Oil, energy and fuel poverty (Neil Sutherland)

Much blame has been thrown on the SNP recently regarding the oil price falling and what a disaster it would have been if we had gone it alone.

However, the SNP is definitely not responsible for the price falling. That is all OPEC’s desperate attempt to hold on to market share now that the USA is dumping its fracked oil onto the world market.

This would have happened if we had been independent or not. Things like this have happened before and will happen again but the overall price of oil in the long run is up. It is a finite resource that will run out eventually and, therefore, prices will rise again.

Scotland has, since 1920, been paying far more into the Westminster purse than it got back, more per head regards GDP and that was before oil was discovered. Oil is just icing on a very rich cake.

What is far more alarming than the oil price dropping is that despite four years of austerity, the Westminster-controlled UK debt has grown by £97 billion last year alone and now stands at £1,457 trillion.

We would have been better to cut our losses and run in 2014, taking nine per cent of a much smaller debt than wait to see how much bigger our nine per cent is when interest rates start growing which I predict will happen now our oil is no longer covering the minimum payment.

We can’t control what Westminster uses our joint credit card for and we don’t even have a card of our own. So, we will end up paying for luxuries Westminster wants: fast trains that don’t go to Scotland, new London sewers and new Tridents when we all know we can’t afford them.

It has been said that the SNP’s energy policy is the reason why food banks exist in Scotland. That makes absolutely no sense at all. If it was the case, then why are there food banks in the rest of the UK?

Neil Sutherland
2 Guddataing,


Add Your Comment
  • Derick Tulloch

    • January 5th, 2015 11:43

    I would add two points to Neil Sutherland’s exellent letter.

    1 Scottish national income – GDP per capita WITHOUT oil is the same as the UK’s. Every drop of oil, at whatever price it is sold at, is a bonus. This was pointed out by the Financial Times this time last year. https://archive.today/vcQ78

    2 Scotland contributed more to the UK than was returned long before Oil.
    These are the figures for 1900–1921
    Year / Revenue from Scotland/ Expenditure in Scotland Contribution to Imperial Services/% Spent in Scotland/ % Spent Outside Scotland
    1900 £16,859,000 £4,973,000 £11,886,000 29% 71%
    1901 £18,135,000 £4,925,000 £13,210,000 27% 73%
    1902 £19,587,000 £5,059,000 £14,528,000 26% 74%
    1903 £20,311,000 £5,145,000 £15,166,000 25% 75%
    1904 £18,550,000 £5,377,000 £13,173,000 29% 71%
    1905 £18,808,500 £5,664,500 £13,144,000 30% 70%
    1906 £18,877,000 £5,699,500 £13,177,500 30% 70%
    1907 £18,811,000 £5,962,500 £12,848,500 32% 68%
    1908 £18,847,500 £6,300,500 £12,547,000 33% 67%
    1909 £13,527,500 £6,654,000 £9,383,500 49% 69%
    1910 £16,196,000 £7,450,500 £6,687,500 46% 41%
    1911 £22,321,000 £7,927,000 £12,033,000 36% 54%
    1912 £20,900,000 £8,311,500 £10,331,500 40% 49%
    1913 £20,900,000 £8,311,500 £10,331,500 40% 49%
    1914 £23,488,500 £10,105,000 £11,204,500 43% 48%
    1915 £25,962,000 £10,178,000 £14,564,000 39% 56%
    1916 £25,962,000 £10,178,000 £14,564,000 39% 56%
    1917 £58,600,000 £9,763,500 £52,214,500 17% 89%
    1918 £58,600,000 £9,763,500 £52,214,500 17% 89%
    1919 £92,307,500 £19,527,500 £77,794,000 21% 84%
    1920 £113,525,000 £28,990,500 £84,496,500 26% 74%
    1921 £120,386,000 £33,096,000 £86,657,000 27% 72%

    Even before that, we know from a parliamentary question that Scotland was subsidizing the UK during the 1880s and 1890s to the tune of £4bn per year at today’s prices.

    In 1952/53 £410,000,000 was raised in taxes from Scotland but only £207,000,000 was spent here.

    In 1965 the Kirk’s Church and Nation Committee noted that “A yearly drain from Scotland of between 20% and 25% of the total revenue raised in the country could scarcely have failed to have some influence on the level of Scottish unemployment, double that of England, and also on the continuous stream of Scottish emigration. During the last 13 years 345,000 people had left Scotland”.

    The GERS report was instituted in the 1990s by the Tories in order to ‘prove’ that Scotland is subsidized – but has in fact proven the exact opposite.

    Just since 1980 the cost to Scotland of being part of the UK has been a cumulative £150billion. One hundred and fifty thousand million pounds. http://www.cuthbert1.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/papers%201/cumulative%20fiscal%20balance%20note%205%205%202014.doc For comparison the new Forth Road Bridge – one of the largest engineering projects on site in Europe at this time – will cost £1.45bn. We could have afforded a hundred such bridges from the subsidy we have sent south.

