2007 - 2021

Osborne’s Failed Foray North

IMG_2262There’s mounting evidence that Osborne’s foray into Scottish politics has had a – perhaps predictable – negative impact and could be cause of a big shift. Aside from the steady stream of social media …

David Key @davidfkeySNP 2m In Polwarth today – people on doorstep angered, confused and saddened by attitude of Osborne and Labour allies #indyref

Ewan Hunter @EwanHunter 6m In car this morning, caller to #morningcall “I’m 70 & voted Labour all my life but I never will again & will now vote yes” #indyref #yes

Mhairi Hunter @MhairiHunter 1h Again totally unscientific but #MorningCall right now is just one caller after another saying Osborne & Balls tipped them to #Yes

Mhairi Hunter @MhairiHunter 1h This #MorningCall is amazing. The balance of calls is about 90pc Yes – and I don’t know any of them.They’re not SNP. Totally unscientific.

Ross Ingebrigtsen @rosstoross 1h Ex-labour cllr on BBC #morningcall “extremely disappointed” that Ed Balls sided with Osborne and Alexander yesterday #indyref

Colin Keir @Edinwestern 51m Just spoken to 3 elderly constituents in Parkgrove. Have changed from No to yes #indyef thanks to Osborne. Come back soon George…

Craig Kennedy @kenjafield 14h Still undecided on #indyref but Osbourne’s petty threats make voting yes more attractive.

Iain Park @orangtank 12h I was undecided but I’m starting to come round to the idea of voting yes. Nobody likes being bullied. #indyref

Jamie Moore @Microchi 22m @WeAreNational my Indy skeptical fiancé uttered the words “just scaremongering” for the first time in her life for the first time last night

Eddie McGarrigle @eddiemcgarrigle 30s @Microchi@WeAreNational – My lifelong Labour voting, union steward, Indy skeptical father has also stated he will be voting #YES.

 Good for Channel 4 News for running with this:

[brightcove vid=3215000743001&exp3=69900095001&surl=http://c.brightcove.com/services&pubid=1184612030&pk=AQ~~,AAAAAEabvr4~,Wtd2HT-p_VhJQ6tgdykx3j23oh1YN-2U&w=300&h=225]

… and now more trouble emerging for Better Together as it becomes clear that Osbornels figures are dodgier than a dossier. For example the mistaken Treasury claim that Scotland’s financial sector is 12 times the size of our economy – the real figure is about the same as the UK as a whole. Hence the currency union which Osborne et al rejected last week was based on a caricature of the real position:

The Fiscal Commission – on pages 140-149 – sets out how a financial regulation would work.

Mr Osborne cited the size of the Scottish financial services sector as a reason why he could not recommend such an arrangement. However in a recent statistical publication, HMRC estimated Scotland’s share of the Bank Levy (effectively a charge on the balance sheets of banks) to be 7.3 per cent of the UK total – smaller than Scotland’s share of UK GDP – not the near 25 per cent which the Treasury has estimated and on which the Chancellor’s remarks are based.

This Treasury achieved its inflation of the Scottish financial sector by simply allocating London based assets to Scotland.

For example the greater part of the banking assets allocated to Scotland is the RBS markets division which is located in the city of London, has always been located in the city of London, is now 80 per cent owned by Her Majesty’s government and in any case will soon be ring fenced by the Vickers reforms!

Read Salmond’s speech in full here.

Comments (35)

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  1. Abulhaq says:

    Not only are we whinging, something-for-nothing scroungers, we are also racists, fascist, nazis, anti-English and foreigner hating bigots, led by a power-crazy fat dictator with a mountain size chip on his shoulders who would turn Scotland into something even worse than North Korea. That from the comments over the past few days in the Guardian from people who know nada about us, our country or our politics. Ignorance, bliss? not when it comes wrapped in such malice. Truly this is a watershed.

    1. Bob Waugh says:

      Right….a fair number of comments on the Guardian discussion boards contain stuff that would be embarrassing in the Sun.

