Monday, 13 June 2011

Dr Wellings Is 'Very Worried'


The fun begins with the image of not just a poor Scotland but one which would be bankrupt and need a bailout.

Dr Richard Wellings of the IEA - a London-based think tank - has compiled the maths for an independent Scotland and:

"It's very worrying, and I'd be very worried about it."


Of course it's worrying; the present economic situation of the UK is worrying, but Scots will take their fair share of the UK debt, just as they are doing at present.  There's no point in talking figures though until we have a true long-term economic growth plan and providing this graph, with the accompanying doom-lade rhetoric, is pointless.

The Scottish Government regularly publishes the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) reports and I gather my economical information from this source.

However, this scaremongering statement from Dr Wellings' eliminates much of his credibility:

"The other issue Scotland would have is that because North Sea oil would be such a huge chunk of tax revenues, and that fluctuates wildly from year to year, the tax revenues would be very unstable."

How do other countries manage who have oil?  Shouldn't the calculation have been population based, not GDP based? The yearly allocation to Scotland is calculated in that way.  What about Scotland's share of UK assets?  Are there none?

Every country has debt but the important fact is whether they can service it or not. I have no doubt that Scotland will struggle for a generation once it is independent and the Scots will have to have faith in their politicians even through the hard times.  But will they?

source

36 comments:

cynicalHighlander said...

Cost of the Union to every Scot - £2, 413 each year

The bad news for Scots is that the UK treasury is accruing debt which is accelerating owing to bad house-keeping south of the border and dragging the Scottish economy down with it.

William said...

At least he's put a figure on it which is more than the SNP have been willing to do. The Nats position seems to be Scots should just sign up now and find out the figures later.

I don't think 10% of UK debt is an unreasonable figure. Could Scotland carry a debt of that size?

"Scots will have to have faith in their politicians even through the hard times"

Yes, people like Roseanna Cunningham, an actual bigot with the responsibility of tackling bigotry, and Kenny MacAskill, an actual criminal with the responsibility of tackling crime. With such giants of the political scene like this in charge of the ship how can any Scot be pessimistic?

DougtheDug said...

"The other issue Scotland would have is that because North Sea oil would be such a huge chunk of tax revenues, and that fluctuates wildly from year to year, the tax revenues would be very unstable."

Subrosa, Scotland must be the only country in the world where oil is a burden. Luckily we have the magnanimous British Establishment to take it off our hands and suffer the burden and pain for us.

The closer independence gets the worse the scare stories will be.

subrosa said...

CH, thanks s much for that link. I looked for half an hour for it.

subrosa said...

Any old figure will do won't it William just to show that we're utterly dependent upon the UK.

Scotland doesn't have 10% of the UK's population. It's around 8.7% which would take us down to the high £80 billions if the figure is assessed by Dr Wellings' system.

I'm not going to discuss the SNP's cabinet v Tories, Libdems and Labour because this answer would be far too long for Blogger.

Who said these same people would be elected to a new Scottish government?

subrosa said...

True Doug yet the oil is only mentioned briefly. If Westminster had its way then it wouldn't be mentioned at all.

We have a lot of ammunition but it's far too early to start with it. The odd fact dropped now and then wouldn't harm though. :)

Oh they'll get worse. I think I'll record those which are bordering on the ridiculous.

Captain Ranty said...

PFFFT!

You can do pretty much anything you want with a set of hypothetical figures. A subtle change here and there and we can make those figures sing a completely different song.

The truth is no-one knows how Scotland will fare.

Until she has had the opportunity to stand alone for a few years.

Scaremongering tripe. As usual.

CR.

subrosa said...

Ranty, you've summarised my post so accurately. Many thanks.

We'll await developments although I know you support the Union. But I still respect you. :)

DougtheDug said...

Ahh, Subrosa, I understand what he's done now.

Rather than assign debt based on the population ratio between Scotland and England he's based it on the current public spending figures. He's splitting things 10:90 rather than on the population ratio of 8.7:91.3 that everyone else uses.

That's an interesting one. Since both debt and assets will be split between the new Scotland and the new England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI) that means that if we get 10% of the debt then we also get 10% of the assets, it's only fair. Government buildings, embassies, overseas territories, defence equipment and so on. I wonder if he factored that in?

