The Wealth of Scotland

373

The Darien Chest. It held money and documents of the Company of Scotland established in 1695 with the power to set up colonies in order to circumvent England’s trade blockade 

Time to spread our wealth among the nation

When researching aspects of the Highland Clearances it dawned on me that those dark episodes in our history were the beginnings of capitalism in Scotland.

Over ninety percent of Scots lived off the land. The landowners discovered they could get a lot more profit out of wool than from renting property, and so the evictions began in the same way a company today would lay off workers, but in Sutherland’s case, without redundancy payments. Those who had lived off the land found themselves with nothing.

From that moment on the dispossessed sold their labour in order to survive. Employers soon understood they could acquire great profit by keeping wages low, and workers dependent on their employment. The adage all folks are born equal is a bare faced lie from the moment the midwife cuts the umbilical cord.

Poor as a church mouse- no! – a woodlouse

The gibe commonly thrown at Scotland by the pillars of the British State to the point of chronic boredom, is how poor we are and how poor Scotland will be if we restore independence. To make a flat lie stick repeat it endlessly.

Scotland is rich. Independent we would be one of the richest nations in the world.

One of the good things to appear out of the referendum debate was bright economists sympathetic to Scotland’s plight. They illuminated the real deficit – a lack of economists working in Scotland supporting independence, the few who popped up to give evidence self-appointed charlatans ready with figures skewed to Unionist purpose.

When those paid economists of the British State – often lecturers in our universities – talked of ‘the wealth of our nation’ it was always in terms of our culture, the arts, and what a fantastically inventive country we are. They avoid translating our output into what we earn and are not allowed to keep.

Spurious argument

When a discussion turns to money we get evasion and deceit. We are offered spurious comparisons, told too few of us create wealth and the rest of us sell our labour or sleep on the streets drunk or doped.

The lesson drummed into us is this, for every millionaire there’s ten thousand struggling poor, a bizarre argument for sustaining English rule. One place where there’s definitely no collusion is between the British State’s brains and its mouth.

Scotland’s oil reserves were always marked down, an understandable sleight-of-hand because England snaffles the lot. A thief will always try to reduce the amount he has stolen so that you feel less motivated to string him up, but for kudos he will boast the real amount to his pals. Thus, it took non-Scottish based economists to tell us the truth.

One of the world’s most respected Irish economists David McWilliams explained in detail why Scotland would thrive as an independent nation, and why the economic potential of Scotland is actually in a stranglehold while it remains a part of the UK.

McWilliams is well respected because he also correctly predicted the global financial crash of 2008. Now of course, this was not reported in UK media, but it was on Irish news. Interestingly, he also predicted that the Scottish independence vote would change Scotland’s relationship with the UK Government forever.

The McWilliams Reasoning

Here is McWilliams showing how much stronger is Scotland’s economy to Ireland’s:

“Look, it’s clear to me that Scotland could be an independent economy. There’s no doubt of it. The Scottish economy is bigger than the Irish economy, the rate of unemployment is half of our unemployment, it has oil, lots of it, it’s population structure is quite young in comparison to other parts of the UK. So this is an economy that could survive on its own without any real problems – it could even thrive on its own. We’re not talking about a bit of the UK, we’re talking about an economy that has [2014] one hundred and ninety billion Euros, GDP – so its big by any standard. There’s no reason to think Scotland can’t survive and thrive.

The fib lies in telling Scotland it gets more out of the Barnett Formula than it puts in. If you judge an economy on a projected deficit you’re putting the cart before the horse. The question is, how do you get there, and can the Scottish economy be dynamic enough to generate revenue over – let’s say – the next ten years to reduce its expenditure and narrow that deficit.

In actual fact, a deficit does not matter as long as they can finance themselves, and I’ve no doubt that they can.

People need to stand back and see what’s there. You’ve an economy in a wealthy country that says going independent now is probably the best time they could do so. Because for the next forty years they have oil revenues, substantial revenues, and they can deploy an investment strategy to attract multinationals – like our own – their wages are much lower than Ireland’s, one of their main competitors. So, there’s every  evidence to prove Scotland can and will survive and thrive.

What we’re getting is a policy of a lot of scaremongering on the part of the establishment of Westminster, by that I mean the political parties, and the corporate block for the simple reason they don’t want change. Now, there’s no doubt there will be complications but that’s the negotiation period.

However, this notion – what currency? – it somehow changes the dynamic that Scotland could not manage the transition and be a normal country with wealth generated by a normal society, is to me just not credible.

