The UN Human Development Index shows some very interesting statistics when the UK is compared with Ireland. The index measures human development outcomes on issues such as life expectancy and educational attainment. Ireland lies in fifth place, the UK in 26th position.
This follows the 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index, which reveals that Britain is ranked 13th in a list of the most prosperous countries in the world, and is trailing badly behind the world's most developed countries in health, education, safety and security. Ireland is ranked 11th.
It will only backfire politically if the Unionist parties use Ireland as a means to attack the potential for Scottish independence as, despite the impact of the recession, small nations such as Iceland, Ireland and Norway are still performing economically better than the UK.