Sunday, October 30, 2011

A short note on Nationalist economics

First it was John Swinney now we have Nicola Sturgeon saying the same bollocks about the state of Scotland's finances - this in a piece that purports to be myth-tackling:
"To take one of the most repeated, pernicious and damaging myths head-on, there can no longer be any doubt that Scotland more than pays its own way in the UK. The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) reports shows that Scotland has run a current budget surplus in four of the five years to 2009-10, while the UK was in current budget deficit in each of these years, and hasn’t run a current budget surplus since 2001-02."
Uh huh? Three quick points:

1) There was a thing called the bank-crisis, which accounts for the rather large budget deficit that the UK has. Think you'll find that as a part of that there was a couple of Scottish banks that received humongous wads of UK tax-payer's cash. You know the ones: they were Scottish when they were doing well, but British when the whole house of cards fell down.

2) To say the Scottish Government has been running a balanced budget is to make a virtue out of necessity because the devolution settlement does not include borrowing powers. I wouldn't dream of accusing Swinney and Sturgeon of being disingenuous on this point - perhaps they just forgot?

3) I'll take their word for it that the Scottish Government has run a surplus for four years. It raises the question of why the hell they think this is something to brag about? There's a recession on, dammit! Running a surplus in such circumstances is just plain stupid.

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