I’m an economist…let me through!

Some of Britain’s most respected economists have delivered a damning indictment on Alex Salmond’s plans for independence, I read in the papers. And quite right too, if that’s their view, delivered in the FT’s predictions poll for 2014. You may not be overly surprised that 100 economists, none of them with any direct Scottish link I could see (bar one employed at RBS), and heavily concentrated in the City of London, should harbour doubts about the economic effects of independence.

It usually takes people with an unorthodox or even lateral thinking mentality to perceive opportunities in smaller, compact economies outside the Land of Giants in New York, Frankfurt and London.

But sometimes it’s worth doing the journalist’s job for them by asking just how respected some of these experts are and by whom.

Let’s start with Ruth Porter of the Policy Exchange, described as a British Conservative think tank loved by the Daily Telegraph as “the largest, but also the most influential think tank on the right” and David Cameron’s favourite. The Political Editor of the Evening Standard referred to it as “the intellectual boot camp of the Tory modernisers”.

Ruth’s quote is: “The raft of economically incoherent policies (which ones?) proposed by Alex Salmond would be disastrous for Scotland…” Well, so far they’ve kept Scotland in second place in output, employment and inward investment in the UK but I suppose they haven’t beaten the place that matters most  to Ruth, the beast that is London. Previously Ruth burnished her credentials at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said to be a natural feeder for the Tory Party and which refuses to publish its funding sources. The Guardian reported that it was sometimes paid by the tobacco lobby. Here are some of Ruth’s published ideas from the august think tank for tackling Britain’s economic problems.

Do not increase foreign aid to 0.7 per cent of GDP, stop ring fencing health, abolish the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, force families to move by reducing housing benefit, scrap free travel, TV licences and winter feul allowance for OAPs, ditch funding for low carbon technology and abolish the Green Investment Bank, limit early years education, end national pay bargaining and bin regional development.

Not sure how respected those views actually are here in the frozen north.

There is a sort of Scottish link here because for the last few years a “policy consultant” called Tom Miers moved to the Borders and operated as an opinion-former. (I filmed him myself for Newsnight). He worked for the same Institute of Economic Affairs and produced papers including the Devolution Distraction, arguing that we didn’t need all this constitutional tosh, just some good old market reforms. Interestingly, Tom also worked for the tobacco industry and believes in a free society. He is now director of the Foundation for European Reform in Brussels which works for free enterprise, small government and individual freedom in Europe…you may recognize a few code words for right-wing nuttery in there. They really get about these think tank wonks, don’t they?

Another contributor from the IEA is Philip Booth who has no doubt what Scotland’s problem is….how to deal with debt of nearly 100 per cent of income. Funny that because the latest figures from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research puts it at 86% of national income, significantly lower than the 101% calculated for the rest of the UK. Luckily I’m not an economist like Philip. But where did that debt come from, however large it is? Was it run up by Mr Salmond and his socialist band or was it run up by out-of-control Westminster Unionists of Labour and Tory colours?  And when asked about the sustainability of the recovery, he gives another side to this equation that Scots would do well to consider. “Though I do not expect the recovery to end in tears, I do not believe that there will be the rapid increase in living standards that we would normally expect after such a long period of slow growth.” Thank you, Philip. At least we can balance your two statements and think for ourselves.

Another contributor who gives independence the thumbs down is Erik Neilsen of  UniCredit. He says independence would cause massive uncertainty as the parties worked out how to separate assets and revenue streams. So is Erik very certain about the Unionist recovery? Eh, no. “Oh dear! – very lopsided recovery,” he says, “ driven predominantly by housing and household consumption, financed by lower savings. The current account deficit is now the largest in Europe and widening. There is a chance, of course, that the recovery spreads and becomes sustainable, but the odds are clearly suggesting an unpleasant end.” So again he sees a looming crisis in the UK but doesn’t connect it to Scotland’s situation.

One of the other experts quoted in the piece is Tony Dolphin of the Institute for Public Policy Research…makes you wonder what an institute actually is, doesn’t it?

IPPR of course is synonymous with New Labour and laid the ground work for Labour’s election victory in 1997. Tony Blair said of its social justice report: ‘it will provide the basis for a vital national debate about the future of work and welfare. It is essential reading for everyone who wants a new way forward for our country.” As Wikipedia points out, the secretary of that commission was David Miliband, one of many distinguished alumni of IPPR, who also include former Labour cabinet minister Patricia Hewitt, whom you may remember from the Channel 4 Dispatches programme, in which she appeared to claim that she was paid £3,000 a day to help a client obtain a key seat on a Government advisory group. Along with Geoff Hoon and Stephen Byers she was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over the allegations.

