THE REAL QUESTION. CAN ENGLAND SURVIVE WITHOUT US?

The treasury in London.

The Sunday read, a guest article from Ian Gourlay. Well written it is backed up with factual information and sources, it is literally an ammunition dump for arguments to support Scottish Independence. Sit down with a tea or a coffee. Enjoy!


Having retired I can relate to now having time to take a long look into subjects. It’s an unexpected ‘pleasure’ of getting older (yes the results can be very enlightening but also disheartening, but as a friend joked, no matter the outcome at least you won’t die stupid). This email  turned out to be a much longer than I’d intended, but trying to discuss a complex issue such as independence, does require highly relevant information to back up any claims. The use of staggeringly simplistic (ie meaningless at best, lies at worst) slogans that are not backed up with any detailed explanations, such as “Brexit means brexit” and “Take back control” are best left with the unionists. 

For quite a few years I’ve been amazed at the lack of fight back against claims that Scotland can’t afford to become independent, when even with my limited economic knowledge back then, I knew England was in no place to talk about Scotland not being able to afford becoming independent.

The comparisons over years (often decades) between the UK & our northern neighbours highlighted this while also providing reasons as well. My go to site for this information was – https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/compare-countries/   GDP per capita became the primary comparative measure with smallish nations from Iceland to Austria. To balance this, the Gini Inequality gave it some realism within the bias that GDP has. Other issues could be looked at as both cause of the UK’s significantly lower level of wealth (eg R&D % spend, Capital investment %) and the consequences (eg Doctors & Physiotherapists per 1,000 people). In all of these the UK was worst, year after year.

Perhaps though the most important measure is how the UK pays or doesn’t pay it’s way in the world – it’s current account or trade balance. This turned negative in the 1980’s and has relentlessly declined since then. For me this is the one chart that highlights what the future of the UK will be like. A trade deficit is unsustainable in the long run and the consequences will eventually come home to roost as dictated by others. ‘in countries that are spending a lot more abroad than they are taking in, the current account is the point at which international economics collides with political reality’ & ‘Does it matter how long a country runs a current account deficit? When a country runs a current account deficit, it is building up liabilities to the rest of the world that are financed by flows in the financial account. Eventually, these need to be paid back. Common sense suggests that if a country fritters away its borrowed foreign funds on spending that yields no long-term productive gains, then its ability to repay—its basic solvency—might come into question’ – https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/basics/current.htmhttps://archive.is/dIH4B#selection-2025.0-2025.204https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/timeseries/hbop/pnbp The UK’s long term deficit is already being flagged internationally. The Moody’s country rating for the UK has been reduced five times since2012 from Aaa to Aa3. Despite all this, the UK’s delusions continue –

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, said:

The UK is an exporting superpower

 Belatedly it now seems clear to me that the creation of the British Empire was the foundation of Britains wealth and also, despite clear evidence to the contrary, for the continued belief that the UK is still a global economic power. The studies showing for example a very different light on what India contributed financially to Britain (£45 trillion) differs hugely from the traditional history of the British Empire, one that usually promotes a specifically non financial history. That is not by accident nor is because the financial side wasn’t important. As one author put it – ‘In the mid-sixteenth century, England was a small and relatively insignificant kingdom on the periphery of Europe’, from the book  ‘How England’s Merchants Founded America and Launched the British Empire’.


The question is then, how did England/Britain become so wealthy since the sixteenth century. Being at the forefront of industrialisation clearly played a large role in how Britain became wealthy, not least in the creation of a massive navy, but utilising the resources and preferential market access to other nations probably played a much larger role. As George Orwell said “An empire is primarily a money making concern”. Given that the wealth of England/Britain took off when the empire was being created and that the decline of the empire in the mid 20th century did likewise to it’s wealth, the corelation between wealth and empire seems to be the primary one. The £45 trillion calculated to have been taken from India before it became independent puts a quantitiative valuation that supports this, as do other financial figures.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_British_Empire 

