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A Compliant Media

newmediaWe need a new media that reflects our future.

There are facts in the independence debate. A clear example would be that Scotland contributes more proportionately to the UK than it receives in government spending. Year after year this relatively easily understood fact is distorted, misrepresented and portrayed as some kind of inaccessible financial jargon by Scotland’s unionist media. It is not party political for the media to explain how Scotland has paid proportionately more per head in taxation for the past 30 years than we received in government spending, nor is it impartial to explain how the net effect of being part of the UK in financial terms is that Scotland contributes disproportionately towards UK debt repayments. It is a dereliction of duty for this information not to be made easily accessible for every member of the public. A properly functioning democratic media would strive to enlighten the population on this most basic and fundamental part of our governance. Moreover, they would dare to imagine how our governance could be different, or more simply to imagine how we could do things better here.

Actually, it seems to me that one of the primary motivations of Scotland’s unionist media is to avoid properly explaining fiscal concepts, among others, to the electorate thus enabling scaremongering and misrepresentations to readily take hold. It enables and encourages people to distance themselves from the debate because there is no clarity or straight forward explanation to corroborate the statements of each side of the argument. We all enjoy reading or hearing something that backs up our instinctive feelings on an issue. When that doesn’t happen a festering uncertainty begins to form, questioning our instincts. Of course, it is healthy to question your own attitudes, but when only one side of an argument is given a voice our opinions are naturally swayed.

But there is something else that happens, a side effect that is especially damaging to the unionist political parties and mainstream media. Because of the lack of clarity provided by the media unionist politicians or political parties are not robustly challenged on their assertions, even when they are plainly incoherent and wrong. This appears to occur as a consequence of the mainstream media preventing facts from being transparently explained in order to further the established media’s own political aims. To question a half-truth, even when uttered from a politician’s mouth, would ultimately reveal a hidden fact, a hidden source of much needed illumination. An intellectual void is created in the unionist parties and mainstream media as a result of this which persists and is maintained because constructive debate is completely stifled. Look at how Henry McLeish is ostracised by the Labour party for questioning their referendum strategy or their lack of vision for Scotland. This is further amplified by a lack of policy debate at party conferences, or the competition over an increasingly limited minority of swing voters in key English constituencies, or by a visceral hatred for ideas which would challenge standard unionist beliefs. From where I am looking at the unionist parties’ and mainstream media’s future the lack of originality, diversity and intellectual energy created by this is devastating. Ultimately our country is then governed without intellectual rigor or strong inspirational vision.

And you get what we saw last week with the incredible, unbelievable, petition plea from Gordon Brown. Why was Mr. Brown not asked to explain why something as insipid as a petition was going to do any help for the cause of further devolution when he had apparently already guaranteed agreement of further devolution from the three main unionist parties? Never mind that he had just finished campaigning against the absolute empowerment of the people of Scotland, on the promise that more powers were guaranteed. Well, apparently not, it appears we need to sign a petition just for the new powers to be debated in parliament. Gordon Brown is above being questioned though; he is almost messianic in his portrayal by the mainstream media in Scotland. Maybe someone should tell him, independence would have given us these new powers and a whole lot more. I have to ask myself “what is the future for the Labour party in Scotland if this is the best they can offer us?” Thankfully, this is not the pro-independence movement’s problem. It is our opportunity. Look at what we can create and how refreshing a window we can provide for Scotland onto the world.

It is symptomatic of the behaviour of our mainstream media that they allowed Gordon Brown’s petition plea to be broadcast and published almost unquestioningly. I have come to expect this sort of behaviour. It is also vital that the new media we are creating in Scotland does not become anything like the closed circle that exists now. I think that the diversity which already exists in the pro-independence new media is already quite refreshing. The creativity that we are having to use now in order to have our rightful voice will, in my opinion, provide the framework for a kind of enlightened media in Scotland’s future. It is important that we remember to demand answers to questions, even when they are uncomfortable to hear and shed light onto facts even when they could be seen to work against our immediate interests. If we want to live in a proper democracy, it is vital our future media shares that desire.

