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Reserve strength

Brian Taylor | 16:41 UK time, Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Each August, I like to chair the occasional gig at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

It's a return to my literary roots and a chance to escape from politics. Plus the ice cream on offer in Charlotte Square is excellent.

I recall chairing Alexander McCall Smith who had just published his latest detective tales from Botswana.

A notably eager publicist was urging him to plug his new book at every opportunity. She even suggested he might brandish a copy at strategic moments.

The estimable professor, a thoroughly charming chap, ignored her entirely. No doubt accidentally, he placed a newspaper over the copy of his book.

Quite deliberately, he never mentioned the work once, dealing with an eclectic mix of topics from Nietzsche to orchestral music to Scottish history.

Worthy task

Habitually, I take the McCall Smith line with regard to publicity: less is more. However, I will break that habit with regard to a documentary on the telly tonight, prepared by my esteemed colleague Hayley Millar.

It concerns North Sea oil. When first commissioned, the purpose was to subject the history of the black, black oil to investigative scrutiny. In itself, a worthy task.

When broadcast, the programme coincides with the re-emergence of oil prices as a predominant political issue: an issue of enormous and lasting salience.

Hayley's key finding concerns the extent of available reserves. She has been told by experts that between 25 and 30 billion barrels could still be recovered over the next 40 years.

Rising prices and new technology can bring more difficult and distant finds into play.

Rising prices

Which brings us back to core questions confronting Scottish and UK politicians?

Is Alex Salmond justified in demanding a "share" of the increased take from the North Sea prompted by rising prices?

Or is it bogus to spotlight a single tax when high oil prices may depress other sectors of the economy and hence revenue?

Does Scotland have a structural financial deficit, as suggested by official UK Government figures in the past, even taking oil into account?

Or is that over-estimating the downside - and under-estimating oil?

Would Scotland thrive with control of the oil revenues? Or would much more be lost in the by-going?

What will Scotland do when the oil runs out? Under sustained devolution? Under independence?

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:08pm on 04 Jun 2008, peoplepowerparty wrote:

    My goodness, Brian. You are a cheeky chappie. You know what floodgate this blog entry is going to open up.

    I am off for a cup of tea and a scone. Good luck to the blog moderator in this one :-)

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  • 2. At 5:09pm on 04 Jun 2008, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    "Does Scotland have a structural financial deficit, as suggested by official UK Government figures in the past, even taking oil into account?"

    No. The official UK Government figures are fundamentally flawed by design.

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  • 3. At 5:24pm on 04 Jun 2008, Maurice_Minor wrote:

    As somone who's family moved to the North-East with the oil boom, the tired old argument about who's subsidising who completey misses the point. Tax revenue should be spent where it's needed not where it comes from. The Nationalists argument appears to be predicated on high oil prices. When the price of oil is as low as $10 a barrell as it has been in the past decade, the proposition of basing an economy and public services on such an erratic commodity seems far less attractive. Let's be fair, we're more than happy to expect the UK's tax revenue to be shared across the whole territory when oil prices aren't so bouyant.

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  • 4. At 5:25pm on 04 Jun 2008, sailorjimagain wrote:

    This old 'sweetie' has been doing the rounds since I was first involved in the offshore oil business back in 1974.
    What's all this nonsense about 'structural financial deficit'? If Scotland has one so has almost every nation on the face of this earth. Back to the 'lies, damn lies and statistics' old sweetie?
    I can clearly remember south of the border politicians's response to the oil question back in the 70s and 80s. Then, it was that Scotland would become so wealthy that our currency would give us severe problems etc. Then, it was also - 'It'll all be gone before the end of the Millenium'.
    As for reserves: The Clyde area and western approaches cannot be explored because of interference with nuclear subs and their potential adversaries. Tentative exploration in the past near Ailsa Craig has shown that there is a more than likely chance of an northward extension of the Morecambe Field and considerable other reserves in the area. That's just for starters. Additionally; if the Hebridean sea is given the go-ahead; who knows what lies beneath that?
    Saudi Arabia and most of the OPEC countries don't have anything else to offer but because of their oil wealth are able to arract additional wealth creators. Are we being told that somehow, Scotland is unique in this world in that it cannot in any way survive and prosper other than by retaining the status quo. I think not.

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  • 5. At 5:37pm on 04 Jun 2008, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    In regard to the allocation of resources, it is often purported, as it has been on this blog, that the United Kingdom is some kind of commonwealth of equal prosperity, pumping vital resources from its highly prosperous heart to the remote and dependent fringes.

    If this were indeed the case, would there be such pockets of deprivation throughout the UK, most prominently in urban areas?
    Would remote and rural areas not be thriving to a greater degree, rather than being so heavily dependent on small scraps of local industry and money brought in by leisure and tourism?
    Would the massive resources flowing into and expended within London be in such extreme contrast to the lack of resources elsewhere?

    And would Scotland be unique in the world as an oil-rich economic basket case???

    In other words, our economy functions on a distinctly 'drip-down' basis, with London as its 'fountain-head' - which is in direct and obvious contradiction to any concept of a level economic playing field.

    (It should also be recognised that this London-centric dominance applies to all elements of United Kingdom infrastructure, including political control and the content of the broadcast media - to the effect that many of the major formative directives in our lives are conducted through an intrinsically London-centric prism.)

    In such circumstances, it is more than arguable that the areas most remote from this 'drip-down' effect, where there is scant or fragile economic infrastructure, where geography dictates that transport distances are greater, and where local fuel costs remain sky-high even at the best of times - should receive additional assistance from our wealth of natural resources - particularly when, as here and now, our most remote communities and fuel-intensive industries suffer increased hardship at the very time when the vast additional windfall from the resources on our doorstep is being reaped by the Treasury - both in terms of massively increased tax revenues from the pumps AND of massive additional sovereign revenues from extraction by the production companies.

    The Chancellor is being deliberately economical with the truth of these massive additional revenues - in his clear primary aim to maintain the ‘drip-down’ effect at all times, and any cost to our most vulnerable industries and communities.

    Portrayals to the effect that our oil is 'running out' are an absolute nonsense, and patently represent a point of view that seeks to marginalise or devalue what is the greatest natural bonanza we are ever likely to see.

    As continuously developing technology affords us access to new fields and improves the economic viability of existing ones, so a more prudent approach to the extraction of the reserves, and the critical investment of these massive windfall revenues, could ensure the prosperity of our oil industry as a major national asset for generations to come.

    At current rates, moreover, there is more than enough surplus to provide huge and desperately needed relief to our critically over-strained industries and communities right now.

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  • 6. At 6:05pm on 04 Jun 2008, scottishblogger wrote:

    Scotland-the only nation on Earth that discovered oil and then got poorer.

    A recent Guardian investigation concluded that even with lower oil prices, Scotland would have a £4.4 billion surplus in its budget. I don't see Norway scraping by in the current economical climate-and we have more oil than them.

    Let the unionist lies end. Callahan lied in the 70s, Maggie propped up the whole UK with oil in the 80s, Blair took Scotland for granted in the 90s. Now Brown has turned his back on being Scottish to become British and will continue to force Scotland to live under cultural, economic and political imperialism.

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  • 7. At 6:16pm on 04 Jun 2008, DrKF77 wrote:

    I'm with peoplepowerparty for tea and scones. We'll just pull up a pew, eat our scones and drink our tea, and watch what I assume to be everyday people descend to the level of ranting howler-monkeys bellowing down the internet at each other until they are red in the face. You may as well have entitled this blog entry: "Fight! Fight! Fight!"

    I hope you never have to meet any of the moderators, or depend upon them for a favour one day, because by now your name will be a synonym for something awful ("Oh good grief - he's done a Taylor and blogged about Israel!") and you will never be forgiven.

    Thanks.

    Now: "Fight! Fight! Fight!"

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  • 8. At 6:26pm on 04 Jun 2008, greenockboy wrote:

    Amidst all of the furore regarding the oil revenues, one thing can be said with absolute certainty. The U.K. government deliberately covered up the extent of the oil wealth in the 70's and has continued to insist that Scots are dependent on handouts from England (black holes anyone?).

    The Westminster government in the 70's could have been open and honest with Scotland regarding the oil wealth. The Scots of that era, still with strong memories of WW2 may well have opted to remain in the Union and settled for a fund for future generations. However Westminster prevented the electorate from making an informed decision and instead manipulated voter opinion with blatant lies and propoganda.

    Now, however they stand to reap what they sewed, with this 'parasitic' image of Scots filtering South and the resultant backlash from middle England who have bought the line that Scotland is a drain on resources.

    With just under half the current reserves remaining and much more off of the West coast the Scots are finally waking up to the massive opportunity that is there.

    The perfect storm has arrived in the shape of the de-classified Macrone report, dwindling world reserves, increase in oil prices and an SNP government.

    The cat is out of the bag and the truth is spreading. The next Westminster elections will prove telling....one way or another.

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  • 9. At 6:33pm on 04 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    I don't recognise the weak, dependent Scotland protrayed by some (both nationalist and unionist). From their comments, you'd think that Scotland was a primarily rural society with a nucleus of heavy industry that had been decimated from afar, leaving nothing but poverty in its wake.

    It isn't.

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  • 10. At 6:37pm on 04 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    For heavens sake Brian, this is the same blog as the one before last and will no doubt peter out in the same handful of pedants trying to outdo each other. This, long after the paranoid persecution types have "got if off their chest again", the romantics have finished crying freedom... from whatever exactly it is that oppresses them and the various Sean Connery types in the diaspora have put over their rather narrow understanding of the issues.

    There is a future in the North Sea but one that lasts for generations is doubtful. There are still plenty of small, HT/HP or heavy oil reserves out there, plus enhanced recovery from the older reservoirs but it is not limitless. Quoting gross reserve figures is very misleading as it overlooks the costs and technical viability of extraction of these difficult traps and plays. For sure there is a future out there but there are certainly no Brents to be found. The industry can go on for years bringing on the progressively smaller prospects but there is a limit that will be dictated by costs.

    If, as currently predicted, oil prices will continue to rise, they will reach what the economists call the "break point" i.e. the point where alternative technologies (particulary in the automotive sector) start to seriously dent oil consumption and consequently cause its price to decline. This is currently placed at $157/ barrel by CERA. For instance, US gasoline consumption is expected to be lower this year for the first time since 1974.

    Thus expectations of tax revenue must be offset against the incentives that must be provided to keep the oil companies engaged and the pressure from competing fuels.

    I wasted a whole day on the previous blog and ended up, to my shame as one of the pedants slugging it out at the end. Never again! Please refer to previous submissions and goodbye!

    PS: Just beacuse there is oil in the North Sea it doesn't atumatically follow that there are major reserves elsewhere as suggested.

    Yours faithfully

    Petroleum Geologist and Sceptic

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  • 11. At 6:39pm on 04 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    Scotland could still be a dynamic, extremely rich country without oil. But oil would propel us into another league. If Scots don't vote yes for independence and therefore forego the economic chance for what might be considered 'Scandinavian normality' then I will be nothing less than devastated and equally so; ashamed.

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  • 12. At 6:47pm on 04 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Scotland generates 10x more the amount of Oil that we actually consume.

    How can it be that Scotland which generates 10x more then the amount of Oil consumed be hit hard by the rising cost of Oil?

    Now, which economy is being suffering.

    Is it Scotland or is it Britain?

    Britain imports Oil.

    Scotland exports Oil.

    An idiot could point out something is wrong here and Scotland is suffering for Britains problem.

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  • 13. At 6:56pm on 04 Jun 2008, jacquesmac wrote:

    Now we know why the last blog was so anodyne, Brian was keeping his powder dry for tonight's oil programme.

    I hope the BBC have upped their server to a Suoer Cray because it is going to be bombarded with comments.

    I am salivating!

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  • 14. At 6:57pm on 04 Jun 2008, jacquesmac wrote:

    I see the FEBs are getting their tuppence in early

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  • 15. At 6:58pm on 04 Jun 2008, MalcolmW2 wrote:

    Reading this blog is starting to resemble groundhog Day! Both sides of this "discussion" have rehearsed their arguments to the point of exhaustion over the last few weeks. Neither side is likely to convert the other, so I have to ask: just what is the motive of the BBC website in raising it yet again so quickly? Is this just mischief or a slack day at the office?

