back to article Scotland ranked 'worst small country'

Scotland's life expectancy rate was "a major factor" in it being rated Western Europe's worst-performing small country, the BBC reports. That's according to the The Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) annual Index of Wealth, which cast an eye over 10 countries - including Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, and Norway - with …


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  1. Steven


    "This government is determined that Scotland can and will do better. The policies we put in place with the powers of devolution will improve our performance, and with the fuller powers of independence we can give Scotland a clear competitive edge in achieving our overarching aim of strong, sustainable economic growth."

    Best they start off by outlawing deep fried Mars Bars and dramatically increasing the tax on a four pack of Tennants then...

  2. Karim Bourouba

    I agree

    I live in Scotland and totally agree with this finding.

    Scotland is the worst small country in Europe.

  3. Jonathan Schofield

    Reduced Pension liabilities

    I should think that big business will clamour to get to Scotland with the reduced pension liabilities that this report highlights!

  4. xjy

    Crappy comparisons

    It's not even the worst small country in the EU any more, let alone the whole of Europe. Lithuania, anyone? Or neighbouring the EU - Belarus? Moldava?

    How much Scottish (or Danish) education has gone into Icelandic or Norwegian economic success?

    How about comparing other quasi-national exploited and colonized regions of the big nations of Europe? Wales, say, Bretagne, the Languedoc, Northern fucking Ireland, Catalonia, Galicia - you name it...

    Finland turned around a lousy dietary and heart disease record in about 15 years. Scotland could do better than that. All we need is some pride, some solidarity, a bit of thought and a lot of socialism.

    Rab C dying his string vest raid.

    The rrrraaat-rrrrace is fr rrrrraaats, wirrrr nooot rrrrraaats!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you a Calvinist ?

    Forget it ! Scotland will always remain the worst wee country in europe. Calvinism has permeated the soul and there is probably a mutated Calvinist gene in most ay us.

    From The Wee Book of Calvin

    "You harbour an unspoken contempt for the use of anti-depressant drugs as an aid to emotional stability, in the belief that sadness and depression are forces to be experienced in their full, stinging intensity"


    "Your membership of a Health Club, far from permitting hedonistic indulgence, allows you to manipulate a delicate and troubled equilibrium of pleasure and pain: it legitimises a guilt-inducing degree of alcohol abuse, while ensuring that indulgence and the pain and punishment of harsh and excessive physical exercise are contiguous. Cleansed, your body is a tabula rasa, awaiting the predestined cycle of indulgence and laceration, guilt and redemption, again and again"

    We're a miserable bunch an' it's no gonae change anytime soon !

  6. Chris

    You've lived in the other nine countries as well, then?

    Have you, Karim?

    If not, then you can't say that. All you can say is that Scotland is bad.

    Once you've lived in all 10 countries then feel free to give us your opinion.

  7. Waggers


    I flew into Edinburgh a few weeks ago and there was a poster there that says "Welcome to the best small country in the world". I wonder if it's still there...

  8. Leigh

    I disagree

    I live in Wales and I disagree with this study. Wales is by far the worst small country in Europe.

  9. Ted Treen

    Braw & Bricht?

    Well they don't have to do a lot, do they? They just rely on Westminster's McMafia bleeding England dry so they can "re-distribute" money north of the border.

  10. Richard

    What about Wales or NI??? Portugal and Greece??? Czech and Slovak Republics?

    I know Scotland sees itself as special but wouldn't it be sensible to compare itself with other similar nations within the UK like Wales and Northern Ireland? Or semi-autonomous regions in Spain and Germany? This comparisoson would be more valid.

    And why on earth were Greece and Portugal removed from the list? Is the report's author trying to say that these countries aren't in the developing world? These are genuinely OECD countries in their own right, which Scotland isn't as it remains part of the UK, and both formed part of the EU15 so should be considered Western Europe, even if Greece is over eastwards geographically. Is this just spin...really proving how much Scotland has in common with the rest of the UK in thinking how terrible we are at everything when we really aren't all that bad...or is it an indirect (and slightly ignorant) insult to Greece and Portugal?

    And what about the Slovak Republic and Czech Republic, both full OECD members as well? All this report seems to prove is that if you filter out everybody likely to be close to you or below you in a table then you are bound to be last...