The better country that we are imagining Scotland can be has to be created in order to come into existence. For me the referendum result is a huge missed opportunity to enact that change, but we should not let that deter us from changing what we can today – and the media is there to be changed.

I am encouraged by the fact that a lot of my fellow citizens are thinking the same thing.

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  1. Marian says:

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head when you identify the UK media’s complete and utter failure to challenge unionist claims when it is patently obvious that they are already shot full of holes, and their other major fault of committing bias by omission when they do not report stories that knock holes in unionist claims or are favourable to the indy cause.

    None of these things would be happening if we lived in a proper democracy with a truly free and unbiased media.

    1. David Barrie Grieve says:

      After Marian’s comment:

      ‘The Media’ is also made up of people, who not only have individual points of view that they might want to express, but who also have jobs to protect under the business banner that is their employer and paymaster.

      The idea of ‘unbiased media’ is unreasonable to assume, despite publishers proclamations. Newspapers/magazines/television are commercial enterprises that are keen to maximise the number of copies/adverts/airtime sold, with employees usually keen to keep their jobs.

      Apparent political collective stances may be real, not real, or somewhere between the two. Whether as collective opinions of employees, owners, advertisers, readerbase (imagined or desired), stances might change.

      All that (related to sales), before we consider political manipulation or corruption or simply collective cultural prejudices according to nation and/or class segregation.

      By it’s very nature, media is unlikely to be completely unbiased. Moral integrity of editors/owners would be nice though sometimes.

      Interpretation by the reader/viewer is the most important aspect of journalistic consumption and the reader/viewer has the right to ‘not buy’ or to ‘switch off’, although it is sometimes difficult because we humans are a very typical social animal that depends on ‘one and other’.

      My personal opinion?:
      ‘Freedom of the press’ requires ‘reading between the lines’ and having a bit of luck to avoid completely closed shop situations, whether somehow deliberate or somehow otherwise.

      Tough to be individually vigilant sometimes though, isn’t it? But life is how ultimately we make it.

      Final thought.:
      Professional journalism, similar to professional politics, gets too far away from it’s primary function and can be too full of it’s own importance. Let’s hope that Internet journalism (non-commercial public thought) continues to help shake that up.

      Alba gu Bràth

      1. Marga says:

        David – in my view, it’s not media bias, it’s media not reporting facts, concealing facts from their readers, that’s the real issue in this article. They know the facts, they know that they are being challenged by others in internet and other sources, but they hide this from their readers. They go through the motions.

        Journalists who do not report facts when they know they exist either (a) have and impose their own agenda (b) are obeying the agenda of others (business owners or politicians) or (c) are working in extreme conditions of some kind.

        This cannot be explained as a normal situation. It is as if the newspapers had been captured by a group of people who have displaced journalists or at least have priorities that take pride of place over their duty and vocation to inform, largely unknown to their readership. These days, biased reporting (Severin Carrell, anyone?) is a luxury.

        One unmissable fact is that the only strikes mooted by the Scottish press seem to be about their own pensions.

        Another is that, apparently, 70% of “top” journalists have been to the top universities, and mix socially with their own kind.

        Media bias is one thing, the kidnapping of journalism is another.

    2. The business model of the print media is a busted flush, not just here but across the Western world. Aside from all the other great things that emerged from the Yes movement, Scotland now has the basis – but only the basis – of a thriving, vibrant alternative to our corrupted, compromised Fourth Estate.

      I have cancelled my TV licence, and haven’t bought any newspaper except the Sunday Herald in over two years, aside from apart from an odd “i” when hanging about for trains. With growing wi-fi coverage even that occasional purchase is diminishing – I’d much rather read (and indeed interact) with something on Bella or Newsnet. We don’t need to pay to be inundated with black propaganda, misinformation and manipulation by a so-called “free press” that has become little more than an apparatus of the state.

      Can I be so bold as to suggest you establish some form of subscription to give you a firm basis from which to develop? Strong roots need to stay hydrated and I think you guys look ready to flourish in very fertile ground: People will subscribe to let Bella bloom.

