Sunday, April 08, 2007

Business Leaders Endorse the SNP

My friends in the SNP will be delighted with an ARTICLE in the Business section of the Independent on Sunday today. Despite the odd jab at 'jocks', Alasdair Douglas from top city law form Travers Smith reckons that independence for Scotland would see a flight of human and financial capital from London to Scotland. Glasgow and Edinburgh would again lead the world in economic thought and philosopihcal and scientific innovation. However, his words on the current state of the Scottish nation make less comfortable reading...
Scotland is a socialist state and has had a dependency culture for so long
that no one knows how to function without it. Scotland depends on England for
its finances, workers depend on the state for jobs, politicians depend on
public-sector workers for votes, and Labour depends on Scottish MPs for its
majority at Westminster. Half of the country's GDP is public-sector related
and in some parts of Scotland only a third of the workforce is employed in the
private sector. The economy is folding in on itself as those producing wealth
are outnumbered by those spending it. That is why despairing business leaders
want change.The thinking behind supporting the Scot Nats is that this will
hasten the country's independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.


Anonymous said...

I suppose it depends on whether the SNP can overcome their traditional left-wing instincts.

Anonymous said...

For my sins i read the comments section in The Scotsman once or twice a week.Whenever there is an article on Labour /SNP/ and /or independence the replies run into the high hundreds and people are 'posting' all night and day!

I do wonder why they have so much time on their hands.

I still cannot find out how many net tax payers there are in Scotland.I have heard its down to 144000. I am sure some Scot will tell me!

Tartan Hero said...

The reality is the right/left ideology for running a country is out the window. The SNP is offering an enterpreneurial agenda whilst covering the social and environmental needs of the country . That's what sustainability is all about. Cameron thinks he understands it. Brown doesn't get it all.

Anonymous said...

The reality is the right/left ideology for running a country is out the window.

Yup. Im a Welsh Nat, so technically I'm a socialist because I vote Plaid Cymru. But it's about half and half really. The left half is a state that guarantees social and environmental protections, but at the same time the right half keeps the state small, competative and flexible. With an SNP led government we'll get our first glimpse of just how left or not so left a nationalist government is in practice.

Anonymous said...

Scotland is an uneconomic branch office heavily subsidised by the head office. The people running it seem to think they have some sort of grievance and could do a better job on their own. They are probably right. Let's not stand in their way.

Raedwald said...

Yes, let them go - they will be better off for it. North Sea oil revenues will see them some way.

Oh, and as all that state dependency has helped the UK rack up a national Debt of £571.8 bn, so it's only fair they get 8% of that as well that's, er, -£45.7bn to start with.

Good luck to them.

Anonymous said...

Writing about an IEA book in January I wrote this:

the Scottish GVA per capita comes in at 96.2 against a UK index of 100. That puts us economically below London, the Southeast and the East of England, but above the other eight UK regions. Not too bad, I'd say. Smith then does something rather clever. He adjusts the regional per capita output figures to take account of the differing costs of living. Scotland's "real" GVA per capita now comes out at 101.8 against the UK's 100. So we produce a bit less than the UK average but it goes further.

So the answer to Ken from Glos is that the proportion of net taxpayers in Scotland will be near the UK average.

Anonymous said...

Dear david,

As usual, you never answered the question.How many net tax payers are there in Scotland.

Simple question,.... simple answer

But you never do.

Richard Thomson said...

Ken - I don't think there's any reliable figures on the number of taxpayers in Scotland, which is one reason (amongst many) that I don't set too much store by the GERS numbers.

In a nutshell, there are 5m people in Scotland, of whom 2.5m are in employment. This compares with the c. 60m in the UK, of whom 29m are in employment.

As David says, Scottish GVA is some 96% of the UK average, but this excludes the oil and gas revenues from the North Sea, which government statisticians hive off into an 'extra regio' category. Include those revenues which could be expected to come Scotland's way post-independence, and the GVA reaches something like 110% of the UK figure, with the level of state spending coming down to c. 40%.

That's not to say everything in Scotland is wonderful just now (it isn't), but the economic starting point for any new administration under independence would be pretty strong - even when taking on our fair share of UK assets and liabilities.

Reactionary Snob said...

The fact of the matter is the Nats have voted against Lab/Lib in Holyrood 6 times in nearly 8 years. Hardly an opposition, hardly a credible alternative.

Maybe they should sort this out before they worry about anything else -

Getting teenage girls drunk so you can try it on with them while your pregnant wife is at home... Good to know the man who started the Cash For Honours campaign has a strict moral code...

Anonymous said...

reactionary snob

as an advocate... falling for the totality of a tabloid story as your last para suggests shows a bit of lacking.

you know they ramp it up for you to write that

Anonymous said...

If you read the article carefully, the "flight of human and financial capital from London to Edinburgh" is on the assumption that corporation tax is dropped to 10% to kick-start the Scottish renaissance. And when an independent Scotland becomes Thaterite, I shall pack my bags and head North.

Reactionary Snob said...

Oh, I know Saxon Thinker.

But as an advocate, I'll believe anything a source tells me if it lets me give a hostile witness a kicking...


Reactionary Snob said...