    The unionist parties talk of ‘pooling and sharing’. My difficult with this is it always seems to be one way.

    • Ali Inkster

      • January 5th, 2015 14:24

      And Shetland has been subsidizing Scotland since 1469 and the UK since 1707. Why should we share with the scots when they are not willing to share with the English?

      • Derick Tulloch

        • January 5th, 2015 15:19


        Incorrect, because we ARE the Scots, so we can’t subsidize ourselves

      • Ali Inkster

        • January 5th, 2015 20:37

        You may call yourself scots Derick but that does not make it true. I read all your arguments before on what you think makes Shetland scots but those very arguments would mean that scotland is no longer and there is only Great Britain. So you may call yourself a scot but I would not.

  • Colin Hunter

    • January 5th, 2015 12:26

    Couldn’t have put it better myself! Carmichael can criticise all he likes, but it’s highly likely that him and those other numpties in Westminster were no better informed. I can remember being given a speech by the then Sullom Voe Manager, Gordon Grant I believe, asking us (the Sullom Voe tugmen) all to tighten our belts when the price of Brent fell to a low of $14 a barrel in the ’90s. It seemed no time later that they were talking of boom times again with the Magnus EOR programme. I found an article written at that time on the BBC Website, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1397176.stm and it is amusing to note that one paragraph states “It is unlikely Shetland will ever see another invasion on the scale of that in the late 1970s, when 7,000 workers arrived to build Sullom Voe, then the world’s largest construction project.”
    Yeah! Right!

  • iantinkler

    • January 5th, 2015 16:25

    Will this winge ever end. Amazing how the 45% can moan so much!! The oil is British, the 55% decided on that, in wee Alex’s words, “for a generation”, now Nats just get over it. The sovereign will of the Scotish people has decided the issue.

    • Bill Adams

      • January 5th, 2015 19:33

      Ian, the bulk of the oil in the North Sea is in Scottish waters as demarcated by the
      Continental Shelf (Jurisdictional) Order 1968 as laid before Parliament.
      Of course we then had Jim Callaghan’s infamous sleight of hand in 1977, namely
      the creation of an entirely new planning region in the United Kingdom :-
      the UK Continental Shelf to which all oil & gas revenues are credited.
      I always said never play cards with Jim, he dealt off the bottom of the pack.

  • Douglas Young

    • January 5th, 2015 18:28

    Excellent letter and very pleased to see the number of younger and female voters joining the Shetland Branch of the SNP has swollen numbers by over 500% since the referendum.

    People are looking to the future with hope and many of the new members were previously Labour and Lib Dem supporters.

    Many No voters have now realised the promises of more powers are not going to be delivered so the 45% is now somewhere around 52%.

    Not that this matters as the referendum is long gone and forgotten about by most Yes supporters.

    • Ali Inkster

      • January 6th, 2015 10:11

      Where do you get your figures Douglas? I mind you telling us before the referendum that it was 80% that wanted an independent Scotland.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • January 6th, 2015 16:41

      Douglas Young says “not that this matters as the referendum is long gone and forgotten about by most Yes supporters”. It is strange that I have just found this recent post on the Yes Shetland Facebook page where Douglas is an administrator.

      “As many of you know the Scottish bid for independence was defeated at the polls in September. Many feel a combination of misuse of the media, fear mongering and mis-counting at the polls is what led to the defeat. I recommend you watch ‘ How Scottish Independence Was Stolen‘ to learn more. The SNP is still in power and has a bigger following than it’s ever had before and is refusing to accept defeat in the fight for independence. With online movements popping up all over the internet and Facebook it seems momentum is still strong with the ‘YES’ movement. Here is a Facebook page worth checking out ‘ YES Scotland Independent Media”.

      If the above is forgetting about the result of the referendum I am a Dutchman. Once again I think we should all take a large pinch of salt with whatever Douglas Young says. This is just more of the same chip on the shoulder politics most nationalists come away with.

  • David Spence

    • January 6th, 2015 7:19

    ‘ Incorrect, because we ARE the Scots ‘

    Legally and historically speaking, that is yet to be proven that Scotland has Sovereign Rights over these islands. Scotland invaded and enforced its will on the islands after the marriage of Princess Margaret of Denmark to James III of Scotland.

    The people of Shetland, just like now, have been brought up to accept Scotland as the country which controls these islands, but if I were to ask Nicola Sturgeon ‘ Please give me 100% documented proof Scotland has sovereign Rights and Rule over the Shetland and Orkney Islands ‘ She could not, because none exists………even the document shown to the Crown by the archivist Brian Smith against Stuart Hill is not in any way documented proof that Scotland has rule and control over these islands.

