The difference between poor and impoverished

Usually when that Scottish economics think tank with a name that sounds like a knitwear college in Pitlochry, the Fraser of Allander Institute, publishes one of its papers, the British nationalist media in Scotland is all over it like flies at a dug’s arse, looking for the crap. There is absolutely nothing in this universe that the media in Scotland likes more than new ways of telling Scotland just how rubbish it is at everything and how mince we are. It’s what they live for.

Economic statistics are a favourite for this sort of thing. They tend to be reassuringly complicated, and couched in arcane jargon that only people who enjoy accountancy understand. This is how opponents of independence have managed to persuade themselves, and many other people in Scotland, that one of the richest countries in the world, a country with an embarrassment of natural resources which few other European nations enjoy, would be too poor to maintain current living standards if it became independent. It’s a lie that’s been repeated so often that it has become an article of faith amongst British nationalists.

However a recent paper from the Fraser of Allander Institute didn’t make headline news on Reporting You’re Too Wee, Too Poor, and Too Stupid. That might just be because the message of this particular paper was deficient in ways of making Scotland look bad. Instead it suggested that Scotland isn’t doing as well out of being a part of the UK as British nationalists would have us believe. The figures show that Scotland’s Gross National Income (GNI), the calculation of the wealth Scotland keeps, was just 94% of Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the calculation of the wealth produces. In other words, a significant proportion of the wealth that Scotland produces flows out of this country and benefits people elsewhere.

You can read the paper yourself by clicking on the following link. The paper is titled “Gross national income statistics for Scotland: a net outflow of Scottish income?” With a title like that, you can see why the Scottish press didn’t give it the publicity that they give to any study or survey that claims Scotland is an economic basket case.

The study from the Fraser of Allander Institute confirms a study done by Business for Scotland some years ago, enquiring where Scotland’s wealth goes. Despite the fact that in terms of wealth created per head of population, Scotland’s Central Belt generates as much as the South East of England, and the North East of Scotland regularly comes at the top of the economic league table as one of the best performing regions in the UK, Scotland has the lowest proportion of wealthy households in the entire UK. Scotland’s wealth is being sooked out of Scotland. It’s the Union drain.

The same picture is confirmed by a study carried out by the Jimmy Reid Foundation in 2013. A link to this paper is here. This study showed that during the period between 1963 and 2011, if Scotland’s economy was unhindered by the systematic drain imposed upon it by UK government macroeconomic policies and priorities, it would be 25% larger that it actually was. The UK is putting a brake on Scotland’s growth, and then opponents of independence sneer that we can’t go fast enough.

For the latest figures available, Scotland’s GDP is calculated at £159.9bn, whereas Scotland’s GNI for the same period is calculated at £150.8bn. That means that during 2016, a time when opponents of independence were insistent that the collapse in oil prices meant that Scotland couldn’t possibly afford to support itself financially, the country was in fact exporting £9.1bn worth of the wealth produced in Scotland. Apparently Scotland is too poor to maintain current levels of public services as an independent nation, but not so poor that it can’t make people outside Scotland extremely wealthy indeed.  Just think about that for a second.

Scotland possesses resources which most European countries of an equivalent size can only envy. Denmark is somewhat smaller in surface area than Scotland, and has a population slightly larger. Denmark doesn’t possess anything like Scotland’s natural resources, but somehow it manages to provide a very high standard of living for its citizens. It does so by ensuring that the wealth that Denmark creates is used to benefit the people of Denmark. Scotland has a GNI which is 6% lower than its GDP, Danish GNI is higher than its GDP. That means that all the wealth that Denmark produces stays in Denmark, and on top of that Danish companies import earnings that they have made abroad.

We have more natural resources than Denmark. The people of Scotland are every bit as capable and as well educated as the people of Denmark. Scotland is a country which has invented much of the modern world, despite the fact that according to the British media in Scotland we are a nation of morons. We could only invent stuff like television, or discover penicillin, because of the glorious Union, allegedly. Left to our own devices we do stupid stuff like produce baby boxes that can double up as weapons of mass destruction. Who knew that cardboard would go on fire if you put a blow torch to it? It’s a national scandal. The press would have been much happier if the Scottish government had made sure that the baby boxes were made out of asbestos. Oh. Wait.