English Pensioner said...

Whilst Dr Richard Wellings arguments may be suspect, I have no more faith in the official government figures, particularly as they hide all the "off-balance sheet" items such as the long term costs of all the PFI contracts instituted by the Labour government and the "guarantees" given to support the Euro countries which are none of our concern.
Frankly, I don't believe that anyone has the slightest idea as to this country's true financial position, just as none of the "experts" had any idea that numerous banks were about to bankrupt without government support. We are surviving because all our debtors simply believe there is no problem and don't even wish to think about the possibility, just as the Euro countries see no problem with the "PIIGS".

Captain Ranty said...

Rosie,

I am no Unionist. I can promise you that. I don't know why some people think I am. I am just sceptical.

I would dearly love to see an independent Scotland (and England, and Wales, come to that) but as I have often said, I don't think Scotland will be independent for more than 15 minutes.

The EU call will be too strong to ignore. Wee Eck will run to them because all that free taxpayers cash will be too much of a temptation. And you know the SNP is riddled with europhiles.

I know, I know. "One step at a time", right?

I just remain unconvinced.

CR.

DougtheDug said...

This is an extract from the IEA blurb about the report:

"This further underscores the need for greater fiscal restraint both from Westminster and the devolved regions. Alex Salmond is being irresponsible in ignoring the impact of this debt on future generations."

Doesn't this learned Doctor know that all Scotland spends is received directly from Westminster in a block grant which is proportional to the public spend in England?

It may be a pointer to the academic rigour, or lack of it, in the rest of the report.

JRB said...

Next they will be telling us that ‘independence’ will cause genetic abnormalities, and all Scots will revert to Neanderthals or Troglodytes.

I wonder if there really is a Whitehall department specialising in the dark arts, negative propaganda and misinformation – obviously it has a section dedicated to Scotland.

William said...

"Any old figure will do won't it William just to show that we're utterly dependent upon the UK."

It's not 'any old figure', though, is it? It's based on a specific calculation. It's certainly more than the SNP are willing to reveal to the Scottish people.

"10% of the assets, it's only fair. Government buildings, embassies"

Scotland will get 10% of the embassies? That's, er, kinda reassuring. I've always wondered what would happen in an independent Scotland. Will I need to give up my UK passport and get a Scottish one? Will I still have access to vital embassy services abroad should I require them? How long will it take Scotland to establish embassies in all of the countries that the UK currently offers embassy services? Will the SNP tell us? Probably not.

"Scotland and England he's based it on the current public spending figures"

What a rotter. He's based it on money that's being spent - clearly Unionist propaganda.

DougtheDug said...

William,
If Scots vote for independence and the Union breaks up then England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have a right to 91.3% of the UK Government's assets if they're split according to population ratio. Scotland will have a right to 8.7% of the assets.

That 8.7% includes everything from pencils in the Scottish Office to overseas territories and Challenger tanks.

Will I need to give up my UK passport and get a Scottish one?

Well since the UK won't exist anymore I'm afraid that no other country would accept it after a year or so of transition period. You could try but I suspect you'd not make it onto the holiday flight on Scotland's independence anniversary.

Hazel said...

I'm quaking in my flip-flops. Ministry for Dark Arts, right enough.wativest

WitteringsfromWitney said...

SR, I am a Unionist, however I also believe any decision on Scotland's independence is for the Scottish people and not for politicians. The Scottish people must therefore make their bed and then be prepared to lie in it.

I think it will be 'messy' though, 'divvying up' the money and assets etc.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

It's ludicrous to assume at this stage any liability for Scotland towards this supposed debt.

Continuously Westminster bellows it's a sovereign parliament and as such has superiority and responsibilities over devolved parliaments.

Fine, since they created this so called indebtedness let them be responsible for it. Especially so since they never referred to democratic principles in order to create it and is now adding the burden to those who never gained from this lack of referral.

While this as an analysis is equally as crude as the IEA it would be my opening stance on negotiations.

But let me add, if I thought for one moment that a more equitable attitude applied with honesty and integrity would genuinely ease the burden on the ordinary people of either side then the objectives would change in order to achieve it.

subrosa said...

