2007 - 2021

Would you like anything in your Independence? Aye, mair independence.

usury1Even before we become independent has the SNP sold out Scotland, to The City of London? I sincerely hope not, and not just because I voted SNP, but a little red light of unease has been blinking in my mind since February 2015 when I inspired an MSP with my ideas and helped her to formulate three carefully crafted Parliamentary Questions on SME financing and banks.

But first, Brexit.

Brexit, oh look – jobs!

There seems to be a number of people saying foolish things about Edinburgh rivaling, or that it might at least compete with, London to be the financial capital of Europe.

Don’t they remember all the talk, in between coughing up the dust of 2008, about re-balancing the economy away from financial services? The argument is that with London haemorrhaging bank jobs, an independent, highly educated Scotland in the EU is ideally placed …; you get the idea.
Yes, it could be done, but is it wise?

The occasional blogger or Tweeter explicitly makes the case or suggestion, but Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted an image of a headline then a link to the FT article by ‘ex-Treasury mandarin’ Nicholas McPherson which headlines “The case for Scottish independence looks stronger post-Brexit”.

It’s noteworthy that such a senior figure does a volte-face, but you have to be suspicious of why; I doubt he is overwhelmed with the best interests of Scotland’s citizens all of a sudden, it would provide a historic opportunity for Edinburgh to develop further as a financial centre, as London-based institutions hedge their bets on the location of staff and activities, he said, and we should note that he said ‘London-based’.
You also have to wonder just how much agreement beyond the ‘Indy stance’ the FM is signaling by the exclamation of “quite something!”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said (4 July 2016) Scotland already has a world class financial services sector and clearly there would be potentially huge advantages to the industry … if we secure our EU status and position in the single market.

If you look around the World the financial sector means; terrorist and drug-money laundering, tax-evasion enabling, PPI mis-selling, pension mis-selling, and let’s not forget RBS and other large banks conspiring with accountants and valuers to fraudulently undervalue assets (as pretext for declaring loan default to grab those assets); and the list goes on.
FCA fines against banks 2014/15 were £880 million, and against individuals were £17 million.
Is this what it means to be world class? If so what does the SNP propose to do to stamp out this behaviour in Edinburgh come Independence Day? Nothing at all that I’ve heard of, you?

What would the impact on the Scottish economy be if over the first five years of independence the newly transferred financial institutions were fined £66.5 billion?

Think about that. Think about it and you shiver.

I wonder exactly what ‘potentially huge advantages for the London-based institutions encompasses.

Inviting in and even celebrating financialisation isn’t just a far greater strategic error than posing with The Sun; it’s hugely dangerous.

Perhaps the bankers and Murdoch are in for a shock from the SNP in an independent Scotland. Maybe there are plans to restore some degree of the financial regulations to Scotland that were erased by Thatcher in the big bang of 1986, maybe not. Maybe there are plans to reverse the Blair/Brown deregulation of 1997, maybe not.
Maybe there are plans to ensure media plurality, and residency requirements and restrictions to cross-ownership of press and broadcast media; but maybe not.

Are the Murdochs, Barclays and Rothermeres and other offshore entities to reign over our culture in the future as they do today, and as the banks do the £UK and finances?

Threats of legal action from the landed gentry saw the Land Reform Act have some of its best teeth drawn; anonymous offshore companies still keep secret who owns a lot of Scotland’s land. To own any of our .scot cyberland you have to prove you are, at least, part of “Scotland’s diaspora”.
Can we conclude from this and the initial draft of the Land Reform Act that the SNP really does intend a progressive independence?

Is it circular or is it triangulating?

After the McPherson FT article we have a City AM editorial which amplifies McPherson’s small state, low tax themes and notes the potential for the financial sector move to Edinburgh; then we have George Kerevan writing, again in City AM, he says, think of the advantages for City-based institutions of Scotland’s bank passporting rights as a continuing member of the EU, and quotes the small state, low tax bit from the editorial; which is based on the McPherson article, which Nicola Sturgeon thought was quite something.

Again I wonder what exactlypotentially huge advantages for City of London based institutions encompasses.

It’s no surprise that McPherson, a member of the corrupt, banker-bought and paid for Westminster, makes the case for implementing in Scotland the already discredited austerity economics and corporatist tax regulations of the sort The Tax Justice Network is fighting against globally.
It is surprising that the FM makes no qualification of this content, despite the alluring headline. Aren’t the SNP supposed to be against austerity? I know I am, you? Then George Kerevan confirms he was talking about cuts and low tax by tweeting that his ‘speculations’ aren’t SNP policy.

Aye, it’s quite something right enough.

Red-light interlude

But now back to that little red light of unease that’s been blinking in my mind since three triangulating Parliamentary Questions were asked by the SNPs Christina McKelvie.
Christina emailed me that she had given “John Swinney’s advisors” (he was Finance Minister at the time) details of this site’s proposals and forwarded me the submitted PQs; we both anticipated answers which would bring these ideas to the floor of parliament. We were both sorely disappointed with the replies and that it wasn’t John Swinney who answered.

Reserved Powers PQs

It occurred to me soon after this disappointment that there was now an opportunity for the Scottish Government to put the Coalition on the spot. MSPs can ask questions on Reserved Powers like income tax and the bank-levy.
I composed two questions in the wording required and Christina submitted them.

  • To ask the Scottish Government what representations it has made to the UK Government regarding encouraging bank lending to SMEs;
    1. by setting the bank-levy as the cost to the UK state of payments of Jobseekers Allowance as determined by monthly ONS figures.
    2. by dynamically setting the top-rate of income tax of everyone who works for a bank at ten times the percentage rate of unemployment in the UK as determined by monthly ONS figures.

It would have been quite something for the Scottish Government to force the Coalition to reply to those questions shortly before the 2015 general election.

However the questions were rejected by the Chamber Desk Clerks as not passing the Scots Parliament business test; Christina was given “verbal guidance” she related via email as, it’s the cross over with devolved/reserved matters that is the issue. She then suggested that I should find a Westminster MP to ask a question in the Commons.

There was one final step that could be taken. I emailed her, An appeal to the Presiding Officer may be in order as described in point 9 of the Guidance on Parliamentary Questions, ‘Resolution of Disputes on Admissibility’, because there was a clear impact on a matter for which the Scottish Government has responsibility – the criteria used to judge.

It took me a few emails to realise she was now ignoring me, I never got a reply to the suggestion the reserved powers questions be appealed. What about proposing it as SNP policy? I also asked, but with never a reply.

