Least credible statement of the week

This has to be a howling canard from Blair Jenkins, unimpressive head of the ‘Yes’ campaign for Scottish independence.

Mr Jenkins said that under an independent Scotland ‘it might well be’ that the banks would have been so well supervised that the 2008 collapse wouldn’t have happened.

This is plain daft.

Once let loose to play, the banks themselves had little idea of the complex vulnerability of the profit generation tactics they were inventing as they went along. No regulator would have had a clue.

And it’s not as if, in other spheres, the current Scottish Government has a track record as an assiduous and responsible regulator.

What is happening in the wind industry and in aquaculture are examples in Scotland of the same disastrous ‘regulation with a light touch’ UK-wide policy of the Blair/Brown regime that let the banks and other financial institutions escape even their own ken.

Mr Jenkins also seems to have missed the advice about what to do if you find yourself in a hole – stop digging.

A couple of says after this first gaffe, he made matters worse by insisting that Scotland cold have afforded the bail out of the Scottish banks.

It is estimated that the Treasury spent around £470 billion in saving RBS and HBOS from meltdown.

Even adding in Scotland’s share of North Sea oil and gas revenues, this £470 billion is no less than three times Scotland’s annual GDP.

The man’s a banana. These guys really do believe that saying something makes it so.

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24 Responses to Least credible statement of the week

  1. Newsroom. Equally it’s not as if the Scottish government has a track record of failure like the UK government.

    So how can you equate the two. An approriate comparison might be Germany and the UK. That would be a comparison based on like with like with statistical data and track records to compare.

    Oh and did you see that in the last export analysis just released that Sottish exports are up by £1.6bn with a 7.6% increase to Europe.

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  2. Good morning RW. Yes Labour if I may say so have made a fist of much as you correctly suggest. That is why they got gubbed in both the Westminster and more particularly the Hollyrood elections.

    But, things are changing and positivity and vision for the future is what we want. You’ll agree I trust.

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  3. SNP and Independence supporters seem to have forgotten that, prior to the economic crisis, Salmond was making demands for further deregulation of banks, not more of it.

    Short term memory loss can indicate any number of (in this case political) health problems. Trying to make things up that are obviously untrue implies an element of desperation. I’m not sure what it suggests of those who simply believe it all.

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  4. Being a well imformed editor, you will be aware that, for example, the regulators in Australia simply do not let their banks do the gambling that was at the root of the Wall St and City crisis. Nor did the Scandinavian countries. Additionally, you will be aware that RBS was rescued by an axis of the US Federal Reserve, The Australian Regulator and the Bank of England as these were the regimes at greatest threat from the operational collapse of the Bank. Evidence to both the Commons committee and the Hollyrood committee by a number of bankers and economists indicated that the scale of RBS’s operation in Scotland would have meant probably around a 5% participation by an independent Scottish regulator.

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  5. Jenkins is a journalist, and TV journalist at that. This means he can muster enough knowledge on any subject to fill a two and half minute item.
    It is not that his ignorance is astounding, the frightening thing about it is that he probably believes what he he saying and actually thinks he knows what he is talking about.
    It is typical of Nat arrogance and the sooner their balloon is pricked the better for our country.

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    • if he can only muster enough knowledge for two and a half minutes, that sure is 1000% more than you.

      You obviously have no knowledge on banking regulation or indeed the international aspect of countries’ responsibilities for bailing them out

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  6. forargyll is a study in contrasts. Oodles of unbiased information embellished by biased bloggers; much good Newsroom analysis adulterated by blunderbus Newsroom opinion. Take two of today’s items: ‘Least credible statement’ and ‘A list of Imponderables’. The former is Punch and Judy, the latter food for thought.

    Your debate about Scottish and UK referendums is excellent. But Newsroom, whether Unionist or goodness knows what, should beware of slap-happy anti-SNP interventions. Many Scottish Labour supporters, including south-western tribal diehards, are beginning to realise that an independent Scotland may be the best foundation for rebuilding a true Labour Party, whatever it might be called. And that would include masses of today’s SNP.

