OBR – Osborne’s basketcase reasons

I’m still struggling with the premise of the Unionist argument against Full Fiscal Autonomy. When the UK runs a deficit, this is normal, but if Scotland were to do it it would be the end of civilisation as we know it and fiscalmageddon. We’d be so poor that we’d have to sleep in a drawer alongside Jim Murphy, and you’d all be sorry then Scottish nationalist types. You wouldn’t even be able to afford the bill for the counselling you’d require because the NHS won’t cover it. Funny how no one asks whether the UK and its permadecifit can afford to be fiscally autonomous. Apparently that’s different – just because – right. Now shut up and eat your wheatos.

Clearly, like the country I come from, I’m too stupid to understand why we’re too poor and too wee. Not like the OBR, which is supposed to stand for the Office for Budget Responsibility but where Scotland is concerned really stands for Osborne’s Basketcase Reasons. Osborne’s Basketcases can always give Reasons why Scotland is too wee too poor and too stupid.

Entirely coincidentally and totally independently, the OBR has produced some more figures showing how basketcasish Scotland is on the very day that the SNP table an amendment to the Scotland Bill to give Scotland Full Fiscal Autonomy. See all that oil in the North Sea? Well now it’s worth three buttons, two five Euro cent coins from the back of the sofa, and an ocean of sneers from the UK media. You’ll have had your North Sea bonanza then, and it’s all been spent on tax cuts for rich people, transport infrastructure for London, and editorials in the Tory press telling Scotland it ought to be grateful. We should be feeling suitably chastised by now.

In what was described as a significant blow against Scotland’s hopes for Full Fiscal Autonomy, the OBR has revised its forecast for oil taxation revenues from £37 billion to a mere £2 billion, downgrading their previous predicition by a factor of 17.5. Which if you ask me sounds rather more like a significant blow against the prediction credibility of the OBR.

Whether Scotland can afford FFA depends in no small part on what Scotland will be spending its money on. Let’s leave aside the fact that the Unionist parties appear to believe that under FFA Scotland would still be paying a share of England only projects like the high speed railway line between London and Birmingham, London Crossrail, and the lovely new London sewer. Let’s leave aside that the financial arguments are predicated on a fiscally autonomous Scotland maintaining Tory spending plans. Let’s leave aside the unseemly pleasure they take from the supposed fact that they have left the country that they have governed for decades a helpless basketcase which can’t pay it’s own way in the world. Labour and the Tories ruled Scotland for decades, they gloat about how poor Scotland is, and then they wonder why people don’t want to vote for them. Now that’s the Unionist version of too wee too poor stupid, a special kind of small minded poverty of spirit stupid.

But that’s not what gets me. Even that heady hypocrisy is not what gets my goat and makes me hurl a shoe at the telly in a howl of helplessness. What really gets me is the Groundhog Day of it all, the never ending circularity of pointless mediocrity. The grinding round and down of the Westminster millstone on Scottish expectations. We are constantly told that we have an unsustainable deficit and Scotland’s is greater and less sustainable than most. And having produced this state of affairs the Unionists cry that this is precisely the reason why things should forever remain unchanged and the people who lumbered us with this unsustainable deficit should keep their jobs and keep producing the unsustainability. Producing unsustainability is apparently the only thing that the Unionist parties can reliably sustain.

The Unionist parties offer no way out of this cycle of despair and circle of hell. They have no small ideas, never mind big ones. There are no dreams, no plans, no proposals, not even a whiff of a suggestion. There is nothing in their box of miserabilist tricks which proposes a means of growing Scotland’s economy out of the dependency which they tell us they have created for us. There are no answers from them about our ageing population, about what to do when the oil runs out, or how to maintain our public services without the handouts they insist we need from London’s financial sector.

We’re too wee too poor and too stupid and are doomed to remain so for ever more. The Unionist parties need Scotland to remain in this lamentable state so that they can score rhetorical points off the SNP. It’s the politics of the infant school. On Thursday in the Scottish Parliament, the Labour party insisted that Scotland needs the price of oil to be US$200 million per barrel, or some such ludicrous figure. But then this is the party that told us that if they won the election they’d give Scotland 1000 more nurses than the SNP would, irrespective of how many the SNP paid for. So numeracy is clearly not their strong point.

