As well as the new EU poll, Friday’s Times also had a new YouGov Scottish poll. There was also a new TNS Scottish poll in the week. Topline voting intentions for Holyrood were:

YouGov (tabs)
Constituency: SNP 50%(-1), LAB 19%(-2), CON 20%(+1), LDEM 6%(+1)
Regional: SNP 42%(-3), LAB 20%(nc), CON 20%(+1), GRN 6%(nc), LDEM 5%(nc)

TNS (tabs)
Constituency: SNP 57%(-1), LAB 21%(-2), CON 17%(+5), LDEM 3%(-1)
Regional: SNP 52%(-2), LAB 19%(-1), CON 17%(+5), GRN 6%(-3), LDEM 6%(+2)

While the scale is difference, both polls have the usual overwhelming lead for the SNP. The obvious expectation is that they’ll easily secure a landslide win come May. More interesting is the battle for second place. YouGov have Labour and the Conservatives essentially equal (in the constituency vote the Conservatives are a point ahead after rounding… though this was nearly all in the rounding!). YouGov have tended to show the highest levels of Conservative support in Scotland and have had Labour only a whisker ahead of them for their last couple of polls, however other companies now seem to be showing the Labour and Conservative gap in Scotland narrowing too. TNS have the Conservatives up five points since December, bringing the gap in the regional vote down to two points, a Panelbase poll earlier this month also only had a two point gap between Lab & Con in the regional vote, MORI had the gap falling to 2-3 points in their last poll. Survation’s last Scottish poll still showed a 4-5 point gap this month, but it was down from an eight point gap in their previous poll.

Personally I’d still see the Conservatives coming second in Scotland as unlikely – while Ruth Davidson is well regarded (her approval ratings in the YouGov poll were substantially better than Kezia Dugdale’s) their brand seems almost irretrievably tarnished in Scotland. However if Scottish Labour fall far enough, I suppose it is possible. We shall see.


114 Responses to “Latest YouGov and TNS Scottish polls”

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  1. Carfrew

    See here :

    http://www.cityam.com/224490/scottish-independence-low-oil-prices-would-have-been-benefit-independent-scotland

    “Oil revenue is the icing on the cake of the Scottish economy. There would have been some manageable short-term economic pain resulting from the current low oil prices. But, oil prices will rise in the future and the North Sea assets would be better protected in an independent Scotland.”

  2. @carfrew

    And how many of those platforms were due to be decommissioned anyway?

    Meanwhile in Shetland the Laggan and Tormore gas field came online today following a £3.5 bn investment.by Total supplying about 8% of the UKs gas requirements.

  3. @Sam

    Thanks for that link!! Everyone should read it. Particularly liked this bit of the rationale, where he imagines negotiations over Independence during a low oil price would go like this:

    “Everyone, including Oil & Gas UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the so called independent Office for Budget Responsibility, tell us the future cash flows from the North Sea are negative with oil at less than $50 a barrel. So, how much will Westminster pay us to take over this liability?”

  4. @Sam

    “Thanks for that link!! Especially the bit where a low oil price obliges Westminster to “take over this liability”.

    If it dropped to zero, you could be quids in.

  5. @Hireton

    The article doesn’t say, but one presumes you’d be able to contribute on the matter given the import.

    The article does say

    “Another assessment of the North Sea, by Company Watch and commissioned by the Financial Times, suggests that half of oil and gas companies with North Sea operations are now loss-making, with total losses for the past 12 months adding up to £6.4bn.”

    Which suggests the scale of the problem.

  6. @ Hireton

    The article does suggest the impact of the low oil price is significant, but doesn’t give any numbers…

    “The time for many North Sea offshore oil and gas platforms to be decommissioned is fast approaching, with the oil price collapse bringing the commerciality of numerous fields into question,” according to a preview of the report.

    Of course, you could make a bit back from decommissioning…

  7. After 40 years production. of course the old fields are coming to the end of their lives.

    Fortunately, the new technologies have allowed access to the Shetland basins.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-35516144

    The pipeline infrastructure will also facilitate exploitation of the Clair reservoir.

    Given that the UK Govt limited the exploitation of the last oil in the ageing fields through Osborne & Alexander’s silly tax hike and Westminster just uses a non-renewable volatile revenue source to plug gaps in their spending. leaving the stuff in the basins until the price rises again makes a lot of sense.