The graph is purely spin Doug, for those who will look no further into this.

Thanks for giving the link. I should have put it in the post.

subrosa said...

JRB,don't all government departments have a black arts section? I've heard it called the senior civil servants offices.

subrosa said...

William, if embassies weren't mentioned by the independence supporters then you'd be complaining too. Nothing we can do will win you over, but I'll keep trying. :)

The Scotsman are irresponsible publishing such articles when they don't even mention how it was calculated and from whence the figures were taken.

subrosa said...

Oh Hazel, I'm shortly to dig out my steel toecapped wellies. Somehow I think I'll need them in the next couple of years.

subrosa said...

Any divvying up is messy WfW, but it's possible, with courteous and adult attitudes, it will be sensible.

subrosa said...

A few strong points there Crinkly with which few could disagree.

William said...

"It's ludicrous to assume at this stage any liability for Scotland towards this supposed debt."

Nothing supposed about it. It's as real as the hooter on your face.

"While this as an analysis is equally as crude as the IEA it would be my opening stance on negotiations."

I fear the SNP will also take this infantile approach to any negotiations. That's why I wonder whether it will be Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon that will be on the plane to the IMF after six months.

"if embassies weren't mentioned by the independence supporters then you'd be complaining too. Nothing we can do will win you over, but I'll keep trying. :)"

'Independence supporters' don't mention anything though. There is no consideration or debate about as to how an independent Scotland will function, what it will own, what it will owe, its membership of international organisations, obligations to international treaties, the breakup of UK institutions, the establishment of new organisations and infrastructure, etc. There are, as I've said, a million and one questions to be asked about independence but the SNP won't ask them and certainly won't answer them.

I don't think it's irresponsible to at least shed some light on how our liabilities might work. The fact it goes against the Nationalist propaganda does not make it irresponsible.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

William -I consider it totally irresponsible and reprehensibly to initiate an argument that isn't supported by fact.

And irrespective of spurious arguments as to the division of assets and liabilities is who are the lenders we are supposedly in debt to?

As in any negotiation where price will be involve you first have to define your values.

pa_broon74 said...

A lot of the question about how things would work for and in Scotland after independence are already answered.

Or are there no other comparable independent states in the world? Do they not have memberships in international organisation? Do they not adhere to treaties and points of international law? I always assume it would be the same for Scotland.

I think before we start getting into the nitty gritty of how stuff would be divvied up, we need to know whether Scotland's people want it to be divvied up in the first place.

In terms of cash and the economy, perhaps people just aren't reading the news or blogs (or anything.) The info is there about GERS and whatnot, unless you need spoon fed the info?

William said...

"Or are there no other comparable independent states in the world?"

Nope. Can't think of any nation that has recently become independent from a larger, successful union.

According to Wiki, recent successful independence referendum have taken place in these countries - Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia, Moldova, East Timor, Montenegro. As you can see, it is a list of some of the greatest nations in world history.

Interestingly, all but one of these countries (Montenegro) over 75% of the population voted for independence. Even Montenegro had a 55% winning threshold imposed upon it by the EU.

So, really, none of these countries were leaving one of the largest economies in the world, one of the most politically and culturally influential countries in the world, an EU, Nato, G8, G20, WTO, UN Security Council member.

So, in actual fact, Scotland has NO comparable state with which to compare any negotiation over separation from the UK. None whatsoever. There is no precedent for the raft of negotiations (from financial and legal to infrastructure and commerce) that will need to take place.

"I consider it totally irresponsible and reprehensibly to initiate an argument that isn't supported by fact."

Why don't the SNP release a ballpark figure to counter this claim? In the absence of information, people are going to speculate, y'know. Or is everyone just meant to switch off their brains and vote independence regardless?

pa_broon74 said...

"Nope. Can't think of any nation that has recently become independent from a larger, successful union."


I can stop you right there William: successful union?

From who's point of view?

You make the classic mistake of assuming Scotland is interested in having all the so called advantages of being attached to such a 'successful' union.

I fear we have different notions of what 'great' means in terms of nationhood.

William said...