    The game the Crown played against Stuart Hill was ‘ Ignorance is Bliss ‘ and as long as this game is played, especially in light of Shetlands economic interest, then the issue of ownership will never be answered or Scotland and the Crown will remain silent.

    As well as this though, Shetlander’s prefer the easy life, so there will be no uprising by any Shetlander’s due to this ‘ I do not want to rock the boat ‘ ‘ Its just the way things are ‘ mentality………..despite bragging of our Scandinavian heritage, Up Helly Aa and alike…………Scotland says ‘ Jump ‘ Shetlander’s say ‘ How High ‘ that sums up how ineffective the Shetland people are in addressing this issue.

    • Derick Tulloch

      • January 6th, 2015 11:37


      History is, on the whole, bunk. What happened in 1468 is as relevant as what happened in AD42. Not very.

      The reason that British Nationalists focus so obsessively on the ‘Norse’ period is precisely because it is the one time in all of Shetland’s long history that we were less directly associated with the landmass to the south.

      If we are to talk of ancient history, why not choose the Pictish period? Insse Catt. The fact that Shetland, along with Orkney, Caithness, Argyll, the Western Isles and Man were temporarily thieved by hairy foreigners is neither here nor there.

      By contrast, what happened in 1707 remains relevant because the Union was not ‘incorporating’. Scotland, including her constituent parts one of which is Shetland, was not ‘extinguished’. Law, education to name but two aspects remained separate. Health Services, when they developed, were and are independent.

      Gordon Harmer correctly notes that ‘identifiable’ public expenditure in Scotland is higher. But he forgets to notice, firstly, that a huge swathe of public spending is not ‘identifiable’ and forms a huge hidden subsidy to mostly southern England. For example: Scotland contributes £3.2 billion a year to the UK ‘defence’ budget. But we get back just £1.7bn. A subsidy of £1.5 billion each and every year from Scotland to the rUK.

      Much infrastructure spending in England is categorised as ‘national’ and paid for from ‘UK funds’. Which Scotland pays just above our population share of. But infrastructure spending in Scotland is ‘local’ so UK funds pay zero percent of that. Scotland paid just under 9% of the cost of the Olympics. The UK paid zero percent of the Commonwealth Games.

      And secondly, as above Scotland’s tax income per head is higher. We more than pay for the higher public spending per head, and always have done.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • January 6th, 2015 14:36

        Derick, in the UK the top 1% of Income Tax payers were responsible for 13.9% of declared income before tax. Conversely, the same group paid some 26.5% of the money taken by HMRC in Income Tax. London generates approximately 22 per cent of the UK’s GDP; I have not heard either of the two groups above winge that their contributions are not fair and they should break away from the rest of the UK. But I have heard 1.6 million Separatists out of this countries 65 Million inhabitants winge and complain so much so that my ears are bleeding. You separatist go on about social justice, fairness and equality; well part of those three teachings involves giving and sharing not taking, dividing and excluding. Its time you really looked hard at what you stand for because none of it adds up to what you preach. Chip on the shoulder politics are lazy and I am afraid say so much about the people who bleat that message.

      • Derick Tulloch

        • January 7th, 2015 9:53


        Surely ‘sharing’ would involve money flowing in both directions?

        The problem with the United Kingdom is that the ‘sharing’ only works one way – from Scotland to rUK – and has done so every time the books have been looked at in the last 120 years.

        Secondly, the facts show that Scottish votes have no influence on how that money, extracted from Scotland, is spent. House of Commons research shows that between 2001 and 2014 precisely 0.6% of votes would have been different had there been no Scottish MPs whatsoever. Taxation without representation. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN07048/england-scotland-wales-mps-voting-in-the-house-of-commons

        That’s not sharing. That’s exploitation.

        Fairness and equality is not an optional extra. It is a basic tenet of a decent society – and as the OECD pointed out a basic requirement for economic prosperity. The UK is an economic basket case, compared to all our neighbours.

        Take the unfortunate pensioner in, say, Brae. Typing away in a foam. The poor soul gets the lowest state pension of any industrial nation – half the OECD average. Should he have a private pension it will be yeilding half the return, for the same investment, that a pensioner in Holland would get. No wonder he’s angry!

        And, sadly, the suffering of Mr Angry of Brae will be short, given that the excess winter death rate in the UK is TWICE that in Norway, and a quarter higher than in Sweden. It’s actually tragic that so many pensioners voted for a United Kingdom that no longer exists, if it ever did. http://www.energybillrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ACE-Research-Comparing-the-UK-and-Sweden-3.12.13.pdf

      • Gordon Harmer

        • January 7th, 2015 14:13

        Derick you are at it again, cherry picking the good bits from other countries. The same pensioner if he lived in Norway would have to pay around £25 for every visit to the doctor even though his hospital treatment is free at source. He would have to pay 5 to 10% more VAT on everything he bought etc etc so he would be unhappy where ever he lived with some part of his life.

