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>> No. 93497 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 12:06 am
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>Scottish election 2021: Nicola Sturgeon celebrates 'historic' SNP election win
>Nicola Sturgeon has hailed the SNP's "historic and extraordinary" fourth consecutive victory in the Scottish Parliament election. With all the results in, the SNP has finished on 64 seats - one short of a majority but one more than it won in 2016.
>With all seats now declared the SNP has won 64, the Conservatives 31, Labour 22, the Scottish Greens eight and Liberal Democrats four.

Who here is excited to have another referendum and bitter multi-year divorce process on the cards?
Expand all images.
>> No. 93499 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 12:27 am
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A lot of the upcoming steps are sadly predictable; this won't be a great news story to follow every single day because I'm confident I can see how it will go.
>Hoots mon, gie us another referendum, och aye
>Ach, we'll need to dee it oorselves the noo
>You don't have permission from Boris to do that
>We'll fight this in the Supreme Court as soon as I've finished this haggis and heroin
Then the court case will take place, probably in 2024ish.
>So you're claiming you're allowed to unilaterally declare a new independence referendum?
>It says here you're not. That seems pretty clear. Sorry.
>Ach, shite
The End.

I guess they could hold an advisory referendum, which would then go the exact same way as Brexit, but it still wouldn't be anywhere near as exciting and enjoyable to follow as Brexit was. And while I am more in favour of Scottish independence this time than I was last time, purely because I am much more eager for the Conservatives to be politically humiliated, the fact still remains that if Scotland leaves, England will vote Conservative forever and I'll get even more sick of them being in power than I am now.
>> No. 93501 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 1:00 am
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I don't see Johnson giving a unilateral no as that would risk tipping the balance and allowing the SNP to claim the UK is a prison of nations. At the moment polling is in the 50-51% range for independence so you're more likely to see a new charm offensive - As has already been announced by that new devolution convention.

>I am more in favour of Scottish independence this time than I was last time, purely because I am much more eager for the Conservatives to be politically humiliated

Interesting prioritise you have.
>> No. 93511 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 10:53 am
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>If Scotland leaves the UK, England will vote Tory for ever

This is such a weird south-of-the-border pro-union take.

Has there ever been a General Election where the Scottish vote has impacted the outcome? I.e. where Scotland voted for the winning party, but if they hadn't the kther guy (Tories) would have won?
>> No. 93512 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 11:14 am
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2005. Labour won with 355 seats, 41 of which came from Scotland. Even if 6 seats in Scotland had gone to LD, then we'd have been looking at a Con-Lib coalition.

Assuming just England, NI and Wales, Labour would have won outright as Lab won 315 seats out of a possible 587 so 214 majority.

Scotland no longer votes Labour so I'm not sure if a situation like that could happen again.
>> No. 93513 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 11:15 am
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Lab-lib**, not Con-Lib. I should wake up before posting.
>> No. 93514 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 11:24 am
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2019: 45 SNP, 6 Tory, 1 Labour.

2017: 35 SNP, 13 Tory, 7 Labour.

2015: 56 SNP, 1 Tory, 1 Labour.

2010: 6 SNP, 1 Tory, 41 Labour.

2005: 6 SNP, 1 Tory, 41 Labour.

2001: 5 SNP, 1 Tory, 56 Labour.

In every election how Scotland voted wouldn't have changed the overall result.
>> No. 93519 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 12:37 pm
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I think I remember reading only twice in the last 100 or so years has Scotland swung an election for the party who won.
>> No. 93522 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 1:04 pm
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I think you lads might be chasing another red herring here given FPTP means splitting votes. For all their bluster on democracy the SNP does benefit from Scotland being divided down the middle on independence but having multiple Unionist parties.

How much of a difference is debatable but you can imagine the chaos within the SNP without independence holding it together or similarly how a Con-Lib-Lab Unionist party would change the dynamic. Particularly as said Unionist party would ironically not be beholden to the party decisions in Westminster which is also Scotland's greatest asset in its MPs being historically necessary to pass bills when there's a rebellion on.
>> No. 93523 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 1:24 pm
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That's a different argument though. The SNP would obviously shatter into a million fragments post-independence and the Scottish Parliament would likely feature multi-party coalition governments following it.