There shouldn’t be any argument about this. Scotland has already voted in favour of full fiscal autonomy, or devo max or whatever it’s called these days. The electorate of Scotland put their crosses next to the SNP candidate. And by a peculiar quirk of fate, it’s the SNP which is the party that campaigned on a manifesto promising Scotland what the Unionist parties promised they’d give us in the frantic final days of the independence referendum.

Actually it’s not really a peculiar quirk of fate, it’s yet another consequence of the Unionist parties being lying manipulative gits who’ll promise absolutely anything and then renege on it. This is not unconnected with the reason why they got slaughtered in the election in Scotland. If they lie repeatedly about what they’re going to do in office, they can hardly complain that people in Scotland are increasingly disinclined to believe their dire warnings of full fiscal doom.

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42 comments on “OBR – Osborne’s basketcase reasons

  1. Austerity as a cure for deflation is like bleeding as a cure for anaemia. We’ve known that for over 80 years, and David Cameron, 1st Class Honours Oxford in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, knows it better than most.

    • gavin says:

      Read Amartya Sen’s exellent critique of austerity in the New Statesman.
      Its all stuff we know, but it seems to beyond the Britnats and their media “running dogs” to understand it.

  2. […] OBR – Osborne’s basketcase reasons […]

  3. Fillofficer says:

    FFS Paul. The way u explain it, I absolutely get it now. Simples. Why can’t we get out of this right effin now. UDI right now. So frustrating having to put up wi this pish on a daily basis. C’mon Nicola. Dae sumthin

  4. David Agnew says:

    I am sick to the back teeth of Britain. Its politics, its media, its endless carping, whining, sneering and smearing. It feels like a foreign power is ripping the pish out of us day in and day out. I am beginning to have an idea of what it must be like for small nations to have a larger one constantly interfere with its affairs. There is no oppression or troops on the streets, but I feel its soul sucking presence nonetheless.

    I remember saying, here and elsewhere that if there was a NO vote, the means with which it was achieved would make Scotland feel unwelcome in the union. This is one of these times I wish I had been wrong.

    I also said that No voters would come to be the dumbest feckers in the room. How true. Watch these dreary little nabobs line up to join in and gloat. Oblivious to the fact that a collapse in the price of oil is of far more consequence to the UK as it relies on the lions share of that wealth.

    The idea of still being British just makes me feel ill.

    • Alison Hardie says:

      Completely agree with you

    • Brian Fleming says:

      I think there was a lot less NO voters than we’ve been led to believe. i keep coming across cogently argued cases as to why the referendum was rigged. Another case of come on Nicola, dae sumthing?

    • I can’t argue with a single word of that. I am embarrassed that people the world over associate me with the UK because of passport (of someone else’s country) I am forced to carry in order to leave these shores. The thought of association with the British State and its imperialistic/capitalistic trappings today turns my very stomach and I am seriously considering not renewing my passport next year.
      This is only tempered by the possibility that I might need it to escape one day!
      My granny was born in Magherfelt in 1896 before the partition. Wonder if that could qualify me for an Irish one?😉

  5. Mumsy says:

    I’m with you on this one Paul. I am heartily sick of listening to how low a barrel of oil can go and fellow countrymen’s schadenfreude. Are some folk really so stupid they believe this tosh?? Surely eventually the penny will drop that the Establishment is all in on this and working in collaboration to undermine Scotland. It seems so obvious to me, surely everyone else can see it???

  6. macart763 says:

    Yeah, that oil…


    A tail of two headlines.

    For the UK? Its Christmas. For Scotland? Well the outlook not so bright apparently.

    Who knew?

    But then that’s Westminster politics and its trained to heel media for you. Duplicitous, deceitful, manipulative, each and every one, with a particular poverty of the soul that would make angels weep and that’s their good points.

    An establishment so proud of its achievement? An establishment that brought the economy of four nations to its knees and never seems to tire of telling its partners just how crap they would be without this masterful hand at the tiller. So, so proud…

    Well done chaps (slow clap), well done.

  7. daibhidhdeux says:

    Brit imperial state’s rapacious MO for generations across the globe: Beads for the natives in thieving exchange for their valuable assets whilst talking down any rational analysis to the contrary, ie, ripping the pish out of the said aboriginals should they beg to differ.