  2. bringiton says:

    As they have always said in the lower forms of the English press ,”Why let the facts get in the way of a good story”.
    Now that independence is being taken seriously by London,we can expect the propaganda to be turned up to full volume.
    I do think that London threatening to ignore the outcome of the referendum,if it doesn’t suit them,is their biggest mistake to date.
    However,they have another 7 months to go and they will certainly keep churning out statements which will greatly offend us Scots.
    As others have said,they just don’t get us.

    1. well said and well the deluge is heading our way big time but even with the wholehearted assistance of all the media led by the ever totally unbiased BBC the no campaign are still struggling to stand still and their grasping at any and every non story such as Mr Barroso’s at the weekend tells a story of desperation even panic that they won’t be able to hide for much longer can you imagine what the polls would look like if we had fair interpretation of events since the start of the indy poll runup

  3. cynicalHighlander says:

    Could I please ask that you change your ribbon on the typewriter as, for me anyway, it becomes a chore to read it in full.

    As to the treasury figures on anything to do with the UK a tombola would have a better grasp of numbers.

  4. gksw8 says:

    Fantasists are never very comfortable with facts. And the facts are that both Westminster and Brussels have pointed out that a vote for “independence” will leave Scotland seriously less independent than it is now. Even if Westminster agreed, against its own interests, to a currency union it would involve a banking and fiscal compact that would allow little or no Scottish autonomy. Even if the EU countries agreed to admit Scotland to their club, despite the obvious hurdles, they would only do so with the understanding that Scotland had to adopt the euro. Salmond’s goose has been well and truly cooked and no amount of gnashing and wailing is going to change that.

    1. bringiton says:

      The currency we use will be decided by a future Scottish government based on what is in Scotland’s best interest.
      The governor of the Bank of England made it clear that he would implement whatever
      arrangements arose as a result of NEGOTIATIONS between the Scottish and English governments.
      Scotland would not be forced into using the Euro until we decide whether it is in our interest to do so (Sweden still uses the Krone).
      The only goose that has been cooked in the last few days is George Osborne’s.
      He is now utterly despised by the majority of Scots having been seen to issue threats against us based on political expediency.

      1. gksw8 says:

        Yes – that’s what I mean about “facts”. Fact: Salmond has ruled out a separate currency and left you with one option – a currency union, which the governor of the Bank of England has pointed out would be unstable without fiscal controls, which themselves are either unlikely, or even if possible in some SNP fantasy world, would severely curtail Scotland’s ability to tax and spend as it saw fit. Fact: all new applicants to the EU have to commit to joining the euro at some future date. No exceptions

    2. Muscleguy says:

      Would you care to cite exactly where Alex Salmond has ruled out other options? What he has said is that out of the options set out by the Fiscal Working Group they think a currency union would be the best option for both Scotland and rUK. None of that rules out the other options.

      1. gksw8 says:

        Pressed by various journalists over the past week Salmond has refused to set out an alternative “plan B” and insisted he will argue for a currency union “with great conviction”. Are you saying you don’t believe him and that he is secretly mulling alternatives? Because if he is, he surely has a duty to share those options with the electorate

    3. James Coleman says:


      You are the only fantasist on this site today. Scotland will use the £ without any formal currency union. No permission necessary. You people are too thick to realise that has always been the YES position. Salmond pushed the CU to tweak your tails and get WM to ‘bully’ Scotland for maximum YES gains. Salmond has played you … again.
      As for Barosso and the EU, every man and his dog, except apparently those at WM, BT and the MSM, know that Scotland will be in the EU after Independence and that the scaremongering is bullshit.
      So grow up and enter the real world.

    4. James Coleman says:

      “Fact: Salmond has ruled out a separate currency and left you with one option – a currency union, ”

      What nonsense. Nothing has been ruled out. Salmond has stated quite clearly that Scotland will use the £ for a few years at least after Independence and it will do that with or without ANY agreement with WM. He has also said that a short term formal CU would be in the best interests of both Scotland and rUK but if the latter wants to cut off its nose to spite its face then so be it.

