Letters They Wouldn’t Publish No.2: Scotland’s economic potential

The Wealth of Nations

Dear Editor (Herald 16th March 2021), 

Robert IG Scott demonstrates a poor understanding of Scotland’s economic potential (Letters, March 17) when he suggests:

Without the enormous backing from the UK Exchequer, and the worldwide influence exerted by the Foreign Office on behalf of the whole of the UK, an independent Scotland would become a second-class state.

Adam Smith knew that natural resources and people make up the ‘wealth of a nation.’ Scotland is one of the world’s most naturally wealthy nations. With 8.4% of the UK population, Scotland has 34% of the UK’s natural wealth including a quarter of renewable energy and 90% of hydropower. Scotland produces double our population share of the UK’s food and 70% of fish landings. Our per capita exports are more than twice the UK’s.[1] We’re innovative, have world-class universities and a highly educated population. What we are missing are the full economic powers – our own currency and central bank – that any independent nation enjoys to maximise human and natural resource potential. 

Being part of the UK has held Scotland back. Measured against 16 European nations, the UK ranked near or at the bottom on pensions, national debt, income inequality, productivity, GDP per capita, and overall economic performance.[2] The UK siphons off Scotland’s revenues and resources, each year taking £65.1b from Scotland and returning £49b, allocating us a £15.1b ‘deficit’ that includes billions in servicing a debt we did not create, an immoral nuclear arsenal on our soil, and an unfair tax system.[3]

Even Andrew Neil admits that upon Scottish independence, rUK inherits all the treaty obligations. Scotland would start with a clean slate.[4]

Independence is natural. The anachronism is the UK. 

Yours sincerely,

Leah Gunn Barrett 

17 thoughts on “Letters They Wouldn’t Publish No.2: Scotland’s economic potential

  1. What the opening paragraph of the letter the Herald DID publish is a repeat of the old, too poor, too wee an no very good trope.

    The first point is Scotland, as part of the UK is an owner of the Treasury, FO, etc, so, we are entitled to our share of them when the union is ended.

    Second,y, why does any person living in Scotland widh to remain attached to a state which is treating you as a lesser citizen who has to take whatever this state will hand out, in addition to the daily contempt it shows for your fellow residents of Scotland?


  2. Your man Robert IG Scott displays a rather thin and old-fashioned comprehension of economics, so I’ll assume he’s of the same school of economics as former PM Gordon Brown, and Scottish historian Niall Campbell Ferguson. Both of whom can be classified as neo-classical ‘thinkers’, so they conceive of humans as rational choice makers in the marketplace of ideas. Which is simply wrong (see cognitive science), and incompatible with social analysis informed through critical realism and stuff. It’s also probably why they both bought into the voodoo economics of neo-liberalism.

    The shape and health of a nation’s economy is largely dependent on the nature and strength of its culture. So your on to plumbs if you live in Scotland, as our culture must conform with right-wing English nationalism that’s informed through racist propaganda (see Brexit).

    The Gentle Art of Retroduction: Critical Realism, Cultural Political Economy and Critical Grounded Theory


  3. CameronbBrodie, dont be silly , Scotlamds culture is nothing without its people
    Nothing even non existent

    Dont you know that ?
    WOW , for one who espouses their own vast knowledge you miss a simple truth


    1. I don’t think I implied what I think you’re suggesting, of course people matter. All I was suggesting is you can’t understand economics separately from understanding culture, or human nature and morality, a.k.a. the semiosis of our human relationship with the physical world. Adam Smith knew this all those centuries ago, though economic conservatives and the radical-right, appear to have lost sight of the fact that economics is intended to serve the common good. Otherwise it simply serves an authoritarian elite.

      Putting Culture in its Place
      A Critical Engagement with Cultural Political Economy


  4. Leah Gunn Barrett is an extremely good letter writer, and I know she has been published in the Scotsman on multiple occasions. Here’s a recent letter –

    “Douglas Ross’s claim that Scotland leaving the UK would be “immensely worse” than Brexit is a load of dross (Scotsman, March 9).

    That’s because the UK economic model is broken. The entire economy is based on rentier capitalism which is the extraction of rent from fixed assets like land, buildings and infrastructure. This form of capitalism doesn’t add value, but extracts it.

    The UK financial system, one of the most concentrated banking systems in the world, feeds off this value extraction. It is dominated by five big commercial banks that create money mainly for financial and asset transactions and buying ownership rights. This type of lending is unproductive. No new wealth in the form of goods and services is being generated.

    The UK Government created this monster by its decades-long mass privatisation of the public’s assets. It willingly ceded its purchasing power over these public goods to for-profit private entities. The predictable result has been gross asset price inflation and is the reason productivity and innovation have stagnated, living standards have fallen and poverty and inequality have soared.

    Scotland has not prospered in the Union. Our innovative power has been emasculated and our resources shamelessly exploited. Our vast natural wealth, educated population, history of innovation and international focus mean we are poised to build a nation that benefits all, not just an entitled few. In order to do so, we need to get out now.

