by Rab Bruce’s Spider

So that was GERS Day, when nobody at all changed their minds. Unionists proudly proclaimed that the figures proved Scotland was an economic basket case, delighting in the sorry state of their own country, while Yessers sneered at the multitude of flaws in the data and the conclusions reached by the media who gleefully reported the black hole as if it has any bearing on how an independent Scotland would operate or, indeed, on the actual reality of how Scotland operates at the moment.

The most telling thing from the stated “Black Hole" is that, when you add this to the equivalent economic deficits attributed to Wales and Northern Ireland, these three nations, with under 16% of the UK population somehow manage to account for around 55% of the UK deficit. That’s quite an amazing statistic, and it shows one of two things.

First, either centuries of Westminster control have left the Celtic nations of the UK utterly destitute, or that the figures are incorrect.

In the first case, one must wonder why Westminster would leave three of its constituent parts in such a state. Is it so that they can preen their feathers and boast about their generosity in keeping such economically ruinous countries afloat? If that is the case, it’s the action of a deranged psychopath. It’s certainly not the sort of long term economic strategy any sensible Government would adopt. Why burden yourself with three areas which are such a huge drain on your own economy? Bear in mind that the UK Government begrudges subsidising a spare bedroom, yet expects us to believe that it has spent hundreds of years happily subsidising Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland out of the goodness of its heart. Pull the other one, guys.

Or, as mentioned, the figures could be totally inaccurate. This seems more than likely given the number of guesses and estimates included in the figures and the unrealistic allocations of debt share, but those have been covered by other commentators, so there is no point in going over the same ground here.

This debate has been going on for a few years now and is unlikely to change, but there is one thing I really would like to see change, and that is the response of the SNP to the GERS figures. Their official line is to accept GERS as the best available statistics and try to use them to show Scotland’s economic performance as improving. Just once, I’d like to see them publish the GERS figures along with an official statement saying something like, “Here are the figures but we’re not going to comment on them because we know they are meaningless and inaccurate."

I’m sure they’d come in for a storm of criticism in the media, but that happens anyway. It’s about time they made another dramatic gesture, but they’ve missed their chance with this year’s GERS.