        The thing is like all of us older folk we get on with life and are grateful for what we have and are less likely to winge about trivial stuff because we know the grass in not always greener on the other side. The arguments you lot put up for independence were so vague, uncosted, untrue, and full of fantasy that you were told where to get off. Not only that but you were up against what you called a negative campaign that was poorly organised, less vocal, run from Westminster and to top it all this went on with a Tory government in power and you still lost. That more than puts into perspective what kind of campaign you fought and are still fighting and believe me to no avail.

        So you are saying the UK is not a decent society, well we are part of that society and have been for hundreds of years. I have lived man and boy in some 20 different towns and villages from Poole in Dorset to Gutcher in Yell and there is no difference as far as decent society goes in any of them. The worst experience I have ever had as far as decency goes was in Aberdeen where I was racially abused because I was taken to be English and it happened more than once. I have been racially abused online during the referendum campaign so please do not tell me Scotland would be or is better than the rest of the UK as far as living in a decent society is concerned.

      • Derick Tulloch

        • January 8th, 2015 9:53


        I don’t need to ‘cherry pick’. Looking at the international datasets, produced by organisations such as the OECD and UN, it is very difficult to find any field where the UK does better than our neighbours. The slogan ‘UKOK’ is a partial truth. The UK is ‘OK’, but pretty mediocre compared to our neighbours. We may be ‘Better Together’ but that begs the question ‘Better than who, or what’

        UN Human Development Index, 2014 rankings
        UK 14th
        Norway 1st, Australia 2nd, Switzerland 3rd, Netherlands 4th, New Zealand 7th, Ireland 11th, Sweden 12th, Iceland 13th

        World Press Freedom Index, 2104 rankings
        UK 33rd from top
        Finland 1st, Norway 3rd, Denmark 7th, Estonia 11th, Czech Republic 13th, Namibia 22nd, Uraguay 26th, Ghana 27th

      • Gordon Harmer

        • January 8th, 2015 14:24

        You might not need to cherry pick Derick but you do and that is my point, none of your arguments are valid; you can’t realistically call your winges argument. Your comments main content consist of a them and us chip on the shoulder politics. Going back to what I said before all you claim to stand for concerning decency and fairness etc counts for nothing and is canceled out by your constant we give more than we get philosophy.

        All of your arguments on this vein have been disproved in the past and, so much so that those arguments lost you the referendum. There are parts of Britain that give more than Scotland yet you refuse to comment on that because as well as being the truth you know these people do not winge about it, they just get on with life in the full knowledge that not all in life is fair. There was and will be a day when givers become recipients of others giving, that is the way life goes, but you want to cancel that out and become a taker and your aim is to build a nation of takers and to the determent of others who have given more than you can or ever will.

        Having said all that please feel free to continue publishing your thoughts and philosophies on why we should split from our families and friends south of the border because it magnifies what nationalists are really about and I want as many folk to see that as possible.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • January 11th, 2015 12:42

        Nationalists need to stop claiming Scotland funds “Westminster” (aka England, Wales and NI). Here are the facts – last year Scotland contributed 9.1% towards the UK and got 9.3% back (in monetary terms that’s £53bn in and £65bn back), figures compiled by GERS 2013-14. This is pretty much the way things have been for some time. Scottish nationalists need to stop inventing and believing their own propaganda and start doing their own research, properly.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • January 17th, 2015 16:53

        I have just had a warm fuzzy glow all over while driving by the local nationalist’s house and seeing his giant Yes flag torn to ribbons by last weeks bad weather. (I heard the wind reached more than 55 mph).

    • Brian Smith

      • January 6th, 2015 21:42

      What is this document I showed the Crown?

  • Gordon Harmer

    • January 6th, 2015 8:36

    Looking at the headline figures, public expenditure per capita in Scotland is higher than the UK average. In 2013, Scotland’s public spending per head was £12,300 and for the UK it was £11,000. Figures are there to be massaged but the truth cannot be denied, and another truth is that post referendum reaction from the nationalists has been somewhat eyeopening. Like Ian says “will this winge ever end” we had a clear result in September but the nationalists remain in complete denial. We have a constant barrage of SNP nationalist spin and any reference to the SNP leaders statement on no more referendum for a generation is brushed under the carpet. It is getting tiresome that the same old rhetoric is appearing in these columns ad nauseam. It reminds me of George Orwell’s remarks regarding patriotism being the love of one’s country and nationalism being the hatred of others. Divide and conquer seems to be the appropriate motto for the SNP and their nationalist followers, even though by doing so they are also dividing the Scottish people.

  • Iantinkler

    • January 6th, 2015 10:03

    Bill Adams, the oil fields are not in Scottish waters nor the property of the Scots, They waters concerned are UK (British) waters . Scotland is part of the UK. The people of Scotland have just voted and demonstrated (the democratic majority) they wish to be part of the UK. As I previously stated, however the Nats proclaim black is white and vice-versa, the absolute fact is Scotland just voted to stay within the UK. Now quite your moaning and come to terms with that fact. If you can believe anything wee Alex stated, that issue is now settled for a generation.