    Latest duplicitous ploy by UK HM Gov vis a vis Scotland (Alba), par for their buccaneering course given they always were thieving privateers utilizing snake-oil words teamed to thuggery from the get go.

    I stand in solidarity with their former colonies who eventually told them to fuck off (often at a tragic blood price deemed, in the balance, worth it to be rid of these thuggish, soul and blood sucking parasites).

    We don’t need to declare UDI.

    Simply abrogate the Treaty and subsequent Acts of Union on the basis that these bastards violated everything relating to them from their inception.

    The jurists can fandangle and try to finagle about on the details, but the fundamental thrust of things via the sovereign will of the people of Scotland is: “United Kingdom, your tea’s oot”.

    Hell and damnation on them for it’s long overdue.

  8. Janis says:

    Everything you said is absalutly correct, it’s just a pity lots of people don’t take the time to understand the deception. What is worrying a lot of people is what are the SNP going to do next. I have no stomach for another referendum. The way the last one went was dreadful. We have media, a Tory government with a red Tory opposition (I mean that loosely) ready to pull as many dirty tricks as last time. The SNP needs to find another way it independence and they need to start telling us. Starting with a manifesto for the Scottish parliament elections that gives a clear promise to progress quickly to UDI if we get a massive majority. We need a clear mandate from the Scottish people to say it’s UDI now. I think the SNP have some difficult decisions to make if they want to keep their support and use it to get independence for Scotland.

  9. Every day in the mainstream media is a groundhog pre-referendum day. This is a concerted propaganda war of attrition waged by the Unionists and Corporations (for it is easier to exploit those within your borders than without).

    I am no longer going to listen to their vile outpourings or get outraged by the endless commentariat analysis of it (or for that matter the bella caledonia theses that get published). That specific function is a waste of time and energy.

    There is absolutely no love in this hapless arranged marriage. It is not sustainable. This mp nonsense of folk like carmichael and murray and furry is all a pointless side show.

    Some ‘thing’ politically big beyond my knowing has to happen. Maybe it’ll be Europe, who knows. This bit by bit by bit accretive approach will never work. 56 SNP MPs? Beyond our wildest dreams and yet? And yet? Nada. Always to Westminster’s (ever-changing) rules of engagement.

    I am well and truly disenfranchised and well fucked off.

  10. Thanks Paul for putting into such clear words and phrases that which i have been feeling for so long now.

    I want Scotland to have FFA – and I mean all of it. All the tax from oil produced in Scotland, all the duty paid on spirits and beer produced in Scotland, all the business rates, all the VAT, etc.

    We will pay 10% of the costs of defence (excluding Trident as the SNP were elected on a clear manifesto opposing it) and 10% of the costs of foreign affairs until or unless we become fully independent. The rest is ours to do with as we see fit

    Will we be worse off? Possibly, especially in the short term. But we will also be grown up and responsible for the decisions we make, the direction we take and the money we spend and if we need to raise more money it will be up to us how we do that.

    The problems to solve will be ours alone – as will the solutions – and we will finally get out of the habit of blaming others for our situation. There will be no hiding places and it will help to focus minds.

    For me having FFA is one of the essences of being independent and we should all be pushing for it very hard indeed.

    • macart763 says:

      This is my feeling too. FFA does provide its own challenges and political/constitutional bear traps, not least of which is the fact that its still a devolved competence. However, once gained it becomes a two edged sword for Westminster in that such competence successfully exercised will leave a Scottish electorate asking itself a question. Why don’t we control our own foreign affairs and defence? It also becomes that much more difficult to remove from the Scottish electorate once gifted and exercised.

      Nationhood is about confidence. The more you exercise powers to your benefit, the more your confidence grows and consequently another barrier falls.

      • Smout says:

        Agree totally, it’s about confidence and that subsequent perception from others that self belief brings.

        I moved south of the border just before the second devo referendum (kept my yes, yes vote just long enough) but, for as long as I can remember, I have been envious of the Irish. All sorts of shite may have been hitting their fan but they were a people. The confidence was in stark contrast to our national psyche.

        Now, well since 2007 really, there is a different feel about Scotland. There is an air of confidence and well, a fuck you, we’re here attitude.

        Although still living firth of my land I now stand taller (not difficult, I am a smout) and, despite all the hate from the press down here, there is a new respect for Scots.

