Multi-pronged Better Together 2 attack (Allan Sutherland

John Swinney was confronted at Holyrood on Thursday with slam-dunk evidence from his own Scottish growth commissioner that the SNP knew fine well in 2014 an independent Scotland could not rely on oil tax revenues to plug the deficit.

That deficit, it turns out, would have been £15 billion every year. To put it bluntly, they never told us the truth.

His response was to wave his arms, rehash old “It’s Scotland’s oil” beans and try to humiliate Kezia Dugdale for standing with the Tories and Liberal Democrats in Better Together in what is now clear was a heroic, bullet-dodging campaign.

Brian Taylor of the BBC’s view was he contrived to “sidestep a question. Twice. But he did so with such panache and chutzpah that he had them roaring”.

Less fawning commentators, less likely to go weak at the knees in the face of an SNP “big beast”, might replace these words with “menace”, “malevolence” and “obediently braying”, and ponder the lengths the SNP will go to drag Scotland out of the UK against its will.

Mr Taylor did make one point which will come back to haunt the SNP junta. Scottish Labour will not join a Better Together 2. Next time the independence camp will face several campaigns, all supporting different versions of the United Kingdom. And each campaign, every day, putting different arguments and citing different examples of how the SNP’s dire track record and dreich nationalism will be the death of Scotland.

And, judging by the growing number of interjections by Jim Sillars, Kenny MacAskill and former leader Gordon Wilson they won’t even be able to rely on their own side to keep their thoughts and doubts to themselves.

I hope that, for Ms Dugdale, revenge is sweet.

Allan Sutherland

1 Willow Row,



Add Your Comment
  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 11th, 2017 20:00

    Yes the SNP have sowed the wind and boy will they reap the whirlwind.

  • James Sinclair

    • March 12th, 2017 3:22

    £15 billion deficit? Well,indyref2 never sounded too snappy to me. I know,how about darienscheme 2.0?

  • John Ogden

    • March 12th, 2017 10:54

    It is very disturbing that on something as fundamental as the future economic underpinning of an independent Scotland the then Finance Minister Swinney would seek to lie to his electorate. Shameful betrayal of trust.

  • David Spence

    • March 12th, 2017 20:57

    I would like to hear a good and valid reason why Scotland, should not be independent? (being part of the (Un)United Kingdom (or anything similar) not a valid answer).

    Afterall, we were quick enough to support smaller countries for independence against Russia after Perestroika.

    • Steven Jarmson

      • March 16th, 2017 13:17

      One valid reason for being in the UK and remaining part of it?
      Hmmm, how about, because there was a referendum in 2014 that said the people who live in Scotland want to be part of the UK.
      Is that a valid enough reason?
      I would say anyone with the slightest idea of how a democracy works would say it is a valid reason.

      • John N Hunter

        • March 16th, 2017 19:50

        How about being told that the only way for Scotland to remain in the EU was to continue to be part of the UK?

  • Robin Stevenson

    • March 13th, 2017 17:39

    “The SNP knew fine well in 2014 an independent Scotland could not rely on oil tax revenues to plug the deficit”.

    Of course they ‘knew fine well’, as anyone with half a clue knows/knew that you don’t rely – or base your economy – on a volatile commodity like oil?… What’s your point, Mr. Sutherland?

    Is it the UK figure of £15 billion? Could you give me a breakdown of how that number was arrived at? Could you give me the number of years that Scotland’s oil revenue surplus was placed into an account where it would subsidise these last two years (and only two years out of 310) that Scotland has needed (so they tell us) to rely on the ‘broad shoulders’ of the UK?

    At a Conservative estimate, that ‘surplus’ figure was £400 Billion, Mr, Sutherland, so if we knock off this fictitious amount over the last couple of years, (let’s say £30 billion) That means we’d only have £370 Billion left in the Scottish kitty… Wow! How could we possibly manage?

    David Spence

    There are no good reasons why Scotland shouldn’t be independent, that’s why our usual tribe here resort to desperate media misinformation.

