IN the current election campaign, most people will vote on the basis of their perception of the minutiae of Scottish politics.

It will be the SNP’s record in Holyrood that will, above all else, influence whether or not people want to decide to return a particular MP to Westminster.

To some degree the SNP should celebrate this fact. Firstly, that’s because it shows they have made devolved government in Scotland relevant.

Secondly, it’s because the fling that voters are currently having with Labour will, I think, be a decidedly short-term affair.

After only a few months in office, it will dawn on people that Labour is as useless in government as the Tories have been for the last fourteen years. The backlash, and even anger, is going to be very real.

I am expecting the short honeymoon period will be over a long time before the next Holyrood election, and that this will work out well for the SNP.

But let me also make clear that this really is the wrong criteria to use for deciding on who to vote for in this election. The real question for anyone in Scotland is whether or not they wish to continue to be ruled as what is, in effect, a colony by an English-dominated parliament in Westminster, or not.

There are completely rational reasons to decide against that continuing domination without ever considering economics. There are also rational economic ones for doing so as well.

Why is Westminster so desperate to keep Scotland? Its resources

One of these rational reasons is to decide on the basis of the obvious fact that there can be only one explanation as to why Westminster is so desperate to hold onto Scotland, and that is to exploit its resources.

The English-based political parties operating in Scotland (Labour, the Tories, and LibDems) would all argue that there is no such exploitation of Scotland. They would, in fact, argue that the opposite is true.

They would say that GERS (The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland statement) covers this issue and shows that Scotland is subsidised. However, as I have long argued, this relies on the assumptions made by those compiling these statistics as to the expenditure made "for" Scotland which is included in GERS, as opposed to that actually spent "in" Scotland.

READ MORE: Richard Murphy: GERS shows us what a mess Westminster makes in Scotland

The expenditure "for" Scotland is added to that spent "in" Scotland, with the tax paid on that expenditure "for" but not "in" Scotland being ignored when estimating the supposedly matching revenue figure for Scotland.

This has always inevitably, and I suggest deliberately, produced a figure for the supposed subsidy provided to Scotland that is overstated in terms of the deficit.

Other methods of calculating this supposed subsidy have been used in the past.

I am grateful to Leah Gunn Barrett for permission she has given me to use data she has researched covering the period from 1900 to 1921, showing the tax collected and revenue expended for England and Wales (as a single unit), Scotland and Ireland.

This is a summary of the data for the period:

Image used with permission of Leah Gunn Barrett

The impression given is incredibly clear: the majority of the taxes raised in Scotland were used to fund expenditure outside it. These were described as its "contribution to imperial services".

But then note this data for just one on those years, 1909/10:

(Image: Provided)

Note that the proportion of revenue raised in England that was spent in England was 46.4 per cent. The equivalent figure for Scotland was 52.7 per cent.

In both cases the excess was available for "imperial expenditure". But before anyone suggests that this was because Scotland was less efficient, vastly more of the taxes collected in this era was from Customs and Excise duties and this created a bias, I would suggest, towards English ports.

It was as likely that Scotland was subsidising the empire as much as England was. It more than held its own. It paid its way.

We know that in many decades since then it has more than done that, due to oil.

And now we are told otherwise.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour councillor quits party over 'autocratic' General Election selections

Simultaneously, the Empire has shrunk. The English empire now consists of little more than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. And what is the chance the English are now subsidising this Empire rather than fleecing it, as of old?

As close to zero as makes no difference, I suggest. Why else would it want to remain a colonial power?

So, the question in this election for anyone in Scotland who is even remotely considering voting for an English-based political party is why do you want to continue the imperial extraction of value from Scotland now? Wouldn’t Scotland be better off spending its economic resources on itself?

And when answering the question, just answer a simpler one: why else would England want Scotland but to gain from having it?

In that case, why vote for an English-based party who wants that extraction of value to continue?