There’s not much doubt where Tony Dolphin’s constitutional loyalties reside. And I’m not sure he is balancing his opposition to independence with an overly optimistic vision of the UK’s economic future, thus: “We might be – in fact I’m sure we are – doing less well than we could in a long-run perspective (there must ultimately be a price to pay for selling UK assets and building up all those overseas debts) but we seem able to paper over the cracks for now. What would bring the house of cards tumbling down is a big fall in house prices – but until we start building a lot more of them, that’s very unlikely to happen.”

I offer these thumbnails as a brushstroke of perspective on those whose first reaction is to talk us down and assume we can’t possibly be as good as Britain, the same Britain they go on to express deep misgivings about. We must listen to all voices but not all voices are worth listening to.

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71 thoughts on “I’m an economist…let me through!

  1. Hear,Hear Derek – …”We must listen to all voices but not all voices are worth listening to.”

    Funny how these very costly, eminent and tremendously worth paying for experts, all have formed opinion on how us awfully stooopid people from the north, could step carelessly into a black hole and be utterly destroyed. It surely shows they care – about something! Wonder what?

  2. For my money the biggest hypocrite amongst them is Philip Rush of Nomura; talking Scotland down and shortlisted for plans on Britain being out of EU courtesy of the IEA


  3. Murray McCallum

    One of the “experts” David B. Smith, Shadow MPC sums it up:

    “The main issues with Scottish independence are geopolitical and defence ones. Think what would have happened to England in 1940, or the Napoleonic Wars, or at the time of the Spanish armada, if Scotland had been neutral or hostile, for example.”

    Interesting answer to an economics question (during which he also said “The economic issues are trivial by comparison ..”). An economist desperately trying to get a defence gig? He seemed obsessed with external threats.

    There was a huge variety in the quality of, and the knowledge contained in, the comments. Several of the “experts” confessed to having little or no knowledge of Scotland and, quite rightly, offered no comment – leaving their less thoughtful colleagues to make things up or offer outlandish claims.

    The most prominent theme seemed (to me) to be the fear of a fall in UK/England standing in the world and an increased likelihood of a rUK EU exit. These issues do not impact an independent Scotland – you do not have to be an “expert” to work that out.

    • In fact Murray, Scotland was neutral at the time of the Spanish Armada. In 1588 Scotland was ruled by James VI who was still unsure of his chances of being anointed successor to Elizabeth I (of England, of course). So he was certainly not hostile and no great harm befell England from Scotland’s neutrality. David Smith knows as much about Scotland’s past as he does its present.

      • Murray McCallum

        Jim you need to get yourself down to the City of London and raise the standards.

        One way of gauging the potential bias in an economic poll such as this is to look at the polarity of the comments.

        For example, Prof Peter Spencer, York University considers that “we can all prosper as part of the wider European Union” in the event of Scottish independence. On the other hand, fund manager Gavyn Davies (a former Chairman of the BBC) sees Scots running their own affairs ending in “… an unmitigated disaster for Scotland”.

        It would seem that Mr. Davies, a long term Labour Party supporter and donor, has no faith in a significant portion of his preferred Party running Scottish affairs. Many would maybe agree with him on this point.

        Looking at the FT article, 79 of the “experts” actually provided a comment to the question on Scotland and rUK in the FT. More than 20% of those 79 freely either said they had no comment, had insufficient personal knowledge or there was inadequate specific detailed information (depends on negotiations) to provide an opinion. The largest portion of the comments predicted bigger concerns around rUK exiting the EU and their declining role in the world.

  4. An excellent expose which shows how misleading much of Project Fear statements is.

  5. It was always going to come down to whose economists you believe.Our or theirs?.However,their economists (assuming they have been advising the British state) do have a track record of completely trashing our economy and leaving us with a debt mountain to pay off.The question must be:
    Are we prepared to give these incompetents another chance?

  6. cynicalHighlander

    The City and all of these so called think tanks are all embedded into a corrupt financial system and are not to be trusted to tell the truth.

    RBS GRG – The ‘Guantanamo Bay’ where SME’s are sent to die

    • Yes and encouraged to do so by the British state and it’s politicians.The corruption starts with the democratic foundations (or rather lack of) of the British state which is based on an outdated concept of devine right of Kings/Queens from which all power is derived.
      As a result the Westminster establishment does not believe that it is accountable to anyone and is probably correct in that assumption.
      Corruption always starts at the top and then works it’s insidious way into all aspects of state which is where we now find ourselves.
      We need to refresh our democracy and try to avoid the mistakes made by the British state in the past.

