jimtoggleJim O’Neill takes on the Scottish Government on the economic madness of independence given the latest trade figures, and the budget choices they have made which are leading inexorably to inevitable results. 

 

Last blog, I tried to say something nice, without criticism, about this SNP government. I waited for a response from the usual suspects. And I waited and I waited, until I began to believe that if they couldn’t say anything bad about what I wrote, they, to paraphrase Thumper in Disney’s Bambi, would say nothing at all.

Foolish me. If they could not directly criticise what I said, after some time they resorted to post-truth nationalism. This is where either fake news is created, like Trump, or direct nonsense is spewed to try to deflect the reader from the subject.

I note that the same bunch have now also turned to my good friend, Alastair Osborne, strangely comparing him with me. I have news for Mike and others. As a former Minister, who weekly had to write sermons for believers and unbelievers, Alastair is much more erudite than me, and much more likely to forgive his detractors. So, I return to my regular themes

When the Supreme Court ruled that the British Government did not have to consult Holyrood on Article 50, Nicola Sturgeon and failed Education Minister Mike Russell ratcheted up the politics of grievance. They had argued that the Sewell Convention and the Scotland Act required their involvement. They seemingly did not notice that the Scotland Act reserved all European matters to Westminster, and their education failed them in believing that a convention is a requirement. Sadly, it is called a convention quite specifically because it is not a requirement. So, it was no surprise to anyone who understood the law in these matters that the court resisted their views 11 – 0, the Bon Accord defeat of legal history.

As a matter of interest, London has a bigger population that Scotland, has its own Assembly, has more MPs than Scotland and voted remain by a bigger margin than Scotland. Does her logic mean that the London Assembly should be consulted separately as well, but that all those areas that voted no should not be? What a ridiculous situation. But that is standard in the SNPs obsession with independence.

New trade figures show how ridiculous their position even more starkly. The Scottish Government’s own figures show that our trade with rUK is now £49.8bn per annum, while our trade with rEU is £12.5bn. So trade with England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 4 times that with the EU. Yet Nicola and her cohorts want to pull out of the UK free trade area, giving up all that free trade, but want to stay in a vastly smaller one. I do not believe how economically stupid that sounds. Maybe she should convene her group of economic advisers, or maybe she should listen to the enormously respected Fraser of Allander Institute on this. What we don’t need right now is an exodus of all our producing industries as a result of the uncertainty which, at worst case, could leave us out of both!

So, Derek Mackay lost the initial vote on his budget on Wednesday. Now he has eight days either to swallow his pride and do a deal with Labour, the Greens or the LibDems to save his budget or to go down, all guns blazing, into history as the first Finance Minister at Holyrood to lose his budget. Nicola’s comments at FMQs did not give any inclination of concession but does she really want to fight Brexit, the local government elections and a Scottish Parliamentary election at the same time? Scotland waits with bated breath.

And finally, a new report suggests that children’s health in Scotland is among the worst in Europe. This is after 10 years of SNP control of health in Scotland. This is nothing to do with the austerity imposed by Westminster. It is entirely to do with the choices and competence of the Holyrood government. And now they want to limit the bus pass, which has done more for undermining elderly isolation than any other single policy. It’s choices, people. Choices!

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27 thoughts on “Normal service resumed

  1. London is bigger, better and just basically far better than us, so there! We Scots should be thankful to our betters and masters and take what we get.
    That’s your article, written on yer knees while clutching yer cap.
    Sickening.

  2. You would have thought that after 2014 when we were assured that the UK was made up of four EQUAL partner nations, that the parliaments of Scotland, Wales and N Ireland would have a say in the biggest constitutional change for generations. But no,its just the English parliament which gets to call the shots, and the Tories and Labour gloat at the powerlessness of the smaller nations in the UK.

    How much does the rUK export to Scotland. Oddly we are never told. I suspect it is more than Scotland exports to rUK. So why would rUK cut its own trading throat by erecting trade barriers with an independent Scotland, at a time when it claims it wants to trade with everyone?

