PMQ: Boris Johnson says Ian Blackford is ‘crazy’
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Mr Blackford launched an angry speech against Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the UK-Australia trade deal this week. In a heated debate during the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ), Blackford called Johnson’s defense of the FTA “nonsense”. He was furious at the Prime Minister’s suggestion that the SNP focus on the need to “encourage” Scottish farmers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the agreement rather than “exhaust them”.
Mr. Blackford replied: My goodness, I don’t think even the Prime Minister could believe such nonsense!
President, in the Conservative Party, despair of getting a post-Brexit trade deal with anyone, anyone giving up the farm.
“It’s quite clear who are the winners and who are the losers in this deal.”
This outburst was no stranger to Blackford, a politician who had become known for his outbursts of passion and often dubious pretensions.
Ian Blackford: SNP Westminster Leader’s tax claims smashed (Image: GETTY)
UK-Australia trade deal: Photo of Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson after the deal was announced (Image: GETTY)
One such claim came ahead of the 2019 general election, when Blackford said: “The UK government’s figures show perfectly that Scotland has supported the rest of the UK for most of the past 40 years.”
At the time, he and the Scottish National Party were defending the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum the following year, and the campaign was stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Blackford’s claim was taken up by Channel 4’s fact-checking service, breaking his argument.
He noted that the only data available to make such a claim was published by the Scottish government in 2013 and contained inconsistencies such as missing dates and that it only dates back to 1980/81.
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This was despite Blackford saying that Scotland had “provided support to the rest of the United Kingdom over the past forty years”.
The dataset was also published with the warning: “Use with caution, as these statistics are specifically open to review as the data sources and methods used to produce them have been developed.”
found that while Scotland paid more per capita to UK government coffers than Britain as a whole each year from 1980/81 to 2011/21, the higher tax accounts for the fact that “most of the UK’s oil and gas assets are located in the North Sea, off The coast of Scotland.
Channel 4 pointed out that there is another side to the tax argument: government spending.
Tax revenue was often higher per capita in Scotland, as was public spending.
In 2013, Professor Brian Ashcroft of the University of Strathclyde examined these figures and found that extra per capita spending in Scotland almost canceled out the extra tax revenue over the 32 years the statistics cover.
However, their analysis revealed that Scotland paid slightly more than it did.
Incorporating all the findings, the fact-checker concluded that Mr. Blackford’s claim was “unsupportable”.
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It states: “In 2013, these figures can be used to support the idea that Scotland paid a little more into UK coffers than it did.
That is if you add up the taxes and spending in those years cumulatively, and if you make a number of assumptions about Scotland’s finances, all of which are up for debate.
“But the end result was close, based on detailed analysis: Even making concessions to nationalist arguments about Scotland’s historical potential debt, the UK’s increased public spending in Scotland canceled any surpluses generated by ‘Scottish’ oil.”».
“The fact that the Scottish Government has not updated or revised these figures since 2013 makes it impossible for us to defend Mr Blackford’s claim at this time.”
In response to the findings, a SNP spokesperson said: “We have shown you using official government statistics that Ian Blackford’s comments are correct.
Evidence suggests that per capita tax revenue in Scotland was much higher than in the United Kingdom, which certainly supported UK public spending during this period.
Sturgeon Profile – Alex Salmond replaced after the failed 2014 independence referendum (Image: Express Newspapers)
We have also shown how your argument for public spending does not take into account the costs to Scotland of servicing UK debt that would not have been required had we been independent.
“There is nothing I have provided to suggest that Ian Blackford’s comments were not correct.”
This is not the first time that one of Blackford’s allegations has been challenged.
In 2019, he indicated that Scotland would not have to adopt the euro if it joined the European Union after independence.
EU news: If an independent Scotland joins the EU, it will have to adopt the euro (Image: GETTY)
However, the EU insisted that joining the exchange rate mechanism is not voluntary.
It says that membership helps stabilize the issued currency and ease the transition to the eurozone for two years.
In 2017, then-President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: “The euro is set to be the single currency of the European Union as a whole. All member states, with the exception of two, are obligated to join the euro as soon as they meet the specified requirements. Terms “.
If an independent Scotland joins the EU after a referendum, it will eventually have to adopt the euro or else it will find itself “totally incompatible” with the EU Action Treaty, a key part of EU law.