  8. As per the article, new technology can also make decommissioning cheaper (and therefore sometimes preferable) too!!

  9. from an article linked to in the BBC article, the important question:

    “Will Total make a return?

    Mariner, which Statoil of Norway is developing, has viscous or “heavy oil”, which has presented other big challenges to drilling engineers, and can only now be exploited.

    The investment boom was due to tail off after 2014. But it has fallen off a cliff, due to the fall in oil and gas prices.

    Elisabeth Proust laughs wryly at the question of whether Laggan-Tormore would get the go-ahead now, suggesting the project might at least be “postponed a bit”.

    Will Total make a return on its investment at current gas prices? “We can, but it requires extremely good performance in production, and to be extremely strict on cost,” she replies.

    Those high costs are a big issue for investing in British waters, but she says this remains an attractive country because it has established working practices and a reliable, skilled supply chain. Plus, she says, “there is still prospectivity”.

    Indeed, there could still be very large oil and gas fields. But very low exploration activity recently, and even more its low success rate, mean that depleting reserves in old fields are nowhere close to being replaced.

    The weather is blustery and unpredictable in these northern waters, but this second wind may be short lived.”

  10. So basically, they can make money from this field, if very careful. But how much more of this is feasible is summat else…

  11. “leaving the stuff in the basins until the price rises again makes a lot of sense.”

    ———–

    Well it might, if you have an economy not overly dependent on oil. If not, then maybe a bit more of a problem…

  12. While oil is important for the Scottish economy (as long as the oil price stays above 28 dollars, othewise almost all the wells are loss making, and most of them are loss making at 35 dollars), the more important thing is the rest – especially US investment (and I don’t count Trump’s investment here).

    This is the real challenge – it is feasible, but I haven’t seen the infrastructure of policy making that could maintain it. Still they have done better so far than the UK government about the steel industry.

    England and Scotland are extremely tightly linked through technology research (especially platform technologies), which puts an interesting perspective to a context of an independent Scotland.

  13. Carfrew

    “if you have an economy not overly dependent on oil.”

    Fortunately, neither Scotland nor the UK is in that position.

    It takes only a small amount of oil & gas revenue to bring Scotland’s per capita GDP up by 1% or so to the UK figure.

    Certainly (on the figures being used by OBR/Scot Govt during the high oil price times) 10-20% of Scotland’s tax revenue would have come from oil and gas revenues, that was a measure of how much additional revenue would have accrued to the Scottish Exchequer from that sector, as opposed to not having that resource. That’s a very different thing from an economy being “based” on it.

    Of course, it is entirely possible that an independent Scottish government would have followed the UK’s example and p1ssed that non-renewable revenue stream up against the wall. But that would only have happened if we had decided that a Lab or Con Government was preferable.

    Incidentally, do you have figures for how much of the UK’s revenue stream comes from the financial sector/City of London? I suspect that is an even more volatile source to base an economy on.

    If it suited them, the finance houses could instantly relocate. The oil companies can’t move the oil and gas fields!

  14. Laszlo

    “England and Scotland are extremely tightly linked through technology research (especially platform technologies), ”

    The research isn’t determined by nationality! The original technology used in the North Sea was primarily American, but Total hasn’t used “French”, “English” or “Scottish” technological innovations in the recent development.

    Since platforms aren’t used at all in deep water exploitation, the technology in that sector is of much greater value in other areas. For “UK” companies, whether based in England, Scotland (a fair few in Aberdeen), Wales or NI, the export market is more important.

  15. @oldnat

    “That’s a very different thing from an economy being “based” on it.”

    ———

    Hope you’re not playing with words again. I didn’t say based on, but overly dependent. As in, you’d have quite some difficulties.

    And yeah, Peter Cairns tried the banking angle, I didn’t bother pointing out the problems with it to him because, well, even when I said I didn’t know the answer to summat, he then went on to berate me for… Not admitting I didn’t know. When I had just admitted precisely that. Faced with reasoning like that I thought it best not to rock their little boat.

    But you wouldn’t have to press me on the matter of too great a dependence on finance etc., I’d happily volunteer it’s far from ideal.

    However, it’s not exactly an ideal counter, to bring up banking. For having our own, well regarded currency we were able to print squillions to help get over the problem, in a way that an Independent Scotland might struggle to do.

    Similarly we could drop interest rates in a way you might not be able to do if tied to another currency.

    Also, having this kind of flexibility allowed us to borrow very cheaply compared to what might have been the case for Scotland.

