happen mainly in Glasgow that’s just how the city does things and while it may be happening more than it used to that’s related to the fact so many more people have become turned on to politics since the build up to the referendum and why shouldn’t we hear from these people – they are entitled to come and shout (the are a massive minority). Joseph Stalin was responsible for 34 Million deaths (that is a conservative estimate) so your Stalinist analogy holds about as much water as a desert as far as I’m concerned. Scotland has been the best part of 3 years in the grip of a passionate debate and has come up with the answer of voting SNP within a British union – this kind of response from our counterparts down south (your response) is inflammatory. I am of the belief that Scotland has no financial need of England, that in fact we could save money from not subsidising projects like LONDON, HS2 and Trident and while I’m not suggesting it would be smooth sailing, sailing is what it would be so the argument “we’re sick of paying for you and hearing you complain” is infuriating.
        You will notice I have skipped oil, so massive was the furore over it pre referendum I actually can’t muster the energy to get back in to it at this time in the morning and your comment of who owns what share is given a body swerve this time. Saudi Arabia is combatting the fracking market with low oil prices – that will probably be the case for the foreseeable future but when the fracking fad has passed or destroyed our country we may see the price go back up. Either way, there is oil on the east coast of Scotland as yet completely untapped because we have unwelcome nuclear submarines going up and down stopping any production – again I’m sure you will want to do your own research on that but I’m pretty sure it would make up the reduction in the price per barrel revenue. Any notion of the North Sea being in decline is also in direct contradiction of all the fresh investments that went in one after the other post referendum from all the major companies operating rigs out there – they weren’t investing in a big finish. The BBC article that is reliant on the oil figures is not looking to the future it’s looking backwards detailing previous tax revenues. The situation may have changed slightly now, but can we agree Britain has been taking more from Scotland than it has been giving back for 33 years? Not 34 because I haven’t seen this years figures yet.
        I’ve intentionally left off any sources because considering your profession you must be better at sourcing this kind of information that I am so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these issues. Or your sticking to your guns. Either way thanks for at least taking the time to listen.

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      • Public sector: The ONS is the most reliable source of data available. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pse/public-sector-employment/q1-2014/stb-pse-2014-q1.html#tab-Public-and-Private-Sector-Employment deals with the numbers and categories. Average public sector across UK is 17.7%. Scotland is 21.2%. The Scottish ‘extra’ is 3.47% of the entire workforce. The tables list jobs by sector too if you’ve time to read them all. I don’t, but that 3.47% is an indicator of to 3.47% additional unemployment.

        I have no interest in debating which figures which politicians use for which reasons. I generally take any pronouncement from any government department with a pinch of salt and go to the ONS to get the facts. In this case, I simply referred to the BBC’s analysis that I quoted. If I was deriving my own figures, and I haven’t yet, because Scotland is just one issue out of hundreds I look at as a futurist, I would look at total UK oil revenue and divide it on a UK per-capita basis for my estimate. However, for future revenue estimates, I would consider that with the recent panic sales in the North Sea oil industry and go-ahead for fracking, as well as solar pick-up, oil income is very likely to plummet in the next few decades. Either way, I may well address this issue again and I do promise I won’t take any government’s word for it.

        ‘Centralised state’ – Devolution to Scottish Parliament. No region of England with similar population to Scotland as yet has any autonomy. There is no English state to be different from, quite the reverse in fact: the SNP are clear that they want to retain rights of Scottish MPs to vote on matters exclusively affecting England whereas English MPs have no say in a number of Scottish issues.

        Cult of personality is evidenced by Nicola Sturgeon having a strong focus in the election in spite of not standing as a Westminster MP. No, absolutely nothing wrong with being popular at all, I have every respect for her, and Salmond, and many of us English wish we had a few politicians with the same leadership capability.

        I never suggested secret police and as you say, let’s not get carried away here. I merely quoted that a few journalists had used the term Stalinist, and I’d noticed a few similarities when I looked it up. I am not seriously suggesting the SNP is very like Stalin. I really don’t think a casual resemblance on some properties should be stretcthed too far. Stalin was a lot nastier than any Scot by any stretch of the imagination. My comment on oppression of dissent there is as you noticed just the intimidation and conflict that has arisen between pro and anti independence groups, and between SNP and Labour (or against Tory or UKIP). How much that nastiness extends beyond Glasgow I can’t say, I only have the news and what I read in the papers as my evidence, but even without any secret police it seems to me quite sufficient evidence to tick the oppression of alternative views box.

        As for comparing Stalin to the point of numbers of deaths etc, you cannot possibly believe I intended that as one of the boxes, and I certainly didn’t list it as one, and it is inappropriate to suggest that I did. Nobody has compared the SNP to Stalin here. All I have done, and indeed others that have used the term, is to point out a few resembling features. Some of the comparison boxes very clearly do not get ticked.

        Actually, I don’t doubt that Scotland can survive financially under good government. It has the same quality of people as England, the same inventiveness and the same determination to survive. What I am questioning is its likelihood of flourishing under the SNP with its policies. My argument is not that the Scots can’t survive per se, but that the SNP may prove their financial undoing until they ditch them. I believe you deserve better.

        The oil market isn’t just about price. Gas produces half as much CO2 as oil per unit of energy so environmental pressure also favour fracking. Gas is twice as cheap and twice as clean. Most of the oil just being discovered now will be left in the ground whether in Saudi Arabia or North Sea. In yesterday’s news, http://www.thegwpf.com/uk-north-sea-industry-hammered-by-oil-price-collapse/ highlights some panicking already.

        HS2 is a very stupid idea, as I have blogged a few times. Trident, I agree with. London, well, that is a major topic with many sub-topics.

        I’m not ‘sticking to my guns’ here, just explaining why I said what I said. I address every issue afresh from time to time and I will look again at the Scottish economy. When I do so, I promise you I will try to source figures from articles other than just BBC articles.

        Thanks for the discussion. We may not agree fully, but I am digesting your comments further and they will influence my future blogs.

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  4. Nice 🙂
    Article is good written and Also some nice comments:)
    i agree with you Ian. Nationalist SNP is not good for great Britain .
    But something make people to vote for Them og I Think they need to be heard and a solution to Their wishes and desires too.

    I miss your future predictions and articles / blogs about The future .
    Are you soon going to make a timline like that you did in 2005
    It was so fantastic and you predicted so much correct.

    Regards a big fan of you.
    Harald – The Danish.

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    • Thanks Harald. The timeline was updated within BT by my successor, but was never released. I could do a new one, but it is very time-consuming so although I consider it occasionally, I so far haven’t found the energy to make a start. There would be 500 entries and each one needs time to think about it to come up with a sensible date. A lot of the entries in the old timelines have since happened so I’d also need to come up with hundreds of new entries, and searching the web for credible things takes a long time too. In BT, the corporate PR value made it worthwhile. Now I am freelance, I doubt it would get any significant coverage. So it would be nice to issue one, but just far too time consuming and wouldn’t cost in. Thanks for your support though, check your email.

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