    Nor does RTE on its evening news announce that, as Irish trade with the UK is up this particular quarter, then the IRISH REPUBLIC should henceforth be ruled from London. Wonder why RTE news presenters are more honest and straight with their audience than BBC Scotland is with its?

    Budget falls, then there will be an ELECTION, and Ruthie will highfive Kezia. Because then, it will be WIPEOUT time for Scottish Labour, who are seeing half their voters go straight to the Tories in by-elections( latest is Kilmarnock, of all places). Bye-bye Labour, your time here is at an end!
    Sturgeon will relish fighting a Scottish election at the same time as Brexit. While not all 62% will vote SNP, they will garnish a substantial percentage of it + those who will vote for an independence party, no matter what.

    Scottish children in poverty. Who would have thought that after exploiting a huge oil field on Scotland’s doorstep for half a century, Scotland would have some of the worst poverty stats in Europe? But Labour and the Tories made certain Scotland got the minimum benefit from its own resources, and the poverty which existed all throughout the TWENTIETH century would carry on into the TWENTYFIRST.

    1. Kilmarnock Labour vote up 6% from last year. Erm British Parliament….or do the feeble 58 have no say?

      1. The feeble 58 plus the 16 seats in the unelected house of patronage and privilege have a 5% say within the English dominated Parliament of unequals Jim Bob. That wont change no matter which party they come from.
        Why is that a good thing for Scotland?

      2. Kilmarnock East and Hurlford by election the other night.
        SNP win with 48.7%—up 2%.
        Labour drop 16.7% of their vote.
        Tories gain 12.6%.

        British Parliament? It’s looking more and more like an ENGLISH government to me, with Mundell stating it’s not his job to represent Scottish interests in Cabinet.
        I very much doubt May will have much traction in Scotland. Her sucking up to Trump and her condescension over Brexit to the Scottish, Welsh and N Irish leaders can only antagonise people.

  3. I am absolutely dumbstruck by the sheer arrogance of this article.

    For one, hardly anybody reacted to your last article. Only 8 comments of which 2 were from a Labour supporter with 1 a one word reply to his first post expressing incomprehension. That leaves just 5 posts in reply to you which all related to the article. Sorry that they weren’t full of fullsome praise for your one foray into reasoned analysis of the Scottish Govt’s record, but given the increasing lack of interest in your articles ( I say again, just 8 comments) you should think yourself lucky you got any reaction at all.

    As to your latest rehash of SNPbad drivel …. its just sad now.

    The Smith Commission, so often lauded by Unionists, promised Scots that the Sewell convention would become law. Therefore Westminster should not have been able to legislate on Article 50 without the consent of Holyrood. However, it turns out, yet again, to be just another Unionist lie. It did not become law and the Scottish Parliament is powerless to defend the Scottish people from Brexit. If nothing else, the Scottish Govt’s attempted defence of Scotland’s interests has highlighted that lie. That you should be, in some way, “proud” of the UK’s dishonesty and Scotland’s powerlessness is baffling.

    As to trade, its not a matter of “volumes of trade”. Trade will continue with the rUK whether or not Scotland is independent. Its a matter of whether you have advantageous “trade deals”. The UK is about to build a trade wall around it (maybe this “common cause” is one of the reasons why Trump and the Westminster Govt are so pally now). You can either be outside that wall with >99% of the World and good trade deals with just about all of them, or inside that wall with <1% of the World and few trade deals with anyone. Even the deals you manage to get will be highly disadvantageous as the rest of the planet does not need the UK's goods anywhere near as much as the UK needs theirs; and the UK will be absolutely desperate for ANY deal while the rest of the planet can effectively write their own which, as any businessman will tell you, leaves the UK in a very weak bargaining position.