    • Bill Adams

      • January 7th, 2015 16:11

      Ian, what you totally fail to grasp due to your Union Jack blinkers is that despite the UK being one
      sovereign state it comprises two distinct geographically separate jurisdictions and has done so since 1707.
      Scots law north of the Border and English law south of the Border.
      The Continental Shelf (Jurisdictional) Order 1968 extended this jurisdiction to the UK Continental Shelf
      in the North Sea, subdividing it along the parallel 55 degrees 50 minutes North into Scottish and English
      areas where Scots law and English law apply respectively.
      For example,
      In the event of a fatal accident occurring on an offshore installation, Police Scotland would submit a report to the Procurator Fiscal, whereas if the incident took place south of the demarcation line then an inquest would be held in a Coroner’s Court.
      This Order also of course acknowledged Scottish marine jurisdiction north of this line of latitude for the
      Scottish Fisheries vessels.
      However in yet another Westminster sleight of hand, the fisheries boundary was sneakily adjusted by
      the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999.

      • Steven Jarmson

        • January 9th, 2015 19:56

        Well, surely then Shetland is a different jurisdiction from other areas as we have different by-laws even though we are part of the same country as Glasgow or Dumfries.

        I suppose you think the USA is 50 different countries, Australia is, Spain is around 50.
        Each of these places have different regional laws set in the context of a national government taking central control of many aspects of life.

        When Britain took control of the French Territories in Canada they administered Canada as one for many years but protected the French areas and allowed them to keep their own cultural and legal systems within one state.
        They on separated Canada into two once the (in your eyes) 13 countries of the USA seceded.

        How does having different laws mean we’re different countries??

        You have to remember, the highest court in any part of the UK is the UK supreme court. It used to be the UK house of Lords.

  • John Tulloch

    • January 6th, 2015 10:50

    The SNP outbid Westminster in the “Green Capital” auction of 2008/9 when they passed the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, 2009. They made it law that Scotland will reduce her carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent.

    That statutory target cannot be achieved without raising energy prices because fossil fuel energy is between half and one third the price of renewable energy. Now that the oil and gas prices are tumbling – down to $50/barrel, yesterday, fossil fuel energy will become cheaper still, effectively, making renewable energy even more expensive by comparison.

    Utilities are forced by law to buy the expensive renewable energy and pass on the cost to bill payers, thus raising raising the cost of heating our homes and leading,moire toy, to an increasing number of people falling into “fuel poverty”.

    So for the SNP to blame Westminster for increasing levels of fuel poverty is “humbug” because their own energy policies require higher energy prices and hence, ever greater numbers of people falling into “fuel poverty”.

    I’m sorry, guys, there’s no escape hatch, so either, change your energy policy, or admit that the SNP are supporting increasing levels of fuel poverty.

    • John Tulloch

      • January 6th, 2015 10:52

      Spell-check has excelled itself, this time – “directly” has become “moire troy”!

  • joe johnson

    • January 6th, 2015 13:10

    What are you talking about Douglas young? The extra powers for the Scottish parliament are being delivered. Of course the yes voters will never be satisfied no matter what. It was made clear before the Edinburgh agreement that there will be no devo max, it was either you’re in or you’re out. Also it would be unfair to Northern Ireland, Wales and England if Scotland got devo max. The majority voted no. Get over it

  • Gareth Fair

    • January 6th, 2015 14:10

    Back in Feb 2014 Danny Alexander, Treasury chief secretary, announced that Scotland will, from next year, be able to issue bonds while borrowing up to £2.2bn for capital spending.
    Interest rate costs expected to be between 35 and 130 basis points higher than UK Gilts.


    Under independence if Scotland were to have entered into a currency union all spending and taxation would have to be agreed with Westminster but Scotland would have no MP’s in Westminster.

    In terms of finances, you are assuming that Scotland would remain better off and nothing else changes.
    You can just leave the UK and all the benefits that being part of the UK would remain.

    The immediate effect would be Banks moving their Tax offices To the UK, this is because there needs to be a ‘Lender of last resort’ in order for banks to borrow money. In a currency union this is the Bank of England.

    Realistically this would be a ‘messy divorce’ and the break away costs substantial.

    All the activities of government would need to be split or duplicated.
    Attorney Generals Office, Cabinet Office, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for Communities and Local Government,Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Education,Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department for International Development, Department for Transport, Department for Work and Pension, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Department of Health, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Treasury, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, UK Export Finance, Competition and Markets Authority, Crown Prosecution Service, Food Standards Agency, Forestry Commission, Government Actuary’s Department, Land Registry, Revenue and Custom, National Crime Agency, National Savings and Investment, Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skill, Office of Gas and Electricity Market, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, Office of Rail Regulation, Ordnance Survey, Serious Fraud Office, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, The National Archives, Treasury Solicitor’s Department, UK Statistics Authority, UK Trade & Investment, Water Services Regulation Authority etc.
    While some of these exist independently in Scotland many do not.