Why would this not be superior for the people of Scotland than the current status quo where the UK endlessly votes for Party A or Party B in an utterly moronic and corrupt Neoliberal Punch and Judy Puppet show?


That's the way to do it! Pound spent in Croyden better spent than a pound in Strathclyde etc etc
>> No. 93525 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 1:36 pm
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>Why would this not be superior for the people of Scotland than the current status quo where the UK endlessly votes for Party A or Party B in an utterly moronic and corrupt Neoliberal Punch and Judy Puppet show?

Because multiparty democracy still creates a de-facto two-party system.

>Pound spent in Croyden better spent than a pound in Strathclyde etc etc

Scotland receives more money than it takes and it's telling that investment in key industries like space launch have their footprint in Scotland while others such as shipbuilding have a clear bias towards contracts in Scotland.

I assure you, if any money is being spent in Croyden it is not being spent wisely. Even before it went into financial meltdown.
>> No. 93528 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 1:55 pm
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>multiparty democracy still creates a de-facto two-party system
Only using first-past-the-post, which Scotland does not use.

The Scottish system is different (they explained it on the election coverage yesterday and it took about 15 minutes to explain) and is designed to prevent this.
>> No. 93529 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 2:24 pm
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>Only using first-past-the-post, which Scotland does not use.

No, as-in you still see two distinct blocs emerge in countries that implement alternative voting systems. It's advantage is in allowing voters to directly support a given faction of what would ordinarily emerge within internal party politics. But you still of course have those smoke filled backroom deals every time a coalition is made.

Examples include Finland, Belgium, EU etc. It might benefit smaller parties but you're still going to have political debate framed as Punch and Judy, albeit with schizophrenia.
>> No. 93537 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 4:00 pm
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I am not convinced the SNP are that seriously committed to a referendum in the short to medium term.
Nicola Sturgeon is probably the most cautious politician in Britain today, and if the SNP wants a referendum before Johnson quits they're going to need to take some gambles. (They already skipped the chance to try and do a "We'll vote for the Brexit England voted for if you stick a rider in saying we can vote to fuck off from it.", instead focusing on appealing to #FBPE remainers in England.) Instead of having people working behind the scenes on a prospectus for independence, they're pretending the 2014 white paper is still on the table. The party conference forced them to drop the inane plans to use the pound in anything but a transitional arrangement and to adopt a Scottish pound, since a country without an independent currency is barely independent at all, but you won't hear a word of it from the SNP hierarchy (who're still deeply upset conference had the gall to actually set party policy, rather than just serve as a backdrop for leadership speeches.)

I must confess that despite being pro-independence, and despite being incredibly socially liberal, I'm really rather disappointed Alba didn't get in to make life for the SNP difficult. Since 2016 they've described in a direction I would describe as Blairite if I didn't feel I was being unfair to Blair. The longer the incumbent Scottish government goes on doing little of value, the more I reflect on how bad Scottish political culture is, built up around a small clique of middle class policy wonks, civil society goons, career climbers, opportunistic journalists running some of the worst press outfits in the first world, and so on. Where once the SNP showed why an independent Scotland is desirable compared to even a Labour government (universal services, imagine that!) now they serve mostly as an advert for emigration. What can the SNP offer that's better than the promise of never having to listen to another truly dismal Scottish Parliament debate (replete with that tedious fucking table bashing gimmick) for as long as you live?
>> No. 93540 Anonymous
9th May 2021
Sunday 4:22 pm
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I see I'm not the only one getting those ads to move to Nova Scotia. It did give me a smile that they're trying to recruit people in Britain with greater French fluency requirements than English. Maybe they just don't understand the state of language skills in this country.
>> No. 93567 Anonymous
10th May 2021
Monday 3:08 am
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>how bad Scottish political culture is, built up around a small clique of middle class policy wonks, civil society goons, career climbers, opportunistic journalists running some of the worst press outfits in the first world, and so on.