These figures don’t even include non empire nations such as China whom through forced opium ‘sales’ Britain also gained massive wealth. ‘Britain and other European countries undertook the opium trade because of their chronic trade imbalance with China. There was tremendous demand in Europe for Chinese tea, silks, and porcelain pottery, but there was correspondingly little demand in China for Europe’s manufactured goods and other trade items. Consequently, Europeans had to pay for Chinese products with gold or silver. The opium trade, which created a steady demand among Chinese addicts for opium imported by the West, solved this chronic trade imbalance’ – https://www.britannica.com/topic/opium-trade 

Clearly the empire and it’s forced economic control of other nations provided the backbone of Britains wealth during it’s empire years/centuries, something that came to an end seventy five years ago. The economic story of the British empire shows that apart from an early start in industrialisation (one that was rapidly lost), there was no inherent quality about Britain that led to it’s great wealth. Simply put, for centuries Britain was massively subsidised by other nations – the empire nations, and when that stopped in the mid 20th century, the real economic decline of Britain began. The UK has not adjusted to this new reality. It’s archaic institutions and way of thinking guarantees it’s unwillingingness to change and therefore the decline can be expected to continue. 

For me, Scotland becoming independent would allow it the chance to become like any of our dozen or so European neighbours in terms of wealth, equality and well being. Remaining in the UK would I think, ruin Scotland since I think that England is nowhere near ready to adjust to the modern world and is destined to decline into a very dark place. This is what haunts me most about Scotland not becoming independent and why I despair at the lack of push back when the UK states that Scotland couldn’t afford to be independent. Scotland is one of the few places still subsidising England in various ways.

England doesn’t understand or among those in power, admit that the empire was the primary source of it’s wealth and that ever since the empire ended, the ‘UK’ has been living on memories that never existed, ones of Britains/Englands inherent greatness. The UK’s trade balanace deficit since 1985 highlights the reality of this mentality. Since then, the UK has not been paying it’s way in the world and that is unsustainable. The UK is living on borrowed time. So what about now and how would Scotland and England fare as independent nations. Figures from 2020 shows Scotland exports at £26 billion and imports at £20 billion, a surplus of £6 billion. I assume these don’t include inter UK imports and exports.  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/968005/RTS_Q4_2020.pdf 

Using figures from 2013 – ‘The most recent Scottish government figures, not including oil and gas, show Scotland sold £50.5bn in goods and services to the rest of the UK in 2013. The rest of the UK sold £62.7bn in goods and services to Scotland’. That leaves a deficit of £12 billion. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-28916642 However the figures for what rUK sold to Scotland in 2013 from another source shows this figure to be £53 billion, almost £10 billion less than that quoted on the BBC, resulting in a trade deficit of £2.5 billion. https://www.statista.com/statistics/348525/scotland-imports-origin-uk/ Interestingly, if Scotland imports around £53 billion from rUK and the UK exports to United States were US$57.72 billion in 2020 (£41 biliion), which includes exports from Scotland to the US, Scotland must therefore be rUK’s biggest export market. The UK hint that they could hinder trade with an independent Scotland is a political bluff, although as with Brexit, the UK’s capacity for self harm is clearly very significant. Still, if the choice between electricity from Scotland or Yorkshire Puds from rUK, the importance seems pretty clear.  https://tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/exports-by-country I have no idea how reliable these figures and clearly it would be good to have as solid figures as is possible. However as seen with Ireland, the rapid move away from UK markets to EU ones shows that any post independence focus in Scotland is likely to be international rather than with the UK. 

Ireland – Indy PosterBoy

 With regards to the UK and England in particular, the UK’s current account deficit has existed and relentlessly got worse since 1985. The ‘regional’ trade figures show that in the UK, only Scotland has a strong positive international trade balance. England has a huge international trade deficit. Clearly England faces a huge challenge to get control over it’s trade balance, for if it doesn’t, it faces a looming financial crisis sooner or later.

It avoided such a crisis in 1976 probably due to North Sea oil, but the severe conditions that were part of a bailout loan from the IMF suggest that such actions would be harsh when they happen again. The British empire effect continues to delude too many in England and sadly also in Scotland, that the UK is still a powerful economic ‘nation’ and inherently has been for centuries, while the economic reality is that it’s wealth was temporary and built upon taking massive wealth from colonial nations. It ended after ww2 which was when, unsurprisingly endless economic crisis became the norm in the UK. This has not been widely promoted anywhere in the UK. 