    Leah Gunn Barrett”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Apart from the pounds,shillings and pence aspects of Scotland’s future economy,perhaps more importantly will be our ability to shape it for our benefit.
    A situation where the UK makes decisions based on what is best for SE England and forces Scotland to follow on has never acted in our favour.
    Two entirely different countries in all respects and only held together by threats from London aimed at Scotland.
    Most Scots now see that there is no benefit acruing to us as a member of the UK,in fact,quite the opposite.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I believe most of us on here agree about being ‘held by threats from London’, but with almost all the Scottish media lined up to influence those who do not frequent the ‘indy blogs’, it is going to be one hell of a fight to get truth into the soft Nos.
    But this blog is great – just a pity it doesn’t have the reach that some of our ‘so-called news outlets’ appear to have.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Morality aside, economics that privileges a social elite is ultimately unsustainable, as it degrades the environment and the quality of social relationships. This compounds social inequality and leads to populist welfare chauvinism, which supports increasingly authoritarian politics in order to maintain social order and cohesion (see Thatcherism, a.k.a. populist neo-liberal English/British nationalism).

    The Dark Sides of Social Policy: From Neoliberalism to
    Resurgent Right-wing Populism


    1. Cameron
      It is blatantly obvious that current neo liberal
      Economics is utterly and completely unsustainable on the following grounds
      1. The current use of the planets resources
      Is by far unsustainable END OFF
      2.Global warming will impact in a very serious matter within the next 5 to 10 yrs
      Which for once and for all trash ALL modern economic practices to say the least
      Such is not the talk of one is is mad
      But one of that those who deny that are Truly Mad

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed, it’s madness to keep stoking the fire in the hope the fire will subside. So if we want to bring about change that’s sustainable, we’ll need to think and act differently. Though that’s unlikely to be possible if we continue to consume the corporate media, and deffer to Westminster’s unsubstantial claim to legal authority over Scotland.

        The Politics of Sustainability and Development


  8. Scotland’s economic development has been genocidally represed by our domination by England:

    Global population 1950: 2.5billion
    Global population 2019: 7.7billion
    %age increase: 308%

    UK population 1950: 50.5million
    UK population 2020: 68.2million
    %age increase: 35%

    Scotland’s population 1950: 5.1million
    Scotland’s population 2020: 5.4million
    %age increase: 7%
    Scotland’s population pre-SNP (2001): 5.05million
    %age increse: -1%

    So, as part of this scumbag colonial union, post WW2 our population between 1950 and the Millenium DROPPED. Then, when we had devolution (and the expansion of the EU) it increased with young working people coming into, and contributing tou our economy. That one stat is why we have to cut ties with London.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. UK assets £8.7trn. Scotland’s share?

    Scotland raises £66Billion+ More pro rata than the rest of the UK. UK on average raises £600Billion+.

    Scotland loses £3Billion on tax evasion. UK tax laws not enforced by Westminster. Tax evasion supported by Westminster. Scotland has to pay back payments on loans not borrowed or spent in Scotland £3Billion. £1Billion on (UK) redundant weaponry. Scotland pays all (UK) pensions and benefits. £14Billion.?).

    Scotland pays £1Billion over on Defence. Trident and redundant weaponry. Scotland cannot borrow £5Billion to invest in the economy. Pays for growth. An investment pays off. Total £13Billion.The so called debt. Non existent.

    Scotland losing EU, grants and loans. Renewables. CAP payments and shared Defence costs.

    Scotland could raise the same as Norway. £80Billion. Without Westminster colossal interference and mismanagement holding Scotland back. If Scotland got better off. So would the rest of the UK.


    1. Scotland’s resources and revenues are worth £trillions. Scotland is billed by the EngGov for defense, ie nukes etc, and forced to house the EngGovs’ WMD’s as a booby prize. Wonderful.
      The EngGov are wrecking Scotland’s economy. They are, as has been pointed out removing Scotland’s resources and revenues, and now to buy votes are directly handing (Scotland’s own money) £billions to areas they want to ensure won’t vote SNP. They just handed Orkney £50 bln, reported as the ‘UK government give Orkney £50billions’. How nice, must vote for the BritNats, look at what they do for the Islands. The money that the EngGov took from Scotland’s pot, and then sent crumbs to buy votes, will be clawed back with interest, no doubt at all.
      More scams to come in the next few weeks.


  10. Taxes revenues raise in UK. 18-19 (accounts always a year behind)
    £630Billion+ Tax revenues raised in Scotland £66Billion+

    Take £66Billion from £630Billion+ = £564Billion. Divide by 11/12. (Scotland 1/12). £51.5Billion.

    Scotland raised £14Billion++ more pro rata. Westminster takes it and wastes it in every way possible. Total mismanagement.

    Scotland would be so much better off Independent. Managing it’s own economy and raising more. To be better spent.


    1. Gordon
      Excellent but in all probability far higher for Scotland due to the way of gathering the data
      Is well skewed against us
      The SNP years ago should have pressed hard to be given the same status and methods NI has in its rights to gather,collate and process all economic data pertaining to it

      Liked by 1 person

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