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  • 16. At 6:58pm on 04 Jun 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    Yes, I see a scrap brewing over this one, and may well join the cakes and tea party sitting in the corner.

    But if I can just say this: Oil, to my mind, is just one factor, and far from the conclusive one. Even were it not for the oil off the north sea and the potential of more oil there, I would still advocate independence for a number of reasons. The scrapping of trident (nuclear power may be a necessity just now, but surely not nuclear weapons); entry straight into the EU; the chance to truly strike out with regards to renewable energy and make a difference, which I believe is in area in which we are currently somewhat stifled; so many reasons. Oil is another resource, but not one that should dominate the argument. The stock of independence remains high, with or without the black stuff.

    Although I appreciate this is just my opinion, and people are welcome to ignore it, or if you want to give us all a show, attack it. Now back to everyone shouting figures and statistics at each other in this endless argument!

    Slainte do a h-uile duine (health to everyone)

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  • 17. At 7:00pm on 04 Jun 2008, NConway wrote:

    1970s the Mcrone report was kept secret from Scots .
    What does that say about both Labour and Conservative Scottish MPs from then till now ?
    Norway has not wasted its oil resources on pretending to be a world power,it has put money aside for a rainy day.
    A quote from Iain Macwhirters latest blog

    "Of course, Scotland isn't independent and in theory Scotland benefits from the collective economic endeavour of UK plc through the Barnett Formula. But it remains the case that Scotland, even within the UK, is a nation with its own legal system and jurisdiction. It is perfectly legitimate for Alex Salmond to claim that Scotland is the only oil-producing nation in the world not to have benefited directly from oil wealth. And they don't have to be independent states.

    In 1976, the Canadian province of Alberta established the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund to set aside a proportion of government revenues from oil royalties. The same year the US state of Alaska set up the Alaska Permanent Fund which pays an annual cash dividend to every person who has been resident in the state for over a year.

    The mother of all oil funds is of course the Norwegian state savings vehicle, renamed the Government Pension Fund of Norway in 2006. It is now worth some £170bn and owns one percent of European equities. Wall Street banks come to the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund for emergency bail-outs."

    So it seems that even mainstream commentators can not deny that its time for a change in the way that the UK and in particular Scotland is financed

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  • 18. At 7:03pm on 04 Jun 2008, NuLabourNoHope_2 wrote:

    #2: pattymkirkwood
    "Does Scotland have a structural financial deficit, as suggested by official UK Government figures in the past, even taking oil into account?"

    No. The official UK Government figures are fundamentally flawed by design.
    ------------------------------------
    Couldn’t agree with you more. Flawed government dishing out flawed figures!

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  • 19. At 7:12pm on 04 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Obviously the TV news has just finished and you-know-who are rushing to give us their expert opinions on what it means. Before the programme is shown, of course. I'm off to look for intelligent life in the crevices of an artexed wall.
    Earlier comments are correct. There is no debate to be had with fundamentalist zealots.

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  • 20. At 8:15pm on 04 Jun 2008, rog_rocks wrote:

    Woohoo :) As the unionist ship of Lies begins to sink....

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  • 21. At 8:40pm on 04 Jun 2008, magicSpacebar wrote:

    Oil is running out globally, the era of cheap energy is over. There are no other ways to generate energy that don't first require oil, gas or coal.

    With a fair amount of oil left around Scotland we would be very well placed to weather the coming contraction in the global economy if we were independent.

    However! do I really want to dump my English relatives? .. no not yet ;) .. I read recently that the UK has formally claimed a several hundred mile radius around Ascension islands. .. wonder what's down there? . mind you .. it'll be expensive.

    how is it I'm such an expert?
    read this:
    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

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  • 22. At 8:43pm on 04 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Im more worried about the National Debt Scotland can receive after we declare Independence.

    After the Independent Report has shown Scotland would be left with a surplus of between 4 to 6 billion pounds then how could Scotland of generated a debt?

    My personal view is that if the SNP can prove that Scotland has continued to send this surplus for a number of years then perhaps we should not have to take any of the debt.

    I know the SNP have stated that Scotland would take her share of the National Debt but why should we?

    If we are currently sending a surplus to the Treasury what debt did we rack up?

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  • 23. At 9:04pm on 04 Jun 2008, Donald Brose wrote:

    I am not romantic and I sure ain't greedy and all I want is an independent Scotland. If the high price of our Scottish oil resources hastens that day then that is good. I would however hold my views if oil had not been discovered or not squandered by "our" government

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  • 24. At 10:03pm on 04 Jun 2008, EG_Scotland wrote:

    First off - on the book festival. Brian - are you getting your hims and hers mixed?

    On the main subject, I have to agree with # 15 MalcolmW2 - this is getting like Groundhog Day. Not only in terms of opinions expressed but also also in terms of what one expects to here from politicians north and south of the border. My goodness, i could write the script. It's not even a of good soap opera status now.

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  • 25. At 10:24pm on 04 Jun 2008, U11769947 wrote:

    Fundamentalist,what about realism,come on Brigadierjohn,don,t flip-flop the chance?give the blog some substance as to what future steps Britain can make in the global world of business and economics.

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  • 26. At 10:44pm on 04 Jun 2008, tearortwo wrote:

    I have lived in England for 30 years and I firmly believe that the English people have been and continue to be deliberately lied to over the the financing of the Scottish economy. Because Scotland and Scottish affairs receive so little meaningful, never mind factual, coverage in the news media English people are now sleepwalking into a crisis of enormous proportions.......for them! Their politicians are so concerned with maintaining power for themselves and their extensive entourage that honesty, integrity and openness with the electorate are stifled under a three line whip in the House of Commons in all major debates, and Scotish independence does not even figure in any of them. The shameful reluctance of the Scottish Labour MP's to criticise their Westminster leaders over the recent hardships suffered by their Scottish constituents and demand help and attention for their exteme plight is only to be expected given their past history of deceit and collusion to maintain the status quo. Independence is a worrying concept for many people in Scotland but I am sure it will shortly become a far more worrying concept for everyone south of the border

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  • 27. At 11:39pm on 04 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    The purpose of Labour's Scottish MP's in Westminster

    1) To pick up their salaries.
    2) To claim their expenses.
    3) To eat, drink and be merry at tax payers expense (Scottish and English tax payers).
    3) To undermine Scots self-esteem at every opportunity and maintain the myth that Scots should be ever so grateful to have the Labour party and people like them them representing Scotland in Westminster.
    4) To not represent Scotland in Westminster
    if representing Scotland is in direct contrast to whatever Labour policy they have to vote on.

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  • 28. At 11:41pm on 04 Jun 2008, Happysurfer46 wrote:

    Brian

    Thanks for sign-posting the programme - absolutely fascinating.

    I'm amazed by the opportunities that were missed, but also fascinated by the opportunities that still exist. Interesting times and this programme should initiate an on-going, informed debate on what Scotland should do with its future energy wealth.

    One question - why is the UK Government's Energy HQ not in Aberdeen?

    PS Hope you enjoyed the United Reunion.

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  • 29. At 11:44pm on 04 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    In addition to my post #27

    What is the purposeof Labour's Scottish MP's in Westminster

    5) To vote on English only matters which they should have no right to vote on.

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  • 30. At 11:48pm on 04 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Tearortwo:

    "Independence is a worrying concept for many people in Scotland but I am sure it will shortly become a far more worrying concept for everyone south of the border"


    Can I ask why Scottish Independence would worry those South of the Border?

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  • 31. At 11:53pm on 04 Jun 2008, JohnMcDonald_London wrote:

    It's the oil money, stupid! To paraphrase.

    When it clicks with the Scottish voter, and it will, it will only be a matter of a short time before independence happens.

    While independence is a good thing for so many reasons, it will be the realisation by the voters that they can take control of the wealth under the sea that will be the tipping point for Scotland.

    Frankly, it is all over bar the shouting.

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  • 32. At 11:53pm on 04 Jun 2008, belovedsceptic wrote:

    Hayley who? I have to say at its commencement that this was a very uneven piece, Bay City Rollers, Lisbon Lions, Rant against Thatcher.... a cross between the worst of Frontline Scotland and Gordon Brewer on a bad day...... does he ever have a good one!!!

    But on balance a well researched programme, with some very good angles, why is it that Hayley has kept her light under her bushel? is it a case that BBC Scotland dont understand business? It wouldnt surprise me, this was probably one of the more intelligent non diddly dee productions to come from the Beeb in Scotland for a long while, a little less time on Newsnicht and abit more on intelligent programmes like this mean that we can set a genuine Scottish broadcasting agenda, we do like to be informed, but in a little more than 30 minute Jack and Jill programmes that producers are turning out for C D and E social economic punters who are probably watching Big Brother.

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  • 33. At 00:03am on 05 Jun 2008, Poor_Richard wrote:

    One of the truly remarkable things about the Scots is that they have enormous wealth on their doorstep but allow themselves to be told that it can benefit no one but their neighbours.

    For how much longer, one wonders, can this curious delusion persist? Wake up. You've been fleeced and are still being fleeced. Compare and contrast the experience of the Norwegians over the past thirty or so years.

    "Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed."
    Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1739)

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  • 34. At 00:10am on 05 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Just wait till the next Elections or even the referendum.

    ;-)

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  • 35. At 00:49am on 05 Jun 2008, Bodincus wrote:

    Don't expect any sensible comment from anybody out of Scotland, though...

    All other Brits have been treated to the tune of a movie instead of this fine report, and it isn't available on the BBC iplayer too...

    (WHY?)

    To add insult to injury, the movie on air outwit Scotland was "Minority Report", a dark futuristic action movie where an alternative reality and pre-emption are the very fabric of the script.

    No movie could have been so pertinent to the UK Government attitude toward Scots when the black gold comes into play.

    Could the mods please pass a message to the iplayer crew? Can we have this report available, please? ...what are you afraid of? ;-)

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  • 36. At 01:41am on 05 Jun 2008, BrianHillEdinburgh wrote:

    Forget the statistics, they are worthless, listen to the politicians and movers and shakers of the period re the importance of Scottish Oil to the BRITISH economy.

    Tony Benn quite honestly tells us Oil was of prime importance to Britain which was almost bankrupt after the OPEC Oil price hike of 1973 which led to the winter of discontent. Oil got the UK out of serious financial difficulties. So much for England subsidising Scotland.

    (Those of us who knew London in the 60's and 70's will tell you of the transformation there since the Oil revenues began to flow into the London treasury).

    Even that arch English nationalist Sir Bernard Ingham spoke quite eloquently about how Oil save the UK economy in the 70's and of how the UK couldn't get the Oil out of the ground quick enough.

    Then with eyes bulging he accuses the Scots of being greedy, selfish, uncaring etc because they have the audacity to demand the money from their own natural resource, a resource that has been clearly subsiding the UK (English) economy for 3 decades.

    His performance was straight out of some second rate vaudeville act.

    This is just the beginning of the truth about Scottish Oil reserves. The facts will soon be so glaringly obvious that even Scottish Unionist apologists like Brian Taylor will have difficulty trying to shore up the Unionist cause.

    Would Scotland be better off as an Independent state? Do me a favour!! Would any of us be better off winning £50 million on the lottery?

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  • 37. At 03:32am on 05 Jun 2008, Taiwancheuchter wrote:

    ME,ME ME:Has anybody actually stopped to think what would happen to our neighbors if we took back the oil revenue from our territorial waters ,doesn't sound like it .

    No matter what the dreamers try and make out we are only part of a bigger picture. Removing the money from oil from the Westminster purse would cause devastation in the countries deprived of access to the funds and lets face it the UK isn't making a lot of money from anywhere else these days.

    Now ,maybe if we were to get control it and then govern the expenditure to our Celtic brothers and aye "Angolo Saxon "friends because lets face it they're they're going to need help .

    Anyway,going by the past performance of our Scottish politicians ; would you want them to get a hold of the cash.