The true economic position of the UK (and England in particular) is that since the mid 1980’s it started having to sell off public assets to balance it’s international debts and that is not sustainable. The UK is not paying it’s way in the world and an economic crisis is inevitable. As Jim Rogers said when discussing Scottish independence, ‘without Scottish oil, Little England doesn’t have much to sell to the outside world’. Exactly.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYzvUpoRsCU Looking at the balance of trade figures, Scotland is clearly in a much stronger balance of trade position than the UK.

‘Losing’ Scotland would therefore be economically disasterous for the UK which no doubt why it is fought against so vehemently. The argument that Scotland can’t afford to be independent is truly an Orwellian phrase.  The consequences for Scotland remaining in the UK however are clearly far too serious for the push for independence not to be made in the most clear and robust terms. It frightens me when I hear comments from Scots basically saying what the UK says

. I appreciate that the history of wealth or economics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it lies at the heart of why Scotland should become independent and why it needs to break away from UK controls. The saying ‘the truth shall set you free’ has never been so true. For the unionists it’s more a case of ‘ignorance is strength’. I wouldn’t propose using Britain’s status as a subsidised ‘nation’ nor it’s clearly evident economic decline since it’s post colonial days after 1945 to be a first line of attack in arguing for an independent Scotland, but what I would expect is that as soon as and every time the unionist’s come out with their lies attacking Scotland’s ability to be independent, then the full blast of Britain’s glorious economic subsidy dependency & subsequent economic decline once that ended, should be be made crystal clear.

The information is there to support the case that it isn’t Scotland that can’t afford independence, it’s rUK. GERS is proof of the union’s maliciousness and malicious intent in financial matters. The public finances are important but I suspect that the trade figures are much more important, and here lies Scotland’s greatest strength and rUK’s greatest weakness. Time to expose and call rUK’s bluff.  England last stood on it’s own two feet back in the 16th century. After that it was subsidised by other nations up until the mid 20th century. I don’t know if a figure can be placed on what this subsidy transfer would have been worth in total for all nations whose wealth was diverted to Britain up until that date. India £45 trillion. China ?, Iraq ?, others? Whatever the figure, it will be massive and it explains why England/Britain was wealthy beyond what it otherwise would have been.

But it was never sustainable and now all of the UK has to learn to stand on their own two feet. I simply don’t see England being capable of that as the economic figures show, let alone the cultural hamsting effect of it’s continued delusions about it’s place in the world. The sad thing with this is that a Scotland within the UK will at best only slow down the UK’s continued decline. To avoid that disaster for me is why Scotland need’s to become independent. The negatives of staying in the UK need to become much more prominent.

The unionists aren’t shy with their lies about Scotland. It’s time Scotland exposed the UK’s historical economic dependence on others and recent abysmal trade account deficit, along with the delusional madness of a “Take Back Control” mentality. That it is England that can’t afford to be independent explains what Scotland is up against in trying to become independent. The UK is playing a huge bluff in stating that Scotland can’t afford to be independent. It’s the UK’s economic future that looks very bleak, with or without Scotland. An independent Scotland’s looks promising. An independent England looks truly dire and to me this explains the unionist’s dilema and also their strident false claims about Scotland’s independence. 

  I hope Alba tackle this effectively and don’t allow the dumbing down so loved by unionist’s to prevail or consider this to be too negative. I have sent my views to them but have no idea of whether they are viewed by them as important. Getting the economic facts about Britain, Scotland and England out there is essential for people to be able to make an informed decision. Leave the lies & flippancy to those that have nothing more to offer than a bluff. It looks like Brexit may help people get over their acceptance of political bluff and start to look at economic matters. There’s nothing like empty supermarkets to make people wake up.

The choice over independence is much starker than most people realise. It’s also a much more straightforward choice than has been suggested so far. Scottish independence is about three futures not one. Firstly Scotland as an independent nation, secondly Scotland continuing to be within the UK as now (or worse), and thirdly that of an independent rUK (England in reality). Due to economic realties, the unionist Establishment’s main motivation is to avoid the last of these at all costs, but this outcome is hidden under the lies of how Scotland couldn’t afford independence. We can’t ignore this fact since within it is the truth about the case for Scotland’s independence and how the UK will fight against it. 