  7. “Since the masses are eager to believe something,for their benefit,nothing is so easy to arrange as facts”.
    And so in economic analysis and forecasting, a wee tweak here, a wee 1/2 degree tweak there, and trend analysis is, hey presto – what you wanted boss?

  8. So what you are saying is that a bunch of London based London salaried wankers don’t think it’s a good idea for Scotland to vote for independence? Hmm…

    I haven’t had the opportunity to view the ‘respected economists’ insightful observations on the Scottish plans for independence as they are hidden behind the Murdoch (scum of the earth) paywall and I haven’t found an archive of the article yet.

    I think you may have hit the nail on the head though with the “Not sure how respected those views actually are here in the frozen north” bit.

    I think we’re past the tipping point and barring some sort of miraculous or horrendous event the Yes campaign is going to prevail. It will prevail because of these ‘respected economists’ and their deroga-tory views of Scotland’s capabilities.

    In spite of the Labour party in Scotland (the ones who pretend to be Scottish Labour) not everyone in Scotland is badly educated (or brainwashed) into blind acceptance of our ‘betters’ whether they are London economists or the ‘Betters Toogether’ coalition.

    You can only cry wolf so often…

  9. Happy new year to you and yours, Derek. They have started early – these revelations of who THEY really are, is most iluminating. More power to your Mac.

  10. New paragraph! Flipper Darling, being benignly interviewed by EBC’s Brian Toodles Taylor, declares “Scotland has a population ageing faster than rUK …so we are better together, stronger together…” England having received it’s required quota of youthful immigrants to balance against an ageing population now intends to shut up the immigrant shop so denying Scotland the means to encourage youthful immigrants. Another price worth paying? Is Toodles Taylor so inept that he cannot ask that question? You know him better than I will ever Derek.

    • He’s being honestly economical with the truth-seeking… Or else softening up Alistair so he won’t be watching when the killer blow comes. The butterfly and the bee scenario. He is the greatest. Nothing’s going on that he cannot ignore, such is his focus. Referendum-diddly-doo?

      How are the mighty crawlin’.

  11. For my sins I read through the FT’ list of comments, a fair number of which to be fair were actually “no comment”. I was underwhelmed by the depth of argument presented. It read less like economic prediction and more like an off the cuff regurgitation of Conservative policy. I don’t think many were really making an effort on that particular question.

  12. I’m sorry Derek, but this is a laughable summary. You fall into the trap of 100% of the Scottish Nationalist blogs that I read, in that you base your critique of people who are experts, on two oversimplifications of their arguments and the facts.

    “You may not be overly surprised that 100 economists, none of them with any direct Scottish link I could see (bar one employed at RBS), and heavily concentrated in the City of London”

    . This is the usual selective deploying of the autarkic claim that people who don’t live in Scotland (or even worse – live in London) don’t understand Scotland, or who don’t have a valid opinion based purely on where they live. This is laughable, and selective – I’ve never heard a Scot Nat dismiss opinions from some in the EU, for example, because they’re not based in Scotland. This, again, shows nationalism in its most basic form – only what happens in Scotland counts, etc. The author forgets that the City of London is the world’s largest financial centre, and so might just have a few economists who have opinions worth listening to. Equally, he ignores the fact that the list includes academics at a whole host of UK based universities, think tanks, and banks not necessarily based in London. Also, presumably he has decided that they are not Scottish, and probably English, based on their name. I’m glad he doesn’t apply that logic to other attitudes to Scottish society, or we’re in trouble. They could be American, Canadian, Irish, etc. We just don’t know. What we do know, is that they probably aren’t nationalists and probably have only given their honest professional opinion, which is that independence would probably be a bad idea for all parties.

    Secondly, based on this:

    “Previously Ruth burnished her credentials at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said to be a natural feeder for the Tory Party and which refuses to publish its funding sources. The Guardian reported that it was sometimes paid by the tobacco lobby. Here are some of Ruth’s published ideas from the august think tank for tackling Britain’s economic problems.

    Do not increase foreign aid to 0.7 per cent of GDP, stop ring fencing health, abolish the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, force families to move by reducing housing benefit,”


    This is the ‘investigate their other opinions, then rubbish the views they have presented based on those’ school of criticism. Equally, it is laughable. Just because people have views on one thing that Mr. Bateman disagrees with, doesn’t mean that they are all invalid. Alex Salmond once praised the RBS board for its acquisition of ABN Amro, later he came to regret this. People’s opinions change (as Salmond said on backing Sterling over the Euro, quoting Keynes, ‘when the facts change I change my mind’), and people have varying opinions. Scot Nats often claim that because the City of London, or any institution in it, didn’t forsee the financial crisis, their views are invalid; this is despite few except Vince Cable not forseeing it. So it follows that I supported Blair’s decision to embrace devolution, his NHS policy, his investment in Education, his eradication of Third World debt, even his intervention in Sierra Leone, but definitely not his invasion of Iraq. So you can agree with some people’s opinions, and not others – they’re not all invalid because of one view. This is all stating the obvious, but it seems oblivious to Scottish Nationalists.

