Although we are retired, we already wrote this, so we can also publish it for the 99.9% of Scots who do not read the comments on David leaskHerald columns.
Scotland’s worst self-identification, the most reliably wrong, and the most pathologically insecure “Real journalist” Yesterday he refined one of his favorite horses, namely, what is a “Nationalist myth” that Scotland was impoverished after discovering oil in the North Sea.
It’s a statement you’ve been talking about since at least 2014, without providing a shred of evidence to back it up (his standard modus operandi), And yesterday was no exception. So let’s show little Dave how great journalists do it.
With his trademark pious anger, Leask repeatedly appeared in the Herald’s online comments yesterday to insist that he had somehow made his point, without providing a single fact, source or reference, because everyone just knew it was true.
The closest thing to a “Factual statement” in the article was the unsourced claim that “In general, the Scottish economy did not contract during the first decades of the oil boom”. That’s a fundamentally pretty nonsensical statement, because you don’t provide figures or even identify your terms. What is the measure? What is the time period?
So we’ll put it aside for a moment, come back to it, and see the bigger picture. Suppose that the line cited refers to the first two decades since oil began to reach the coast in significant quantities, which puts us roughly between 1975 and 1995.
1975 was a terrible time for the UK and therefore for Scotland. Had just emerged from the 1973-74 recession and went straight into another in 1975. We just had the three day week and they were heading for power outages, strikes waves and Winter of discontent. Ultimately, the country was in such a mess that it chose Margaret Thatcher in the desperate hope of fixing it.
Mrs Thatcher quickly led the country to another recession, the worst since WWII. He saw a really dizzying rise in unemployment, to almost 19% in Scotland, while interest rates soared to 18%.
This status persisted throughout the 1980s. The UK government implemented a series of fiddles to redefine the term ‘unemployed’, but even those only managed to reduce it to 15% in Scotland in 1986, after Thatcher’s total destruction of Germany. the country’s manufacturing industries.
Steel, coal, and automobile manufacturing were turned to rubble, and utilities were hacked and thrown at the stake and / or privatized while the big Bang it turned financial traders in south-east England into millionaires “piles of money.”
However, these years were also by far the highest period for oil revenue. In the six years between 1981 and 1986, Scottish oil contributed a staggering £ 125 billion (in 2021 money). In the first half of the 80s, Scotland, like Norway across the North Sea, was theoretically absolutely stinky, exactly as the UK government had predicted a decade earlier in the infamous McCrone Secret Report.
But what brought this incredible reward to the country in such a short time? Record unemployment and half the country struggling to put food on the table from shoddy service industry jobs at pitiful wages that they could barely afford to get because right now the bus industry had been privatized and decimated.
Then things got a bit better for a few years until the UK crashed into the 1990-1991 recession. Unemployment shot up again reaching 11% (according to the new count, actually closer to 15%) in 1993.
Interest rates peaked again in the early 1990s, hitting a 15% crip on Black Wednesday while the UK government tried to control rampant inflation of almost 10% and keep the UK in the Exchange Rate Mechanism. The UK budget deficit reached 8% of GDP.
Public assets were sold by wheelbarrow To balance the books: British Airways, BP, British Steel, British Gas, British Shipbuilders, BAA (which owned Scotland’s four major airports), British Telecom and many more were withdrawn from the public and placed in private hands during the 20 – a year-long period that Leask regards as a kind of great and glorious economic boom for Scotland.
Scottish voters, however, had responded by slashing Scottish Conservative seats in Westminster from 22 in 1979 just 10 in 1987. A decade later, in the first elections after our probationary period, the Conservatives were completely wiped off the Scottish electoral map, their vote was cut in half, which we can only assume was because everyone was angry about how rich the country had become. .
At this point, an embarrassed Leask clung to “GDP” Y “growth”.
But Scotland does not HAVE any reliable measure of its GDP, because it is not a country in any meaningful sense and therefore does not have a Treasury equipped with the resources to produce them. The best we have are a large number of estimates based on subjective and arbitrary interpretations of UK figures.
Second, GDP is a wildly false measure anyway, as Robert Kennedy famously said, measures everything except all the things that make life worth living. The Lockerbie disaster increased GDP. Let’s grow the economy by having terrorists blow up more planes over our cities, huh?
And third, and most importantly here, GDP only counts for something if THE COUNTRY REALLY MANAGES TO KEEP THE MONEY IT PRODUCES.
There is no doubt that, for example, from 1981 to 1986 Scotland generated an enormous amount of money from oil, and that greatly increased its notional GDP. But the question at issue here is whether Scotland … Scotland, not the UK – got richer as a result, and the facts are, not a single penny of that money made Scotland richer because EVERYTHING WAS SHIPPED TO LONDON.
London spent all that money on what London wanted, and all Scotland saw was some subsidy money.
(Exactly the same goes for “growth”, because all the tax receipts went to the Treasury, but even to that extent, it was not a good time. Countries almost never have real negative growth so it is generally measured relatively, and in the first decade of oil money Scotland’s growth rate. collapsed. In 1995 it was still only half of what it had been in 1973).
By the universal agreement even of unionist economists and the UK government itself (as reported, ironically, in the Herald, in the days when it still employed actual journalists), Scotland returned far less from the UK in those years than it contributed. What should have been his wealth was wasted in easing the cost of conservative policies in England. Nothing was even set aside for a rainy day.
But that simple, basic, empirical and obvious fact: Scotland didn’t get richer, because Scotland couldn’t keep the money it earned – cannot penetrate the dense wall of solid bone that exists where David Leask’s brain is supposed to be.
Scots remember the Thatcher era, with all precision, not as a glorious time of plenty, but as a national catastrophe so traumatic that it has so far kept the Conservatives from getting anywhere near winning an election in Scotland for victory. 42 years from the day he walked into Downing Street It promises to bring hope, truth, faith and harmony..
(Only once in this century, in 2017, were they within 20 points of the winning match in Scotland, despite ruling the UK for 29 of those 42 years. Leask must regard the Scots as a shower of ungrateful brutes.)
This entire article up to this paragraph is only 90 words longer than Leask’s (excluding the explanatory introduction, it’s shorter), but we still managed to include 32 source links to factual data supporting our claims, compared to your zero.
So if you do If you want a crude 4chan-style internet troll selling clickbait “disinformation” about Scottish politics, stick with David Leask. If real journalism is what you are looking for, you know where it can be found.