      1. gksw8 says:

        I may be “thick” but I’m not so thick that I don’t know the difference between a currency union and a currency peg, which is what you seem to suggest is now the preferred option of some Nationalists, though not Salmond. An independent Scotland could indeed use the £ without the consent of Westminster. But it would have no say in policy and would have no central bank issuing a separate currency or backing up its banks. There is no risk-free option here – apart from sticking with the Union and the £ as currently arranged. Anyone who tells you different, ie any SNP politician, isn’t only blustering and blathering, he’s lying

    5. James Coleman says:

      Go and read this it’s Scottish Currency options for Dummies produced by a real expert in Currency matters.

      1. Richard T says:

        Lawrence White is an Austrian School economist and leading advocate of the Free Banking approach towards financial risk, as espoused, mainly, by parts of the radical Libertarian Right.

        The implications of this model for degrees of fiscal policy freedom would make current austerity spending look like a drunken spree.

        Are you quite sure that this is the Plan B that’s about to he revealed? If so, the SSP and others on the Yes Left are going to be more than a little surprised, and disappointed.

      2. James Coleman says:

        Stop trying to be clever. The link I posted has got nothing whatsoever to do with Lawrence White’s views about Free Banking. It is a simple discussion paper about the relative merits of the currency options which the SG set out in its recent White Paper, plus an extra one which LW has derived from those.
        And there is no ‘Plan B about to be revealed’ because the SG has made it quite clear that the Scottish Currency immediately after Independence will remain the £, either in or NOT in, an agreed currency union with rUK. Plans A and B are concoctions of BT and the MSM.

      3. Richard T says:

        “The link I posted has got nothing whatsoever to do with Lawrence White’s views about Free Banking”

        It really does, you know.

        “the SG has made it quite clear that the Scottish Currency immediately after Independence will remain the £, either in or NOT in, an agreed currency union with rUK. ”

        Do you have a link to the NOT in part of that, at all? Because it would definitely constitute a Plan B.

    6. James Coleman says:

      “I’m not so thick that I don’t know the difference between a currency union and a currency peg, which is what you seem to suggest is now the preferred option of some Nationalists, though not Salmond.”

      I told you to go and read this in another post.
      And you should. It is by a world renowned currency expert, and it shows and discusses all five options for Independent Scotland’s currency very clearly and simply. Once read it should stop you making posts about currency matters of which you clearly know very little and are merely parroting the remarks of politicians who know even less.
      Salmond is a pragmatic politician and will choose whichever option of the five mentioned in that paper is best for Scotland’s interest AFTER a YES vote. He believes the Currency Union option is best for both countries and will strive to achieve that but as he said yesterday if rUK does not agree to that then Scotland will just continue to use the pound outside a CU and will walk away from rUK’s debt. It couldn’t be simpler. No need for an official peg, just use Scottish pounds like we do now. And all is clearly and simply explained in the link above.

    7. bearinorkney says:

      If you wish to know what the Scottish Government’s plans are for an alternative to a currency union, look at he White paper or the Fiscal Commission’s report. It’s in our interests to follow a logical and indeed pragmatic plan advocating a currency union that is to the benefit of both Scotland and more especially the rump UK. If the rump UK don’t wish to take the best deal they will get in post Referendum discussions, then more fool them.

      This is in reply to your post further down the page at 09.55

      1. gksw8 says:

        It’s terribly nice of you and Alex Salmond to tell the rest of the UK what is in their best interests. But when faced with the prospect of backing a foreign country’s banks with their own money, the 90% of the population not in Scotland will say no, as opinion polls and the three main parties have confirmed. Why would they? The transaction costs that Salmond desperately flags up are minuscule in comparison to the billions at risk in a formal currency union where only one partner has the wherewithal to support it. Of course, even those costs could be avoided if Scots did the only logical thing and voted “No”.

  5. David McCann says:

    RE Channel 4 News. Just watch the forensic interview by John Snow on Monday, and then compare and contrast that with our Scottish counterparts. It makes me ashamed of our Scottish media.
    A joy to watch.

  6. Richard T says:

    Some confusion in Salmond’ s speech about the banking sector. “Scotland’s share of the Bank Levy” simply reflects HMRCs allocation of assessed activity where it takes place. It says nothing about the domicile of the holding companies with ultimate responsibility for assets/liabilities. There’s no doubt at all that Scottish based banks punch way above their weight as a % of Scottish GDP/GVA, compared to the UK.

