The Wee Black Book

After months of misinformation and scaremongering from the 'Better Together' campaign, the promise of 'near Federalism' or 'Home Rule' was their last-ditch attempt at securing a NO vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum.

On the day of the vote, these promises and assurances were believed by 55% of Scots who rejected the question: "Should Scotland become an independent country" and voted NO.

So where is the promised "Home Rule"? What about all the scare stories that assured us that Scotland would crash and burn as an independent country? What about the protections we would enjoy for jobs, welfare and the Health Service if we remained as a part of the UK?

The Wee Black Book answers many of these questions and debunks the myths created and propagated by the agenda of the UK establishment.

The projected date for Scotland to have officially become an independent nation in the event of a YES vote was the 24th of March 2016. The "Wee Black Book" was published on that date, in order to record the consequences of Scotland’s choice.

The Wee Blue Book

The Wee Blue Book was published in 2014 during the run-up to the Scottish Independence Referendum.

With no meaningful support from the 37 daily newspapers in Scotland, the cause of independence suffered from bias reporting - that not only criticised the idea of independence, but also endorsed a multitude of unfounded scare stories, assumptions and misinformations - it did this largely unchallenged.

The Wee Blue book was published in hard copy form and was also made available via social media - a powerful platform that became the mainstay of the YES movement. Authored by Rev. Stuart Campbell (responsible for the popular blog, Wings over Scotland).

The book highlights the various scaremongering tactics deployed by the Better Together campaign and offers valid alternatives to many of these misconceptions.

A positive case for independence is presented and the worst of the Unionist propaganda is thoroughly debunked.

blog graphic oil spill 01

The recent slump in the global oil price has seriously impacted the UK oil sector. Thousands of workers have been temporarily laid off or have lost their jobs completely. Knock-on effects to businesses that service the oil industry have been devastating and Aberdeen, the financial centre of the oil sector is struggling.

In a global industry like oil, prices fluctuate constantly. The causes for this volatility are many and varied but usually centre on issues of supply and demand. If there is too much oil available to buy, the price drops. Conversely, if there is a shortage of available oil, the price will increase. To counteract the periods of low oil price, most prudent governments have an 'oil fund' they can utilise to protect their oil industry and their economy. This keeps things healthy by introducing a financial subsidy from the fund until such time as the market picks up again. The oil fund is grown by transferring a percentage of the oil revenue into the fund during periods when the market price is high.

Despite over 40 years of oil and gas extraction from the North Sea, consecutive UK governments have never created an oil fund. Consequently, we are now witnessing the economic impact caused by no financial protection against low oil prices.

Perhaps it would be useful to compare the UK track record in oil production with another country faced with similar challenges over the same period. Such a country is our near-neighbour Norway, and, as we will discover, the fortunes of both have turned out very different.

panel 1 300In 1988, a Scottish Consitutional Convention was proposed, leading some years later to a 'Claim of Right' for a Scottish Parliament. After a successful referendum in 1997, a chain of events took place that saw the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

The Scottish Parliament is a 'devolved' body within the UK, and the powers it weilds have been negotiated over many years from the UK government.

The 2014 Referendum on Scottish Independence catalysed a new release of devolved powers by virtue of 'The Vow' - an agreement signed by the leaders of all three Westminster Parties to grant Scotland 'Home Rule' or 'Near Federalism' if Scotland voted to remain as part of the United Kingdom. The Smith Commission was set up to examine how this would be delivered. Sadly, the powers that have been devolved from the Smith recommendations fall woefully short on what was guaranteed, so negotiations will, no doubt, continue for the foreseeable future.

The powers that have been proposed and agreed will take effect over the life of the next Parliament in Holyrood.

This article covers a brief history of how devolution started and where it is today. It also lists the various devolved powers - both in current use and those that will come into force in the near future. Facts and figures accompany the description of the major new Tax and Welfare powers to be introduced next year.

economyDespite the aftermath of the global recession, Westminster's austerity policy and the slump in global oil prices, Scotland's economy is buoyant - and, under the watch of the devolved Scottish Government shows signs of significant growth.

Every quarter, the Economic Research Team at Scottish Enterprise produce a mini-report (Scottish Key Facts) which provides a snapshot of Scotland's economy. Much of the information is based on historic values and previous reports, but, when they become available, the latest figures are included.

Most of the information included in this article is based on the February 2016 report. The various facts and figures are shown in a tabular form, but where appropriate (to make the information easier to understand at a glance) we have converted the data into pie charts and histograms and these appear alongside the original data for comparison.

The report highlights the 12 main sectors that contribute to Scotland's economy and gives a detailed breakdown of the current activity within each.