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Steve Sayers Blog

Don't get frustrated, explain yourself :-) Note pinned "BLOGGERS INDYREF COLLECTION" below. Select from the Menu or scroll down for posts (published latest first).

Is someone telling porkies? The SNP ‘National Survey’ response

Source: Is someone telling porkies? The SNP ‘National Survey’ response

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Latest Scottish Indyref2 Polling Trends

  • Latest Poll added 16th Jan 18
  • NO 50% YES 37% UNDECIDED 13%
  • AVERAGE SINCE 18/9/14
  • NO 48% YES 43% UNDECIDED 9%

Voting intentions post 18/9/14 are shown in a variety of charts below.

All polls and data are from official BPO published polls publically available online for the polling companies.

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Below are the blinkered nationalists types we have to deal with when communicating the poll trends;

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Steve.

Scottish GE2017 Tactical Voting Advice

With thanks to SNPOut on Facebook and @No2Indyref2 on twitter.

Update May 2017 – that went well, much better than last time! SNP lost seats and vote share big style.

Roll on HR2021.

The Councillor, the Newspaper and the Critic

jillstephensonblog

The Councillor, the Newspaper and the Critic

At the end of 2016, the Scotsman newspaper announced that, to mark its bicentenary, it would enlist 200 amateur contributors to write at periodic intervals short articles about anything that interested them. I sent in two sample essays, and on 17 January received word that I was to join the Scotsman 200 group. My first article, ‘Two Referendums are Enough’, appeared on 6 February. My message was that ‘Momentous change requires unequivocal endorsement’. That is, a simple 50% + 1 of the vote was insufficient endorsement for major constitutional change, such as Scottish separatism or withdrawal from the EU. I did include some disobliging comments about Scottish nationalists and the way they treat those who disagree with them. This elicited a barrage of insulting tweets. QED. Nothing new there.

My next essay appeared on 9 March. It was called ‘Education Requires Effort from…

View original post 1,540 more words

The death of an angel

Good grief, this is nothing to do with the child ‘s religion, how churlish.

Da Masked Avenger

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One would have thought  the death of an 11 year old girl in a tragic amusement park accident would have been a relatively straightforward incident to report on: a short summary of what happened, the name and age of the victim followed by some comments from the park operators and friends and family of the deceased. And so, no doubt, it would have been had the victim not been Muslim.

Sadly, some saw the tragic demise of 11 year old Evha Jannath as an opportunity to vent their disdain for the victim’s faith and community.

The Daily Mail reported: “Muslim Girl, 11, dies in front of ‘shocked and screaming’ youngsters after falling into the water on Splash Canyon rapid river ride while on a trip from her Islamic school to Drayton Manor theme park.” So not only was she a “Muslim girl” but furthermore part of an “Islamic school” no…

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True or False #Indyref2?

How politically and economically informed are ordinary Scots?
I have been an ardent supporter of Scotland remaining as the United Kingdom for as long as I can remember. I used to watch the young Alex Salmond run rings round the opposition at the time and marked him out as bright and persuasive, on top of his subject, I admired him to some extent, certainly his cunning.
Since 2012 my opinion of him, his party and the information they provide us with, has taken a significant turn for the worse. I’m not sure whether he was always a charlatan, building up a solid reputation to allow him to lie and spin when the time was right, or, if his cause and anti UK hatred have damaged his mental faculties.
That’s as may be, I can no longer abide the man and his version of politics and persuasion. The publication of the White Paper, 690 pages of puerile propaganda, stunned me with its effrontery. That he and the SNP thought it would pass muster with intelligent voters seemed incredulous. Time and experience has robbed me of what, in retrospect, was naïveté.
I have, until recently, been extremely active on “Scottish” twitter with @SteveSayers1 (suspended now) mainly involved in opposing the first Scottish referendum, the SNP generally and some policies specifically, trying to educate an uninformed cohort of died in the wool nationalists.
At times I despaired at the lack of comprehension and the constant stream of “new” accounts demonstrating the same (apparent) lack of knowledge. I spent hours trying to reason and explain what to me were simple matters, only to be met with ridicule, abuse and outright disbelief that 2+2=4.
The main issues then were oil, economics, currency, EU, NATO, UN and capital flight.