    (A fuller consideration of the banking comparison might also take in things like the irony that we did in fact bail out Scots banking. How easily would you have done that if Independent?)

    As you may know, I’m not overly impressed with a failure to invest oil revenues however, something else that has come to mind before now, but which I’ve not got around to mentioning, is that if we had invested in a sovereign wealth fund or summat like that, then this might make Independence more attractive, if Scotspeeps think they could snaffle a goodly chunk of it along with the oil. Which has been implied on here before now…

    So the possibility Indy peeps might wanna snaffle it serves to disincentivise such investment. The same might go for investments in renewables in Scotland, of course, which Peter suggested at the time but I thought better of pointing out to him the problem.

    Dunno the figures on the revenue thing, but you can provide them if you like, even though peripheral…

  16. @Oldnat

    Obviously, there’s more to it. I mean, for example, when oil price comes up, Indy peeps suddenly mostly want to talk about banking. Cooper did it too. But there are other aspects beyond the revenue thing, such as Scots peeps being sold a pup on the oil price before the referendum. For some reason, does not seem to bother the more ardent Indy peeps…

  17. @oldnat

    “Financial Services: contribution to the UK economy
    SN/EP/06193
    26 February 2015
    Gloria Tyler
    Economic Policy and Statistics Section

    http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06193/SN06193.pdf

    “This note sets out some key statistics on the financial services industry in the UK.

    In 2014, financial and insurance services contributed £126.9 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy, 8.0% of the UK’s total GVA. London accounted for 50.5% of the total financial and insurance sector GVA in the UK in 2012. The sector’s contribution to UK jobs is around 3.4%. Trade in financial services makes up a substantial proportion of the UK’s trade surplus in services. In 2013/14, the banking sector alone contributed £21.4 billion to UK tax receipts in corporation tax, income tax, national insurance and through the bank levy.”

  18. @oldnat

    £20Bn from tax, levy is less than five percent of government revenues. Maybe you can find figures for before the Crash?

    Out of interest, I do recall from memory that the peak government revenue from oil was in Thatcher’s first term, during the era of the big opec price hikes. It was fifteen percent for a couple of years…

    This is distinct from the GDP contribution of course.

  19. The reality is no one can accurately predict what oil prices will do, many are predicting it will stay low for a decade, but nothing is certain

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-08/world-s-largest-energy-trader-sees-a-decade-of-low-oil-prices
    ‘Oil prices will stay low for as long as 10 years as Chinese economic growth slows and the U.S. shale industry acts as a cap on any rally, according to the world’s largest independent oil-trading house.
    “It’s hard to see a dramatic price increase,” Vitol Group BV Chief Executive Officer Ian Taylor told Bloomberg in an interview, saying prices were likely to bounce around a band with a midpoint of $50 a barrel for the next decade.’

  20. @NeilJ

    “The reality is no one can accurately predict what oil prices will do, many are predicting it will stay low for a decade, but nothing is certain”

    ——————-

    Indeed, the thing with oil is that it is quite easy for some nations to ramp production up or down and thus control the price to suit. In The Seventies and early Eighties prices stayed high for a decade, then collapsed ushering in a World Boom in the mid-eighties just in time for Thatch.

    Utterly barking then, to propagate the idea oil would stay above ninety dollars a barrel, or brand those concerned on the matter fearmongers.

    Of course, if the Chinese get Thorium going, that could shake the price up a bit. Or not, depending on how much market is cornered etc.

  21. @ Peter Cairns (SNP)

    So am I correct in thinking that the Lib Dems at 6% in the regional vote might actually do better than 2011 and keep Orkney and Shetland as well?

    Or in the alternative could a part of the Lib Dem vote actually swing over to the Tories who look like they might pip Labour for second place.

    In Scotland I assume Labour are bleeding to SNP and to a lesser extent the Greens.

    I also assume that UKIP are picking up support from the Scottish Christian, BNP, Christian Peoples and National Front which would give them a base of 2.6% from 2011.

  22. Carfrew

    “Hope you’re not playing with words again. I didn’t say based on, but overly dependent. As in, you’d have quite some difficulties.”

    Any misrepresentation of your words was unintentional. However, “overly dependent” isn’t an accurate description either – since GDP per capita is much the same for both the Scottish and UK economies.

    Thanks for the finance figures.

    It could be argued that 8% of UK GVA coming from a sector that can base itself anywhere in the world is “overly dependent” on that sector, which is why the finance sector in the UK is relevant to a discussion on whether economies “would have quite some difficulties” if revenues from a volatile source provide a substantial share of revenue.

