Thursday, 11 September 2014

Scots referendum, the debate moves down a level...

There was a letter in the Times yesterday suggesting that with the referendum polls so close, Scotland's 16 and 17 year olds could effectively decide her future. Now most of MW's readers probably don't befriend many young Scots SNP supporters on facebook.

But since someone on a rival Aberdeenshire cricket team added me, and fits the bill, I can use copy and paste to give you all an insight into the kind of propaganda the kids are circulating up here:

On oil:

Scotland would get about 90% of the oil revenues. Speaking of revenues; Scotland has generated more tax per person than the rest of the UK in each and every one of the last 30 years and that includes a period when the oil price was as low as $10 a barrel and revenues just a tenth of what they have been in recent years...

Norway discovered oil and gas at the same time as Scotland, and has been able to use this wealth to become one of the very wealthiest countries on earth in terms of GDP per head of population and also now sits at the very top of world wellbeing and equality league tables.

Another important comparison with Norway relates to the establishment of a “sovereign wealth fund”. Unlike the UK, since 1996 the Norwegian government has been investing proceeds from its oil revenues into an investment fund so that future generations can benefit too. That fund is now worth over £500 billion (£100,000 per person)...

Margaret Thatcher's Westminster government used the North Sea revenue to fund tax cuts for the rich. An independent Scotland could still choose to invest in a similar "rainy day fund", building a secure legacy for the future. Remember there are up 24 billion barrels of oil still to be extracted from the North Sea with a wholesale value of up to £1.5 trillion."

On tax and spend:

The Scottish economy made £120 billion last year and only received £32 billion of it to spend while the rest went AWOL...

Let's take it in a literal sense, picture you as the Scottish government and Me as Westminster.. What currently happens is effectively like you getting paid £1000, giving it to Me and only getting you £250 to spend. Then if you give me more powers (ie. If Scotland voting no) then I will only give you maybe £200 next month because there is nothing you can do about it meaning you have to sell your ipad and your phone to make money - it's not being done through choice, it just has to be done for you to get by.

Scotland is massively wealthy so why there are 100,000 kids in poverty is a joke.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Excellent. It would be quicker listing what's correct in that rant than it would be listing all the mistakes.

SumoKing said...

what is are your independence views steven and mark? you're generally against mashed together superstates but does a couple generations of multiculturism bedding down change that view?

(in the interests of disclosure I am rabidly for, from a localism/small gov is better standpoint really)

Mike said...

Well, the bit about Thatcher using oil revenues to cut taxes for the rich sounds plausible, if by taxes you mean property taxes (and in as much as any particular source of revenue can be said to fund any one item of expenditure).

I'm in two minds about independence. Instinctively I feel it would be a shame if two countries with so much in common can't find a way to remain united. On the other hand, I look at the parlous state of English politics, and think that I really wouldn't blame Scottish voters for choosing a chance of something different.

In the end I think it has to be an emotional, gut decision. If they really believe independence would be better, they should go for it, practical matters (currency etc) can be sorted out later.

Someone recently said: "Give me liberty or give me 500 quid extra a year!" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

That said, I'm not sure that what Salmond is proposing actually does amount to independence in any real sense. If they want to keep the pound (and all that entails), share defence and have a completely open border, then that's just a greater level of devolution with some nominal recognition of being a distinct country, which to a great extent they already have.

The Stigler said...

It's funny how the Scots nats demonise Thatcher to a bunch of kids who weren't even born when she left office.

Whatever you think of her, if what she did wasn't broadly acceptable, we've had over 25 years for politicians to undo it, more Labour than Conservative and more Scottish then English.

And depresingly most of what people tried to undo of her works wasn't the bad stuff, like the centralisation of power into London and the shift of taxes from rates to income tax, but to create a new establishment of quangos.

Mark Wadsworth said...

SK, seeing as you ask, I have no particular opinion one way or another, it's up to the eligible voters in Scotland to decide.

Ben Jamin' said...

A case of if you don't want to share your Land rent, we won't share ours?

Only, they haven't done the maths.