Dundee economist ‘done with Scotland’ as opponents say he demolished case for indy

A Dundee-born academic who advised the SNP government says he is “done with Scotland” after his comments were interpreted as demolishing the case for independence.

Pro-Union campaigners seized on comments Professor Mark Blyth made to the Festival of Economics held in Dundee over the weekend.

Prof Blyth – who formerly sat on the government’s advisory council for economic transformation – told the event’s hosts he understood the desire for Scotland to be separate, but said the process would “hurt”.

He said: “I fully understand the desire to be separate, but the idea that this isn’t gonna hurt – ooft.

Independence ‘the biggest Brexit of all time’

“You can’t really say that Brexit is the worst thing ever then commit the biggest Brexit of all time. Which is literally what this is.”

At another point in the discussion, he added: “Scotland, particularly in nationalist circles, likes to say that Scotland is a small, open economy like the Nordic economies.

“That’s a bit like saying I’m a supermodel because I also have legs.”

Opposition parties seized on the comments, with Scottish Conservative economy spokeswoman Liz Smith saying: “This is a devastating demolition of the economic case for independence by a former adviser to the SNP Government.

“It’s an evisceration of the absurd and baseless reassurances from Nationalists that tearing Scotland out of the UK would somehow be pain-free.”

Tory MSP Liz Smith. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson.

But Prof Blyth – who previously said the economic upheaval of Scotland leaving the union would be like “Brexit times 10” – has now responded.

He insisted his words, clipped from a pre-recording he made as a contribution to the event, had been “weaponized and turned into a wholesale attack on independence”.

He added: “This is why I’m done ever talking about Scotland. Its toxic. No one wants any actual discussion of options.

“You say X and they say you said Y and then spend time writing corrections. Life’s too short. Done.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie said: “It’s bad enough for the SNP that their economic case for independence has been demolished by a leading academic but for it to be demolished by a leading academic that the SNP leadership endorsed is devastating.”

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