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The six key facts about GERS (2018)

Posted on August 23, 2018 by

We’re just going to reprint this piece every year, because only the numbers change.

Today saw the publication of the 2017-18 GERS stats, which are once again triggering a convulsive orgy of “BLACK HOLE!” articles across the media as every Unionist in the land falls over themselves to portray their own country as a useless scrounging subsidy junkie without actually using the exact words “too wee, too poor, too stupid”.

And once again, everywhere you look there’s a “Proud Scot” screaming about how the figures destroy a case for independence that those same people have spent most of the current decade stridently insisting never existed in the first place.

angryyoon

So let’s recap the truth about Scotland’s financial books. Because for all the complex arguments, mad graphs ludicrously pretending Scotland is a less viable nation than Greece or Latvia or Cyprus or Malta and endless arrays of incomprehensible charts and tables, there are (now) only six things you really need to know about GERS.

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KEY FACT 1

.
GERS is a really, really terrible advertisement for the Union.

Scotland has been part of the UK for 308 years. It’s had its own parliament for just 5% of that time. Even now, almost all of its key economic levers – taxation, welfare, immigration and many more – are directly controlled by Westminster, as is roughly half of “Scottish” spending.

The Scottish Parliament was never designed to run Scotland’s economy. Almost all of those decisions are still taken by Westminster.

img186

UK governments of all political shades have had 300 years to get Scotland into a healthy shape. They’re now telling us that they failed spectacularly in that responsibility, but that it’s somehow Scotland’s fault, so we have to leave them in charge to fix it. Maybe if we give them another 300 years they’ll get it right.

———————————————————————————————————

KEY FACT 2

.
GERS was deliberately designed from the outset by the UK government to make Scotland
 (and the non-Tory parties) look bad.

This is not a statement disputed by anyone:

briantaylorgers

cuthbert0

This fact was revealed in a leaked memo from the Scottish Secretary to the Prime Minister. But when Labour came to power in 1999 they did nothing about it, because they thought they’d control the Scottish Parliament forever no matter what, and therefore it couldn’t really hurt them. It would, however, still help to make the SNP and independence look bad, which suited Labour fine.

When the SNP took over at Holyrood they managed to improve GERS a bit, but there are still major issues – partly because the UK government refuses to give the Scottish Government access to a lot of important data – and as a result much of it is total guesswork.

Quite simply, GERS is bad data.

———————————————————————————————————

KEY FACT 3

.
The “£Xbn black hole” in GERS screamed across every newspaper this week is a fallacy, because the target balance of a government is not zero.

So this is completely financially illiterate drivel:

Almost every country on Earth – except for a certain oil-rich nation of 5m people bordering the North Sea which isn’t Scotland – runs a deficit. Governments don’t operate like households, which at some point have to balance the books and pay off their debts. Under normal circumstances governments always run a deficit because that’s how you create growth.

So despite what some ideologically-blinkered, fiscally clueless cretins might say, you don’t have to slash services or massively inflate taxes to cover the shortfall. The shortfall is normal. You never have to fill that “black hole”. Indeed, nations that try to cut their way out of deficits usually have disastrous results.

The only issues are whether the deficit is too big to service the debt payments on, and whether it’s permanently big (a problem) or goes up and down (generally not a problem). Scotland’s is the latter.

ukdeficits

In 2010, 2011 and 2012 the UK’s deficit was a bigger share of GDP than the 7.9% attributed to Scotland in the latest GERS, but nobody said it proved the UK wasn’t a viable independent country, as most people aren’t self-hating morons desperate to portray their own nation as a financial basket case. As long as the deficit isn’t ALWAYS that high you’re fine, and Scotland’s is usually much lower.

(And remember – the UK doesn’t just generously gift Scotland the money to plug its deficit because it loves us so much. It takes out borrowing in Scotland’s name, whether it’s for stuff Scotland actually wants or not. Scotland gets no say in whether it wants nuclear submarines or giant aircraft carriers or not. London makes the decision, puts it on Scotland’s tab, and Scotland has to pay it back.)

If a sustainable deficit is (say) £10bn and your actual deficit is (say) £12bn, then the size of the “black hole” you need to address in a bad year – by generating extra income, borrowing or reducing spending – is £2bn, not £12bn. But that makes for a much less dramatic newspaper headline.

———————————————————————————————————

KEY FACT 4

.
GERS – by the universal agreement of everyone except Unionist politicians and the Scottish media – has no bearing whatsoever on the finances of an independent Scotland.