All the economic factors point to one thing – prosper in an independent Scotland or continued decline as part of the UK. The future of an independent England is something for those in England to determine.  In 2014 the UK had no positive case for the union other than empty phrases. It had plenty of economic lies about an independent Scotland though. The UK started a fight by endlessly repeating lies about the economics of independence and hiding their own non-existent case for the UK. So next time (if we even need a next time), we should get the pro’s about Scotland’s economy out there alongside the cons of remaining in the union, all based on economic numbers that can be verified.

Let the UK continue to ignore their pro case for the UK (which they don’t have anyway) and resume their lies and slogans. I doubt the side of a bus approach will work when faced with a real argument. Brexit BS is likely to have ended that tactic’s usefulness. Most of all, the gloves need to come off. Make the unionist’s try to defend their economic position. What effect would this have on the very significant number of English born people that now live in and continue to move to Scotland in large numbers? It’s hard to say but it does highlight the need to make sure that voting rights, if that’s the chosen route, are not weakened by those that have outdated and hard to change views of both Scotland and the UK simply because of where they were born and brought up. The need for a fair franchise is overwhelming. We will never prosper as a colony, as the rest of the Empire discovered before us.

Ian Gourlay.

MY COMMENTS

Ian has put a lot of work into compiling this information and I thank him for it. i also like his attitude that we must be confident, robust and aggressive in making the case for Independence. We have the ammunition, loads of it, we just need a widespread assault by as many people as possible, at all levels, until we finally breakthrough.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.

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40 thoughts on “THE REAL QUESTION. CAN ENGLAND SURVIVE WITHOUT US?

  1. In 2014 I wondered to myself how the trade imbalance was financed. I discovered eventually it is the bloated financial services sector which does it. Their role in international investment means the City Of London owns or controls assets of around 3 times the size of the UK GDP. It is the liquidation of those over time, as profits are repatriated, which finances the deficit. So you are looking at about a 30 year limit on the day of reckoning. archive.is/jq3yy

    Liked by 11 people

  2. Really interesting, and we need to share this and share it. The ruthless bullying that it reveals is also something that needs to be emphasised, as we have so often simply accepted the first symptoms displayed by the bully, that of denigration of the skills and talents of their victims and the arrogant assumption of superiority. And we are accepting it still, in the language our ‘leaders’ use in communication with Westminster. We ‘ask’ we ‘reason’ we plead our cause. Bullies do not and never have responded to such overtures. But ignoring them and making your own way despite them? That works. (Can be painful for a while…)

    Liked by 10 people

  3. I always liked the story circulated in the run up to the Referendum.

    Scotland goes for a meal with England. Scotland has a light snack while England gorges on several courses.
    England then suggests they split the Bill. Reluctantly Scotland hands over half the cost of the meal in cash. England then pockets the cash and put the Bill on his credit card. The next month, and the months thereafter England sends Scotland a demand for half the interest charge on his card for “Their” meal.

    England spends on themselves and demands our payment share – they allocate without agreement.

    GERs is that simple – we are allocated the interest on England’s lifestyle and spending choices.

    Trident replacement, House of Commons renewal, London Sewer upgrade, CrossRail, Thames Barrier, M25, Aircraft Carriers, HS2 etc etc – England gorges at the table and then allocates the cost share to us.
    We don’t even get credit for supplying the food ( the Oil & Gas Revenue)

    Unfortunately our Renewables and Fresh Water potential will be taken like the Oil and Gas to keep England in the lifestyle it has become accustomed. ( We are the last stupid victim at the table – all the other “guests” have left).

    The previous Empire guests have never begged for an invite back to the table.

    Liked by 15 people

    1. What a perfect little analogy Clootie thank you !
      Very interesting,persuasive article which I will reread several times Ian.Thank you

      Liked by 6 people

  4. “I appreciate that the history of wealth or economics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it lies at the heart of why Scotland should become independent and why it needs to break away from UK controls.”