Developments since we voted No? Total collapse of UK oil revenues, two years of massive current and forecasted deficits, currency options ridiculed, a Tory government and Brexit, seems a lot. In my view everything that has changed further mitigates against Scotland contemplating major constitutional change or independence.
But that’s logical thought, it doesn’t allow for the sheer “Indy at any cost” emotions perpetrated and cultivated by the SNP and die hard separatists. So it looks today like we have to endure the whole sorry divisive process once again, oh joy.
But it won’t be exactly the same, this time we start from a 60/40 No, rather than 72/28 last time, not that I give any credence to the opinion this will make it easier for separatists. The Union vote is now solid and entrenched, plus, Brexit has not moved it, also, about 30% of SNP voters voted leave, that’s a problem for Yes, these guys don’t want to be part of any union. I believe they will abstain or go with the devil they know rather than a jump in the dark to a new, less preferential, EU membership via an article 49 application. No UK opt outs and the Euro lie in that direction.
I’m hoping (but I won’t hold my breath) that if there is a second referendum the new reality of a Scotland outside the UK, while the UK is no longer in the EU, gives voters real pause for thought. That the economic reality of two years of crippling deficit (with more to come), the revised (still low) cost of setup (£10b) and understanding that we would inherit debt of approximately £150b will sink in, that GERS is a Scottish Government produced and approved assessment of our starting position of Indy, along with weakening EU, will resonate.
What is likely to happen is that there will an even more divisive campaign with lies and a real lack of quality information. The SNP have tried to remove the oil and currency out of the field and Europe too, although they have failed spectacularly on that, the EU today, for the third or fourth time, confirming it’s an Article 49 new application process.
What is certain is that there will be another combative “war” of information, I hope that the separatists case is as poor as last time, but the real issue is will people pay attention to it? Or, like last time, will real referenced data and information be ignored, misconstrued and ridiculed out of bigotry?
If we have another referendum I intend to oppose the separatists just as strongly as I did last time, and pushing real information will be the key. I think it will be down to individual parties small groups and individuals, I wasn’t a fan of the BT campaign last time, too timid, the Yes faithful took every opportunity to make it a Tory campaign operated by Scottish labour, leading to separatists employing their favourite tactic, playing the man not the ball.
All the above text is background, musings to set the scene for the real issue. How informed will the ordinary voter be? How informed are they now?
I followed with interest a small twitter poll True or False? passed to me by @AgentP22 (cheers) that asked simple questions about what people really knew about important content in the white paper. This content has been the subject of countless debates and fractious arguments with Yes voters. I had plenty of them, often being called a liar and resulting in personal attacks as the information was just (despite its reality and truth) not acceptable to Yes voters. The refutation was pathological at times, you could almost feel the hate generated by the cognitive dissonance the information caused.
The question was this;
“ScotGov’s 2013 “White Paper” stated Scotland was in deficit and iScot would inherit a £100B share of UK debt”
The poll then asked;

True, False, Don’t know, Didn’t read it.
Bear in mind this was “The Plan”, the basis of how an Indy Scotland would make its way in the world. The result, over 600 people voted, was very interesting.
True 42% False 32% Don’t know 8% Didn’t read it 18%