  23. Carfrew

    Oh, and banks weren’t just bailed out by the jurisdiction in which their HQ building was located.

    Barclays (that would be an English bank, in your terminology) received the single biggest bail out package of any UK bank – $550bn+ from the USA and $6bn from Qatar.

  24. @oldnat

    “It could be argued that 8% of UK GVA coming from a sector that can base itself anywhere in the world is “overly dependent” on that sector”

    ———–

    Ok, feel free to argue that then, if you want to make that case. Then compare with Scotland.

    And then realise that it’s still missing the point that having control of sterling gives us a host of benefits in a crisis that an Independent Scotland may not have.

    Sure, Barclays got funding elsewhere. But it’s avoiding the point that saving the banking system in the first place such that Barclays were able to look elsewhere for funding required immediate injections of sizeable amounts and loads of QE on top, unlikely to be available to an indy Scotland.

    And then our ability to devalue the pound, drop interest rates… get cheap funding to finance a deficit to reinflate the economy… No amount of quibbling at the margins can make a serious dent in the totality.

  25. Carfrew,

    Total just opened a new gas supply plant on Shetland which will produce enough gas to supply every house in Scotland for twenty years. The price may be historically low, so low that plant wouldn’t have been built at today’s prices, but we have it and energy security for twenty years.

    I’d rather have that up and running than cross my fingers and hope the Chinese deliver on Nuclear.

    More importantly the “Yes” campaign and the Scottish Government repeatedly called Oil & Gas a bonus not the be all and end all. It was “Better Together” than kept on about the Oil running out and the price.

    I don’t have a problem with accepting that the SCottish Governments estimated Oil price was higher than the OBR’s but Iam getting a bit fed up about people going on about the less than $20 difference between the two when oil has been close to $100 below both.

    It’s like the Pre crash debate about Scotland’s borrowing.

    Then Chancellor Darling was saying Scotland’s debt at about 44% compared with The UK’s 40% would be crippling and lead to economic collapse. With two years he had written the banks a £1trillion cheque and debt hit 100%.

    Funny that five years on the UK debt is still near 80% an increase of something like 10 times the increase that was supposed to cripple Scotland and the U.K. is still here. Things are tough for many but no economic apocalypse!

    Oil might be dirt cheap right now and things are rough in the industry but I’d still rather have it than not.

    Scotland might not be doing as well as the UK as a whole but take out London and the 0.1% of taxpayers who pay 10% of all income tax and it is doing better than everywhere but the Southeast.

    If London ever stalls the UK will be in deep trouble and the only way we seem to have of dealing with that is to always do what the city wants. I am not sure that is a sound long term strategy.

    Peter.

  26. Talk of new bank stress in Europe, with ‘credit default swaps’ appearing in news reports again. O’er. Has the roof been fixed, as the sun seems to have stopped shining?

    It’ll be great for an independent Scotland – that’s for sure!

    [Armageddon and the slaughter of the first born would be equally great for an independent Scotland, as would collapsing oil prices, surging oil prices, and whatever happens to the price of fish. We are at a defining ‘what did the Roman’s ever do for us/it’s only a flesh wound’ point in history, I sense].

  27. I have just lost the very last bit of faith I had in the mainstream media. According to my dad the Sky news political experts were just talking about a rumour that Yes voters in Scotland are all planning on voting to leave the EU since a UK exit is believed to be a perfect excuse for another referendum.

    Now I know the vast majority of people here are smart enough to realise how utterly stupid that idea is and I imagine by extension most Scots are as well thus I can’t believe for a minute this rumour is even remotely true.

    Thus why on earth are sky even humouring such a ridiculous concept, their political “experts” must literally be the stupidest people in the country.

  28. @ Peter Cairns SNP

    Looking at the regional vote by constituency:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/electoral-data

    I see that the best result for the SGP was in Gasgow Kelvin at 15.49%, followed by Edinburh, Southern 14.76%, Edinburgh Central 14.4% and Edinburgh Northern and Leith 12.3%.

    I also note that in 43 of regional vote constituencies the SGP at 4.4% overall exceeded the Lib Dems, despite the fact that the Lib Dems averaged 5.2%.

    So that suggests that Lib Dem support might be more concentrated than the SGP, noting the SGP beat the Lib Dems in every Lothian and Glasgow seat, except Rutherglen.

