This year’s GERS figures will be published today, purporting to illustrate the financial relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK. With oil revenues down, they’ll undoubtedly provoke an orgasmic explosion of glee among Unionists crowing about “black holes” and how Scotland is too wee, too poor and too stupid to survive alone.
We’ve already run an extremely detailed explanation of all the flaws and booby-traps in GERS, but of course we’re a pro-independence website and we would say that. So instead we’ll direct you to someone who’s very much NOT on our side.
The right-wing MoneyWeek journalist Merryn Somerset Webb – cited as an economics expert by a certain amateur blogger and BBC pundit who loves nothing more than to use GERS to prove an independent Scotland would be broke – wrote a piece for the magazine in May 2014 on the subject.
What she concludes, just like us, is that GERS isn’t even very good at showing a true picture of a devolved Scotland, but also that what it definitely doesn’t do is tell us anything meaningful about the finances of an independent one.
She notes that “all the numbers everyone uses to make the financial argument are no more than rough guesses”. And as obsessives desperate to keep Scotland under the control of a UK government slashing tens of billions of pounds from welfare and public services but still running a debt of over £1.5 trillion spew out endless graphs based on those rough guesses, that’s the only thing you really need to remember today.