    Cooperation within hospitals and police forces, which bring massive benefits, would be more complicated. Many of the hospitals pioneering new treatments and trailing drugs that currently benefit patients in Scotland are based outside Scotland

    As even the Scotish Government / SNP figures based on a population split of national debt (with highly optimistic predictions for oil tax revenue and growth) predicted an increased debt per capita relative to the rest of the UK in the short term.
    Borrowing would be required. The rates for such borrowing are effectively based on market confidence, there would be less market confidence in an Independent Scotland, so you have more borrowing than the rest of the UK per capita at a higher rate.

    The only way Scotland could have a true independence is to have a Scottish currency.
    However this brings its own problems.
    It introduces exchange rate fluctuation issues into bond buying which would effectively increase borrowing costs.
    70% of Scottish exports are to the rest of UK, this causes additional costs to business via currency conversions, futures contracts etc.

    EU membership for an independent Scotland would also have been far from straight forward.
    It was generally agreed the UK would continue as a member state but Scotland would have to re apply and constitutional changes would have to be made.
    Whilst it is likely transitional measures would be put in place to minimise the disruption it is unlikely an independent Scotland would be allowed to retain the UK rebate negotiated by Mrs Thatcher or opt out of the euro.

    In the Euro Scotland would have a shared monetary policy with the rest of The Euro zone. A policy that would be shared with many nations that have less in common with Scotland than the UK does. Being a small country Scotland would have less influence on policy.

    I leaving the EU may bring some positives but it does mean import duties levied by the rest of Europe (including the rest of the UK) which would damage business and investment.

    • Derick Tulloch

      • January 7th, 2015 10:18

      Oh dear

      Mr Fair needs to move on from the referendum. Much of the farrago of nonsense above does not apply to the current situation where we are considering Devomax, as promised by the No campaign, rather than immediate Independence.

      Scotland already controls almost all the functions in the list of UK departments given. The UK doesn’t need quite a few of them! Why would we want to replicate the ‘UK Supreme Court’ when we already have the Court of Session. Why would we need an Education department when we already have one. Or a Land Registry, when we already have one. Etc.

      Helpfully, Professor Dunleavy and his team at LSE have analysed what would be needed in the event of Independence. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/57708/1/Transitioning-to-a-new-Scottish-state-PD-ebook.pdf

      The set up costs identified (£200m) would have been covered by about three weeks worth of the subsidy Scotland sends south every year.

      Before the referendum we were told the banks would leave if there was a Yes vote. There was a No vote. Lloyds/BoS promptly cut 9,000 jobs and the Clydesdale Bank’s owners said they were quitting the UK.

      A Central Bank is not needed for banks to lend money. Indeed states with no Central Bank seem to have more stable banking systems than those with them – because the banks know they can’t pass their gambling debts on to the taxpayer.

      • Gareth Fair

        • January 7th, 2015 19:07

        Oh dear
        Mr Tulloch needs to actually read what is being written.
        If you actually read just the executive summary of the LSE article you use as a source, it doesn’t predict the set up costs are £200m.
        It says they are £200m to duplicate the missing government activities in the short term and this depends on being able to set up contracts with London to handle back office systems. It mentions even if this was possible these would need to be replaced at a cost of several hundred million pounds later.
        If you know anything about IT and especially Government procured IT projects you would understand what a problem this is.
        The main paper discusses the 206 departments, agencies and bodies that the UK government says currently handle Scotland matters. So to say Scotland already controls almost all of the activities of government is simply not true.

        I agree with you about a bank not needing a lender of last resort to lend money.
        If you read what I wrote you will note the word ‘borrow’. A lender of last resort is to do with liquidity. It is debatable it is there to bail out insolvent banks. Indeed the B of E did not bail out banks the Government did.
        I can find Panama, Ecuador and El Salvador as countries that don’t have a lender of last resort. Their banks have become accustomed to holding very large levels of liquidity. If you are happy to trust your savings to one of our banks with no central bank oversight and no lender of last resort then you are braver than me.

        Perhaps you might want to look at your own comments before accusing others of writing a ‘farrago of nonsense’.

      • Derick Tulloch

        • January 8th, 2015 9:42


        tut tut. Partial quotes. Dunleavy notes costs, but also potential for savings. It would hardly be difficult to be more efficient than the UK’s cumbersome and outdated administrative structures, IT procurement being a good examplar!

        “In the medium term (by 2018 to 2021) Scotland would need to build its own, new IT systems to allow policy control to be fully exercised from Edinburgh, in each of these areas. These tasks would certainly cost several hundred million pounds, but they would also be investments in modern systems, and not just “set up” costs. Significant policy savings may also accrue, and offset some of this burden.