    • Steven Jarmson

      • March 16th, 2017 13:32

      So, robin, your argument of fiscal prudence is to live from money that doesn’t exist!!!
      That money is gone.
      Scotland was bankrupt when it merged into the UK, the UK paid off Scotland’s debts, which would be in the high billions by today’s values.
      Scotland was only wealthy in the 1800’s because of the British empire.
      It would have been the English empire had it not been for the union.
      What a stupid argument.
      The referendum has be argued on future finances.
      Just to add a note, you’re good at referring to history, all be it entirely invalid.
      Could you not look to more recent history, like possibly to 2014, you know, when Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the UK.
      The SNP talk big about democracy but ignore it when it suits them.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • March 27th, 2017 16:23

        Not at all James, I’m, merely pointing out how Scotland has been systematically robbed and used as a cash cow for decades, in fact, centuries, did you know they stopped producing Scottish accounts in 1921 out of the embarrassing amounts that Scotland was contributing to the UKs coffers and being given back the pittance we received?….. No, didn’t think so.

        So because you think that money is ALL gone we should just roll over and stick with the very people who stole it (& continue to steal it) in the first place… Really?

        Incidentally, could I draw your attention to the 1705 ‘Alien act’ imposed on Scottish nobles. It might give you a better insight into why Scotland was forced to merge with the rUK and save you making a fool of yourself.

        Your last paragraph is rather like being sold an item on a false pretence and you bizarrely believe there should be no recourse? In fact, the ScoRef won’t be happening until 2018 so that’s 4 years since the last one. Should we just abolish every General/council/Scottish Election too now that we’ve made up our mind, and forget about offering people a choice every 5 years?

      • Robin Stevenson

        • March 27th, 2017 16:26

        Oops! My Bad *Steven*

      • Ian Tinkler

        • March 28th, 2017 13:40

        Are you suggesting Robin Stevenson, that if Scotland had won the Indyref1 you would have expected the another referendum five years later just in case people changed their minds or you just spouting your usual load of bull. So very predictable, Nippy is doing the usual, government by division and governance by opinion poll. Made a pigs ear of that one, did she not?

      • Robin Stevenson

        • March 28th, 2017 19:35

        What I’m pointing out is that people are given the choice every 5 years to democratically select their government. IF that government are doing a rotten job, or perhaps told a few whoppers, or found with their greedy little paws in the cookie jar, we have the choice to replace them, very much like our successive UK Governments, who for the last 310 years have been guilty of all of the above and much much worse beside.

        Unfortunately for them, their latest ‘whopping lie’ had severe repercussions – fortunately, counteracted by what was written into our Scottish Governments manifesto:

        “The Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there was a “significant and material change” in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will”.

        So, IF you think that the UK Government should also put in a condition to try to win us back after independence then be my guest? Funnily enough though, once people begin to realize just how conned they’ve been for decades – much like our other 59 former colonies – I don’t foresee anyone choosing to get back in with their abusers

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 29th, 2017 12:02

        “59 former colonies”? You forgot to mention that Orkney and Shetland are current colonies still waiting for our right to self determination to be recognised by our “colonial masters”. 🙂

      • Ian Tinkler

        • March 29th, 2017 15:15

        “much like our other 59 former colonies – I don’t foresee anyone choosing to get back in with their abusers”.!! Are you utterly blind Robin Stevenson? Just why do you think so many millions of Commonwealth citizens have flocked back to the UK? Just how many of the 56 former colonies are now dictatorships, police states or governed by genocidal or egocentric maniacs without a care for female or human rights? To call the UK Government abusers is just a typical narrow nationalist insult. So typical of you Robin, a man who refers to all fellow Scots who do not share your nasty nationalist views “Turncoats.” You do show Nationalist sentiment for what it is worth, bitter and unpleasant.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 16th, 2017 18:40

    Yet the SNP was not always so enthusiastically European. In 1975, when the United Kingdom held a referendum on membership of what was then the ‘European Economic Community’ (EEC) or ‘Common Market’, the SNP campaigned vigorously for withdrawal. At a time when the Conservative Party and the right-wing press were overwhelmingly pro-European, it was the SNP that led the campaign for a Scottish No’ to Europe. While Mrs Thatcher campaigned to keep Britain in Europe, resplendent in a woolly jumper that combined all the flags of the European member states, SNP policy documents warned that the European Community could strike ‘a death blow to our very existence as a nation. If the SNP get their way it looks like that prophecy could come true.