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Hi Drew – that’s effectively wat we have done – we are asking people to ‘subscribe’ by committing to a certain payment a month or to make a donation here: https://dev.bellacaledonia.org.uk/support/

  2. Ian Patterson says:

    A well-written article, highlighting a problem that seems presently incredibly difficult to change – though I’m interested and impressed by Derek Bateman’s splendid efforts in this direction (see http://batemanbroadcasting.com/) and especially too by the embryonic ‘Newsnet Scotland’ venture (see http://www.newsnetscotland.scot/).

  3. yesvote2014 says:

    Excellent article. Really describes the situation.

    How do we change things?

  4. Rob Outram says:

    Any new representative Scottish media must steer clear of these tricks. But to do so almost dooms them to failure. The media, for all we like to loath it, only survives because masses of people consume it. There are not enough paying punters to keep an intelligent, unbiased, broad based newspaper or broadcast channel alive.

    It’s not all one sided, I don’t believe that the media single handedly swayed the vote just as I don’t believe that The News of the World tapped phones as a result of some kind of perverse mental breakdown. We get the media we deserve and spend money and time consuming….that’s capitalism.

    What we need is a Village Newspaper for Scotland that isn’t trying to sell anything…….or another kind of democracy?

  5. Valerie says:

    Yes, exactly how I an many others feel about MSM. The referendum coverage by the BBC has now prompted hundreds of Scots to cancel their TV licence – once you open your eyes, there is no shutting them! I think what offended me most about the MSM is being treated as if you have no basic skills of listening, observation or analysis of any situation. I too expect Gordon Brown to be announced for sainthood any day now, and listened in astonishment to how he was lauded as a hero. This man told barefaced lies to camera about the NHS and pensions, which did go a good way to frightening voters. All of this was unchallenged. I read an article of 3rd Oct. 2014 in the Telegraph by Alan Cochrane, which was chock full of hate and bile for the First Minister. An article just full of subjective words, and no insight or analysis. These papers will reap their rewards soon, as there is a big movement to avoid them. The only pro indy newspaper in Scotland, the Sunday Herald has doubled its circulation.

    1. Gordon says:

      # Valerie. Unfortunately this helps prop up its anti-independence weekly, The Daily Herald, which is arguably more influential in 6 daily issues.

  6. ambrose says:

    I’m sure there are more than enough people to organize different media’s. with a little help from Scottish business people, if they could find a way, which I’m sure is happening somewhere as we speak.

  7. One of the main byproducts of the referendum campaign has been the awakening awareness of vast numbers of people of just how biased and partial, rather than impartial, the mainstream media is. Perhaps we should call it ‘establishment media’ because it represents the powers and vested interests that dominate in our society, namely big business, the rich and big centralised government. To paraphrase John Mayer ‘when they own the information they can tell you what they want’.
    We certainly need a new media, which is every bit as partial, but on the side of those who do not have a voice, the poor, the disabled, those experiencing ‘welfare warfare’, but which is also critical of the establishment and vested interests here in Scotland. It is not merely a Westminster problem.
    This new media has arrived. I and many others have been made aware of its presence. The issue is how do we extend its influence.
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Gordon says:

      @ DaveLettice Unfortunately and sadly, hatred sells newspapers and the popular press thrive on it. Any mention of skiving benefits cheats, NHS-abusing immigrants, Gypsies, Romanys (or even Romanians) drug-addicts, drunks, ethnic minorities and cheap labour sells papers. The rich like it because it might just get a good old right wing government elected, the middle-class gets indignant at the ‘gross waste of taxpayers’ money’, and the poorly paid like to hate the skivers because they might be taking some of the crumbs that they glean from the nation’s table. Then there is the great satisfaction for all readers that there is trash that they can look down on and feel superior.
      The amount of the nation’s wealth that is being consumed by these so-called scroungers is negligible and George Osbourne will not make much of a dent in the Deficit if every one of them is eliminated.
      The worst effect of the MSM is that it has created a bitter, hateful society where blame, misogyny, racism and xenophobia thrive and true cooperative harmony has died. Margaret Thatcher finished off society when she famously mouthed, ‘There is no such thing as Society’, and then went on to kill it stone-dead. The printed press have loved it ever since. I hope the new online version is more benign.