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  • 38. At 04:57am on 05 Jun 2008, muitoquente wrote:

    I saw the program and was livid at what that cheeky Bernard Ingham had to say about the "greedy" SNP only being in it for the oil money. How stupid does he think we are? The SNP has been around since the 1920s and has always looked towards an independent Scotland. Armed with what we know nowadays, Ingham's comments are utterly disrespectful and unwelcome, they hark to a past era. The UK has been in control of the oil proceeds for long enough and we have WHAT legacy to show for it? Deteriorating social standards, mass emmigration of young people, illegal wars, a pathetic police system, cash-strapped NHS it breaks my heart to think of the missed opportunities we could have had for Scotland.

    A few things i have to say

    I thought it seemed a wee bit cheesy towards the end when the lady spoke of the utopia that Scotland has become thanks to our oil. In particular Aberdeen and the NE. It felt slightly propaganda esque. At least we all switched the TV sets off with a contented feeling in our stomachs knowing how wonderful Scotland now is.

    Why would you want to "share" the oil with the rest of the UK when Westminster is only squandering the precious one-chance-only proceeds made from the oil. What about the history of Scotland, what about our self-respect?

    I am SICK TO DEATH of fellow Scots sitting about and farting! It's an embarassment how we are viewed by Westminster. I will never stop believing in Scotland and I wish people would stand up and see for themselves what self-determination is about, what it does for a country. I would even suggest people go over and take a look at Ireland who came from nothing to where they are. They are our closest cousins and they got it right a long time ago. Without oil.

    Doesn't anybody think there is a serious problem when Scottish people ridicule ourselves, ridicule our anthem or Scotland, are embarassed of most things Scottish? This state of mind is left on colonised peoples the world over and we can abate that "Scottish cringe" once and for all.

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  • 39. At 05:10am on 05 Jun 2008, cruiskeen wrote:

    Well, the programme presented by your colleague Hayley Millar was certainly interesting. It did'nt actually reveal any surprises. And it certainly did not focus very long on the matter that almost 60% of today's oil price is due to the dubious practice of "speculative trading".

    But it did tell us that everyone except "Joe Public" is profiting from the oil.

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  • 40. At 05:22am on 05 Jun 2008, muitoquente wrote:

    Excuse me taiwaincheuchter, but what's so corrupt about Scottish Politicians compared to those in Westminster? How could the Scottish politicians possibly waste the money any more spectacularly than Westminster politicians? (RE your final statement).

    In fact with our totey population there would be less places for such corruption to hide.

    The rest of the UK will look after itself, can introduce more service industry and such, but I for one will no longer be ruled by such an incompetent bunch of wasters in a distant London they call "The City" a place so over-represented in our media and influencing us every day.

    I am 20 years old (half-English to boot) and I want to spend my life in a functioning and independent Scotland but not in a scrounging apologising wimp of a country!

    And yes I will be painting my face blue and no I don't hate the English at all but English is something we are not.

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  • 41. At 05:24am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    I'm sorry but IMO Ingham and his like are scum.

    To echo what was said upthread, please please please wake up my fellow Scots. Just vote yes.

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  • 42. At 06:17am on 05 Jun 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Secret oil finds dossier released


    The North Sea industry was in its infancy in 1974
    A secret report written 30 years ago has been released, stating Scotland's oil revenues could have made a case for repealing the Act of Union.
    The advice from economist Gavin McCrone was prepared for ministers and is now available for the public to view.

    He said the significance of North Sea oil finds remained in large measure disguised from the public.

    But in a covering letter he said he may be giving an SNP government the benefit of too many doubts.

    The paper, which is now available for the public to view at the National Archives in Kew, London, was obtained last month by the Scottish National Party under freedom of information legislation.


    In the previously confidential advice to ministers, Professor McCrone said that an independent Scotland could be transformed by oil revenues and become a leading power in Europe.

    His report, The Economics of Nationalism Re-examined, said that estimates from the SNP that oil could yield £800m by 1980 were far too low.

    He conceded that he may be giving an SNP government the benefit of too many doubts but said he wanted to explore whether a credible economic strategy was possible.

    'Chronic surplus'

    Professor McCrone argued that the economy of an independent Scotland, properly managed, would "tend to be in chronic surplus to a quite embarrassing degree".

    "Its currency would become the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian kroner," he wrote.

    "Just as deposed monarchs and African leaders have in the past used the Swiss franc as a haven of security... the Scottish banks could expect to find themselves inundated with a speculative inflow of foreign funds.

    "Thus for the first time since the Act Of Union was passed, it can now be credibly argued that Scotland's economic advantage lies in its repeal."

    'Years of betrayal'

    Kenny MacAskill, of the Scottish National Party, said the report was proof of 30 years of official lies, cover-ups and betrayal.

    In the 30 years since the research, Scotland had suffered low economic growth and manufacturing decline while at the same time oil wealth had "transformed" Canadian provinces and Arabian sheikdoms.



    '' 300 Years Earlier''

    The exact wording of the act was as follows:

    "That from and after the First Day of August 1747, no man or boy within that part of Great Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers of His Majesty's Forces, shall on any pretext whatsoever, wear or put on the clothes, commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little kilt, Trowes, Shoulder-Belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid or stuff shall be used for Great coats or upper coats, and if any such person shall presume after the first said day of August, to wear or put on the aforesaid garments or any part of them, every person so offending.... shall be liable to be transported to any of His Majesty's plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years."

    Conclusion


    Two examples of the union at work, one from the begining and one hopefully from the end, and no Brian Scotland does not have a deficit as Westminster secrectly acknowledged.

    Wansanshoo.



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  • 43. At 06:53am on 05 Jun 2008, jacquesmac wrote:

    Last Night's programme

    What a damp squib!

    More a "magazine" article than an in depth investigation; rather like the difference between the morning news on the BBC sofa and Radio 4, or 5 for that matter; no issues!

    Whatever happened to Panorama, This Week, Horizon and the investigative journalism of that ilk.

    The lady just seemed to like driving her wee blue car about Scotland and getting her photie taken in different locations with different prople,

    She had McCrone in front of her and phut!

    Missed opportunity for a journalism prize there my dear!

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  • 44. At 07:07am on 05 Jun 2008, Taiwancheuchter wrote:

    Dear #40 ,
    please see all this political nonsense for what it is .
    While I have no doubt of your nationalist fervor please step back and see the larger picture .
    Oil is not Scotland's savior ,oil is a commodity which is totally out of control there is no rhyme or reason to why the oil price is so high and the price WILL crash .
    In the future at these current prices gasoline/heating oil etc will have to be subsidized to such an extent that billions will be lost financing this .
    Also what happens when oil becomes to expensive to process we are talking about crude oil remember.

    So all the sums that the NUMPTY POLITIANS are coming out with today could be irrelevant tomorrow.

    I certainly didn't mean to say that Scottish politician's are corrupt nor do I imply Westminster ones are bent .

    'One reason for stopping someone becoming a politician, is the fact they want to be one"

    If your painting your face blue ,please don't use an oil based gloss.

    BRgds

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  • 45. At 08:01am on 05 Jun 2008, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    Brian,

    It's obvious that Scottish oil has been the saviour of Westminster over the years, and even more so now.

    It has helped to hide Westminsters mismanagement of the economy on a grand scale.

    There's no point telling the Scots not to depend on oil prices, because that's what Westminster has been doing for the last 30 years.

    Westminster are totally dependent on Scottish oil.

    A certain Bernard I must think that all oil in the world is his oil. I've never heard such reverse logic in my life: the Scots are utterly greedy because they want their own oil, so Westminster will continue to take it all to keep Scottish greed under control.

    What nonsense.

    The programme didn't go into the "real deal" at the moment (i.e. why doesn't Scotland get control of its own oil resources), and as earlier people have said, showed some nice pictures of cars, boats, helicoptors and oil rigs.
    Mr McCrone did say that oil revenues have been a totally wasted opportunity (i.e. the oil revenue has been wasted on shoring up Westminsters mistakes).

    What a waste, and all the more reason for Scotland to manage all of its own oil revenue.

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  • 46. At 08:11am on 05 Jun 2008, jacquesmac wrote:

    After posting my billet a few minutes ago, a sort of visceral thing, I sat down and did a wee bit of thinking. What a brilliant idea, someone should patent it, engage brain, think then talk. None the less visceral reactions have a value.

    If last nigt's programme by Hayley Millar was lacking in depth and a missed opportunity why so?

    Was it that Hayley was grandstanding the programme and projecting herself in a sort of "holiday photosnap" way? This is me in front of BBC Alba, on an oil rig, with important people, talking to M Thachers henchman, nice Terry Wogan Bernard, getting ever so near to a mythical report writer etc etc.

    Was she a lightweight when what was needed was a heavyweight or at the least a bruiser?

    Would Brian Taylor have given us the "goods"? Probably not.

    Is Brian Taylor incapable of doing so, was Hayly similarly so? Probably not

    Why then did this opportunity go a begging?

    Maybe it is because that the only way any sort of programme of this type would have got past the "internal censors" of the BBC was that it had to be presented the way it was. The BBC has become so politicised towards Nulab and SLab that it has become the propaganda arm of that political criminal group better than Goebbels could have ever done or dreamed.

    In reality the BBC doesn't do big investigative journalism anymore.

    They contract it in and therebye it can be controlled.

    The people getting the contracts toe the line or they lose money this financial year.

    So, these entrepreneurs become closed NuLab, maybe even fully faid up members and the circle is nearly closed.

    Add to that a few well placed people within the Beeb, presenters and otherwise placed, on short term contacts and the circle is squared.

    What then ITV?

    They couldn't run a whelk stall. They are hardly making any money since they were caught out defrauding joe public over phone in "banking"

    They needed the Government to allow them to open up more advertising time per hour in order to compete (aka make money).

    STV has sold their radio holdings to an Indian company. How would you feel about the whole of STV being run from Bombay?

    This is not anti Indian, I could substitute Peking or Sao Paulo or Rupert Murdoch kitchen for Bombay and my feeing would be the same. Scottish news and a Scottish 4th estate for the Scottish people, non?

    Channel 4, were here there is hope but do they have a Scottish office and a Scottish budget. How can we get Jon Snow on side?

    SKY




    (this page is deliberately empty for readers comments)








    As for the printed word in Scotland. I should say that words fail me but they don't and are unprintable.

    The major newspapers in Scotland are so biased against the SNP as to be dark works of art that could be compared to media control from the Nazi book of truth, enlightenment and journalism.

    Where to now?

    Me I am off to Toulouse for the day and tonight a wee bittle of red biddy with a decent dinner.

    Wherefor Scotland, tonight, today and tomorrow?



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  • 47. At 08:26am on 05 Jun 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    I usually don't post in these "We have oil - we should be independent" threads.

    As stated previously, they are predictable, tired and generally degenerate into vitriolic rants.

    But I often wonder about this "we're subsidising the English" and "no-one down south even pays attention to Scottish matters."

    If Scotland, as we are now told, is in surplus, is it not funding the poorer parts of the UK, i.e. Northern Ireland and Wales?

    Do those who cry so vehemently about the funding package resent them so much as they appear to resent English people benefitting?

    And consider Northern Ireland - whereas Wales and Scotland both have Labour MPs and have at times had Conservative MPs - they have had no representation in any government.

    I judge think we are very quick to claim we are hard done by here but quick to forget the rest of the UK (and by that I don't mean England).

    No need to respond, I have no desire to get involved in the oh-so-frequent squabbles seen on this blog - I was just raising a point.



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  • 48. At 08:37am on 05 Jun 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    On the issue rasied by jacquesmac, sorry, I do not mean a threadjack.

    But I know a fair number of journalists, both in broadcast and print- not one is pro-independence .

    Perhaps, the SNP might want to look into that - why is it they alienate the media?

    Those in favour of independence might want to ask, not why are so many journalists pro-union - but why the SNP cannot attract them to their cause.