I was suspicious that someone with influence over SNP policy had told Christina to drop the whole thing, why else not take a final punt at the Presiding Officer? There was nothing to lose. Why the silence? Why had John Swinney body-swerved the original three questions?
Now post-Brexit we have a Scottish Government spokesperson and a senior SNP figure making ‘potentially huge advantages for City of London based institutions welcoming noises to big banking interests, my unease is much greater, and now I suspect that financial sector interests were the reason for those life-draining non-answers and an MSP suddenly going from enthusiasm for an idea to stone-cold indifference.

Brexit, oh oh.

What of a Scottish currency? No commentator to be taken seriously is saying other than an independent Scotland must create one sooner than later.

Our own, publicly owned, central bank should be the only source of Scot-Pounds. The people of Scotland are sovereign, the people of Scotland are the economy. The people’s economy is what will back a Scottish currency – the people’s central bank should issue debt-free money to the people’s government to spend on infrastructure and public works. “Electronically” issued money should be issued as block-chain cryptocurrency.

Are we to hand over our newly minted resource to the professional money-launders we’re importing from London? Why?

We need to ask the SNP.

Take care of Growth and the deficit and debt will disappear all by themselves

Anyone who argues that we must endure even five minutes of austerity in a newly independent Scotland should just get in the sea (not the North Sea, it’s our oil).

The more we can prevent the financial sector siphoning off wealth when they act as simple conduits, the more money will be circulating in the economy, which in and of itself generates growth.
Let’s not have “bank loans” at all. Instead any bank wanting a license to operate in Scotland can only charge a flat, administration fee for acting as the interface to the central bank; interest is still charged, but is paid to the central bank.

You’re borrowing Scot-Pounds from the Scottish people, via the people’s central bank, so interest on that money shouldn’t be paid anywhere else, should it? Why?

The unique opportunity of the global financial crash should have been taken to tober the global financial system – it was missed, they are operating ‘business as usual’.
We in Scotland will shortly have another opportunity to show not only that #sexySocialism works, but that linking the banking system’s taxes to the performance of the whole economy will be an integral part of it.

The wonga-cost of importing banking jobs

You could go to Wonga and get a loan that you’d pay thousands of percent interest on, but it would be madness to do it if you could manage by any other means to avoid it.

There is an analogous cost to the claimed 50,000 jobs we could import by dropping the steaming pile of an unreformed London financial sector into the middle of six million people.
Like a tentacular strangling fig its tendrils will reach out to the talent in Dundee, turning Yes City into a cross between a scene from Grand Theft Auto and Biff Tannen’s chaotic Hill Valley dystopia in Back To The Future II. The “wonga-interest” cost of an instant jobs-boost, is a huge swathe of skills and human intelligence diverted into the financial monster to feed the people at the top obscene salaries and bonuses which leaves the rest of the economy withered.

The strangling fig really is a great analogy for the banking system. The strangling fig relies on a forest of growth existing before it can. The banking system cannot exist without there first being a “real” economy. It lands on the upper reaches of industry, diverts resources to itself, killing the industry, and all that’s left is the shape of where the real economy once was, with the banks then feeding off the whole forest, as now it’s encompassed the whole of journalism, politics, government and society; the outcome for them will be the same.

The financial sector has been throttling the UK as a whole, how much worse would it be to have even half of it encircling 6 million Scots than 64 million Brits?

It isn’t just the academically brilliant and gifted we all paid to put through our free universities which the financial sector swallows up – who now serve themselves and cut the throats of everyone – but many other “ancillary” ones; there is a 15 to 20 percent pay premium the financial sector pays for “non-core” jobs; this ranges from cleaners to IT managers, secretaries to computer programmers.

This is the imbalance of the UK economy which was and still is the herbicide to growth outside London.
And inside London nothing grows but finance and tax-dodging companies servicing the bankers by exploiting the captivated, zero-hours slaves serving them coffees and posh breads, or lubricating their throats with artisan beers or their cocks with their c***s and their mouths to pay off loans imposed for university fees when the same breed of bastards purloined billions from their parents with the help of politicians who quickly bent-over for the billionaire news networks underwritten by the bankers who blamed the unemployed for there not being any jobs.

Still, not to worry.

In an independent Scotland the financial sector will leverage the underwriting power of North Sea oil to ensure the Scot-Pound will be sound and highly (over) valued, which means an SNP, Gordon Brown equivalent will be able to declare that Scotland is punching above its weight in the international markets. Will John Swinney’s successors speechify to penguin-suited financiers that history will record the beginning of a new golden age?

What should be a vibrant, exciting, diverse burst of growth across Scotland which becomes self-sustaining, like a flood in a dessert which creates a rainy climate, will instead be a scrub-land surrounding an opulent oasis of luxurious corruption for a few.
Compare the north of England with Kensington.

The purpose of the First Minister is not to wave employment statistics in the faces of opposition and yoon media. That’s a choice of political theatre, and choosing that is to play the game which has given us Thatcher, Blair and Cameron.
Scotland does not need a Public Relations First Minister, we’ve seen what’s happened to Westminster with PR PMs, and it’s still bleeding us and the rUK citizenry dry. Do I really think Nicola Sturgeon is even a little like Cameron – style without substance? No, but there’s a little red light of unease blinking behind my eyelids.

Any half-way decent and intelligent person in Scotland rightly despises Thatcherism, and many have ample reason to have despised her personally. I for one applaud Nicola Sturgeon for her consistent condemnations on the extremist, right-wing Prime Minister, but how ironic would it be 30 years hence to point to Nicola Sturgeon and say, “She invited in the very essence of Thatcherism and we are now paying the price”?

What is the Scotland we want? Edinburgh as a mini-Westminster with ensuite golf and grouse shooting? Plus fours plus fuckwits bagging birdies and letting fly at plump ptarmigans, with Balmoral bonnets for the pheasant beating peasants which we’re to doff to the tartan trewsed neo-gentry?

London isn’t just the UK capital of capital, it is the World Capital of the financial sector. Do we really want to import, wholesale, the most corrupt system in the world to our infant, born-again country?

If we try to rival London, we will become London. Happy Independence Day.



Comments (90)

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  1. Donald McGregor says:

    A timely reminder that, broadly speaking, the wider yes movement is (was?) a socially progressive movement that saw independence as a vehicle for positive change. A reminder that it’s too easy to get sucked into measuring success using others discredited yardsticks. Easy to envisage us as a large version, not even off shore, of Jersey /Isle of Man. Difficult to balance the risk against the potential need to have support from those that think this might be a good thing.
    We all deserve better.

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      Now that is a scary thought – Scotland as “offshore” tax haven.

      1. old battle says:

        Gibraltar, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Ireland all have one thing in common-low taxation sustainable development but Scotland …Greece without the sun? No, none of the above! But then what is the model?