    There is little doubt that England needs Scotland, as Ian Gourlay points out: and Scotland will go down the tubes as part of the UK. However, I am not convinced that cold facts and figures will on their own inspire ordinary Scots to support the restoration of full self-government for this nation.

    As Ian himself admits it is difficult to get reliable statistical and financial data regarding what comprises the “Scottish economy”. As happened in 2014 we run the risk of providing the British Unionists and Nationalists (BUNS) with umpteen opportunities to pull apart the detail thus creating doubt and uncertainty about . We’d be on the back foot (again) rather than on the offensive.

    In my opinion the heart of the matter relates to what I call “the 3Ds” namely,

    Democracy – you get the government that you vote for
    Decency – society constituted according to our own traditions, customs, values and principles
    Dignity – we act on our own behalf accepting the consequences (good and bad) of these decisions

    I think it would be good to point, in general terms, that we have been ripped off like all the other colonies and dominions of the British Empire. All we need to so is state that we have got unbelievable natural resources on our doorstep – oil (95% of all UK), gas (60% of all UK), whisky (UK’s 3 export earner by value for the last 30 years), renewables (25% of Euope’s wind, tidal and wave power needs), fresh water and so on and so forth.

    Keep it general. Don’t give the opposition opportunity and don’t switch off our own folk.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I agree that your three Ds are important. However, when talking to ‘Don’t Know’ or ‘No’ at a street stall you need more than that. You have to be able to lead them from ‘Too Poor’ to ‘Rich Enough’ by asking them what their greatest concern is and leading them through to the answer by getting them to answer their own questions. You need some economic background facts for that.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Reverse psychology also works. I always remember being with Jim Sillars and he was talking with this woman who was telling him Scotland couldn’t go it alone etc. Jim was nice but put his hand on her shoulder and said “I am sorry but you have given up. You are content to live the rest of your life as a second class citizen in your own country. Please excuse me I must try and speak with those who are still trying to bring about a better country” He then walked away. That woman trailed him through the centre saying “maybe I am wrong, maybe we could do something”. She had realised she had given up and now felt silly. She took one of my posters and later that night I passed her home and my poster had pride of place in her front window!

        Liked by 9 people

      2. Grouser:

        I am an economist and statistician. There are always economic facts and damned statistics. They don’t inspire the ordinary person. And there are lost of interpretation of these so called facts and numbers.

        The approach did not work in 2014. Why would it work now?

        By all means explain that the country has been systematically asset stripped being part of the Union and our hopes and ambitions subjected to secondary status.

        But this must be at a high level. Arguing about how much more an individual would have in their pocket is an election issue … it will be dependent upon the government of the day. And there is no way you can guarantee what that would be in an independent Scotland.

        You need to raise awareness at a much higher level of the duplicity and deceitfulness of the Union.

        Liked by 6 people

    2. I have been engaging recently with ‘ordinary people’ – sounds patronising, I know, but what I mean is people who aren’t members of a political party and declare themselves to be ‘not political’. However, tentatively mention the present situation and I have found usually a torrent of criticism, much of it cogent and bitter about the way the pandemic is being run, lack of accountability of politicians – in fact, extreme distrust of both governments’ conduct. (Actually, quite a lot of political awareness from people who claim to be apolitical.)

      I know my random samplings are hardly an exhaustive analysis and anecdotal but I found a strong sense of betrayal among those individuals in what used to be called the working class and a feeling of angry impotence. They are aware, even if they don’t have statistics to hand, that they and Scotland are being ripped off and there’s a desire to see the whole conduct of both governments’ pandemic policy being subjected to judicial scrutiny including the disaster of the care homes at the beginning of the pandemic, the scandal of awarding contracts for PPE, the continuing poor supply of same, the inequalities in the NHS etc. They also despair of anyone being held to account for all of these failings. I don’t know, obviously, how widespread these sentiments are but they expressed them with confidence as commonly held views.

      Perhaps not engaging at all with the working people of this country and becoming an entrenched middle class party might be the Achilles heel for the present SNP yet. Their membership seems to consist almost entirely of the middle class now, like the university-educated careerists within their ranks, both politicians and SPADS. It has become a career structure for university graduates, a pathway to a secure well-remunerated future which includes the charities. I suspect the actual members of the SNP who pay their dues are also mainly middle class and status quo-minded which is the reason for their continuing loyalty.