  • David Spence

    • March 28th, 2017 9:43

    In regards to a second Scottish Independence Referendum, Nicola Sturgeon is quite right to call one, as the EU Referendum has completely changed the economic and political arena’s since 2014, which may or may not have serious consequences for Scotland.

    Everybody harks on about ‘ the will of the people ‘ but forgets that 2 of the member states (I use this loosely) of the UK voted to remain in the EU. Now, whether Scotland, on its own, can get an single market agreement with the EU, remains to be seen until the Tory Government negotiates with the EU to see what deal, if any, is drafted up. It is a Catch 22 scenario.

    However, I believe negotiating a deal with the UK and the EU, will take far longer than 2 years? Whether we will be better off is questionable.

    Putting this aside, the real reason for the EU Referendum was for the Tories to justify striking up a trade deal with the US, without the interference of the EU.

    I hope I am wrong, but May has already given 5 US companies license to do exploratory drill for shale oil (fracking) regardless to much local opposition.

  • ian tinkler

    • March 28th, 2017 10:22

    David Spence, Do not let the truth put you off your anti vile Torie/ wicked USA compulsive disorder!!!
    Britain is now China’s major trading partner and investment destination in Europe”
    Liu Xiaoming said that China wants Britain’s expertise in finance and legal services, and wants to invest more in the UK.
    Deal to double flights between UK and China takes off, Agreement to allow up to 100 passenger flights a week each way, with no limit on cargo flights, hailed as boost for post-Brexit Britain. A couple of headlines for you!! T May, is the Secret Red under the bed, must be a closset commie. lol

    • David Spence

      • March 28th, 2017 12:01

      Ian, you know fine well the Tories having an EU Referendum, was nothing to do with the EU, immigration or economic ties, and more to do with the Tories, not the the UK, having stronger relationship with the USA, and the Tories benefiting from such a deal.

      As for the UK already benefiting, lets ask the same question in 2, 3, 4 or 5 years time……or longer.

      There was, allegedly (referendums, like elections, can be fixed……..especially if the Government controls the media) only 4% difference, which is not a lot, in the EU Ref. and does put any economic dialogue within the UK, regarding Brexit in a difficult position.

      In saying this though, such deals or dialogue is really quite futile, since the Tories are focused more towards the west than the east, lets say………or the impression thereof.

      In regards to the fishing industry in Shetland, again, this will probably, just like the Tory Government did with Scotland recently, be ignored by the Tories, just they did in 1974.

      Brexit better for Shetland, No. Brexit better for Shetland Fishing, No. Shetland probably left high and dry due to Brexit, Yes.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 28th, 2017 15:20

    David, what has all that got to do with the price of tea in China?

    • Graham Fleming

      • March 29th, 2017 19:08

      Mr Inkster is right to point out about the bad colonisation policies from London.Denying the majority population of the northern Isles of Scotland their rights to be taught in their native language Scots -is one that comes to mind.Am shair da muckle mooths of Shetlaun subjugation will be oot campaigning for that – aye right.

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 30th, 2017 0:33

        Du’ll fin hit wis da scoti dat colonised wis and holyrood still refuses wis da right a self determination.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • March 30th, 2017 7:21

        northern Isles, their native language Scots!!!! Graham Fleming your ignorance is astonishing!! Do you actually know anything at all about The Northern Isles?

      • Robert Sim

        • March 30th, 2017 14:58

        When did Shetland ask for self-determination, Ali?

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 30th, 2017 16:51

        When did Scotland, Robert?

      • Graham Fleming

        • March 30th, 2017 19:00

        According to government census figures majority population of the northern Isles of Scotland call themselves Scottish only( 60% in line with national average).About 83% of the people identify themselves as Scottish and some other identity nationally in the northern Isles 78-79% slightly below national average . Shetland has the highest identified speakers in the nation of Scott speakers -weel din catty serk!Nobody identified themselves as a Shetland er or spoke Shetland in.