  2. Alex Grant says:

    Understand the concerns but as we keep saying – if we get independence we can vote for parties which subscribe to our views. And the only way to get there is with the SNP. None of what you are concerned about is relevant unless we get Indy first?? The SNP won’t have any form of monopoly, will they

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      The SNP WILL have a “monopoly”.
      They’ll be in charge of negotiations with rUK, and setting up the various institutions of state that we need, as well as framing regulations for private entities which have huge control over our lives via their corporate power, money, political connections, media control … etc.
      They’ll be in charge of EVERYTHING for an undetermined length of time until first elections. Will it be 5 years? 5 months?

      I think we NEED to ask difficult questions of SNP.

      1. Mike says:

        “The SNP WILL have a “monopoly”.
        They’ll be in charge of negotiations with rUK, and setting up the various institutions of state that we need, as well as framing regulations for private entities which have huge control over our lives via their corporate power, money, political connections, media control … etc.
        They’ll be in charge of EVERYTHING for an undetermined length of time until first elections. Will it be 5 years? 5 months?”

        All of which can be legitimately dismantled by a party pledging to do so within a pre election manifesto and gaining power as a result. An election which will be called at the very start of Independence so no wait of an indeterminate length of time Harry.
        In fact no “Institution” can be legitimately setup through any Parliament until that Parliament actually exists and is in a position to write legislation. The SNP cannot write legislation for an Independent Scottish Parliament during the Sexit negotiation process with the rUK.

        So we would all appreciate if you stopped deliberately bare face lying.

        “I think we NEED to ask difficult questions of SNP.”

        What a very Labour party thing to write.

      2. Garrett says:

        One of the questions I would like to ask is, how will we cope with independence if we struggle to run Scotland as it is ? I mean there are items that Westminster has no input, yet we seem to fail to provide competence. Sorry if it’s negative but these things need discussed now and not the day after the flag waving victory marches. Pick a subject. Any will do.

        I voted YES last time but have since cooled to the idea.

  3. john young says:

    There are plenty of us that won,t vote SNP in the event of us getting independence.

    1. Joe Gibson says:

      Yes john you are so right about that, but first we need independence and as they all say we need the SNP for that.

      1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

        Cybernat1, Cybernat2 & Cybernat3: We’re all fed up wae this hoose, so let’s burn it doon and build a better wan.
        Cybernat2: Aye. Where’s the matches – they have to be Scottish Bluebell ye know.
        Cybernat3: Will we start drawin up plans fura new hoose the noo?
        Cybernat1 & Cybernat2: Naw! Wance we’re free of this place we can build whit we like.
        Cybernat 3: But whit if it starts rainin an that?
        Cybernat1 & Cybernat2: We’ll vote for parties that don’t want rain.
        Cybernat 3: Ehm … whit aboot umbarellas then? Eh? Hello?

        Ok, that’s just a wee bit silly!
        So we win indyref2. We’ve got 18 months (maybe less depending on Article 50 and indyref2 date) to leave the UK Union and assume the “continuing state” of the UK in the EU.
        Is it OK to write this article now?
        The SNP will be the last Scottish Government in the UK and the first Scottish Government of an independent Scotland.
        Unlike the Brexit numpties, the SNP are making plans for ScotExit. They are Cybernat 3. What do you think the white paper was?
        This is my contribution to the process.
        I am not a number. I am a free man!
        Ok, I’m Cybernat 4.

        We canny hiv too many Cybernats makin plans, or at least askin pointed questions aboot other Cybernats’ plans.

        1. Mike says:

          First off the analogy doesn’t involve burning down any houses it involves Moving out of your parents house into your own pad you’ve already paid for decorated furnished budgeted for and secured. A pad that’s been in the family since long before you were born.

          You’re doing it because your parents have become overbearing draconian dictatorial bordering on insane demented and not a little psychotic.

          Not to mention the fact that you’re thousands of years old and should never have been forced against your will to move in with them in the first place.

          1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

            I did say it was a bit silly.
            But destruction of the Union is a valid statement.
            But so is (re)building of Scotland.

            What is not valid is to say that Scotland is a product of the union between it and England.
            Scotland is nobody’s child.

            So if you want to critique analogies (a fruitless endeavour!) then I assert parent-child is just plain wrong!

            I agree, I’m sure you’re preaching to the choir here, that we’ve paid and paid again for our own country.

          2. Steven Milne says:

            Have you heard of the Darien Scheme which virtually bankrupted Scotland in the late 17th century?

          3. Alf Baird says:

            Have you heard of the Global Financial Centre London Scheme which virtually bankrupted Britain in the early 21st century?

          4. Frank says:

            “your parents have become overbearing draconian dictatorial bordering on insane demented and not a little psychotic.” sounds a bit like a bunch of politicians who are a bit closer than Westminster.

  4. East Neuker says:

    You have some valid points, but also a lot of rambling nonsense. What is it you actually want? As the man above says, independence comes first, then you can vote for what you want in YOUR country. Otherwise we are all fucked by endless Toryism.
    Stop ranting and get on with working for a Yes vote. I don’t care whether you like the SNP or not, I’m not a member. I’m not sure what you are.
    Let’s sort independence and go from there.
    See you Saturday if you can spare the time.

    1. Aileen Mitchell Stewart says:

      Quite agree: I gave up trying to fight my way through the disconnected, rambling ranting after the first few paragraphs. There is probably an argument worth paying attention to somewhere in here, but I couldn’t be bothered to try to dig it out from under all the angry, irrelevant tosh. A great pity, because I’m sure a lot of people will have given up just as I did (my excuse is I’ve got a migraine and my head hurt even before I started) yet somewhere in there there seem to be some important ideas and issues raised. I wish I could have found them.
      Come on, Bella, a bit of editorial sorting out and cutting would have helped the writer make himself clear, and helped the reader grasp the essence of the argument. As it is this is an exemplar of an article positively begging for the response TLDR. (That’s ‘too long, didn’t read BTW.)
      As it is it is a real pity that the writer, despite his highly laudable best intentions and admirable effort and hard word just failed to communicate his ideas clearly. It’s an important topic, and one I’d like to understand better. I’d like the writer to have another go, but this time with some editorial input. What about it, Bella?

      1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

        First of all my thanks to Bella!

        There are asides which have run into the main text; it’s a pretty tricky job moving my html onto this site I’m afraid. So yes I do sound like I’m aff ma hied!

        The original is here, and it views fine with asides on the right of the browser in little boxes! Just don’t try to use the menu on a mobile 🙁
        Otherwise its perfecto!

      2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

        I agree with your comments. Indeed, the thought which came to my mind as I worked through the early paragraphs was, “weasel words?” And the faut Glaswegian rambling reply about various Cybernats reminded me of the infamous troll who goes by various names such as ‘Jimmy Glesga’ and ‘Glasgow Working Class’.