      As others have said, it’s very much like New Labour who divided their working class voters into the worthy and unworthy – the ‘hard-working poor’ and the ‘underclass’. We all know where that led. The disdain is palpable, revealed in a recent tweet in which Alba was described as having done the independence cause a favour for taking the ‘toxic’ independence voters away from the SNP. How’s that for over-weening arrogance heading for a fall? Like New Labour, they have assumed that Scotland’s electorate is largely middle-class and the working class can be ignored. Well, we’ll see.

      Liked by 7 people

  5. An first class analysis of the importance of trade by Ian Gourlay. As someone who has worked in and researched the global maritime/shipping-ports (i.e. world trading) business for over 40 years I can readily confirm the importance of a people controlling their trade which is what gives them their wealth. It is no accident that the first thing any newly independent country does is to sort out its ports and international trading arrangements – which is the main mechanism colonialism had used to exploit and plunder a people.

    A couple of points. Scotland’s trade is substantial but under colonial rule it is plundered – sold cheap to the mother country who then intercepts the real value. It is also underdeveloped. This goes for whisky, oil/gas, renewable energy and anything else. Scotland’ key trading infrastructure – ports and airports – have also been sold off cheap to offshore private equity groups who likewise intercept the ‘rents’ but provide little in the way of new investment to boost competitiveness or exports.

    Scotland is also at the tail end of England’s logistics supply chain – so we source most of our retail spend via England’s distribution centers – over £100bn annually – which is double what we sell to England. Here the ‘real’ value of goods must be considered – colonial powers buy cheap from the colony and sell back to them high.

    I have long argued that Scotland needs a maritime policy and together with transport specialist Roy Pedersen I was tasked to prepare one for the SNP but they and their UK civil servants have opted to do nothing with it. Which means we can expect no change in what is an exploited and underdeveloped trading position in Scotland until independence, and even then only if our leaders grasp the reality that our economic future depends on trade – which also depends on what we do with our current obsolete and dysfunctional seaports and inadequate shipping and logistics arrangements.

    This paper sets out what needs to be done: http://reidfoundation.org/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

    And/ here a short maritime vision paper: https://grousebeater.wordpress.com/2021/09/06/a-maritime-vision/

    Liked by 13 people

    1. As usual excellent points from Alf Baird. How sad that our current politicians lack the vision and ambition to follow his excellent advice. Happy being controlled by the colonial power they fight over the scraps for master’s table, or do they even bother to do that these days. A Scottish education totally wasted on the lot of them. It fills me with disgust when I think of all that lost potential being squandered.

      Liked by 12 people

  6. It’s abundantly clear that England has lived outwith its means for centuries and offloads its responsibilities towards its debts on to everyone else, be it Scotland or India. “You can’t possibly afford to run your own affairs” really means “We can’t possibly afford for you to run your own affairs”.

    However, what has sickened me year on year is the Scottish Government’s tame acceptance of the prevailing narrative when the GERS figures are published. Year on year they demonstrate how Scotland pays disproportionately towards the UK’s debts; year after year the SNP says NOTHING about this. Why? Their silence makes no sense if they are as serious about independence as they claim to be.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Whilst the Union may not be dead its vital organs are expiring at an accelerating pace. It is time to leave before we too pay the ultimate price.