    Scotland, as a member of the European Single Market (if not the EU), will have advantageous trade deals with just about everyone …. including the rUK. The EU is not about to be charitable to the UK and I'd rather be on their end of the deal than the UK's. The rUK will be DESPERATE to trade with ANYONE including Scotland. To claim Scotland will be better off inside the UK's trade wall is to claim it would have been better to be on the inside of the Alamo.

    Your comments on the Scottish budget and child health are frankly fatuous, SNPbad drivel. I don't need to comment further on them.

    You never know, perhaps your evident decline in relevance on this site will be turned around. On this article's evidence though, it wont be anytime soon. Its all the same old SNP/Scotland-bad that you write time and time again. It does not bode well for this site that its most prolific contributor (by far) is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

  4. I don’t think you quite understand post truth politics, despite being such an able proponent, (or maybe because of that) so let me help you. It’s doing things like claiming our pensions were down the tube in an independent Scotland; it’s claiming the only way to retain membership of the E.U. was to stay as part of the U.K; or higher public spending or lower taxes, or more expensive mobile phones, or more recently, “the vow delivered” or the permanence of the Scottish Parliament, or a myriad of others.
    Or anything Kezia says.

  5. The Scottish Government’s own figures show that our trade with rUK is now £49.8bn per annum, while our trade with rEU is £12.5bn.

    Pack of bare faced lies Jim Bob. First off the 49.8 billion figure is inclusive of Scottish exports in transit via the rUK to destinations abroad and the figures were published by the Scotland Office via the Scottish Parliament not the Scottish Government.
    The Scottish exports being attributed to the EU are only the exports that travel directly from Scottish ports they are not inclusive of exports which travel via the channel Tunnel which is included within the 49.8 billion figure.

    So Clearly you economic madness case has been blown out of the water. What a shocker. Fancy National Independence not being a burden to countries. Who would have thought it eh?

  6. I agree with what you say. For me Brexit is a disaster. The SNP Leadership are using it as an excuse for indy 2. .I voted remain the problem is that it was a UK vote how do we get round that. It would also have helped if Michael Russell after doing the we are being fibbed to routine and we probably are by both governments had not been seen arm in arm with David Mundell. I have been saying for some time concentrate on local issues as our FM has found out from Govanhill her constituency. In my local authority where Labour have recently taken control we have a 9 million pound budget cut from central government. Not one of our SNP MPS or MSPS have done their duty by telling the government we need more money. If we don’t start listening to local people we might see a Trump or a Farrage coming through. Just check out the vile texts from all over the UK on Thursday Night Question Time some of the worst from Scotland. P155. Before anybody calls me names yes I am a Labour Party member but I give you my views not always well put. I use the blog as a discussion forum. I like to see other peoples ideas if delivered in a civilized way. If you cant do that you have nothing to say

    1. You would agree with anything any clown said that had an SNP bad theme. That’s your signature.
      Every Labour controlled authority has registered an underspend of millions so in what universe is any of them experiencing a budget cut except by their own hand?

  7. As a matter of interest London does have a bigger population than Scotland.

    London covers an area of 37 square miles – Scotland is over 36,000 square miles.

    London is a city – Scotland is a country.

    I suppose taking your points from “question” time, blinds you to the obvious.

  8. Why do you state, “Yet Nicola and her cohorts want to pull out of the UK free trade area, giving up all that free trade, but want to stay in a vastly smaller one”

    Like you believe this trade will no longer happen? Are you aware that the the rest of the UK sells more to Scotland?

    From the BBC website “Scotland sold £50.5bn in goods and services to the rest of the UK in 2013. The rest of the UK sold £62.7bn in goods and services to Scotland”

    RE London, when exactly did they sign an Act of Union with England? You know Scotland’s a country right?

    You seem happy that Scotland’s convection was kicked out the courts. Are you also happy that the UK government is about to ignore the convention?