        Some commenters, who usually make cogent remarks appear to concur with some of the content, so I will give ‘Mr Alffa’ the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, I think the argument is very confused.

  5. annabella says:

    Well done this does have to be talked about now, the images that this analysis evokes is not the Scotland I’m hoping for. In fact London-centric wealth/politics/ethics (or lack of) is exactly why I want independence. I’ll continue supporting snp till we get independence and after, but if we do find ourselves in that position anytime soon the SNP should be putting out the message that it wont be business as usual. I’m off to email Christina McKelvey to ask why she stopped replying to emails, not good enough.

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:


      Business as usual is exactly what I’m afraid of. If you are an SNP member, and not just a supporter, then maybe you could get the subject of financial regulations raised.
      Perhaps you could encourage Christina to help with that!

  6. Steven Milne says:

    Article is an interesting mix of Karl Marx and David Icke.

    1. John Page says:

      Having read this particularly weak comment I am reminded of the Bookchin quote: The assumption that what currently exists must necessarily exist is the acid that corrodes all visionary thinking.
      John Page

    2. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      Big, greying, but turquoise, beard.

    3. Mike says:

      You mean Groucho Marx and David Icke.

  7. Alf Baird says:

    This is a brilliant and accurate analysis by Harry and mirrors my own experiences, having advised Ministers and various politicians and officials over recent decades on what they could be doing to help expand trade and bring about economic growth, all to no avail. See for example, relating to the offshore bandits who are permitted to own and exploit what is left of Scotland’s withering economy: http://reidfoundation.org/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

    The SNP simply are not listening to thair ane fowk, experts or otherwise. They will pay the price for this unless they change tack and get thair finger oot. Methinks their ‘Anglicised’ culture is too far gone. If we get indy it will be by accident or through the efforts of others.

    The very idea that Scotland should focus on Banking? After all its recent history? And on the day Lloyds announced another 3000 job losses? Aye right.

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      Thanks Alf!

      If you’re on Twitter for any length of time you’ll see GERS come up, and people wonder sarcastically “How come England exports more whisky than Scotland, funny that. Is it something to do with which port it leaves from?”

      Your paper calls for building new ports in more optimal locations.
      This is exactly the sort of infrastructure I say should be funded with “debt-free” money issued to us (the government) from a Scottish Central bank. It’s our currency, we “print” it to build stuff our country needs. Yes inflation is a potential consequence; but we can be sensible with it. Look at the HUGE sums of QE and there is still some (receding) fear of deflation.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Harry, I agree on your optimal finance approach, which reflects what other savvy states (many ex colonies) do in basically providing port infras (i.e. ‘utilities’) virtually ‘free’ to become trade gateways, in order to capture $billions worth of trade. Currently however Scotland is dependant on obsolete Victorian ports owned and regulated by offshore ‘bankers’, hence we are not competitive and trade is falling.

        Two strategic ports I have studied and reported on over the years offer a solution: 1. Cockenzie (for intra-Europe ferries roro/pax/cruise etc) and 2. Scapa Flow (container transhipment for N.Europe, Baltic, Scandinavia, Nordic Atlantic, UK/Ireland and serving global markets – with large inter-continental vessels already passing via Pentland Firth hence deviation zero there).

        Unfortunately all Holyrood has done (for ports) is put in place marine planning impediments which tend to halt any port development in its tracks, plus there has never been any ‘maritime policy’ for Scotland! This reality reflects our hopeless politicians and civil servants, all absolutely clueless. Even after indy this lot would still be hopeless and clueless.

  8. Josef O Luain says:

    It’s a hard-sell, mate. Most folks just aren’t in a position to take onboard the full import of what you are saying because most folks have a very limited notion of what the consequences of supping with this particular Devil amount to.

    I would strongly suggest therefore, that all SNP and Independence minded people read Nicholas Shaxton’s “Treasure Islands” for a wee insight as to why we must be very careful not to react like Pavlovian Scotties when presented with the stimulus of “financial services jobs”.

    There are other books which follow in Shaxton’s wake; I’ve name-checked “Treasure Islands” because even a thicky like me was able to understand at least some of what he was saying.

    I was particularly taken by his point that legislatures don’t normally contain elected representatives with the skills necessary to scrutinise/unpick, in any meaningful way, legislation framed by the armies of lawyers and accountants which the banks and other financial interests routinely employ. Which must surely go-a-ways to explaining why no banker or asset-stripper has yet done jail time in the UK.

    I wish you the very best of luck.

    1. Treasure Island (blog and book) is a pretty amazing resource

    2. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      Yes, the intricacies are very, … intricate.
      But we just have to look at 2008 to see the consequences.
      It isn’t just politics the MSM have been propaganda agents for. BBC News for instance was bought and paid for by the banks. I give you these three articles on the subject:

      The silent re-write of history, removing the banks “from the narrative” has been jaw-dropping; Miliband and Balls for instance:

      And just for a bit of swearing!
      “… and journalists NEVER say, ‘Wait a minute, wasn’t it the banks who completely f****d us all? ‘ ”

  9. Stuart McBeth says:

    The SNP are not perfect!

    Shock horror, SNP voting person says the SNP are not perfect!

    What the SNP are perfect for is securing independence for Scotland.

    After that glorious day we can celebrate, then sit down and reflect what kind of government we want. I’d bet it will be an SNP government for the first two terms then we might experiment. Striking point being, Scots will have the choice.

    Until that glorious day all those naval gazers who think a Corbyn styled SNP is rhe vehicle to take Scotland to independence are damaging the cause, just the divide and rule circumstances our unionists opponents want.

    Corbyn is proof if any were needed, you tact too far in one direction, you may please the few – activists, but you will not please the many- the electorate.

    Regards divide and rule, I don’t believe this concept is hard to grasp, what is it that some fail comprehend?

  10. Robert Harman says:

    The importance of what you write may yet have an impact sooner than we think or want. However, I feel it would be worthwhile, as an exercise for yourself and for all us readers, if you were to simply stay with the gist of your ideas. I find, when talking with whomever I want to influence, it is best to stick to the “bare bones”. That way I can keep the person’s attention and a greater likelihood, hopefully, of them remembering what I said or wrote. Keep writing and edit edit edit ’til you find the essence of your statement. Thanks.

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      I thank you for your thanks.

      “Financial regulation. Do we want that?”
      That’s about the sum of it.
      But cultural framing? Media, print, ownership.

      These things are tied together by bankers, financialisation, control. So I’ve written as tightly as I was able, able to resist a bit of imagery in a few paragraphs. But I hoped they read well.

