Thursday, October 30, 2008

A message for over-excitable unionists everywhere:

Ahem...

Hello there. Before I start, I should make clear that this message isn't aimed at all unionists - far from it. I've been told before that I'm quite well-balanced (for a Nat, apparently), so in that spirit, it's time to repay a compliment which managed to be both back-handed and tongue in cheek at the same time. So with that said, level-headed, fair minded supporters of the UK, please exempt yourselves from what is to follow.

Now. I know that since I’m an SNP supporter, in the eyes of some very voluble commentators and commenters, everything I’m about to say will already be completely wrong before I’ve even said it. Don't worry - I'm used to it. I'm used to the silly jibes that everything I do as a supporter of independence is about fermenting ‘grudge and grievance’, propagating ‘myths’, or whatever the insult of the week happens to be. Unquestionably, what I’m about to say will also be ‘typical’ of some vice you imagine is held universally by those of my political persuasion. However, please, hang in there. It’ll do you good, I promise.

It’s no secret that for reasons best known to yourselves, some of you guys really dislike the SNP. I also know that some of you, in your desperation to try and do down the SNP and the cause of independence, will leap on any passing bandwagon, no matter how rickety or unsafe it may seem to those of us with cooler heads, be we pro-independence or pro-union.

In that spirit, I can understand how exciting it must have been to see yesterday’s Daily Mail, with its screaming front page headline about how Alex Salmond had been ‘slapped down’ by the Norwegian Foreign Minister. ‘Sent homewards to think again’… ‘whaur’s your arc of prosperity noo’… that sort of thing. ‘Bigger is better, so just shut up about how brilliant you think things are elsewhere’. All great knock-about stuff.

I hope I’m not being unduly critical. After all, if a Minister of the Crown like Jim Murphy can stand up in Parliament to accuse Norway and Ireland of being insolvent, then there’s little hope that the febrile, uni-loony attack dogs of cyberspace might adopt a more reasoned and intelligent stance. Frankly, therefore, my expectations were already exceptionally low in this regard.

However, a word from the wise. Before rushing to publish, it might have been advisable to read the comments made by the Norwegian Minister concerned, and to establish whether his words could lend support to the slant being placed on them by the politically interested. I’m sure that for the smarter folk amongst you to have done so, would have led to the realisation that the Daily Mail was indulging in a little bit of stirring.

That’s why the following letter below is now on its way to the Daily Mail, courtesy of the Norwegian Ambassador, which I hope they’ll have the decency to publish in full:


Sir,

The article "Salmond Slapped down by Norway Minister" in the Daily Mail on 29 October contained several incorrect and misleading statements attributed to Norway's Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre.

Firstly, there is no "growing anger in Norway" over comparisons made between Scotland and Norway during the debate in the United Kingdom against the backdrop of the current global financial crisis.

Secondly, no accusations have been made by Mr Støre against Mr Salmond, as alleged in the article. In the interview, the Foreign Minister merely pointed out factual similarities and differences between the challenges presently faced by Scotland and Norway. Inferring from this that Mr Støre is of the view that Mr Salmond has in any way lied or mislead the public, is simply incorrect.

In short, the Norwegian Foreign Minister did not intend to criticise either side in this debate, which is a domestic political discussion. What he strongly emphasised in the interview with the Daily Mail and which, sadly, was simply omitted from the article, was his sincere appreciation of the warm ongoing relationship between Scotland and Norway.

Yours sincerely,
Bjarne Lindstrøm
Ambassador of Norway


Oh dear. Egg on face time for a few people, I fear. Is it time to speak of a unionist yolk which can be thrown off? ;-)

37 comments:

Stephen Glenn said...

Richard it may humour you to know that I am not a unionist in the fullest definition of the word. I will however look at each situation put before me as and when the time comes.

I have nothing against the SNP or their members per se. Indeed I do not slap down every utterance that your party comes out with.

However, I am aware that there have been serveral misrepresentations or non-full disclosures by Alex Salmond, John Swinney et al about the true, full cost to the people of Scotland of their plan for independence. This is based on the examples they have cited to follow and a number of services not provided nor accounted for in the same way as currently.

