THROUGHOUT history, human societies have welcomed myths to help them understand the world around them. Stories have always been important to people. In a world of threats, it is reassuring to believe tales that tell us our rulers are gifted, and in the end “all will be well”. This week, we will look at five myths that bedevil life for people in Scotland. 

Myth 1

The Tories can be trusted to manage public money better than anyone else. This is a long-standing tale. Based on the square root of very little. Let’s look at the facts, rather than the fiction. Last week we learned that the UK Chancellor, part of a family of billionaires according to some accounts, lost £11 billion.  

In short, a man who seems to manage his own money exceptionally well chucked away a truly staggering amount of yours. His incompetence in financial affairs cost this truly enormous amount. He has cost the Government £11 billion by failing to manage government interest rates properly.  

Many people do not fully understand the difference between a million and a billion. This is a million pounds, £1,000,000. By contrast, here is a billion pounds £1,000,000,000. To put this is context, this amount is many million times the figure of the so-called deficit that an independent Scotland might experience. 

Of course, to be fair to the Chancellor, he is not the only one in the UK Government who is lousy with public finances. Even more mind-blowing amounts have been lost on Covid contracts that were given to friends of ministers. Only for the resultant products to be destroyed because these don’t work. 

Myth 2

BBC news is impartial. For years we in Scotland have suffered from a calamitous drop in standards of public broadcasting. Old stagers at the BBC are dismayed by what passes for news at Pacific Quay. Now, this malaise has spread across the network. Many were astounded when the broadcaster edited out the chorus of boos that greeted Boris Johnson as he entered St Pauls to celebrate the Jubilee. In this respect, the BBC is one of the very few cases of a fish rotting from the tail upwards. 

Of course, many are still waiting for the BBC to acknowledge the truly frightening costs of Brexit.

READ MORE: Fresh leadership crisis for Boris Johnson as Welsh Tories look to split off

Myth 3

The pound in your pocket is safe and sound. I have news for you. It’s largely irrelevant. Money is another myth and exists purely in people’s shared imagination. Money is not coins and banknotes. Money is anything people are willing to use in order to represent symbolically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services. In reality, coins and banknotes are a rare form of money.

The sum total of money in the world is around $60 trillion, but the sum total of banknotes is about $6 trillion.   More than 90% of all money exists only on computer servers. In other words, money isn’t a material reality. It is a psychological construct, according to author Yuval Noah Harari. It works by converting matter into mind. 

Do keep this in mind when economists and others warble on about the challenges facing an independent Scotland. If we have worthwhile goods and services in this country, others will find a way of paying for them. 

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Myth 4

The Union, with its “broad shoulders”, is good for you. It really isn’t. And it gets worse daily. In reality, it is well past its prime and heading rapidly to senescence. Its constitution is largely non-existent and provides little  protection against an executive that ruthlessly and continually exploits its bottomless flaws. Its institutions are decrepit. It is deeply wedded to its past at a time when competitor states are forward-looking.

The jubilee celebrations were deeply embarrassing to anyone looking on from abroad.  It has a deep-seated desire to shrink in on itself in a way that suggests a crisis of confidence and a helplessness in facing the world.   These failings have profound consequences for the average person. Food prices are soaring. And it now costs over £100 to fill the family car. In many respects the Union is an illusion. It really only exists while Scots believe it does. Once that changes, freedom follows.  

Myth 5

Scotland needs permission to become free. No, it doesn’t. However, Scotland does need to be recognised by others as independent. Scots are sovereign. Parliaments across this island accept this Claim.   But this is not enough. A workable independence needs widespread co-operation and agreement of its terms. The world needs to recognise the Claim, not just Scots and their neighbours.  Singer, Iona Fyfe, is the star guest on the TNT show this week.

Join us at 7pm on Wednesday on IndyLive.