Deficits aren't necessarily the end of the world but they're not your best chum either. This chart, pinched from Burning Our Money, is a handy reminder of where we are and the pickle we're in. Worse than Spain! Worse than the United States! Worse than Iceland! Worse than Ireland! Gordon Brown FTW.
As always, the Nordics fare very well in this sort of caper. But look too at our friends in New Zealand - a model of how a non-Nordic, English-speaking country can still do pretty well for itself. Yet Alex Salmond never talks about the Kiwi example, even though, as Jim Telfer used to say, New Zealanders are "Scots who learnt how to win". Admittedly, he was talking about rugby. But my sense is that an independent Scotland would have more to learn from New zealand than, say, Norway.