Should we jock the Jocks?

Jock saleAt a studious pensions lunch at the Cargo Business Lounge in Edinburgh, Gregg MClymont and an assortment of pension and policy people sat down to lunch and debated the impact pensions could have on the current debate over Scottish independence.

As the token Sassenach, I consider myself ill equipped to provide an intellectual analysis of the discussion. However these observations may provide an  unhelpful but  irreverent perspective .

Observation one

The argument for independence seems to be emotional and not to have connected with hard economics

 Observation two

No proper analysis of the pension implications of a breaking of the union appears to have happened.

Observation three

The Scots appear a sickly lot with higher levels of morbidity than the rest of the UK, this would suggest they are expensive to care for in older age.

 Observation four

Due to the national obsession with deep-fried Mars Bars (and macaroni cheese if luncheon choices are a yardstick) the Scottish lifestyle can be characterised as “nasty, brutish and short”. This suggests that though their elderly are expensive to care for, the caring is short-lived.

Observation five

In terms of tax, Scottish independence could be a pensions nightmare and the prospect of differing basic rates of tax for the Scots and the English may not be as far away as Independence. Cross-border arbitrage opportunities look a racing certainty as does administrative melt-down

 Observation six

Judging by the large numbers of lawyers present, the current debate may well be sponsored by the Scottish legal profession who will find themselves with several billion of chargeable hours sorting out the mess referred to as “unravelling”.

I can only conclude, like Samuel Johnson, that the Scots are nuts to be even considering a breakaway from the Union.

I had thought if might be in the interests of the English Welsh and Northern Irish to let the Jocks jock off but the arguments of the clever people in the room have convinced me that a severance of Scotland from the United Kingdom is in nobody’s interests.

A huge thankyou to Susan Mcdonald for making this happen. Good on you Edinburgh- even if you have the climate of Reykjavik.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to Should we jock the Jocks?

  1. Mike Atkin says:

    Observation 7 – It is probably only Scotland that will remember Gordon Brown with anything resembling affection – nuff said.

  2. George Kirrin says:

    Henry, I could write a lot here, but I suspect many of your other readers are relatively disinterested.

    Twitter comments suggest the audience at yesterday’s Cargo Lounge lunch was not even representative of polls which indicate around 30% may be passionately for independence. No need for a poll, was one comment.

    Observation One – hard economics is perhaps expecting too much from a dismal science, but there are a number of pieces of analysis which both sides of the debate seem to be in denial about. A lot of it comes down to oil assumptions, and if you want a really different take on all of this (for light relief) I suggest you look at Russia Today’s Max Keiser and Frankie Boyle (yes, Frankie boy) at To see oursels as ithers see us.

    Observation Two – ICAS published such a report on 26 April 2013 ( and I can only presume Louisa Knox was not one of the lawyers able to join you in the Cargo Lounge yesterday?

    Observations Three & Four – for those Scots that survive to enter care homes, where life expectancies (Church of Scotland homes apart) seem rather short. Stereotypes, though, Henry.

    Observations Five & Six – instead of Samuel Johnson, I’m reminded of the Irishman George Bernard Shaw who wrote that “All professions are a conspiracy against the laity.” Shaw really had the medical profession in his sights, but he did use the word “All”. Methinks pensions professionals, who have actually coped with an amazing amount of change in a relatively short space of time, protest too much.

    yours aye, George

  3. Martin says:

    In any event the most amusing bit about Scottish “independence” is their likely need to remain in a monetary union with England. So we in England will set their interest rates. And the European experiment has already shown that monetary union only works if there is increasing alignment of taxation and spending policies are subject to some overall central control. Actually “works” in this context is open to doubt too.

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