    Or perhaps Newsroom would prefer another Liberal/Tory coalition …

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    • Looking forward to your contribution to debates.
      With reference to the Punch and Judy element and the use of the blunderbus – there is no point in wasting good weaponry on rotten timbers. Blair Jenkins’ excursions had no defensible economic foundation – nor have you found any way of defending it in those terms.
      You may or may not have read a piece we published when the pro-union side suggested that the SNP would have no future function if Scotland voted for independence – because its raison d’etre had been achieved.
      Our position was that, on the contrary, independent or not, the potential strength of the SNP as a government for Scotland is the fact that it is not itself governed by the dogma of any political philosophy – an outdated modus operandi that obstructs rather than enables political evolution.
      As an agnostic in these terms – or as a party with its feet across several of these camps – the SNP is ideally suited to match the most appropriate solution to the problem of the day – an approach which is in Scotland’s interests.
      No civilised country can stifle a social conscience. No successful country can afford to be indiscriminate. That’s the tension and only a dogmatically non-aligned government can find the right balance.
      On the independence issue, we were strongly supportive of it from 2007 to 2008-09 and have moved away from that for good reasons:
      !: The times have moved against it in terms of the economic context in Europe with the eurozone crisis still to come to a head and with long rolling consequences. This is not the time for a fledgling country to find its way.
      2: The SNP government has not done the thinking to shape and underpin the independence offer – which remains mercurial. One cannot respect that or trust an outfit that has just not done the work. Why would anyone give their vote and place their personal and national future in the hands of a proposition so vague and insecure as to disrespect the value of that vote and that trust – and give that vote blindfold, in a no-way-back context?
      3: The political culture that has evolved during the SNP’s two terms so far is disturbingly Stalinist and bullying [with multiple examples at all levels]. This is where fascism starts and it is foolish to be blind to that. It is simply insupportable.
      4: The SNP administration has also become single-mindedly short termist in sacrificing the future to the immediate needs of the independence agenda. An example here is the willy-nilly push for wind to meet energy targets, disregarding utterly the impact of the subsidy regimes on the future cost of electricity; and equally disregarding of the cost and the secondary environmental impact of decommissioning – now shown to be necessary in 12-15 years lifespans – much sooner than the 25 year terms factored in to the official cost model.
      5: The SNP government is much less competent than it would need to be across the board. The talent pool has proved shallow and has not been developed. Infrastructure is nowhere; education is shapeless and in disorder; health arguably worse; energy blind to the imperative of securing baseload; and transport, not inappropriately, all over the place. The party and the government essentially revolve around and are controlled by one man who was once one of the most gifted politicians in the UK but who is tired and whose judgment is now, on the evidence, not to be trusted.
      6: We can see no logic in wanting out of one union in order to rush into another and far more insecure one – the European Union. We have shown the evidence that the EU simply breeds dependency cultures in the majority of its admissions who remain and deepen as net receivers. Europe and the European Union are not the same thing; and the all but complete unaccountability of the EU is a democratic deficit no one should support. We would find the independence proposition far more compelling if it was actually advocating independence instead of simply proposing a different master – nervously looking for another pocket to jump into at once. This looks like a movement no more intelligent or discriminating than the old ‘anything but England’ caucus. Nothing in this breeds confidence that even the SNP see Scotland as capable of successful independent existence.
      7: On the economy, we see no evidence whatsoever of the existence of an economic development strategy for the sustainable growth of the country, post-independence. Any cost issues are answered only by a shrug in the direction of oil revenues. We have shown, after discussions with a senior figure on the finance side of the oil industry, who also has a background in economics, that, with the limited future of the remaining oil and gas reserves and the increasing cost of extraction of those reserves, Scotland must not waste one single petrodollar on anything that does not itself add value. It must use that revenue to build the future, not to create an immediate feel good bubble to appear to justify independence or to solve short term problems. There is no sign of this understanding in the government and that is worrying. If it were simply to spend the oil revenues wastefully, as described in the sentence above, Scotland would be broke and with nothing in the bank within 30-50 years.