      As a member of the SNP I too had been perplexed by the lack of a SNP response with regard to GERS ever since reading a report on it from the late John Jappy. I am no longer a member of the SNP. Totally agree with your last comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. An excellent post revealing the true worth of Scotland,s assets though it should not only be about assets but should also be broadened to give a vision to the ordinary voter that if we were an Independent Nation with 100% control of these assets how we could improve life for all our citizens.It would mean the removal of not only Nuclear Submarines in Scotland but also the removal of far more basic things like foodbanks and soup kitchens.A disgraceful situation in one of the most asset rich countries in the world where some people have to make the choice of whether to eat or heat.In other words a decent standard of living for each and every citizen in an Independent Scotland. This is the message that we must get across to the ordinary voter,Yes we have ALBA now but it is everyones responsibility to inform the public not only of the assets that Scotland actually has but how best they can be utilised to provide a decent standard of living for us all. Independence is not only about being free to make our own choices but also about making wise choices that benefit us all not just the chosen few.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. “I wan’t a referendum when I know we can win one”, I was told yesterday in Glasgow city centre by a woman, an Independence activist, who handed me a well produced newspaper and a leaflet. When I replied that we’d most likely lose another referendum, the good woman, somewhat confused, asked me:”Why?”. While it’s likely most of us who visit Iain’s blog will realise the inherent dangers presented by the franchise in the case of a 2nd Indyref, the vast majority of Scots, including many of our supporters and activists, do not.

      Too often neglected: political-education requires much more attention and effort than the annual appointment of political education officers. Arguably then, the movement is still in it’s infancy regarding fundamental questions such as: What does Scottish independence actually mean: beyond the emotional level? By neglecting political education, apart from disillusioning those requiring much more substance, we have also failed to develop the necessary radicalised energy and edge required by any successful national liberation movement. I was heartened, by my interlocutor, though, when she readily agreed that Scotland had become little better than an English colony. Do please get-on-it Alba!

      Liked by 6 people

    2. I agree. Little point in talking about Nuclear Subs to some poor soul with an empty belly.

      Like

  8. It’s not just the Scots’ eyes which have to be opened to the facts so well described in this blog; the English people must also be informed. They must be advised to prepare themselves to become independent and capable of self- support without assistance from Scotland. Their politicians could drop the arrogance (for a start) and attempt to find a way to mitigate their future poverty. It won’t be easy for them as they’ve had over 300 years to steal from and look down their noses at the Scots but they have no other choice. I wish them good luck….. I think…..!

    Liked by 7 people

  9. Excellent article from Ian Gourlay and indeed comments from Alf and Clootie. Basically Scotland is being gaslight with the claims we are subsidised. The Empire asset stripped countries far and wide and now they are restricted to three with one really being the cash cow. That’s us btw! EVERY colony/country that achieved independence from Greater England was told it couldn’t survive without the benevolence of the mother country (sic). Guess what, they’ve thrived!

    Yes the three Ds are important but if the Colonisers are going to persist with the too poor nonsense then facts and figures like the ones above should be at our fingertips. I obviously don’t know if Alba will take note of what Ian has provided (but they should!). However perhaps he could contact Robin McAlpine and/or Stuart Campbell since both are involved with the Wee Alba Book.

    Liked by 9 people

  10. Brexit represents England’s rejection of its’ colonial legacy, and was encouraged by the far-right being platformed to punt racist propaganda, thereby stoking England’s cultural narcissism. There is now no sustainable future for Scottish culture and society, if we do not reclaim our legal identity. Along the resulting ability to make effective legal claims to legal rights.

    So we’ll need to overcome the regressive bigotry that characterises the legal practice of Scotland’s legal Establishment.

    The colonial remains of Brexit: Empire nostalgia and narcissistic nationalism
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17449855.2020.1818440

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Interesting series of articles there, Cameron. Thanks. Useful again to see how academics from other nations view the UK and not least what is revealed in regard to Brexit. I thought this was of interest, particularly in the context of Scotland’s colonial status these past 300+ years:

      “In his resignation letter as Foreign Secretary on July 9, 2018, Boris Johnson warned that Theresa May’s Brexit plan would reduce Britain to “the status of a colony” (Buchan 2018, n.p.). Johnson was not alone in ruminating on the perks of being or holding a “colony” – Tory backbenchers, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), and the Leave campaigners repeatedly, at times habitually, tapped into colonial nostalgia, conjuring images of a glorious imperial past of global dimensions. What was formulaic about Johnson’s projection was the sheer imaginary bankruptcy: a colonizer assuming the role of the colonized. “

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Thanks, I’m actually pleasantly surprised myself, that I’ve managed to re-connect with my professional training. Which is geared towards supporting international human rights law and sustainable international development.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. The Leave campaign certainly has a lot to answer for, given it was based on lies and bigotry. And leveraged by lots of dodgy money.

    cims.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/files/2021/01/Brexit-Retrotopia-and-the-perils-of-post-colonial-delusions(dot)pdf

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Can England survive without Scotland? We’ve had the NO in the first referendum, NO to being granted Independence, No to remain in E.U. No to section 30, No to another referendum. Now its Scotland’s turn to say to England NO!!!! YOU CAN’T survive without Scotland. Saor Alba WE WILL BE FREE.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. GERS was designed by the Tories to stymie Scottish independence, so by defending it you’re displaying your inner Tory. Do you really not support the principle of equality in law?