I do look forward to either a similar letter being sent from them to the people of Scotland. Or failing that being involved in a conversation or debate about such hidden costs when the time comes to put the question to the people.

Stephen Glenn said...

BTW Richars I believe the paper you tagged is the Daily Mail not the Daily Mial.

Richard Thomson said...

Hi Stephen,

I have nothing against the SNP or their members per se. Indeed I do not slap down every utterance that your party comes out with.

I know you don't - nor would I ever dream of describing you as 'over excitable' :-) My criticism was reserved for the minority of vitriol throwers, in the Scotsman comments section and elsewhere.

However, I am aware that there have been serveral misrepresentations or non-full disclosures by Alex Salmond, John Swinney et al about the true, full cost to the people of Scotland of their plan for independence. This is based on the examples they have cited to follow and a number of services not provided nor accounted for in the same way as currently.

'fraid I don't get what you're driving at here. Can you elaborate?

Regards,

Richard

Stephen Glenn said...

As I said Richard I will leave that to an appropraite time. Of course should some other source highlight some of these I will of course draw attention to them.

Although for a teaser taking a country we both hold dear. Me as my family comes historically not from the 6 counties but the most northerly one you as its place in the arc. Would be health care provision. In the boistorous, prosperous example of an economy compared to the last 60 years here.

Stephen Glenn said...

My criticism was reserved for the minority of vitriol throwers

BTW I think neither side is exempt of these.

Leaves on the line said...

Ah yes, I'm thinking of a blog in particular that in recent weeks has labelled us all as:
- having "facistic" tendencies
- being out and out fundamentalists
- being anti-english (despite Jim Mitchell's research to the contrary and despite 7.2% of members being like me from England)
- insulting the war dead

I half expect to read one of those Private Eye style spoof headlines revealing that Salmond is planning to slay the nation's first born...

There is a new McCarthyism being promoted in Scotland: Nats are bad people, cyber loons are all nats and all speak directly for the membership, our politics has no place in decent society etc etc. Amusingly we are the ones being accused of stirring hatred.

Bill said...

Most amusing, from a number of points of view. I continue to watch what's going on between some SNP and Labour/Conservative supporters with much interest. Of course I did read a blog article yesterday on the Daily Mail article; I avoid tabloids like the plague so would never have known about it otherwise. I thought the scenario it portrayed somewhat unlikely, if not entirely impossible - diplomatic relations between countries/nations are not usually carried on in such a fashion, even if recent exchanges between the UK and Icelandic Prime Ministers might have led one to believe that the old rules had ceased to apply ;) Frankly, though, I think we ALL have a great deal more to worry about just at present than the usual petty squabbling between supporters of the SNP or the various Unionist parties, even if my basic views on that particular issue remain unchanged.

No doubt the usual Christmas tree, courtesy of the people of Norway, will be appearing in Trafalgar Square in several weeks time; I certainly hope so.

Richard Thomson said...

I think you and I are in complete agreement here, Bill.

stuart w said...

There's blind allegiance, tribalism and excesses on both sides; after all, the arguments are essentially political, so that's hardly surprising.

For example, to state that there's an anti-nationalist McCarthyism on the go is a bit rich since I've been called a traitor/Quisling for merely questioning SNP policies.

Scottish Unionist said...

Leaves on the Line

The themes and words which you've used make plain that you're talking about my blog. But I didn't say that you all have "fascistic tendencies", are "out and out fundamentalists", are "anti-english" or are "insulting the war dead". Please don't misrepresent me.

Scottish Unionist said...

Richard

One point of information, and one question:

Jim Murphy didn't "accuse Norway and Ireland of being insolvent". That's just your spin on his "arc of insolvency" comment.

What points made by the Foreign Minister were not countered by the Ambassador?

Richard Thomson said...

Jim Murphy didn't "accuse Norway and Ireland of being insolvent". That's just your spin on his "arc of insolvency" comment.