    Then you finish with this cracker on children’s health, “This is nothing to do with the austerity imposed by Westminster”. Really Jim, you should be ashamed of yourself

    As always Labour in Scotland are happy to have Scotland run by Westminster Tories than govern themselves

  9. I must take issue with your analysis.
    Firstly the Supreme Court judgment specifically said that the Sewell convention was political..
    The EU referendum is also political. There is no legal requirement to act on the outcome.
    There is deep resentment among many in Scotland and Northern Ireland that our European citizenship is being withdrawn in such a manner.
    To believe that we will exit the EU as a ‘family of nations’ is incredibly naive.
    On your other assertion on trade. There is no market called the UK free trade area.
    We trade freely due to our membership of the EU.
    If the UK secures a settlement which avoids WTO rules , which is probable, does anyone genuinely believe the EU will not gain the upperhand in negotiations.
    If Scotland does vote for independence and retains EU membership, you are guilty of massively exaggerating the trade problem.
    We are after all heading into a seperate horrific trade trap with Trump, something Scotland remaining in the EU market would remove.

    1. I agree with some of what you say. The Referendum was advisory and, I have to say, if it was a TU ballot for action, no sensible TU would take action on that majority. I also believe that Jeremy Corbyn is making a massive mistake with a 3 line whip supporting activating Article 50. Labour should be opposing the Article 50 Vote.

      1. Labour fail to do many things they are supposed to do and do many things they shouldn’t do and yet you still give them your undying loyalty because of this.
        Do you get paid to lie spin and support actions you don’t believe in?

          1. I believe the SNP are Scotlands best chance to deliver Independence from Westminster Jim Bob.

            What else do I need to believe?

            That is the singular most beneficial progressive desirable vital crucial policy any Scottish political party can deliver for Scotland bar none.

            Because with that every single other issue and policy is determined by those who live and work within Scotland and not England.
            By people we in Scotland vote for not the people of England.

            Every penny Scotland is capable of producing is spent here in Scotland and not outside in England for England.

            I’m not a member of the SNP Jimbob so my “Loyalty” comes with no expectation of reward or position or chance to put my snout in any trough.

            Within the union we quibble and fight over scraps in relative terms to our full potential and resources.
            Labour promotes the idea of more and more spending while simultaneously denying Scotland its full fiscal potential
            because Labour are not a Scottish political party born to serve the people of Scotland they are an English dominated political party run from London which highlights where their ONLY loyalties lie.

            Labour loyalists in Scotland serve Labour in England Jim Bob nobody else.

            And that’s the difference between your politics and mine.

  10. “Last blog, I tried to say something nice, without criticism, about this SNP government”

    “But first to a shocking story that has just become public thanks to the investigative work of Private Eye. In 2012, Professor Malcolm Harrington was asked to carry out a review of fitness to work tests on the health of those who had undergone them. This was when the first real concerns about the fairness of the tests, carried out by ATOS, were being voiced.
    Naturally Professor Harrington believed that all the information about the outcomes of the tests had been passed to him and he wrote his report on that basis. It now becomes clear that a substantial number of outcomes, which resulted in the death of the participants, were not released, with the collusion of the Ministers. Such a misleading limitation of the data obviously impacted on Professor Harrington’s report and has called into question his conclusions.
    Naturally, opposition parties in Westminster have raised a stink about this and Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens have all called for an independent inquiry, both into the hidden reports and who was responsible, and also into the wider issue of deaths linked to welfare reforms. Naturally, the Government are resisting this but a head of pressure is building up. There is only one fly in the ointment – the lack of any call from the second largest opposition group, the SNP. Maybe they missed it as a result of their obsession with Indyref2. However, it is not too late for them to join the call. Now who is their Social Security spokesperson at Westminster?”

    Is there nothing you can post at all that doesn’t gibber for England Jim Bob?

    Surely nobody is this self unaware?

  11. “When the Supreme Court ruled that the British Government did not have to consult Holyrood on Article 50, Nicola Sturgeon and failed Education Minister Mike Russell ratcheted up the politics of grievance. They had argued that the Sewell Convention and the Scotland Act required their involvement. They seemingly did not notice that the Scotland Act reserved all European matters to Westminster, and their education failed them in believing that a convention is a requirement. Sadly, it is called a convention quite specifically because it is not a requirement. So, it was no surprise to anyone who understood the law in these matters that the court resisted their views 11 – 0, the Bon Accord defeat of legal history.”

