Scotland v UK v EU v World

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readMay 5, 2021

Today, the Scottish people go to the polling booths to elect their representatives (MSPs) to the Holyrood parliament. At the time of writing, the possibility of the SNP winning more or less than 50% of MSPs seems to be on a knife-edge.

The intricacies of Scottish politics are for others. I will not comment for the moment on the internecine strife between the former and current First Ministers of Scotland. Instead, I WILL be providing some basic information on those who buy from Scotland — the countries, the number of sales, and the inherent risks of electing MSPs whose priority is to leave the United Kingdom and to attempt to rejoin the EU.

Scotland’s №1 market (rest of UK) is almost 10 times larger than its №2 market (USA)

Scottish exports — UK: 60.2%, USA: 6.5%, France: 3.5%, Germany: 2.9%

And what about the EU? Scotland sells more to Brazil than to EU’s Denmark, more to Singapore than to EU’s Sweden

Scotland’s exports 2018 (the latest year for which the Scottish government has figures)

Rest of the UK: £51.19bn (60.2%)

Rest of World: £17.68bn (20.8%)

EU27: £16.15bn (19.0%)

The situation is even starker when considering Scotland’s exports by country.

  1. Rest of UK: £51.2bn
  2. USA: £5.5bn
  3. France: £3.0bn
  4. Netherlands: £2.8bn
  5. Germany: £2.5bn
  6. Belgium: £1.3bn
  7. Ireland: £1.2bn
  8. Norway: £1.2bn
  9. Spain : £1.0bn
  10. Italy: £0.9bn

Why are exports so much more important to Scotland than to the UK as a whole?

A key fact about the Scottish economy is rarely mentioned, but it’s a big one. In 2018 (the latest year for which the Scottish government can provide export data), Scotland’s GDP was £178.6 billion.

At £85.0bn, Scottish exports represented 48% — almost half — of Scotland’s economy.

To put this into perspective, the goods and services exports of the UK as a whole were just 31.5% of UK GDP.

With almost half of Scotland’s economy dependent on exports, and with the bulk of this business depending on the rest of the United Kingdom, the report above must surely require scrutiny by the Scottish electorate.

I have quoted the latest facts available from the Scottish government. These are not apocalyptic and threatening forecasts of the type perpetrated by David Cameron, George Osborne, and HM Treasury immediately prior to the EU Referendum. These show the reality of the benefits of the Union for the Scottish economy, using the Scottish government’s own figures for 2018.

Should the Scottish people vote for parties such as the SNP whose raison d’etre is the break-up of the United Kingdom and — bizarrely — a desire to abandon any newfound Scottish independence in favour of a transfer of sovereignty to Brussels, then the economic consequences could be alarming for Scotland.

The will of the Scottish people must be respected completely, whatever their decision. It is, however, important that they be fully informed before casting their vote. As things stand, I have seen little evidence of this from the SNP government and I find this unacceptable. The report above provides one more important piece in the jigsaw for the Scottish people.

I will say this though if the good people in Scotland do decide to elect once again the SNP as their government of choice, which is their right, and the SNP do get the right for another Referendum, and on the off chance that they do vote for Independence, they must remember this. The rest of the UK will not be obliged to buy a single thing from them. That will be our right to do that, It will also be our right this side of the border to not employ Scottish people as well, as it will be in Wales and Northern Ireland. No doubt the ones who live in Scotland and who come to those countries will have a grace period but it will be for the benefit of companies and firms to find people from England Wales and NI to do those jobs. It will not be for the benefit of the Scottish people working in those jobs. So think very carefully about where you put your cross. The rest of us will do more than survive, with the trade deals rolling in one after the other and the fishing grounds once more belonging to the UK we will do more than survive. What we are seeing is mina hiccups that will be sorted out in the near future. Don't be a William Wallace and lose your heads over a woman who only thinks of herself and what she wants. The stats show that you are all being led down the garden path to where the weeds grow, to leave behind the beautiful flowers that are growing in abundance.

Sources: Official Scottish government export figures



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.