    Let me state the obvious again. These economic ‘experts’ are the most intelligent, successful and qualified people in their field, and have been asked for their view by one of the world’s great newspapers. You don’t have to agree with it, but by god is it more competent, valid and trustworthy than the members of ‘Business for Scotland’ and its affiliates have to say on the matter. If you don’t believe them then fine, but if that’s the case you must accept being labelled an irrational nationalist.

    • Hi Hugh and welcome. Good to have – at last – another straight-talking Unionist viewpoint. You were going great guns until the last para when you wrote off the views of Business Scotland with a wave of the pen, exactly the dismissive selective swipe you accuse me of. The truth is we are all selective to a degree and I know that many of these people are not unprofessionally biased but I selected a few quoted in the Times and just scrutinised them and wondered what that scrutiny told us. It is hardly a surprise, is it, to find rabid right-wing, London-centric Unionists (not described thus in the paper) decrying independence without detail? And, no, you don’t have to live in Scotland to have an informed view, but part of the critique of the UK – not just a Nat one – is that attitudes are formed in London, policies are directed to London, power resides in London and while the rest of the UK gets it, London doesn’t. Anyone inside that bubble has their view shaped by it. And I haven’t written off Blair’s achievements. On the contrary, I have mentioned them in previous blogs, including early years education, devolution, minimum wage etc but don’t tell me you think history won’t remember him most for the global horlicks of Iraq.That will define him just as blind adherence to the City will define virtually all of these experts. I don’t know, and neither do you, if these are the best people in their field. They are a media selected group who were available at the time and there are experts in each of these fields who disagree on the Scottish question. Since it was the least important question to the FT, they didn’t bother to elect those best equipped to answer. (More selection). Lastly, I AM an irrational nationalist. That’s what love is – irrational. It is about belief – that we can do better, that we should not be afraid and that in a generation’s time our children will salute us as Generation X, the Scots who changed history and turned us into a happy, de-stressed, more equal, prosperous country. What do you believe? PS Salmond didn’t praise RBS for buying ABN Ambro – he offered Goodwin his best wishes BEFORE the purchase as an act of goodwill. It was Goodwin’s job to know if it was a good buy and Darling’s to ensure it was viable. Keep reading. Kind regards. Derek

    • cynicalHighlander

      Let me state the obvious again. These economic ‘experts’ are the most intelligent, successful and qualified people in their field, and have been asked for their view by one of the world’s great newspapers.

      Which is why they shouted from they rooftops about the impending financial meltdown back in i2007/8 and was covered by the MSM. in your dreams.

      The City of London the world centre of money laundering

      Are you Boris Johnson?

    • “… but by god it is more competent…”

      Nothing “irrational”, then, just intelligence, success, qualifications and, as you say, competence. Sounds like a Yes.

    • Come on Hugh. Lighten up! The pronouncements Derek refers us to are about as authoritative as those of Chicken Licken.

    • “Irrational nationalist” – me too. I watched as “these economic experts .. are the most intelligent, successful and qualified people in their field” destroyed the British economy and continue to cheat HMRC of their taxes. Yes indeed – irrational!!!

  13. Another insightful and enlightening piece from Derek.

    His hardcore fan base of 24-odd folk from near Maryhill are already terribly excited at his latest nugget of biting wisdom.

    You see where I’m going with this?

    Now don’t panic, I’m on the verge of being a DB superfan myself.

    But what good is it doing? How many folk are reading the blog??

    How many No’s or Don’t-Knows are DB’s pieces educating?

    I just wish some Scottish newspaper owner or editor with courage would publish the blogs as a column.

    Not going to happen obviously, since they’re all unionist drones and enemies of the Scottish people.

    • A somewhat pessimistic view Dewey, since I am nowhere near Maryhill, and I nearly always share Derek’s blog on my FB page, which happens to have over 1200 ‘friends’, many of whom beat me to it. As someone else has stated, Newsnet Scotland regularly publish Derek’s blog.
      That is the power of the internet
      Keep up the good work Derek, since I’m sure your blog is read not just by rabid nats, but by many commentators in the MSM.
      When I first read the article in the FT, I wondered why they hadn’t bothered to get any views from Scotland. I’m sure that they would have received a different set of views for example from Aberdeen Asset Management.

      • I do feel pessimistic, David.

