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Opposing but not Imposing

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scottish Left Review, Issue 24: (September/October 2004).

Points to a number of failures in the political process in Scotland since devolution, including failure to establish a proper Treasury function: failure of the system of parliamentary committees to establish an independent voice: problems in the interface with Whitehall: and failure of the opposition to properly find its feet.
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The Wrong Sort of Rebate: the Need to Reform the UK Budget Adjustment
Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M: Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, Vol 30, No.2 (2005). Also published as working paper by Centre for European Policy Studies, on CEPS website.

A general paper on the UK Budget Rebate, suggesting how the present rebate involves perverse incentives which go a long way towards explaining the UK’s semi-detached attitude to Europe. Suggests alternative approach, which has additional benefit it could be applied at Scotland level.
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See also accompanying charts.

 

Lessons from a Secret History

Cuthbert, J.R.:  Scottish Left Review, Issue 35: (July/August 2006).

Looks at some little known aspects of the struggle for Irish independence, and the negotiation of the peace treaty in 1921, particularly relating to the role of the intelligence services. These are of interest in their own right, but there are also lessons for the independence movement in Scotland.

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Unsatisfactory All Round

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M:  (discussion of West Lothian question):  Scots Independent, Issue no.929, July 1, 2006.

An examination of the West Lothian question: should Scottish Westminster MPs vote on issues like Health and Education which apparently do not affect Scotland. Shows that, because of the Barnett formula, such issues have financial consequences for Scotland: in fact, this is the only way Scotland can influence the finance coming to it. So Scottish MPs have not just a right, but a duty, to vote on such issues in Scotland's interests.

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Keeping the Natives in Line

Cuthbert, J.R.:  paper published as "The Will of the Establishment", Scottish Left Review, Issue no. 40, May/June 2007.

This paper is concerned with a confidential letter sent in 1923 from Colonel Carter, Deputy Assistant Commissioner in Scotland Yard, to the Director of Intelligence in the newly formed Irish Free State: the full text of this letter can be accessed here. The letter suggests techniques the Free State  should employ, to influence attitudes towards the new state, and towards the British Empire. The paper brings out present day implications for Scotland, in particular in relation to the question of a right of return for the Scottish diaspora.

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Child Poverty in the Midst of Plenty: the Failure of Labour and the Union.

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.: Scots Independent: May 1st, 2007.

Paper which outlines shocking statistics on child poverty in Scotland. 

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Blair's Unspoken Legacy: The End of the Union

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, Issue 940, June 1st, 2007

The paper argues that a major aspect of Blair's legacy is to leave us with an unstable devolution settlement, with forces which will inevitably lead to the break-up of the present union. The next Westminster election represents a major opportunity for nationalists to push this process forward.

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The Lottery: Time to Grasp a Big Opportunity

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.:  Scots Independent, Issue 943, September 1st, 2007.

This article suggests that more could be done to ensure that lottery funded support for good causes in Scotland is targeted to meet Scottish priorities. It is pointed out that, under the Lottery Act 2006, the Scottish Government could make directions to define priorities for lottery fund distribution in Scotland.

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Neo-Liberalism: Challenge and Opportunity for Scotland

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 946, December, 2007.

Explains what neo-liberalism is, and argues that New Labour's neo-liberal agenda poses a threat to Scotland's progress towards independence: but also that there is a real opportunity for Scotland to take the lead in developing acceptable alternatives to neo-liberalism.

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Making it Happen on Child Poverty

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.: Scots Independent, Issue 947, January 2008.

Looks at the latest figures on child poverty in the UK and Scotland, and identifies some of the key barriers to making progress on this issue in Scotland.

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Wendy's Threat to the Powers of Holyrood

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, Issue 951, May, 2008.

It is clear that a number of Labour MPs are keen to use the "Wendy commission" as an opportunity to claw powers back from Holyrood to Westminster. This article argues that this would be precisely the wrong thing to do, given Westminster's disastrous record of exercising the powers it has.

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Beware of the Deal

Cuthbert, J.R.: Scottish Left Review, Issue 46, May/June 2008.