    @ Et Al

    And as for oil and gas, the only people making money producing oil right now are the Saudi’s and Gulf States, Iraq and Iran.

    The problem in the Canadian Tar Sands is the cost of shutting down and starting up, but Nexen (China) has just shut down an entire operation down in Northern Alberta.

    Further one wonders how long Petrobras (Brazil) and the Malaysians can keep losing state funds. Beyond global economic stagnation, two European solar companies (Swedish and German) recently outbid a coal operation on a unit cost energy supply basis in Northern India.

    I, for example, installed a whole house solar system a year ago and the quoted price from a decade ago was $70,000, but we installed everything for $22,400 Canadian.

    Since 2006, with energy efficiences, we have reduced our off the grid electrical consumption from 17 kWh a day to 7 kWh.

    Meanwhile many oil companies across the planet face an uncertain future and mounting debt:

    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/02/08/Wild-Descent-Oil/

    We sold our last vehicle nearly a decade ago preferring to use public transportaion, rideshare and when necessary carshare, and occasionally I hitch as well.

  29. Carfrew

    I think it is you who miss the point.

    The states that bailed out the multi-national banks weren’t acting out of altruism! They were tying to protect their own economies from the contagion of collapse in their local (as well as the global) financial system.

    Barclay’s were one of the single largest purchasers of US Government debt. Protecting their debt market was critical. That Barclay’s HQ was in Canary Wharf was incidental.

    In similar fashion, while RBS was a basket case. 80% of it’s loss making activities were in its London based businesses. Protecting the London financial sector was critical to the UK Government.

    Your Barclays were able to look elsewhere for funding required immediate injections of sizeable amounts and loads of QE on top, unlikely to be available to an indy Scotland. demonstrates my point well.

    The constitutional status of the place in which the HQ building lies was, is, and would be wholly irrelevant.

    The rest of your post simply outlines your preference for being in a state which has an independent currency and, therefore, greater flexibility in responding to economic fluctuations.

    That has a lot to recommend it, as Iceland knows well. However, it is but one part of a complex cost/benefit analysis for any political unit. It’s not a sole reason be in or out of a Union.

  30. @rivers10

    The flaw in that scenario is that the case for a second independence referendum would only arise at all if Scotland votes to remain and the UK as a whole votes for Brexit. Yes voters voting for Brexit would be self defeating.

  31. Hireton
    I know and surely everybody should be able to see that which leads me to conclude that firstly its a bogus rumour and secondly that the sky pundits are morons.

    The only scenario where such a strategy would be in any way worthwhile would be in the very specific circumstances where the RUK very narrowly votes to leave while Scotland (aided by these “strategic” yes voters) very narrowly votes to remain but the UK still leaves the EU. However had the aforementioned strategy not been implemented the RUK vote was close enough that a comfortable Scottish remain vote would have resulted in a overall UK remain vote. Now I’m no mathematician but even I can see such a scenario is statistically near impossible.

    What’s more I feel that if the RUK very narrowly votes to leave but Scotland votes overwhelmingly to stay and thus the UK as a whole votes to remain (the scenario which I suppose the “strategic” yes voters are trying to prevent) that would be just as damaging to the union as a Brexit that Scotland didn’t vote for. In such a scenario a parade of kippers, Tory backbenchers and little Englanders would be openly furious with Scotland, the SNP would have a field day.

  32. @rivers10 – I dunno – when you have them claiming SLA are in the grip of ‘the far left’ for daring to suggest a 1p rise in income tax at a £20K threshold instead of deeper cuts, dafter things can happen.

  33. Andy Shadrack

    It’s a little difficult to compare SGP and SLD 2011 constituency votes, as SGP were selective as to which seats they stood in, while SLD were still pretending to be a major party – with purely nominal candidates in many seats.

    I’d guess that both Lab & LD will put up names for all constituencies in May, despite having difficulty finding candidates. As ardent royalists, they will be happy to boost the Private Purse of the Queen. :-)

  34. @
    HIRETON

    ‘The flaw in that scenario is that the case for a second independence referendum would only arise at all if Scotland votes to remain and the UK as a whole votes for Brexit. Yes voters voting for Brexit would be self defeating”

    ———

    But what if Scotspeeps vote to leave and the rest vote to stay. Could that trigger a referendum?

  35. The price of oil does affect the number of people employed in the O&G industry. It is the total taxes paid by the industry and the loss of those taxes due to unemployment that affects the economy of the UK and would affect the economy of an independent Scotland.