There is a significant difference between Scotland and Denmark, and it’s not that Danes are intelligent and capable in a way that Scots are not. The difference is that Scotland’s natural resources and the products of our people’s talent and ingenuity are, under the current constitutional settlement, largely owned and controlled outwith Scotland. The difference is that the wealth that Scottish talent and resources produce flows out of Scotland. The difference is that Scotland’s taxes are collected by a UK government which spends them on things that Scotland doesn’t want or need. The UK government borrows to spend on things that Scotland doesn’t want or need, and then it sends us the bill and tells us we’re too poor.

Scotland’s wealth doesn’t benefit the people of Scotland. It is drained out of Scotland to benefit wealthy shareholders in the South East of England and abroad. Yet we are constantly told that if Scotland takes control of its own political destiny and thus gives itself the capability to take steps to ensure that Scotland’s wealth is used to benefit the people of Scotland instead of flowing out of the country, that we’d be worse off than we are just now. We’d be worse off if we ensured that companies which operate in Scotland pay all the taxes due on wealth generated in Scotland to a Scottish treasury. We’d be worse off if we keep more of our own money rather than see it drain away. We’d be worse off if we stop spending money on things we don’t need.  It’s illogical. British nationalism in Scotland is founded in making the people of Scotland believe in magic. By keeping more of our own money, we’re magically supposed to become poorer.  The UK makes Scotland’s wealth vanish, and it calls it a Union benefit.

The difference between poverty and impoverishment is the difference between not being able to pay your bills because you’re incapable of earning a living, and not being able to pay your bills because your pay packet is being docked. Scotland isn’t poor, it’s being impoverished. British nationalism depends on making sure that people in Scotland don’t understand the difference.

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. You can now access this blog simply by typing into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.

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31 comments on “The difference between poor and impoverished

  1. Thepnr says:

    Brilliant post WGD, like you I can’t really understand why the media weren’t all over this report today showing how successful Scotland and that without Westminster control it would be even better!

    Beyond my ken that is, though it does seem as if the media are trying to keep these things quiet.

    A by the way “a name that sounds like a knitwear college in Pitlochry, the Fraser of Allander Institute” was a peach. When it comes down to it the media are very selective about what they’ll tell us others what are saying when it comes to good news. It’s up to us then so thank you again.

  2. fillofficer says:

    i see the report is from 7 may
    no media headlines on the 8th, or ever
    had it been derogatory, we would have heard by now
    probably on FMs questions today, especially
    the onslaught continues
    propaganda goin thru the roof
    where are these people goin after indy, i wonder

  3. alanm says:

    Sorry if this offends anybody but it has to be said…

    If the majority of people living in Scotland can’t distinguish “Wee Ginger Dug” fact from “Daily Mail” fiction then we probably are too stupid to run our own affairs.

    • wm says:

      Well put paul first class I wish I had your way with words, to symplify the economic situation of Scotland to the majority of people who don’t understand symple economics. I try to explain by taking it back to basics and that wealth creation comes from the natural resources each country has, and the main ingrediants are its people, and its natural products that the people can produce, like fuel (coal,oil,gas, wind, hydro,wave & solar), along with farming both the land & the sea and most of the other materials that Scotland can produce. When we start running our own country a lot of other countries will be wishing they had the wealth that we would have. Then we could print our own currency and call it what ever we want, that currency would be stronger than many other countries.

  4. tintochiel says:

    “Scotland isn’t poor, it’s being impoverished. British nationalism depends on making sure that people in Scotland don’t understand the difference.”

    And this has been so since 1707.

    A cracking, factual article, Paul (he said, trying to control his inner rage).

    If only it could magically appear through letter-boxes all over Scotland…..

  5. robert harrison says:

    The fraser of allander institute has confirmed what my mother said all along we have subsidised them they are a drain on the Scottish people.

  6. Iain MacEchern says:

    Great article Paul. The problem I have living in a small West Highland community, is that many of my friends and colleagues are so strongly influenced or brainwashed by the southern retirees, the Lairds and the MSM, that they truly believe Scotland can not be an independent country. The Scottish cringe is so ingrained in their DNA that they don’t even identify it as the Cringe. They aspire to be like the retirees and the Lairds, they crave invitations to cocktails and seem to enjoy the patronisation, they make it feel as if they are part of the elite. It is probably the greatest victory the establishment have achieved, keeping the Jock in his place.