    In passing ... I'm actually English and living and working in Wales, so really couldn't care tuppence about how badly the FSB Scotland thinks its doing, other than they appear to be dragging the rest of the UK down. It does however seem somewhat unfair to tar those north of the border as living in the worst small country in Europe...even if they'd prefer that to be living in the best large country in Europe: the report seems to place the UK above France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. I guess that's nationalist politics for you...

  11. Stuart Henderson

    Glasgow, not Scotland

    If anyone had bothered to read the report, they'd quickly see that the only problem (as highlighted within the report) with Scotland, is Glasgow and the surrounding regions.

    And as we all know, Glasgow's half Irish and half English. So the problem's been misassigned.

  12. Lee Turner

    This is not new news...

    It's SHITE being Scottish! We're the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched miserable servile pathetic trash that was ever shat on civilization. Some people hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. Can't even find a decent culture to get colonized by. We're ruled by effete assholes. It's a shite state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and all the fresh air in the world won't make any fucking difference!

    - Mark 'Rent-Boy' Renton; Trainspotting (1996)

  13. Mad Mike

    Not Surprising

    Can we really be surprised by this. Historically, Scotland is a massively divided country. They even had a punch up over which side of the battlefield they should be on when fighting a common enemy (the British). This lead to a load walking off. Considering the hammering they got, probably the best excuse to scarper there has ever been. (Culloden by the way).

    The Scottish seem to almost take delight in bashing themselves. Anyone else create the deep fried mars bar? Perhaps some Scottish unity might help.

  14. Stuart Barnett

    The best small country in the world

    If you read the findings it's the health factor that lets Scotland down. For education and economy it's higher than average. As was previously stated, Finland turned themselves around n 15 years!

  15. Chris Miller

    Ye cannae mak it up!

    Maybe if the Scottish Parliament weren't so busy spending money on translating their proceedings into Catalan and Scots (aka Rab-C-Nesbittese), they'd have more to spend on improving the life of their voters (or maybe not).

  16. Bruce Leyden


    "Well they don't have to do a lot, do they? They just rely on Westminster's McMafia bleeding England dry so they can "re-distribute" money north of the border."

    Shove it. Adults living in Scotland are more likely to be working than those from any other part of the UK, plus they are more likely to be working in low-paid jobs.

    I have worked since I was 14, full-time since the age of 18. I'm 28 now and there's not a hope in hell of me being able to afford a house in my own town, let alone a decent house, because Scotland has the highest level of house price inflation of anywhere in the UK thanks in part to all the financial high-fliers relocating from elsewhere. Christ, I haven't even been on holiday for four years.

    Is it easier for you to repeat your local little-Englander politicians' rhetoric than it is to come out with something a little more reasoned and constructive? Most of the money in Britain is in London and the South East, while the rest of the UK supplies industry, workforce and food. Are you trying to say that the reason for that is everyone south of Watford Gap is innately harder-working than the rest of Britain, and Scotland in particular, whose only contribution is to send politicians to London to steal all YOUR money? Really? Are you that stupid?

  17. Karim Bourouba

    Re: Chris

    I am sorry Chris, I seem to have upset you in some unknown way.

    Whilst I have lived in "the other nine countries" as you put it (can you name them by the way?) I do live in this one. So, I am entirely able to agree with the findings of this report. Scotland appears to have an attrocious health record (deep fried mars bars etc) and an self confessed problem with mental health (friendly people threatening to jump off North Bridge each summer).

    What you appear to have missed, and I cant see why at all, is the fact the too many people in Scotland seem to have this strange idea about it being a business center for the UK. There is very little in the way of skills up here, granted there is a plethora of service and support people up here as well as a large glut of Citrix specialists (off the back of the support centers here). Other than that, there is very little else (even the financial centers here dont really come to much).

    Now, with education. Even the staunchest of Scots will recognise the fact that Scotland doesnt really seem to have a good idea about what it wants to do with its educational policies. There are too many schools up here offering Standard Grades etc.

    And health, well - that simply cannot be argued as the figures speak for themselves.

    So, if you would like to die early after seeing you children get a confusing education and possibly end up recieving care for unspecified mental illness, please come and move to Scotland.

    The only really bad thing is that they dont show England games as much as they could...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "It won't last. Brothers and sisters are natural enemies. Like Englishmen and Scots! Or Welshmen and Scots! Or Japanese and Scots! Or Scots and other Scots! Damn Scots! They ruined Scotland!"

    "You Scots sure are a contentious people."

