I’ll drink to get pished in Scotland

As Dirageo drags SNP Minimum Pricing Bill through the court of economic law and public opinion, Daily Ranger fifth columnist sends veiled tax warning to cease and desist.

Moan McVulpine - delivering collateral damage every time she speaks

By Moan McVulpine Scotchland’s other hangover from yesteryear

IF YOU  missed it last week, try to catch the Scotched Earth documentary on iPlayer.

The BBC Scotchland programme mostly skirted the lack of real economic benefit of whisky to the country due to corporate tax evasiveness.

The term is not just pejorative – it’s accurate. Scotch Whisky is incredibly lucrative for Dirageo – the chief SNP bitch slappers and whisky producers in the country.

It’s pretty much an empty coat claim that Whisky revenue would contribute a fair return into an Indy Scotland’s tax coffers.

Dirageo, in keeping with many corporations, have their tangible assets and distribution networks registered in Europe as offshore holdings.

Johnnie Walked, their most famous Whisky brand, hasn’t been Scottish since 2000 – it’s Dutch, due to a clandestine tax switcheroo known as “outward domestication”.

Not one iota of protest came from so called 90 second Nationalist patriot types when that happened.

How’s that for silence over the selling off of your country’s heritage, history and provenance?

Nor for that matter does/did the SNP jump on Dirageo for their supermarket style dealings with Scottish farmers – holding them to ransom over “fair” prices for their malt, grain and barley.

No, that thankless task was left to a list Lib-Dem MSP because, y’know, he actually cared about his country’s economic welfare rather than his more myopically supine SNP contemporaries.

But ho hum. That’s the progressive SNP for you, they probably didn’t want to rock Dirageo’s corporate lobbyist boat because, at heart, they’re big fearties.

The value of Scotch exports jumped 20 per cent last year to a not  unconsiderable £4.2 billion.

Scotched Earth did not mention the Amazon style Euro based tax jiggery pokery which means Scotland (or the UK) reaps virtually hee haw from the exploitation of its resources.

Some partisan columnists in the Daily Ranger think they can score kudos points with Dirageo by signalling that the SNP won’t consider taxing the water supply to the “water of life”.

Meanwhile, Dirageo is yet again giving the SNP a lesson in political economics with the Minimum Price Alcohol bill being dragged through the courts like a cheap unfit for purpose bottle of hooch.

If the sovereign people of Scotland’s government keeps it up, they might find themselves looking like embarrassing drunks at the opening of a christian temperance meeting.

I’ll drink to that.




Filed under Moan McVulpine, Opinion

7 responses to “I’ll drink to get pished in Scotland

  1. Interesting, and of course the delusion that such multinationals will dae what they’re telt by an independent Scotland rather than the other way round is deomonstrated by the SNP’s stance on corporation tax and their refusal to comment on Amazon’s tax position post-independence.

    And indeed since the SNP want Scotland to join a currency union with rUK in the short term and the euro in the longer-term, neither London nor Brussels will let them diverge significantly in terms of fiscal policy anyway, so those who think Scotland would take the likes of Diageo to task are either delusion or dishonest.

    And of course despite the huffing and puffing over Diageo and Kilmarnock, Presiding Orifice Marwick was happy enough when the jobs came to Methil. Pork barrelling triumphs over principle any time.

    Moanie also says:

    “Scotch whisky already pays £1billion in taxes – it goes to the Treasury in London. After independence, a big chunk of that money would come here.

    “That’s the best way to reap the benefits from the Scotch bonanza.”

    You’d think all that happens is that Scottish tax revenue goes to London and there’s nothing comes back up in return, whereas the reality is a bit different, but I suppose it wouldn’t do to let the facts get in the way of this kind of superficiality.

    Good as well to read her view that Scotch appeals to “aspirational drinkers” in the developing world – pity help them! Always seems a bit ironic in view of our own ‘uneasy’ relationship with alcohol.

    As for her other piece juxtaposing a “signficant figure in Scottish history” with an [English] “creepy paedophile DJ”, let’s not go there!

  2. Indeed.

    Following the completely incompetent handling of the Johnnie Walker/Diageo affair in 2009 by Formidable Demagogue Salmond, I usually pay a bit closer attention to the SNP’s hypocrisy/blindness regarding whisky.

    Lib-Dem MSP, Andrew Arbuckle, who raised a business motion at Holyrood in April 2005, for ‘protected geographical indicator status for Scottish whisky’ was roundly opposed.

    Unsurprisingly, every MSP who attended the debate, including Arbuckle, had been well and truly “lobbied” by Diageo’s PR machine. They’re the best in the world at what they do, so it’s no surprise that Arbuckle was one against the rest.

    Diageo, around that time, sponsored the Scottish Politician of the Year so you can see why it would have been easy for them to have the likes of some fledgling MSPs sitting on their corporate laps like good little dogs.

    Only ten *hardworking* MSPs even bothered to turn up. Two of them were the SNP’s – Trisha pork barrelling Marwick and Jim “left wing delusion” Mather.

