Category Archives: #IndyRef: The Truth is Out There

On 14 Sept 2014, Scotland voted in a referendum asking if we wanted to become an independent state. We voted Yes: 45%, No: 55% which was a rise of about 20% in the Yes from the beginning of the campaign. That was IndyRef1. IndyRef2 hasn’t been announced. But it’s coming.

#ScotRef: The Truth is Out There #1

I don’t mind journalists taking a devil’s advocate approach or even being downright antagonistic when they interview someone. It’s part of their job. But they’re meant to bring some creativity to their work, they’re meant to do some background reading, they’re meant to have a go at thinking things through. The best of them do all of those. 

Unfortunately many of them rely on social media and tweets for their inspiration. Or they memorise the memes associated with some topic and toss them out as their own words of “wisdom”. Maybe some don’t have much choice and they’re stuck following the dictats of their employers and their employers’ owners. Think Murdoch. 

Experience from the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 showed time and time again that even the highest-brow media have their own agenda and if the facts get in the way of that then the facts will not be reported. The BBC’s agenda wasn’t to bring unbiassed reporting of our referendum to our screens. I thought it would be but how naive was that. The agenda was to defend and support the UK Establishment and the said establishment did not and does not want an independent Scotland.

But the Truth Is Out There!!! Sometimes it manages to slip through the defences. Sometimes you have to go looking for it. Second time round the independence arguments at least we know what to expect. And at least we now have a small but noisy section of the media supporting independence. And we have a great band of civic action action groups like Common Weal and Independence for Women working away in the background and coming up with new ideas and strategies to bring Scotland into her own once more.

Every now and then I’ll be posting examples of the truth out there. Here’s the first.

BBC reporter Jane Hill speaking to Elmar Broks, member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs. She says – at length – what she thinks he thinks about an independent Scotland joining the EU. Then he tells her what he actually thinks. 

And just for a laugh, some of the questions lobbed at Mrs Mayhem during PMQs yesterday:

Did EU tell UK to Double Its State Pension?

So this was shared from the Facebook group ‘..uncensored Scotland’ to ‘Pensioners for Indy’ in April 2018.

I doubt that there is anything in the claim at all. I mean if that had happened, UKIP and Mr Farage would have been all over it, telling is that even though it would be very good to double pensions, we don’t need the EU to be bossing us about and we’ll make our own pension decisions thank you very much!! And probably pro-Europeans would also be all over it as proof of how benefits that EU membership bring us. 

I still can’t decide whether it’s a pro-EU meme or a Brexit meme

Continue reading Did EU tell UK to Double Its State Pension?

Do Revenues from Scottish Oil Under-Write UK Profligacy?

 

This has appeared on several Indy pages on Facebook. It’s unusual that it’s so specific on the date and place that he’s alleged to have said this. In fact, that’s just the kind of reference that I’m forever asking for on Facebook. Unfortunately in this case I can’t find any trace of him saying it. I’m not the only person who has looked into Hansard records to confirm. No-one has managed to confirm it that I have found. In fact as far as I can make out from the Hansard Archives, the Commons wasn’t sitting that day. So if he said this on 29 May, he must have said it elsewhere.

It is of course only one of lots of memes which focus on the same underlying belief. The belief goes like this:

Scotland produces XXX billion in revenues which goes to Westminster

Westminster returns much less than that in the block grant to Holyrood.

Scotland is being ripped off by Westminster.

To be able to prove this conclusively is an on-going activity for Indy supporters. So if Alastair Darling said this actually while he was UK Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Gordon Brown Labour Government of 2007-2010, well that is quite a quote to have handy for another Scottish Independence campaign.

But Google searching about Darling’s statement does provide a reference to John Jappy. You might not have heard of him: he was from Inverness and worked in the civil Service in Accountant and Comptroller General’s Branch. Several quick promotions took him to the Head Office in London, and further promotions to the General Accounting Division, with links to the Treasury. This involved him in the preparation of National Budgets. When he retired he was active in CND. He died in Feb 2018.

He wrote up this article called  “Hiding the Truth”.  (You can find many other articles by him here.) And it’s in this article that you find the statement :

On 29 May 2008, Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling admitted in a back-handed way, that Scotland’s oil revenue had been underwriting the UK’s failure to balance its books for decades.  There is still 30 years of oil supply left in the North Sea (some 150 million barrels) valued at 2008 prices at 1 trillion dollars.  This excludes the new fields being brought into production in deeper waters west of Shetland.

So no information about where it was said. But a statement by a respected Civil Servant with many years experience and insight into the ways of working of the UK Treasury.

This was an interview he gave in the run up to the 2014 Scottish Referendum. 

If you’ve listened to the interview video then you’ll be aware that Mr Jappy referred to various other instances where Scotland’s financial health and wealth were revealed.

So, apart from the inclusion of an unverifiable reference to Hansard but which is probably incorrect, this would appear to be a good meme!! Hurrah. 