This article looks at intriguing indications that Michael Collins was offered a clandestine deal by the British: and considers the sort of deal that might be offered to an emerging Scottish government today. The article refers to a secret report produced for Michael Collins by Thomas Markham, one of his agents in Dublin Castle: click here to access the text of the Markham report.

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Time for Independence - for H. M. Treasury

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 953, July, 2008.

This article points out that the Treasury has failed to adapt to changes in the UK's constitution, and that this has had adverse effects both for Scotland and the UK as a whole. There is now a need to hive off certain key Treasury functions to an independent Treasury Board.

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Glasgow Games on a Shoe String

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.:  Scots Independent, Issue 954, August, 2008.

Argues that there is a disparity between the way that the finances for the London Olympics are being handled, compared with the Glasgow Commonwealth games. This will put Scotland at risk if the cost of the Commonwealth games escalates. This highlights a weakness in the present constitutional structure, with no mechanism in place to handle issues which are really federal in nature.

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A Question of Motivation

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 955, September, 2008.

This was prompted by an article in the Guardian, following the Glasgow East by-election result. The Guardian article had argued that the Scots had a difficult obstacle course to surmount on the road to independence: and that the UK could, quietly, manipulate the height of the obstacles. Our article points out that the prospects for independence are by no means so black: provided we can motivate Westminster by making sure that there is a united block of pro-independence Scots MPs at Westminster.

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New Forth Crossing Exposes Flaws in the Devolution Settlement

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 960, February, 2009.

Argues that the arrangements currently in place under devolution for financing large capital projects like the new Forth Crossing are seriously inadequate.

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How the Universities see the Way Ahead

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, Issue 961, March, 2009.

A comment prompted by publication of the recent Universities Scotland report on the role universities should play in Scotland's economic future.

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Great British Economic Myths: 1

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, Issue 963, May, 2009.

Discusses a number of economic myths, which have played an important part in causing the current economic crisis.

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Great British Economic Myths: 2

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, Issue 964, June, 2009.

Sequel to last month's article in the Scots Independent, identifying the various contributory factors which led to the emergence of economic myths.

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Review: After the Troubles: Republicanism, Socialism and Partition

Cuthbert, J.R.: Scottish Left Review, Issue 52, May 2009.

Review of pamphlet by Irish Socialist Network: the review draws parallels between Ireland and Scotland in respect of the problems facing a radical or revolutionary party, as it moves to exercising constitutional power within the structure it is pledged to disrupt.

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How the Coming Universities' Funding Crisis Poses Tough Decisions for Scottish Government

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.: Scots Independent, Issue 965, July, 2009.

Outlines the nature of the tough decisions the Scottish government is about to face on higher education.

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Not Out of the Woods Yet on Banking Crisis.

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 983, January 2011.

Reports on how the meeting of the Independent Commission on Banking held in Edinburgh demonstrated a lack of insight within the banking establishment about what has gone wrong with the banking sector.

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Scottish Parliament Committees: The Need for Reform.

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, Issue 984, February 2011.

Uses the flawed procedures of the Scottish Parliament committee scrutinising the Scotland bill as one example of how things have gone badly wrong with the Scottish parliament committee system.

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Opportunities for Scotland in Higher Education Funding.

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J. R.: Scots Independent, Issue 985, March 2011.

Uses the Irish example to argue that Scotland could ease its Higher Education funding problem by introducing a fee for higher education services and administration, together with a system of grants for domestic students.

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Breaking Out of the Sterile Westminster Approach

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 987, May 2011.

Argues that there is a need to re-think the role of the state, if the problems of Scotland, and the UK, are to be tackled successfully. The required innovation is unlikely to come from Westminster: so there is a real opportunity here for Scotland.

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Challenges and Opportunities

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: published in two parts, in Scots Independent, Issues 989 and 990, July and August 2011.

Sets out a number of steps which the new SNP government could take, within its existing powers and competencies, which would do much to transform economic and political debate in Scotland.

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Administration of the Crown Estate in Scotland – A Case for Change

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.: published on Scottish Left Review website, 30th July 2011, and will appear in next printed edition of Scottish Left Review.

Reports on fresh research we have undertaken concerning the Crown Estate Commissioners’ partnership in a major property deal in Edinburgh: this research raises a number of questions regarding the activities of the CEC, and their future potential adverse impact on economic development in Scotland.