      1. Crubag says:

        “Any mention of skiving benefits cheats, NHS-abusing immigrants, Gypsies, Romanys (or even Romanians) drug-addicts, drunks, ethnic minorities and cheap labour sells papers.”

        You could add “Tories” to that.

  8. Graeme Dibble says:

    On the Sunday Herald point, I was interested to see that the daily Herald now has Iain Macwhirter writing for them at least twice a week and his face is all over the e-version (although this was not true pre-referendum time). Is the Herald trying to backtrack now and show itself as an indy newspaper??

    1. John Thomson says:

      Better late than never if they come on side they will not be forgiven until they prove there worth and that my friend will take years of good quality writing.

      1. liz says:

        Ian McWhirter always used to write for the Daily Herald but they will pretend to be more balanced now because the indy ref 1 is over.

        If we ever come to an indyref2, they would pull out all of the stops again.

        What we have to fight this time is the propaganda that’s going to be poured on everyone’s heads on the run-up to the GE.

        The British media will be out to get NS and the SNP

  9. I think the most effective move to combat the bias in the msm would be the creation of a new daily tabloid, on sale in direct competition with the Record, Sun etc.
    I know this is old technology, but it would reach the people we need to reach – the older and/or more conservative voters who are most vulnerable to the manipulation of information that we have seen.
    With over 75,000 new members, a plethora of writing talent dying to get their views across, and a good Sunday paper on our side already, surely a start up can be managed. Sfter that I’m sure it would be self financing.
    The social media is doing a great job, but in most cases is preaching to the converted.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I love this idea that the social media is ‘preaching to the converted’ but the Telegraph, the Sunday Post or the Daily Mail isn’t? Every media outlet has its audience and we are better placed to expand our reach than many print outlets.

      Second, the idea that 65 year olds who have been reading their traditional papers all their lives would suddenly switch over to this new indy supporting tabloid, is, lacking in any credibility.

      1. John Thomson says:

        They may not change their minds overnight but with the help of their sons, daughters and grandchildren etc they will convert just give it time. My father had a saying Tack Yer Time Boy now I understand. He was staunch labour and I believe he would have converted so if my father would have converted believe me when I say anyone can be converted. God bless him.

  10. Juteman says:

    The huge advantage the MSM, and especially the BBC has, is its constant subliminal pushing of a message.
    Most ‘ordinary’ folk get their ‘news’ whilst sitting eating their fish-fingers and chips in front of the TV, Most don’t actively read news stories, never mind actually think about the issues they are presented with.
    They don’t even realise that the box in the corner is conditioning their thinking, whilst they are enjoying their sticky toffee pudding.
    How do you combat something like this?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Well one way we won’t change this is by replicating the passivity you describe. Create active citizens who produce their own content and know how to ‘read’ or ‘consume’ the rest

      1. hornygoloch says:

        Well said, Bella.

  11. Flower of Scotland says:

    I am 68 years old and I hav,nt bought a newspaper for two years. I came online and found Bella, Newsnet, Wing etc. I visit these sites sometimes five times a day and even comment sometimes. I love all the comments and have learned so much from them and the links they provide.

    However I am an avid supporter of Independence and was sick fed up of the bias in the MSM. Listening to “call Kaye” about newspapers I’m afraid many people are set in their ways and like their local biased newspapers and don’t support Independence!

    However I wish you good luck in you new adventures and thank you for helping to keep me sane this year!

    1. nigel says:

      I’m surprised at your age that you haven’t cottoned on earlier that drivel such as “call kay” will ONLY allow unionist viewpoints to be aired? Please bear that in mind when you say things like “many people are set in their ways ………and dont support indy.

      Thats EXACTLY the effect which these drivelish progs are setting out to achieve-and it seems to be working, judging by your comments!