The [world] will see there are two English speaking countries, Scotland and Ireland, and Scotland will see inward investment coming to them because Ireland has had the pitch to itself. And as long as Scotland was part of the UK corporation tax was never going to be touched because London didn’t want it touched, denying the Scots the game we’re playing, but whether its a Yes or a No [14 September 2014] all that will change.

My grandparents were Scots. If I was there I’d vote Yes because there’s something very exciting about the right to govern your own affairs. This is something that is deep inside all of us. Even if the vote goes No this is going to change the relationship between Ireland and England and Scotland in ways people would never have contemplated a few months ago.”

The game’s a bogey

Other economists followed suit, such as Richard Murphy, and Yanis Varoufakis. An article in the Independent newspaper a couple of years ago did the same as McWilliams, it explained exactly why Scotland has all of the ingredients to become the world’s richest country on a per capita basis.

Is there a problem why some think otherwise? Yes, we’re loaded down with debt accrued by the UK and we are obliged to help pay it back. They then call that Scotland’s ‘deficit’.

It ran a narrative admitting that, after the No vote, media lackies dropped their guard, and that includes Sir Ian Wood who made his billions out of Scotland’s oil and told us to vote No. Like the unionist media, he said oil was almost depleted, and then he said we’re floating on the stuff.

Thinking the independence movement no longer a threat to their comfort zone, journalists and tame economists now openly admit Scotland’s oil is a massive asset.

Oil is good for at least the next fifty years, not forty as McWilliams states based on the information he had in 2014. The media has blown its cover. They cannot downplay oil revenues as a scaremongering tactic for the next independence referendum.

In fact, BP openly admitted that Clair Ridge is a real project and have started drilling. I recall Salmond labelled a conspiracy theorist for discussing this project. BP predict 640 million barrels of oil. The oh-so-terribly-low estimate perpetuated by mainstream media was a deliberate deception.

Flaky economists are also admitting Scotland need not rely on oil alone, it has so much else to help generate a sound economy, and of course, it has the greatest resource of all, clever and hard working people.

If the guv’nor says it, it must be true

Canadian governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, got into the act. He told a press conference that “the broad brush assets of the Scottish financial sector” is worth at least “ten times GDP,” and admits that to be “north of a trillion pounds sterling.” Currently, that equates to over £1.8 trillion.

No wonder Scots are paranoid. Absent from the British mainstream media was any mention of that healthy economy. They will bring themselves to mention success achieved by Scots companies but as a one-off fluke. They won’t join up the dots for us.

What is the secret to being the wealthiest country on earth on a per capita basis? Well that’s easy to answer – have lots of wealth and share it with a relatively small population.

The argument that a country might be too small to survive is so much nonsense. Moreover, a small country means you can see your elected representative going to work each day, or shirking their duties. That closeness generates accountability and less opportunity for state corruption. Being smaller also makes it easier for a nation to remain competitive and attractive to foreign investment and corporations.

Go north, young man

McWilliam echoes a widely held belief voiced by outsiders which opines that Scotland could easily implement the Irish model of reducing corporation tax slightly in order to attract huge American multinational corporations to set up home in Scotland.

That policy attracts tens of billions of pounds into the Scottish economy, and would also provide excellent jobs with excellent pensions and benefits to thousands of workers who are currently undervalued in the UK’s low wage economy.

Scotland already has a higher GDP Per Capita than France, Spain, New Zealand and Japan. So if you’re saying that Scotland isn’t rich enough to be independent, then you’re also saying the same about those nations, which is preposterous. I’ve already written about New Zealand, a country similar in many ways to Scotland but without the string of pearls that is Scotland’s natural resources. It survives well, and with no submarines!

The state of the State

The point of this essay should be plain by now, by fudging the financial figures the British Government deliberately mislead the public into thinking that Scotland couldn’t survive on its own.

Forbes magazine, a periodical no one can call remotely left wing, made the same observation, “the British Government has lied to Scotland to keep it under control.” Nothing new about that, Mr Forbes, but nice of you to tell us conspiracies actually exist.

I repeat, unionists can’t use that campaign a second time, not when they’ve pulled out of Europe and desperately searching for new trading partners, none of which they can sign up overnight. For once the British government has stitched up itself.

Scotland’s coffer

Losing Scotland means England-rUK takes a massive hit to its GDP. The UK would lose oil reserves, gas reserves, hydro power, arable farmland, forestry, sea area, reservoirs, fishing waters, gaming lands, rock and granite quarries, slate reserves, tourism income, export income, and a staging post to train half-baked comedians trying to make it in politics. Just watch some of England’s indigenous companies and financial institutions move to Scotland in double quick time.