        Westminster may not be listening but South Wales and South West England are.

  11. Luigi says:

    Osbourne’s Basketcase Reasons – brilliant description! I hope it sticks. Paul, what about that other unionist tool, that other great “objective” institute, the IFS? Any ideas what those letters really stand for?

  12. arthur thomson says:

    Thank you for your post Paul. Like many others I find it thoroughly depressing to observe the deceit of the establishment. And I worry that too many Scots may yet be unable to comprehend what is happening. But then I think of the amazing outcome of the GE and I think that people are becoming more aware.

    We are trying to overcome massive odds and that is wearing and dispiriting but we have to once again gather our resolve. I understand how frustrated people are but we have to avoid the trap of trying to win by a single gesture like UDI. The goal of Scottish independence, in my view, is to benefit the Scottish people now and in the future. Creating the chaos that would come out of UDI would badly damage Scotland. The people who would be hurt would be the very people we seek to defend.

    We have to keep spreading the word and help people to see that the excrement that pours from the mouths of our opponents says a lot about them and nothing about us. We are in a propaganda war and if I look at it objectively I believe that overall, we are winning it.

    I can’t predict how Scotland will ultimately achieve independence but above all else I think the enlightenment of our people will be a key factor and that is why I so value posts like this from the Dug.

    • Luigi says:

      Yep, but bear in mind that it is actually far more wearing and dispiriting for the unionist side. Since 2007, when the first SNP (minority) government was elected, they have thrown everything at us, and the most they have achieved is to delay the inevitable by a few years. We keep coming back, stronger than before. They are completely exhausted and yet the process continues. By the time of the next referendum (5-10 years IMO), they will be completely exhausted. Keep the pressure on, we are grinding them down. Time is on our side. All we need is some discipline and patience.

  13. Bob Duncan says:

    Osborne’s Bollix Repeater?

  14. Gray says:

    So Scotland’s economy would have a black hole of 7.6Bn or more they always gleefully tell us.

    When I respond that as a price of being part of this iniquitous union a potentially vibrant economy has been ruined, how is this a selling point for staying in this relationship?

    Of course I usually have to dispel the myths about how we’d have survived the banking collapse before they toddle off with their tails between their legs.

  15. Jan Cowan says:

    It just come down to the same old argument. GO & company would have nothing to do with Scotland if we actually COST them anything. WE are the ones supplying the assets which contribute towards the WM upkeep.
    Please, please, an Independent Scotland can’t come soon enough for me!

  16. Defo says:

    IFS ? Instant Fib Section.
    Obstinate Bungling Reprobates !

  17. barpe4 says:


    Install Fictional Scares

  18. Andimac says:

    How about a new I.F.S? – Independence For Scotland!

  19. jimnarlene says:

    Incessantly Fleecing Scotland.
    Ongoing Blatant Robbery

  20. Gavin C Barrie says:

    I just hope plans are being drawn up for an extra 56, or 59 seats Holrood.

    For just how long do you reckon 56 well- quailified, smart Scottish MPs are going put up with the contrived etiquette of Westminster, the drivel speeches, a sneering Cameron, and the donkey audio simulations ?

    I was disappointed that the Scottish MPs didn’t walk out during the “joke” about Cromwell sending off Scots to slavery.

  21. Albaman says:

    Very well put Paul, should have kept it for Thursday “National”!.

  22. Obscene Bastardisation Reinforcement

    The end is in site,the status quo is dissolving on a daily basis under an onslaught of common sense

    Keep the heid ,not long to go

    We got the fcukers on the run

  23. Albaman says:

    Actually once a week in the National, is not enough for you Paul, I’d like to see more articles from you, as it is obvious that you have the mood of the vast majority of us, but unlike the vast majority of us, you can put our feelings into words, that mean something!.

  24. kat hamilton says:

    drains the soul to be under the rules of wastemonster, and to watch gideon and co without wretching. mind you deputy dug is rehashing johann lamonts persona, caustic and arrogant despite labours thrashing in the polls. humility has never been their strong point. trust they will be humbled again next year and wiped out completely. surely then opposition will be neutralised and an indy ref number 2 will swiftly follow. even free by 2023 is a slogan too far down the line. please make it happen in my lifetime.

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