      1. deewal says:

        Yes it is nigel. And it will succeed in the next General Election too. There are still 55% “too stupid’s” out there and there is nothing you can say or do to convince stupid to do what you tell them to do when the BBC and St Gordon is telling them to “vote labour to keep the tories out “

  12. John Thomson says:

    From reading these and all posts we need somewhere like an independence cafe setting up so like minded people can meet and share experiences . Anyone know of one in the edinburgh area.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      This is what Commonweal are planning in Edinburgh and Glasgow and then to offer out to other towns, see: http://www.allofusfirst.org/latest/why-and-how/

    2. Patrick Hogg says:

      Or people can simply book a hall. Have a meeting. Plenty of Yes groups on Facebook. Cheaper and immediate.

  13. tartanfever says:


    You’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem isn’t the media as such, it’s the people.

    This article is good but it makes one glaring error in my book, the assumption that our current media scrutiny,

    ‘ is especially damaging to the unionist political parties and mainstream media. ‘

    How is it damaging ? The No vote won, people south of the border, fed by an obvious “Scots are basket cases, economic failure and they don’t like the English’ byline bought it hook, line and sinker. News comments, TV appearances were full of people pushing this line and the ordinary public who then carried it forward.Even in Scotland this story was influential.

    Seems to me that the unionist politicians and media actually won.

    People in the UK are conned into thinking the problems we face are with someone else – the EU, immigrants, IS, Syria, the Scots etc and not particularly with Westminster. Keep the public attention diverted by creating external enemies, keep the public divided by stirring resentment by fairly obscene journalism – ‘ casual racism’.

    This stuff is as old as journalism. Feed them WW1 & 2 ‘porn’, make programmes about baking in a tent lined with Union Jack bunting. Feed the ‘Great British Heritage’ line by making lots of programmes about antiques, the British Navy, our great history or about everyone else’s dodgy history. In your news economic reports put in casual lines from Peston saying ‘ the economy is recovering’ when it isn’t.

    If you want to combat this, people have to make tough choices, because this will take money and a lot of it. A new media will have to force it’s way into people’s lives because if it doesn’t then we are only talking amongst ourselves.

    So, we should seriously think about cancelling the licence fee, cancelling newspapers, change our shopping habits and potentially our banking habits. Do you give to charity ? Children in need ? Do you text in to ‘Strictly’ and pay for that ? – all of these things add to the British establishment coffers.

    The financial requirements to make an effective media that will reach all the people of Scotland are huge. My estimate is around £5m a year. That may sound way over the top, but think about it, 1.6m people voted Yes – if everyone gave a £5 a year you would be more than covered. You pay £145 for the BBC, how much will that new ‘i-phone’ contract cost ? Do you really need that new (insert here your own personal choice) ?

    Is £5 too much to pay ? (and thats for a year !) How many folk could pay £5 per month ?

    In my book what we lack is a master plan, a hub if you like. To make ourselves effective we have to concentrate our efforts towards key goals whilst still recognising our individual component parts (Bella, RIC, Women for Indy, Newsnet, Wings, Biz for Scotland)

    I long for a ‘hub’ website – the first place I visit on my daily internet journey.

    It doesn’t give me news, it organises.

    It has a ‘to do today’ section front and centre which says, ‘sign this petition’ and it’s only one petition, not half a dozen. It then features what events are happening today and where needs support and finally it links to all the individual websites with their latest articles.

    That kind of organisation makes our voice effective. It’s not removing individuality. We already have all the elements of the media we need, what we don’t have is the overall, nationwide structures.

    1. jamie says:

      What I was trying to point out was that the lack of media questioning of the unionist parties can be seen as a weakness. They are not robustly challenged on their assertions and so as a consequence their assertions are weak. Look at scottish Labour for an example of a party with a deafening intellectual void.

  14. Rosie says:

    Disillusioned at 74, it is exciting and affirming to witness such enthusiasm in Bella’s continuation post-Referendum.

    Bella, Bateman+ and National Collective, Common Weal and others uphold my belief in an inspirational Scotland with a sense of shared purpose – an excellent antidote to scaremongering, gloom and trivia.