Codswallop. Jim Murphy was, I believe, the person who coined the term 'Arc of Insolvency'. In the Commons on Wednesday, he said:

"It is no wonder that many commentators now talk about an arc of insolvency — the SNP vision of a North sea bubble has well and truly burst".

Now, leaving aside Mr Murphy's simultaneous self-referncing/false modesty, unless there was some catastrophic oversight on my part when learning to speak English, to have insolvency there must also be those who are insolvent.

There's absolutely no doubt that Mr Murphy is happy to portray friendly neighbouring countries as being on their uppers, in defiance of the facts, to try and score domestic political points. Feel free to make a chump of yourself by trying to spin otherwise, though.

What points made by the Foreign Minister were not countered by the Ambassador?

The ambassador was countering specific aspects of the Daily Mail article. Hence the addresing of the letter to the Daily Mail, rather than to the Utanriksdepartementet in Oslo.

Scottish Unionist said...

There are many insolvencies in both Ireland and Iceland.

Irish Independent, 25 October 2008: "There's been an 86 per cent increase in the number of formal insolvencies so far this year."

As for Iceland, aren't Glitnir, Landsbanki and Kaupthing insolvent? Today budget airline Sterling went under.

And even in Norway, the Bank of Norway believes that unemployment will double next year. Various other concerns are spelled out in this Forbes article.

Richard Thomson said...

And I dare say there's many toys in Harrods, too. What's your point, caller?

You contend, against all the available evidence, that Jim Murphy hasn't described Ireland and Norway as insolvent. Are you suggesting here that he ought to have done?

Scottish Unionist said...

Of course not! As is obvious, neither Ireland nor Norway are insolvent.

But, as is equally obvious, insolvencies certainly form a significant part of each of their economic situations right now.

You've clearly read far too much into Mr Murphy's comment. He simply did not say that either country is insolvent.

Leaves on the line said...

SU

>>Please don't misrepresent me.<<

I'll ignore the rank hypocrisy in that request.

* You ran a post entitled "Fascistic CyberNats: a tiny fringe?" with a picture of Winnie Ewing

* You over-analysed the word "our" and with respect to Salmond's poppy appeal statement and objected to him paying respects to the Scottish war dead. You portrayed the statement as it as anti-English and political. If, for instance, Boris Johnson had made the same tribute to the war dead from London would you jump to a similar conclusion?

* You are obsessed - unhealthily obsessed in fact - with "CyberNats" and try to pin the mutterings on online loons on the rest of us - ignoring that such rants are common to both sides...

* You maintain on all possible occasions that the SNP is anti-English, conveniently ignoring that the party has many English people within it - in fact as I have pointed out to you on a few occasions, I am English and we are proportionally representative of the origins and identities of all those that live within Scotland.

* You dismissed the research that proved that composition (amongst other things) as being SNP and therefore to be treated with cynicism. In fact it was independent, ESRC backed research, performed by Prof Jim Mitchell from Strathclyde University. Go to www.epop08.com/papers/documents/JamesMitchell.doc and see for yourself...

* While I'm on the subject the research shows that the party is extremely pragmatic: 85.6% believe we need to concentrate on making devolution work in order to achieve independence, 89% believe that we need to work with other parties if we are to achieve independence and 64.7% believe that whilst independence is an ultimate goal it may need to take take second place: Hardly fits with your portrayal of a party that continually picks fights and is obsessed with a single issue is it?

I used to enjoy your blog and could respect your points of view and constructive engagement. Of late you have however become downright insulting and I do genuinely feel that the "Salmond’s politicisation of Poppy Week" posting was a grotesque smear on my party. Your latest bout of excitement was the commentary around the Daily Mail story, which is now utterly discredited: As Richard is saying in his posting you have got to the stage where everything is "‘typical’ of some vice you imagine is held universally by those of my political persuasion"...

Richard Thomson said...

SU - allow me, sir, to salute your courage and your indefatigability. It's a heroic attempt, but you're still talking bollocks.

Murphy's meaning in speaking of an arc of insolvency is clear - it's to disparage the performance of neighbouring countries in an attempt to discredit the idea that an independent Scotland might in some way emulate aspects of their success.