    Perhaps if you helped explain how any of this is a good thing for Scotland and from Scotlands perspective? Perhaps in terms of a “Union benefit”? You may be able to clarify why it isn’t a genuine justifiable grievance that Labour in Scotland should be expressing as well?

    “So, Derek Mackay lost the initial vote on his budget on Wednesday. Now he has eight days either to swallow his pride and do a deal with Labour, the Greens or the LibDems to save his budget or to go down, all guns blazing, into history as the first Finance Minister at Holyrood to lose his budget.”

    Or perhaps Labour could call for a no confidence vote against the Scottish Government and force an election? Let the people of Scotland decide if its a crap budget or not?

    Or do you believe as somebody pointed out on Twitter that would be understood to be a form of euthanasia on the part of Labour?

    I’m sure Labour’s Comrade Ruth Davidson would love to get more unwanted unelectable List MSPs into the Parliament at Labours expense.

    Labour turkeys once again voting for the festive season.

    I’m starting to believe that its the Blairites plan to utterly destroy Labour across the whole of the UK in order to allow right wing Neo Conservativism a perpetual free hand of power at UK level.

  12. Has anyone anywhere ever seriously suggested that independence would jeopardise trade between Scotland and England? Would England want to jeopardise its trade with Scotland when just about everything we buy here comes from England?

    Every single supermarket in Scotland apart from Lidl is an English company. Think about the scale of that. Is anyone suggesting for a milisecond that England might want to cut that off?

    And what about their petrol stations and high street shops?

    Are we to believe all that is gong to be switched off as punishment for us wanting the same sort of control over our affairs that most English people voted for in relation to the EU?

    Scottish Labour is redefining its own irrelevance with nonsense like this. I have a million solid reasons to believe that trade between Scotland and England would continue as normal after independence and suggesting otherwise is just scaremongering nonsense that presupposes the Scottish people are thick.

    Utterly desperate and pathetic which serves no purpose other than to explain why Scottish Labour are hated and dying.

  13. ASda is owned by the American anti-union Walmart Company. That’s why I don’t shop there. Just sayin…

  14. Not doing politics tonight. Last night I attended a holocaust meeting in Irvine library. The speaker was Saskia Tepe . She told us that her mother Brigitte during the war had escaped by jumping into deep snow from an open cattle truck going to Auschwitz. Her mothers fr iend cut her own throat. Brigitties grand parents were Jewish so she was classed as part Jewish. They and Brigitte were Check Germans. Brigittittes German boyfriend refused to give her up. He was sent to the Eastern Front because of this he did not come back. Brigitte narrowly escaped the bombing of Dresden. After being raped by German and Russian soldiers her family payed smugglers to get her to the west. After spending years in transit camps after the war. In 1959 with the help of the UN World Refugee Year Initiative they were able to emigrate from West Germany to the UK. Brigitte died in 1992 and is buried in West Kilbride. Saskia also told her own story how as a child she had moved around different DP camps. When her mum had TB she was fostered out to a family in Belgium. She was reunited with her mum when she recovered. At 13 she asked her mum why this was happening. Her mum told her their history and got upset it was not raised again .It was only after her mothers death she was able to examine her mothers papers and put some of the story together. Saskia told us about the problems they had in the UK. Not being accepted and having to move a lot because of their German accents . Sarkias husband told us that last Friday in Edinburgh they met Refugees from Rawanda who told them what happened when that country had a civil war. One man in our audience told his dads story. He was one of the first Brittish soldiers into Belsen . He got upset when speaking about what his dad told him he had seen. The audience was from all over North Ayrshire . They were not political but when todays events were raised Donald Trumps travel ban was castigated. I hope we can all learn from what has happened in the past because I see the same mistakes being repeated today

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