      We have to say that this is not at all where, back in 2007, we had imagined that the Scottish Government would be today. We had believed in and hoped for better. But it would be unintelligent, dishonest and misleading not to recognise the realities that have emerged – and insane to vote as if they were not the case. The referendum vote is not a revolving door and that alone should give every voter due cause for thought.

      We believe that a federalist United Kingdom, out of the EU and in a reinvigorated EFTA is an achievable and enabling objective. At the moment, we are taxed to support local government; we are taxed to support a Scottish Government; we are taxed to support a UK government; and we are taxed to support an EU government. How mad is that?

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      • It’s a dreich time of year, and a dreich era in Britain’s political (and ecological) history. But here in Scotland surely we can alleviate the meteorological gloom with a little political optimism, especially because it’s a dangerous thing.

        We have won the right to make an exciting decision and, whether we want independence or not, we should not squander that moment of empowerment in bickering oneupmanship. Rather we should be organising not only tactical voting but also tactical replies to the pollsters. Don’t let the right-of-centre know you’re feart; that’s what they want to hear.

        We have yet to be bribed by Westminster (ie, not only by the Coalition but also the British Labour Party) to vote No; all we’ve had so far is ‘take care’ negativity. But the inevitable ‘British’ bribe will offer at best merely increased devolved powers … and Newsroom’s federalism will remain a pipe-dream. If enlightened federalists, however, were to vote Yes, independence could more plausibly be the base from which to achieve their aim.

        Convoluted? Far-fetched. Of course. That’s politics. Happenstance in a world of hypothesis.

        To tackle Newroom’s retorts:

        Blair Jenkins’s banking statement is far-fetched only to the extent that an independent Scotland is initially at least unlikely to have its own currency. The one big country to escape the crunch relatively unscathed is Canada, always wary of its big brother next door, skeptical of its beggar-thy-neighbour ideas and motives. Scotland and England to a T, bar the pound.

        On achieving independence – federalism at present is not on offer – the SNP in principle would automatically cease to exist and, even if it kept its name, it would eventually become a rump as its more intelligent members reverted to fighting for their individual ideals in other parties with names still to be invented. Only then could federalism become a major issue. Dogmatically non-aligned parties inevitably become aligned (one hopes not dogmatically) to something or other. Politics are fluid. Must plan for as many eventualities as possible. Dinnae be feart.

        In reply to Newsroom’s points:
        1. It is undoubtedly disappointing that Scotland cannot at present look so confidently to Europe for reassurance, but the fact that the SNP is pro-European contrasts vividly with Little England hostility. The SNP should honestly and openly calculate and publicise the initial economic risks of independence. And Newsroom knows there’s never a good time for the young turtle to make for the sea.

        2. Nobody will be voting blindfold for independence unless they are actually blind and deaf. And the context is not no-way-back: new alliances post-independence would always be there for the making. The SNP research department has not excelled itself, and I’m sure its efforts have been stifled to avoid scaring the fearties. Only the unionists so far are proclaiming the negatives.

        3. Newsroom says the SNP has developed ‘a disturbingly Stalinist and bullying’ culture. Bullying begins in the playground and extends into all areas of later life; but most adults learn how to deal with it. Stalinism is a different matter. OTT.

        4. Wind turbines pepper the horizons of Europe; I don’t know about the United States. Personally I don’t find the blots on the landscape hideous and they will not be permanent. Of course, they are not the long-term solution but only because at present we can’t store the energy they produce. They are, however, particularly receptive to our south-west prevailing wind, as our nascent wave technology is to the Gulf Stream. Why not be optimistic about all of that? Nuclear energy at present is vital. Coal and gas should be phased out as soon as possible. It’s all to play for.