That’s a fact which just can’t be repeated too often.

merrynsw3

To name but one extremely significant example, an independent Scotland’s balance sheet would be massively affected – to the tune of billions of pounds a year, a huge chunk of the deficit – by the details of the independence settlement and in particular how much (if any) UK debt Scotland agreed to inherit.

It’s highly unlikely, for all sorts of reasons that we’ve explored in detail on Wings previously, that this would be a straight per-capita share, and a more realistic figure – half that or less – would instantly reduce the deficit to a degree that would have, for example, more than balanced the drop in oil revenues this year.

When Ireland gained independence from the UK, it negotiated an agreement which gave it none of the UK’s debt whatsoever. If Scotland – which has a very strong negotiating position – were to do the same its “true” deficit (see Fact 3), even in a very bad year like 2014-15, would be almost wiped out at a stroke.

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KEY FACT 5

.
GERS is also totally irrelevant in the context of independence for a second crucial reason – the entire point of independence is to NOT keep doing everything in Scotland the same way it’s been done in the UK.

All serious economists understand this staggeringly obvious truth.

Scotland’s needs, strengths, weaknesses and priorities are different to those of the UK in all sorts of fields. Despite obvious similarities it’s a fundamentally different kind of country – much less densely-populated, with different industries and demographics and a different idea of its place in the world.

ukpopulationunion

So it would almost certainly want to significantly rearrange its spending in ways so numerous and far-reaching as to change GERS out of all recognition. Because small countries that run their own affairs to suit their own circumstances tend to do rather better than ones that let someone else do it for them.

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KEY FACT 6

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GERS takes no account of Brexit.

The most dramatic change of circumstances in Scottish politics since 2014, of course, has been nothing to do with the price of oil, but the fact that in 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union.

The “status quo” position represented by GERS is now even more irrelevant as a comparison to an independent Scotland, because the choice on offer in any second indyref will almost certainly be one between an independent Scotland inside the EU, and a Scotland that’s in the UK and outside the EU.

brexit6bn

The impact of Brexit on the Scottish economy is impossible to measure, but what everyone on all sides seems to agree on is that it’ll be bad. (Which is why all five Parliamentary parties in Scotland campaigned for a Remain vote.)

Data published by the Scottish Government in 2016 suggested that the damage could range between £1.7bn and £11.2bn a year. There could of course also be economic downsides to remaining in the EU while the rUK left (depending on Scotland’s trading terms with the rUK), but it seems highly likely that the net balance of staying in the EU would be significantly positive for Scotland.

The point is that GERS factors in none of that, and is therefore an even poorer guide to an independent Scotland’s finances than it was already, by a long way.

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Unionists desperate to use GERS to rubbish an independent Scotland’s finances sometimes admit its flaws, but defend it by saying it’s the only data we’ve got to go on. That’s like saying you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow so for want of anything better you’ll base your plans around your horoscope in today’s Daily Star.

And, y’know, that’d make you an even bigger idiot today than it did in 2014.

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    1. 23 08 18 12:56

      The six key facts about GERS (2018) | speymouth

    65 to “The six key facts about GERS (2018)”

    1. Danny says:

      Rev

      Sorry to disappoint you but I never read one word of your summary about the GERS figures.

      As was highlighted in the previous page, they are put out there to put a huge question mark over the strength of an Independent Scotland’s economy.

      GERS is completely irrelevant and should be ignored.

    2. Artyhetty says:

      Pandering to the gullible, brainwashing those who have no time for digging deeper, or are just politically disinterested. The Britnats have form on that score. Never knowingly found to actually tell the truth.

      Thanks Stuart will read this again and share, as wide as possible, I will even print it out, hope that’s OK!

    3. Macart says:

      Neatly done Rev. 🙂

    4. Fireproofjim says:

      Briliiiant and clear destruction of the Unionist “too poor” case.
      This should be adapted and delivered to every home in Scotland.
      Hope that Yes campaigners and Scottish Government take note.

    5. Fred says:

      The Gers figures are an irrelevance but it has to be demonstrated to readers of the shite press just how irrelevant they are!

    6. Cairnallochy says:

      What I would be interested to know about GERS is while Scotland is charged with a population share of U.K. capital expenditure, eg on HS2, is Scotland credited with any of the income from, eg taxes,deriving from the economic activity created by U.K. capital projects ? Or indeed, does Scotland receive any of the notional ROI justifying these projects ?

      I can’t imagine anyone taking an 8.4% stake in a private enterprise without having entitlement to a corresponding share of the proceeds.

    7. Derek Rogers says:

      How many more years will you need to repost this for?