You learned from the best. Well, still are part of the best. My partner is in the Civil Service and says that Scots are overrepresented - many say they prefer it down here simply because there's more scope for career progression.
>> No. 93576 Anonymous
10th May 2021
Monday 12:02 pm
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Not a lot of people realise that it's a choice between Whitehall and heroin for people up here.
>> No. 93581 Anonymous
10th May 2021
Monday 2:37 pm
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I'm not sure if I really see it in terms of representation, at least not these days. The thing about Scotland is you have both Scottish and UK Government offices to work in which is no doubt going to be a growth industry in the near future. Career progression is probably right but only looking at Director level on where you don't want to be Holly.

The civil service shouldn't have any connection with the SNP, the fuck is going on up there?
>> No. 93585 Anonymous
10th May 2021
Monday 3:25 pm
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Same shit that happened in the Japanese civil service. All the old families insinuated themselves into it and turned into a family business and the SNP are their current pet party.

It's why Scottish Labour hates the SNP so much for usurping them as the party of the status quo in Scotland, it used to be them god damn it and they're still salty about it.
>> No. 93637 Anonymous
13th May 2021
Thursday 8:04 pm
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>Two men who were being detained in an immigration van which was surrounded by protesters have been released.

>The move followed a standoff between police officers and protesters in Kenmure Street on Glasgow's southside. Early on Thursday people surrounded the Home Office vehicle believed to contain two immigrants who had been removed from a flat. Hundreds gathered in the area, with one man crawling under the van to prevent it form moving. Some of the protesters were heard shouting "let our neighbours go".

Really not looking forward to sharing freedom of movement with a Scotland that sets its own immigration policy.
>> No. 93639 Anonymous
13th May 2021
Thursday 9:57 pm
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>Really not looking forward to sharing freedom of movement with a Scotland that sets its own immigration policy.

Given that our border forces have recently decided to start detaining and deporting European citizens who have legally travelled here without visas for job interviews, I wouldn't say that's a bad thing.
The hostile environment policy is utter batshit.
>> No. 93642 Anonymous
13th May 2021
Thursday 10:51 pm
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If Scotland actually goes independant we aren't having FoM and we're having a hard border. If things were just, we'd ship out lot up there, see how their attitude to migration changes.
>> No. 93645 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 1:32 am
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Lots of things about Scottish politics would change wildly were they actually independent. They only have the luxury of maintaining their present politics because they are essentially the high maintenance wife of a rich old aristocrat. They only want a divorce because the money from the empire days is drying up and they're eyeing up another fella, but she'll soon be texting us again behind his back when it turns out the grass wasn't really greener.
>> No. 93648 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 10:00 am
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The country who never gets to see income from the oil in their waters, a country where a huge number of people live in poverty with (still) endemic substance abuse problems, this is "the high maintenance wife of a rich old aristocrat"? What planet are you living on?
>> No. 93649 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 12:41 pm
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>The country who never gets to see income from the oil in their waters

Scotland gets more back from the Treasury than it puts in and even with that money is flagrantly abusing the position of the UK to run at a 9% budget deficit. I'm always surprised by this Scottish opinion that somehow everyone south of the border is lazing about in big piles of oil money - and that this money is inevitably owed to Edinburgh to waste on bullshit in the central belt and not the island communities.

It'll be a fun debate in a few years when the expensive North Sea decommissioning process kicks in. I'm sure it will all become UK oil then won't it. Same situation no doubt when Edinburgh effectively bankrupts itself in a few years.
>> No. 93650 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 1:05 pm
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That's blatantly untrue, Scotland is in a similar situation to London where it puts in more than it gets back. It's essentially Tory party spin at this point to say Scotland is a leech on the arse of the UK, but they backtrack immediately whenever someone tries to make it an English Nationalist issue.