    • maxi says:

      Good words Ian.

      • Iain MacEchern says:

        Brexit and the servile Scottish Brit Nat reminds me of the fable about the boiling frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to the boil slowly it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. Brexit of course is the pan of slowly boiling water and the servile Scot is the frog

  7. “Scotland isn’t poor, it’s being impoverished” That one sentence is the crux of the matter.

  8. Jason Smoothpiece says:

    Well presented, someone at Fraser of Allander will have to account for this sort of stuff leaking out.

    The centre wont be happy need to get more careful types placed in there, what.

    The media of course will ignore this shameful group of scumbags.

    Its a shame the less well informed dont get to see this sort of information sad really.

  9. Mark Russell says:

    Consider how money is created through fractional reserve accumulation in the banking system and you quickly realise just what a huge con trick has been perpetrated – not only on Scotland – but just about everyone on this planet for the last thirty years.

    Governments and the central banking system have destroyed the true value of money and debased the ideology of the wealth of nations. The USA simply prints dollars and uses the “cash” to support its economic and political activities. It does this due to its control of the petro-dollar – which is now under threat from China, Iran and Russia. What is the driver in current world events?

    The global financial system is completely corrupt. It supports an industrial-military complex that transcends borders and controls governments. Soberingly, we are all entwined and dependent on it. Scotland does have a wealth of resources and capital – and can quite easily sustain its population and develop and grow – as we understand it. But would you throw your hat into such a dishonest game where schemers control the game

    Scotland always had an international outlook. It needs to promote that vision now – using the same arguments that many commentators make each week on this blog and others – fairness, equity, justice and honesty – and force a way, collectively, where we can retain and recover the financial system so it can be used properly and productively, for the benefit of all.

    Westminster is a sideshow. The City is the conduit. It’s the source we need to address.

    But how?

  10. Mark Russell says:

    edit: that should have read [where schemers hold all the aces?]. Democratic self-determination principles notwithstanding, Scotland’s destiny – under the current system – lies not with the people of Scotland, but in the gift of an unknown few. Given the insouciance since 9/11, what hope is there of a free, prosperous, independent Scotland? And for how long?

    I suspect there are bigger fish to fry yet.

    • I fully understand what you’re getting at.
      Scotland doesn’t want to be pegging itself in any way to the dollar, NATO or the likes.

      This will probably mean we’ll have to invest heavily in intelligence, special forces and air defences to protect against any unsolicited ‘freedom’ being imposed on us but we can do so with a clear conscience.

  11. maxi says:

    I would like to go off on one but I’m afraid of never stopping.There is an anger inside me against these oppressors that puts me in a place which is not very nice.

  12. Clive Scott says:

    Great article. Unfortunately the cringing Britnat voters in Scotland are afraid to move from their comfort zone of wilful ignorance. Come Indyref2 a huge effort will need to be made to get out the young vote who have not had the time to have their minds totally poisoned against claiming their birthright.

  13. Strikes me as just the sort of situation Richard Murphy might like to cast his expert eye over.

  14. Robert Graham says:

    A good reminder Paul of where we should be and not where we presently are .

    To be fair the English people are not the problem, it’s the brainless bloody house Scots that are holding the rest back, defending a rotten to the core Union they can’t see is draining the life out of their country , and what for ? What rewards have they been given or promised when usually a pat on the head is all they need just like the obedient dog .
    I once saw a post on another Indy website saying a lot of Scots are too brainless to vote for independence , just like the caged bird who won’t leave its captivity even when the door is wide open, Fear of the unknown , years of being rubbished have taken its toll,
    That was the one thing the NO campaign played on ‘Fear’ and it worked a treat, even now despite all the broken promises they still believe in this bloody rotten Union, A lost cause well who knows, I wish I could shake some sense into them , people afraid of their own shadow it’s tragic to witness it is still happening.