    8. Craig P says:

      The very fact there is no GERE should ring massive alarm bells. GERS is a purely political device intended to provide ammunition to PSBs who revel in Scotland’s state of dependence.

    9. red sunset says:

      Totally agree with Danny’s comment.

      At the risk of stirring a hornet’s nest here, I have to say the Scottish Government are complicit in this.

      If they don’t want to be tarred with a bad story, they need to speak out loud and forcefully about GERS.

      A great rebuttal would be SG publishing a financial account immediately after GERS showing their figures for the past year, and then adding at the bottom the extra deemed spending (by London) which creates this fake news.

    10. alexicon says:

      Another key fact is that the SNP Scottish government keep using GERS as a reference point undermining all the arguments us independence supporters use on social media when discussing the economy.
      It is beyond me why they keep doing this.
      They seem to be quoting similar points as the Rev has made here to the converted, but maintain the GERS [headline] to the unconverted.
      When are the SG going to stop using GERS as a reference and call it for what it is, a crock of shoite.

    11. Phil says:

      And every year until either: A. Scotland gains independence, or B. Holyrood designs a new accounting system we all will wince as the doom mongers issue their annual derogatory lies.

      Already this morning Hugh The Doom Master Fraser has had airtimeu to remind any who may have forgotten how his loud Tory NO! sounds.

    12. One_Scot says:

      So the whole point of GERS is to give the BritNat media and British State a platform to brainwash the Scottish public into thinking we are a total loss, and that we should be grateful that the unionists are willing to hold onto us for our benefit.

      It really is enough to piss any reasonable minded Scot off. The problem is this. It is all very well a handful of us online knowing that this GERS crap is a scam designed to prevent Scotland becoming Independent, but the wider general public through TV, papers and radio will take this shit at face value.

      Unless the SNP can come up with a forceful rebuttal of this nonsense which can then reach the majority of Scots, then this will alway be a thorn in Scotland’s side.

    13. Mike says:

      GERS simply put is a bare faced lie. A wilful bare faced lie. A political exercise in wilful bare faced lying.
      Why the Scottish Government just doesn’t stand up and say so openly and clearly I will never understand. The UK state is using GERS to hit them every year giving doubters reasons to doubt giving waverers reason to waver on the side of the status quo.
      Its like the Scottish Government attitude towards the BBC and MSM in general. It is way past time the Scottish Government stopped pussy footing around with the UK state and call it out for ALL of its lies deceits and propaganda before it decides to embark on another attempt at Independence.

    14. Robert Peffers says:

      One of the biggest faults of GERS, perhaps the biggest by far, is that looking at the GERS figures is very much like standing right at the edge of the forest prevents you from seeing the size of the forest because the trees are getting in the way of the bigger view.

      This is more than enough of a handicap to seeing the bigger picture but the sheer density of the undergrowth, (actual guesstimate figures), also makes seeing between individual trees impossible.

      The real problem with GERS, though, is not the guesstimated figures it is the deliberately misleading, (a.k.a. lying), methods of false accountancy and misleading terms.

      Understanding what, “Extra Regio Territories”, actually means, for example, will open many eyes. The whole exercise is utter flim-flam.

      Now I kid you not, I cut & pasted the following from an on-line dictionary :-

      fl?mflam – noun: –

      1. – nonsensical or insincere talk.
      Example “pseudo-intellectual flimflam”.

      2. – a confidence trick.
      Example “flimflams perpetrated against us by our elected officials”

      flim-flam – verb:-

      1. – to swindle (someone) with a confidence trick.
      Example “the tribe was flimflammed out of its land”.

      So, there you go – the perfect description of GERS.

    15. Davie Oga says:

      Be good to see someone produce accurate statistics of England’s economy removing all Scottish GDP and all taxation from resources and economic activity in Scottish territory.

      Balance of payments deficit for our special neighbour would be third world territory.

    16. Fergus Green says:

      Shared on BBC Have Your Say 🙂

    17. Dan Huil says:

      Britnat GERS is 100% politics and 0% economics.

    18. Giving Goose says:

      To be a Proud Scot But(t).

      The ultimate in cringing, pathetic, subservient slavery.
      IMHO, anyone who proclaims PSB or Unionist status is doing nothing more than proactively choosing an English identity and should henceforth refer to themselves as English.

      It’s actually very positive to choose an identity and to be proud to proclaim that identity. To be a PSB is to be British, which is to be English because they are one and the same identity.

      I choose to be Scottish. It is my identity. I am not a Proud Scot But or Unionist, therefore not British, therefore I am not English.

      Just as I will not accept GERS as a method for defining my country, Scotland’s, economic wellbeing and potential.