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I find this stunning. I can accept the don’t knows, they may have skimmed it and really can’t recall. I can accept the didn’t read it’s, although I find 18% high, it’s likely they had a pre informed opinion, were not interested in the information available, their vote would not have changed regardless.
It’s the false at 32% that I find incredulous. These people are lying, lying about the content or lying about having read it.
There is a very large contingent of nationalist tweeters, bloggers and FaceBook posters who constantly insist Scotland has no debt, that the debt has been generated by and belongs to the UK. The deficit highlighted by GERS also belongs to the UK, has nothing to do with Scotland and is a UK conspiracy to defraud Scotland of its rightful independence.
You might think that these “deniers” are just small time crackpots, but no, some of them are classed by themselves and their followers as bigwigs and leading lights in the Indy camp, the likes of Malky, Wings, Berthan Pete etc.
It is these people and their acolytes who voted false in the poll, denying reality out of pure adherence to the cult mantra of Indy at any cost.
The answer to the question of how informed is the ordinary voter? Many are very badly informed or themselves guilty of disseminating false information “false news” if you will.
My job (and yours if you see reality) in Indyref2 (if it happens) is to ensure these information charlatans are totally exposed. It’s up to us as the likes of Salmond and Sturgeon are hell bent on destroying the UK to secure their place in history. They encourage these purveyors of false information by saying nothing.
I can’t wait for White Paper two.

Steve.

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DIVORCING THE EQUAL PARTNER? (With a nod to Margaret).

DIVORCING THE EQUAL PARTNER? (With a nod to Margaret).

If at times the UK seems excessively “English” to some Scots, it’s simply due to England’s greater population. From time to time some Scots (being from an historic nation with a proud past), will inevitably resent some expressions of this immutable fact. Is it equitable that 8.3% of the UK’s population (Scotland) has any stronger voice than any other 8.3% of the UK’s population? Of course not, the Scots voice is heard, more loudly than say a Cumbrian or Northumbrian voice, neither of whom have the twin representation of Westminster and a devolved parliament.

PARTNERS

UK citizens (from all corners of the UK) are “Equal” partners, not by way of an unequal “25% share” of political power dictated by “constituent countries”, but by the very heartbeat of our democracy blessed with free speech, one person, one vote. Political parties wax and wane and come and go over time, with governments renewing every five years. It is only 23 years since Scotland returned more Tory MP’s the SNP ones, that trend could reverse in the be real 23 years. Our UK is an historic representative democracy, the mother of all parliaments. It is through this amazing partnership of citizens and constituent countries that people in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland (and some significant parts of northern England), benefit from extensive pooling and sharing of resources, enabling the nationwide provision of essential and modern welfare and services from Land’s end to John O’Groat’s, ensuring those in remote and rural areas can enjoy the benefits of an advanced society.

There are nationalist tendencies and separatist movements in all constituent countries, we should be forever mindful that these people are naturally blind to the greater good and the notion of shared citizenship. Not all Scots are nationalists, not all English people espouse nationalism and are grudging of UK wide support – we need to ensure nationalists notion of “independence” does not harm that greater good facilitated by the UK.

As a nation (though not a state), Scotland has an undoubted right to national self-determination. So far, it has exercised that right twice. Firstly joining and remaining in the Union for over 300 years, then secondly In 2014., under a democratic one person one vote (massive turnout) referendum, Scotland chose to stay as the UK.

Should Scots in future (as a properly mandated majority) determine on independence, no English party or politician would stand in their way, however much the rest of the UK might be saddened by and regret their departure.

What the Scots cannot do however, is to insist upon their own terms for remaining in the Union, regardless of the views of others. Nor could they alone determine the inevitably debilitating terms of a future divorce or avoid any share of national responsibility.

BREXIT

The advent of Brexit has focused the UK once again on constitutional matters, with some Scots erroneously classing the voting pattern in Scotland as a Scottish vote. It wasn’t, it was a UK wide vote, as democratic, as important and as binding as the Scottish independence referendum. It is worth remembering that the Remain vote in Scotland had a low comparative turnout to the rest of the UK, over one million Scots voted leave and turnout was well down on the rest of the UK.

No matter your personal views on Brexit, it is clear that it will happen, and with that clarity, it is highly likely Scotland separated from a non EU UK, would face an even tougher (and unnecessary) future outside.

