Rivals' figures don't help undecided referendum voters

THE rival reports on Scotland's financial future didn't offer a great deal of help for the undecided referendum voter.

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The problem with statistics is you can't believe them. Depending on what you are counting, how it is counted and who is doing the counting, you can end up with many answers to the same question.

Neither side was helped as the statistical anoraks might as well have counted a hill of beans.

First the UK Government said the union is worth £1400 for every man, woman and child. Nice figure, enough to make people think they would be unwise to give it up.

Even if it can be shown to be statistically true, it is not necessarily accurate.

Britain is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world, so that £1400 doesn't apply to all.

It can be dramatically reduced for the poorest in society and many could argue when you weigh it up against the disadvantages faced by many, it amounts to little or nothing at all.

For those at the top, it is more than likely to be worth considerably more - and this inequality is exactly why some people want independence at all.

Then there was the Scottish Government's claim that by 2030 Scotland will be £5billion better off - £1000 for each of Jock Tamson's bairns. How so?

WELL it depends on increasing employment, increasing productivity and increasing immigration to boost the working age population.

Presumably if you do that in any economy it will grow. There are too many ifs and buts for it to be treated with any certainty.

The oil figures on the same day didn't put a tiger in the Yes campaign tank either as long-awaited projections were significantly lower than previously estimated.

That's when it's time for us to be told that we won't rely on oil - it's a bonus, and its importance to the economy is downplayed.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander was caught out manipulating the work of experts on independence start-up costs, who do know what they are talking about.

"Bizarrely inaccurate" was how one described the interpretation and he wondered if the Treasury read the report at all. It turns out the Treasury overstated the estimate times 12 and wasn't comparing like with like.

Then it appears the Scottish Government has had work done on start-up costs two years ago, but First Minister Alex Salmond refused to even acknowledge questions on the matter in Holyrood.

Was the work done, if so where is it, and how much?

If you are yet to make up your mind, then based on this week's performances, good luck - neither side has been of much help to you.

That's the problem with politics, it's full of politicians.

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