You can't accurately measure the size of the Scottish Export industry, because the majority of their overseas exports leave via English ports. They have a thriving financial sector. They also subsidise our Electricity and Water, as well as having over 85% of the Oil and gas in British territorial waters and over 95% of the wave energy potential of the UK.

To steal an analogy from earlier, why are people so bitter they don't want to be with us anymore? Even if they are worse off in some ways alone, for them it seems preferable to being the battered wife of an old Etonian who owns his own paper and uses it undermine you.

If you want an example of gale force cognitive dissonance, email your local MP and ask them why it's important Scotland remains a part of the union.
>> No. 93651 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 5:03 pm
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The magical oil money tree is a myth.
The big oil companies like BP and Conoco Phillips, who know the assets inside and out, are all selling off the old fields and rigs as fast as they can to avoid the decommissioning cost. The smaller companies buying them are doing so in the knowledge that they can scrape as much money as they can in the remaining life, move the money out of the country, and then bankrupt themselves. Meaning that the cost of decommissioning will fall to the government.

We squandered the oil money in the 80s and 90s, but all they are now is a liability and ticking bomb for whoever's holding it when the music stops. If that's an independent Scotland you can bet they'll tell no. 10 "well you were holding it for longer"
>> No. 93652 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 5:12 pm
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>The smaller companies buying them are doing so in the knowledge that they can scrape as much money as they can in the remaining life, move the money out of the country, and then bankrupt themselves.
Not as though anyone could legislate against that if they wanted to or anything. I'm sure none of the same areas of sea are ones that the UK government has recently granted illegal sea-mining rights to Lockheed Martin to, either.
>> No. 93653 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 6:24 pm
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Oil is a strategic resource and the North Sea will continue to be exploited for its oil for a long time because it's a politically stable source of sweet light crude. The entire world economy will have to shift to become less dependent on oil, and when this happens it will be problematic for the oil extraction and refinement industries, but governments are a bottomless pit of cash and they will foot the bill for it. As the profits from oil dry up, governments will underwrite the losses, up to even moving the infrastructure into public ownership.

The oil industry is different from other industries because refined petroleum doesn't keep, but is indispensible for waging war. Governments will underwrite the oil industry because oil underwrites political power. Domestic consumption of petroleum products and derivatives isn't what drives the oil industry, rather, those things are a means of disposing of the waste products that result from the need to produce a steady supply of petroleum for military use. You cannot simply extract the petroleum you need for a specific purpose, you have to extract the lot and then you need somewhere to put it.

Hydrocarbon based products are useful, but the main reason they use bitumen on roads and plastic in everything and heavy fuel oil in ships is because they're cheap, and the reason why they're cheap is because they're made from waste materials. If they couldn't get away with pouring bitumen (a long-chain hydrocarbon produced from oil distillation) over the Earth's surface and calling it a road, what the hell would they do with it? Pile it up somewhere, pour it into the ocean?

Well, that's besides the point. The point is that despite being seemingly prohibitively expensive to extract North Sea oil, they will continue to do so.
>> No. 93654 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 6:29 pm
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>Scotland is in a similar situation to London where it puts in more than it gets back

Looks like someone has been dipping into the big book of SNP lies.

>They also subsidise our Electricity and Water, as well as having over 85% of the Oil and gas in British territorial waters and over 95% of the wave energy potential of the UK.

You mean the geography of Scotland which comes with steep costs for infrastructure and the need for significant resources provided by a mysterious benefactor. Let's not also forget that the islands you draw oil and gas from have an ambivalent view of Edinburgh at best.