      Not that I’m comparing myself to Mozart, nor you to whatever King (a Philip?) said to him, “It was good, but there were too many notes”. The reply was something like, “I used all the notes I thought I should.”

      Ah, Emperor Joseph II – possibly a fictional quote; so I’ll let my “inaccuracy” stand!

      1. Jack Collatin says:

        Haud yer horses, keep your powder dry, ca’ canny, Mr Alffa.
        It may be hard to grasp, but not every Scots citizen who wants independence, wants a Socialist
        (EU)topia. See what I did there?
        The name of the game is Self Determination first, then a Scottish Government of the people, by the people and accountable to the people of Scotland, not colonial status via 591 English/Welsh/ N Irish MP’s (but mostly English).
        There are many mansions in the Independence movement. I have a slight ouch that Self Determination supporters of Left, Right, or the Middle employ what amount to Fabian tactics, nipping away at the Holyrood Administration to apply their particular brand of political philosophy now ! prior to a successful Independence campaign.
        There is a view that you gum up the works of the Independence impetus by nipping at the heels of the SNP Government , there is a danger that you engender the false impression that the Yes Movement is merely a narrow far Left front, which it is not. This would me manna from heaven for the Mac Dougalls and Macternans of this world.
        We are all very aware of the excesses of the Masters of the Universe. I doubt that we would put up with legions of carpetbaggers moving from London to Edinburgh and setting up their shell game tables on the Royal Mile. WE shall not be powerless to prevent this happening. Far from it.
        A small nation, with a government held to account by the people.
        That’s what we are after, not distant rule as a colony by the Holy London Empire and the Brit Establishment.
        My old daddy used to say:- ‘You get more done with a spoonful of honey, than a lorry load of salt.’
        Your article smacks of a lorry load of salt.
        We must take the majority with us on the road to Independence, our common goal.
        Thereafter, democracy will decide in what kind of country we want to live .
        All indicators are that we want something radically different than the last 50 years of the Red Blue and Jaundiced Tory rule from England.
        Divorce in haste, repent at leisure?

        1. Alf Baird says:

          We can all agree on “Self Determination first” but why do the SNP always seek to set out a comprehensive indy future from that party leadership’s biased and actually very limited intellectual perspective? The abject failure of the SNP indy White Paper and its hostages to fortune was a good example of such a strategic mistake. All voters actually need is to be able to vote indy yes/no, as Brexit-with-no-plan-afterwards demonstrated. We can all vote for who we want and whatever party policies are proposed shortly after indy is achieved. All we would need in-between is a caretaker Holyrood administration to monitor what Scottish assets Westminster steals.

          1. Jack Collatin says:

            Alf, I have severe reservations about a Yes Campaign strategy that is merely: ‘Vote Independence, just because.’
            The White Paper was indeed hostage to fortune, and I’m sure the lessons have been learned.
            We know enough from Project Fear I to counter the threats, lies, and broken promises next time ’round.
            CU, a Scottish Defence Force, continuer state status as a EU member in our own right, the true Expenditure and Revenue Scotland figures, not the fiction of GERS, backed by good solid arguments from leading academics, economists, military, and politicians at the ready, and so on, but most importantly a Rainbow Alliance this time, contributing to the vision of an Independent Scotland, with consensus on the big ticket items, like pensions safeguarded, WMDs, and so on.
            I’m being deliberately brief here, but I hope you get the picture.
            Better Together merely attacked every aspect of the White Paper, and bombarded the DN’s with lies, threats, and an avenging rUK, if we had voted YES. Our compliant MSM particularly the BBC were more than happy to oblige.
            We have evidence of their treachery. BAE shipbuilding stalled, HMRC jobs lost, and the biggie; dragged out of the EU against our will, that is if we roll over and let the most Arch Right Wing Westminster Government in history away with it. This time, our ace in the whole is Brexit.
            Time for us to do a little bit of Project Fearing.

            We should not expect the SNP to shoulder all the blame for the near miss last time.
            We came within striking distance, after all. Who would have believed that 17 years ago?

          2. Mike says:

            I have yet to see any kind of forward planning in preparation for Independence from any other faction of the pro Indy movement.

            Where is an alternative white paper from anybody else? Where would it get credibility and support from?

            In what universe is the SNP not the only vehicle available to Scotland that actually has all the tools credibility and support needed to get us over the line to Independence?

            I’m starting to believe that some so called pro Indy supporters would rather we stayed in this disunion than consider fighting for support for their ideologies within an Independent Scottish parliament.

        2. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

          Socialist (EU)topia.
          narrow far Left front.

          You’re critiquing me for things I didn’t say in the article, but for things you imply others have. Why did you think that was a useful contribution to discussion of the points and questions I raised?

          I think the sum of the rest of what you say is, “Shut up about the SNP or we won’t get Independence, and after indy we can sort it all out”.

          Puzzled you don’t understand the article is saying the particular case of financial regulation and related matters needs sorting before independence.

          1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:


            Yes, I agree. The SNP is the only game in town – for independence. They have the “tools credibility and support”, and the MPS. They will carry us, or more like we will carry them, over the line to independence. Which is precisely why you should ENCOURAGE questioning of them by indy supporters like me.

          2. Mike says:

            I’m critiquing you for writing an article which tells us it would be folly to consider voting for Independence through the SNP because we will be no better off.

            You deliberately ignore the fact that in order for you to get anywhere near a battleground you have an opportunity to fight on with any chance of winning we HAVE to accept the SNP is the only vehicle capable of getting us there.

            We all have our own vision of what we want from an Indy Scotland and we will all try to pursue it IF we get the chance. What you’re doing is trying to set up obstacles and doubts in the way of getting that chance.

            Cutting off your own nose and ours to spite your own and our faces.

            Instead of venting your socialist spleen on the SNP why not vent it on the present UK establishment until they are no longer a factor where you have to? Then you can vent it if necessary on the SNP if they don’t meet your expectations.

          3. Alf Baird says:

            I think Jack and Mike miss a few points here. The SNP ‘Government’ could/should be doing much more to prepare Scotland for independence (e.g. getting the nation ready to take full responsibility for current ‘reserved powers’, as well as setting out a ‘vision’ for the future of the nation). On this they are letting Yes voters and the nation down, not to mention party members. The lack of adequate preparation suggests a lack of commitment.

            Moreover, simply trading one group of the rich and powerful for another is not progress. Chatting up the global financial sector is, as Harry points out, unnecessary and not advisable. The dubious Chinese private equity deal showed how naive (or desperate for ‘growth’ at any price) the SNP really are.

  11. Connor McEwen says:

    Get Independence then a wull vote the Communist party in alang wae the Monster raving Loony party an that ostrich that wis runnin aboot . anybody but MOTHER THERESA MAY of the Black hole of WHEESHTMINSTER.

