Friday, June 19, 2015

To FFA or not FFA

Finding out the truth about what is happening in Scottish politics at the moment is more confusing than a David Lynch film dubbed into Serbo Croat.  I don’t think anybody with more than ten functioning brain cells can really get a grip on what is going on, and I include Nicola Sturgeon the Leader of the Scottish government and the Leader of the Scottish Nationalist party, in that statement.  


Anybody who talks in certainties is either blinded by their own rhetoric or has no idea what is going on. Or both. So here is a blog to confuse things further. 
In the Referendum last year 63% of the population did not vote for independence. In the general election 63% of the Scottish population did not vote for the SNP (Scottish Nationalist) but they won all but two of the seats available. As I have said before we now have a 20 year old Member of Parliament and other Members of Parliament were not even members of the party before the referendum vote last September.


In some ways it was not a pro SNP vote it was an anti Conservative government vote and everybody was taken by surprise at the result.  The Labour party that has always been very strong in Scotland were pathetic.  Nobody would vote for Ed Miliband as he does look like a muppet.

Taking a more grown up view, Britain is digging its way out the recession probably due to the measures that the Tory government have put in.  Nobody likes austerity but the books have to balance and you can’t spend what you don’t have, or let me rephrase that, we have got to stop spending what we don’t have.

The issue I can’t quite get my head around is FFA, Full Fiscal Autonomy.  This is not the same as FIFA although some of the accounting might be … To put it very simply Scotland seems to spend £8 billion more than it makes and I’m well aware that this is 'statistics' and that 'statistics' can prove anything. Boris Johnston, who’s borderline insane, went on record as saying ‘why not just give the Scots their budget and tell then to get on with it because then they will soon learn how nasty it can be up at the sharp end of things.’  or something like that. This is what it said in the Daily Record at the weekend double page spread pages 8 and 9. There was a very nice book review on page 9 of the pull out section, some crime writer called Ramsay murdering folk on the banks of Loch Lomond … but back to the more boring issue of politics.


1.  All experts say that FFA would be extremely painful in the short term.  It is an initial deficit of £8 billion on top of the UK share of the deficit.

2. The gap is mostly caused by the recent plummeting of oil prices. The UK budget watchdog cut their long term forecast by 94% … and of course that is where much of the SNP base their income.  In the next 20 years they were hoping for £36 billion, it is more likely to be £2 billion, but these figures are changing.

3.  It is one of my own personal rants in that these things have to be timed with what the global economy is doing, no country on the face of the planet is independent we all interlinked.  Two SNPs have described FFA as silly, the other said it would be economic suicide simply due to the state of the oil prices. 
4.  The question of where the funds will come from seems to be one that no one is very precise about answering.  During the general election the SNP were very anti austerity but how anti austere can you afford to be with a deficit of £8 billion, sorry if I’m sounding sarcastic but … I’m sure Jeff will have something to say about the Greek management of their economy.  And the Nationalists are saying there will be a tartan turbo charged austerity and the figures seem to back that up.

5.  In the long term the Nationalists claim that the Scottish GPD could grow by 86% based on a substantial increase in financial services, tourism, transport, food and drink, universities and healthy ageing, this will be the new export policy of the Scottish brand.

Opponents said the report was based on fantasy economics and having worked in the health industry for over 30 years the terms 'Scot' and 'healthy ageing' don’t really gel in my mind.  The harsh reality is it is only the healthy that get old in this country.  In some areas of Glasgow  male life expectancy was 54 years. That has improved ... a little over the last  two years.


6.  The FFA policy would certainly implement changes that were rejected by the populace in the referendum of 2014 and if you consider 63% of the population did not vote SNP then you have to question what is reflecting  the will of the people.

And the last point is quite a simple one, the paper states that the only good thing about FFA is that it would stop the Tories having any say in how Scotland is run.
I was down at Carlisle at the weekend which is just over the border, Gretna on one side, Carlisle on the other.  The north of England suffers as much as the Scots do under a right wing government and there is a general sense that the Scots are developing a bit of an 'I’m alright Jock' attitude.  Removing ourselves from the British electorate will condemn every socialist south of the border to long term Tory rule as that is the way the country is imbalanced.
I think it's better to trot to the right when it needs to, then trot to the left when we have had too much of the end it's back to the midline?

I posed the questions, I have no answers except I’m at an age that I am young enough that it is going to hurt, but so old that I won’t be able to reap the benefit. On that depressing note I missed my deadline so I’m getting back to it now…



  1. But hey, look on the bright side: you share your name with some lassie who has a book in the paper. How cool is that? Do you suppose she knows she shares her name with a famous doctor?

    I'm just not sure you've got the FFA acronym quite right. Surely, one of those 'F's has to stand for something else...???

  2. It's all Greek to me Caro. Except for the 8 billion Euro shortfall. Here in Greece, that's talked about as chump change by its farrrrrrr left government in its negotiations with its creditors over the country's 323 billion euro debt. Not sure who's the real chump though, for if Greece doesn't get 7.2 more billion euros by the end of the month it's likely to handily beat Scotland in the Secession Follies.

    By the way, please tell us more about the Daily Record page 9 story on that Ramsay person murdering folks on banks. I'm sure its far more interesting than news of how our respective politician folks are murdering banks.

  3. Well said, Caro. And of course two thirds of the voters didn't vote for the Tories either. Do we see a pattern here?

  4. 8 billion here, 8 billion there, pretty soon you're talking some real money. I'll take the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond over squabbling politicians playing with everyone else's money any day.

  5. How's this for a conspiracy theory: They made it too complicated for "ordinary" people to understand, so that they could do what they wanted without interference from the populace. Now it is so complicated they don't understand it themselves. But they have to look in charge. So they pretend they know what's going on. I say screw it. Let's all go on a picnic and spike our own lemonade.