We can expect a very long caravan of sensible but anxious settlers arriving in Scotland for a ‘better life’, in which case we’d damn well should ensure we are in charge of all we earn and keep it in a very large, safe metal box to distribute as we think fit.

The only reason to let wealth go south is because we are giving England a loan!

NOTE

For  reasons why Scotland must use it own currency for indepedence, click on this link to a 6 minute explanation by the respected English economist Richard Murphy: https://youtu.be/YMLddlxapwQ

 

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This entry was posted in Scottish Independence Referendum, Scottish Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to The Wealth of Scotland

  1. Alistair Robertson says:

    Excellent post. Cheers dude.

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    You’re most welcome.

  3. Peter A Bell says:

    “In actual fact, a deficit doesn’t matter as long as they can finance themselves, and I’ve no doubt that they can.”

    This is interesting as it prompts a reframing of the whole ‘deficit’ argument peddled by British Nationalists. Their argument is that cannot afford to be independent because it would have a deficit of [insert scary number]. I have seen ‘scary numbers’ as high as £20bn. Which is supposedly even scarier when expressed as a percentage of Scotland’s economy as a whole.

    The customary reaction from the Yes movement is to dispute the scary number. There are many good reasons for doing so. The fact that the scary number is derived from GERS makes it highly dubious right away. Even if there weren’t big questions about the provenance of the data which informs its conclusions, we know that GERS says absolutely nothing the economy of independent Scotland. It is a very fuzzy, distorted snapshot of Scotland’s economy as a part of the UK.

    But what if we suppose the scary number is accurate? What if we suspend disbelief long enough to pretend that Scotland really does have a deficit of,,, let’s say £13bn? We know that Scotland doesn’t have a deficit at all, for the simple reason that Scotland doesn’t have the means to create a deficit. Only the London government can do that. But let’s pretend that we don’t know this. We know that the deficit talked about in portentous tones by British Nationalists is actually an assigned portion of the UK deficit.

    Quite how that portion is calculated remains a bit mysterious. Because we know that the portion assigned to Scotland is a strikingly disproportionate share of that UK deficit. Let’s pretend, too, that we’re unaware comparisons with England’s deficit or the UK’s deficit also suffer from the skewing that creates that scary number for Scotland. But let’s kid on that we don’t know any of that. Let’s pretend there is a reliable, authoritative case for assuming that, on day one of independence, Scotland will have a deficit of £13bn.

    Is this really such a bad thing? As David McWilliams points out, it’s not the size of the deficit – absolute or relative – that matters, but the ability to finance that deficit. The ability to borrow enough to plug the deficit ‘black hole’ (scary rhetoric) and service that borrowing. Here comes the reframing!

    The ‘fact’ that Scotland has a £13bn deficit is a good thing, because it proves that is, as David McWilliams says, “no doubt” that we can finance a deficit of this extraordinary size. It proves we can finance it because that is precisely what we are doing. And doing without becoming the impoverished hell-hole of a failed state that haunts the orgasmic fantasies of rabid British Nationalists.

    The UK deficit is covered by UK borrowing. The cost of servicing that debt is paid out of UK taxation. Scotland pays UK taxes. Therefore, Scotland pays its share of the cost of servicing the debt. If our share of the deficit is proportional and our share of taxation is proportional then we must be paying our fair share. We must be paying our own way. And, if our share of either tax or deficit is disproportionate, then that’s the fault of the UK government which controls almost all of the economic levers.

    British Nationalists will argue that Scotland manages to afford this huge deficit of £13bn because it is subsidised by England. They claim there is a fiscal transfer from England to Scotland. But how can this be? England also has a budget deficit. How can there be a positive fiscal transfer from a negative balance? How can England subsidise Scotland’s deficit from resources it does not possess? The answer, of course, is that England borrows. It ‘subsidises’ Scotland with borrowed money.

    Effectively, the UK Government borrows money on Scotland’s behalf. The UK Government runs up a huge bill. tells us we are due an inexplicably large part of that bill, borrows the money using our resources as collateral then tells us to be grateful.

    All of which begs an obvious question. Why don’t we just borrow the money ourselves? Why are we still letting the British state do it on our behalf when, by its own admission, it is so incompetent that its management of our economy has left us with a deficit of £13bn?

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    You’re reply perfectly pockets the essentials, Peter. (I must try and repost it for more readers to see.) Colonial rule will always find fabricate an excuse for invasion: that the natives the only way they can go about their daily business free of stress is because they live off the sweat and toil of their benign protectors.

