Birth of a nation
A reminder of how England and Scotland came to be one country:
— Proposals had been made throughout the 17th century, with English Whigs generally in favour and Tories less keen.
— For the English, there was the attraction of neutralising an old enemy. For the Scots the attractions were mainly economic. The collapse of the Darien scheme, a failed attempt to establish a Scottish colony, New Caledonia, in what is now Panama, had run up heavy losses for investors. Union would bring Scotland access to markets in England’s extensive colonies.
— The eventual negotiations, in April 1706, lasted just three days. One of the hurdles, that Scots did not want to pay English taxes, was overcome by exempting Scots from taxes on paper, windows, coal, salt and malt.
— In compensation for taking a share in the liability of England’s debts, Scotland was paid just under £400,000 in ‘equivalent funds’, some of which went to investors in the Darien scheme.
Estimates of remaining oil reserves in the North Sea:
£2.5-£3.5 trillion Pro-independence think tank N-56
£1.5 trillion Yes campaign
£120bn Office of National Statistics
£61bn Office of Budgetary Responsibility
In the bank
Addressing the TUC conference, Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said that workers ‘deserved’ more money and that wages should start rising in real terms next year. Has the Governor’s salary kept pace with inflation? Here is how it’s varied in the time of the past four governors:
|In today’s prices (RPI adjusted)|
Moving the goalposts
The badger cull recommenced. Some estimates of the badger population in England:
— 190,000 Defra (2013) quoting studies from the 1980s and 1990s
— ‘There are no current estimates of the badger population in England’: Defra (2014), adding that there are an estimated 64,000 social groups of the animals
— 220,000 Joint Nature Conservation Committee
— 325,000 TB Farm Advisory Service
— 400,000 Somerset Wildlife Trust