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Friday, 21 December 2007

Considered Views Please on Scottish Development

Celtic Lion would like to request the impartial views and comment of the Scottish blogging community, political journalists and anyone else who would like to express an opinion.

This the situation. On Monday 17th December Celtic Lion Ltd got a phone call from a leading regeneration and economic development journal asking if we could provide an assessment of the Scottish Government’s economic development strategy.

After some conferring with the editor, I was asked whether I was aware of the SNPs approach and policy of relating Scotland to nearby countries such as Norway and Iceland.

Below or here is a development strategy that I was asked to write in February 2006. If you scroll down to Northern Tundra Alliance, this contains the paragraph.

"Scotland needs to form a group with its biome partners Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Northern Russia and Alaska".

This was sent to all MSPs at Holyrood at the start of April 2006. 3 weeks later David Cameron turns up in Norway for his much publicised photo shoot with the huskies. Annabel Goldie's office acknowledgeing they had a copy by receipt. Then Cameron rebrands the Conservative Party, with a strategy remarkably close to the development strategy for Scotland, just without all the specifics to Scotland.

I contact SNP HQ to see if they can help in case any thing has gone on. I am put thorough to Kenny MacAskill’s people, as he was legal and justice spokesman at the time. They request a copy of the document, which was supplied. They never get back in touch despite phone calls and emails.
11 months later in the Perthshire Advertiser this appears from Pete Wishart MP, SNP.

"We have a detailed plan to deliver Scottish economic success. We have learnt lessons from our successful neighbours – Ireland, Norway and Iceland – each in the top six richest nations in the world. We believe Scotland can join them at the top of world wealth tables, but we need to be free to prosper.

From then on the SNP are relating Scotland to it’s nearest neighbours all the time, Ireland, Iceland and Norway.

Coincidence, prescience or what. All views from Scottish political and other bloggers on the matter would be appreciated.


Tartan Hero said...


I would say two things:

1. The SNP has been making the economic case for independence through Jim Mather and Andrew Wilson since 2002 and their presentation recognised the strengths in smaller economies being able to be more dynamic, such as Ireland and Scandic nations.

2. Most MSPs and party officials tend not to pay much attention to what is sent to them by post. Some read what is personally handed but few have the time and effort to do much else.

Coincidence is probability by any other name. And in politics the probability of politicians making announcements on key topics such as climate change and economic impact is fairly high.

I hold a strong belief that change, particularly political change, needs at least seven stimuli of varying magnitude. Maybe your paper was one of those stimuli to reinforce what was already largely in the pipeline/think tank.

If you're in Alyth on Xmas eve I dare say my brothers might have me in a bar!


Roger Thomas said...



1) This is very useful for me to know. It can be shown using communication theory, entropy etc without a need to examine specific actual examples. That the used actual examples, backs up theroretical predictions.

In an exchange prior to the election on MacNumpty we covered this. Will have to find posting. In ecology of populations there are r and k selection of species, which I believed would relate to actual benefits of independence as long as other criteria were fulfilled.

2) The document was emailed to all MSPs. About 20 replied personally. After Cameron went to Norway and rebranded the Tory Party I contacted SNP HQ. Two seperate sources there specifically requested the original document.

John Swinney had the document personally at a meeting in Blair.

I like your concept of seven sources of stimuli. There is a concept of self-organised criticality that can be applied to many systems including economic and decision making ones. Then of course the concept of seeding the crystal. Or the straw that broke the camel's back. All fitting in with your model.

Though members of the SNP have also seen a broader portfolio of my work which proved accurate as well.

The view of lawyers and consultants is if it didn't 'influence', it is more incredible that it accurately predicted.

Then there is always morphic resonance and synchronicity.

Thanks that was helpful. Not sure about Xmas Eve. Going to see band at The Gig Blair tonight.

Roger Thomas said...


This was the MacNumpty post, about responsive and dynamic. The first in an excellent series of 3.


Roger Thomas said...

Thanks for the link from Scottish Blog Roundup

The point about Cameron is he didn't just make a trip to Norway. He made a trip to Norway 3 weeks after all MSPs had a document mentioning Norway. He then rebranded the Conservative Party exactly as the document suggested for Scotland but removing all references to Scotland.

Prior to his trip to Norway, his green ideas for a green strategy were hardly more than less litter and no dog muck in parks. Norway is a potential indicator of access to a development strategy for Scotland worth £50 billion per year. A strategy that may have been watered down for individual political kudos.

Though fully supporting the SNPs aspirations for Scotland, they could be bolder with a more expansive practical vision. Either the document partly influenced them, or if it predicted policy correctly it is an affirmation that the rest of the strategy would be correct and practical.

They seem to have got tied up with a dubious $1 billion golf plan, or is it only worth £60 million to the economy local to Aberdeen. Losing sight of a £50 billion project for Scotland. Proper Celtic Lion vision, philosophy and appropriate practical implementation.


Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Roger - It seems like quite a coincidence to say the least and I'm not known for being impartial with the SNP and Tories. I'll restrict myself to saying yes I think they would be perfectly capable of this.