I wrote about this issue here:
There were 580,500 working in the public sector in the first quarter of 2007 - down 4,900 or 0.8% - compared to the same period last year.That's very slightly higher than the English proportion.
... It compares with almost two million workers who were employed in the private sector in Scotland in the first quarter of 2007.
Now, it's perfectly true that total public expenditure in Scotland is far higher than the proportion of public sector workers - just as is the case in England. Governments spend on big capital projects and many private companies have contracts with the state. Are such expenditures too high in Scotland? Of course they are. I'm a libertarian and think that almost all government expenditure should be eliminated, everywhere.
One of the greatest problems faced by Scotland is the comparatively high pay and pension benefits enjoyed by the 23% who do work in the state sector. Private companies (with higher than average UK transport costs) find it very difficult to offer the same packages as are available in a state sector that often has UK-wide wage agreements. So the bright youngster chooses government employment and that is detrimental to economic growth. That's why I am perfectly happy to see Scotland's public sector expenditure slashed - quite apart from the fact that many of these jobs shouldn't exist at all.
I note from Friday's figures that even if Scotland had no oil revenues whatsoever its per capita tax take would still be higher than anywhere else in the UK outside the southeast of England. The conclusion must be that an independent Scotland could survive perfectly well - given sensible economic policies.
Such is the bitterness caused by bad reporting and analysis that I now suspect that independence will be thrust upon us whether we want it or not. I do hope that we'll continue to jointly fund and share the defence function should separation occur. Wales and Northern Ireland will have a lot more to worry about than will Scotland if England decides to go it alone.
That's it. Time for a dram.