  12. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

    “What of financial sector regulation in an independent Scotland? Going to be any?”

    Ask yourself that question, and (a big ask I know!) re-read the article – here:
    Hopefully Bella Caledonia Editor will get my email and Twitter DMs soon on how to get the seven asides, which are running into the main text, shuffled off to the side of the page, in boxes like the image of oor Nicola haudin The Sun!
    Pretty please?
    It does read quite disjointed at the moment.

    If you are a twitterer perhaps you can raise awareness of that question I put to @theSNP and @ScotNational.

    1. Mike says:

      If you keep looking for roadblocks to setup pre Indy there wont be an Indy constitution for you to question and complain about.

  13. Kim says:

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  14. FizzNoFuss says:

    Independence if and when it comes belongs to all the people of Scotland from the right and the left or whatever. the task is getting there. Setting out your table comes after even though some directions will be followed in the runup.
    The Scotland we want will be discussed, argued and delivered by the democratic will of its people only then.

  15. JohnEdgar says:

    Remember, Westminster, aka The incorporating union with England in 1707, is the proverbial”elephant in the room.”
    It never ceases to amaze that even those who want independence, a state of being in charge to say yes or no in the international scene, may disagree on a point, which can be rectified after independence, and this leads them to chucking the whole thing in and, dog-in-the-manger style, would vote against independence and remain in the Union!!
    Nae real!!
    So, get real. The SNP is in government in Scotland and its raison d’être is an independent Scotland. It is leading the charge so to speak. If you don’t get independence, you get nothing!!
    Simples, as the meerkat said in the advert!!
    Remain in the Union and you get, as now, a Tory government or even a Labour government (Corbyn is the archetypal londoniser-centrist- house of commons nationalist), which we did not vote for. Remember, three yoon MPs and all the rest SNP who want independence.
    Turn down the Indyref2 opportunity out of cussedness, then remember the joys of Trident, EVEL, current Tory regime and much more will be comforting!!

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “The SNP is in government in Scotland”? That may appear to be so, however UK ‘Home’ Civil Servants remain in charge of ‘Scottish’ Government departments and public agencies, while an army of ‘elite’ unionists continue to control Scotland’s public institutions.

      “its raison d’être is an independent Scotland”. If this is the case, then why did the SNP’s 56 “roaring lions” walk away from delivering on that mandate in 2015? If Westminister understands anything it is surely the reality of a Scottish majority of SNP MP’s.

    2. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      Some things can’t be rectified after independence.
      I assert that financial regulation, if not one of those, is pretty bloody difficult to fix later. I point you at the current state of regulation in the UK.
      Remember Vickers?
      “Vickers report: banks get until 2019 to ringfence high street operations”:https://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/sep/12/vickers-report-banks-given-until-2019

      Use the analogy of building a house; the foundations are dug, then you build the house. What if you discover you need something different in the centre of the house?

      If we’re digging foundations, let’s think ahead.

      Wallpaper and curtains can be fixed later.

      Making sure you don’t build in great bank-flaps to let the parasites in to crumble your house from the very start seems like common sense to me.

  16. ian wilson says:

    This article reminds me of the man who burned his bed to get rid of a flea.

  17. willie says:

    School kid angst with no real politk whatsoever. Suppose it gets things off ones chest to have a good going rant

    1. nick says:

      provocative (lazy) assertions – any argumentation to substantiate that? any quotes from the article you would like to interrogate? i blame the ejukation system meself…

      1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

        Cheers Nick!

  18. nick says:

    definitely thanks – that’s superior journalism that is…and a skilled ‘player’ of the game which can force the non-answers that ARE their answer (i.e. fuck off poor people we need you to stay poor – err, for scotland of course or freedom or some other murderous abstraction)

    rule of the many (democracy) and rule of the few (plutocracy) are mutually exclusive – same question ‘which side are you on (nicola)?

    historically merchant capital and the (modern) state co-evolved – often same people just different hats…

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      Than you.

      We have to give credit to Christina McKelvie, she read my stuff:
      and asked me about how it would apply to Scotland and how questions could be put to the Scottish Parliament.
      But as a member of a party, she – like nearly all politicians – has to accept party decisions. However, if it was party whips who silenced her, the party should now say so. If no one has asked her to drop the subject she should say so, but I can’t imagine why she has would be reticent to give some explanation if her withdrawal was voluntary.

  19. Mike says:

    And that was a Party political broadcast by a party that doesn’t exist in an Independent Nation State that doesn’t exist and may not if anybody takes it all at face value and thinks again about the consequences of self determination and the inevitable drive towards right wing Neo Conservative capitalism it always entails.

    Seems Harry wants to fight battles against imagined opponents within a land of ether.

    Cant wait long enough for the battles to involve real opponents on a Battlefield that actually exists.

    He would rather ensure he doesn’t have to fight at all by ensuring the continued non existence of the prize of victory.

    Thanks Harry.

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      Thanks Mike.

      I fear you may be getting confused with Pokémon Go.

      1. Mike says:

        There is always as chance that could happen to anybody who reads your article.

  20. Mike says:

    “Yes, I agree. The SNP is the only game in town – for independence. They have the “tools credibility and support”, and the MPS. They will carry us, or more like we will carry them, over the line to independence. Which is precisely why you should ENCOURAGE questioning of them by indy supporters like me.”

    Why would I want to question the fact that they want to take us over the line to Independence?

  21. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

    Who do you think creates money?
    The Government?
    The Central Bank?
    The banks?

    1. Mike says:

      A printing press.

    2. Anton says:

      It’s certainly true that money is created by banks and not by Governments.

      But though this may be the mechanism, commercial bank behaviour is ultimately regulated by a nation’s central banking institution, which is in its turn created and regulated by Government.

      Central banks retain tight control of the money supply by means of open market operations, the discount rate, and reserve requirements. So although QE was implemented by the banks in the sense that they created the money, it was a policy decision by the Bank of England that enabled them to do so.

      The banking crisis was not created by the banks themselves except in the sense that they were the instrument. It was failure of state regulation and the policies of the central banks.

  22. Mike says:

    “What of financial sector regulation in an independent Scotland? Going to be any?”

    Surely that would depend on what party was in power and if they were in power within and Independent Parliament or Devolved Parliament?

    Should the SNP write post Indy manifesto pledges while fighting for seats within a Devolved parliament Harry?

    1. Anton says:

      Mike, you ask: “Should the SNP write post Indy manifesto pledges while fighting for seats within a devolved parliament?”

      The answer is clearly no. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the SNP to indicate its policies for an independent Scotland. It seems they agree – hence the pre-referendum White Paper, which sets out its views on financial regulation.