As for your claim that this creates cognitive dissonance; the argument is that Britain benefits from each of its members working together. Unfortunately one part is now especially profligate up until the moment it comes to recognise what others do for it and yes that pisses people off, especially with how the SNP loves to play politics.
>> No. 93655 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 9:22 pm
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Yes this is all true but the discussion here is about wee jimmy crankie talking about adding it to her bank balance, not as a geopolitical asset that will take a healthy credit rating to maintain.
>> No. 93656 Anonymous
14th May 2021
Friday 10:51 pm
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The way independence is always discussed as a matter of balancing budgets in a replica UK economy is quite irritating.
Although recent years have made the question less interesting, control of interest rates (and by indirect extension, exchange rates) is far more important. Granted, of course, that the SNP didn't help with this when they took the inane position of advocating for non-independence through a currency union.
The most egregious failure of onshore policy in Scotland has never been that a few pounds were spent here when they should've been there, or that a few pounds weren't spent here so that we didn't tax there, it was that interest rates were consistently higher than was necessary for the Scottish (and northern English) economies in service of the financial sector in London, and as an extension that the exchange rate has tended to be higher than ideal for exporters in those areas.
>> No. 93657 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 12:04 pm
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Interest rates have been historically low for a long time. This argument makes no sense.

It is true that a government that has no control over its interest rates has very little control over its economy though, which is why the UK was right to stay out of the euro.
>> No. 93658 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 12:18 pm
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North Sea oil should have been publicly owned to begin with. Just imagine what we could have done with it.
>> No. 93659 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 4:00 pm
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Privatised it?
>> No. 93660 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 4:09 pm
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It was. Every North Sea power operates on licensing extraction and I don't see how nationalisation would help. The closest things came to nationalisation, as is commonly understood, was in the 1960s where Britain operated a ban on gas export and British Gas subsequently abused it's monopoly which stifled investment.
>> No. 93661 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 5:29 pm
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>Interest rates have been historically low for a long time.
That was the point of "Although recent years have made the question less interesting". It doesn't escape the fact that historically Scottish (and Northern English, and Welsh.) industries have been badly served by UK-wide monetary policy. Look at it this way: We had non-zero interest rates in in 2007, a referendum took place 7 years later in 2014 in which interest rates barely featured as a point for debate. We've now had low oil prices for 7 years, yet people still talk about oil as a major part of the debate. That's irritating.

Unless you think low rates will last forever, it's worth talking about how Scotland has historically been served by UK wide policy if you're making an argument for why Scotland should or should not control its own affairs.
>> No. 93662 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 5:41 pm
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>Unless you think low rates will last forever

Personally, yeah.
>> No. 93665 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 9:57 pm
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Then howcome we're not say on a giant slush fund like Norway is.
>> No. 93666 Anonymous
15th May 2021
Saturday 10:37 pm
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We pissed the money up the wall on tax cuts and subsiding the dole, decay and excess of the 1980s that came with the high exchange rates that oil was supporting.
Even Tony Blair knew this in 1987, though by 1997 he'd apparently completely forgotten it.
>Mrs Thatcher has enjoyed two advantages over any other post-war premier. First, her arrival in Downing Street coincided with North Sea oil. The importance of this windfall to the Government’s political survival is incalculable. It has brought almost 70 billion pounds into the Treasury coffers since 1979, which is roughly equivalent to sevenpence on the standard rate of income tax for every year of Tory government. Without oil and asset sales, which themselves have totalled over £30 billion, Britain under the Tories could not have enjoyed tax cuts, nor could the Government have funded its commitments on public spending. More critical has been the balance-of-payments effect of oil. The economy has been growing under the impetus of a consumer boom that would have made Lord Barber blush. Bank lending has been growing at an annual rate of around 20 per cent (excluding borrowing to fund house purchases); credit-card debt has been increasing at a phenomenal rate; and these have combined to bring a retail-sales boom – which shows up dramatically in an increase in imported consumer goods. Previously such a boom and growth in imports would have produced a balance-of-payments deficit, a plunging currency and an immediate reining-back on spending, with lower rates of growth.

