Our attention was drawn today to hardcore shrieky Loyalist nutter collective Scotland In Union releasing “new research” on an independent Scotland’s finances, which in fact came out last year but which for unknown reasons they’re touting again now.
Commissioned by the loongroup from a London-based thinktank that we’d never heard of by the name of “Europe Economics”, it predictably produces a doom-and-gloom conclusion that independence would have cost over £10bn in the first year.
There are so many gaping chasms in the logic we could hardly stop laughing for long enough to type, but one in particular was worth wiping the tears from our eyes for.
The thinktank appear to be slightly embarrassed at the parameters that they’ve been asked to work within, and accordingly the report’s eight pages (four of which are blank) are littered with disclaimers.
Our favourite was the admission early on that they’d only been asked to calculate the NEGATIVE ramifications of independence, and to exclude any potential positives.
The reports also admit that its calculations are based on an independent Scotland inheriting £125bn of UK debt – the history of nations leaving the UK is that all debt remains with the UK, and the UK has already stated it would take on the full debt.
It also notes that its estimate of Scotland’s deficit is based solely on a single year’s GERS figures, despite internationally-respected auditors Deloitte acknowledging last year that GERS was not a guide to the finances of an independent – rather than devolved – Scotland.
(And the fact that the oil price has doubled since those figures came out.)
The bulk of the £10bn figure – £7.5bn – is arrived at by treating the Barnett Formula as an annual cash gift from the Treasury, when in fact it’s simply a mechanism for returning about 95% of Scotland’s average payment into the UK.
There’s lots more in the same vein. But those aren’t the best bits. The best bits are when the report produces figures that would supposedly be lost from English students paying tuition fees to Scottish universities, and from an independent Scotland having to contribute to the EU rebate of the rUK.
Our very alertest readers will probably have spotted at this point that the core premise of the report is that the UK is going to remain in the EU.
Do you want to tell them or will we?