        A key influence on Scotland’s costs would be the conduct of negotiations between Scottish ministers and the remaining UK (rUK) government. A hostile approach by London ministers would force rapid changes and greatly add to Scotland’s costs. A more careful, phased approach would make these costs a lot less.

        Every transition to a new state has some uncertainty and a degree of risk. But there are no bases for extreme anxiety about an independence transition in Scotland. The Scottish government’s record in public management is a good one, its published plans for transition are relatively specific and reasonable, and the long-run viability of a Scottish state looks strong”

        For anyone who is interested, this is the Scottish Government’s Directorate structure http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/People/Directorates

      • Gareth Fair

        • January 8th, 2015 20:12

        Partial quotes…..yes very funny.
        Seriously though, we are talking about set up costs not potential efficiency savings that may or may not be achievable down the road.
        Changing one system to two systems that do effectively the same job isn’t an efficiency saving.
        You just have less tax payers in each country to cover the costs.
        New systems may do more but the newer architecture can use a lot of servers and these are not cheaper to maintain.

      • John Tulloch

        • January 9th, 2015 17:43

        Derick Tulloch writes above:

        “It would hardly be difficult to be more efficient than the UK’s cumbersome and outdated administrative structures, IT procurement being a good examplar!”

        How about this alternative:

        “It would be difficult to be LESS efficient than

        1. The building of the Scottish Parliament.”?

      • Steven Jarmson

        • January 9th, 2015 20:31

        Derrick, you say the Scottish Governments record in public management “is a good one.”
        The SNP gave Edinburgh a blank check to build its farcical tram system.
        What has that cost?
        Around £1bn, for a tram network that runs around 20 miles (that’s being generous!!)
        Yes, Edinburgh council has had to fund around 1/5 of that, so we’re facing severe cuts across Shetland and Scotland, blamed on the UK, but the SNP can happily blow £800m.

        Salmonds ego trip is over, whatever numbers the SNP get at elections, as members, you’ll still get a resounding “no” when it comes to seperation.
        And yes, if I lost a race by 10% I would take that as a resounding loss.

      • David Harper

        • January 9th, 2015 21:59

        Steven Jarmson, if you want to blame the SNP for something you’d better check they actually did it.
        The SNP weren’t responsible for the Edinburgh trams, the trams were approved before the SNP came to power, in their manifesto for the 2007 election the SNP made clear it’s intention to scrap the scheme but once in power the minority government lost the vote in the Scottish parliament so they agreed to continue the project from the airport to Leith on the condition that no more public money would be supplied.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • January 10th, 2015 6:34

        The Scottish governments record in public management is deplorable as the Scottish government is unprepared for new tax powers coming into force next April, with the potential for chaos as payments take longer to process and costs escalate, according to an independent report published recently.

        In a strongly worded report, Audit Scotland warned that delays in hiring staff and setting up an IT system “increased the risk that new taxes for Scotland will not be effectively managed”.

        The new tax powers include the “land and buildings transaction tax”, replacing stamp duty, and the power to set a Scottish rate of income tax from April 2016. The Scottish government’s estimated set-up costs for collection of the devolved taxes has already gone up to £4.3million, £1.1million more than planned.

        This is just one small department and the cost of setting it up has risen by £1.1 million, just imagine what the cost of setting up all the government departments in an independent Scotland would have been. The laughable £200 million the SNP claimed would be the cost would soon escalate if the cost of raising a couple of taxes has gone so far through the roof. £2 billion would have been a more realistic figure; just another assertion from the referendum campaign proved wrong. How many is that now?

      • Steven Jarmson

        • February 9th, 2015 13:27

        Devo max was explicitly NOT offered in the week before the referendum.
        All the parties who signed the vow stated its not devo max, its simply more powers.
        Yet more nationalist lies.

    • David Harper

      • January 10th, 2015 14:34

      The Scottish governments performance may be deplorable but let’s stick to blaming them for thing they are responsible for, what is interesting about the set up costs of Revenue Scotland is that it’s still worked out cheaper than HMRC was going to charge to provide the service on the Scottish governments behalf.

      Not sure about your figures but the quote estimated for Revenue Scotland was £16.7 million, and the final set up costs were £21.2 million, HMRC quoted 22.3 million but HMRCs quote was only valid as long as Scotland’s taxes ran identical to the rest of the UK, and as they have already deviated HMRCs quote would increase further, it would also be subject to roughly the same £5.6 increase seen in the Scottish governments costs as these cost were incurred due to changes in what was expected of Revenue Scotland.

      Figures I got were between time stamps 11.30 and 11.45

      • Gordon Harmer

        • January 10th, 2015 22:12

        So what is your point David, what you have quoted is not happening, what I quoted is happening and it is late and over budget. This is a political party who say they can run Scotland better than Westminster, so show me when, how, and where.