>Instead, oil has earned foreign exchange and also produces remittance payments from overseas investments bought with oil money. The situation is neither stable nor healthy in the long term: but in the short term it allows the living standards of the majority to rise rapidly, even though the industrial base, the ultimate foundation of a successful economy, is still only achieving the levels of output of 1979. The fact that we have failed to use oil to build a productive and modern industry for the future is something historians will deplore. Nevertheless, oil has been utterly essential to Mrs Thatcher’s electoral success. Academics and commentators may ruminate on the Thatcher ethos and its effect on social attitudes, but the voters are looking in their pockets.
>> No. 93667 Anonymous
16th May 2021
Sunday 12:17 am
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People are going to give me shit for this but I think in terms of avoiding the Dutch disease we might've done better than Norway. It was always going to happen of course because of the difference between our countries but I predict many Norwegians are going to get a rude awakening when they can no longer lord over the Swedes. Especially with the level of state involvement in their economy and resultant crowding of the private sector.

It's also worth thinking of the kind of manufacturing we're talking about and that oil was a plaster we've long-since lost. For example one problem is that we have world-leading research in this country that doesn't translate into innovation, like as a nation we collectively forgot the primary reason we do science.
>> No. 93671 Anonymous
16th May 2021
Sunday 1:43 am
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Lack of venture capital. America has lots of rich people who spaff money up the walls at random ventures that result in your world dominating technologies. No such equivalent round there parts.
>> No. 93674 Anonymous
16th May 2021
Sunday 11:46 am
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Why is that anyway? I tried to look it up but google just spat out lots of talk about diversity issues rather than the lack of resources.
>> No. 93686 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 12:52 am
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Silicon Valley traces its origins back to at least the 1930s, possibly even earlier. Western California was a major centre of aeronautical research and development. Those aerospace companies needed instrumentation and radio equipment, driving huge demand for electronics engineers and suppliers along the west coast.

When the Reds launched Sputnik in 1957, the US government shat their pants and threw insane amounts of money at any company even tangentially related to aerospace and electronics. That huge, indiscriminate and ongoing investment gave America an insurmountable lead in high-tech industries that became self-perpetuating - hugely profitable tech companies went public and created a lot of tech-savvy multi-millionaires, who went on to invest in tech companies.

The governments of Korea and Japan cottoned on in the late 60s and early 70s and started writing massive cheques, but they did so far more rationally and conservatively because a) they weren't in the midst of a paranoid nuclear stand-off and b) they had more hierarchical and risk-averse cultures. They developed a major base in capital-intensive hardware manufacturing, but they never really internalised the mindset needed to create great software companies - fling shit against the wall and see what sticks. American culture doesn't really stigmatise failure and celebrates the "if at first you don't succeed" mindset.

Our failure to develop an internationally-competitive tech sector is a long and complicated story, but a great deal of the blame lies with Tony Benn, the Wilson government and the National Enterprise Board. Benn saw the need to invest in computer and communications technology, but did so in a very centralised manner. Most of the money went into large companies suffering financial difficulties in an attempt to save jobs, rather than going into new companies that might create new jobs. Investment always came with a lot of strings attached (often partial or full nationalisation) which stifled innovation and created a burden of bureaucracy. If you understand why British Leyland failed, you'll immediately get why the British computer industry never really took off.
>> No. 93687 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 1:05 am
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My goodness, what a well argued post. It's been a while since we've seen one of those. Agreed.
>> No. 93689 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 1:10 am
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I'm conflicted. Some of what you said makes sense, but I struggle to take seriously anyone who uses the phrase "stifle innovation" (in any conjugation) unironically.
>> No. 93691 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 1:51 am
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The Yanks spent a lot of money on speculative research and gave a lot of no-strings-attached investment to companies that might eventually prove useful to the defence industry. They were quite happy to piss loads of money up the wall on daft ideas, because one in a hundred or one in a thousand of those daft ideas might actually work and give them the decisive weapon against the Soviets. The Manhattan Project was really the model for everything - a staggeringly expensive and hugely risky project that totally transformed the global balance of power. They wanted stuff that nobody expected to work, because it would give them the element of surprise over the Soviets.