      GERS is clearly a different countries way of describing Scotland’s position and a vehicle for people within Scotland to adopt that other countries identity.
      It is as alien as, say, Denmark describing the economic position of Italy and then the Italian’s proudly proclaiming themselves to be Danish because they do not identify as Italian.

      PSBs and Unionists shouldn’t be ashamed of themselves – they should be proud, proud to be English, and the best of good luck to them with their chosen identity.

    19. Arbroath1320 says:

      As always an excellent destruction of Unionist glee and pissing on Scotland.

      I am sure though that back in 2014 wee Georgie “pudding and pie” Osborne eventually said in the lead up to the referendum that all debt belonged to Westminster up until the point of Scottish independence. (Sorry I can’t find the article I read that in.) For me that still holds true today and therefore when we leave this corrupt broken union we will, just like Ireland, leave with NONE of, what will then become, the rUK debt.

    20. Peter A Bell says:

      KEY FACT 7

      You cannot answer a constitutional question with a calculator.

    21. orri says:

      The point of GERS is to foster the opinion amongst English voters that they are paying more in to the UK tan getting out by never mentioning in isolation any English “black hole” thus softening the blow to their egos when Scotland does become independent.

    22. Robert Peffers says:

      @Craig P says: 23 August, 2018 at 11:24 am:

      ” … The very fact there is no GERE should ring massive alarm bells.”

      There is Craig P, a very good reason there will never be a GERE This is because there hasn’t been a parliament of, “The COUNTRY of England since the year 1284 when, “The Statute of Rhuddlan”, of Edward I annexed Wales as part of, The KINGDOM of England.

      Currently there still is no parliament of the country of England and not even a parliament of the Kingdom of England that had added the Kingdom of Ireland to the Kingdom of England in 1584 by the Crown of Ireland Act.

      Thus what signed the Treaty of Union in 1706/7 was the three country Kingdom of England that upon signing the English Act of Union officially sat and declared itself in permeant recession. This is recorded in the Hansard of 1707.

      Westminster then reopened as the totally new Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain on 1 May 1707. So there you go no parliament of England, either kingdom or country, has sat since 1284. You cannot do a GERE without a parliament of England. Mind you the current parliament at Westminster is the de facto parliament of England but calls itself the UK parliament and funds itself as such.

    23. PhilM says:

      One major reason why the SNP are not going to rubbish GERS is that it’s compiled by their own civil service who take responsibility for its content. Sensible govts try not to demoralise the people on whom they rely at all times. To rubbish it would make the SNP as a party guilty of the same kind of shenanigans the Tories get up to in that London. Oilyver Letwin wanted to instil fear into public servants and we can see how well that worked out. It is much better to be a bit boring and try to improve GERS gradually, which is what parties who govern should try to do. The other governing philosophy is what we’re currently witnessing in the Most Beautiful, Truly Beautiful Presidential Republic of Trumponia.

    24. Dr Jim says:

      I keep trying to say everything you just said Stu but you say it far better and right to the point than I ever could, and although some folk think you shouldn’t bother saying it I’m totally glad you do because there are plenty of folk who read this site who don’t know anything about anything so a proper explanation of these matters is ALWAYS warranted otherwise it’s just us saying GERS is rubbish over and over again

      You just explained properly WHY it’s rubbish and that’s damned important

    25. mr thms says:

      GERS giveth and GERS taketh away

      https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/08/3419/1

      “Spending growth in Scotland has been higher than the UK as a whole, primarily driven by increased spending by Local Government in Scotland and the impact of removing English housing associations from the UK total.”

    26. Mark Bluth says:

      “A great rebuttal would be SG publishing a financial account immediately after GERS showing their figures for the past year, and then adding at the bottom the extra deemed spending (by London) which creates this fake news.”

      Who do you think produces and publishes GERS?

      They’re Scottish government figures.

    27. Ghillie says:

      Hallo Peter A Bell =)

      ‘KEY FACT 7’

      ‘You cannot answer a constitutional question with a calculator’

      Like it. Mibee Rev Stu will add that one on next year.

      Oh wait. Will we being doing Gers figures next year?

    28. Valerie says:

      PhilM. 12.06

      That’s a very important point. Those civil servants are bound by what they have available to them, and as we know, a lot of Scotland’s income is incomplete.

      It’s an important principle of how a government conducts itself, taking responsibility, and not blaming it on paid staff.

      Politicians love to blame staff for implementing policy they concocted. Just look at Windrush, absolutely disgusting the way they blamed staff, when in fact it was obvious, it was staff, either past or present that blew the whistle on the destruction of landing cards.