Murphy was keen to trumpet the Daily Mail headline which the Norwegians have now slapped down so firmly. By extension, he can consider himself similarly slapped.

Incidentally, Norway, unlike the UK, is still forecast to experience growth this coming year. If the feature of their economy that is 'insolvency' is to be used to justify Murphy's infantile jibe, where does that leave a UK in recession?

I'd quit while I was behind if I were you... :-)

Scottish Unionist said...

Chris / Leaves

Perhaps unwittingly, you misrepresented me in all four of your claims in your first post. In turn:

1. The post post entitled “Fascistic CyberNats: a tiny fringe?” featured an SNP member referring to “pro-union Scots (aka. English)”, an SNP activist saying that people who favour independence are “more Scottish” than those who don’t and a senior SNP figure (Winnie Ewing) saying that the unionist parties are only “claiming to be Scottish”. So while it would be true to say that I’ve questioned whether the fanatical fringe is as tiny and marginal as some people might like to think, that is very far from having “labelled” you “all” as “having "facistic" tendencies” – which was your claim, and which I would appreciate if you would now retract.

2. I note that you haven’t attempted to justify your claim that I labelled you all as “being out and out fundamentalists”. No surprise, as I didn’t. That being the case, would you kindly withdraw your false statement?

3. I do not “maintain on all possible occasions” either that “all” SNP supporters or that “the SNP” itself is “anti-English” (again, your words) and I defy you to present any link/quotation in which I have ever made such a suggestion. Indeed, Glasgow University research (Miller & Hussain, 2006) found that only 46% of Scottish nationalists harboured feelings which could perhaps be construed as “anti-English”, as I have previously mentioned. As that percentage is nowhere near “all”, a retraction again seems in order.

4. I did not say that “all”, or even some of you, had “insulted the war dead”. Rather, in this post, I took exception to Alex Salmond’s attempts to apply phrases such as “our forces”, “our country”, “our nation”, “our values”, “our way of life” to refer exclusively to Scottish forces, Scottish values etc. That struck me, and continues to strike me, as divisive and thereby deeply distasteful. But at no point did I suggest that he (or anyone) was insulting the war dead. So on your fourth misrepresentation, I would again request that you retract.

If we can get beyond these four items, I’ll happily reply to the remainder of your second post.

Scottish Unionist said...

Richard

Did Salmond’s “arc of prosperity” rhetoric mean that every Irish, Icelandic and Norwegian person was prosperous? Clearly not. And by the same token, “arc of insolvency”, “arc of austerity” etc are impressionistic phrases. Norway is clearly the strongest of the three, but Iceland is equally obviously in dire straits, with interest rates now at 18% to enable an IMF rescue loan. The Irish bubble has burst quite spectacularly and they’ve had an austerity budget slashing already very low public spending on health and education. But I don’t think we’re going to agree on what Jim Murphy meant or didn’t mean, so I’ll let it drop.

But in respect of Mr Støre’s unguarded remarks, I wonder if we’re talking at crossed purposes here. The Norwegian Foreign Minister made the following substantive points (among others). These points are independent of the Daily Mail’s editorial slant, which was the focus of the inevitable response by their ambassador. So for you to gloss over such issues and on that basis to try and posture that I’m “behind” in this debate is quite remarkable.

* Comparisons between Norway and Scotland have “some clear limitations”. One very obvious example would be that Norway has double the UK’s oil.

* Infrastructure development meant that it took the Norwegian oil industry 20+ years to generate a surplus.

* Even in Norway, very little such oil and gas revenue makes it into the exchequer. (The obvious implication is that even if a proportionally smaller futures fund was to be to be established here, we couldn’t rely on such revenues to remain in fiscal balance.)

* Direct quote: “the Norwegian government has not bailed out any banks”. For obvious diplomatic reasons the Norwegian Ambassador is duty-bound to downplay and indeed deny the implication of that remark, but the fact remains that it runs counter to Alex Salmond’s reported version of events.

The UK falling into recession has no bearing on the debate over the Norwegian Foreign Minister’s comments. I do wish you’d stop moving the goalposts in order to score vacuous points against me and instead consider his actual remarks.

stuart w said...