    "You just made an enemy for life!"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Read the article. In the text it is specifically clarified as "western europe".

    That for me narrows down to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland (are these seperate countries??? - apparently so, according to some faceless, bureaucratic eejit who seems hell-bent on fanning the flames of a few hundred years of animosity) and Luxembourg. Ok, if we're going outside the EU, Lichtenstein and Andorra are in as well.

    From this sad sack of also-rans, I reckon Wales meself........:-)


    PS: If the steaming moron who wrote this pile of crud report lives in the EU, hopefully he'll get an EU arrest warrant on his doormat citing "incitement to racial prejudice" courtesy of HMG real soon now.

    PPS: Just got an EU arrest warrant. I did, of course mean "he/she'll" when I wrote "he'll".

  20. Karim Bourouba

    Wouldnt it be better...

    ... if Microsoft just bought up Scotland? And rebranded it etc...

  21. C

    one small problem

    There's just one problem with a "study" like this. It's comparing 10 countries... against each other. There's ALWAYS going to be a country that's "worst". It doesn't matter how good they're all doing. They could all have average life expectancies over 100 and 75%+ of their population be genius level... and there's STILL going to be a "worst" country. So Scotland is "worse" than 9 other small countries in Western Europe in a few things - big deal. They're ALL significantly ahead of where the "best" country was in all these categories just 200 short years ago.

  22. The Mighty Spang


    Why didn't El Reg refer to is as "The Midge-Infested Oil Platform" as this did a few years ago (BTW great description lads, I use it at every opportunity)

    I hope scotland gets independence asap, getting silly listening to them not have university top up fees or free personal care, a giant expensive white elephant of a govt building and all the extra costs involved with another layer of govt as the scots MPs vote on legislation that cannot affect scotland.

    Oh, but the deal is for independance they must take george galloway back :)

    on the positive side, the late donald dewar was one of the few politicians that seemed to deserve any respect.

  23. Colin Jackson


    Isn't Wales a principality and NI a province, not actual countries technically? Or am I hopelessly out of date with that?

  24. Spike Ravenscroft


    I Have never actually seen ANYWHERE selling 'Deep Fried Mars Bars' although i did see a picture of one place who punted them exclusively to tourists.

    Urban legend made flesh by demand of non Scots? I rather think so.

    I'm Scottish, I've lived all over the world and Scotland is by far and away, not the worst place to live. Its no better or worse than anywhere else. All Scotland needs is a bit of confidence in itself and Alex Salmond is likely to help that more than not.

    Oh...and on the subject of the 'White Elephant' I see our parliment building and raise you a London Olympics. What a waste of money that is!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the worst, needs improvement

    Karim Bourouba wrote:

    "What you appear to have missed, and I cant see why at all, is the fact the too many people in Scotland seem to have this strange idea about it being a business center for the UK. There is very little in the way of skills up here, granted there is a plethora of service and support people up here as well as a large glut of Citrix specialists (off the back of the support centers here). Other than that, there is very little else (even the financial centers here dont really come to much)."

    This is utter drivel - yes, there's areas like the Borders that don't have a big business/IT presence, (although I'd be okay if someone wants to say otherwise), but they tend to be into farming/fishing/etc. Heck, go to Edinburgh/Glasgow and you'll see plenty of new businesses, banks etc - e.g. RBOS finished their headquarters near Edinburgh airport last year.

    As for lack of skills apart from Citrix? Again, this is rubbish. I'm an IT worker up here and there's plenty of jobs available for Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, Oracle, SAP etc - check out monster, s1jobs, etc.

    I'm English (no boo's from the back) and I moved to Scotland (from London) to take advantage of the better quality of life (definitely!) and the superior education system (at least when they stop fiddling with it - grrr!).

    Okay, I'd agree the standard of health up here is pretty bad - alcohol, smoking, too many good chippies - but they're working on it, (smoking ban last year is marvellous).

    As to the survey itself - like others have said, someone had to be last. If it means that the (recently changed) government (in their awful and overpriced parliment) is encouraged to put in improvements, then so much the better.

    I think a UK region-by-region version of this survey would make interesting reading...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To Bruce Leyden:

    "Shove it. Adults living in Scotland are more likely to be working than those from any other part of the UK, plus they are more likely to be working in low-paid jobs"

    Scots earn less and pay less tax (per person) than the UK average. Alas, Scotland spends more on public services (per person). Consequently, Scotland takes a lot more out of the pot than it puts in. As Wales and NI also have gaps, it's England that pays. Scotland is a poor country with rich-country public services, thanks to English taxpayers.

