ALASDAIR Galloway’s excellent letter(August 12) puts into perspective some of the negative and misleading comments about Scotland’s economy and financial situation from the doom merchants like Alex Gallagher (letters, August 11), who seem to relish painting the worst possible picture of what an independent Scotland would be like. Quoting the most recent GERS Report for the year to end-March 2015, they make great play of the claim that this reported a fiscal deficit of £9 billion and a projection of £15 billion, due entirely to the Arab oil states slashing the global market price of oil in response to the competition of the US fracking industry.

If Scotland’s deficit makes it an economic basket case, why is the United Kingdom not equally berated? The latest official figures available reveal that in 2014-15 the UK fiscal deficit (the difference between the government’s expenditure and income in the year) was £87.7 billion, and by July 2016 the total national borrowing was an eye-watering one thousand, six hundred and twenty billion pounds, or £1.62 trillion if that doesn’t sound so bad. And that is public debt only. It doesn’t include company debt or the private borrowing by about 80 per cent of the population in mortgages, loans and credit card debt. Yet no one in parliament or the media seems at all concerned about this, and no one calls the UK “an economic basket-case”.

It is perfectly feasible that if Scotland had the normal borrowing powers of a self-governing nation we could cover negative variations between annual income and annual expenditure, as almost every country in the free world does, many without the wealth of natural resources and existing successful industries that we already have. But none of that is taken onto account when adverse comments are made by those talking down the Scottish economy.

In these harsh global economic times, most trading nations in the world (apart from the oil states) are running an annual deficit and building up national debt. But it seems that only Scotland, with very limited control over its own tax, borrowing and economic policies, gets singled out for criticism by such patriots as Mr Gallagher. If Scotland had been a normal independent country during the oil boom years, it is probable that we could have been just as successful and wealthy as Norway has become.

Iain AD Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.

ALASDAIR Galloway, in his misleading analysis of GERS, showed at least a basic understanding of O-Grade Arithmetic. A more typical encounter is the one I had today with a long-standing SNP supporter in the newsagents. He asked my opinion of Trident. I said I am against nuclear weapons but we shouldn't be the first to give them up.

I got the usual argument that the money should go to the poor. When I pointed out that Scotland's annual share of the 25-year, £100billion, cost of Trident was around £400m, or £1.60 per week four fags) per inhabitant, he said he wasn't interested in numbers and tried to change the subject.

This is how the SNP get away with claims on oil, "£5,000 Indy benefits" (in a referendum), "unanimous" votes for the SNP, and various confusing statistics.

Perhaps this week's BBC Trust report which said that its presenters "should be in a better position to challenge numbers, especially when interviewing guests" will be the spur that all Scottish TV reporters - with some notable exceptions, like Gary Robertson and Steven Daisley - need, to step up a gear and move away from the Brian Taylor "what's your favourite colour" school of in depth interviewing.

Numbers are important and politicians need to be challenged - on the hoof.

Allan Sutherland,

1 Willow Row,


ALASDAIR Galloway is obviously unhappy with the Scottish Government's GERS figures and the picture which these paint of the economic risks posed by the ever-more ill-advised case for independence.

As this is was used by the SNP as the basis for its referendum White Paper Scotland's Future, he will undoubtedly agree with every No voter on the aptness of that document's anagram: "Fraudulent Costs".

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road, Jordanhill, Glasgow.