    I particularly appreciate the lively interactive, often thought-provoking, Comments sections compared with the slow and selective letters section of MSM and magazines like the New Statesman that published mostly misleading and misinformed pre-Referendum articles.

    The challenge now is how best to support who at this stage…

    Good wishes to all the active minds, men and women, young and not so young, involved in designing inspired media for the people of Scotland, and beyond.

  15. arthur thomson says:

    I am wholly behind the ideas afloat for using the web to create new media for Scotland and I want to subscribe to and support what transpires. However, I also support the idea of a traditional newspaper. People are not necessarily going to change the paper they read but there are plenty of punters who support independence who would read a paper that reflects their ideas. Such a paper and in my opinion any online media, needs to cover the whole range of topics that people naturally want to read about. The politics of Scotland covers the whole range of human endeavour not just overtly political issues. I have been an advocate of independence for more than fifty years and was aware of the duplicity of the press but not as aware as I now am. Sorting it is key to combating the unionist policy of brainwashing people to believe that Scotland should cease to exist..

  16. Fiona says:

    As a technologically inept middle aged person who still loves the tactile experience of a paper I would second above. I have been a nationalist most of my life, am now a green. I don’t want another Sunday Herald, but something more challenging that doesn’t always necessarily reinforce my own prejudices. I think that my views would withstand some pretty robust challenges and I would like to read some on a regular basis.Not the peurile garbage from MSM, but real, reasoned essays with a good factual base. I don’t think we have to follow the line of biased reporting shown in MSM – we can aim to be better than that. Probably showing up my lack of real knowldedge with this next point but I have long been concerned at the deep information war raging on the internet and am wondering whether real independent journalism and information can even survive properly without engaging in something like the Modern Media Initiative from Iceland. Just a thought.

  17. Harald Tobermann says:

    :: A clear example would be that Scotland contributes more proportionately to the UK than it receives in government spending.

    Jamie, please reference your sources and show your workings. Proportionately?

    1. jamie says:

      GERS reports are fairly comprehensive – of course they don’t account for the cumulative effect of Scotland’s net contribution year after year on our fiscal position. Business for scotland have some excellent articles on where Scotland’s wealth goes…

      1. Harald Tobermann says:

        GERS: In 2012-13, total Scottish non-North Sea public sector revenue was estimated at £47.6 billion, (8.2% of total UK non-North Sea revenue). Including a per capita share of North Sea revenue, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £48.1 billion (8.2% of UK total public sector revenue). When an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue is included, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £53.1 billion (9.1% of UK total public sector revenue).
        In 2012-13, total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the UK Government, Scottish Government and all other parts of the public sector, including a per capita share of UK debt interest payments, was £65.2 billion. This is equivalent to 9.3% of total UK public sector expenditure.

        65.2 is more than 53.1 (and even more than 48.1 or 47.6): Scotland contributes more proportionately to the UK than it receives in government spending?!

      2. jamie says:

        So if you accept those figures then you accept all the previous years figures also! Why not quote them too? Why not the previous 30 years to be safe?

        Also, like I said gers doesn’t account for the cumulative effect of Scotland’s proportionate net contribution to the UK.

        Have a read at some of the business for scotland articles. They are excellent.

        1. Harald Tobermann says:

          Jamie, I’m not “accepting” these figures: I went and looked at the GERS source that you referenced.

          According to GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland), published by the Scottish Government and its Chief Statistician, the cumulative effect for the last 33 years (1980 – 2013) is £69.4 billion more expenditure than revenue.

          [source 1=”Public” 2=”Sector” 3=”Summary” 4=”Balances” 5=”-” 6=”with” 7=”GEOGRAPHIC” 8=”SHARE” 9=”OF” 10=”NORTH” 11=”SEA” 12=”OIL” 13=”REVENUES” 14=”in” 15=”Historical Fiscal Balances 2014″ 16=”http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GERS/RelatedAreas/LRfiscalbalances2014″ language=”:”][/source]

          I don’t see how Business for Scotland could interpret these figures differently, but please do reference the relevant article.

