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Showing posts with label Newsnet Scotland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newsnet Scotland. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A YouTube comment on my channel from an anonymous ‘Gordon’, attacking Wings and Newsnet Scotland

I received this as a pre-moderation email on my YouTube channel for a video in response to a comment by Geoff Huijer who is not anonymous. I thought it warranted being posted on my blog for a wider audience.

It suggest a Better Together spinner, and a No campaign that’s getting very worried by the success of YES online, especially the fine job being done by Wings over Scotland and Newsnet Scotland. The idea that the prompted any-indy outpourings of the Treasury somehow have intrinsic validity and objectivity is laughable.

YouTube comment


+Geoff Huijer You write that as if it's somehow an open and shut case that independence would make us better off economically.
The McCrone report was written in 1974 and has no relevance at all to economic predictions about what independence would achieve in 2014, particularly as UK oil production peaked about 15 years ago. Two of the other sources you've listed here are essentially mouthpieces for the Yes campaign: Wings Over Scotland, a blog run by someone who made his name writing about computer games on the Sinclair Spectrum, and Newsnet Scotland, a hopelessly biased pressure group masquerading as a neutral attempt to inform the public. Neither of these sites have any economic standing and you could just as easily point at organisations that do have genuine economic credentials, such as the recent reports by the Treasury, or the report by the IFS which stated the exact opposite (that we'd be worse off after independence) - and I'm fully aware you'll no doubt find these biased as well, but they're at least in the ballpark of being neutral assessments. To compare them with a random blog set up by a video games journalist is pretty nonsensical.
The truth about the economic case is that nobody really knows whether we'd be better off or not. The Yes side seem to think that you can win that argument by just pointing at tax revenues relative to expenditure and claiming we'd have more money to spend as an independent country. That's flawed for several reasons:
1. It ignores transition costs, which can effectively write off any gains from independence for decades. Even if independence was in our long term economic interest, a short 3 year period where we have to eat transition costs could push those gains back by as much as 30 years. That's been demonstrated conclusively by academics like Robert Young (who has nothing to do with the independence campaign and wrote the bulk of his research long before a referendum was even on the agenda) yet nobody sees fit to mention it.
2. It ignores the benefits of pooling resources and makes the baseless assumption that secession is a zero sum game where one side necessarily benefits more than the other. No economist of any standing would accept that.
3. It ignores issues such as the rate of interest we'd pay on our debt, given it's fairly reasonable to expect a country with a smaller backstop to guarantee its debt will have to pay a higher rate of interest on its government bonds (and if we don't have the Bank of England acting as lender of last resort in a currency union then that would be exacerbated even further).
4. It ignores issues such as pensions, where on current trends we'd be expected to pay more due to our population ageing faster.
We could list countless other examples, but the key point is that you can't simply point at taxation revenue relative to public spending, ignore every other relevant factor, and claim that there's a clear economic case for independence.