If I can perhaps add a bit of balance and repeat what I've said elsewhere....

- The Norwegian minister's comments were, I suspect, intended to give the impression that the country was trying to keep out of the domestic political fray rather than take sides, but the Mail misrepresented this to make it look like he was slapping the SNP down;

- I think the arc of insolvency jibe was probably coined by a newspaper columnist, indeed I don't think Jim Murphy was even SS at the time it was first used.

In any case, it's just a soundbite and hyperbole and shouldn't be over-interpreted. And the same goes for the 'arc of prosperity' soundbite which gave rise to it. Insolvency is a term usually associated with business entities rather than nation states, and I suspect the word was chosed merely because it sounded like prosperity and thus was a good rhetorical juxtaposition.

Indeed, if you look at what Jim Murphy said in its fuller context then it's obvious that he didn't mean the term 'insolvent' in a literal sense:

"Look at this arc of prosperity, what some commentators are now calling calling the arc of insolvency: Iceland, Ireland and Norway."

"Iceland as a country is on the verge of bankruptcy. Ireland is officially in recession. Ireland and Norway are trying to borrow from the US and Russia."

Richard Thomson said...

I have no difficulty with the Ministers comments whatsoever. He could even have added that since Scotland was heavily industrialised at the time oil was discovered while Norway was not; that Scotland is urbanised in a way that Norway is not; that the Norwegians didn't face the same balance of payments crisis as Britain in the late 70's/early 80's so didn't face the same pressure to get the oil pumping as quickly as possible; that there were further differences. These are points I've often made myself, but none of them prevent or prohibit comparison.

The UK falling into recession has no bearing on the debate over the Norwegian Foreign Minister’s comments.

No, but it has a bearing on your attempt to claim that since there is evidence of individual insolvencies (as there always is, even in times of enormous prosperity, incidentally), that Murphy's claim was justified. Given the relative prosperity of both Norway and Ireland and their freedom to set policies to chart their way out of the present situation, I'd still have their position over that of Scotland in the UK any day of the week.

For the record, with their well-educated workforce, self-reliant attitude to the world and abundance of energy resources, I wouldn't bet on Iceland being down for too long either.

I do wish you’d stop moving the goalposts in order to score vacuous points against me and instead consider his actual remarks.

I'm moving no goalposts. It's not my fault if you've chosen to back a losing argument here.

If you wanted to consider the Ministers comments in isolation, you shouldn't have done so through the medium of a clearly ridiculously partisan Daily Mail article.

Leaves on the line said...

SU, As we are now so far off topic I will be brief and perhaps could continue this in another place... Hell, you could even try returning humour and good natured discourse on your own blog for a change...

Your argument rests on semantics of language rather than considering the bigger picture - the overall tone and impression that you create.

* Whilst you do not directly label Winnie Ewing as a facistic Nat you know full well what message is conveyed by placing her image with that post. You know that she is a highly symbolic figure within the party and therefore you know what impression you are creating of mainstream members by such a posting.

* On the points referring to fundamentalism and anti-English sentiments I accept that you do not explicitly throw these at the door of all members. However, you do continually and frequently post articles which take some statement (often from a Scotsman/Herald online loon) and then try to tie their views back to the mainstream party: Again, you know full well that you are trying to create an image.

* Whilst you did not specifically say that Salmond was dishonouring the war dead you did say "He’s specifically excluding servicemen and women from elsewhere in Britain and beyond, whose valiant sacrifices have equally protected our values and ways of life." - again you know full well that you are implying some deliberate insult from the First Minister. Again, you are creating an image. And on that story you still haven't come to terms with the fact that the press release was for the launch of Poppy Scotland, a charity that supports Scottish servicemen/women.

Richard - apologies for going so far off topic on this one - hopefully you can see that I was trying to back up your point about some commentators going out of their way jump on any story, no matter how trivial sometimes, in order to back up the image that they try to create about the party. Sadly SU's blog is not the worst example.... that award has to go to the Scotsman, particularly when they run bizzare and idiotic stories such as this one yesterday about Nats trying to "rig" the bookies odds...