  5. George Heughs says:

    I think this is the clip of “David Mcwilliams describes true power of the Scottish economy”, from RTE I think you are referring to. What an eye opener. I wish we could have this clip on telly he is a great speaker.

    Sandra

  6. Another cracker Grouse m’loon!
    The other giant weight on the old vote YES scales is not just that they promised and then reneged on devo max Scotland in 2014.

    Our imperial masters are terrified of actual wealth distribution, spreading Scotland’s wealth and resources to everyone in Scotland, stripping it away from the very filthy rich. We’re not supposed to look closely to our Norwegians friends and how they have redistributed Norway’s vast riches. But they really have though. Most if not all Norwegians take for a granted a standard of living and financial security that only the minority middle and upper middle class Scots enjoy today.

    We’re rapidly being turned in to a mini Trumpo USA, by a minority pack of tory gits that we do not vote for. Changing this rolling socio economic loot and pillage of Scotland by our imperial masters is what ALL unionists are really fighting to stop, from red and blue tories to old smirky Bird at the BBC, via every Brit newspaper in Scotland today. They’re desperately trying to save the British self preservation society, who really do own almost everything of any value in Scotland, still.

    Keep em coming!
    Heed.

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    Thanks, Heed, and for your comments, a section of which I’ve retweeted coz it is highly relevant to the debate. Hope all is well with you.

  8. What a great article! Should be shared far and wide.

  9. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you. Please disseminate it to as many as you think need to know, especially haverers and wavererers.

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    Hidden Facts About Our Oil.

    Fifty years ago a young student finished his PhD thesis on the rocks of the west coast of Orkney and Shetland where he had mapped the potential for hydrocarbon resources. As a result he was appointed to the first team to map the original North Sea oil fields for the British Geological Survey, a UK Government agency which based its off-shore exploration in Edinburgh.

    (In later decades this group was much in demand around the world due to the expertise it built up in the North Sea)

    That thesis remained in the Survey’s library for a long time, and was occasionally borrowed by the oil industry and researchers. But the oil potential in that area was problematic. It was a long time before the technology was developed and cheap enough for them to extract it and get enough from the oil price to make it worth while. A difficult equation. The point was they knew it was there. But it was publically dismissed as of no importance.

    The original copies of the thesis were reclaimed by that student’s family after his death – it had been written before he joined the Survey. It was placed in the Science section of the National Library of Scotland (as a donation they were pleased to accept). There it is available to anyone resident in Scotland to read, even if it is somewhat obscure scientific research.

    Those oil fields are now being developed and predictions show there are vast reserves. The area currently under development is in Scottish / UK waters. More resources for an independent Scotland. Wider development in the area may show that some of the new fields may be in Northern Irish waters. Ireland has no off-Shore oil. In a united Ireland scenario, this could change. ‘Our precious union’ indeed.

    Lorraine Fannin

  11. steelewires says:

    Thanks for this! I wish we get this out to the wider reading public, and even the non-reading public! I’ll share it on FB, but that’s not doing much nor getting to many people.

  12. Wee Chid says:

    Great article but Lowland clearances were ealier – just a bit more subtle (and largely ignored). So you could argue that those dark days were the beginnings of capitalism in Scotland.

  13. Grouse Beater says:

    True, Chid. I almost wrote ‘Lowland’ first but thought the sentence over-weight. I should have dropped Highland’. I touch upon the Lowland Clearances in another essay – The Sorrow and the Shame.

  14. Wee Chid says:

    Aye. We were taught about the Agrarian revolution but the clearances part was never explained to us. It was kind of made out that people left the land for “new opportunities” in urban factories to improve their lot. We weren’t told that the landowners wanted the land back to make more profit and that they wanted to exploit the labour force in industry. Double bubble for the wealthy.

  15. Jonny Campbell says:

    Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes G.B.
    Fantastic as usual.
    Saved and shared.

    My wife and me drove past Sutherland’s statue last October as part o oor wee world tour o Scotland. It was enough ti gee yi the boke.

  16. Grouse Beater says:

    We know truth when we see it, we can smell it. Make sure everybody can tell the difference by sending the essay to friends and foe alike so they know reason.

