As many of you will have gathered, I’m a numbers man. I enjoy dissecting them and looking at them in a manner which allows the numbers to be relevant.
It is easy for anyone in a position of perceived authority i.e. media editors, government sources, political pundits etc. to throw a number out there and literally attach any connotation they choose. In Scotland’s case, it is generally a negative connotation, and in regard to this blog, GERS.
Scotland is unique when looking at its figures. Not unique in the sense of its political partnership with the rUK, but the fact that every single number is an estimate, and trying to find an accurate and sourced number that reflect the reality pf the situation is near impossible. However, I have sourced all of my information below.
Now back to the point. As I mentioned, it is easy for figures to be branded about as a method of control. In Scotland’s case, we have a deficit of around 7%. What those punting that number never tell you is how does that 7% compare with other countries, irrespective of size and how would that 7% actually affect you if we became independent and actually had that deficit. Lucky for you, I have done that for you.
One thing I will ask as you read the following information and absorb the numbers is, please remember that Scotland is NOT independent, and as such, Scotland CANNOT react to global/market conditions in form of mitigation, or spending reviews except for what it is constrained by i.e. Reserved and non-reserved matters.
I know we are all aware of that, but as the figures flood your brain, recognise that what you are reading is because all other countries HAVE full control over their economies, the figures presented n behalf of Scotland WILL change post independence.
The first chart below is a representation of selected European countries of varying size based on their historical deficit numbers since 2010. Where none of the bars stretch above 0%, all years were negative deficits. Only Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta and Sweden recorded positive deficit numbers within the 9 year peroid. Of those countries, only 7 of those 14 countries managed a surplus for 3 or more years out of the 9.
There were 12 countires, including the UK, Albania, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain which for the last 9 years have had negative deficit numbers in every year.
What is interesting about this chart is that Scotland has NOT been the worst performer in any given year, moreover, Scotland’s figures show a degree of consistency that aligns with the restriction in its ability to mitigate. All other countries show large and small changes, Scotland does not.
Following on from that, and referring back to the 7% we are always told about, how many of you realised that Scotland’s 7% deficit is actually normal, and well within acceptable norms? The below chart illustrates that perfectly. The number used for Scotland’s deficit was the worst value i could find for her, just shy of 10% deficit.
Countries with far worse performing deficits were: Albania, Belarus, Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
What’s more is that some of those historically high (and higher values than Scotland currently enjoys) took place really not all that long ago.
As you will see from the below, of those with higher deficits than Scotland’s, 5 of them occurred in the 2000’s, and 4 occurred in the last decade, including the UKs worse performing deficit.
I understand that its all well and good comparing historical data, but its important to understand precedent when talking about the future. It is not morally right, nor justified to cage Scotland in some form of bracket as if no other country has or is experiencing the same thing as a reason not to allow her to become independent.
Its also only right that based on those historical figures, we look at how those countries have managed to improve them over the last 10 years.
The chart below shows those historically low deficits with the current deficit of those countries. The first thing that should strike you is how Scotland is performing relative to the other countries.
Firstly, we find our selves in a position where we haven’t had the worst deficit, in fact our overarching controlling state has had worse, yet we are the worst at being able to mitigate it. That is not an accident.
That is the restriction and noose round Scotland neck that prevents it from being able to introduce and amend fiscal policy as it sees fit.
Just look at Greece. We all know the story of Greece, -15% deficit in 2009, now +1% in almost the exact same time as Scotland’s figures earlier. Look at the change. Could it have done that if it were in Scotland position?
Look at Croatia. I country similar sized to us had a deficit of -7.9% in 2011, now it sits at +0.3%.
Look at France, the UK and Spain. All large countries, under performing versus smaller independent countries. The exception being Germany.
The next, and final chart is how all of the above would hit you in the pocket.
We are often told how Scotland would have super severe austerity which would likely lead to the extinction of humanity and so on, however, we all know that is non-sense, hence the arguments and information above. But there is a reality that until we know what debt we are obliged to pay (if any), there will be fiscal changes that may affect your personal finances. But worst case scenario is surely where we are today since that is the argument used by the union to stop independence?
When you view the below chart, remember the plainly obvious fact that with the change in personal finances comes the opportunity to grow our economy like all other states mentioned above. Also, bear in mind that when the markets change, or our country ventures into new partnerships and directions, we can adjust fiscally for it. Just now, we cant.
So with that, the current monthly average income in Scotland is around $3,500, with our current deficit as GERS tells us, that results in the average pay dropping to about $3,300, but that still keep Scotland, even with a reduced average monthly pay check, miles ahead of everyone except Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden. We are even ahead of the rUK, even with our UK provided deficit.
What’s interesting is that Demark and Sweden with comparable populations and less resources than us – but with FULL FISCAL AUTONOMY – are the two leading countries in terms of money in the pocket after a hard months labour.
Make of this information as you choose, but for me, it is obvious that whilst we are in the UK, the noose will only get tighter, and whilst other comparable nations live the dream, they will excel and attract new opportunities that will always disadvantage Scotland.
I don’t know about you, but a couple of hundred “Dollars” off my pay cheque is worth Scotland’s independence and having full fiscal control to become the next Denmark or Sweden!