So, once again, we’ll say it with a quote from an article in the Herald from some years ago:
<<Gers was conceived as a political, not as a statistical, exercise. We know this because the original correspondence from the then Secretary of State, Ian Lang, was leaked some years ago – he wanted it to “undermine the other parties”, saying “this initiative could score against all of them”.>>
Ian Lang was working hard against his own country when he was John Major’s Secretary of State. His intent was to undermine “the other parties”, including Labour. (Note to Labour. Given that Lang designed GERS to make you lot look bad, your fixation with them now is a little silly.)
The figures, as far as I can make out, are incomplete and take no account of UK borrowing (a not insubstantial and ever-growing amount). The figures are calculated by the Scottish government based on incomplete evidence provided by the UK government. It is little wonder that they put Scottish finances in a poor light.
So GERS gives a false impression of Scotland in its present situation as part of the UK (as indeed Lang intended). It gives no indication at all of what the financial situation would be were Scotland to be independent and free from the financial responsibility of “punching above its weight” on the world scene; playing in some ridiculous way, at being one of the Big Boys, like China and the USA, instead of one of the small fry, like Denmark or Norway.
That the soon to be unelected MP and now Noble Baron, Mr Lang, was encouraged to concoct something so treacherous suggests that the Major government feared and was determined to stamp out any notion of devolution in the early 90s.
That Lang had to concoct a fiction to do it says all we need to know about the situation.
And the fact that he was prepared to work against his own country in that way, says all we need to know about him as a person. He was, I believe, the one who said, in a debate in the House of Lords, that the creation of an independent Scotland would ‘dishonour’ the memories of all those Scottish soldiers who died fighting for Britain during various wars.
I was pretty close to vomiting when I read that!
Still, he’s ended up doing well out of it… and that’s probably all that matters to him.