        I was also being obviously glib when I referenced Maryhill (where my wife and I had our first flat many years ago, and where my wife grew up).

        The point I was trying to make was that, though DB’s blogs may resemble a modern Scottish Petrocelli’s brilliant reduction of unionist propaganda and lies, WHO is being exposed to them?


        The Scottish masses who auto-vote Labour without even thinking?

        The Scottish masses who can be so easily manipulated by Jim Murphy running around shouting ‘Thatcher’s coming to get ye if don’t vote labour!’?

        The mass of Scots who will vote for the SNP to run the parliament of Scotland but will not – WILL NOT – vote Yes?

        THESE folk are not NOT being exposed to DB’s blogs or the blogs of folk with a similar point of view and that DOES makes me pessimistic.

        That’s what I was trying to get across.

        And no response thus far has offered me any comfort.

    • @Dewey. Your argument appears to be that because not everyone reads them no-one should. I think every little helps and we have no idea how wide a readership these articles have. Keep up the good work Derek.

  14. NNS publish quite a few of Derek’s pieces and they attract huge number of readers every month.
    Do you know these people in Maryhill?
    Is that in Glasgow?

    • I agree with the point that there’s no point preaching to the converted, however brilliant the writing and insights may be. We have to get the medsage to the Undecideds. Personally, I publish a list of all the best blogs and news sites on the Scotsman comments pretty much every day. The Herald won’t allow links so I can’t go there! I should also do it on the Record but they want to rape my Facebook contacts!

  15. Great piece Derek. When you start to attract the argumentative and the oddballs you know you’re doing something right!

  16. Looks like panic is beginning to seep into their arrogance since “rUK” doesn’t have much of a ring to it. But they ought to content themselves with the thought that once Scotland is independent they won’t have to tussle with the gigantic problem of putting the Great back into Britain. Always look on the bright side!

  17. Dewey – tell me I’m off my rocker when i insist that YES will win by a considerable margin, despite the published polls which are totally partial to their paymaster and the form of question dictated by them.

    The latest howler being the 2/3 who want to pay more CT to repair our crumbling schools and re-instate the cuts in elderly care allegedly caused by the SG’s CT freeze of the past 7 years. How would you answer this question; “The statement folk were asked to agree with was “I would be willing to pay more council tax if I was certain the money raised was spent on local services such as schools.”

    29% strongly agreed, 36% tended to agree, 15% tended to disagree, 18% strongly disagreed and 3% were don’t knows.

    So, in my ‘fanciful’ state of mind, I prefer to go along with Scottish Skier’s analysis on Wings over Scotland that the ‘trend’ of polls is what’s important and that trend has seen a continual decline in NO support over the past many months, while there’s a significant and continuing growth for the YES and Undecided category.

    Even if the bulk of voters will never see the information coming through these blogs, and they are deluged with false information from the MSM and BBC – it’s the trend that’s important and boy ain’t NO getting mighty worried, as in witness this very blog from Derek today.

  18. Derek
    As much as I admire and appreciate what you have to say the readership of the Fiancial Times in Scotland is a daily 2600 copies.

    I am sure you appreciate the implaction.

    Daily Record, 270,000 with the Scottish Sun slightly more and the Daily Mail 99,000.

    Newsnet Scotland which publishes your material and links from comments on the previously mentioned Tabloids also provides links to your valued material.

    I don’t know whether you publish your blog traffic figures, in general my personal opinion is that without some collective major marketing campaign which diverts the main body of the electorate, easily accessed by MSM, to yours and other important sites, then the impact of the internet is minimal.

    Personally I think that people opinion would be better expressed physically in front of the negative campaigners, that is, at BBC Glasgow and Edinburgh, Daily Record Glasgow, The Sun Glasgow, The Scotsman Edinburgh, The Herald Glasgow or wherever a negative message exists.

    If people standing outside these premises, with the appropriate banners long and often enough and in sufficient numbers, the message must be enhanced.
    Ghandi was a marketing man, so to were the Jarrow Marchers, we need to get up of our arses.

    I’m up for it! Are you?

  19. Hugh, these ‘experts are the most intelligent successful etc , well that must be one of the most naive things I’ve read in a long time. I’m not guessing, I’m telling you , the real intelligent, successful etc are too busy admiring their vintage wines in some villa somewhere a lot less windswept than here and interestingly not a credit card to their name.
    Personally, the staff of William Hill or Betfred could probably give as accurate a prediction if pushed without the need of an Institute. Your talking to a lot of Thatchers children here, who learned the hard way , financial and expert are only two words, not a guarantee.
    As for COSLA, wouldn’t it have been nice, if the question had been
    1/Having looked at Stirling Council who reduced the Council tax, then had to find the shortfall from other sources, had their workers out on strike, had the public up in arms regarding their bin collections , do you think Council policies could be improved to provide better services for schools,the elderly etc ?
    2/do you think we( the public who pay the blasted thing) should just continue to hand over more money?
    Might not have got the desired result but hey it would have been a lot more honest.
    Of course, if COSLA are really concerned about value for money for the public, perhaps the next poll will be on the total amount paid and still to be paid by the councils for PFI on our behalf? Must have been some of those financial ‘experts’ that drew up those contracts.