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The Sovereign Grant Bill: Bad for Scotland and Bad for the UK

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: published on “Bella Caledonia” blog, 19 August 2011.

Points out that the Westminster Sovereign Grant Bill, which involves basing the Civil List payment to the royal household on 15% of the profits of the Crown Estate, is a retrograde step which is particularly bad for Scotland’s interests.

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Why the Crown Estate in Scotland Needs to Come Back Under Scottish Management.

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J. R.: Scots Independent, Issue 991, September 2011.

In this article we look at the management arrangements for the Crown Estate in Scotland, concentrating on a particular deal involving the Fort Kinnaird shopping centre near Edinburgh. We examine whether the current set up is in Scotland’s interests, and we conclude that there is a pressing need for change.

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The Importance of Nation.

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert M.: Scottish Left Review, Issue 66, Autumn 2011.

This article was produced for a special edition of the Scottish Left Review, marking the launch of the Jimmy Reid foundation. We consider some of the issues which need to be addressed in tackling the current economic crisis. We argue that redressing the failures of globalisation will inevitably involve redefining the role and powers of the nation state.

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The Sovereign Grant Bill: Time for us to act.

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert M.: Scots Independent, Issue 993, November 2011.

Repeats the material in our “Bella Caledonia” note, (above), and updates on the latest position. We argue that there is now an urgent need for the Scottish government to clarify its position on these issues.

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Difficult Tactics for SNP on Referendum.

Cuthbert J. R., Cuthbert M,: Scots Independent, Issue 994, December 2011.

Argues that recent statements by senior members of the SNP leadership about what an independent Scotland might look like imply problems for posing the “pure independence” option in the referendum. In particular, the state of affairs where an “independent” Scotland might be a part of a UK monetary union is not within Scotland’s right of self determination to deliver: and so could not form the basis of a feasible independence question.

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Jubilee Celebrations Expose the Bankruptcy of the Union

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 1001, July 2012.

Argues that the jubilee celebrations expose the bankruptcy of the concept of the UK – but also expose gaps in the position on the monarchy currently taken by the SNP leadership.

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Cheating on the Referendum: the UK Government’s Decision to postpone the Comprehensive Spending Review

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 1003, September 2012.

In this article, we consider the implications for the referendum of the UK government’s recent decision to postpone the comprehensive spending review.

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“A share of Imperial burdens”: hypocrisy then and now.
Cuthbert, J. R.: Scottish Left Review, Issue 72. A copy of the letter from Lloyd George to Sir James Craig, referred to in the article, can also be downloaded here.
This article is based on a secret letter sent on 10th November 1921 from the then UK Prime Minister, Lloyd George, to the Ulster supremo Sir James Craig: a copy of this letter can be downloaded here. This episode neatly illustrates the continuing hypocrisy of the UK establishment in relation to its colonial territories, in a way which is very relevant to the present debate about Scottish independence.
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Need to Clarify Royal Powers

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J. R.: published in two parts in Scots Independent, Issues 1004 and 1005, September and October, 2012.
This article throws some light on just what powers the Queen and Prince Charles have to influence Acts passed by the Scottish Parliament: and, if we continue to have a monarch after independence, asks what powers should such a monarch have.

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Critical Errors of Judgement Affecting the Referendum, worsened by the Salmond-Cameron accord

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: published on “Bella Caledonia” blog, 16 November 2012.

This article argues that errors of judgement have been made in relation to the forthcoming referendum, which could seriously damage the ultimate cause of Scottish independence. There is a danger of losing sight of the fact that the referendum is one battle in a long campaign.

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Paying for Higher Education

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J. R.: published on “Bella Caledonia” blog, February 2013.

This article reviews existing tuition fee arrangements for higher education throughout Europe, and drawing on this, suggests a number of approaches which the Scottish government might pursue to counter some of the problems posed by the high tuition fees regime in England.

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Enlisting Government to the Common Weal

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Published on Bella Caledonia blog, May 2013.

This article is on the topic of the Jimmy Reid Foundation theme of the Common Weal. It deals particularly with economic aspects of this theme, and considers why devolution has so far not yielded greater economic benefits.

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Surprising Superficiality of the Debate so Far

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Sunday Herald, 26 May 2013.