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  • 49. At 08:39am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    That's the whole point. No-one but a select few of already wealthy Middle Englanders ever did benefit from oil. The Welsh and the Northern Irish never benefitted either and equally so, offensively so, great swathes of the English media dismiss them as subsidy junkies too - completely missing the point that England and the SE and London in particular are the real subsidy junkies here. Beyond that Scots have a right to point to the injsutices that afflict Scotland. We have no right of obligation to take on the concerns of Wales or NI as well - sympathetic as many of us are.

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  • 50. At 09:21am on 05 Jun 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    You see this is what I didn't, now I'm getting dragged in.

    Surely as Northern Ireland and Wales generated less revenue than they get in public spending - which we are led to believe is the case - and, again, if, Scotland was paying in more than it received, then surely Scotland was paying for Northern Ireland and Wales.

    But, as usual, the argument made is it's the English who are the bad guys - "stealing our oil".

    This is why I refrain from comenting on these boards, the entrenched views make it pointless.

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  • 51. At 09:23am on 05 Jun 2008, minuend wrote:

    London got the whole North Sea Oil pie, Aberdeen got the crumbs, Scotland got nothing.

    Scotland does not have a structural deficit, and thats without oil revenues.

    Include revenues from North Sea oil, and exclude the excesses of UK government spending, you reach the conclusion that Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations on this planet.

    The reality is of course is that Unionism impoverishes us all in Scotland. Only Nationalism can eradicate poverty in Scotland.

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  • 52. At 09:26am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    You have to be a Unionist to get a job in the English or Scottish media. Don't believe me? Just ask our resident Unionist Brian Taylor ;-)

    Both the media and the business community are seeing the sense of becoming independent. The debate on independence has undergone a paradigm shift since the SNP came to power last year.

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  • 53. At 09:48am on 05 Jun 2008, william1957 wrote:

    Brian,

    The rants from some on this blog are becoming tedious, and I am sorry to see another thoughtful respondant Anglophone@10 sign off for the last time.

    Whatever the future holds there are more important and immediate issues facing Scotland: drugs, alcohol, education, public sevices, environment, ect.

    Any chance of leaving the Holyrood hothouse, the prospect of independence - or not - aside for while, and blogging on something of more immediate concern to most ordinary punters?

    Best Wishes,

    William.

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  • 54. At 09:53am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    No-one is saying "the English" stole our oil. Of course there are English, Welsh and NI as well as Scots MPs who have colluded in this. But the question is which populus has benfitted most from these Scottish subsidies? It isn't NI or Wales, Scotland or indeed large swathes of northern England. It's the SE and London that has all the while being extremely hostile to all outside it, that arrogantly and aggressively talks of bailing us out when the truth is Scotland has bailed them out. If a Welsh Or NI Irish person were to talk similarly about bailing Scotland out then I would be similarly outraged but I am yet to a meet a person or commentator from any of these countries who so callously dismisses Scotland's contribution.

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  • 55. At 09:55am on 05 Jun 2008, Bangingonabout wrote:

    Whatever your political persuassions are, it is clear from the Programme what a squandered opportunity North Sea Oil has been.

    Originally used to get the British economy out of a hole, it has continually been used to get us out of holes our politicians have dug for us.

    I don't necessarily think that the politicians in an independent Scotland would have been any better during the 70's and 80's. Oil revenues would have probably been used to prop up ailing industries for longer than they should have been and it would have gone done the drain just as fast.

    What is it about our politicians that makes them so short sighted. Well, we vote them in so perhaps the short-sightedness is ours. The "Jam today" mentality rather than "No Jam today so we can afford to have butter tomorrow". We are increasingly becoming a "me" society. Just look at the blatant opportunism of the truck drivers trying to get a 13% pay rise (they earn well above average pay).

    As a society we seem to be breeding complacency. When I was at school I wanted to do the best I possibly could in my exams, etc. My own kids, taking exams now, seem to think that "doing just enough" is fine - an attitude they certainly didn't get from me.

    Perhaps we need a large scale disaster or something to teach us the value of working together for the common good and planning for the future again.


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  • 56. At 09:57am on 05 Jun 2008, BrianSH wrote:

    Yes the anti-independence cronies really stink in the Scottish media. There is a complete lack of representation for AT LEAST 40% of the Scottish Nation and its national identity.

    Lets face it, the BBC exists as a tool to serve the Westminister government. The Dr. Kelly incident showed how readily the BBC cowers in the corner whenever the government disapproves.

    Really the film last night was more of a propaganda piece. If I was a journalist put in front of the people responsible for the mismanagement of Scotland I would at least have asked some more serious questions instead of looking for picture opportunity.

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  • 57. At 10:02am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    I am relatively new to this forum but I myself am tiring of these posters who are nothing but cry-babies demanding the forum and debates be catered exclusively to them. If they wish to leave then so be it.

    I am also tired of the independence debate because IMO only an ignoramus or a fool cannot see the logic of becoming independent. It's the same tired old Scottish-unionists scraping defeat from victory or English types who can barely conceal their contempt and wholly undemocratic ignorance on this issue. I really want to be restrained, I don't want to offend but I feel these people need to be offended. Their precious complacency has cost Scotland and the Scots dear for long enough. We should have been independent decades ago so for me this debate is absurd and a non-starter. No wonder where I live the Scots are generally liked but somehow not taken seriously. It's time.

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  • 58. At 10:10am on 05 Jun 2008, Chris Morrison wrote:

    I thought the programme last night was pretty fair considering how biased the BBC seems to be these days. Could have done with a bit more bite and asking some probing questions (particularly of McCrone) but in general pretty good.

    I was astonished by the following figures though:

    North Sea total Tax revenue (Corporation Tax + Oil Tax + Petroleum Reserve Tax) = £9.9 Billion per year (2007)

    Petrol + Kerosene + Diesel Tax revenue = £30billion per year (2007)

    The Oil industry and service industry employs 500,000 people in Scotland. Lets be pessimistic assume they all earn on average £30,000 (oil is a good career path and average earnings are likely to be substantially higher).

    Income tax for these people = £5000 * 500,000 = £2.5Billion

    Total direct tax revenue from North Sea oil = £42.4Billion

    We can caluclate an independent Scotlands share as at least 90% of the Oil tax = £9Billion
    All the income tax = £2.5Billion
    10% of the refined tax = £3Billion

    Scottish income from North Sea Oil = £14.5Billion (minimum)

    This figure is pessimistic as it ignores exploration fees and drilling fees, the large increase in the price of oil this year. The fact that the 90% of oil fields in Scotland are the most profitable etc etc.

    Scottish Block Grant 2008 = £29billion
    Scottish Income from North Sea Oil = £14.5Billion

    Now given that north sea oil employs 1/10th of our population how much cash do the other 9/10ths generate I would reckon it far exceeds £14.5billion.

    We are being ripped off.

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  • 59. At 10:27am on 05 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    "The Oil industry and service industry employs 500,000 people in Scotland."

    Given that the Scottish workforce is somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 million, that seems a preposterous figure.

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  • 60. At 10:33am on 05 Jun 2008, DrKF77 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 61. At 10:40am on 05 Jun 2008, Mike Wicks wrote:

    What makes people think that politicians in an independent Scotland would behave any differently from any other sort of politician? Isn't the first law of politics the maintenance of power, and everything else can just be forgotten about?

    (Personally, I think Donald Dewar forgot this axiom when he crafted the Scotland Act, in a fit of political correctness. All he's done is given strength to his political opponents in the name of "fairness". "Consensus Politics" is another oxymoron in my opinion).

    I was told by a friend who supports an independent Scotland that he did so because "We would be better off". As a Scientist, who is "we", "would be" implies no certainty, "better off" by how much and compared to who as this implies somebody is going to lose out?

    I think a more interesting general question to ask would be what proportion of wealth (GDP) in an independent Scotland would be spent on public services, when it is generally accepted that anything over c.45% is injurious to a nation's competitiveness.

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  • 62. At 10:41am on 05 Jun 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    Brian,

    One of the matters raised by this particular blog is not so much the issue of the potential size of North Sea oil reserves but the consistent unilateral democratic fraud that has been perpetated by successive Westminster Governments of all political persuasions for decades now.

    This started in the 1970s with the Callaghan Government and has continued without exception by every Westminster Government since.

    And, for the record, we should be clear that 'It is Scotland's oil'. I am an ex-oil-industry employee and I have before me a book called The Political Economy of North Sea Oil by D.I MacKay and G. A. Mackay published in 1975. On page 168 it says this: 'The legal position need not detain us. It is more complex than is often realised, but it is difficult to deny the proposition that, given the terms of the Geneva Convention, an independent Scotland would acquire the right to exploit the oil and gas fields thus far established.' I believe this position was later confirmed and defined more precisely by the International Court of Jurisprudence in The Hague at the specific request of the then Westminster Government.

    What we know in the interim is that the McGrone Commission, 30 years ago, made an indisputable case for the economic position of an 'independent Scotland'. What we also know is that successive Westminster Governments concealed every aspect of this report under secrecy laws.

    And what is too often forgotten is that at the time of devolution, the Westminster Government of the day, altered the pre-existing internationally-established boundaries within the UKCS to the specific detriment of Scotland. In other words, the price to be paid for devolution was made clear.

    I would suggest that if these frauds and deceits were perpetrated by the powers that be in a so-called Third World country election, then the usual UN observers would be declaring the elections null and void and demanding a re-run.

    What we have now is a situation which Hollywood scriptwriters could not imagine about the emerging Holyrood drama. It seems to me that there is a completely new set of dynamics at play here - and you should be writing on these - of which the current price of oil is only one. The issue of oil is, to me, an ancillary one, the key issue being the blatant overturning of democracy by every Westminster government since that of Jim Callaghan. Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown, their respective Chancellors and Energy ministers are all implicated.

    The question that now needs to be addressed is this: Is the time coming when a 'reckoning' will be taken for all these decades of democratic deceit and deficiency? And if external forces (the rising price of oil) are at work here to an unprecedented extent, just how intriguing is it that the balance of power in this scenario is deserting Westminster by the day?

    The First Minister's issuance of an 'invoice' to Mr. Darling is, I suspect, only the opening salvo which will intensify even more over the next few months. And every trucker, fisherman, farmer who marches on Westminster, completely independent of any reliance of the FM, is also serving to take another few bucketfuls of sand from the steadily eroding base of the Westminster Government.

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  • 63. At 10:42am on 05 Jun 2008, Chris Morrison wrote:

    I'm just quoting last nights employment figures. I think i am quoting correctly but may be wrong.

    An article in the herald says that it is UK wide that 500000 are employed but it gets several other facts and figures wrong so I can't gaurantee it is more accurate than my memory. Even if it was UK wide the vast majority of these jobs are in Scotland.


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  • 64. At 10:50am on 05 Jun 2008, gibbyS_unclie wrote:

    All the talk of who has benefitted from oil revenues does, in my view, miss the bigger picture. The question to me is whether an independent Scotland with the benfit of revenues from North Sea oil is better placed economically to face the future than it is as part of the UK. I believe that it is. Why? Energy (or the lack of it) will become the predominant issue for the world in the next 10 years. $135 barrel oil is not a blip. Demand for oil from developing countries means that worldwide demand from oil is outstripping (or about to outstrip) supply. There are unlikely to be any new discoveries of major reserves which will reverse this (and even if there is, this is likley only to delay the problem for a few years). This is the theory of peak oil - the Association of Peak Oil runs a website which provides much more information on this.

    The world is hugely dependent on oil for energy (for heating, transport etc) but also for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, plastics, etc. It is no coincidence that world population has increased at the rate it has over the past century or so. This has been fuelled by the availability of cheap energy - oil. It allows for increases in agricultural production through fertilisers and fuel for the mechanisation of agriculture.

    I think that an understanding of peak oil is of key importance to the debate over independence. I think that the outlook for the world is gloomy - consider the convergence of peak oil, global warming, water shortages, the increasing problems of top soil erosion, etc and how this will effect food production in an over populated world. Food prices have risen markedly over the last year or so but I belive this is only the start. The question is would Scotland be better placed to face these prospects as an independent nation with the benefit of North Sea oil and its potential renewable energy resources or within the UK. From an eceonmic perspective, I think it is the former.