      1. Mike says:

        Anton a 650 page detailed white paper not enough information for you?

  23. Mike says:

    Harry thinks the SNP should write post Indy manifestos in order to win seats within the Devolved Parliament.

    That’s like Labour in Scotland fighting the Scottish elections with pledges that can only be delivered through Westminster by a UK Government.

    The question being is Harry real or a fraud? Pro Indy or Pro union? He has written enough to have sown the seeds of doubt.

  24. Mike says:

    “Puzzled you don’t understand the article is saying the particular case of financial regulation and related matters needs sorting before independence.”

    In what legal legitimate way can any financial regulation legislation be introduced to an Independent Parliament that doesn’t exist?

    No what you’re doing is making up all manner of pish in order to express an objection to having the SNP as the vehicle of Independence.

    Smells pro union trollish to me.

  25. Mike says:

    Hey Editor are you sure Harry is pro Independence? Smells like a pro union troll to me.

  26. john young says:

    We have a very small window of operation as far as converting the NOs a very small one inmo.Most of them do not see Scotland as a country they see only Britain and no amount positive persuasion will work,they will not shift,they would prefer to see Scotland scuttled,I can,t for the wont of me see any way around it,we have an ultra right wing government pursuing ultra right wing policies yet they are prepared to accept the situation,even the privatisation of the NHS which is well on it,s way does not score with them,hell mend us.

  27. Mike says:

    Steven Milne

    “Have you heard of the Darien Scheme which virtually bankrupted Scotland in the late 17th century?”

    No! Nobody has including you. There is historic reference to a Darien Scheme that went badly wrong and bankrupted a few Private enterprises and Individuals who financed it but there wasn’t any Darien scheme which was publically funded by Scotland ever.

    Who keeps allowing the uneducated access to computers? Stop it!

  28. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:


    Obviously no need to reply to Mike at all.
    Bye Mike.

  29. Mike says:


    ” think Jack and Mike miss a few points here. The SNP ‘Government’ could/should be doing much more to prepare Scotland for independence (e.g. getting the nation ready to take full responsibility for current ‘reserved powers'”

    Except nobody has a clue as to what form this Independence will take.

    Will it include a share of UK assets? No assets? shared debt? no debt? Will it include a share of dependency territories? No share of territories? Will it include Berwick? no Berwick? Gold reserves? No Gold reserves? The bank of England? No Bank of England?

    You cant plan a budget or determine what is going to be a reserved responsibility when you don’t know the limitations of your funding or your responsibilities. You first establish the limitations of your funding and responsibilities then you determine how you deal with it!

    You cant set up legislation until your in a legal legitimate position to do so! I.e The UK can do jack shit about any EU issue until it invokes article 50!
    The SNP cant begin negotiations until they gain the fucking mandate to do it!

    This is exactly how pro union trolls behave. Putting up pathetic stupid posts they couldn’t possible agree with in order to shit stir.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      You make independence sound so difficult, one wonders how so many other ex colonies managed it or indeed why they bothered. In reality independence itself is actually very simple; one day a colony, the next day an independent state. One day decisions are made for you, the next day you make the decisions for yourself.

      As for decisions on issues such as any split of assets, liabilities etc we surely have the advantage at least of knowing all we need to know about our neighbour. Some of these decisions will take time, some may require arbitration. But at the end of the day the final decisions will be made in Scotland by the people of an independent Scotland.

      You or the SNP cannot predict final outcomes on assets/liabilities split prior to an indy2 vote. All we can say is that final decisions will be made here in Scotland, post indy. And the key issue anyway is decisions on moving Scotland forward and all the assets within Scotland, the most of important of which is our people, and our land.

      1. Mike says:

        Alf you missed the thread of the argument completely. I wasn’t stating Independence was difficult to achieve I was stating that the present Devolved Scottish Government cannot act or behave or legislate as an Independent Government nor begin any negotiation process to become one until they achieve the mandate to do so.

        Go back a couple of posts.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          “the present Devolved Scottish Government cannot act or behave or legislate as an Independent Government nor begin any negotiation process to become one until they achieve the mandate to do so. ”

          Mike, I would question your term “cannot”, though moreso in respect of elected members of Parliament than for a “Devolved Scottish Government”. The ‘authority’ (for independence) already exists by virtue of the election of 56 SNP MP’s in 2015, given the raison detre of the party. In any event, what is deemed to be ultra vires for a devolved government (to do) would not tend to matter after independence, from whence any devolved set up would be superceded.

          1. Mike says:

            Thank you Humphrey for that attempt at cognitive dissonance. If you’re not posting from your desk in the Scotland Office then you’re doing it from Whitehall.

            If you’re going to post like a Dick I will treat you like a Dick. If you cant answer or follow the thread of the debate then don’t reply at all. Don’t fill the thread with bullshit. That’s what demented trolling fuckwits do.


          2. Alf Baird says:

            You appear to be lacking in basic manners, or in much understanding of Realpolitik. Regardless, like I said “independence itself is actually very simple”; all it requires is a majority of Scots MP’s with a spine.

      2. David Allan says:

        Imagine this scenario an INDY 2 Referendum where folks are being asked to support Scottish Independence Nicola and SNP have somehow managed to retain EU Membership and rUK has completed Brexit .

        A points based immigration system has been put in place by rUK . Westminster insist that citizens of Scotland as an EU member require to adhere to the new immigration system just like other EU citizens.

        Sell that idea to Scots parents and Grandparents and to the job seekers of this country. Even those who voted YES in 2014 will think long and hard on that possibility and it’s implications.

        The SNP have created an expectation of an Indy 2 on the back of the EU vote, it would have been better had they taken stock before posturing so quickly .

        They have handed the Better Together 2 No Vote all the ammunition needed for Project Fear 2.

  30. john young says:

    Mike how far seeing was “Darien” 500yrs later the Panama Canal,Scotland has always produced far seeing/innovative/adventurous people unfortunately they had to leave our shores to achieve their goals,we are/were a poor country,why? with all our material/human resources we are stuck in the rut,we have one of only 3 worldwide maritime areas where 3 oceans/seas meet the Pentland Firth where if harvested properly could produce huge amounts of clean energy but we cannot invest in our own utility,a friend of mine working in shipping in Glasgow said that any major port built on the east coast would take 2 days of the transatlantic journey yet we have nothing of any note.We are always the tail “wagging the dog” is it as Joan Lamont said that we are genetically programmed to be subservient?,makes you wonder.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      A couple of misconceptions there John. First, geography tells us that the Forth is much closer to the continent than Clyde, so for ‘intra-Europe’ shortsea trade and passengers, is ideal, as history also informs us – and this has little if anything to do with transatlantic business. Second, the virtue of Scapa Flow for inter-continental (i.e. deep-sea) container trade is that the latter (as with many ex naval bases-now-transhipment-hubs) offers zero deviation time/cost savings for large ships already entering/leaving the North Sea Region via the Pentland Firth and these ships will in any event continue to also call at continental ‘gateway’ hubs – principally Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Rotterdam, and Antwerp. Essentially there is a cost saving for lines to tranship cargo in Scotland/Scapa Flow (i.e. for feedering/interlining to/from UK/Ire/Baltic, Scan ‘feeder markets’) as part of existing deep-sea liner port rotations – all we need do is build the damn thing, preferably via an industry concession agreement – which is how most island/transhipment hubs have been developed yet remaining state owned/regulated.