  17. Alan Gordon says:

    This comment is in reply to Peter Bell.
    Several times I’ve been asked the question similar to, “How will Scotland survive on its own, with such a huge deficit?” The last time, I was asked was a few months ago. Maybe it’s because of my grumpy demeanour or maybe my answer has spread to the remaining critics against independence.
    I don’t indulge in contradicting the “scary” numbers, I agree it is the only ones we have but I use them to question financial prudence. “Scotland’s GDP is 58bn, this we give to Westminster, who gives us back 30bn, to run the country and with no chance of any more from any place, by law. That leaves Westminster with 28bn of Scotland’s money as spenders for the things we don’t have control of, MoD, foreign office etc. If they charged us 1,5bn for our share of MoD, that figure would be well above our NATO requirement but to come back to us and say that we still owe them another 13 or 15bn, beyond the 28bn just seems wrong. I’m doing something about it I’m working to get independence. What are you doing about this outrage, this gross display of financial mismanagement?”

    Peter, when are you back up on the isles? Last time we a shared pint in the Isles pub Somerled Square. Not strictly true we each had our own drink, not that skinflint up here.

  18. Kate Penman says:

    An excellent article, as per usual, GB! I had read McWilliams article but was glad of a reminder! You added comments were well put! Thank you! And thanks too to Peter for his contribution. There are several good points in both article & comments I will be using to continue arguing the case for indy. Thank you, Gentlemen.

  19. Grouse Beater says:

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  20. Patricia collatin says:

    What an ace piece, GB.
    Bu..but Willie Rennie, bus driver, says that we would be £15 billion in debt. We go for the Glen Campbells and the Gordon Brewers of this world’s throats Next Time, and that time is hurtling down the track right now.

  21. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you, Patricia, and welcome. Do pass any essay to friends and foe alike if you think they might persuade a non-believer to have confidence in their own nation, and elevate it to what it should be, an equal in all decision making with its neighbour, able to keep what it earns!

  22. Andy in Germany says:

    “We can expect a very long caravan of sensible but anxious settlers arriving in Scotland for a ‘better life’”

    Ready and qualified, but unfortunately currently unable to come to Scotland because the UKgov is setting a very high earning threshold when you have a non-EU spouse…

    I just hope you don’t leave Indy too late for us to come.

  23. Hardie Hamilton James Iain says:

    He he deficit….. it’s even simpler than Peter Bell describes…..

    You can only do two things to money….. save it or tax it. If you spend it, then the store owner pays tax on the money you spent in his shop, if HE spends it, its the next guy that pays tax etc etc…. or you can save it. that’s it.

    So if there is an $13 billion per year deficit, there’s £13 billion in untaxed money floating in pockets and saving in Scotland….. an independent Scotland would have a bill of £150 billion expenditure per year for 15 years, while we rebuild our society, and that deficit wont move much between £15-40 billion per year….. because once Scotland sees its true wealth potential….. £80 billion per year will go straight into the pockets of every man woman and child in Scotland as a citizen stipend of 1200 per month.

    And regardless, as a sovereign nation with a sovereign currency, £325-525 billion per year in renewable energy potential, £1 trillion in oil/gas, and a starting GDP of £200-300 billion per year….. we’ll be able to afford those social programs without much worry!

    I’d rather debate the cretinous Britnats on TV than who we usually send,…. even Nicolas rebuttals are luke warm and baseless. joys or being a statistical geek and math/physics nerd…. numbers come easy. LoL.

  24. Muscleguy says:

    Last indyref the economists as my wife’s university got together and for their own interest and unpublished used the figures they had access to (often more than the public) to work out if iScotland would be a going concern regardless of their Yes/No opinions. This included some very eminent people with international experience. They concluded that iScotland back then was indeed a going concern as a country.

    I was a bit surprised my No supporting wife even told me this. I wish they had published their work though so we could have referred to it.

    So there you are, not all academic economists were pessimistic about iScotland. They just didn’t want to put their heads above the parapet.

    BTW one of them, English by birth but long resident in Scotland as an adult and an expert on trade, able to interpret complex trade figures offered his assitance to the Brexit Dept in Westminster and/or the team doing the negotiating. But he was turned down flat, suspect at being in Scotland it seemed.

  25. Grouse Beater says:

    May I have your permission to reproduce a few sentence from this, Muscleguy, on Twitter. Lots of wise words.

  26. Muscleguy says:

    Yes of course, your blog is publicly available and I keep such things in mind when writing stuff.

  27. ABU HAIMI ABU HASSAN says:

    The same was levelled against Malaya (Malaysia came into being in 1963) when she sought her independence. Too poor too wee and too stupid to run herself. Turned Malaya’s tin export has consistently financed Imperial expenditure (at one point a third of it, I think; lost the source). So if Westminster says you are poor, it is obviously the opposite,

    (I guess we sort of had our revenge by buying Guthrie back)

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