    I appreciate that (a) there are many other issues which also need to be taken into account in the independence debate; and (b) that arguing for independence on these gfrounds may be (and is!) greedy and selfish. I think, however, that the outlook is fairly bleak and that if the Scottish people fully understood the outlook, they may well decide that the economic arguments outweigh the other issues that arise in the debate over independence. If you look around the world, we are already seeing other countries realise how important a commodity oil is and how increasingly important it will become - for example, look at the approach Venzuela and Russia are taking to the conytrol of their oil and gas reserves.





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  • 65. At 10:50am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    Great post freedjmac

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  • 66. At 11:06am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    There's a chance our politicians at independence will behave as politicians do the world over. But the difference is we will have full and direct recourse to remove them and their governments if they do. But I take a more optimistic view generally. When I look at Scandinavian countries and whilst not wanting to idealise them unfairly their Politicans seem much more in tune and of the people and for them than ours. I think being a small country helps as well.

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  • 67. At 11:10am on 05 Jun 2008, darsielatimer wrote:

    Relatively speaking, last nights programme was good. Positive, intelligent work of analysis and depth rarely seen outside of Eorpa, with good production values. I had no idea that Shetland has a £1B, independently negotiated oil wealth fund - Mr Clarke, great work fella!
    Brian, if you look at what Salmond is asking for here, it doesnt make much sense on the face of it, and was well rebuffed by Darling, but in terms of raising the issue again it has worked a treat and was well worth doing.
    Quite simply I cannot wait for the referendum to roll around in 2 years. Perhaps if Scotland had an honest balance sheet to consider, with whisky and oil both accounted for, I would be able to make an honest assessment of the merits of the union. But, frankly, Im sick of being lied to. Independence, yes please!

    By the way, I thought Bernard Ingham was absolutely hilarious last night. I think he would make an amazing dinner party guest.

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  • 68. At 11:19am on 05 Jun 2008, Chris Morrison wrote:

    @Mick Wicks

    From one scientist (ok engineer) to another.

    "I think a more interesting general question to ask would be what proportion of wealth (GDP) in an independent Scotland would be spent on public services, when it is generally accepted that anything over c.45% is injurious to a nation's competitiveness."

    "would be" implies no certainty how can we know until we are independent. We would need to vote for a prudent government. That might not exisist but it doesnt exisist at present either and has shafted us over for at least 30 years.

    "generally accepted" is by no means proof. Far to often generally accepted is read as fact wherase it often means a massive degree of uncertainty.

    "injurious to a nation's competitiveness" by how much and compared to who?


    I apologise for this nit-picking post but you couldn't have one paragraph asking for facts rather than hypothesis followed by another paragraph full of hypothesis.

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  • 69. At 11:25am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    Where can I see this documentary? I live on the continent. Would be grateful if anyone could give me the nod.

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  • 70. At 11:36am on 05 Jun 2008, Alan wrote:

    Yawnnnn! Anyone for tea?

    I agree with those who say that this was a daft subject for this blog as it can (and did) only cause a repeat of much of what has been said before.

    My opinion is that the subject should be dropped until closer to the supposed referendum date.

    After all, lots of things can happen before then. Personally, my money is on the repeal of the devolution Acts, given that, from the point of view of Westminster, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly are so obviously failed experiments. They are bad for the health of the UK, so should go (Gordon did say he would do anything necessary to protect the Union). Keep Stormont, though, 'cos that enables us to send more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan rather than have them policing Ulster.

    Can't wait.

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  • 71. At 11:37am on 05 Jun 2008, Poor_Richard wrote:

    I am afraid that all the evidence is pointing to the irresistible conclusion that the SNP prediction in its manifesto of 1974 (recently provided on this forum by brigodeejohn) that London would take all of the oil from the Scots and leave them with nothing was indeed prescient and is as applicable today as it was then.

    Sad though this spectacle is, no one will help you out of your predicament if you persist in denying that you are in one. A little courage and daring is required, of the type displayed by the minority SNP government. If you make it a majority government at the next Holyrood elections, the world will begin to be your oyster.

    A little friction with the overbearing neighbour who is eating all your porridge may be unavoidable in the bygoing, but nothing ventured nothing gained. "You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns (...)" (Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1734)

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  • 72. At 11:45am on 05 Jun 2008, X_Sticks wrote:

    The Facts:
    Scotland has been lied to and robbed by Wesminster for 40 years. The oil wealth that has been generated over this time has been squandered by successive "British" governments who have largely used it to continue the pretence that they are a "world" player.

    The Future:
    SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

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  • 73. At 11:48am on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    It's the subject that won't go away and rightfully so because it symbolises the utter contempt with which the Scottish people and Scotland are viewed by Westminster.

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  • 74. At 11:50am on 05 Jun 2008, Mike Wicks wrote:

    "We would need to vote for a prudent government."

    "That might not exist but it doesn't exist at present either and has shafted us over for at least 30 years."

    One man's prudence is another man's folly? Who is "us"? Who is "we"? Who is going to make sure "we" vote in the "prudent" way?

    ""generally accepted" is by no means proof. "

    Indeed - we all need to beware of sweeping generalisations. See all previous posts!

    "injurious to a nation's competitiveness" by how much and compared to who?

    Hmmm.... put it another way. How many countries in the world spend more than 45% of their GDP on public services?

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  • 75. At 11:54am on 05 Jun 2008, deltazippy wrote:

    You know, forgetting about the SNP for a moment, it is clear now that the Scottish people have been lied to repeatedly by successive Westminster Governments regarding Scotlands' oil and the value of it. Even in recent years, ministers have down-played the importance of the Scottish oil to the overall British economy.

    I have lived in Scotland all my life, and was astonished to find that Scotland produces more oil than Kuwait - I guess most people in England don't know that, which is why we hear claims that 'England subsidises Scotland'.

    I do feel the programme was a wasted opportunity, with no rebuttal of Inghams offensive 'greed' nonsense, and no questions regarding the McCrone report suppressed by Government for thrity years. But it echoes much of the Scottish media, who serve masters in London.

    No, it is an obscenity that a country with oil wealth like Scotland has to go cap in hand to another country every year to beg for money.

    I would suggest the best way forward is true fiscal autonomy or independence for Scotland with control of the oil revenue. Anything less is a disgrace, and leaves Scotland as the laughing stock of the oil producing world.

    Scotland, the richest poorest country in the world.

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  • 76. At 11:55am on 05 Jun 2008, BrianHillEdinburgh wrote:

    The BBC's Oil prog was like lancing a boil....painful now but a 100 times more painful and damaging if allowed to fester.

    Producing Haley with her little girl at the fair approach was the BBC's attempt at taking the sting out of one of the SNP's most dangerous weapons.

    Unfortunately for the Unionists it only served to give further credence to the SNP's argument.

    Every programme, no matter how lightly approached, 'jolly hockey sticks, alls well in the garden who needs Oil and Independence anyway', simply re-enforces the idea that Oil is like gold.

    That this 'gold' belongs to Scotland, that Scotland has been lied to for decades, cheated for decades and that the only way Scots will see the benefits from Oil is through Independence.

    Personally I hope Brown doesn't give us an extra farthing of Oil between now and the referendum (I say extra!!!! a farthing would have been something!!!!).

    We can repay him and past UK PMs for all their kindnesses at the ballot box.

    I've just had a flash: Gordon standing for Holyrood in 2011 to rally the Labour Party and re-shape it for a post Independent Scotland following a yes vote in 2010.....Mr Cameron having already taken on his mantle at Westminster.....you heard it here first!!!

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  • 77. At 11:56am on 05 Jun 2008, sailorjimagain wrote:

    Anglophone; I suspect, contrary to your given impression - that you rather like this sort of blog.
    Your dissertation; while scholarly and no doubt the result of hands-on experience; is condescending to say the least. It is a great pity that this blog doesn't include sound - otherwise I'm sure you would have finished your first paragraph with a snigger and sigh of superiority. The use of the words and phrases such as 'paranoid' , 'persecution', Romantics and the ultimate 'rather narrow understanding', suggests a very clear picture of a person who considers themselves superior in every way. Well, as my old grandma used to say: "It's not what you are but what you think you are".
    However your uses of other words such as 'future' and 'doubtful' cause me no little concern. These are almost exactly the words used by politicians previously when 'grinding' their particular 'axes'. Perhaps you have missed the point in that this argument concerns three groups; the P.P.P.S. ( Paranoid Persecuted, Romantic Scots) who number around 5 million, their neighbours south of the border (and there is one) who number about 55 million and the central Government in Westminster.
    Now! even you will surely appreciate that if the last two are removed from the equasion; the fintite supplies of oil you refer to will at least - if properly managed - produce enough surplus income to build a reserve revenue which will help to ensure continued prosperity for the first group?
    As for prediction of future oil supplies and economic pricing mechanism - where was that crystal ball in the past and particulary; why did it not warn of all this current Sub-prime fiasco? Incidentally; the price of oil fell significantly today and the value of the dollar is rising! Having read this; perhaps I'm falling into the trap you are obviously in. Ah hell! so what? I've nothing better to do, I'm just a retired, embittered, paranoid, seemingly persecuted, romantic old fogey trying to live on the pittance my country allows me as a reward for putting up with all the mushroom manure that's being served up.
    PS Have they got round the problem of drilling operations interfering with submarine sonar systems?

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  • 78. At 12:03pm on 05 Jun 2008, darsielatimer wrote:

    Hmm, am I getting too carried away? I just think that we should have an oil fund, and that Mrs T should not have wasted it all so spectacularly. Given the likelihood of a Tory government, and the positive revisionism of The Lady's neoliberalism by todays political classes, I see no reason why it won't happen all over again unless we secede. Mrs Ts policies wasted oil for the whole of the UK, and, bluntly, it is a devil take tha hindmost world out there, and David Cameron would be the first to say it.

    Dutch disease is the term economists use to describe when a natural resources boom actually has a strongly adverse effect on the country of extraction, due to a rising currency, and then falling exports etc.
    In my opinion, looking back over the last 30 years, economists will one day refer to "Scottish disease" to describe a resources boom which is then coopted by a larger neighbour, in return for a derided and misunderstood block grant and fudged political settlement. This alongside a funding formula which serves to overinflate public sector jobs resulting in the crowding out of the private sector.
    We would be mad not to capitalise fully, and retain the oil for ourselves.
    @bluelaw
    If you go to the iplayer, and type in "truth lies oil" into the search engine, you should find the programme there.
    Now, wheres my mug of tea?

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  • 79. At 12:11pm on 05 Jun 2008, Chris Morrison wrote:

    A quck google search (can't find much info and it isn't my field of expertise) says that the average EU public spend was 47% of GDP (2002 as I can't find later figures, for reference Scotlands spending was 52% at that time).

    If that's true then Scotland would be better than average within the EU.

    Yes our public spending is far higher than somewhere like the US but would we really want to lower our public spending to their levels at the expense of our health, education, justice etc?

    It has to be remembered though whilst working with these figures that they ahve to be taken with a large pinch of salt.
    They do not include figures for Scotlands oil or earnigns paid from London (for example none of the tax from Tesco or employees is accounted for as Scottish).

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  • 80. At 12:20pm on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    Thanks but it won't let me download it because I live outside of the UK. I find this strange considering the recent emphasis on the BBC becoming an international player.

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  • 81. At 12:35pm on 05 Jun 2008, Chris Morrison wrote:

    This post will never get past the moderators as they work for the BBC.

    You could search for a UK proxy on google and use it to watch the programme on iPlayer. This of course would be illegal unless you have a UK TV license. If you do have one then it is legal.

    I wont go into too many details but a goole search will tell you what to do.