EU

It is clear Scotland would have to apply to join the EU under current accession rules, The Acquis, adopt the “Stability & Growth Pact”, the “Excessive Deficit Procedure” plus move, at some stage, towards the Euro. It will also need to abide by the “Schengen Agreement” while leaving its largest market (UK) using the Brexit outcome trade resolution, without the benefit of current UK EU opt outs.

Considering Scottish deficits of recent years (9% of GDP) and the failure of oil prices to get anywhere near the unrealistic SNP forecasted $113, would iScot expect to pay in or take support (Barnett style) from the EU? At what level? If it expects to pay in or be neutral, how? What significant tax & spend choices would it make to balance the books. Note accession criteria required deficit levels at 3% of GDP and Borrowing (debt) at less than 60% GDP – current Scottish levels are 9% and 100% respectively.
Contemplate the reductions in spending and increases in taxation to close those considerable gaps.

The EU situation is of course, without considering the considerable post separation issues of set up costs (£10 Billion conservatively), debt share (Yes, we would be responsible for 8.3% of UK debt) future debt interest charges, possible UK capital flight plus any UK trade reductions due to Brexit outcomes with the EU.

To consider leaving the UK when it has yet to resolve it’s Brexit negotiations seems folly, incredibly risky with totally uncertain outcomes, will the EU member states vote unanimously to admit Scotland? There is no safety net and no turning back if we separate.

VAT

Are we ready for significant changes to a myriad of small but important aspects of daily life by choosing (if they want us) the EU over the UK? Take VAT, the list below is our current zero rated items under UK EU special conditions;

Social housing; printed books (excluding e-books); journals and other printed materials; renovations to private housing; collections of domestic refuse; household water supplies; basic foodstuffs (excluding highly processed or pre-cooked food); some take away food; cut flowers and plants for food production; prescribed pharmaceutical products; certain medical supplies; domestic passenger transport; children’s clothing and footwear; live animals destined for human consumption; seed supplies; construction of residential buildings; some supplies for the construction of new buildings; sewerage services; motor cycle and bicycle helmets; intra-community and international passenger transport; some gold ingots, bars and coins.

Here is what a new EU entrant gets;

Intra-community and international transport (excluding road transport). In other words, nothing escapes VAT and only two “items” can be between 5% & 15%, which is the minimum.

“Zero rate derogation
Some goods and services are “zero-rated”. The zero rate is treated like a positive rate of tax calculated at 0%. Supplies subject to the zero rate are still “taxable supplies”, that is, they count as having VAT charged on them. In the UK, examples include most food, books, medications, and certain kinds of transport. The zero rate is not featured in the EU Sixth Directive as it was intended that the minimum VAT rate throughout Europe would be 5%. However, zero-rating remains in some member states, most notably the UK and Ireland, as a legacy of pre-EU legislation. These member states have been granted a derogation to continue existing zero-rating but cannot add new goods or services. An EU Member State may uplift their domestic zero rate to a higher rate, for example to 5% or 20%, however, EU VAT rules do not allow a reversal back to the Zero rate once it has been given up. Interestingly, Member States may institute a reduced rate on a previously zero rated item even where EU law does not provide for a reduced rate, however if a Member State makes an increase from a zero rate to the prevalent standard rate, they may not then decrease down to a reduced rate unless specifically provided for in EU VAT Law (Annexe III of EU Dir 2006/112 list sets out where a reduced rate is permissible).”

INDYREFX? NO THANKSX

There is no doubt Scotland could “go it alone”, survive, with or without the UK or the EU. Given decades it might even prosper – but at what intervening cost and misery, with what certainty other than hope? The real question is why should it? Because we voted differently to our fellow citizens? Don’t family members vote differently from time to time? How would it manage and develop in the next 40 years, grow its economy and protect its people given its current setup and western macro economics? – the cost in human terms would be substantial, our youth’s opportunities curtailed and their futures cast into doubt. I worry that many nationalists are in love with the idea of false freedom, a false dream that blinds them to the magnitude of problems and complexities that separation would incur.