        5. Here we are descending into utter pessimism. Alex Salmond is not smooth enough to escape the tar brush. Trump was a disaster. Brillo Pad interview also. But tired and ‘not to be trusted’, no. The Scottish pool is shallow only because people like Newsroom won’t (wo)mån the electoral pumps. We’ve given the United Kingdom the so-called best of our politicians, and a lot of good it did us, or England. How can one expect the English to understand our concerns when Scottish ‘clever dicks’ have screwed their ambitions, Left, Right and Centre (capitals politically imposed)? And how can we expect, immediately, to replenish the goldfish bowl of Scottish politics in an era when youngsters are encouraged to see it as a cesspit?

        6. The European Union is now considered unsuccessful. How negative? We have watched unyoked Yugoslavia descend into war-criminality. High taxation? None of us pays enough. The pavements in France are a geolocical joy; Glasgow’s are an apology to MacAdam.

        7. No strategy for sustainable growth? So you prefer the coalition’s measures?

        And as I finish writing this, I note that the first bribe, courtesy of the Scottish Tories, has just plopped through the letter-box.

        Aye, ah’ll awa’ tae hell happy.

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  7. What state the Scottish banks would ave been in if Scotland had been independent depends how long Scotland was independent for. As an example if Scotland had remained independent in 1707 then Scotland, England and probably all the countries in the world would ave been very different. It may me an interesting academic exercise but of no value in the Independence debate.

    It’s akin to saying if Tony Blair’s father had used a condom there would have been no war in Iraq.

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  8. The SNP are currently like a flock of ducks, all quiet and serene on the surface but paddling like mad under the surface.

    It is quite clear that activists are currently gagged (when did we last hear from The Doc, Anne Baird or any other of the usual suspects?). Behind the scenes they are presumably being tutored ready for the big push as 2014 approaches.

    I think General de Gaul said,”Apres moi le deluge!”. Whatever he was envisaging it was nothing to the deluge that will cascade across Scotland later this year.

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    • Quote…”I think General de Gaul said,”Apres moi le deluge!”.

      I believe it was King Louis XV that this was attributed to; however, some believe it means something like: “I don’t care what happens next, I’ll be gone”, “The world could collapse after I’m gone, no big deal”.
      Good SNP analogy, however, I like to believe it means “After my reign, the nation will be plunged into chaos and destruction.”
      Probably what will happen if the Yes voters get their way.

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  9. We hear of a dictatorship, didn’t we all recently just witness as open, democratic, and transparent debate then vote on SNP’s stance on NATO? As we saw, a very narrow vitory in favour of a proposed joining NATO come independence. If as many accuse Alex Salmond and the SNP as being a dictatorship then the ‘no’ voters in the wonderfully refreshing debate were treading a very dangerous path.

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  10. I know its extremely unpopular on this site but just while we’re on about leaders of campaigns I thought it pertinant to advise the “Least credible statement of last year”, this time by the leader of the ‘No’ campaign.
    Labour MP Alistair Darling, claimed “Scotland’s EU membership was safe only if Scots remain in the UK”
    Given the recent Tory announcement on a referendum on UK’s EU membership was Darling’s above statement a convenient lie or not a very credible statement?
    Lets at least make a slight effort to be balanced in our criticism on here that way visitors and readers may take Newsrooms articles more seriously as apposed to thinking its just another anti-SNP or anti independence site. Contrary to what we read on here there are positives regular regarding pro-independence movement and negatives on the anti side but rarely highlighted.
    Some impartiality is not much to ask for from Newsroom, the respondents should be free to analyse and comment on more balanced news.
    By the way, I do not criticise or doubt the methodology, research and sources behind these predominantly anti-independence articles, however, to omit any positive news does this site no justice whatsoever and may indeed lose visitors imo.

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    • another “excellent” staement by Darling – We’ll make cuts deeper than Thatcher”

      What about this one by Tony Bliar at LIEBOOR’s 1997 victory – bringing “whiter than white government” and not forgetting an “ethical foreign policy”

      haw haw haw

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