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  • 82. At 12:36pm on 05 Jun 2008, jaz1974 wrote:

    I'd like to make some comments with reference to the BBC's television programme "Truth, Lies, Oil and Scotland" which aired last night.
    The main thing that came out of last night's programme for me was that, it's fairly clear that firstly, the oil companies are intentionally underestimating how much oil is left, so that the government doesn't tax them too much. This also serves to drive up the price of oil. Secondly, that the 'UK' government undoubtedly underplays the amount of money generated by the oil over the last 30 years, and its importance in keeping England from collapsing.
    I disliked the programme's implications that Scotland was getting a good deal, because it created jobs for the Aberdeen area. I dont think it's any secret that a large proportion of those employed by the oil industry in Aberdeen, are not Scottish. I used to travel on the train from Edinburgh to Fife, which is on the Aberdeen line. The train was constantly filled with workers travelling up from England to begin their 2 or 3 week shifts offshore.
    In my hometown area, which is only 130 miles away, the industry has no benefits to employment. Anything that was there has been moved to England. Namely, the oil rig manufacturers RGC in Methil which is now closed, and the Rosyth Naval dockyard, which employs around 2% of what it used to. Almost all of my friends were once skilled employees of the dockyard. After being made redundant, they were all forced into semi-skilled jobs such as security, courier delivery, or sales. Even in Dundee, Aberdeen's nearest neighbouring city, the benefits of the oil industry is negligible. Its for this very reason that the Dundee economy has had to re-invent itself as a centre of media, with the opening of numerous office blocks which still lie empty after several years.
    One saving grace in all this, is that people are finally waking up and realising the potential of what Scotland can become, with the wealth of Scottish oil behind it. I was overjoyed at the recent decision to deny the oil transportation companies the right to transfer oil from ship to ship in the Firth of Forth. Call me sceptical or paranoid, but in my opinion this was an attempt to set up a method of transporting the oil in such a way that would remove Scotland from the equation.
    The argument that Scotland cannot simply rely on the oil wealth to support it's economy, is nonsensical. Some of the most powerful countries in the world, such as Saudi Arabia, have nothing but oil and sand, and its certainly not the sand that's selling. Scotland has a more than solid base of industries such as media, fishing, tourism and science, which would be boosted by and support the oil based revenue. In addition to this, it's fairly clear that the oil revenue has been keeping the entire UK economy afloat for the last 20 years.
    To me its crazy that some people don't see/admit that this is one of the main reasons for the resistance to Scottish independence.
    [steps down from pedestal] :)

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  • 83. At 12:45pm on 05 Jun 2008, Steveh3 wrote:

    brian
    Well done for opening this blog, I am glad to see so many measured and legible responses.
    Hopefully it is becomming more apparent to all people who care for Scotland, just how poorly its been treated.
    Since oil was found we have lied too, cheated and kept in the dark.
    The state of Scotlands economy has always been poor and below the UK average, we have suffered massive unemployment and the distruction of our manufacturing industry, under thatcher and all through those hard years we where a major oil producer.
    Every westminster leader has squandered the oil reveue on political doctrine, weapons of mass distruction, following america into illegal wars, it is clear that all westminster governments have wasted scottish oil trying to maintain the status of world super power.
    There is enough time left to use the resource for the good of those who deserve it and thats the people of Scotland who have so far seen little benefit from the oil.
    Talking amongst the few who go on these blogs is not enough, the Scottish media has a duty to report the truth and it should be hard hitting not like that damp squib on TV last night.
    Steve h

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  • 84. At 1:04pm on 05 Jun 2008, ScottishCyclist wrote:

    What we shouldn't loose sight of in this debate is that oil has up until very recently has been the key player in the wider energy equation. This is starting to change.

    Given proper investment Scotland will provide key reserves of 'new' types of energy from wind and wave. Yes these are still coming of age, but when oil prices bite harder and international carbon treaties mean use of oil/carbon-based-fuels is penalised, Scotland's position to capitalise on its natural resources will be immense.

    However this requires investment. If Scotland controlled more/all of it's oil revenue it would be straightforward to have an energy investment policy aligned to Scotland's needs. Greater investment in renewalables energy research and investment in subsea inter-connectors along the East and West Coasts would be a start and would help ensure Scotland's future energy demands will be met and provide future income. Instead Westminster tells us we should be building nuclear plants and mis-handles and loses an opportunity to use cutting edge technology (with BP?) to allow more oil to be extracted from the North Sea.

    It's almost too depressing to think about.

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  • 85. At 1:21pm on 05 Jun 2008, DrKF77 wrote:

    OK, so I fell foul of the moderators myself! I've revised my posting, as clearly the first one offended somebody out there (although it was done in such general terms it could only really have offended you if you recognised yourself in what I wrote...)

    Unless it's the health and safety issues around building giant robot prize fighters at the end that caused me to be referred, I do hope this one gets through...

    My favourite contributors are those who proclaim also to be tired of the well-rehearsed arguments and intemperate language in blogs passim and express a desire to join us with our tea and scones in the corner (nice jam, peoplepowerparty – did you make it yourself?)… but, before they do so, have a tuppenceworth of argument and invective to ‘contribute’.

    No tea or scones for you, you cheeky devils! If you’re in the fight, you’re in the fight – don’t come over here begging for jam after going in to the throng and prodding combatants with a stick! Don’t you dare bring them over here!

    For what it’s worth, though, I do have an idea of my own. Rather than all this fruitless yakking, why don’t we settle the argument Robot-Wars style? All the unionists gather in one shed and build an automaton in the shape of an armed man and paint him all over in red, white and blue. Maybe he can have a flamethrower instead of one of his arms, or lasers coming out of his eyes. All the nationalists gather in another shed and build another humanoid robot killing machine and make him a little metal kilt. Maybe he has a chainsaw or shoots sharpened metal disks from his mouth. When everyone is ready, we can all gather in front of the parliament and watch them knock metal lumps out of one another.

    I don’t know how feasible any of this is (I’m an ideas man, not an engineer) but it would surely be more entertaining and enlightening, by this stage, than what has gone before.


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  • 86. At 1:23pm on 05 Jun 2008, Truth-Lies-Oil wrote:

    Brian et al.

    Good blog! Some of the best contributions that I have seen for some time.

    Should AS have asked for a share of the oil revenues? NO! This should have been done 30 years ago by the "Scottish" Labour party. Some hope, so now I am going to vote for the break up of the Union. Why? simply, the unionists give me no options that I find relevant to the 21st Century. Put another way if we were to share with Westminister the revenues on a 50:50 basis then it would not take a lot more to encourage me to stay signed up to a modified union. Hear lies my "modification", all scottish members of westminister are to be subserviant to the "Scottish" parties and enact the policies agreed in Edinburgh! Failing that then Edinburgh should have the veto over Westminister actions that are obviousley detrimental to Scotland. Is this federalism?

    As an aside, I see a number of comments on the shipbuilding industry in Scotland, 300 million turnover?? Take a look at Norway, 10 Billion pound turn over! What do they have that we don't? No empire, no Navy to speak of, no weak Labour, no incompetent unions and no poor management. Result, Success in a world market. Lessons to be learned there i feel?

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  • 87. At 1:24pm on 05 Jun 2008, sid the sceptic wrote:

    bluelaw ; would it surprise you to find out that last nights show was only shown in scotland. so the rest of GB'S UK never saw it and of course it was obviously not unmissable as it ain't on the iplayer. if the english were to see the programme it would blow the subsidy junkie scots crap that the unionist press peddle at the drop of a hat, right out of the water!! who is subsidisng who?? the bankers etc in "the city" of london have made and are making more as we speak, from oil, than scotland ever has. you say you are not in scotland at the present so you will have missed the uk energy minister on GMS this morning i thought i was back at primary school and this guy was telling me how thick i was. he was condescending, arrogant, ignorant and spent the whole interview putting our country down as if it were an insignificant little english county. more proof of what our neighbours actually thinks of us. sid

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  • 88. At 1:48pm on 05 Jun 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    A couple of points emerged on that show last night which would be obvious to all viewers:

    Oil revenues have been enormously important for the UK government. They paid for Margaret Thatcher's sado-monetarism.

    Far more of the wealth generated has percolated through to house prices in London and SE England than ever made it to any part of Scotland outside of Aberdeenshire.

    The cheek of those who took the money and then patronised Scotland from afar was shocking. Both Bernard Ingham and Tony Benn were simply breathtaking in their arrogance. Those interview clips should be shown over and over again on giant screens toured round Paisley, Coatbridge, Baillieston, Airdrie, Motherwell, Wishaw, Bellshill, Dumbarton, Bathgate, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Kilmarnock, to see how they go down with the people who might have benefited from the oil money but haven't....

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  • 89. At 2:14pm on 05 Jun 2008, SoutarJohnny wrote:

    Thanks BBC, as discussed further up the blog, Prof. McCrone could have been prompted a little bit more in regard to his 1974 report for the Scottish Office, but credit where credit is due.

    Could you please advise when we are also going to get a documentary into Scotland, Whisky Bonds and the UK Treasury?

    Thanks again

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  • 90. At 2:25pm on 05 Jun 2008, darwinsmonkey wrote:

    One slight problem with all of this is that regardless of how much or how little oil there is in the North Sea, the supplies are finite and the manufacture of oil products and their use are a major source of pollution. Recently there have been some very encouraging reports where biological processes (not bio-diesel) have been developed to produce alternative fuels that are not only efficient but are also much friendlier to the environment. If oil prices continue to rise and if the extraction processes become increasingly expensive and hazardous, it is likely that within the next 50 years bio-fuels will replace oil. Therefore in the long run the most likely scenario is that it is not counties that sit on expensive oil reserves that will reap the economic advantage but those that have had the foresight to invest in this new exciting area of technology.

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  • 91. At 2:40pm on 05 Jun 2008, SoutarJohnny wrote:

    #90.

    One slight problem with your post is the fact that, at 'current' prices, there is somewhere in the region of £3,500bn left to extract.

    Think of the research possibilities
    Think of the money we could pump into the infrastructure to develop these renewable, bio diverse alternatives
    Think of the money we could invest to enable future generations to benefit to an extent that we could only dream about

    Alternatively, we could sit back, do nothing and entrust Westminster to invest in these opportunities for Scotland...

    The decision is in all of our hands...

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  • 92. At 2:44pm on 05 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    And the Uionists become quite.

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  • 93. At 3:16pm on 05 Jun 2008, darwinsmonkey wrote:

    #91

    You don’t seem to understand my point. This is already happening and the demise of the oil industry may occur faster than you think. Furthermore you may wish to pollute the world further, I do not. I am not in the business of partisan point scoring. Investment in this type of work is lamentably low in this country and the point I was making is that it does not matter what banner we come under in 50 years time, the probability is that we will have lost out. If you wish to educate yourself in these matters, I suggest you read the works of Craig Vinter.

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  • 94. At 3:39pm on 05 Jun 2008, SoutarJohnny wrote:

    #93.

    I sympathise wholeheartedly with your point, I dont want to pollute the world further, however I hope you agree with me on another couple of points in regard to oil...

    Not all oil that comes out of the ground is used to produce 'dirty' CO2 emitting petro-carbons...

    There are multitudinous other manufacturers around the world who rely to a greater or lesser extent on the black gold that comes out of the ground to produce their goods...

    Scotland has a monumental decision to make that could potentially change the lives of her inhabitants for generations to come.

    Oil exists

    We are a net exporter of oil

    We see very, very limited tangible benefits as a result of sitting on top of this goldmine...

    It is not Scotland's fault she has been given these natural resources, it is Scotland's chance....

    Do you suggest that we just ignore this once in a lifetime opportunity to give us a solid base to build the kind of utopian society that we want to live in?

    We would all love to live in a greener, more organic, more peaceful world...

    An independent Scotland with these sort of resources at her disposal and the innovative, pioneering attributes of her greatest natural resource, her people, would give her the chance to be at the leading edge, on a world stage, of the type of world we all want to live in

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  • 95. At 4:21pm on 05 Jun 2008, sid the sceptic wrote:

    afternoon all, the program is now available on the iplayer if you didn't see it last night watch it while you can before it disappears.

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  • 96. At 4:55pm on 05 Jun 2008, gibbyS_unclie wrote:

    Darwinsmonkey

    Biofuel is not the answer. It takes energy (oil to make fertiliser and as fuel for mechanised agriculture, transport etc) to grow the crops and then process the crops into biofuel. In any case, there is pressure on land to grow foods to feed a growing world population; using land to grow biofuels will put further pressure on this.