        There are claims that health and education are better looked after by the SNP. Our very own SNP, whose Scottish ministers have been accused of trying to cover up the crisis facing Scotland’s accident and emergency departments. A leaked email from Robert Williams, who works for the Scottish Government’s health department, pressing for a letter to be sent to all NHS boards advising them to stop providing journalists with information about their problems. It was sent as a series of health boards confirmed they have been forced to postpone operations amid reports of A&E departments around the country being overwhelmed.

        Then after another round of self-congratulatory high-fives among the Scottish Executive for another party’s policy of funding “free school meals” and claiming it as their own. The EIS has stated for the record that, yet again, power that already is devolved to the Scottish Executive is not being used. The SNP’s “commitment” to maintain teacher numbers and lower class sizes has of not been met. The EIS have written to the SNP’s ‘man with the calculator’ John Swinney, to ask why “no mention was made of funding these two long-standing policy commitments”.

        And then SNP blame Westminster for not having enough money to spend on our needy (and other problems) while low and behold the SNP have an under spend of £444million.

      • David Harper

        • January 11th, 2015 13:20

        In what sense is what I quoted not happening? The report I have linked to is the official report by the Finance Committee on 26 November 2014. The report covers everything from projected set up costs, to actual set up costs to current staffing levels of Revenue Scotland.

      • David Harper

        • January 11th, 2015 13:32

        I have no interest in getting into a argument over the SNP, I hold them in the same contempt I hold Labour and the Conservative parties, I initially replied to Steven blaming the SNP for the trams. I just happened to reply to your point as I felt it was worth mentioning some more relevant information on the set up of Revenue Scotland.
        I will leave it there as I feel I know any reply I give will be met with another variation of the “SNP bad” mantra.

  • Ali Inkster

    • January 7th, 2015 13:10

    Your quoting the LSE the university that could not even account for a huge number of overseas students registered with it. A university more akin to political agitation than education. I don’t think I will take their or your advice Derick. But then again I’m just the descendant of hairy immigrants so what would I know.

    • Derick Tulloch

      • January 7th, 2015 16:20

      “In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, the LSE had the highest percentage of world leading research of any university in the UK and topped or came close to the top of a number of other rankings of research excellence. LSE came top in the rankings for Economics, Law, Social Policy and European Studies.”


      • Ali Inkster

        • January 7th, 2015 21:50

        When they say they have 30 students for a subject or course then it turns out only two ever turned up for their lessons or sat exams, and they still claim the course to be a success forgive me if I take the rest of their backslapping like your own assertions with a large pinch of salt.

      • Gareth Fair

        • January 8th, 2015 9:05

        I can think of one person who would have benefited from studying there.

  • John Tulloch

    • January 7th, 2015 14:39

    From the above article:

    “Much blame has been thrown on the SNP recently regarding the oil price falling and what a disaster it would have been if we had gone it alone.

    However, the SNP is definitely not responsible for the price falling. That is all OPEC’s desperate attempt to hold on to market share now that the USA is dumping its fracked oil onto the world.”

    What utter poppycock!

    Now we´re aggrieved because the Americans won´t manipulate the oil market to protect the SNP´s interests?

  • Hugh Jamieson

    • January 8th, 2015 9:29

    I blame the TOONIES who aligned themselves with the S.N.P. in order to persecute everyone who live in the country.

  • Steven Jarmson

    • January 9th, 2015 20:40

    Who’s blaming the SNP for the low oil price?
    What is being said is explain what your plan B was going to be.
    But, like all things SNP, there’s no plan B. Just ignore the problem and change the subject in the hope people will forget.
    Make up some lie about what was going to be and claim 45% is a majority.
    Call everyone else a liar in the hope their lies will be missed.
    Just like SALMONd’s pre-referendum statements saying this is a once in a generation vote then when he lost hoped no one would remember.

  • iantinkler

    • January 10th, 2015 20:07

    The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in social sciences. Please understand, nothing whatsoever in terms of research of social science has ever had an iota of benefit to mankind, it is purely just an academic exercise, no more no less. The word social used as an adjective abrogates the meaning of the word it precedes. Somebody somewhere please prove me wrong

  • Mark Ryan Smith

    • January 19th, 2015 11:24

    What has the London School of Economics done to make it onto the Unionist hate list? Maybe, after all the effort they’ve put into hating Alex Salmond, the EU, uppity Scots not knowing their place, the presence of oil in Scottish waters, environmentalism and so on and on, British Nationalists are feeling the need for new things to slag off. Take a leaf from the pro self-determination groups now active in Scotland, boys, and try contributing something positive to public discourse.

  • Robbie Davidson

    • January 22nd, 2015 20:23

    Pro self-determination groups ! Do you mean Scottish nationalists ?


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