    Neither had any interests in furthering the interests of Scottish farmers or further protecting Whisky’s provenance for that matter.

    I believe – and it’s only a belief – that if Arbuckle’s motion had been supported and passed, that it would have been difficult, to the point of impossible, for Diageo to up sticks from the Johnnie Walker plant at Kilmarnock.

    Kilmarnock had always been the place where the whisky was blended and bottled – though latterly bottled thanks to United Distillers.

    Plus, the actual decision to shut Kilmarnock was made in 2007 by the finance and accounting team of Diageo rather than their brand or marketing strategists.

    I know I’m treading on eggshells here with you Stuart, but a spreadsheet decision by a bean counter whose only interest was cost savings on logistics belies much of the ‘mystique’ and provenance of whisky – particularly the best known Whisky brand in the world.

    As such, when SNP types like McAlpine come out with the pish about best interests of Scotland, I could bark at the moon.

    The really cynical part of the whole affair from Diageo was that they knew the damage the Kilmarnock closure would cause to their and the Johnnie Walker brand’s reputation. They also knew that that damage was containable and repairable within Scotland.

    China and India’s “aspirational drinkers” are merely buying into the false ‘mystique’ of Scotch Whisky.

    Diageo have form in duping their foreign customers and are the biggest bullies out when dealing with other alcohol producers.

    So, sorry about the rant, it’s one of the reasons that the “anti-Scots” label rankles. If the SNP were so pro-Scotland then there would have been much more said over the years about what could be done for the one real sustainable industry we have that’s unlikely ever to go away.

    Instead we have the party of the Scottish protest vote in a position they don’t deserve on a ticket ie pro-Scottishness which, in Whisky’s case, is demonstrably false.

    Chardonnay, or the wee white whine, as she is known can stick her “aspirational drinking” where the Sun King don’t shine.


  3. Thanks for the further insight into Diageo. Apart from blogging about the contradiction of Salmond’s Scargill-esque demagoguery at the time I never really paid that much attention to the issue, and really just viewed it as a fight for jobs between Kilmarnock and Methil, motivated by profit from Diageo’s perspective, of course.

    But it all sounds about right – Diageo’s brand identities, its marketing spiel and profit motivation in the commercial context are just soundites, political propaganda, posturing, pork-barrelling and self-interest/aggrandisement in the political sense.

    Yes, that ‘hardworking’ cliche annoys me as well. The ‘working hard’ one is just as bad – “Our councillors are working hard with partner agencies to find a solution that can be agreed by all”, blah blah.

    Ironically I could manage my own little polemic *against* Andra Arbuckle regarding one of my own hobby horses, but I don’t want to turn this into a WoS-esque thread!!

  4. I’d be interested in a brief summary about Andra. Other than the Whisky debate I can’t say I know much about him or his form.

  5. Well nothing in particular that I’ll bore you with the details of, but it’s all to do with my own personal hobby horses such as liquor and taxi licensing and Mr Arbuckle’s longstanding status as councillor in NE Fife (an area I know quite well as regards some of the pertinent issues).

    I recall one classic quote from him a few years ago saying that Holyrood needed people like him who had experience at the council level, which in view of my rather negative view of him almost made me fall out of my chair, but kind of confirms my view of the Scottish Parliament as being made up of many of the people who caused problems at the local level.

    He’s one of those ‘local worthy’ types who writes a column for the Courier occassionally (he’s a farmer who for years was the paper’s farming columnist, until he was elected to Holyrood) and who no doubt does lots of good, selfless work in some regards, but certainly not in others.

    (By the way, just thought of an even more annoying cliche than ‘working hard’, which is ‘working tirelessly’. Haven’t yet heard of any politician claiming to be ‘working tirelessly hard’, but maybe some day!!)

    • Yup. Figures.

      No doubt the whisky motion was motivated by a high degree of farming self interest which even the Diageo lobbying machine couldn’t schmooze or bribe.

      I know his political career was pretty short lived in the Scottish Parliament. Your background info certainly fits the bill to further cement my not too politically correct belief that the majority of Holyrood is populated by second rate toon cooncillors.

      (I think Mr Salmond is *working tirelessly* to try and regain some of the moral high ground so effortlessly lost last year just by being the leader of the SNP)

  6. Ah, yes, I hadn’t thought about the agricultural/Diageo connection which might have motivated Mr Arbuckle.

    Forgot also that he now writes a column for the Scotsman which appears in the comment section of the website on a Monday, as I recall it – rural affairs editor, or suchlike (he gave up his similar berth at the Courier on becoming an MSP, and presumably his predecessor wasn’t too keen to give it up when Andra lost his seat at Holyrood).

    Suppose he was quite lucky to get his couple of years at Holyrood at all, which only came about because his predecessor on the list – Keith Raffan – resigned after his rather dubious expenses claims came to light.

    And maybe it’s about time ‘Andrew Arbuckle MSP’ (sic) either updated or deleted his website!!


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