    Liked by 5 people

  14. @ Edwin Wine – would you please provide your – referenced recent analysis suggesting years of fiscal deficit or massive service reduction – so we can study the facts of the analysis.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. what england does after independence is their problem. We should be widening our trade links to reduce the proportion we do with england They are around 11 times our size in population and have London and the south east supporting the rest.

    Many exports are in services which are independent of transport. We should be widening and investing in these exports.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We should, indeed, be looking outwards, but that takes a certain confidence and the breaking of many old habits, neither of which I’ve seen much evidence of, unfortunately.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. You have tried this already and seem to have no sense of irony when it comes to accusing others of lack of critical thinking.

    GERS was designed to obfuscate so that trying to de-aggregate what is allocated to Scotland in terms of income and spend is an intricate puzzle. It was the ‘cunning plan’ of the then Secretary of State, the Tory, Ian Lang to thwart political opponents. It means it is wide-open to interpretation of the figures which is what was intended so that you can be selective in what you believe to be the case. You obviously choose to believe that Scotland is uniquely, after 300 years of Union, a poor relation in economic terms propped up by a benevolent and wealthy England. But that’s because of your political bias, having been wholly captured by your identification with England so why would anyone even bother trying to argue you out of a position of faith? Pointless.

    And don’t try the other old fall-back position which is that GERS is issued each year by the SNP government. Despite some half-hearted attempt to get some sense in the presentation, the usual situation of the SNP is just to accept what has been drawn up by their civil servants ( who also happen to be UK civil servants ). We have no reason to trust Nicola Sturgeon any more than Whitehall over this. ( She has now got Nicholas Macpherson on board as an adviser. Remember him? Permanent Secretary to the Treasury who led the Treasury propaganda campaign in the 2014 referendum and was credited with damaging the independence campaign? Now says that he accepts Scotland could be independent? No, I wouldn’t trust him either.)

    The fact that Sturgeon’s government doesn’t even try to argue against the way GERS figures are compiled is more to do with the murky motives of her government in trying to drive down any independence momentum. GERS is helpful to her personal ambitions. You should be a fan. This conversation ends here. Personally, I’m tired of this happening every GERS Groundhog day. Someone always pops up with these same articles of faith.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. >>I appreciate that the history of wealth or economics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea

    It’s a subject that becomes more and more interesting the more you dig into what is really going on. Ian is bang on, the empire was the making of Britain, and a certain segment of Scottish society made money out of it for a while, but the end of the empire should have been the union’s undoing. I can only wonder that too many of us have become British by belief, and brainwashed into thinking that Scotland in 2021 is in the same economic and political situation as Scotland in 1697.

    The rest of North Europe was relatively poor in bygone times, but look at them now: Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Finland. When will we wake up to Scotland’s potential?

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I must agree with you here. The Rest of the UK will soon go after Scottish Independence and England will collapse economically. The big problem will come after independence when Scotland joins the EU. England is now on a slippery slope to Fascism and it’s own destruction. However Scotland will be fine after independence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not when but if, Scotland re-joins the EU. It will be for the people of Scotland via the ballot box to decide. First thing we need is a Constitution as proposed (or similar to) by Dr. Mark McNaught.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Countries dont have constitutions, corporations do. If we become independent we should not then re burden ourselves with an out of control public service provider. Gladiatorial politics that we have now called democracy is part of the problem. Why cant we just elect people to work in our collective interest and forget about party politics. Party politics in a parliament are un democratic when one leader can “whip” their party to vote against their conscience.

        Liked by 1 person

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