Scottish Unionist said...

Leaves:

We're off topic because you chose to misrepresent me on four counts. Even now, you have only partially and rather gracelessly retracted them, following up with inferential vagaries which undermine even that.

* I placed Winnie Ewing's picture within that post because she was one of the three people whom I quoted making arguably fascistic comments. Indeed, in the same breath she called the unionist parties "traitors" and "enemies of Scotland". Are you expressing approval of such ideas simply because she is "a highly symbolic figure within the party"?

* The conceptual links between some of the more outrageous cybernatism and elements of mainstream party ideology are precisely what I am driving at. Well observed.

* I know exactly what Poppy Scotland does. Thanks for acknowledging that your first claim was incorrect, but you have yet to realise that your inference did not flow from the implication which you wrongly imagined me to be making.

Scottish Unionist said...

Richard

You said: “I have no difficulty with the Ministers comments whatsoever.”

Really? So square this circle...

* Scotsman report: “Mr Salmond said Norway ... had been able to come up with a £35 billion rescue package for its banks…”

* Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre: “the Norwegian government has not bailed out any banks.”

* Ambassador Bjarne Lindstrøm: Claiming that “Mr Støre is of the view that Mr Salmond has in any way lied or mislead the public, is simply incorrect.”

So who is right? Did Norway bail out any banks: yes or no?

If yes, Salmond is right. If no, it’s Støre who is correct. But one thing’s for sure: Lindstrøm’s a diplomat.

Richard Thomson said...

Richard - apologies for going so far off topic on this one

Not a problem, Leaves. I'm sure you're both able to handle yourselves. As long as it remains on the right side of civil, I'm happy to 'haud the jaikets', as it were.

Richard Thomson said...

SU - I'm presuming the £35bn comment was a reference to this:

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/10/24/business/EU-Norway-Bank-Aid.php

Since it's a liquidity measure, it can be described accurately as a rescue package. As it's related to liquidity rather than capitalisation, it would also be correct to say that it does not amount to a 'bail out' of any banks.

If so, then there's no circle needing squared...

Scottish Unionist said...

Richard

Are you seriously trying to establish a semantic distinction between "rescue" and "bail out"?

Can you refer me to any technical definitions of those terms in this context?

Richard Thomson said...

Are you seriously trying to establish a semantic distinction between "rescue" and "bail out"?

I'm certainly happy to draw a distinction between liquidity and capitalisation. Presumably you are also?

In terms of linguistic precision, I'm happier with 'bail out' in the context of investing capital into particular banks than I would be in terms of describing a general injection of liquidity. While a 'bailing out' could clearly be part of a 'rescue package', a 'rescue package' needn't necessarily involve a 'bailing out'.

Clearly, there was a liquidity injection, which is what I suspect Mr Salmond was referring to in describing a 'rescue package' of c. £35bn. Since this liquidity injection is a matter of record, unless you are suggesting that the Foreign Minister inadvertantly overlooked this when denying that there had been any 'bail out', then I fail to see what the problem is.

However, if you regard 'bailing out' as including an injection of liquidity, then in the interests of intellectual honesty, maybe you should take the matter up with the Foreign Minister direct. If you do, please share any response you get on your blog - I'd love to see what they have to say in reply :-)

It all seems fairly straightforward to me. But then again, I'm not pathologically determined to try and portray the Norwegian Minister's remarks as being anything other than an informed contribution to the debate.

Can you refer me to any technical definitions of those terms in this context?

Probably not. I wouldn't recommend wasting your time looking for it either. No-one writing anything requiring the precision of a technical definition would ever use a description such as 'bail out'. Too many folks around who might go on to misunderstand it, you see :-)

Matador Escoses said...

Olé! AM2's bull slams straight into the wall...

Scottish Unionist said...

So Norwegian banks were "rescued" but not "bailed out"?!

Uh huh. Sure.

Richard Thomson said...