"You make the classic mistake of assuming Scotland is interested in having all the so called advantages of being attached to such a 'successful' union."

So we aspire to be like Bosnia or Moldova, then?

It is a mistake on my part. I naturally assumed that Nationalists might be interested in the success of their nation. I keep forgetting that it's Nationalism at all costs.

pa_broon74 said...

Your post above confirms my point.

You just don't get it.

A great nation (to me anyway) is one that can look after it's elderly, educate it's young, offer free higher education, provide the right circumstances for job creation, set an example in terms of fairness and democracy. A country that looks after it's people when they fall on hard times and encourages them to better themselves to get through it be it through decent healthcare or education. After it's done all that (and much more besides,) if it has the economic and moral where-with-all to project those values across the world; then fair enough.

Using countries like Moldova as an example just highlights the paucity of your argument, you can't on the one hand say there are no useful comparisons in terms of newly independent nations then provide for the purposes of your own argument an even more ridiculously spurious comparison.

It is completely contradictory.

This is the main failing of the pro-union argument; that the alternative is always doom & disaster, the union way is the only way, it's the UK or nothing.

It's just so much unfounded mince, you would think after the hugely positive reaction to the SNP's positive upbeat election campaign, the supporters of the union would begin to understand that negativity doesn't work.

William said...

"A great nation (to me anyway"

The UK does provide healthcare, education, opportunity for improvement, for entrepreneurialism, for social mobility, has an established law and order system, is co-founder of organisations to ensure and promote democracy such as the United Nations, NATO and the Council of Europe.

So I really don't think the UK needs any lessons from Scottish Nationalist blowhards about what it takes to be a great nation.

"Using countries like Moldova as an example just highlights the paucity of your argument"

Not really. They are a recently independent state. If Scotland, in your mind, is no longer interested in being part of the UK (I'm willing to bet every Moldovan would happily accept the advantages you turn your nose up at) then one wonders what the Scottish Nationalists actually want.

"that the alternative is always doom & disaster, the union way is the only way, it's the UK or nothing."

Perhaps because it would be disastrous for Scotland to separate itself from a peaceful, prosperous union whilst potentially plunging itself into years of internal strife. It would be suicide.

Have you considered that possibility? That Unionists might actually have thought about the consequences? In my experience, Unionists have thought about it more than Nationalists with their heads in the clouds.

pa_broon74 said...

It's the extent to which the things we both listed are offered, the quality there-of and possibly most importantly the responsibility of deciding how we do it.

Your point about Moldova is still fatuous, in fact even more so than before. Moldova had very little before it became independent and it has very little now, of course it would leap on board if a country like the UK asked it to. You're comparing apples with potatoes (and I do mean potatoes.)

A prosperous, peaceful union you say? I'll file that along with the notion that it is a successful union. Again, from who's point of view exactly? It might be peaceful internally now but it certainly wasn't 15 years ago and nor is it on the world stage now.

Pro-unionists haven't considered independence beyond fear and profit, fear this side of the border, profit for Westminster and points South.

The simple fact is, the evidence (Look at GERS, at other comparable countries, not Moldova though with its $5.4 billion GDP versus Scotland's (est) $220 billion GDP) points toward independence being good for Scotland in the medium and long term, the only thing supporting your argument are the very many hysterical dissembling so-called news headlines we see each day pedalled by vested interest and profit.

Beyond that, I have my views & opinions and you have yours, something tells me they're not going to converge any time soon.

I'll file that under 'lifes rich tapestry'.

subrosa said...

Pa broon, I do think that we need to know the detail of how we'll manage prior to the referendum. If that doesn't happen then votes will be lost because folk won't vote for the 'unknown'.

pa_broon74 said...

I agree entirely.

But the scaremongerers using the idea that there aren't any figures at all when there are if you look for them (if I can find and understand them, anyone can) is potentially going lose us more votes.

I see that as a failing on the SNP's part though, they need to be more forth-coming but equally, people could be more proactive in seeking the info out.

subrosa said...

Pa broon, there are many of my generation who are not computer literate and wouldn't know where to find the figures. It's my generation who appears to like the status quo. That's why we need public information and debate accompanied by figures which can be sourced.

Related Posts with Thumbnails