GERS: Five million mouths to feed … spare a copper guvnor?

beggarIt’s GERS time again.  The festival specially created in order to remind the subsidy-junkies of North Britain just how lucky they are to be part of the Union.

Once a year Westminster, having tossed its spare change into Scotland’s plastic cup all year round, provides some data showing just how much it has handed out to the northern beggar nation.  This year it’s in the region of fifteen billion pounds.  Thanks guv … God bless you sir.

Unionists are, they constantly tell us, ‘proud to be Scottish’.  But pride is the cousin of self-respect.  What kind of self-respect is there in publicly boasting that you rely on the largesse of your neighbour in order to survive?

Northern British Nationalists of course have no national pride in Scotland.  If they had then they’d be demanding to know why resource rich Scotland is apparently in need of hand-outs despite over forty years of unrestricted wealth having been pumped from the North Sea directly into UK Treasury coffers.

BBC Scotland has of course had a field day with GERS, as has STV.  Both broadcasters joined pro-Union newspapers in an orgy of doom.  How many other nations on earth have a de-facto national media that actively promotes a national ‘You’re not good enough’ day?

subsidyThe best headline was surely The Herald’s ‘UK subsidy to Scotland soars after oil price slump‘.  The UK and Scotland are apparently two completely separate entities.  Are Wales and Northern Ireland also subsidising us?

The truth about GERS is of course that the truth isn’t known.  The exercise contains so much guess work and ridiculous accountancy tricks that it’s worthless in terms of determining Scotland’s economic status.  GERS attributes spending to Scotland in cases where not one penny was even spent in Scotland.  The UK Government spends it on our behalf, sometimes in other parts of the UK, then bills us.  It’s like paying for your neighbour’s extension.


Where it once served as a weapon against devolution, it now serves as a weapon against independence.  And there’s the rub.   GERS cannot possibly predict what Scotland’s economy, or deficit, will look like in the event of independence.

Scotland won’t be contributing to the upkeep of Trident.  We won’t be contributing to English only projects such as High Speed 2 rail.  We won’t be paying for defence projects restricted to south of the border.

What proportion of UK debt will Scotland take?  The UK Government owes the Bank of England £435bn due to quantitative easing [printing money].  Scotland is entitled to at least eight per cent of the Bank of England assets come independence.  The UK will thus owe Scotland nearly £40bn.

GERS is created using data provided by London.  The ‘conclusions’ of the report are pumped out by a media controlled mainly from London.  These conclusions are then used by ‘proud’ Scottish Unionists to argue that Scotland should continue to be ruled from London.

If we had any sort of media, they’d be forensically examining GERS for examples of expenditure attributed to Scotland which isn’t actually spent here.  They’d also list all of the costs Scotland currently endures but that would end with independence, such as Trident.  But we don’t have a genuine media which has Scotland’s interests at its heart.

Until independence then we’ll have to endure this annual ritual from Unionists.  Proud to be Scottish … Proud to present yourself as a useless, sponging liability.

Beggar Together.

Now where’s my plastic cup.  Loose change can be deposited using the donate button below.  Thanks Guvnor.

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8 thoughts on “GERS: Five million mouths to feed … spare a copper guvnor?

  1. Joe Curran

    I agree with your analysis. As if Independence was predicated on one year’s economic statistics (however open to interpretation). This is more serious than that. This is for the long term.

  2. Born Optimist

    Wings over Scotland and Bella Caledonia have articles that offer critical insights into the methodology and limitations of GERS, and CommonSpace republished yesterday Dr Craig Dalzell’s blog The Common Green that does much the same. The latter (and possibly both of the former) also contain a link to the full report for anyone willing to read it whilst trying to retain their sanity when holding the dozens of caveats regarding methodological issues in mind.

  3. millie

    Jackie says – “the Scottish Government is spending nearly £15b more than it is bringing in in tax.”

    This is truly misleading reporting. ‘The Scottish Government’ has a fixed budget- and each year has efficiently maintained services within this budget. A large part of GERS expenditure is choices made by the UK Government.

    The Smith Commission has granted only limited powers to Holyrood- But it seems obvious, as we can see from Reporting Scotland, that in future the Scottish Government will be held to account as if Scotland were an independent country, in possession of all fiscal levers.

    All scrutiny of the negative aspects of GERS figures has been placed on the shoulders of the Scottish Government to explain. No-one from Westminster has been interviewed to explain why a rich oil producing nation, which has resources most countries could only dream of ,has a deficit of 10%, whereas Eire’s deficit is 1%, and Norway has a surplus of 5%.

    Scotland is worse than Greece- How can a devolved government with a fixed budget and very limited powers be held responsible for this?

    As an aside- Derek Mackay was a good Transport Minister, he is able- but, I do not think he is the right choice for the Finance role.

    Derek Mackay should be moved (as quickly as possible ) to oversee local government/councils /council elections- and either Jeane Freeman or Keith Brown should be given the Finance portfolio.

  4. Dan Huil

    More britnats lies from the bbc. Why do people pay the bbc tax? Let britnats pay for britnat propaganda.

  5. Me Bungo Pony

    “If they had then they’d be demanding to know why resource rich Scotland is apparently in need of hand-outs”

    To me, the dichotomy between the Unionist claim that Scotland thrives under the Union and the alleged massive fiscal “black hole” that they insist we need the UK to plug for us, is the crucial flaw at the heart of the argument against Independence.

    IF the Union merely had a neutral effect on Scotland, we should at least be doing “as well” as the UK as a whole AND our small, independent, W. European neighbours. But why surrender sovereignty for a “neutral” effect on national prosperity. Indeed, if there really is a “Union dividend”, we should be doing better than them. That we fare much worse than the UK as a whole, and our near neighbours, actually argues against the Union as a vehicle for Scottish prosperity.

    I do not believe the GERS figures accurately describe Scotland’s real fiscal position. Scotland is definitely not in as prosperous a position as it could be but it will not be nearly as bad as the “stab in the dark” GERS figures. However, Unionists endorse these figures whole-heartedly. Therefore, given that the vast bulk of economic levers lie at Westminster, Unionists should therefore be required to answer the crucial question;


    PS Why aren’t the media asking this question of Unionist politicians often and with vigour? Or is that a silly question?

  6. Philip Maughan

    Agree with all of the above but why oh why has the SNP gone missing in action over GERS? Nobody from the Scottish Government is pointing out the many and various flaws in GERS. If they did, the MSM would be bound to report it and we could then get into a real debate rather than the current echo chamber of pro. indy. bloggers talking to one another and nobody else listening.

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