    29. AndyMcKangry says:

      Stuart, have you ever dropped a copy of that analysis to the SNP?
      As a member, I’ve emailed them on occasion about this and echoed the comments of others on here re them publicly rubbishing these figures the way you and others do.
      I never get a reply.

    30. Ryan M says:

      Rev

      You should get the job of SNP spokesperson in order to get this out there to the general numb-minded population!

      Why won’t the SNP rebuke this publicly? Are they afraid it will unleash a media storm and “experts” being wheeled out to counter their every argument against GERS?

      WHY?!

    31. Ghillie says:

      Dr Jim @ 12.09 pm

      Aye, what you said 🙂

      Rev Stu that was incredibly useful and I was actually able to understand it all!

      Nothing to fear now when that discussion comes up 🙂

      The UK Government should really be very very embarrassed by its self.

    32. Bob Mack says:

      The Scottish Government have no choice but to use GERS. SURE, they can criticise them right up to the point when somebody asks them to show official alternative figures.
      That is the stumbling block.

      You can only rebut a claim by having concrete evidence, which as we all know is kept under lock and key in HM Treasury.

      We all suspect ( indeed know) that we are a self supporting country, and do not believe for one microsecond we are the recipient of Westminster largesse in having more spent per capita than the rest of the UK.

      I think a raid on the Treasury would be the only way of revealing the truth.

    33. Dr Jim says:

      I just found a site that claimed to be SNP news 24/7

      It’s totally not a SNP site at all it’s a Yoonfest of bile and accusations littered with Yoony flags and haters

      Just in case anyone thinks they’ve wandered into a parallel Yoonyverse by mistake avoid these guys

    34. Ken500 says:

      Superb

    35. doug bryce says:

      There are several issue with GERs.

      However recent tax cuts for north sea oil need investigated. Historically oil revenue is what made Scotland richer than rUK in GERs. Tax cuts were designed to support the industry during period of low oil price. However conveniently it also reduced Scottish tax revenue. Now prices have risen it means that less of the oil is taxed at source. Rather the oil firms are taxed on profits (corporation tax) and its no longer accounted as Scottish output.

      Why does Norway generate so much more oil revenue than UK?
      A recent Tory accounting trick…

    36. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Spot-on article once again, Stu. (And a great cartoon by Chris which I previously missed somehow. Need only erase the dates on the report, put a visible UJ on JB’s hat, and send it as a postcard to every household in Scotland.)

      Reframing, reframing. Key facts 1+5. For me that’s the best takeaway from this article. (And maybe also why the SG hang in with GERS, for all its faults. It’s called whacking your opponent with their own stick.)

      GERS proves that the UK is an ongoing complete and utter failure at running Scotland, and we would be a great deal better off doing it for ourselves.

    37. galamcennalath says:

      Ghillie says:

      Will we being doing Gers figures next year?

      I sincerely hope not! 🙂

      Their only purpose is to provide propaganda fodder for BritNats. I actually think there is a fair chance IndyRef2 will have occurred and been won by this time next year. There would be no point in producing further statements of Scotland within the UK. That would be totally irrelevant for anyone.

    38. jfngw says:

      You can almost see the pride in the unionist Scot with the GERS figures, the bigger the number the more content they are. To their eyes it proves how useless Scotland is, it is a sad place to be, being a Proud Unionist Scot (often have Loyalist or strangely Rangers in their twitter profile). Although the original gers finances had the same reality as GERS.

    39. Arbroath1320 says:

      Found this on Twitter.

      I’ll just let the figures sink in shall I?

      https://twitter.com/BlogCaesar!/status/1032571022346731521

    40. Ghillie says:

      Gallamcenalath @ 12.48 pm

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    41. Confused says:

      The deficiencies of GERS have been covered as nauseam so fuggedaboutit …

      But as a general principle, in business, ALL THE BOOKS ARE COOKED – sometimes its lightly broiled, sometimes its black barbecued to death – but there’s always at least a bit of fiddling. The term creative accounting was not invented for no reason.

      Being forced to fight the battle on GERS is a loser for us – it was setup that way. Our people need to do their own “uncertainty-doubt” thing as best they can.

      Explain to the public what a random variable is with colourful examples like – the flight of the bumblebee, the ball on a roulette wheel … quote JK Galbraith “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”

      I suspect once the union is over and we get a look at the real books we will see, in hard proof, just what a LOOTING operation our “membership” was. Unless some document repository burns down, accidently.

      I would like to see our own hard, documented REPARATIONS REPORT put together. It would be facts and logic and thus the hardest of propaganda.

      Then you can say “fuck GERS – what about this!”