      • James Watt

        • March 30th, 2017 22:52

        “Du’ll fin hit wis da scoti dat colonised wis and holyrood still refuses wis da right a self determination.”

        Alt-facts reaches The Shetland Times

      • ian_tinkler

        • March 31st, 2017 12:58

        Nobody anywhere speaks Scott!!. The language is Scots, “Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster. ” your comment “Shetland has the highest identified speakers in the nation of Scott speaker” is more of your ignorant nonsense.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 1st, 2017 15:53

        Alternative ta da snp narrative, but a fact all the same, James.

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 31st, 2017 9:43

      We were denied the right to ask by holyrood in 2014. By the party that demanded and got a referendum which they lost and are now demanding another one.

  • ian_tinkler

    • March 30th, 2017 16:03

    No one has ever asked that yet, Robert Sim, but we know just what Shetland felt about Indy1 and the SNP. Will be fun to see what Shetland wants if the divisive and unnecessary Indiy2 ever happens. Maybe a perfect chance then to ask about Shetland and Orkney folk if they want full autonomy.

    • Graham Fleming

      • March 31st, 2017 13:42

      As a Berwick er with my variety of Scots it was fair braw tae here the Shetlandic variety of the language in Lerrik and the whole of Shetlaun touring the islands last week.It should be compulsory education for aw bairns tae larn thar ain heritage and not that of false gods and idolatry

  • Derick Tulloch

    • March 30th, 2017 19:17

    The native language of Shetland was Pictish, until it was rudely colonised by hairy foreigners.

  • David Spence

    • March 31st, 2017 1:43

    Shetland, in light of the recent oil find west of Shetland, should be, in theory, in a powerful position to gain more control and more rights in how its future is.

    However, the impression one gets is that Shetlander’s do not like to rock the boat, change the status quo or cause any conflict with authority (the crown) or political decisions made on their behalf.

    If Shetlander’s really cared about the islands and its future, more people would shout out, but alas (refer to 2nd paragraph) this will never happen.

    What would it really take for Shetlander’s to act in the best interests of the islands and the people????

    Stuart Hill may be regarded as a fool, but he is a fool who has showed more courage, tenacity than any Shetlander when it comes to truly looking at Shetland’s future, rights and governess.

  • Haydn Gear

    • March 31st, 2017 12:32

    Shetlanders do not like to rock the boat says David Spence. He may be right or he may be wrong but if he’s right then others will descend like vultures to grab the spoils and rule the roost. It’s no good moaning about being ill treated or sidelined on account of timidity. Actually, I don’t believe Shetlanders are timid—— just badly led by people who are ineffectual in the way they operate. What is needed is a bit of fire in the belly and a readiness to secure the newly discovered oil field west of Shetland. A few more people like Ian Tinkler wouldn’t go amiss. SIC should get off its backside and fight for what rightfully belongs to the Isles.

    • Graham Fleming

      • March 31st, 2017 13:26

      Sorry for the spell checker The words were Scots,Shetlandic and Cutty Serk. We in the Scottish Borders are entitled to three miles of sea, the Isle of Man not much more(the rest of the Irish sea too polluted by radiation for fish). Any autonomous Shetland under Westminster will be like the scene from Oliver please sir can I have some more.Aye right, thank you very much jack pull the ladder up and a clip along the lug.

  • ian_tinkler

    • March 31st, 2017 14:35

    An Autonomous Shetlander would by definition, not be under anyone, Westminster, Brussels or the other lot. With the new “West Of Shetland” billion barrels plus, who do you think would be holding out the begging bowl graham 001? Think about it.

    • Christopher Johnston

      • March 31st, 2017 15:45

      Ian, I don’t see enough expertise and political consensus in Shetland to properly manage the current arrangement, much less an autonomous or independent Shetland. It reminds me of a barbed comment about Alastair Denniston of GCHQ during WW2 when staff said he was only capable of managing a small sweet shop, not Bletchley Park.
      If you were head of Council and autonomy/independence arrived tomorrow, what would you do?

    • Graham Fleming

      • March 31st, 2017 16:57

      But where are the Shetlanders? To get a referendum


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