The lighter side of GERS

Dear reader,

If you are dipping into this from outside Scotland know that there are online conversations like this going on all over Scotland today. This one is distinguished only by the participants’ lack of rudeness to each other, so all credit to ‘HIM’ for that. I leave you to judge the exchange yourself.


I circulated the following tweet this morning shortly after this year’s GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures were published. You’ll observe that it’s strictly factual.

GERS tweet

(The full official Scottish Government publication is available here)

This led to the following exchange.

HIM [popping up from nowhere, but that’s Twitter for you]: Figures completely prove that the UK as miss managed investment in Scotland. London got the investment instead.

ME: How do these figures prove that? Straight q’n. Link to evidence will do.

HIM: Pretty simple, change investment figures per head to land area. You will see London is black hole of money.

ME: There’s a reason it’s per person. People have needs & generate £. Why not per ‘000 goats owned, or per airport, or…

HIM: If you had more equal per area investment in other major cities there would be big enterprise/popula elsewhere

ME: But Scotland already gets more spend per head than England with lower revenue. Without being rude I really won’t be able to argue this out with you. But please don’t take that as a sign of my admitting defeat. Thanks.

HIM [undaunted]: Scotland will need to build up it’s enterprise and population, this needs control over spending. Simples

ME [foolishly, having implicitly called a halt on my participation]: And that revenue/spend gap?

HIM: Absolutely, otherwise we will be force into spending on stuff like Trident, Olympic games, cross rail and HS2…

At this point I give up but someone I shall call ANO picks up the baton.

ANO: trident costs Scotland £200m a year and more Scots want it than don’t. That won’t solve the gap, sorry

HIM: Sorry, you don’t need to fill the gap completely, and 200m invested could generates Billions

ANO [perhaps not quite as patient as me]: I wonder how long that growth would take to give revenue to close the gap of the fiscal transfer? Jeez…

HIM: Well its a certainty the current path is not delivering. GERS tells use we are behind under UK

ANO: I agree we just need 2 close the gap to closer to UK deficit. Happy to see plan for how 200m becomes £Bns

HIM: Comparing britexit, devo max, indépendance, as is. Produced by scientists, not politicians.

This last message came with the helpful Twitter annotation ‘View translation’ and is where the exchange rested when I last looked. I reproduce all the contributions precisely as they were written. More serious analyses are available elsewhere although there is a serious point in this exchange – the fact that so many people can believe so much uneducated nonsense about economics and Scotland’s economic situation.

If you want to discuss this post please remember that I block abusive, but only abusive, comments

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6 Responses to The lighter side of GERS

  1. Quite interested in this investment strategy that could turn £200m into billions. Does it involve a relative of a deposed dictator who needs the help of somebody with a Western bank account to get hold of the erstwhile dictator’s fortune? I’ve had a few emails making me such offers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric Sinclair says:

    For entertainment and educated ripostes go to Andrew Neil’s Twitter account @afneil

    Liked by 2 people

    • Roger White says:

      Thanks Eric. I’d noticed a few yesterday and if anyone reading this in future wanted to see the truth of what you say, they’d need to find his timeline for 24 August 2016. Here’s a few I spotted:

      [Deleted tweet]
      AFN: That’s the price of oil. Not the tax revenues from it. Do I face another day giving remedial education on stats?

      Jo Hugh: We’re not brain dead
      AFN: Not clear from your Twitter profile.

      Liz Dewar Hughes: ?is it Scotland within UK GERS or just Scotland GERS? I’ve nae clue? I’m confused! again!
      AFN: Given the figures, “nae clue” is probably your best defence

      Aye.til.i.die: oft never thought that Andrew hates scotland so much (just scotland bad blah blah) heard nicer things fae B spanner
      AFN: Blocked for incomprehensible English.

      Warwick: …that would be profit. You omit, the 60+% of consumption taxation. ( UK wide Distribution revenue syphoned off)
      AFN: Every part of this tweet is sheer bollocks. No other word for it. Too stupid to bother correcting.

      Quagmire: You disengenuous auld ********* ye! People see through yer ********* noo though, lying establishment ****
      AFN: Your erudition + learning makes you a credit to Scotland. Makes me feel inadequate. Have to block. For my own good

      … and much more of the same. You have to admire Neil’s resilience. As someone else said, he was ‘swatting them away like flies.’

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Island Girl says:

    It’s good to start and end each day with a bit of comedy gold 😂😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lulu says:

    In among your interlocutors replies is a valid point: we talk a lot about Scotland being subsidised by rUK but not about the vast subsidies that flow to London. Really it’s the north of England that should have a grievance about how spending is distributed.

    Love the Andrew Neil tweets.

    Liked by 1 person

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