Our contribution to a set of articles in the Sunday Herald marking one year of the referendum debate. We argue that the fixed timescale for the referendum has had the effect of trivialising the debate so far on the economic side.

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Missing the Risk: Misplaced Effort by the Office for Budget Responsibility Leads to Underassessment of Risk

Cuthbert, J.R.: paper published by Jimmy Reid Foundation, 23 August 2013.

Examines the way that the OBR handles risk, and argues that they should be putting less effort into producing their central forecast, and more effort into assessing uncertainty. The reaction to this paper of Robert Chote, Director of the OBR, can be accessed here.

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Limitations on what can be expected from an Independent Financial Scrutiny body

Cuthbert, J.R.:  paper given as evidence to Finance Committee, before meeting on 27 November 2013.

Note produced for the Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament, before giving evidence to the committee on a potential Independent Fiscal Institute for Scotland. Draws heavily on the previous item, the report on OBR published on 23 August.

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Report card on White Paper

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: published on Open Democracy blog, 28 November 2013.

Note commenting on the Scottish government’s recent White Paper on Scottish independence. Welcomes the positive tone of the white paper, but points out that further work needs to be done.

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Referendum Debate and Opportunity to Clarify Powers of Head of State

Cuthbert, Jim and Margaret:  published as “Hidden Crowns” in Scottish Left Review, Issue 81, March/April 2014.
Argues that both sides of the independence debate have failed to clarify what their proposals would actually involve, as regards the role and responsibilities of the Head of State: and that this failure represents a missed opportunity for the SNP.

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How serious a threat is the UK’s financialised economy?

Cuthbert, J.R.: paper published by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, June 2014.

Analyses the balance sheets of the different sectors of the UK economy, and concludes that the UK’s overblown financial sector poses a serious threat of a renewed economic crisis.

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UK financial system at risk of systemic crisis

Cuthbert, J.R.: published in “Bella Caledonia”, July 2nd 2014.

This summarises the main points in the above Reid Foundation paper on the risk of a renewed crisis. A version of this summary was also published on the “Open Democracy” blog.

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The Mindset of a Colony

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.:  published in “Bella Caledonia”, July 9th 2014.

Illustrates how a colonial mindset permeates Scotland, and that a major consequence of this is the acceptance of the status quo in the UK as being the norm. A similar article was also published on the “Open Democracy” blog.

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The Medium is Very Much the Message

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: this is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article “Shaping things to come: how decisions on statistical disclosure and analysis influenced the debate on Scotland’s independence”, published in “Significance”, July 2014, volume 11, issue 3.

Examines the way that certain decisions which have been taken on statistical collection, analysis, and presentation, have played an important role in determining the very structure of the referendum debate.
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How decisions on data and analysis have biased the referendum debate

Cuthbert, J. R. Cuthbert, M: published on Bella Caledonia, 26 August 2014.

Takes forward the analysis in our “Significance” article, to consider why this has happened, and what should be done about it.

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Farage’s Attempt to Square the Circle Won’t Work

Cuthbert, J. R. Cuthbert, M: published on Bella Caledonia, 10 September 2014.
Recapitulates on the results of the “Future of England”survey, to argue that Nigel Farage faces an impossible task of trying to persuade the Scots to stay in the union, while keeping his own supporters in England happy. The survey results also imply that, if Scotland votes “no”, the unionist parties generally will have great difficulty in preventing their voters punishing Scotland.

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Submission to the Smith Commission regarding increased powers for the Scottish Parliament, from the Jimmy Reid Foundation

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: 28 October 2014.

Our submission to the Smith Commission, on behalf of the Jimmy Reid Foundation. We argue that the proposals put forward by the Conservative and Labour parties for greater powers for Scotland fail comprehensively on a number of criteria. In particular, income tax has grave drawbacks as the primary means of giving a devolved Scotland greater fiscal responsibility: and the proposals give Scotland inadequate economic powers to be able to grow the economy, and the tax base.

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Responsibility without Power: no way to run Scotland in the Union

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published on Bella Caledonia, 8 November 2014.
Based on our Jimmy Reid Foundation submission to the Smith Commission: and considers the tactics the non-unionist negotiators on the Smith Commission should adopt.