      3. jamie says:

        2008-2009: Scotland contributed – 10.3%, Expenditure for Scotland – 9.3%
        2009-2010: Scotland contributed – 9.2%, Expenditure for Scotland – 9.2%
        2010-2011: Scotland contributed – 9.3%, Expenditure for Scotland – 9.2%
        2011-2012: Scotland contributed – 9.8%, Expenditure for Scotland – 9.3%
        2012-2013: Scotland contributed – 9.1%, Expenditure for Scotland – 9.3%

        Those figures are from the past 5 years and are quoted in the GERS report you quote above. For four of the five years Scotland contributed proportionately more to UK revenues than was received in spending.

        Of course, Scotland does run a budget deficit, as almost all western economies do today (notable exceptions being Norway and Switzerland). The key point is that our deficit is less than that of the UK’s for the equivalent year. In fact in 2008-2009 Scotland ran a current budget surplus!

        This article explains how the cumulative debt repayments affect Scotland’s perceived financial position.

        1. Harald Tobermann says:

          Jamie, the percentages you quote for Scottish contributions and expenditure have different bases and can therefore not be used for comparison. Actual £ figures for these years are:

          £ million £ million
          2008-2009: Scotland contributed – 55,349 Expenditure for Scotland – 59,440
          2009-2010: Scotland contributed – 47,733 Expenditure for Scotland – 62,087
          2010-2011: Scotland contributed – 51,773 Expenditure for Scotland – 64,095
          2011-2012: Scotland contributed – 56,315 Expenditure for Scotland – 64,869
          2012-2013: Scotland contributed – 53,147 Expenditure for Scotland – 65,205

          [source 1=”tables” 2=”3.3″ 3=”and” 4=”5.2″ 5=”in” 6=”http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GERS/GERS2014xls” language=”:”][/source]

          The above contribution figures include a geographical share of North Sea revenues, rather than a per capita share as for most of the other revenue sources.

      4. Patrick Hogg says:

        It goes back to 1707. Scotland has been ran effectively as a complicit colony, where the Overlords are Scots who keep the other Scots in check, for their biddies in Downing Street. remember where the clan chief moved to……high numbers in Downing street. James Thompson Callander (of Burns’ generation) in his The Political Progress of Great Britain, 1795, showed that Scotland was run on a shoestring and plenty of taxes were milked from the Scottish cash-cow even then under the Dundas Dynasty. We need a media that tells it as it is – that Scotland is being ripped off and lied to. The tax take from North Sea Oil has rebuilt the South of England and they gloat over the rest of us, fat off what they ggrab from Scottish assets. And to boot, they see SCotland as a hunting fishing shooting paradise. Who owns Scotland? What is the Scottish economy for? Who runs Scotland and for whom? We are a million miles away from the Scottish economy being ran in the interests of the majority of people in Scotland. Our job in Yes Scotland is to clarify this ignorance and turn it into knowledge and action. Scotand must be ran by the people of Scotland (our chosen Government in Edinburgh) for the people of Scotland: Scotland’s interests must be for the people here..

      5. Jamie says:

        Firstly, why would a per capita share of oil and gas be used? That makes no sense. Are you suggesting that an independent Scotland would not gain the tax revenues from the oil and gas in our waters!?

        We are both quoting the same figures here. These figures can absolutely be used for comparison, and you are wrong to say that they can’t. I have presented them as the percentages of the UK total and you have presented them as absolute figures. The deficit in Scottish spending for each of the years we quote above is the difference between the contribution from Scotland (Scotland’s tax take) and the spend for Scotland. If you compare this deficit to the UK’s deficit you will find that for Scotland has a lower deficit for 4 of the 5 years quoted.

        That is quite clearly Scotland contributing proportionately more to the UK than is received in spending.

        1. Harald Tobermann says:

          Could it be that the UK deficit is proportionately larger for 2008-11/12 because of the scale
          of the financial sector interventions?