      See some of my published papers on these issues can be accessed as follows:
      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/palgrave.ijme.9100048 (The Economics of Container Transhipment in Northern Europe)
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692305000086 (Optimising the container transhipment hub location in northern Europe)
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692397000240 (A Scottish east coast European ferry service: review of the issues)

      However, as you imply, anyone with get up and go got up and left, and the chances of anything innovative happening in Scotland or happening properly are severely limited due in my view/experience to excessive public sector intransigence/incompetence. It is almost as if the ‘elite’ unionists still running ‘institutional Scotland’ want Scotland to appear to be a hopeless basket case.

      1. Garrett says:

        I agree with most of what you say but why then are Scotland subjected to third rate politicians in the SNP ? No names are required, as everyone is fully aware of who they are.

        Let us have ability in front of the camera and not the “thin gruel” we’re force fed.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          The issue is not entirely due to politicians though the latter nevertheless do tend to have a severe lack of industry knowledge or vision, though what can we really expect from mainly ex public & third sector, pr & media folk, and lawyers who make up the political classes today. Perhaps an even more serious impediment, in my opinion, is the supposed general ‘skillset’ of civil servants who one day are expected to function say in ‘education’, the next ‘transport’, and the next ‘economic development’ or ‘housing’ or ‘health’ etc. Specialists they are not which also raises questions on their ability to ascertain the best advice in a given area. My experience of working on transnational EU projects over the past few decades suggests civil servants on the continent to be much more expert in their field than our lot here. For instance, transport officials on the continent will generally have a Masters degree in transport, and this degree may in fact be quite specialised, such as an MSc (or PhD) in ‘Maritime Policy & Logistics’, the latter highly appropriate for public officials working in the ports sector. However, worth remembering that most major transport ‘utilities’ on the continent (e.g. railway, airports, seaports, canals etc) are still state-owned and administered, whereas here in the UK most of this infrastructure was sold off and is now owned (and regulated, in some cases) by offshore bankers – an outcome which in itself rather confirms our ‘officials’ are wanting. Essentially what I am saying is that our ‘generic’ civil servants here are not sufficiently skilled/specialised to effectively elaborate on, never mind deliver adequate policies in most areas, and this in part perhaps explains the rather frequent incidence of public sector cock-ups (e.g. PFI’s, Trams, Holyrood building cost, energy, econ-dev, named person, planning etc etc) as well as a lack of general progress in many areas of public responsibility/concern.

          1. John S Warren says:

            An interesting comment, if I may say. There is a reason Article 50 (Brexit negotiations) will not be invoked until 2017 that is perhaps not being sufficiently discussed. Whitehall does not have the resources (nor the expertise) to handle the task of Brexit. This is a problem that we may reasonably infer will be ‘fixed’ (i.e., not fixed) badly; Whitehall has ‘form’ in doing things very, very badly.

            At the same time Westminster not only faces serious problems through its own collapsing political authority and credibility that goes to heart of our system, and that the metropolitan media is working overtime, and a little too desperately trying, and failing, to disguise (for example, diverting the public eye toward a Downing Street/Treasury cat-fight among other endearingly irrelevant frivolities), but as the veil of Westminster authority inevitably and relentlessy falls, the lack of basic competence in Whitehall is revealed.

            The Brexit vote was the electorate’s way of telling Westminster something even more important than Brexit itself: the political Cartel that is Westminster has finally been ‘found out’. This is compounded by the executive, professional shortcomings of a Civil administration now to be exposed to public scrutiny over ‘Europe’ as never before in the next (n+1) years. Whatever you think ‘Brexit’ means, it isn’t Brexit; nobody knows what Brexit means, and least of all the Brexiteers in Government.

            The underlying problem, for a constitution and system as old, ill-repaired and decayed as Britain, is a concept known best to scientists but that applies to absolutely everything in the world – “entropy”; which is unavoidable. ‘Brentropy’ is looming.

  31. john young says:

    Thanks Alf as said we always seem to be playing catch up,for a country that throughout the centuries has provided brave/innovative/forceful individuals to the rest of the world why are we still dragging our feet is it our dour Presbetyrean reserved/cautious nature?Most countries strive to better themselves yet we have a whole raft of “moaning minnies” who seem to accept second best.My nephew was on a government panel looking into the “Pentland Firth” potential,there was agreement that this could be huge and also provide jobs good sustainable jobs,that was 3/4 yrs ago,seems to have stalled.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      John, as it happens I worked/advised on the Scapa Flow container terminal project between 2002-2008 by which point ‘we’ (i.e. port authority) were negotiating with an international port operator who wanted to lease and operate the new transhipment port there. However, all of a sudden smart suited characters appeared on the scene speculating ‘the future’ was to be ‘marine renewables’, pushed through sea-bed ‘leases’ from the Crown Estate and with Ministers at Holyrood promptly dropping the container port and putting £50m into ‘testing’ wave energy. We promptly lost the container ‘port’ to that wave energy testing operation. The latter went bust last year. Personally I blame Fergus Ewing, who bought a large pup, which turned into a ‘dog’, that is now fully owned by HIE (i.e. Joe Public) since nobody else wants it. Hence my description of “public sector intransigence/incompetence”.

  32. john young says:

    Yes Alf where are the the innovators when you need them.I agree with you that,the civil servants/politicians are nothing but a hinderance.

  33. George Gunn says:

    Even though Harry writes like a fish playing a saxophone he makes strong points as the comments above show. We need colour in our conversations about the future, no matter how tangential they are sometimes put. The transition from a colony to an independent country may mirror Harry’s prose style in as much as it will be far from straight forward. My feeling is that every day more Scots are coming around to this reality. My instinct tells me the future is in poetry, not prose.

    1. Harry Alffa (@HarryAlffa) says:

      That’s poetic prose you’ve written.
      Hopefully it’s a layout problem which gives you a floundering impression of my off-key tooting!
      Try the original format here: http://bailoutswindle.com/mairIndependence.html


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