Letter in Herald – heavily cut.

This is what the Herald published:

I NOTE the letter from your correspondent Keith McLeod (August 28); he is wrong on several counts. Not only does he believe that St Pancras Station serves the west of England (in fact it is the international gateway station for the Eurostar), but he repeats the full roster of misapprehensions about infrastructure projects purportedly paid for by Scots.

It might be tedious to deal with them all, so I will stick with just one: Mr McLeod claims Scots are contributing to the new London sewerage system – which is not public expenditure at all, and is being paid for in its entirety by Thames Water customers. I have no doubt there are other correspondents who will blow the rest of his examples out of the water. Mr McLeod also has no idea of how the Barnett Formula works. To take the case of HS2, we contribute two per cent of the spend – based on the economic benefit to Scotland assigned by the Scottish Government – but receive in return Barnett consequentials based on 100 per cent of the cost. So we get far more back than we put in.

These widespread mistaken beliefs are another example of the crisis of information which we face in the internet age. People believe things they want to, because someone told them it on Twitter or Facebook – the tavern and street corner de nos jours.

Peter A. Russell

This is what I sent them (major deletions in italics): 

We can all be very grateful for the letter from your correspondent Keith McLeod for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, he demonstrates the sheer ignorance of the case of many Scottish Nationalists. Not only does he believe that St Pancras Station serves the west of England (in fact it is the international gateway station for the Eurostar), but he repeats the full roster of misapprehensions about infrastructure projects purportedly paid for by Scots.
It might be tedious to deal with them all, so I will stick with just one: Mr McLeod claims Scots are contributing to the new London sewerage system – which is not public expenditure at all, and is being paid for in its entirety by Thames Water customers.I have no doubt there are other correspondents who will blow the rest of his examples out of the water. Mr McLeod  and his fellow Nationalist dupes also have no idea of how the Barnett Formula works. To take the case of HS2, we contribute 2% of the spend – based on the economic benefit to Scotland assigned by the Scottish Government – but receive in return Barnett consequentials based on 100% of the cost. So we get far more back than we put in.
Above all, these widespread mistaken beliefs are another example of the crisis of information which we face in the internet age. People believe things they want to, because someone told them it on Twitter or Facebook – the tavern and street corner de nos jours. Perhaps one day, when Scotland’s education system is restored to its former excellence, we will teach our children not to be like Mr Mcleod, but how to identify and avoid misinformation. When we do so, Scottish Nationalist propaganda will provide some very pertinent examples for the classroom.
Yours
Peter A. Russell
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