    In 2012, around 440,000 people were employed in the industry including the supply chain and 100,000 people whose jobs arise from the economic activity generated by employees spending.. Wages are high, average around £64,000 per annum and a tax take per head of over £25,000.

    Most jobs are in Scotland – 45% of them and 21% in the SE of England.
    OIl and Gas UK, which supplies this information, reckons that the 440,00 is now 375,000. Some 65,000 people in the industry have lost their jobs and the Treasury has lost their tax contributions.

    http://oilandgasuk.co.uk/employment.cfm

    If Scotland were independent most of the producing oilfields would be in Scottish waters and around 60% of gas production. Most exploration would also take place in Scottish waters. Many more Scots are likely to be employed in the O&G industry. Any Scots government is likely to set up an oil fund. It might follow the Norwegian example and have its own exploration company. It might also follow the Norwegian example and invest in research in the industry as the UK did not do. The difference is that Statoil can, typically, recover 50% of oil in a field against the UK and industry typical recovery rate of 35%.

    A good deal of the waters around the west coast of Scotland and the Forth approaches seem to be prospective for oil. There is oil in the Clyde which cannot be sought at present – underwater traffic.

    To guard against the volatility of the oil price it would be sensible to keep some of the dosh raised in good times to set against the hard times. I wonder why that did not occur to any UK government. McCrone?

  36. @Old Nat

    According to the Electoral Commission the SGP did not run in any constituency seats in 2011:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/141379/SP-2011-electoral-data-report-WEB.pdf

    So I was wondering if they might start in Glasgow and Edinburgh this time?

    In 2015 there were only two seats where the SGP broke 5%, Glasgow North 6.2% and Edinburgh East 6%.

  37. Peter Cairns – “More importantly the “Yes” campaign and the Scottish Government repeatedly called Oil & Gas a bonus not the be all and end all.”

    LOL. Have you really convinced yourself that was how the SNP played it?

    Here’s what Salmond really said:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/salmond-scotland-s-oil-boom-to-bring-billions-1-2829902

    Quote

    The Scottish Government figures suggest that the year after Scotland becomes independent, 2017-18, the nation could see oil tax revenues of £11.8bn, compared with the OBR estimate of only £4.1bn.

    “Even with a cautious estimate of prices remaining at $113 a barrel being used, it’s clear that Scottish oil and gas could generate more revenues than has previously been assumed.”

    Mr Salmond added: “Taking an average, that would be £48bn coming from the North Sea during that period – revenues that with independence could have been put to use in Scotland, supporting our public services and investing in our future.”

    End Quote

    When he was talking about revenue he was talking about tax revenue. It’s perfectly true that the oil companies can simply sit on the reserves and write them down on their balance sheets while they wait for prices to turn, and they can wait for decades if necessary.

    But govts need revenue immediately and because Scotland spends more than it raises, even with £11bn a year oil revenue, they’d still have been running a deficit. The actual oil tax revenue for 2015 came in at £100 million, and the lovely English graciously sent a subsidy north to make up the shortfall.

    But how would an independent Scotland cope? Note that Scottish Labour’s 1% tax rise across the board only raises £500 million. To hit £11 billion you would need to raise income tax by 22%.

    Is a tax rise of 22% really a mere “bonus” that Scots can easily cope with? Only if you’ve had a terrible Scottish education and can’t get your brains around basic sums!

  38. @Sam – I think you will find very few people on here who wouldn’t be prepared to agree that the UK managed to successfully butcher it’s North Sea oil and gas legacy. Shetland council knew far better how to run things than Whitehall, but that train has left.

    The SNP wanted to set up two oil funds, which is fine, except all reputable forecasters repeatedly pointed out that an independent Scotland would face an immediate deficit, when oil revenues were included, even at $100 a barrel.

    Yes, over time, exploration and production could increase, but it’s notable that the SNP were criticising Osborne for stifling investment by imposing new taxes – raising state revenue – even before the price crash. Expanding exploration in the North Sea/Atlantic in a world of cheap oil would need preferential tax treatment, which means less for state budgets.

    I have no doubt that prices will rebound at some point, but you then have to answer some questions about whether Scotland really wishes to move into ever deeper and more sensitive waters to mine products that are leading already to catastrophic environmental damage.