  20. Derek

    You can ignore these people if you want, hell you can even play the old nationalist trick of trawling up things from the past to try and prove they are wrong! But as Hugh says above that doesn’t mean that what they say now is wrong. People like myself and Hugh could also play that game with salmond, I mean look at the long list of economic gaffes he has made! Sterling is a millstone, encouraging Fred to bankrupt RBS, saying that UK bank regulation was to tight, stating that joining the a Euro was the best thing Scotland can do, changing his mind that a Sterling zone is now best for Scotland even though he can’t guarantee it, I could go on but surely you get the point…

    The thing is, it doesn’t really matter what your opinion of these people is. What matters are what the markets think and what those who trust these people to advise them on their investments think, you can be guaranteed that when the big fund mangers were having their cornflakes leafing through the FT they weren’t thinking ” this is nothing but Tory/unionist/project fear propaganda”, most likely they were thinking “yes I agree with that”.

    One reason these people matter (and there are many many reasons) which is relevant to the SNP case for independence is renewables. I have experience in funding the sector and I can tell you that a huge percentage of the investment in renewables in Scotland comes from London. If the city loses confidence in the Scottish economy that will have massive knock on effects for Scotland’s post independence budget. Already large London based funders are pulling out because of uncertainty and a massive part of that is the SNP’s laughably weak economic policies. I know of people opening bank accounts in England, of businesses looking for premises to relocate from Scotland if there is a yes vote. It is not looking good.

    • McMad,
      If the investors are all so worried about what will happen in an independent Scotland why would they touch renewables in Scotland with a bargepole? Scotland has seen record inward investment in the years since a referendum was mooted – which runs contrary to your scary scorched earth scenario. I know of businesses opening bank accounts in Scotland, and looking for premises to relocate to in Scotland if there is a Yes vote. You seem to suggest that Scotland would be unable to offer a good environment for a business to succeed – what gives you such little faith in your fellow Scots? Are we really too stupid to be able to do the sums and create an attractive business environment?

    • Do you have a link to these London based funders that have pulled out?

      • Of course he doesn’t, it’s all in his head. If these investors pull out of renewables in the most promising area geographically which is already connected to the grid, then where else are they going to go?

    • ‘…you can be guaranteed that when the big fund mangers were having their cornflakes leafing through the FT they weren’t thinking ” this is nothing but Tory/unionist/project fear propaganda”, most likely they were thinking “yes I agree with that”.’

      You think that’s how they make their decisions? Ho ho.

      If they are that simple-minded, they’ll be dawdling around their lattes, waiting to hear from Grahamski Darling about the future benefits of the union.

      And meanwhile, all the wind will be gone!

    • The main thing which has created uncertainty for potential London funders of renewable energy projects is the lack of a coherent UK energy policy.

    • I think it more likely they were asking “how can I make money out of this”.

    • cynicalHighlander

      Since these beloved markets are manipulated by the moneymen I don’t think we need take any heed of the rhetoric emanating from the centre of that corruption.

      Pickpockets Rule UK?

    • Proof – Names buddy ???

  21. or an alternative is , they are pulling out because there are potentially better options for the ‘big London Investors’.

    Imagine if the British public caused such a rammy about Libor, the lax rules etc,and at the same time an alternative European hub was being considered,as you say it’s all about the money.Just as there is no loyalty to the Scottish economy,don’t let’s kid ourselves there would be loyalty to London.

  22. Jings, Derek, things are getting a wee bitty desperate are they not?

    This kind of nonsense may play well with the low information readers of the more (ahem) enthusiastic separation-supporting wabsites but I expected better from an Ex-BBC man!

    However, I am looking forward to you trashing Joe Stiglitz on the basis that he doesn’t live here and has praised Gordon Brown…

  23. I think it’s a good sign that British commentators are now posting on Indy blogs. Their paymasters must be getting worried.

