Leaving aside the facts that almost a third of Scotland’s imagined deficit is due to interest on debt that Scotland as the only part of the UK with a long-standing trade surplus, would not have incurred and that all countries other than Norway (see below) run a deficit, the above notion that SNP voters are somehow delusional is of course delusional.
Business for Scotland explained this years ago:
In the 1970s, Scottish oil revenues stopped the UK from going bust and requiring a bailout, but they were not enough to stop the UK debt mountain from growing. Scotland was then allocated a population percentage share of the costs of servicing that debt as well. Despite this double bailout of the UK, Scotland’s economy and its finances still managed to show a higher GDP per head and lower illustrative deficits than the UK until 2015. At that point, the UK’s mishandling of Scotland’s oil and gas wealth caught up with it and it decided to slash Scotland’s oil revenues by reducing the tax on oil extraction, which finally made Scotland’s finances look worse than the rest of the UK’s.
But it’s the UK’s deficit, not Scotland’s. If an independent Scotland had done the daftest thing it could have done with its historical surpluses, then as a nation, Scotland would be £508bn richer than GERS suggests it is, as part of the UK. If it had simply copied Norway, Scotland would have £547.5bn in a Scottish wealth fund right now.
It’s fair to say that in 2014 many people just didn’t believe Business for Scotland when we explained that Westminster was completely economically incompetent, that Westminster truly didn’t care about the impact of its policies on Scotland and was deliberately acting against Scotland’s best interests.
Now, however, Brexit is making that thinking mainstream, and slowly but surely, as Brexit unravels, more and more people are beginning to see that Scotland cannot afford to continue subsidising this failing, disinterested and dysfunctional Union. The UK economy is in a fragile state and has not yet recovered from the 2007 financial crash, despite more than a decade of austerity and real terms cuts to public spending on essential services.
The evidence is clear. The UK Government has created a situation where Scotland’s finances show a false deficit, one that is not related to the economic performance of Scotland. Pro-Union politicians and the highly biased mainstream media point to that false deficit and say that it is proof that Scotland can’t afford independence.