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Saturday, December 02, 2006


This is a rather silly piece I did as a comment on a Scotsman story. We have all seen the use of a letter or article dated many years ahead delineating a future history in which something wonderful or dreadful happened shortly after today's date & made the future world. The Scotsman article is based on the, to my mind somewhat unlikely, premise that a new Forth crossing following the 2007 election was the saving of our entire economy. I took up the idea & extended it. I have slightly edited.
A significant factor in what is now called the 2nd Enlightenemnt was the unexpected & catalytic effect on all parties of the vote for the 9% Growth Party in the 2007 election which cemented in place the SNP's comitment to corporation tax cuts & Jack McConnell's words in the same direction while encouraging the SNP to drop their opposition to nuclear power. The Forth tunnel was a useful bonus adding to the massive housebuilding boom following the relaxation of building restrictions. These & other progressive technology projects led to Scotland achieving one of the higher growth rates in the world & now in 2020 gives Scotland a GNP triple what she had before the 2007 election.

Kirsty & Scots generally are gracious in their acceptance of the gratitude of the rest of Britain for providing the role model which is now also leading them to prosperity Though the New Scottish Socialist Party & United ESP are agreed that it is all a plot by the wealthy.

Tonight she will again try to persuade her mother to consider emigrating to the 2nd British Isles L5 Space Settlement when it is opened to non-industrial habitation in 3 years. Her doctor advises that with her heart condition the low gravity should extend her life by up to 30 years, & make an active life even easier. By that time he is certain the worldwide reseach effort coordinated at the University of Islay will have been able to reverse aging.

{Might as well aim high & no individual part of this is that difficult}

Friday, December 01, 2006


Yesterday we saw the results of the BBC's series to find the top ten most important things in Scotland's History. I commented on this before.

1 - Wars of Independence
2 - Declaration of Arbroath
3 - Medicie/Fleming
4 - James Clerk Maxwell/science
5 - Burns
6 - Reformation
7 - James Watt/Industrial Revolution
8 - Scottish Enlightenment
9 - Covenanters
10 - Highland Clearances

The Scottish City*
World War One*
Early Medieval Unification of Scotland*
The Reformation
Scottish Role in the British Empire*
Wars of Independence
Medicine/ Fleming & penicillin
Treaty of Union*

1 James Watt/ Industrial Revolution
2 Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations*
3 James Clerk Maxwell
4 Fleming & penicillin/medicine
5 Declaration of Arbroath
Honourable mentions to
Battle of Stirling Bridge
Knox/ Reformation
Walter Scott*

The popular opinion fits fairly well with mine - I didn't include the Clearances & Covenanters or the Enlightenment as such (though Smith, Burns, Watt & Scott are part of it) & mentioned 2 events from the war of Independence instead of counting it as a whole.

The experts included the Scottish City & WW1, which, while very important don't seem to me to be a uniquely Scottish experience, early unification, without which everything else would also be different but again doesn't seem to me to be different from the history of many early states, Our role in the Empire, where I think they have scored a hit, the Treaty of Union, which again I have to acknowledge, & like the popular vote, the Covenanters.

The big popular surprise is the inclusion of James Clerk Maxwell who placed even ahead of Burns. It is worth noting that the big surprise in the UK version was Isambard Kingdom Brunel so in both cases popular opinion has been shown to be much more technophile than that of the great & good. I am very happy with that.

In general I think we have seen a wisdom of crowds phenomenon & firmly disagree with the experts inclusion of WW1 & cities & exclusion of Maxwell & Burns. The Covenant, as a sign of the general high level of popular literacy & the Union, as the way we were able to parlay that education into worldwide success are things, in retrospect, I can't disagree with.

All in all quite satisfactory.

Thursday, November 30, 2006



Young's fish

Climate change discussion

Science journalism

Wot Jack learned in Ireland

McConnell comes out for corporation tax cuts

Nuclear boss quits

James Bond was Yugolsav


Example of pourelle's iron law

Corporation tax

Forth crossing

Canon talks balls

Forth bridge

Forth bridge

Those working class flyers

Tories & Cameron

Dyslexic genes

Response to Canon Kenyon by Jim Sillars

Tavish Scott letter

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


From Migrationwatch
In a recent debate in Parliament a Home Office Minister gave the first official estimate of the benefits of immigration.

Joan Ryan said that “the Treasury estimates that migration has increased output by at least £4 billion and attributes 10 – 15% of economic trend growth to immigration.” [1]

What she failed to say is that immigration also adds to population to the same extent so the benefit in terms of GDP per head is roughly zero – that is there is no significant benefit to the host population. (see calculation below).

This is further confirmation of the statement by Professor Robert Rowthorn that “all the research suggests that the benefits (of large scale immigration) for the existing population as a whole are either close to zero or negative.” (Telegraph 2 July 2006)


£ 4 bn of out put on a GDP of approx 1250 is 0.32%

Net immigration in 2004 of 222, 000 on a population of 60 m is 0.37%

Trend growth is 2.5%. 15% of that growth is 0.375%

Thus on both measures quoted, the benefit per head is close to zero or negative. The major benefit goes to immigrants – which is why they come.
Migrationwatch are being kind in their assessment - the infleunce was given not as 15% but as 10 - 15%. 10% of trend growth is 0.25%, well under the immigration rate. I support immigration of people with needed skills. The duty of government is towrds citizens not towards immigrants. I would be interested to see how much of that increase is caused by the most skilled & highest earning 20% of immigrants. I suspect it might well be above the total for the whole. That is that unskilled non-English speaking immigrants positively reduce GNP.

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