      And when the negotiations finally take place, our representatives have a powerful weapon – don’t go in to quibble around the edges about the currency, the nukes, the “national”(whose?) debt – just whack down your mighty doorstop and say –

      “fuck all that – YOU OWE US TRILLIONS – here’s the direct debit mandates …”

    42. doug bryce says:

      There are several issue with GERs….

      One new issue that needs highlighted : recent tax cuts for north sea oil need investigated. Historically oil revenue is what made Scotland richer than rUK in GERs. Tax cuts were designed to support the industry during period of low oil price. However conveniently reducing PRT (petroleum revenue tax) also reduced tax revenue accounted as Scottish. Now oil prices have risen it means that less of the oil is taxed at source. Rather the oil firms are taxed on profits (corporation tax) and its no longer Scottish economic output.

      Why does Norway generate so much more oil revenue than UK?
      A recent Tory accounting trick…

    43. Mental Paul says:

      We all know GERS is limited but one thing that never seems to be done is compare the
      (limited) results to other nations. We only get a comparison against the rest of the UK.

      Do we know if similar reports exist for other comparable countries?

      Would it be possible for someone with a bit of time on their hands to compare the results against nations we might want to model ourselves on (Denmark, Belgium, Austria, New Zealand…)?

      It would be interesting to see in what areas our income & expenditure vary that apparently make us such a financial basketcase. Do we spend more on defence? Do we bring in less in corporation tax?

      If we can compare our results against a similar nation and understand the reasons why gers suggests our public finances are so poor it could be a great tool for arguing why gers should not be used as a starting point for an independent Scotland

    44. mr thms says:

      BBC News at One has just apologised for misleading its viewers with regard to an item about GERS yesterday

    45. ScottishPsyche says:

      Jane Hill just apologised for inaccurate info on GERS yesterday on the BBC News at One. Looks like Paul Wheelhouse’s complaint got through to them. A decent apology and hopefully they won’t make the same ‘mistake’ again.

    46. Sinky says:

      BBC TV UK news just apologised for false and misleading report on GERS. Too much to expect Unionist press to do likewise.

    47. Arbroath1320 says:

      Just occurred to me that last year GERS seemed to give the impression (if memory serves) that oil revenues were next to useless, in economic terms, only for H.M.R.C. to pop its head above the parapet some months later and say … oops … sorry folks we appear to have mistitled a load of oil revenues as “unknown regions” when in actual fact they should have been allocated to Scotland.

      What are the chances that we will see a similar situation appear again this year I wonder.

    48. Effijy says:

      How sad that its only on Wings that the Truth can be presented
      to the people of Scotland.

      Without any shadow of doubt Westminster and all its English based Parties are willing to lie, deceive, steal, and suppress Scotland.

      I can see 27 Scottish Lords from the so called Socialist Labour Party. Everyone a parasite on Scotland’s back, willing to sell
      off our country for a Title, Ermine Robe, and £300.00 per sleep.

      People like Darling have been Tory Plants into the Labour Party,
      same with Blair and Brown. They are in it for the money and true enough they are all £Millionaires.
      McConnel scamming off money to his Beattie sponsors, people like Geo Robertson making a fortune out of NATO and Failure Kinnock taking the EU for a ride with he and family members pocketing £10 Million.
      https://scottishlabour.org.uk/people/peers/

    49. Mike says:

      Where else in the world would a Government and media try and tell the world that 15% of its population is responsible for 81% of its National deficit leaving 85% of its population responsible for only 19% of it and expect anybody to believe it.
      Can you imagine if the EU accused the UK of being responsible for 81% of its deficit based on data and stats it cooked up as estimations based on hidden sources and undisclosed calculations.
      I bet the UK Government would be quick of the mark accusing the EU of wilful lying horseshite. So why is the Scottish Government so timid and accepting?

    50. Alan says:

      Key Fact 1 is a very well written part of the article, and I couldn’t agree more.

    51. Robert Peffers says:

      @Arbroath1320 says: 23 August, 2018 at 11:59 am:

      ” … I am sure though that back in 2014 wee Georgie “pudding and pie” Osborne eventually said in the lead up to the referendum that all debt belonged to Westminster up until the point of Scottish independence.”

      Scotland has no debt. How can Scotland have a debt when Scotland has no powers to borrow funds from anyone. All borrowing has been done by Westminster. Just like I am not responsible for my next door neighbour’s bank overdraft even if we do share a common wall in our respective semi-detached cottages.

      Westminster did the borrowing it is their debt not ours and, by the way, what Osborne was doing in that article was being reluctantly forced to admit that legally Scotland had no debt and thus had no legal requirement to pay for it.