  24. John McMad: any prospect that you can provide some figures in support of your expressed concerns for investors in renewables?
    To kick off: Scotland exports 25% of her generated electrical power yet for some unexplained reason, certainly technically nothing to do with distance, there is a surcharge placed on electrical power generated in Scotland and exported to England. A free market analysis would determine that as there must be is a surplus of electrical power available and so market forces will drive down sale prices.
    However,electric power generated in plower stations located close to the London and the South East receive a subsidy. Seems like free market forces in play there. Scarcity upping the sale price!
    The Chinese are to finance and build a new nuclear generating station in the south of England. Will a subsidy or a supply charge apply to the Chinese investors? The Chinese investors, are they private investors, or the Chinese government? And what political leverage is likely to be sought by this investor(s)?
    The UK is sitting at a 2% surplus margin against blackout. In a market economy, declared as so beloved of the City of London, Scotland and the investors in renewables, being aware of the meagre 2% margin, should take advantage and be upping the price of her exported electrical power in the knowledge that the Chinese station is some 15 years away from operation, and that the French company EDF declined the business case to build a nuclear station.
    An independent Scotland will have surplus electrical power to sell. Shouldn’t be a problem in a free market economy and these London based City investors should be content. Why they seem content with the current surcharge situation described above is odd.

  25. A good new year to you Derek.

    Its amazing how many ‘think tanks’ and experts are queuing up these days. Bit like buses really. For long enough you see nothing (too busy moving and shaking the universe in the background) and then a hundred of them appear all at once. 😀

    Happily we have a few of our own who were tasked with forming a macro economic framework specifically for Scotland’s needs. They seem quite upbeat about our chances but hey some folk eat lemons and some eat pears.

    Who do you believe? The proof of any pudding is in the eating I’d say.

    But a quick thought or three occurs. Where were these experts when the UK economy went down the plug hole? Were they giving the UK government equally helpful advice back in 2008? If so, just why should we accept advice from these same experts now?

    Seems to me that perhaps trying our own model carries no more risk than continuing to follow one which has already proven to be disastrous.

  26. As most of the comments were fact free and given without knowledge of the facts, a problem that I pointed out to them on the FT blog, this is yet another manifestation of London Group Think. LGT generally infects bankers and causes grief in areas like sovereign debt and CDOs, however it also appears elsewhere as in the impossibility of the Argentinians invading the Falklands or there is no upper limit to house prices so there is no problem with Help to Buy.

    The comments that amused me were the ones assuming Scottish financial services would head south on Yes. The USP for them is that they are out of the influence of LGT; go South and so would your USP.

  27. Hi Derek, I’m delighted to see that the art of good old fashioned journalism is alive and well and residing in one of my, deservedly, well-regarded peers. Never accept what they tell you. Always ask the question. More power to your elbow, sir.

    • Hi Peter
      I don’t know if you got my first reply.It hasn’t appeared on my own website! Good to hear from you too, a best selling author no less. Some people say I stuck to fiction but pretended it was journalism. I’m glad you’re surviving happily in france where I doubt they take much notice of us. My wife was a teacher in France and when she asked the class what they knew about Scotland, they said: Castles. I hope were to be known as the latest new country in the UN soon. Maybe you could be a celebrity Yes supporter. Thanks for getting in touch and keep reading. Kind regards. Derek

  28. Glad to see that the art of real journalism is not dead!

  29. More power to your elbow, Derek. Glad to see someone out there is still stoking the embers of the professional journalism.

  30. As you can see, I am still struggling with typos! 🙂

  31. The post from McMad above is simply the same dicredited mantra we are now seeing blowing around the unionists ranks like soiled Andrex. It is the mantra frequently trotted out by the likes of McMillan, Darling, The Seceratary of State for Portsmouth, Wee Willie Bain, and the invisible JoLa. Yet when challenged to provide proof they go all dumb. Remember how Nicola left Wallace of Tankerness with his gob flapping like an overflowing Shanks Armitage sink, on this very subject on live TV? Then another wee voice pops up, the same one we heard pleading to Rhona on STV, to “make her stop,” that of course these companies are to afraid of Alex Salmond to speak out. It is so juvenile this stuff. Strange fear that, whilst on the one hand planning to run for the border, they fear the man they will be running from.

    The new buildings being erected in Aberdeen will presumably be dismantled come independence and all infrastructure towed out of the North Sea over the boundary to the safe haven of England.

    It is not the utterly blatant lies that are so offensive it is the fact that these poor deluded liars imagine for one second that their lies are going to strengthen their case for retaining this bloody union. By doing so they insult the intelligence of Scottish voter by assuming we are as thick and guillible as they are. I suppose I should be thankfull for their negative stupid bleating but it does raise the gorge in me.

    The default position of these unionist jokers is to lie, knowing as we do that they will never ever be tested by the MSM. Untill that is they come eyeball to eyeball with Nicky. “Please Rhona make her stop.”

