Saturday 10 September 2005

It ain't necessarily so

A few weeks ago I took out a subscription for Money Week and I must say that I can thoroughly recommend this publication. I do have a wee complaint about the current issue, which tells us:
(1) Between 1999 and 2003, Scotland's GDP was less than it would have been if the country had been on a par with the overall UK economy.

(2) The gap widened each year, and by 2003 was around £4.3bn.

(3) This means that, so far, devolution has cost Scotland more than £17bn.

(4) This sum is an equivalent of an extra £3,500 for every man, woman and child in the country.

I'm assuming that points (1) and (2) are correct and that point (4) follows axiomatically from point (2). However, point (3) doesn't follow at all.

It may be that the decline in comparative GDP is connected with devolution, but that certainly isn't demonstrated by Money Week's story. Perhaps GDP might have been lower without devolution. Maybe it makes no difference whatsoever. That's not to say that I support the present Holyrood regime. On the contrary, I believe that Scotland's government is in the hands of incompetent morons. But that's not an argument for abolishing devolution - it's an argument for electing sensible politicians who have responsibility for raising their own finances. Even with devolution the UK remains by far the most centralised state of its size and that does the country no good at all.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Neil Craig
If they meant that Scotland's GROWTH RATE was less than the UK they have a point, if it was purely that we started poorer then that is not an argument against devolution at all because we were bound to start poorer. 
There may well be some truth to the idea that our politicians have run things so badly that they make Westminster look good but it is not entirely unreasonable to think that, being inexperienced, they would. The test is whether they are improving with on the job training & I think they are - see the recent business rate cut.  
The other UK wide argument for devolution is that when different parts of the country can run things different ways we get experimental evidence of what works. I believe this is why the US Federation has been largely a success & longer ago why European culture overwhelmed Chinese - it is also why I don't like the EU. 
Or to put it another way, as my mother said, if we can't be a good example we can at least be a horrible warning.

16 September 2005, 00:25:16 GMT+01:00
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I wonder how much Scottish devolution has cost England and the English per capita? The degenerate politicians of Britain who conspire to deny England a national parliament in order to favour those provinces which provide most new labour government support and/or most support for the corrupt European enterprise are anti-democratic and cynical to an obscene degree.

10 September 2005, 19:22:37 GMT+01:00