      That did not stop Westminster from dunning us for repaying part of what Westminster borrowed. However, none of that has anything much to do with how the GERS scam operates. Quite simply the Westminster Treasury levies tax upon Scots while at the same time claiming that Westminster owns our natural resources and does not pay us for them.

      We pay our taxes by the same taxation rules as the Englanders and we pay them with the same tax bands as the Englanders pay. Yet even without the daylight robbery where they claim all oil & gas revenues are United Kingdom assets and grab every penny of them and none of the revenues are returned to Scotland.

      They also force the Scottish electricity generating companies to pay more to add electricity into the National Grid depending upon their distance from London while at the same time actually subsidising those generating companies in and closer to London.

      Then there is the Scottish Crown Estate profits. The two crown Estates belong to the still independent kingdoms. The United Kingdom is legally a union of two equally sovereign kingdoms and as the people of Scotland are legally sovereign then they own the Scottish Crown Estates. Unlike the English Crown Estates that were ruled, (under English law), to belong to the Kingdom of England and not to the specific monarch of England.

      The proof of that is that the English monarch cannot legally give away the kingdom’s sovereignty even if they abdicate the throne. The instant they do so, or if they die, the crown is immediately passed to the next in line. Just like when a monarch of England dies the proclamation is, “The King/Queen is dead: Long live the King/Queen”. Yet Westminster claims any profits from the Scottish Crown estates that legally belongs to the sovereign people of Scotland.

      A clear case of, “What’s yours is mine but what’s mine is my own”.

    52. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      Mike @ 11:34, 13:36,

      Because economic well-being is probably the hinge issue, and the SG must be (and appear) responsible and trustworthy. It won’t look that if it simply rants away that “it’s all a fix”, even if it’s 100% true. To those folks who need convincing, it would look as if the SG is merely in denial, refusing to “face the facts” (=humph=), and we lose.

      That’s the importance of reframing. (As it always is.) Not to attempt to passively shrug-off an unavoidable situation, but actively turn it 180-degrees around, and use the UKGov’s own data against itself. Proof of a longterm failure of management, and a complete clearout thus required.

      See Chris Cairns toon above for the same notion but in much fewer words!

    53. Arbroath1320 says:

      Thought my wee post might have awoken the sleeping giant of knowledge that is Robert Peffers and I was not mistaken. Thanks for your response Robert! 😀

      As a wee aside.

      There is, in my view, an excellent article by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp in today’s National. I think it certainly makes the point without going into to much economics whatnot to explain in fairly simple terms the difference between Scotland as it currently sits and what Scotland would have looked like had we been an independent country.

      http://www.thenational.scot/comment/columnists/16592799.oil-revenues-highlight-a-truly-dysfunctional-union/?ref=mr&lp=8

    54. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      mr thms @ 13:27,
      ScottishPsyche @ 13:27,
      Sinky @ 13:28,

      Could this be the first public sighting of the SNP Rebuttal Unit in action? =grin=

    55. jfngw says:

      The Westminster technique of apportioning debt is now starting to look so ridiculous that it would take a complete imbecile to believe it, there does seem to be a few of these in the unionist camp. The fact that around 16% of the population is being allocated over 80% of the debt (looks to be up over 20% from previous year) should start to ring alarm bells to anyone with any sense of reason. At this rate it will be over 100% next year.

    56. Thepnr says:

      An excellently written article Rev.

      All six key facts absolutely on the money and far easier to understand than a dozen squiggly lines on a graph. Hat tip.

    57. Bill Purves says:

      The Scottish Government Should Repeal the Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments. The English taxpayers would then cease subsidizing Scotland.

    58. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      jfngw @ 15:56:

      At this rate it will be over 100% next year.

      Heh, heh. Had a little flashback there to 2014 and the armageddon jokes.

      “100%? That’s nothing. In my time it was 200%, and we had to pay the whole debt of the EU as well…”

    59. Professor French says:

      I’m not sure why readers on here haven’t yet realised it’s the SNP-led Scottish Government that produces these statistics. It isn’t in the gift of the political party to scrap them either as they are National Statistics – government can’t pick and choose when to realise good, bad or indifferent analysis. It’s a public duty to produce impartial and objective analysis.Yes, it might be the best SG can produce due to lack of proper regional data but it isn’t published with a political goal in mind. That accusation is unfair on the civil service that supports the Scottish Government.