    Already this week we’ve seen news of dramatic falls in large battery costs, moves to use compressed air to store power and significant breakthroughs in demand management through use of smart meters and electric vehicles. Many smart investors are joining the green campaigners in agreeing that we shouldn’t assume we will always need oil, and that there’s nothing wrong with leaving it the round if something better comes along. Scotland could do well out of this, but equally these technologies would help rUK be less reliant on external power sources too.

    Current oil prices would have decimated iScotland’s budgets has there been a yes vote. Suggestions that this would have led to Scotland shouldering less of the UK’s debt as a result, are typical of the Alice in Wonderland stuff. Scotland would have got a sinking O&G sector plus exactly the same debt as before, along with everything else, and would now be in dire straights.

    In the long term, things would pick up, but there is a much bigger issue over oil futures than price volatility, and oil wasn’t the ‘icing on the cake’ but a core part of current projections at $100. If Scots had voted yes, this would have been a disaster for them.

    Lets reminds ourselves http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/scotland-on-the-verge-of-a-new-north-sea-oil-boom/

    The funny thing is, if you look at the graph in the link, not only were all the oil price forecasts wrong – they were so wildly wrong that the scale on the graph doesn’t even begin to get close to current prices.

  39. Alec

    “I think you will find very few people on here who wouldn’t be prepared to agree that the UK managed to successfully butcher it’s North Sea oil and gas legacy. Shetland council knew far better how to run things than Whitehall, but that train has left. ”

    Nice to see agreement on here that Westminster was really useless at managing the windfall of oil and gas.

    Mind you, the train hasn’t totally left. Shetland Council will collect royalties on all the gas piped to the new terminal.

  40. Ipsos-MORI have started releasing results of the Scottish Public Opinion Monitor for Feb – just an STV question on nukes so far, but presumably VI to follow in due course. [1]

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3698/Scots-split-on-support-for-nuclear-weapons-in-Britain.aspx

    Split survey. Half asked if support “Get rid of all nuclear weapons in Britain” – 51% support : 40% oppose.

    Other half asked if support “Get rid of all nuclear weapons in Britain even if other countries keep theirs” – 44% support : 46% oppose.

    Moe on 500 polled fairly high I suppose, but interesting that unilateral disarmament supported by around half of Scots.

    A reserved matter, so theoretically irrelevant to holyrood in May, but the “mood music” created by UK Lab’s internal debate may have some influence

    [1] Although the numbers listed in the Holyrood Constituency VI crossbreaks may be suggesting an unrepresentative sample –

    SNP 63% : Lab 22% : Con 15% : LD 1% : Other < 1%

  41. Too late at night to do arithmetic!!

    SNP 59% : Lab 25% : Con 17% : LD 1% : Other < 1%

  42. I may not be in the right frame of mind here but I almost feel like the Scottish Tories and Scottish Labor should break off from their main parties and merge with one another. And I know that sounds totally crazy but when you look at the remnants of the Scottish Tories, they’re far too the left of their English and Welsh brethren. What remains of Scottish Labour seems to be New Labour loyal or New Labour influenced. The old hard left Labour seems to be with the SNP now, perhaps permanently. I could imagine that finding one single leader would be seemingly difficult but both the leadership of Scottish Labour and leadership of Scottish Tories seem like things that nobody really wants right now (like being Governor of Puerto Rico).

  43. CANDY

    :-)

  44. Candy,

    No LOL from me, I stick by that being how we played it.
    You’ll find no end of quotes from the Yes campaign about the prospects for North Sea Oil because we were constantly challenged with the same question again and again;

    “What will happen when the oil runs out!”

    We pointed out that it wasn’t about to any time soon.

    The fact that the Press, who were almost exclusively anti Independence, kept asking what “Better Together” wanted them too and bought into Project Fear because hype and hyperbole sells papers doesn’t make it our central theme.

    Dire as things are now and it may be that the industry in Scotland is scaled back perminantly, it’s still better to have than not. It might not be a cash cow but I’d rather have a smaller oil and gas sector than no steel industry and have a focus on something that we own and that can’t move rather than one that chases other people’s money that can go elsewhere at the touch of a keyboard.

    Peter.

  45. Good morning all from a sunny central London. The commute in from Winchester this morning was rather entertaining. Two females sitting across from me (in suits) arguing with each other over how much space one of them was taking up with her news paper and they were actually elbowing each other as well.

    Both were quite tasty and I was going to recommend they sort out their differences in a mud bath wrestling match but thought I’d better keep my mouth shut.