 

 

Scotland Produces More Oil than Kuwait? Aye Right. But …

This meme is making the rounds of Indy-supporting pages on Facebook. I wonder what goes on in the mind of the person who made it? Maybe one day they wake up and think “Hey! Today I’ll make up a bit of fake news to support Scottish Independence.”  

Look at that statement about oil:

It isn’t true. And it’s very easy to show that it isn’t true. A few google searches and it’s debunked. For example in April this year UK produced just over 1million barrels of oil per day. Scotland produces 96% of UK oil so most of that was ours. Meanwhile down in the Gulf, Kuwait was producing 2.7million barrels each day. By the way, that puts them about 9th in top ten world oil producers. Info from OECD Data

OK, so they’re producing more than twice as much oil than us just now. But Scotland might have produced more than Kuwait historically since North Sea oil production started. That is also easy to find out by Googling. Have a look at the chart below. Note the big dip in Kuwaiti production around 1991 when the Gulf War was waging and Kuwaiti oil fields were set alight by Saddam Hussain’s Republican Guard as they retreated. It’s estimated that around 1billion barrels of oil was lost from Kuwaiti production as a result. Did we produce more than them? For a while in the 1980s and 1990s, aye we did.  Overall, naw we havnae.

But .... there are some things about Kuwait that are very relevant to us Scots.

It’s a wee country, far smaller than Scotland, and mostly desert. It has a population of four million which comparable to ours of 5.3 million. Since 1970 oil production from Scottish waters is about three quarters of Kuwaiti oil production. So again that’s  roughly comparable. Our economy is much more diverse than Kuwait’s and the annual value of our top six exports is about a third more than Kuwait’s top six exports. Again that’s kinda comparable. But when you look at the GDP per person in the population, Kuwait’s is more than one and a half times ours.

It does make you wonder what Scotland would be like now if we’d been independent over the last 50 years. Because as part of the ‘United’ Kingdom, it sure as hell hasn’t been keeping up with Kuwait.

With 6% of the world’s oil reserves they, like Norway, have built a national wealth fund. It’s the sixth largest national wealth fund at half a trillion dollars. I’ll just say that again – half a trillion dollars.

So I’m just saying’ that if we’d had control over our own wealth just think what we could have done by now. And have at least a trillion dollars  in the bank.

PS

Before you write to tell me there’s a lot about Kuwait to be concerned about, eg a very unequal wealth distribution and immigrants not being treated very well. I know. But it’s also the case that they have been able to build up a very extensive social benefits system, education is free, they have one of the best water purities in the world.  Have a look at this website: The Borgen Project – Kuwait

Back to Indy Meme Culture page

 

AllOfUsFirst web from Common Weal on Vimeo.

Recently I set up a regular payment to Common Weal a  Scottish civic based group working on various projects to improve governance in Scotland, now and in an independent future. Here’s the email I received in response to setting up the bank order. All of Us First is their website address but also their political slogan.

Hi Marlene,

A happy new year to you! I’m getting in touch to say thank you so much for recently signing up as a regular investor to Common Weal. We returned to work yesterday, and started strategizing for 2017. There is so much work to be done – and since Brexit and Trump – the time for creating an alternative society, economy and politics, that works for all of us in a caring and compassionate way, has never been so crucial. So thank you for being a part of the Common Weal community. We will be working as hard as ever to make our voices heard.

I would be very grateful if you could take the time to let me know why you decided to start investing in Common Weal? What is it we do that is meaningful to you? And what would you like to see us focus on in 2017? Your opinion is of great value to us so please do keep in touch and let me know.

Very best for 2017 – All Of Us First.

Tiffany Kane

And my reply:

Hi Tiffany
Thanks for your email.

New Year is when I have a look at the various charities, people and groups I support with a bit of financial help. It’s almost always a small bit of help but hopefully I’m one of many doing that. It had been in my mind for a while to give some support to Common Weal so this time I added you in.

I came across Common Weal first during the IndyRef campaign. I was impressed. I got myself a copy of the Book of Ideas when it came out. I must admit I haven’t read it all even yet but it seems to me to epitomise the kind of approach we need to make sure that IndyRef2 succeeds.

Basically I think we should be acting and thinking things through now so that we’re ready for that Yes vote. I thought the SNP White Paper was good but it wasn’t thorough enough. No blame to SNP for that. But next time we need more developed policies for things like currency, banking, benefits, pensions, etc, so that we’re ready to counter the onslaught of arguments and disinformation that we know now will come flying from Unionist voices, media and vested interests. I’m sure both SNP and Green Parties will be working on those issues too but since one of the hallmarks of of the referendum was the involvement of civic groups alongside political parties, I’m keen that the strength of our civic based input is maintained.

A few weeks ago I came across reference to the Common Weal White Paper and I’ve read some of the online. That was probably the main lever that got me sending you some cash. And since I’m in the 65+ age group who apparently mostly voted No (not me obviously) it seems the least I can do to make amends for that, 🙂

Best wishes for the New Year to you,

Marlene Halliday