    60. handclapping says:

      and the 7th is that they are CRAP (Complete Rubbish 4 Audit Purposes)

      ONS “certifies” the Scottish Government’s GERS as a National Statistic. However when ONS did a GERUK by nation or region on the same basis as GERS they refused to certify their own work as a National Statistic.

      PS guess what? Only London made a profit /* SURPRISE */

    61. McDuff says:

      Once again a great piece from the Rev.
      However I do get frustrated that articles like this and others are not getting read by the mainstream public because if they were I believe they would make a huge difference in attitudes towards independence.
      Westminster is a sinister place with its tentacles stretching to business, MSM and MI5.
      The SNP now needs to be robust and have a more aggressive strategy in dealing with the lies and distortions being daily thrown in the face of Scottish voters, the Rev can`t be expected to do it all.

    62. Rebecca Wilson says:

      I’m a No voter who now backs Yes due to Brexit, but this is a pretty weak response given the broader debate:

      1. GERS isn’t perfect, and no serious person treats it as anything other than an estimate, but that doesn’t make it unionist propaganda or irrelevant. It’s the best source of data available so if it’s irrelevant and you have no alternative dataset, we can’t say anything about the economy. This is more or less the same “nobody really knows” bollocks the Leave campaign built their economic case on. If we want to be serious about the economic case for independence then attacking GERS doesn’t get us very far.

      2. The argument has no credibility given your own Wee Blue Book cites GERS figures (references 13 and 17), the Scottish government built its economic case for independence on GERS figures, and anyone who does a simple Google search can find numerous examples of Wings articles that treated the 2011/12 GERS figures at face value simply because they suited the Yes case. Reference 13 in the Wee Blue Book, for instance, is to a Wings article that uses the GERS figures to argue Scotland would get an “independence dividend” of £5 billion a year. Rubbishing GERS is a weak response at the best of times; doing it after using previous GERS reports to argue for independence is fairly absurd.

      GERS isn’t nonsense. It’s reasonable to think there is a gap between current spending and what Scotland’s immediate tax revenues could sustain. The economic case should be how we can close that gap through policy changes and better governance, not to just stick our heads in the sand.

    63. Colin Dawson says:

      Several years ago, the DWP website had a beta version of a tool that allowed users to find out how many benefits claimants of each type there were in each part of the UK. This was available not just by country but also by county and, in many cases, by towns and cities. It identified the number of claimants in each of the geographies and also the cost. The costs however were worse than CRAP (an acronym for completely rubbish approximations). They were CRUD which is an acronym for complete rubbish and utterly deceptive.

      They were calculated by taking the average cost per claimant for a particular benefit for the whole of the UK and multiplying it by the number of claimants in the chosen geography. Since every benefits claimant has an address and a postcode, there can be no reason why accurate data could not have been made available so there must be a reason why CRUD data was provided instead. It is self evident that many benefits cost far more per person in London than in most other parts of the UK. Housing benefit is a clear example. By applying an average cost per claimant, the costs of benefits in London were being grossly understated and the costs in other parts if the UK were being grossly overstated.

      I haven’t been able to locate this data on the DWP website in recent years (I wonder why…) but if their methodology was typical of how the UK Government allocates expenditures to the countries, counties, towns and cities of the UK then the GERS data isn’t just CRAP. It’s CRUD.

      http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/08/22/gers-really-is-crap/

    64. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “1. GERS isn’t perfect, and no serious person treats it as anything other than an estimate, but that doesn’t make it unionist propaganda or irrelevant.

      Actually it literally IS Unionist propaganda. As the article shows, it was invented for that precise purpose.

      “If we want to be serious about the economic case for independence then attacking GERS doesn’t get us very far.”

      As even K***n H***e acknowledges, along with the REAL economists, GERS tells us absolutely nothing about independence.

      2. The argument has no credibility given your own Wee Blue Book cites GERS figures (references 13 and 17)

      The fact that GERS as a whole tells us nothing about an independent Scotland doesn’t mean that the individual statistics within it are incorrect or irrelevant. Some of them are accurate and hard facts, some are almost complete guesswork, some are somewhere in between.

      “GERS isn’t nonsense. It’s reasonable to think there is a gap between current spending and what Scotland’s immediate tax revenues could sustain.”

      That gap is called a deficit. (Almost) every country on Earth runs a deficit. Deficits are normal. Deficits are not inherently a problem, or a reason that you need to hike taxes or cut services. All of this is in the article.

    65. Cubby says:

      Not surprised that those who attacked me for saying GERS is a lot of mince have gone to ground.

      No comment from them on this thread – says it all – you were giving credence to GERS with your comments and it needed to be called out as supporting Britnat propaganda. Whether it was intentional or not only they will know.



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