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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
Ed Means Column
How the UK government has been mishandling Scotland’s finances


As a member of the old Realm of Scotland (RoS) group and a subsequent founding member of the original Scottish Democratic Alliance (SDA), I have considerable knowledge about how the UK government has been blatantly mishandling Scotland’s money for many years – probably since the Treaty of Union. My more or less hands-on experience came as a result of reading two articles written by the well-respected forensic accountant Niall Aslen, who analysed the UK government’s annual publication ‘Government Expense & Revenue in Scotland (GERS)’ beginning in 2004 and continuing until the Scottish Executive wrested control of GERS reports from the UK government in 2008.

The UK government knew – and knows – Scotland does support itself financially. UK government documents released under the Freedom of Information (FoI) act demonstrate that it has been continuously lying about Scotland’s financial condition for at least 33 years and probably much longer.

As an example of the UK government’s lies, Professor Gavin McCrone, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, advised the UK government in 1975 of the truth about Scotland’s finances. As Chief Economic Adviser to the Secretary of State for Scotland, he prepared a report, “The Economics of Nationalism Re-examined”. His report advised the UK government that an independent Scotland would have a massive budget surplus if granted its fair share of North Sea oil. It was promptly classified "Secret" and suppressed. It came to light only in 2005, when the UK government was forced by the FoI to release it.

The UK government’s Government Expenditure & Revenue in Scotland (GERS) reports published before 2007 provide other examples of the UK government’s duplicity. They were finally exposed by forensic accountant Niall Aslen's analysis of the 2005 GERS report. The analysis was based entirely on the UK government’s own figures, with one exception for which UK government figures were not available. Mr Aslen documented the sources of all the figures.

Mr Aslen's analysis exposed the UK government’s egregious misallocation – to Scotland’s serious disadvantage – of revenues (not just oil revenues) and expenditures. If a private firm cooked its books half as outrageously as the UK government has done in its GERS reports, its directors would be in jail. 

Mr Aslen's analysis convincingly demolished the assertions that Scotland was being subsidised by the rest of the UK. But the British press (including the Scottish papers) ignored or suppressed it. Luckily, enough people saw it on the internet before the 2007 election to discredit Labour’s claims that Scotland was running a 11.2-billion deficit. Mr Aslen’s analysis showed that Scotland actually had a 9.6-billion surplus.

The Scottish Executive published a GERS report covering 2006 and 2007 in June 2008. As expected, it was very different from the 2005 report published by the former Labour executive. This GERS is certainly improved from its predecessors, but Mr Aslen said it still contains some very suspicious revenue and expenditure allocations.

The Scottish Government now publishes GERS reports in cooperation with the UK Treasury. You can believe the Scottish Government staff go over them with fine-tooth combs.

The material above is covered in more detail by the following documents, which the leading Scottish newspapers – and of course BBC Scotland – strongly attempted to suppress when copies were sent to them: 

http://www.electricscotland.com/independence/TheGreatObfuscation.pdf and http://www.electricscotland.com/independence/TheGreatDeception.pdf.

Getting the truth out to the Scottish people can still be difficult. BBC Scotland is still highly biased, but the newspapers have increasingly seen the light, and the internet NewsnetScotland.com is totally pro-independence.

A very recent major revelation about how the UK government has been mishandling Scotland’s finances was published in the internet publication ‘Business for Scotland’ on 5 November 2013. The lead article,’ Revealed: The ACCOUNTING TRICK that Hides Scotland’s Wealth’, by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, founder and Managing Director of ’Business for Scotland’ is available at http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/revealed-the-accounting-trick-that-hides-scotlands-wealth/. Following is a list of the sections:

● Scotland pays its way
● The debt trick
● If Scotland had to pay only its own way
● Accumulating a massive surplus
● Conclusion
● Data sources

As of 22 May 2013 ‘Business for Scotland’ had more than 500 members from all segments of Scottish business and was growing rapidly. See http://www.yesscotland.net/news/membership-business-scotland-tops-500-mark.

An even more recent article, published on 8 November 2013 (as I was writing this), gives a specific example of how the UK government plans to withhold EU cash that was supposed to go to Scottish farmers.

Here are four paragraphs from the article, followed by a link to the entire article:

A Scottish MEP [Member of the European Parliament] has said he is "beyond angry" after learning that the UK Government plans to withhold EU cash that was supposed to go to Scottish farmers.

SNP [Scottish National Party] MEP Alyn Smith has reacted angrily to news that the UK government has today (Friday) announced that it will not pass on hundreds of millions of pounds in EU agriculture payments to Scotland which only accrue to the UK because of Scotland's unique agriculture.

The shock decision comes despite a cross party call from Scottish politicians at Holyrood, including the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem parties as well as the Scottish government, for the payment to be passed on.

The money, amounting to almost a quarter of a billion euros over the next seven years, accrues purely because of the poor Common Agriculture Budget allocation awarded to Scotland's farmers. The decision will see Scottish farming losing out on €60million a year until 2020, some €230million in funds to which they are objectively entitled.

http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/8300-mep-fury-as-westminster-holds-on-to-scots-farmers-eu-cash.

Going back a little farther in time, in 1999 the UK government illegally moved the Scotland-England border in the North Sea, thereby stealing not only 6,000 square miles of Scotland’s sea but also stealing all the revenues derived from that area since 1999. This move was proposed in the UK parliament and nodded through the Scottish Parliament by the treacherous Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition, which refused a debate on the issue even though expert legal opinion declared the move illegal on three grounds, but the UK government continues to steal all the revenues derived from the oil and gas operations in that area. The whole sordid story can be read at:
http://www.electricscotland.com/Independence/scotland_borders.htm.


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