  32. On John McNad – it all comes down to London provides for Scotlands next it’ll be oxygen, or even water (Oh that will go in a No vote be assured ) ?
    Tired stuff indeed; sad that there are still some Thatcherites left in Scotland, (betrays a sense of the deluded) funny thought they were on the endangered list.
    Tally ho rule Britania ‘mon the Gers and all that John !!

    • Ignore what I say if you want. I honestly couldn’t care less if you agree with me as I have seen and heard the things I have mentioned first hand, you agreeing isn’t going to make any difference to it being true or not. The fact that you and some of your fellows nationalists such as Hen Broon are only able to respond to me through insults and attacking my character speaks volumes and is entirely what I would expect from someone like you. Sticks and stones etc.

      • Nah think you are irked bud or you wouldn’y respond : You were asked for proof ?? This is what you and the NO MORE SCOTLAND side lack in any statements you make. Its backfiring with the public, how can you be taken seriously ?; your in cahoots with GB state government that has been lying through its teeth for years and mugs like yourself fall for it, which is a shame. UK £1.23 trillion in Debt = bye bye UK.

  33. John McMad: I don’t believe I ignored what you posted, I asked you to move from generalities to specifics, and offered a few puzzling market circumstances, particularly on renewables, that you may be able to explain since you claim to have firsthand knowledge.
    A core principle of business economics is to identify a demand, and to source a supply to meet that demand. Another core principle is only to run an business overdraft if you can service the overdraft. This principle runs true from domestic, thro’ business to a country’s economic management. If management cannot resolve the problem then close down the unprofitable parts of the business. That is the decision that Scotland faces. Scotland must get out of the UK.
    The UK cannot service its overdraft (deficit) payments, hence the UK has a close on £1.5 trillion debt. It clings to its perceived world status and cannot face cutting the big ticket cost items.
    The UK has identified a demand for generated electrical power but cannot meet the demand. Scotland provides supply but doesn’t receive payment! What’s is not laughable but astonishing is that people will cast doubt on Scotland’s economic prospects and fail to recognise, or prefer to ignore Westminster’s avarice, coined as “Better Together”.
    Another request for specifics. Please detail out your view of the SNP’s laughably weak economic policies. A parallel comparison with UK economic policies and performance would be of interest too.

    • GB. I wasn’t replying to you, rather the numpty above. I cannot of course give specifics on a foam like this but i do know of funds that have decided to withdraw funding because of the uncertainty caused by independence. These are big multi million pound funds. The issues seem to be concerns about who is going to be paying the FIT’s/ROC’s/CFDs in an independent Scotland and whether English consumers would be willing to continue supporting renewable subsidies in a separate country. The other issue is that Scotland does not have a monopoly on selling power to England because we of course have the cross channel connector with France, which, while it can only take so much power could be upgraded at anytime to import cheap nuclear power from France. This is nothing anti-scottish, it is just that the south coast of England where the cable makes land fall is closer to London than Scotland and French nuclear power is cheap. It really doesn’t take much for investment funds like these to take fright as they are investing other peoples money. If they have doubts about scottish projects there are plenty other countries for them to invest in as they are global players. What i say about businesses opening bank accounts in northern england is also true and i know of businesses looking for premises over the border as well just in case.

      On the SNP’s economic policies, just read the white paper yourself. I think there are less than 2 pages devoted for costings in a 650 page document. Among all this I think the prize for the most incoherent weak policy goes to the proposal for a Sterling currency zone. This will mean that we are in fact less fiscally democratic than we are now with Scottish budgets and spending plans having to be approved by politicians and bankers in a foreign country that we don’t have to power to influence through the ballot box. We are being asked to vote yes to ensure we have less control over our own economy, if you can’t see the incoherent or weak nature of that then i don’t know what else to say.

  34. John McMad: I’ve read and enjoyed your comments on Newsnet over the past couple of years and so your negative posting here did surprise me. We Scots must move our mind set from fear of what others may do.
    We are an exporting nation of oil, gas, electrical power, food, whisky, technology, We are self-sufficient. Neither oil, gas, wind and tidal energy can be manufactured, you either have it or you don’t.Scotland has it in bundles.What we lack, and never will have within this Union is control over these resources and the benefit of the income derived.
    So the funds and investors you refer to, let them go. The core issue is the marketplace. Is there a market for your goods? Can you sell at a profit? And if you have a bad sales period can you survive. Scotland is self-sufficient in energy and food.
    There is a myriad of cheat unexposed costs imposed on Scotland by the Union that independence will expose. You will be surprised and angry.

    Faint heart never won fair lady.

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