Wednesday 3 November 2010

Reply to William Gruff

As promised, here are my replies (in italics) to William Gruff's questions over on Nourishing Obscurity.

The categories quoted are interesting: Do those exports from Scotland include goods and services sold in or to England?

As stated, £20.7 billion is exported outside the UK and £63 billion exported to everywhere outside Scotland, including England.

‘Refined petroleum products, for instance, what does that mean? Does it include things produced at premises in the ‘U’K region of Scotland by multinational companies using petroleum that may have come from the ‘U’K sector of the North Sea, and may have come from anywhere on the planet?

I 'd guess that most of it comes from locally drilled oil. Why does this matter?

Presumably those Scots, and others who live in Scotland, were paid for the work they did. In what way are they Scotch earnings?

James asked about exports, not earnings. The figures refer to exports.

Does the reference to ‘accommodation’ include hotels?

Almost certainly.

The last figures I looked at showed that ninety per cent of tourists to Scotland went there from England. That’s not to say that all tourists from England were English but a good proportion of them must have been and it’s not unreasonable to observe that money paid from the ‘U’K region of Scotland to the British government that came originally from English pockets is in no way a ‘subsidy’ to the ‘U’K.

Who said it was? It is normal to count tourism income as an export. My weekend visit to London would count as an English export. So what?

Did the sums that identified the alleged Scotch subsidy to the rest of the ‘U’K include the eye watering sums of money a Scotch dominated Labour government stole from the English tax payer to bail out the incompetent Scotch banking system, the same Scotch banking system that we are told was once such an example to the world of how banks should be run?

The Scottish banking system that was once upheld as an example to the world was one without guarantees of government bailouts. Such guarantees have wreaked havoc in numerous countries. I oppose all bailouts as did Edinburgh-raised Professor John Kay (now of Oxford) at a recent lecture to the Edinburgh financial community. Incidentally, after the HBOS merger the first communication that I received was to tell me that my Bank of Scotland ISA was now with the Halifax and that further communications should go to Leeds, not Edinburgh. It's true that the brass plate remains here. By the way, these bailouts were paid for by all UK taxpayers, not just those in England. Far more RBS shareholders live in England than in Scotland.

Does Professor Hughes Hallet really believe that the money that should have been paid to ‘Scotland’ (Does he mean the Scotch ‘government’?) was diverted ‘south’ (by those perfidious English presumably), suggesting that some unfair and discriminatory levy has been made on Scotch goods and services, , or simple chicanery perpetrated, by the ‘English’ government, which is how most of them regard the Scotch dominated and Scotch favouring British government. The bills were presumably paid and the relevant taxes and other levies paid to the British government. What should have gone to Scotland that didn’t?

Why is it so odd to describe it as the "Scottish Government"? That's what it is. Hughes Hallett is discussing whether taxation raised in Scotland is more or less than spent here. I presume that you know that we Scots pay taxes on the same basis as elsewhere in the UK. That money goes to the Treasury. Some is sent back as a lump sum to the Scottish Government to be allocated locally and some is spent on non-devolved matters like defence and foreign policy. The grey area is our share of the non-devolved expenditure. Hughes Hallett says that £2.8 billion of Scottish taxation ends up with the Ministry of Defence but only £2 billion is spent here on jobs and procurement. Less after the defence cuts I'd imagine. Only one third of the BBC licence fee raised in Scotland is spent here. And don't even think about the Olympics...

The last time I looked at the figures there were just one hundred and sixty thousand or so net tax payers in Scotland, out of a population of five million, with a ‘U’K population of sixty million. Are we in England, all fifty one million of us, seriously expected to believe that the money contributed by those one hundred and sixty thousand exceeds our own contribution?

As I wrote on Nourishing Obscurity:

"There were 580,500 working in the public sector in the first quarter of 2007 – down 4,900 or 0.8% – compared to the same period last year.… It compares with almost two million workers who were employed in the private sector in Scotland in the first quarter of 2007."

Where does this 160,000 figure come from?

The Jocks have always expected the English to pay the price of ‘union’, and never to question why, and have never expected to make any contribution themselves, and they seem never to have regarded themselves as British except when access to English money and English opportunities makes it convenient for them to do so.

Funnily enough I sent a cheque to the Inland Revenue only yesterday...

I’d love to see the Jocks paying for themselves but I’m becoming resigned to the possibility that the prospect is unlikely in my lifetime. That notwithstanding, whether the Scotch can stand on their ‘ane twa’ (Old English words and not Scotch) feet is irrelevant to the people of England. All that matters to us is that we are rid of the burden they are, and the pernicious control they have over our affairs.

We shall see what happens. I expect that independence would be a bigger shock to the English psyche than you might imagine.

As for figures: Where can we find figures comparing what is spent in Scotland by the British government, and on its behalf in Scotland by the laughably self-styled Scotch ‘government’, with what is raised there in taxes (whether from the earnings of exporters to England of what has previously been imported from England or the levies on fags and booze consumed by the subsidy junkies)?

As you can see here the economies are similar.

As for the diaspora: England would be much better off if the eight hundred thousand to one million Scots estimated to live amongst us, many of them benefits dependents, were to take themselves home and the half million or so English people who live there were to return. Here’s to independence for England.

I see that 4.9% of the Scottish population are on jobseeker's allowance. I suppose that you could argue that vast numbers of Scots in England are making claims. I never met any in decades of living in London. Most Scots I knew down south seemed to be running the English economy.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Laban Tall
Is that William Goat Gruff ?

10 November 2010, 10:50:09 GMT
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David Farrer
John B,  
Fair enough about Leeds.  
My main point is that none of this fiasco is specifically Scottish. It's an inevitable consequence of the fiat monetary system.   
See here:

6 November 2010, 12:37:25 GMT
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Quite a pointless exchange really.  Nat baiting is quite tiresome and predictable.

5 November 2010, 20:12:31 GMT
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john b
Your correspondent's a bit of a bigoted idiot. However:  
Incidentally, after the HBOS merger the first communication that I received was to tell me that my Bank of Scotland ISA was now with the Halifax and that further communications should go to Leeds, not Edinburgh  
This is because HBOS's retail banking business was run out of Leeds, while its commercial banking and head office were run out of Edinburgh. It was primarily commercial banking (specifically, commercial mortgages) that broke the bank.

4 November 2010, 09:19:46 GMT
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james higham
Well, one hopes Gruffy comes in, reads and responds.

3 November 2010, 19:05:38 GMT