    Anyway back to polling and politics.

    Good result for Trump, not so good for Christie.

    New Hampshire primary so far (R):
    Trump: 30.6%
    Kasich: 17.9%
    Bush: 12.8%
    Cruz: 11.5%
    Rubio: 10.7%
    Christie: 7.9%
    (8.6% precincts reporting)

  46. PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    I can assure you UKplc ain’t doing too great at the mo. 14% has been written off UKplc shares this year and BP has seen billions wiped off its share value which will have a significant impact on UK pensions.

    Anyone who thinks they can sit and gloat at the difficult times the oil and gas sector is facing in Scotland should think twice. It’s a double edge sward, low prices at the pumps, increased consumer spending at one end and falling pension funds and investments at the other. Quick gain for some long term pain for others.

    And consider this..£1 in every £6 in Uk pensions is tied up to BP.

  47. #Double–edged Sword

  48. Responses to Scottish polling seem to show a higher than I would expect number of respondents being English born. How would this translate into polling numbers? I would have expected the Tories to pick up polling support in such a case where the Tory ‘brand’ is seen as less toxic.

  49. PC/AC

    No gloating or laughing here. We’re talking about real people and their futures.

    In which topic, I’m bemused by the fact that the SNP have never yet addressed the core question.

    When you run a fiscal deficit, how do you borrow if you don’t have your own currency?

    That was the key question in 2014. A that the oil price collapse has done is to make the question even more pertinent.

    This isn’t about winning political points. It’s about fundamental economic viability.

  50. @Peter Cairns

    It’s quite disturbing to respond to your posts, as they do not tend to bear much relation to what I said, but instead to what maybe you wished I had said, so you can put forth whatever it is you really want to say. Happened last time, and it’s happening again.

    For example, you do not need to inform me about the Total Oil field, because I am clearly already aware of it, having discussed it earlier in the thread with Oldnat.

    Secondly, if you had read my posts you would see that while I would agree that it’s nice to have the Total find, and you make it sound very wonderful, what you’re avoiding is that it doesn’t necessarily make up for what you’re looking like losing now does it.

    Thirdly, regarding oil not being the “Be all and End all”, that sounds great too, it’s just that you are ignoring the role oil played in helping balance the books in the Yes Campaign’s figures. With oil much lower, it leaves a hole which you guys gloss over now, and crucially how much harder it is to make up the difference when you don’t have the advantages UK has with control over sterling.

    E.g. The UK can deal with crises by printing money, dropping interest rates, devaluing, and borrowing cheaply, and has the advantage of a bigger more resilient economy anyway.

    Scotland is unlikely to have these benefits. Just suddenly saying oil isn’t the “be all and end all” doesn’t magically provide an alternative for you when in difficulties, say with oil or banking.

    Again, you don’t appear to be reading my post properly on the ninety dollar thing. The other side’s estimate may have been seventy dollars, but an estimate is not quite the same as claiming a ridiculously high floor and branding as fear mongers peeps who point out its stupidity.

    Also you are ignoring how peeps were sold a pup.

    The comical thing, is the reason there’s only a $20 dollar disparity, is because in contrast to the Yes campaign, Better Together were erring on the side of caution. If they had cited a lower figure, which would suit their case better, it actually would have been more realistic. You’re just drawing attention to how badly out of whack the Yes campaign were.

    Meanwhile, comparing Scotland’s debt with the UK’s shows you are still not engaging with the advantages UK has when facing problems like this compared with the likely situation for an Independent Scotland. It’s not all about how much debt, but ease of dealing with it. If you can devalue, floor interest rates, borrow cheaply, and even print money, you can deal with it rather better than those who can’t.

    Even worse, it makes little sense to be moaning about Darling to me. I can understand you might have issues with him but join the queue: I’ve got issues with most of them.

    I agree things might be too London-centric but it doesn’t address what I was going on about. Which is that there’s a big difference between the resources UK has to deal with when facing debt and crisis, compared to that likely for an Independent Scotland. And your post tries to skirt around that without succeeding.

    Basically, one doesn’t mind all the stuff you injected about Total, about Darling, about the “Be all and end all”, and about London, provided it doesn’t serve to distract from the main point at issue, or act as though I said summat different to what was the case. Sadly this wasn’t the case, and after all the squirrelly distractions, my essential point remains intact. That when facing debt, banking crisis or oil shortfalls etc., the UK has significant advantages unlikely to be available to an Independent Scotland.

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