Search topics on this blog

Showing posts with label the Treasury. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the Treasury. 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.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The hypocrisy of Gordon Brown and Labour

The deep, cynical hypocrisy of Gordon Brown and the Labour Party is starkly and painfully exposed by this clip of a young girl - Tiari Sanchez - breaking down in tears as she talks of her family's poverty on a Citizens UK platform.

Her mother is a cleaner at the Treasury - yes, the Treasury - run by Gordon Brown for most of Labour's 13 wasted years in office.

The spectacle of Brown moving forward to comfort her, wrapping his arms around her and moving her away from the podium is deeply disturbing in the light of what we now know was the cause of her family's poverty.

 Andrew Neill is merciless with Douglas Alexander, and pitilessly destroys his feeble attempts to shuffle off Government complicity in the girl's distress.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Paxman gets a Welsh spear right up him – and he doesn’t like it …

Jeremy Paxman's hostility to all things Celtic, Scottish and Welsh is notorious, but he met his match in a formidable Welshman, Dr. Eurfyl ap Gwilym, Welsh Plaid Cymru politician, and Deputy Chairman of the Principality Building Society.

Paxman had his usual simple and deeply superficial agenda when dealing with Welsh or Scottish nationalists - portray them as mendicants, dependent on British handouts, happy to take the English shilling while aspiring to romantic and unrealistic dreams of independence.

Paxman's repertoire includes repetition of his core questions, usually yes/no-type questions, a patronising manner that rapidly descends into bullying if he meets any resistance, and rapid, brutal agenda shifts if he encounters real arguments he can't handle.

Unfortunately for him, none of these worked with the well-informed, dignified and calmly assertive Eurfyl, who was not going to be intimidated by an English media creature who manifestly had not done his homework. In spite of the fact that Paxman had the Treasury report that he had misunderstood and was misquoting from in front of him and Dr. Eurfyl didn't, he was reduced to muttering incoherence, shuffling his papers with increasing agitation as the magisterial Welshman repeatedly put him on the back foot with a series of killer-diller ripostes.

The received wisdom for many years has been that politicians facing the Paxman's of this world  should be polite to the point of obsequiousness, allowing the interruptions, and giving way to the bullying. This is inculcated in politicians by their spin doctors - don't alienate the media man, we need his goodwill. It is a craven posture, one that has devalued political debate, turning into a kind of Ladybird Book of Politics, with simplistic soundbites and superfical policy statements.

Dr. Eurfyl ap Gwilym would have none of it. He maintained his calm, unruffled dignity, rooted in his being a successful businessman, in command of his facts, and a pragmatic realists, albeit one with a dream of Welsh independence. He disposed of the dragon Paxman without breaking intellectual sweat, and without losing his impeccable Welsh dignity and courtesy for a second. Paxman's behavioural body gloss flaked off, and the curtain was whipped away from the Wizard of Newsnight, revealing an ill-prepared and ultimately deeply ill-at-ease little man behind the bluster and the bravado.

He got a Welsh sword right up his ****, and in the words of Corporal Jones, he didn’t like it up ‘im …