And did those beat, in recent times, call upon Greenland's mounting debts?

A leaflet came through our letterbox a couple of days ago, decrying the financial management of York City Council.  The city's debts, boomed the pamphlet, are now greater than the entire national debt of Greenland!

Whether the council's monetary skills are up to the task is not something I can comment on, but I can at least offer you this.  The population of Greenland is under 60,000 people, whereas that of the city of York approaches 200,000.  Is it a fair comparison, therefore?  Wouldn't we expect the debts of a medium-sized municipality to be greater than that of a very sparsely populated country?  I certainly would.

To my mind, it would be far more informative to know how the City of York's debts compare with a country of similar population.  Samoa, for example, has about 193,000 citizens and an external debt of $177 million.  As far as I can tell, the city of York's debts are £116m (~$186m).

So if the leaflets said "York's debts: a bit worse than Samoa's!" that would be acceptable.  Whether it really told us anything would be a different matter.