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Need to hold the establishment to account

Cuthbert, J.R.: to be published in Scottish Left Review, Issue 84, November 2014.
Looks at events surrounding the activities of the atom spies immediately after the second world war. Suggests an intriguing explanation for important aspects of British policy in the post war era: and identifies the need for much better ways of holding the establishment to account.

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Smith fatally flawed by inadequate attention to detail

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published on Bella Caledonia, 4 December 2014.
Argues that, because of the implications of the gearing problem, implementing the Smith proposals on income tax would require a proper federal system for the UK: and that the prospects of such a federal system look vanishingly unlikely.

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Give us meat, not metaphor

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published on Bella Caledonia, 12 December 2014.
In Bella Caledonia on 10 December 2014, unionist devolution supreme Jim Gallagher criticised our 4th December article on the Smith Commission. This is our response to Gallagher.

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Pivotal Failure in Cameron’s Proposals on Smith

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published on Bella Caledonia, 25 January 2015.
In our 4th December article, we had pointed out the difficulties posed by the gearing problem. This article considers the Smith implementation proposals published by Westminster on 21 January. This article shows how Westminster’s proposals have fudged the gearing problem in a most unsatisfactory way.

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Satisfactory Implementation of Smith Impossible Without Full Federalism

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published in Scots Independent, March 2015.

Draws together the arguments in our Bella Caledonia articles of 4th December and 25 January, and argues that neither Smith, nor Westminster, have recognised the fundamental changes that the Smith proposals will require to current UK constitutional arrangements.

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Scotland’s Fiscal Framework: Finance Committee Call for Evidence on Smith Commission Implementation

Cuthbert, J. R.: evidence submitted to Finance Committee on behalf of Jimmy Reid Foundation.

Evidence submitted to Finance Committee enquiry into Scotland’s fiscal framework post Smith. In addition to looking at gearing problem, considers technical difficulties of operating the Smith proposals.

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Poverty and Education: Some Relevant Context which will Affect Policy

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: paper presented to EIS Equality Committee, 17 March 2015.

Sets out relevant context for the Equality Committee in three areas: namely
a) the likely public expenditure environment over the medium term future, particularly in the light of the projections in the Office of Budget Responsibility’s December 2014 Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
b) the current degree of economic and educational inequality within Scotland.
c) the implications of the constitutional and fiscal reforms which will stem from the implementation of the Smith Commission proposals.

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Smith Commission – Why the economic and fiscal arrangements need to be changed

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, 26 May 2015.
Paper looking at wider implications of Smith, going beyond the technical issues covered in earlier evidence to Finance Committee, (see above). Argues that Smith cannot be satisfactorily implemented without full federalism.

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Notes on Scottish Fiscal Commission

Cuthbert, J. R.: notes sent to Ian Lienert , consultant producing report for Scottish Parliament, before meeting on 25 August 2015.

This is a slightly edited version of a note sent prior to discussion with Ian Lienert, a consultant producing a report for the Scottish Parliament on the structure and role of the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

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Scottish Fiscal Commission Bill: Written Evidence to Finance Committee

Cuthbert, J. R.: evidence submitted before appearing at Committee on 4th November.
Argues that the Fiscal Commission should have a wide remit, to enable it to scrutinise all aspects of the operation of the post-Smith fiscal settlement.

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How Henry Ford’s Maxim Applies in Scotland: The difficult path to social change in a neo-liberal world

Cuthbert, J. R.:  published as “Henry Ford in Scotland: the difficult path to social change”, in “Is there a Scottish Road to Socialism, 3rd Edition”, ed. G. Gall, Scottish Left Review Press, February 2016.
The fiscal framework which we are threatened with under the Smith reforms is likely to guarantee a future of increasing austerity and neo-liberal policies in Scotland. This chapter sets this in a wider context: and asks why governing elites are so keen to enforce neo-liberalism: and what we can do about it.

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Partitioning Transaction Vectors into Pure Investments

Cuthbert, J. R.: accepted author version of paper published online in The Engineering Economist, 10 May 2017.

A technical paper on the topic of investment theory. It establishes the result that any transaction can be uniquely partitioned into a sequence of pure investments with strictly decreasing IRRs.

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