OK – I'll make this as simple as I can:

1. There's been a liquidity injection of c. £35bn into the Norwegian economy. This is a fact.

2. It is this which Mr Salmond was referring to as a rescue package. Now, I appreciate this must be painful for you to acknowledge, but since it is happening, it's impossible for Mr Salmond to be wrong when he says it is happening.

3. The Norwegian Minister said there'd been no 'bail out'. Presumably when he did so, he was fully aware of his country’s liquidity injection. Therefore, in speaking of there not having been a 'bail out', the minister must be referring to something other than liquidity. Like capitalisation, for instance.

For the minister to be contradicting Mr Salmond, as you’d like to suggest he is, they would need to have been talking about the same thing. Quite clearly - unless of course you are now suggesting that the Minister is wrong - they weren't. I'd have thought might have been obvious to you, if you weren't so intent on trying to salvage something from the ridiculous position into which you've now landed yourself.

The Daily Mail article you posted is completely discredited. Your attempt to justify the ‘arc of insolvency’ was just risible. Your later and more sober attempt to claim that the Norwegian Minister’s unspun comments somehow damaged SNP comparisons fell flat, because no-one in the SNP disputes what he says. Now, you’re having to try and pretend that the Minister meant something which he didn’t, in order to try and discredit Alex Salmond when he points quite accurately to something which did happen!

Your position is utterly, utterly ludicrous. Please, spare yourself the agony of trying to sustain it further.

Scottish Unionist said...

Nice touch of condescension there!

Your argument holds no water. Look at this:

“Mr Salmond's claim that Norway had bailed out its banking sector”

So you think the Daily Mail is “completely discredited”. What about the Telegraph? Is every media outlet which doesn’t back up your view “completely discredited”?

Richard Thomson said...

Nice touch of condescension there!

But you make it so easy, SU.

It's clear that Norway had a £35bn bond issue. That is what Mr Salmond was referring to. It's clear also that the Minister takes exception to this £35bn liquidity injection being described as a bail out. What's so difficult for you to grasp about this, other than your unfathomable need to always find some imagined fault to pin against Alex Salmond/the SNP?

So you think the Daily Mail is “completely discredited”. What about the Telegraph? Is every media outlet which doesn’t back up your view “completely discredited”?

I said the Mail story was discredited - do keep up. To save you the bother, Angus Macleod's reheating of it in The Times is discredited also. The Telegraph article is almost impartial in comparison.

Isn't the real problem this - you lost the argument here so long ago that you've completely lost sight of what it whatever point it was you were trying to make in the first place?

Scottish Unionist said...

The Daily Mail referred to Mr Salmond “praising Norway for ‘bailing out’ its banks”.

The Telegraph then referred to “Mr Salmond's claim that Norway had bailed out its banking sector”.

(my bold)

But whether “bailout” or “rescue”, your elaborate attempts to establish substantive differences between the two words and your increasingly accusatory tone don’t really leave this thread with anywhere else to go.

Richard Thomson said...

Bye, then.

stuart w said...

It seems to me that the Norwegian minister was trying to defend his country's banks - in that they aren't the same basket cases as ours - rather than attacking Alex Salmond per se. However, some of the SNP's opponents have clearly been keen to spin the remarks as the latter.

However, this does beg the question - irrespective of the meaning of more colloquial terms like 'bail-out' and 'rescue', if Norway's action amounted merely to improving liquidity, then Alex Salmond was wrong to use that example to demonstrate that Scotland could have saved our own banks, because they required recapitalising?

Richard Thomson said...

Hi Stuart,

Thanks for the comments. If my attentions have been dragged elsewhere in recent days, then I apologise.

Your 1rst paragraph goes right to the heart of the issue. I find it quite revealing that some people’s determination to try and salvage a meaningless anti-SNP point has led them to argue a ridiculous and unwinnable case, suspending in the process any good judgement with which they might previously have been blessed.

As for your second point, Scottish banks clearly needed capitalisation as well as liquidity. Every situation is different. However, since the unionist charge was that Scotland would have been unable to take the sort of measures required to restore financial stability, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to highlight the scale of action which other countries have been able to take.

Regards,

Richard