    1. bearinorkney says:

      Most of ‘Scottish based Banks’ conduct their business in London ……. up to 80% of it
      RBS still has it’s ‘headquarters’ in Edinburgh (It’s retail division is based here) whilst HBOS is wholly based in London
      The only Bank to conduct all of it’s business in Scotland is The Clydesdale Bank and even it is Australian owned.
      If ‘Scottish Banks punch way above their weight’ the vast majority of it’s blows are struck in England.
      The obstinate failure to admit this leaves your argument in tatters. Why would you ignore this?

      1. Richard T says:

        Not an argument, an observation.

        Where banks – or any multinational businesses – conduct their business isn’t really the point. Scotland’s insurance and pensions industry accounts for around 25% of the UK total, the vast majority of this business being conducted elsewhere in the UK or overseas. They’re Scottish all the same. And very effective exporters to boot.

        The point about banks in the current context is the question of who, ultimately, backstops their liabilities.

        If you’re implicitly suggesting that Scottish-based financial institutions would pack their HQ bags and head south post-Yes then fair enough, the GDP ratio becomes moot. Otherwise though, the bank levy % as quoted is just a bit of disingenuous sleight of hand.

  7. Stuart Graham says:


    Interesting to see how those over at Guido Fawkes view interventions by ‘unelected’ EU officials.


    I bet this story doesn’t get splashed across the news for two days.

  8. Dan Huil says:

    I watched Digby Jones [Lord] on BBC newspaper review last night blowing a fuse over Scottish independence. He kept on and on about people breaking up “his” country. London and the Westminster bubble have no clue about Scottish politics. Voting Yes will out them out of their ignorant misery – hopefully.

    1. Abulhaq says:

      “Lord” Digby Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham….former minister of state for trade and investment under Blair..etc his cv is suggestive of nothing in particular. another opinion to go straight in the skip marked Unionist Junk..Not for recycling.

  9. bearinorkney says:

    @Richard T

    “Where banks – or any multinational businesses – conduct their business isn’t really the point”

    Well really it is Richard. HMRC reveals that the tax it receives from British Banks includes all the so called Scottish banks based south of the border. Where you pay your taxes and to whom you pay them, is determined by the location i.e. where you do your business. Osborne claims 25 % of Banking is based in Scotland where Salmond claims HMRC says only 7.5% tax collected from Banks based in Scotland. Are you saying that HMRC are somehow wrong and are issuing false figures?

    The preponderance of business done by RBS/HBOS takes place south of the border. When an Independent Scotland splits up the Banks you are welcome to the toxic edifices based in England. The Treasury and the English Establishment created the shambles and they are welcome to the result.

    1. gksw8 says:

      Have you been to Iceland recently? I suggest you visit, because the vast majority of its banks’ business was conducted elsewhere though ultimate ownership rested in Iceland. And guess what? A country with a relatively small economy and a huge banking sector was landed with the bill. As a result Iceland’s economy shrank by 10.5% in 2009 and 23% in 2010. That’s the kind of future your “logical” Mr Salmond could have in store for Scotland if it goes it alone without the support the whole of the UK can provide.

      1. James Coleman says:

        And lo and behold! After jailing the banking criminals Iceland is now recovering rapidly from the banking crash which is more than can be said for the UK. The latter is still allowing the shyster crooks to run its banks and cheat the country and taxpayers.

        1. gksw8 says:

          AH in the Telegraph puts it so much better than I can: “Salmond is threatening a confidence-shattering default on Scotland’s share of the national debt, is clueless about which currency he will adopt, has no idea how to retain a financial sector in Edinburgh, doesn’t have a realistic plan to deal with Scotland’s declining oil revenues, hasn’t thought through his future trading arrangements and continues to support a nonsensical, something-for-nothing approach to the public finances.” Full article:

  10. Wul says:

    “Blah Blah Pound……Blah Blah Fiscal….Blah Blah…won’t work…”

    To be honest folks, I don’t give a monkeys about the detail. I’m being asked if I want control of my own country and my answer is ” …’kin’ YES! ”

    I want these parasites off my country’s back! If there was a way of freeing the rest of the UK, I would join that campaign too.

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