As it happens, rather a lot of my chums are involved in the financial sector up here. There are a number of leading investment firms who could, very quickly, move the other way and would certainly consider it if Scotland became independent.


trinitylaw said...

As a bedragled taxpayer in Scotland, and one of the dwindling view, I can testify to the truth of those comments about the current state of Scotland. High taxes and an ever growing army of local and central government employees is the order of the day. There is surely going to come a tipping point when the number of wealth creators shrinks to a critical level, and if we are independent at that point who will bale us out?

Anonymous said...

Reactionary Snob, if that's the best the Unionist Press can come up with as a smear then we're laughing! So he snogged someone at a ceilidh! Not exactly watergate is it?

Iain - I know the only thing in your universe is 'financial expertise' but Douglas's insulting superficial scribblings were full of the usual racist rubbish. Next you'll be saying we're subsidy junkies?

How much did you say the Olympics was draining from Scottish Sport funds?

It's time! Saor Alba!

Anonymous said...

'Raedwald said...
Yes, let them go - they will be better off for it. North Sea oil revenues will see them some way.

Oh, and as all that state dependency has helped the UK rack up a national Debt of £571.8 bn, so it's only fair they get 8% of that as well that's, er, -£45.7bn to start with.'

In all separations assets as well as liabilities are divided fairly. There are a lot of UK assets around London and the south east that are far more valuable than the national debt.

Brian Monteith said...

Ken from glos, I don't know if the figures are available in the exact form that you would like but I can provide you with these figures, which might surprise you and other readers.

For, 2005-06, the most recent year that figures are available, the number of Scottish domiciled income tax payers is 2,540,000 – which as a proportion of the electorate is 65.3%. This compares favourably with the UK as a whole for which the figure is 29,040,000 making 64.6% of the UK electorate.

These figures suggest that the assumptions that Scottish taxpayers will not be interested in tax cuts, or that there are not enough of them to become upset if Scottish taxes go up are misplaced as there are at least as many taxpayers as a proportion of the electorate in Scotland as there are in England.

Finding good disaggregated economic figures that show Scotland (especially in tax matters) is not easy. If these can be improved upon I would like to see them too.

As for the general thrust of the post - by fixing on the issue of how Scotland would fare under independence we are all in danger of falling for Labour's strategic error of saying an independent Scotland can't survive. As Kenny Dalglish would say, "maybes yes, maybes naw." It all depends on the policies employed - and forgive me tartan hero - but the SNP just doesn't have a Scooby about entrepreneurial policies - having voted against so many in Holyrood in the last four years.

Unionists should recognise that Labour is in danger of ending the union through trying to define the debate through its own political self-interest. If the union is to survive it will only do so because people on both sides of the border believe it is in their interests - not just economically – but culturally and strategically too.

For Scots this means pro-actively defending the Union because we will benefit in a variety of ways whereas going it alone would limit it us. Sadly no one is making this argument.

Anonymous said...

But Brian Monteith (et als) which is it? You'll need to get your story straight

Are we hopeless subsidy-junkies who have leeched off the English for generations, or are we the indebted and reckless feckless ingrates for not recognising the Union Dividend?

Which is it?

In case your still confused can I suggest my Tips for Unionists:

1) DO point out how well the Scottish economy is doing under the Union.

2) DO claim Scotland cannot afford independence.

3) DON’T, however, make points 1) and 2) to the same individual(s) at the same time.

4) DO describe the SNP or SSP as being the ‘Proddy Party’ to private audiences of Catholics.

5) DO describe the SNP or SSP as being the ‘Papist Party’ to private audiences of Protestants.

6) DON’T, however, make points 4) or 5) to audiences of mixed denomination.

7) DO claim that the SSP would create an ‘Albanian style socialist republic’.

8) DO claim that the SNP would create an ‘Albanian style socialist republic’.

9) DO claim that the SNP are ‘Tartan Tories’.

10 DON’T, however, make points and 9) to the same individual(s) at the same time.

More at:

Brian Monteith said...

Gus, unionism - like nationalism – is a political movement not a single political party. It is made up of many strands of thought and opinion. Some of it is based on understanding, some on ignorance, and because unionists have (mistakenly) not sought to debate what modern day unionism means and where it will take us the views expressed are often contradictory.

Some of the points you make are not mutually exclusive. For instance it is entirely possible that Scotland could be an economic success (like Switzerland or Iceland) if it employed the type of economically liberal policies these countries enjoy. It is also highly possible that it could end up like Belorussia (Albania is a bad example - its growth rate is higher than the UK average) if it were to use the type of policies advocated by the SNP parliamentary party such as third party right of appeal for planning developments.

Interestingly, when I twice propsed annulment motions in prliament that would have cut business rates the SNP voted against them each time. Actions speak louder than words and the SNP members continue to talk about low taxes that they have no control over but never seek to cut the ones they DO have control over already.

If the SNP were to gain power its leadership could cut taxes and thus become unpopular with the nationalisy rank and file - who would no doubt like to take us all back to 1820 - or frighten the horses with higher taxes and more regulation - keeping you happy but delivering an economic catastrophe that could, like Ireland, take 60 years to reverse.

Which one is it to be Gus?