THE annual campaign to make the Scottish economy look bad and attempt to strike fear into the hearts of those who simply want to look after their own affairs took place earlier this week.

It’s more commonly known as the publication of the GERS report (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) and is comprised of data supplied by the UK Government. This is the same UK Government that “discovered” an extra £15 billion or so had been missing from Scotland’s oil revenue over the past few years.

Of course, this money wasn’t found until after the independence referendum of 2014 when, by a strange coincidence, Better Together were parroting that Scotland had a £15bn black hole in its economy. Now at least we know how they arrived at that figure!

READ MORE: Pat Kane: We need to build confidence in our independence and celebrate local defiance

In what seemed like a script from Father Ted, the £15bn was simply resting in the UK Government’s bank account!

Some people have wondered why the UK Government would now admit to getting its figures so wrong, but if oil prices are starting to rise again then adjusting Scotland’s oil finances by £15bn one swoop would lessen the impact of any rise in the price of oil – yet again allowing Westminster to downplay the value of oil in Scottish waters.

Even if the true figures for Scotland’s oil were included, the poor management of this resource by successive UK Governments reveals that we’re practically paying the oil companies to extract the oil, while every other country has the strange notion of charging them! We can only look on in amazement as Norway – a country with a similar size of population to Scotland – manages to amass an oil fund of around $780bn. Apart from with the usual suspects, it seems that this year’s GERS announcement is having less of an impact than in previous years. Maybe the message about GERS and its various failings is starting to get through to more and more people. A former secretary of state for Scotland, Ian Lang, admitted the reason behind the publication of GERS was to undermine the UK Government’s political rivals (ie a devolved Scottish Parliament) by trying to demonstrate that Scottish self-government was a bad thing. The data behind GERS is mainly guesstimates trying to put a Scottish figure on UK spending and taxation – figures which the economist Richard Murphy so expertly dissected.

In his blog Murphy stated: “GERS is, then, a statistical anomaly prepared without consideration for what really happens in Scotland and as such provides almost no real indication as to what its potential might be, while leaving the Scottish Government with no reliable data on which to make economic decisions.

“It is this that annoys me. Scotland has been granted a form of devolution but has no way to assess what that really means. GERS does then, without in any way questioning the integrity of those who prepare it, at best represent a continuing mechanism for control of the Scottish economic and so political agenda for London and that’s precisely why in its current form it serves no useful purpose for those really interested in Scotland being managed for its own benefit within the UK.”

In other words, GERS adds nothing to the debate about whether an independent Scotland would be an economic success.

If you were to accept the dodgy data behind the GERS report then the main conclusion would be that Scotland’s interests are poorly served by a UK Government which is responsible for the vast majority of economic and fiscal levers. That should come as no surprise to anyone. Look at the mess the UK Government has made of the economy, with a politically driven austerity agenda which penalises the poor and protects the rich.

While the GERS report adds little to analysis of Scotland’s economy, a vigil in London highlighted how out of touch many politicians are from the people they are meant to serve. This time last week I suspect not many people in Scotland would have heard of the Labour MP for Ealing North, Stephen Pound.

He was one of the MPs who were so distraught that they weren’t going to hear Big Ben chime for the next few years that they held a vigil on Monday to listen to its final chimes. He was caught on camera wiping a tear from his eye on what must have been a traumatic occasion for him.

Did he shed a tear for the death and destruction caused by the Iraq war – which he voted for. Were the mutilated, murdered and mourned in Iraq deserving of his tears?

Pound highlighted all that is wrong with the UK Parliament. People are suffering – and in some cases dying – due to the decisions taken by MPs and yet their emotions only come to the surface when an old bell is silenced for a few years as billions of pounds are spent on upgrading the dusty, dilapidated Palace of Westminster.

When politicians care more about buildings than their constituents, we have a serious problem.