We had a totally different model, because our government at the time had a different ideology and a different set of priorities. The National Enterprise Board was established with the explicit aim of increasing government control over industry. In theory the NEB was supposed to modernise British industry, but it did so at a time of dire public finances and rising unemployment. In practice, the political pressure to prevent redundancies meant that most of the money was used to prop up failing companies. The government's precarious finances created pressure on those companies to quickly stem losses and deliver short-term profits, which usually exacerbated the long-term problems that brought those companies to the NEB in the first place - obsolete technology, outmoded working practices, overmanning and a lack of investment in R&D. Rather than helping the British economy to modernise and prepare for the future, the NEB did the opposite.

The story of ICL and the British computer industry is poorly-documented and largely incomprehensible if you aren't a mainframe nerd, but the woes of British Leyland were very public, very obvious and fundamentally of the same origin.

>> No. 93692 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 1:59 am
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>Most of the money went into large companies suffering financial difficulties in an attempt to save jobs, rather than going into new companies that might create new jobs.
I will go to my grave quite angry that I can't remember the source of a wonderful quote to the extent of "The National Enterprise Board was imagined as a socialist maternity unit, unfortunately it was quickly turned into a capitalist nursing ward" which perfectly summed up how it was messed up: If I remember correctly the vast bulk of their budget went to British Leyland.
Which makes me wonder if the NEB can really be given the blame, except perhaps for failing at what it set out to do by blowing all its money on boring not-all-that-high-tech companies. If you instead imagine that the government just bailed out Rolls Royce and British Leyland as before while leaving the tech sector to the free market without any interference from the NEB or MinTech or any of that, is it really likely Britain would be in a much more impressive place today?
Japan and the US both had much larger domestic markets than Britain, and even then a British company created the ARM architecture that powers most smartphones nowadays, though we don't seem to make much a fuss about that.

But I'm thinking aloud there instead than making a direct argument in defense of the NEB - I'm not familiar with the specifics of its involvement in technology, and while I know that ARM is ultimately derived from Acorn of BBC Micro fame (leaving open some kind of "We coddled them, now they're soft" case for why they seem quite overlooked.) I can't say I'm familiar enough with their corporate history to comment either. It's just that it seems quite possible that the big problem with the NEB (as with the Wilson-Callaghan government as a whole in my view) is not that it was "too left wing" or too willing to interfere in the market, but that it was too orthodox, too small-c conservative, too "common sense", and that we'd have gotten better results if it had been throwing money around more freely, with less conditions and oversight while leaving failing old names to fend for themselves. Something that would sit ill at ease with both Callaghan (who couldn't bare to be so irresponsible) and with Thatcher (who'd quite like the state to get the hell out of the way of the market, thank you very much.), and which would still be a controversial proposal today.
>> No. 93693 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 2:55 am
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I don't particularly disagree with your line of reasoning. What the Yanks did was barely rational, certainly very difficult to justify in narrow economic terms, but it ultimately worked miraculously well.

A Conservative government would probably have bollocksed it up in a slightly different fashion, but the Wilson government still deserves plenty of scorn for their awful industrial policy. It's all counterfactual speculation, but the problems with the tech sector weren't just neglect - the NEB (and the wider government) exerted a huge amount of control and steered a lot of companies down blind alleys. While I can't say that we would have been a tech superpower, we certainly squandered what advantages we had.

ARM is a perfectly British success story - their technology was incredibly innovative, it became ubiquitous but ARM never actually made much money. IIRC they had an operating income of ~£150m before Softbank bought them, which is basically pocket change in tech terms.

I'm told we're a global leader in biotech, but I don't know enough about the industry to speculate about the reasons or even say if that's an accurate assessment.
>> No. 93697 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 5:28 am
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Do you think innovation isn't real or something?
>> No. 93698 Anonymous
18th May 2021
Tuesday 5:31 am
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Massive inequality feeds into this surely. The rich Americans today throw money at anything, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, they will spooge cash at anybody. Its not simply state driven.
>> No. 93764 Anonymous
23rd May 2021
Sunday 11:04 am
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See >>93686

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