I read a story that suggested that Scotland's doomed, doomed I tell you. Well, actually, Labour has been *ahem* creative with Government stats to show that Scotland runs a deficit in public funds - £23.5bn since 1980. Labour politicians, of course, rush to claim that this means that Scotland could not survive as an independent nation.
A few points, sir?
1. If Scotland's economy is in trouble, is that not the fault of the Labour Government in London which has managed to create a quite amazing economic melt-down?
2. You'd have to be daft to take this story at face value. Firstly, the report referred to isn't available on either the Scotland Office website or the Treasury website - if it's so important, wouldn't it be published to allow it to be independently reviewed?
3. Countries run deficits, very few countries don't run deficits - and the UK runs an enormous one; have a look at the Public Finances Database. The Government paper is alleged to indicate that Scotland would have "a massive £3.5 billion budget deficit" - the UK deficit last year was £49.3bn. Scotland has about 9% of the UK population, so our population share of the UK deficit would be £4.44bn, so Scotland is performing better in economic terms than the UK. Since 1980 Scotland is supposed to have an accumulated deficit of £23.5bn, but the UK has carried a £353.2bn deficit over that period, and Scotland's population share of that deficit would have been£31.79bn. So what the Scotland Office / Treasury report actually shows is that Scotland performs better than the UK economically. Independence cannot come soon enough!
Mind how you go!