Some Scots opine about the perceived democratic deficit, their point is confusing, obtuse even, not only did we elect 59 MP’s to Westminster but we have our own devolved parliament with it’s enhanced powers and MSP’s. Some Scots say Scotland’s voice is not heard, they are incorrect, they need to ensure that what they say is relevant for the UK, not just a small section of it. Giving up the UK family and swapping 59 MP’s in the UK for just 6 MEP’s in the EU seems a very retrograde step, inflicting the worst possible democratic defect on ourselves.


Polling since the Scottish independence referendum has seen no significant uplift in sentiment for separation, the SNP, who insisted the independence referendum was a one off opportunity, have indicated a required level of 60% support in the polls for a twelve month period. This hasn’t happened, seems highly unlikely to happen – especially considering the SNP lost its majority in HR16.

Long may the successful partnership of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland prosper.

Ps. This post was inspired by this quotation;

Thatcher on Scottish independence.

“If [the Tory Party] sometimes seems English to some Scots that is because the Union is inevitably dominated by England by reason of its greater population. The Scots, being an historic nation with a proud past, will inevitably resent some expressions of this fact from time to time. As a nation, they have an undoubted right to national self-determination; thus far they have exercised that right by joining and remaining in the Union. Should they determine on independence no English party or politician would stand in their way, however much we might regret their departure. What the Scots (not indeed the English) cannot do, however, is to insist upon their own terms for remaining in the Union, regardless of the views of the others.”

Nothing to see here

Great view on nationalists refusal to accomodate economic reality and their nefarious abuse of GERS https://medium.com/@blairmcdougall/nothing-to-see-here-please-disperse-17c280b9dc01#.qwcvd2qu7

Why Scotland Can’t Afford The EU

From Mike Denham at the Adam Smith Institute AdamSmith.Org

Mike’s Article Reprinted below;

In the immediate aftermath of the EU Referendum the SNP reopened the issue of Scottish independence, arguing that since Scotland voted to remain, it should become independent and continue its membership of the EU. It’s since become clear that automatic continuation would not be permitted, so Scotland would have to apply from scratch. However, any application would expose a fundamental problem – that its economy and public finances are in no fit state to join.

All new applicant countries must accept the 35 chapters of the EU acquis, including a commitment to join the Euro at some point, and adherence to the Growth and Stability Pact. That imposes two fiscal rules – that government deficits are kept below three percent of GDP, and government debt below 60 percent. Scotland fails both tests. Its deficit last year was 9.4 percent of GDP, over three times the limit, and substantially higher than any existing EU member including Greece. Its debt was around 90 percent, less excessive but still be way too high.

True, other countries have been admitted to EU membership and the Euro despite being in breach of the Pact. Cyprus and Malta were in breach of both rules when they joined, and before that Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece all joined the Euro while in breach. However, subsequent events have highlighted the risk of such concessions, both to the applicant country and to existing members. On top of that, Scotland’s fiscal record since devolution has been abysmal, with deficits every single year – even when the oil price was at record highs.

The reality is that Scotland is living well beyond its means and its finances have only been propped up by its continuing subsidy under the Barnett Formula. To have any chance of EU membership an independent Scotland would first need to balance the books. And whereas a rebound in oil prices might once have helped, the North Sea is now heavily depleted with production down by two-thirds since its peak. Onshore tax increases are a possibility, but the required scale would be deeply damaging to the economy (eg a doubling in VAT or the standard rate of income tax). More realistically, Scotland could and should cut its high level of public spending, which continues to run 20 percent above English levels.

Of course, the situation would be transformed if Scotland’s economy could be strengthened, and the SNP have appointed a Growth Commission to come up with proposals. It should start by recognising that the burden of public spending needs to be reduced, and that needs to happen whether or not Scotland seeks independence and EU membership.
For more detail see Scotland’s Overspending Problem, TaxPayers Alliance, October 2016

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