Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fun fact #1

In the political and media maelstrom of the debate over Scottish Independence, lots of facts and figures get bandied about. Some of them reflect well on the potential of independence, some of them reflect poorly. Personally I am of the view that, stripped-down and unspun, the facts and figures lean heavily in favour of the positive potential of an independent Scotland over the negative. But I also feel, as I know many others do, that the Scottish media doesn't reflect this - far from it. It in fact heavily emphasises and promotes the bad over the good.

Bask in the good news...
I can see where other pro-independence people are coming from when they cry foul and talk of institutional biases, but while these probably exist up to a point, journalism has always been about trumpeting bad news over good. They judge that their audiences generally aren't all that interested in hearing about how great everything is, and to be honest, they're basically right.

But in the case of independence, the need to get the good news out has never been more urgent, because the bad news if we don't is remaining tethered to a corrupt, inadequate political and economic system. This is where a lack of balance from the media has really let us down.

I want to start a bit of a running series of posts here - where, per post, I put forward one nice, simple, positive fact-nugget about Scotland, that ideally says something about its viability as an independent country.

Here's my first effort.

Fun fact #1:

In other words, in this era of global scarcity, Scotland trades favourably with three of the world's most vital commodities.

Scotland has an electricity generating capacity of over 10 GW. Its renewables sector continues to rapidly grow, while its thriving oil and gas industry supports over 100,000 jobs. Scotland is an energy-rich, energy-independent nation.

Our food and drink exports industry, meanwhile, has exploded over the last decade, with the industry now comprising around one-fifth of Scotland's entire manufacturing workforce. It may even challenge oil and gas in the coming years as Scotland's most dominant export.


Healthy net exports represent self-sufficiency. They often lead, as it would in the case of an independent Scotland, to an overall trade surplus. Meanwhile, the UK on the whole is a net importer of all three of these commodities, while lagging behind many other Western nations with its large trade deficit.

It really is difficult to exaggerate the potential benefits to a small economy of an abundance in these three resources - which along with clean water, another natural resource Scotland enjoys a huge bounty of - are surely among the most important commodities of the twenty-first century.

I know it's supposedly not in-keeping with our national character, but we can indulge a touch more optimism sometimes.

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