    I'm proud to be British (among other things), and would not like to see Britain split up; but part of me would get a guilty pleasure from seeing an independent Scottish government (ie. the SNP) suddenly having to accept that the unsustainable defecits are real, rather than a Westminster accounting conspiracy. With any luck, an independent Scottish government would even try living within its means; this is a lot harder than debating how to divide up billions of pounds from an outside benefactor.

  27. Bruce Leyden

    To Anon

    You misunderstand me. I would deny none of that, but to say "England pays" is to over-simplify in the extreme. We do not live in a socialist state and the distribution of wealth is far more complex than simple per-capita tax/spend.

    As one simple example, many corporations based in England (predominanly London) make money in Scotland, just as many international companies make money in Britain. For British tax purposes, these companies are almost invariably London-headquartered. Tax pounds from profits made by those companies are therefore "paid" by English companies, regardless of where the work is produced. Without wanting to sound too much like Alex Salmond, UK oil and gas production is one hefty example of recent years. Sure, local economies flourish thanks to investments made on the back of such industry, but fringe benefits like these are a drop in the ocean compared to the massive profits some of these national and international companies make for their shareholders, and the taxes "paid in England" by "English" companies such as BP and their international cousins such as Total.

    I know Scotland and Scottish politicians are seen as a bit of a running joke by certain English elements in general and Westminster in particular, but as long as that situation continues, these people perpetuating the stereotypes are drawing attention away from far more important issues. If you truly believe that Scotland is leeching off England, then I suggest you think again. If you listen to the figures spouted by anti-Scottish MP's then listen to the figures spouted by the likes of the SNP - they are all lying in equal measure.

    You are right, Scotland would have a nightmare going it alone. As it stands, we are a "country" with little left in the way of natural resources, with a high proportion of bitter, unhealthy, spent people. We, along with the north of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, suffered through decades of Tory neglect and aggregation of capital to London. However ridiculous it may seem to you, the one thing the Scottish parliament has done is bring back power to the people - or has at least brought it closer to the people. So if simple tax/spend is your measure of provincial contributions to the UK economy then perhaps in time Scottish people will stop being so bitter, get wir axes to the collective wheel and put a cheque in the post. If only it were that simple.

    Funny how stereotypes go eh? I thought it was Scots who were meant to be tight-fisted...

  28. colin cuddehay


    They can only do better! If you're last,what else?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bruce Leyden: Wrong again

    Government analyses are thorough enough to get round such trivial problems as the location of businesses' head offices:

    Even after accounting for such things - to get a *real* picture of what economic activity happens where - Scotland still has lower GDP, lower productivity, and and lower tax revenue per capita:

    If you think North Sea revenues are unfairly labelled "English", you're wrong again. Have a look at table 5.2 here:

    There's debate on exactly where the sea border should be; but even if you allocated 100% of north sea revenue to Scotland, it still wouldn't be enough for Scotland to break even - and that drastic reallocation would mean moving the border to the same latitude as Norwich:

    But, as you say, there's more to life than money. Scotland also has worse health, worse education, and higher CO2 emissions per capita.

  30. Bruce Leyden

    Anonymous: Right again?

    Can't argue with numbers, but the bottom line is the UK is the UK, and Scotland is just one part of it, whether you like it or not. You clearly have an axe to grind about what you see as English Money keeping Scotland afloat. Logically then, I would imagine that you have the same problem with local under-privileged and underperforming council estates, or would you disagree because they are closer to home than a relatively far-flung region whose problems you see as causing detriment to the UK as a whole? If Scotland were not there for you to focus on in this way, who would be next?

    Also, you said "But, as you say, there's more to life than money. Scotland also has worse health, worse education, and higher CO2 emissions per capita."

    Health - definitely, we're the worst of a bad bunch and I made reference to that in my last post. Britain isn't the dirty old man of Europe for no reason.

    Education - depends which figures you choose to believe.

    CO2 emissions - The difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK is minimal and can be rationalised to the point of making no difference. So what point is it you trying to make by stating this? Furthermore, Scotland's CO2 emissions per capita are falling faster than those of the UK as a whole are rising, but I am not so churlish as to believe that is not my problem as much as it is yours.

    United we stand...

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