Tuesday, 24 July 2018

In other news ...

I've been quiet on this blog recently - here's why.

Yesterday saw the publication of a paper which I authored for the These Islands forum (which I co-founded and chair), which responds to the SNP's Growth Commission in what I think can fairly be described as forensic detail.  You can read the full report here

It offers a very carefully constructed, respectful but thorough analysis of the Growth Commission's output. On this blog I took care to respond to specific Growth Commission claims, recommendations and analyses as these were revealed - the paper offers a more considered view.

If the angry swarm of cybernats on Twitter would do the same, they'd avoid making the rather embarrassing mistake of attacking the paper as the ramblings of a "dog food salesman" - it has not only passed review by the These Islands advisory council but has been explicitly endorsed by highly respected economists.

The Growth Commission (and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon who commissioned it) asked for their report to form the starting point of a debate. My paper is intended to contribute to that debate and at least the media response has been encouraging, with pretty much wall-to-wall coverage in Scottish print media:

I also appeared on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland [listen from 1:48:30 here] to (frustratingly briefly) discuss the paper.  Unbeknownst to me, SNP MP Kirsty Blackman was allowed an unchallenged reply and I was given no chance to rebut her claims. For the record: she shouldn't really be dismissing analysis endorsed by the people above as "nonsense" and her claims about pensions and HS2 costs were just  a re-run of tired and discredited arguments beloved of GERS-deniers. If she's right about Scotland subsidising UK pensions in the GERS figures (she isn't) then it's really weird that the Growth Commission didn't pick this up during its two year gestation period (they didn't, because it isn't so).

It looks likely that Ms Blackman agreed to appear on condition of responding to me but not debating. This is a presumption on my part, but if I'm right it suggests a rather strange approach to "opening up debate".

I also had a piece published for the New Statesman (which was their "most popular" the day it was published) - I encourage people interested in the nature of political debate in Scotland to read it.

As well as the widespread coverage in the Daily papers, there have been a number of significant online pieces - here's just a selection:
  • "having commended Andrew Wilson two months ago for a serious-minded and valuable contribution to debating Scotland's future, I'll do the same for Kevin Hague." - Douglas Fraser for BBC Scotland
  • "the most detailed response to the Growth Commission report to date" - Business Insider
  • "These Islands published a paper that forensically dissects the SNP's Sustainable Growth Commission Report and its "optimistic" assessment of the prospects for the Scottish economy under independence" - reaction.life
The social media reaction to all of this has been predictably depressing, with an onslaught of personal attacks against me from people who clearly haven't even glanced at let alone read the paper or its endorsements (just google "dog food salesman" if you fancy a laugh).

Zoomers are gonna zoom, but a couple of more high profile reactions are worth highlighting.

This from SNP MP Peter Grant is - well - "interesting"

This from SNP MSP James Dornan - responding to the cybernat in chief - is in a similar vein

And then there's this is from Growth Commission member Iain Docherty who - having incoherently attempted to criticise our "analytical frame" - confessed to having not actually bothered to read the report before passing judgement

What a time to be alive.


Alastair McIntyre said...

They want a debate and you've given them one Kevin and it will be interesting to see how they respond given the early response so far is not encouraging.

And hey... some of the very best people have been dog food salesmen... I was such a person myself selling Go-Dog for the old Carnation company.

And this fixation with the EU is all to do with the SNP wanting the EU to handle all their trade deals for them so they don't need to bother with that as an Independent country. It's also very clear that at some point the EU has pointed out certain facts to them if they want membership of the EU. This is in part why they talk about getting down to 2.6% of GDP. I've always said that we never actually learn what they've been told in those so called EU meetings.

And not to talk about the implications of Scotland leaving the UK market as opposed to the EU is certainly them cherry picking their selling points.

Why we can't have a proper debate is beyond me. In some respects I'd love for Scotland to be independent and then watch the havoc this would raise as they discovered they'd been totally conned.

Mind you seeing PM May getting permission from Germany to go ahead with her Chequers Brexit plan was also hard to take.

Perhaps you could also look at the Brexit ideas as some of them are interesting such as possibly seeing a reduction of 20% in our food costs. That would help the poorest in our economy. Also Sir James Dyson is very upbeat about a no deal Brexit and of course I do know you were against leaving the EU but you never really laid out why you were against it.

George Hill said...

The pro indy brigade's response has been entirely predictable. The assertions that they seek discussion is laughable and borne out by the comments you've received.
The so called debate in the lead up to the referendum was a debacle. Any different opinion from the SNP line was met met with deflection, derision and demonization of those concerned. It only served to confirm my belief that most SNP politicians were chancers seeking independence (free of the English) regardless of the consequences.
As for being civic and joyous, I've just checked and my arse is still pointing downwards. Am I yes yet? lol.

Drew Edward said...

I can't help thinking the author's considerable expert analysis of the Growth Commission and general commentary regarding the independence debate would be better served focusing on the impact of Brexit and a 'no deal scenario'.

The UK Government have already stated that 'now is not the time' for a second independence referendum.

This is polite shorthand for 'It's not happening again ever, at least not in our lifetimes.'

Surely it makes more sense to address something that is actually about to happen?

Alastair McIntyre said...

No comment on the recent GERS report nor comment on the 500 million deficit on the tax revenue Scotland brought in. Would have thought you would have something to say on this?

Also you never did publish your part 2 of the Bonds of Union.

So just wondered if you were on holiday or something else?