    I have read a statistic that the population of the US uses twice as much energy in a year as all of the biomass in the US converts from the sun in the same period. It can only do so becuase of thye availability of cheap energy - oil. The reality is that we are living in an overpopulated world. The population explosion has been fuelled (no pun indtended) by the availability of cheap energy. That cheap energy source is running out. We are heading into troubled times; more trouble than I think most of the public appreciate. Ideally, we should reduce use of fossil fuels but I cannot see this happening without causing huge suffering to the poorest segment of the world's population.

    I think that the whole deabte on independence needs to recognise this.


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  • 97. At 5:13pm on 05 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Well done #96

    Alot individuals do not look at the bigger picture that for re-newables and friendly methods of fuel are at some stage rely on fossil fuels.

    Energy matters are the future and as a country, Scotland, should become Independent and use our own natural reserves to invest in the future.

    If you watched the 'Truth, Lies, Oil and Scotland' then you will realise Aberdeen is the Capital of technology for harvesting oil from the ground.

    We have great minds and with those same great minds we do have a chance to become the leaders in other areas of Energy by far.

    It all depends if we work for it or not.

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  • 98. At 5:22pm on 05 Jun 2008, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    I think they got the balance just about right.

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  • 99. At 5:26pm on 05 Jun 2008, darwinsmonkey wrote:

    Clearly you don’t know much about this topic; your information is years out of date. There are many types of bio-fuels; I specifically excluded bio-diesel etc. from my original contribution. At present novel GM organisms are being developed that can produce hydrogen and alcohol from rubbish. There is no need to grow crops or use any oil products. This is a highly efficient, environmentally friendly way to produce sustainable fuel.

    Let’s hear your solution then?

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  • 100. At 5:36pm on 05 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Darwinsmonkey:

    If your conclusion is perfect then I have to ask why has it not replaced oil already?

    But I will also point out the rubbish you use would most likily have links back to the oil.

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  • 101. At 6:31pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    so because it symbolises the utter contempt with which the Scottish people and Scotland are viewed by Westminster.

    Oh, do give over. Join the club. It symbolises the utter contempt with which the British people and the UK are viewed by Westminster.

    Why has it always got to be about the poor wee Scots getting done over. The shower in Westminster (as in the Scottish Parliament) are a shower of self-serving liars and cheats, demented in the search for power.

    They all run scared of the truth which is why Brown nor Salmond will give a straight answer to a simple unambiguous question. Nah, they just bang out some specially minted statistic that sounds good but is, as somebody once said, a Carol Vorderman statistic. One figure from the first row, two figures from the second row and three figures from the bottom row.

    Deliberately, habitually deceitful. The difference is that when Salmond does it the Nats all clap like overwound monkeys about how clever Alex is. But when Brown does it then it's a slight to Scotland. A slap in the face.

    Get used to it. Your politicians hate you. I don't know what we did to deserve them. Allowing them to disarm us probably.

    Oh, aye, and FREEDOM.

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  • 102. At 6:32pm on 05 Jun 2008, jaz1974 wrote:

    Please, enough of the 'but the oil will run out' nonsense. This is only one of the many issues related to Scotland's independence, and certainly not a valid reason for voting against it.
    The bottom line is...

    It's every nations right to govern and make decisions for themselves. We are being denied that basic privilege.
    The majority of those who oppose independence have no real reason for it, other than they are afraid of change incase it adversly affect them personally. This nonsense about, Scotland will not be able to look after itself has to stop.
    It's this very negative attitude that we are renound for across the world, and has kept us in this situation for so long.

    How ironic is it that Scottish troops are being sent to fight in a war, through no choice of their own, in order to install democracy in a country, when they have no true democracy themselves.

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  • 103. At 6:40pm on 05 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    U9461192:

    "Why has it always got to be about the poor wee Scots getting done over."

    Perhaps because you are talking to a Scottish person who does not feel that it is their business to comment on English matters so keep their interests inside Scotland and Scotland only?

    But then you will comment back on how Anti-English we must be for keeping our interests inside Scotland and not taking into account the wider United Kingdom.

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  • 104. At 6:41pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    Oh yeah, liked this bit too....

    Professor McCrone argued that the economy of an independent Scotland, properly managed

    Do you have any idea who would have been managing you in the 1970's? The Labour party. The people that practically bankrupt the entire UK during the 1960's and 1970's. You'd still have the dock labour scheme, shipyards using 1890's equipment, massively overmanned and prone to strike at the drop of a hat. You'd still have the miners shutting down your power stations for yet more money and refusing to allow any oil-fired ones to be built.

    Well why not? We're rich. Oil fund? What would we want that for? We've got dockers, shipbuilders and miners to pay.

    And this bit says it all....

    "Thus for the first time since the Act Of Union was passed, it can now be credibly argued that Scotland's economic advantage lies in its repeal."

    There you go my fairweather Scottish friend. Three hundred years of making a go of it together and the very first chance you get to show what great friends we are you give it - 'It's oooor oil'.

    FREEDOM!!!

    With friends like that.

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  • 105. At 6:45pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    My personal view is that if the SNP can prove that Scotland has continued to send this surplus for a number of years then perhaps we should not have to take any of the debt.

    I know the SNP have stated that Scotland would take her share of the National Debt but why should we?

    If we are currently sending a surplus to the Treasury what debt did we rack up?


    You see the greed?

    First it's all about freedom.

    Then it's all about oil.

    Now it's all about reneging on your debts.

    No doubt you'll be wanting bits and pieces of the Falklands/Antarctica/South Georgia/Bermuda/Anguilla/BIOT etc too before this is over.

    Greed is a terrible thing. Especially in one so young. See what I did there? A paragraph with four sentences.

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  • 106. At 6:46pm on 05 Jun 2008, gibbyS_unclie wrote:

    Darwinsmonkey

    In response, I seriously doubt that biofuels of any kind can replace fossil fuels. Western society uses enormous amounts of energy. Are you suggesting that this can be replaced by energy generated from rubbish? Even if the western world reduces its requirement for energy substantially, the developing world will more than make up for this.

    I may be too cynical but it seems to me that every proposed "solution" to the impending energy crisis and global warming is more designed to make the public feel there is a way out but, when subjected to proper analysis, is usually flawed. Take offshore windfarms - there is research to show that the construction and installation of offsore windfarms uses more energy or "carbon" than the the windfarms actually generate/save. Bio-diesel is a similar example. The energy used to grow and process the crops means that the "free energy" we get from them is negligible. Nuclear power is yet another example. Excluding the environmental issues, there are finite worldwise supplies of uranium to use as fuel and, again, the free energy they produce after the amount of energy required to build and decommission the power stations needs to be considered.

    You may be more up to date than I am on the subject of biofuels but it seems to me improbable that there is enough rubbish or agriculatural waste in the world with sufficient energy locked away in it to replace fossil fuels.

    The reality is that fossil fuels (and particulalry oil) is a one off energy bonanza for the planet which will not be repeated. Oil produces enormous amounts of "free" energy - the difference between the amount of energy which it takes to produce the fuel as compared to the amount of energy which it releases.

    My solution? There probably is no real solution short of a large reduction in the world's population. This may happen anyway as a result of the convergence factors such as the energy crisis, global warming, rising sea levels, top soil erosion/degradation resulting from over use of chemical fertilisers, etc. Given what has happened to date, I have serious doubts that the governments of the world can co-operate with each other to take the measures necessary to mitigate agianst the consequences. The governments of the world seem to be more interested in narrow self-interest and I suspect that where we will get to is that each country will accept the consequences of non-action and focus on how best to position and protect themselves from the consequences. I think this is actually happening already. Look at the approach Russia is taking to its oil and gas reserves. In my view, we are moving away from globalisation (the cynic might say that globalisation has simply been a tool used by the US to give it access to the raw materials (incluidng oil) of other countries when it realised that its own reserves were going to run out) to a system where countries realise the strategic importance of their increasingly rare resources (oil, water minerals etc) and are less willing to give others access to them.

    I'm sorry if this moving away from the subject of the blog but in my view this is all relevant in setting the backdrop. Would Scotland be better placed to cope with this as an independent country. I think that the answer is probably yes given the amount of resources it has compared to rest of the UK compared against its share of the UK population. I accept that other factors are relevant. Believe it or not, I am not advocating independence; I am not a member of the SNP. I do however think that the debate over oil tends to be too narrow and focuses on historical issues and misses the bigger picture.

    I'm off for a pint now.

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  • 107. At 7:16pm on 05 Jun 2008, jaz1974 wrote:

    U9461192....
    "Three hundred years of making a go of it together..."

    I think you need to brush up on your history mate.
    I think you'll find that we never asked to be your friends.
    England reminds me of the big bully at school, who thought everyone was their friend. Oh how wrong were they.

    In fact if we both feel that way, and if you English are tired of supporting us, then lets just part company.

    Get orf my land

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  • 108. At 7:21pm on 05 Jun 2008, jaz1974 wrote:

    U941....

    ...and yeah, you guys really know how to treat your friends...shafting them by stealing their oil for over 30 years.

    Next you'll be wanting to form British football team.

    Behave.

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  • 109. At 8:01pm on 05 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    U9461192:

    Am I being greedy?

    Or am I being fair?

    If Scotland has sent the British Treasury a surplus of money for years then explain why it would be fair that we take part of a debt that we did not generate?

    And yes I would also think of it as fair if Scotland did take part of those Territories that you named.

    If we fought for the territory and died to take the territory and defend the territory then what right do you have to tell the country (Scotland) that we can not share the prize?

    If you are talking about greed, the only greed I see is coming from you.

    But I do now understand you.

    You feel that Scotland and England had a fine relationship for the past 300 years. However, Scotland has the potential to become even more wealthy and leave the British Economy with a blackhole.

    You see Scotland, especailly the Scottish Nationalists as traitors willing to risk incredible damage to the British Economies for our own personal gain?

    Am I right? Or did I get the wrong idea?

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  • 110. At 8:20pm on 05 Jun 2008, muitoquente wrote:

    "Reneging on your debts" ???

    The point that was originally being made Sir Brockenshire was that maybe Scotland wouldn't have any debts if we had control of our own oil! The UK has been scrounging off us for too long as well as treating us like dogs and spouting propaganda that we "NEED" England. Never will yous down there treat us as a commodity again!

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  • 111. At 8:25pm on 05 Jun 2008, darwinsmonkey wrote:

    #106 Excellent riposte!
    I am not as pessimistic as you. These organisms are in the development stage and will probably come on line in 10-20years time from now. I have no faith in political solutions for this problem the answers will come from hard science. Thanks for the exchange.

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  • 112. At 8:33pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    I think you need to brush up on your history mate.
    I think you'll find that we never asked to be your friends.


    Naaah. Of course not. You just wanted England's money after you'd bankrupt yourself in the Darien adventure thing. Attempting to establish a colony in Spanish held territory. What haughty notions of grandeur. Yeah, the Spanish are going to just suck that up.


    England reminds me of the big bully at school, who thought everyone was their friend. Oh how wrong were they.

    Not like you punchy liitle Scots, always picking fights with the bigger kids just so you can kid on how 'hard' you are then. Like attempting to establish a colony in Panama. Yeah, we're Scots we are. We can do anything. Lets just rock up and take over a Spanish colony.

    Did anybody mention a Napoleon complex?

    Well now, what a bunch of fair weather friends. Thought you were our pals and then you go and play with the even bigger bully - the EU. If anything good were to come out of this it would be the entire UK leaving the EU but since I'm leaving Scotland in the next three weeks I'd settle for England leaving. Bunch of insane socialists.

    In fact if we both feel that way, and if you English are tired of supporting us, then lets just part company.

    Get orf my land


    Already voted with my feet. Enjoy drinking your oil and eating your scenery.

    Hope the socialists don't destroy Scotland in your lifetime.

    Pip pip old chap.

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  • 113. At 8:42pm on 05 Jun 2008, muitoquente wrote:

    U9462....... England bullied Scotland into Union you fool! According to an English spy at the time DANIEL DEFOE, 99% of Scots were vehemently against the treaty of union and riots ensued in every town when it was discovered that we had been united with you. Our politicians were bribed by London. Do you know about the Alien Act of 1705? England tried to block our trade with Europe thus making us poor. I am half English but 100% Scottish and we are better off without you if that's how you feel about us.