          :: why would a per capita share of oil and gas be used?
          GERS consistently provides revenue figures (a) without North Sea, (b) with North Sea per capita and (c) with North Sea by geographic share. I am guessing this is for several reasons: (a) North Sea revenues are by their nature not financially sustainable; (b) most other revenue sources (income tax, VAT, corporation tax) are essentially allocated per capita; and (c) geographical share is a hypothetical concept (The Hypothetical Scottish Shares of Revenues and Expenditures from the UK Continental Shelf 2000-2013 – Professor Alexander G Kemp and Linda Stephen) which could easily be challenged – with identical geographic arguments – by Shetland and Orkney.

    2. jamie says:

      OK. From the top then Harald.

      My sentence: “Scotland contributes more proportionately to the UK than it receives in government spending”

      This is demonstrably correct from the GERS figures we have both quoted. “Scotland contributes more proportionately to the UK” – if we take 2008-2009 figure as the example that was 10.3% of the UK revenues (I am comparing Scotland proportionately with the UK). “than we receive in government spending” – for 2008-2009 spending in Scotland as a proportion of the total UK spending was 9.3%.

      10.3% is higher than 9.3% – therefore my sentence is correct for 2008-2009. It is also correct for 4 of the last 5 years.

      Look, if it was the other way around I couldn’t write that – it wouldn’t be correct. If the UK gave Scotland back proportionately the same as we had contributed in 2008-2009 then the figures would be the same (Scotland’s and the UK’s deficits would be equal) but they are not. The proportion of UK revenues contributed by Scotland is higher than the proportion of UK spending for Scotland. The net effect of this is billions of pounds less spending in Scotland than we are proportionately due or what we would have to spend if Scotland were an independent nation over the same time period and ran the same budget deficit as the UK.

      There is no reasonable explanation for excluding 15-20% of Scotland’s economy so oil and gas should be included. The rights to EEZ is governed by international law, which would be applied to an independent Scotland (currently Scots law applies to operators in the Scottish sector of the North sea – that is how they are able to say what parts of North sea income would be attributable to Scotland – so there would be no major areas of dispute.)

      Orkney and Shetland would not be able to make an EEZ claim until they became independent nations. If they wanted to do this then I am all for their self-determination – it just seems quite unlikely to me at the moment. And until they hypothetically declare independence they are an integral part of Scotland.

      The main point of my article however, was the dereliction of duty by the Scottish media in highlighting what I have detailed above. It is an easily accessible fact that Scotland contributes more proportionately to the UK than we receive in spending however this is not properly brought to the attention of the public by the media. In fact I would observe much obfuscation and misrepresentation of these facts.

      BTW did you read the article on Bella today about what we are talking about just now?

  18. Unfortunately, the constant repetition of want are essentially lies has the cumulative effect of dampening down Scottish self confidence. It requires people to move out with their comfort zone and actually begin thinking for themselves. Unfortunately, this was a bridge too far for many of our fellow countrymen a couple of weeks ago. The job of pro independence parties in the coming weeks and months will be to establish just how big the number of people open to persuasion is. My gut feeling is that anything between 5-20% of the No vote is realatively soft and open to reasoned argument and debate. Our job in the next few months and years to come will have to be one of education and persuasion.

  19. nigel says:

    But it was ALWAYS going to be a bridge too far for thousands of Scots. Having studied my fellow county men for ages, I conclude that the union is a kind of comfort blanket for them. NO amount of cajoling nor giving the poor sods any amount of facts, would not be enough to sway them. The abrogation of political thinking gives them comfort to ignore politics and let the thinking be done by other nations, whilst giving these Scots more time to think about more mundane matters such as, golf, fitba, pubs etc.

    In that respect, I believe the SNP have done an absolutely superb job over the years-If it were not for the sheer professionalism shown by them, many thousands who voted yes would undoubtedly have voted no.

    55% of my countrymen are a strange breed indeed, and possess an attitude which I believe to be unique on the planet. A psychologist would have a ball trying to unravel the mindset of the Scot!

  20. Bill Glasgow East says:

    NEW THIS WEEK.Media Bias in Scotland. Dr David Patrick,Researcher at the University of Free State,South Africa,has a few things to say about our Press and the Referendum

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