  15. nae a feartie says:

    When a bird is too afraid of flying from its own cage ,it takes patience to entice it out but for most apart from the most damaged they will eventually leave and fly to freedom. We sometimes have to accept the most entrenched NO voters are never going to be changed ,same as the most committed YES voters will not be changed but giving the less “damaged ” captives the patience and information like this article and other evidence presented by Paul and other people out there we can only hope that they will join the murmuration that is happening now in the skies of Scotland .Would love to have his article reach every home in Scotland but otherwise we have to keep the door open and wait with patience caring and hope as well as anger at the misinformation .

  16. Brilliant piece, WGD! How, how, HOW can we make sure that EVERYONE in Scotland realises the truth of this? Especially as our esteemed MSM refuse even to report on it! If a respected body like the Fraser of Allander Institution is reporting this surely even the most stubborn “No-ers” must start to question what they have been indoctrinated to believe?

    • Jamie MacDonald says:

      Howzabout using some of those stalls at the last March as distribution points for piles of voter friendly arguments (like this razor sharp one above..thanks once again Paul..)for the crowd to take and distribute in their own areas..?

      Small bite-sized counter-arguments to the shit fed to us through msm -they would need to be bang up to date to have most relevance, but need not be expensive-double sided flyer maybe?

      Areas of distribution could be registered on collection giving an idea of any gaps in the country which needed more focus..

  17. Macart says:

    THIS is the reason why Scotland isn’t cut loose by an establishment government. The narrative has always been that Scotland is too poor, too wee, too stupid. Yet for some unexplained reason (explanation above the line) Scotland’s population must remain party to democratic deficit, abuse of our culture, our rights and our resources, because… reasons and we lurve you. This despite a daily diet from the UK’s right wing media of subsidy junkie, whinging grievance monkeys and chippy Jockishness.

    To look beneath the line of the average Express or Mail editorial on anything Scottish is to scrape the sewers of the very worst of human nature in terms of how that narrative has affected the perceptions of their readerships. We’re regarded as being not even second class citizens in our own land, yet please stay. Please stick around for some more abuse.

    TBF some have taken this narrative so much to heart, they truly would like to see the back of Scotland’s population. This without ever wondering why the authors of the narrative they have taken so much to heart, would have a major seizure were it ever to actually happen.

    ‘Please stay’ isn’t about loyalty, or love, or social union, or duty and service to a population and partner. No, its about a bottom line in a ledger. It’s about wealth and resources, international standing and political face. Oh, and by the by? YOU are one of those resources.

    What kind of country do you want to live in? What kind of country do you want your children to live in?

    You and only you can end this cycle of abuse and it’s about that time to make a choice. Stand for something? Or lie down for anything.

  18. Steviesparkie says:

    Finally.a clear concise article giving understandable figures.£9.1bn being sucked out of scotland.this would probably sway a lot of doubters if we could get this info into the public eye.

  19. smp6v says:

    Well naturally. Let’s face it the London government don’t keep us on out of love of Scots folk. If we really were as badly off as they make out they’d have dumped us ages ago.

    • robert harrison says:

      Thats what ive been saying as well if we was the drain the English would of got rid of us years ago.

  20. jean jacques says:

    The too wee, too poor, too stupid argument can only be made if the English economy can be presented as an engine of wealth creation which can subsidise Scotland. If its shown as the debt ridden, low productivity farce that it is the whole argument falls apart.

  21. Geordie says:

    The one consolation I take from this desperate, soul-destroying British Empire prison is that 20 years ago I had no true idea how resource-rich Scotland is, how parisitic the British state is, and how very capable an Independent Scotland will be. The journey of revelation has been glorious, and I know many fellow Scots have done likewise. We just need a few more to have their blinkers removed and join us. Freedom awaits.

  22. But, but, but… according to shouty BritNats I dealt with recently, the whole GNI concept has been thoroughly debunked by “Real economists” (ie. anonymous BritNats with a blog), many times! I don’t know who to believe – one of the worlds leading financial organisations, or some offensive twat who (barely) knows how to set up a wordpress page. Whatever will I do?!

    I know there are some people who have had moderate success talking to BritNats, but, honestly, all I am finding are idiots who are so entrenched in their blind faith of unionism, that they’d hail the zombie of Ghengis Khan as a British hero if someone pinned an “SNPbad” badge to his shambling corpse. They’d also claim his moaning and wailing of the single word “brains” was both a clever and full retort to everything the horrid SNP had ever done, a damning indictment of their failings, and a cunning plan for Brexit.

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