    Enjoy the concrete.

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  • 114. At 8:47pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    "Reneging on your debts" ???

    The point that was originally being made Sir Brockenshire was that maybe Scotland wouldn't have any debts if we had control of our own oil!

    Okay. £398,000 was it? Index-linked (apparently it was half Scotland's available capital) I make that ooooh.....half Scotland's available capital.

    That's quite a bit of oil you owe yet then. Keep pumping chaps.

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  • 115. At 8:55pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    ...and yeah, you guys really know how to treat your friends...shafting them by stealing their oil for over 30 years.

    It's our oil. We're still the UK remember.

    Next you'll be wanting to form British football team.

    Why bother. It would be just the England team in different shirts. As if Scotland have anybody who'd get in a British national side. Ha ha ha. The thought.

    Behave.

    There's that Napoleon complex again. Soon you'll be getting orders via the EU from the Napoleonites themselves.

    Vive the auld alliance eh?

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  • 116. At 9:03pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    England bullied Scotland into Union you fool!

    Awwwww. Shame. Poor ikkle Scotland lost all it's money and had to go cap-in-hand to their neighbour. Awwww. Shame.

    It would be funny except your Scottish Labour mafia has rather just visited the same bankruptcy on the UK. For a country that's traditionally so 'careful' with money you really 'do' bankruptcy don't you?

    I am half English but 100% Scottish and we are better off without you if that's how you feel about us

    Most Scottish people are very nice. It's just the nationalists who seem so chippy.

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  • 117. At 9:12pm on 05 Jun 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    You feel that Scotland and England had a fine relationship for the past 300 years. However, Scotland has the potential to become even more wealthy and leave the British Economy with a blackhole.

    Very good. A paragraph with more than one sentence. Keep it up.

    Now you just need to work on your comprehension.

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  • 118. At 9:21pm on 05 Jun 2008, muitoquente wrote:

    RE Darien Scheme - originally it was half Scottish half English investing in the scheme, but the English pulled out at the last minute due to pressure from the East India Company leaving the rest to be made up by Scots.

    But this is nothing to do with oil or the actual topic anymore.

    It is not the yUK's oil, it is 90% Scotlands oil and 10% England's, how dare you lay claim you greedy Victorian imperialist now get out of Scotland if you hate it so much I will not respond to your drivel anymore.

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  • 119. At 9:29pm on 05 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    U9461192:

    Most Scots are Nationalists mate.

    and with someone like you showing great maturity in this blog I expect many other Scots to ditch the Union and join the Nationalist ranks.

    If you were not see racist against Scots maybe you could of shown a better light for the Union.

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  • 120. At 9:44pm on 05 Jun 2008, muitoquente wrote:

    #44 - You say the price of oil is totally out of our control - do you not mean petrol/diesel at the pumps here, as opposed to oil itself? As the oil flows into Grangemouth where A LOT of people in the Falkirk area work including my dad, much of it comes out not as petrol but as packaging, cosmetics, plastics, bitumen, tarmac. You paint your "wider picture" that Scotland will have no control over the oil price - true but we don't within the UK either - and at least we can use the proceeds WISELY. In truth the price of oil will not even begin to come down until there are viable and cheaper alternatives. We all have to grow up very fast right now in Scotland to grasp this opportunity.

    As I say with self-determination we take control of the oil ASAP and then we use the proceeds WISELY and start preparing for a rainy day long before the price falls as you gloomily predict - and this fall will not be for some time yet. This is just glaringly obvious to me! How can you not see the benefits available for Scotland!? How can you not be for them? "Britain" is a manufactured joke! Negativity and apathy are what's keeping Britain together.

    You suggest I see the wider picture, as if the picture seen by Unionists isn't narrow enough! As if the Union (Or the yUK as I call it) is not constraining enough for Scotland! I see the wider picture very clearly thank you very much.

    To say the oil economy cannot be trusted to benefit us is simply scaremongering like all Unionists because there is nothing to be promised in the Union, nothing to be gained except for the handful of lucky politicians, lined up in suits gagging to make it "dahn sahf" in the big city. Nothing but negativity. It's not even realism it's simply nonsense ism.

    I totally agree that people should never want to be politicians by career but have had previous careers and come into politics in order to make a difference for their country not themselves. We have to keep an eye on the politicians who are just in it for the power and money and glory whether in the yUK or in Scotland, and heuch them out when we can.

    ( PS having a lot of trouble getting this particular post online here...been trying and failing to post this all day but I WILL NOT GIVE UP )

    ( PPS to U9461129 show some respect, you are very ignorant of our situation now butt out, "it" is about independence for Scotland always has been - the oil just helps the case for the rightful reinstatement of this nation - and proves what slippery treacherous lies we've been fed by London).

    We have been too busy sucking the nipple of London to notice their filthy hand slip into our pocket to rob us of our resources and culture.

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  • 121. At 10:06pm on 05 Jun 2008, susanedinburgh wrote:

    After watching the programme about oil and Scotland I am just amazed at how little we are made aware of Aberdeen and the oil industry, and yet what a huge impact it has had and is still having on the UK economy. It seems that politicians have been deliberately keeping the population in the dark and understating the importance of oil to the economy all these years.
    Money is not the reason I support independence for Scotland, but surely it can no longer be argued that Scotland would be uneconomic as an independent country.

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  • 122. At 10:09pm on 05 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    U9461129 is more to be pitied than scorned, the tone of his or her posts are indicitive of someone who's outlook on life is one of severe and general negativity towards others (and possibly themselves)

    Something he or she has in common with most of the pro-unionist participants on here who are conditioned from years of Labour (and Tory/ Lib Dem) but mainly Labour mind games designed to undermine Scots self-esteem. They are convinced that Scotland and Scots are unworthy and unable to control their own destiny and that without the 'Big Brother' support of England the sky will surely fall down, the land will be laid to waste and we will be beset by locust and plague.

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  • 123. At 10:11pm on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    What a turgid anodyne indulgent documentary. Missed opportunity? More like a mild mannered propoganda piece. Did any of you note that Ms Millar's only contradiction was of Salmond's evaluation of 250 billion to the london Exchequer these last thirty years? And the way she dressed up individual Scottish achievements and the state of Aberdeen as though this excused the huge injustices she seemed incapable of properly accounting for so dizzily obsessed was she with showing off her stupid wee car. Please please please Scotland. Wake up and save yourselves from this soul destroying banality embodied in apologist rubbish like this. It's so obvious Scotland can be so so much better. Go to Norway! See what an oil rich society really looks like! Or if the oil issue is weighing you down - go to Denmark! See what independence can mean without oil!

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  • 124. At 10:26pm on 05 Jun 2008, Bodincus wrote:

    Oooohhh, I've had enough.

    Now, now, you U91something, you said you voted with your feet: you're not living in Scotland then. Therefore, put up with it.

    You left, so you don't have one fathom of right to dictate what is wrong or what is right for Scotland and Scots, you abdicated. MYOB, please.

    But - wait a minute... An epiphany! I see... You're afraid that when Scots take their future in their hands and vote for independence, you won't get you subsidies anymore, and you'll be forced back to work! Innit?

    Is this a case of "mirroring", where you're the real subsidies junkie and accuse everyone else to be as such? Gotcha?

    To all other posters in this blog: please STOP FEEDING THE TROLL.

    If you don't consider him he'll go away, as he so preposterously boasted.

    I promise myself to ever interact again with such stubborn individual.

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  • 125. At 10:53pm on 05 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    I smugly predict the Unionist's next main assualt on the Nationalist position will be the 'only in independence for the money' type. They'll attempt to portray us as uncaring selfish, greedy mercenaries. I also smugly hope that this post will preempt that movement and take the wind right out of its sails ;-))))

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  • 126. At 08:51am on 06 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    I have, with the guidance of many in here, been able to watch and listen to FMqs, GMS and the oil documentary so a warm thanks for that. I agree that Brian Wicks, the UK Energy Minister was a patronising abomination.

    Salmond has no competitors at FMqs. Apart from his qualities as a person and as a debater he knows his stuff and IMO has right on his side. A Formidable combination.

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  • 127. At 09:37am on 06 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    A philosophical question for the nationalists. It's clear from their posts that a large proportion of oil money will be transferred to Glasgow, which is nowhere near the oil. Newcastle, which is about the same distance from the oil and has similar problems, gets nothing whatsoever. This is justified by their belief in the over-arching moral supremacy of the nation.

    This sort of moral view leads to all sorts of dubious decisions. For example, if a Scottish nationalist is walking along, and sees an English person drowning, then he should not risk his life in any way to help that person. Just as it's unethical for Newcastle to receive any help at Glasgow's expense, so it's unethical for any Scottish person to risk their life to help a 'foreigner'.

    Though they could still sympathise, of course.

    My question is this; what do the nationalists think should happen to people like myself who have no interest in nationalist ethics?

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  • 128. At 10:19am on 06 Jun 2008, wheredowegofromhere wrote:

    What a ridiculous post anaxim. You have deliberately chosen to confuse nationalism and racist indifference.

    There are a lot of people in the world in the "drowning" position, not just in England. Is it Scotland's lot to have to save them all? Darfur refugees? Victims of famine and drought? Sufferers from polio, TB, AIDS? Earthquake victims?

    A rich and independent Scotland will be in a far better position to help these and other human beings throughout the world.

    In answer to your last question: in a democracy, if (and it still is "if") supporters of independence gain a majority and achieve their aim, you will just have to go along with it.

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  • 129. At 10:41am on 06 Jun 2008, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    If U946 was trying to persuade me to come over to his/her way of thinking then all I can say is it hasn't worked.

    Bluelaw, can I also suggest listening to yesterday's Morning Extra on Radio Scotland listen again. The responses from the public are worth listening to.

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  • 130. At 11:36am on 06 Jun 2008, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    I live in Aberdeen, and work in the oil industry.

    I, my present colleagues and most people I've known and worked with here would even have had their eyes opened by much of what was revealed in the BBC documentary.

    Plenty food for thought.

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  • 131. At 12:02pm on 06 Jun 2008, darsielatimer wrote:

    @ comment 105

    I agree with you entirely, that it is not just Scotland which suffered when successive UK governments failed to establish a sovereign wealth fund based on oil, but the whole of the UK. Indeed, we agree further that Labour party incompetence was clearly manifest even then, they were in power for the initial part of the boom, and completely failed to act despite being the party most ideologically suited to such a move. Establishing such a facility was certainly possible - Ian Clarke and Shetland District Council managed it, andsecured one billion pounds to invest over the last 30 years.

    Whilst your tone is objectionable, you ought to remember that this blog, when writing about Scottish issues does not automatically imply criticism of England or any other part of the UK. Most posters here are mature enough to recognise this.

    Regarding Scotland contribution to the union, it is absolutely clear that Scotland has been an overwhelmingly positive force for the UK over the last 300 years, from the enlightment, to the Napoleonic wars, the Industrial revolution, the Empire, the world wars, liberal reformation, and generally being an innovative powerhouse. This continues to this day, with Scottish Uni spin-off companies out performing their USA counterparts by some distance. Put simply, the UK has been very lucky to have us. Not arrogance, but fact.
    Regarding your points about Scotland being bailed out by English munificence in 1707 you miss the point spectacularly. It was not English subsidies which raised our living standards in the 18th century, but admittance into the English free trade area, which allowed us to raise our own game. Indeed, by around 1900 Glasgow was by per capita terms the richest city on the planet.
    Regarding your point about 300 years of good relations, if you really meant that, I think you would be couching your wholly inaccurate points in a rather more convivial tone.
    On the "friend drowning" point more generally, if I saw a Geordie friend in danger, I would most certainly help him out, perhaps risking life and limb to do so. What I most certainly would not do is give him 50 quid afterwards. Do you see the difference? Newcastle is perfectly capable of raising its own game, and would probably benefit from being the English Aberdeen, processing the 5% of reserves which are English.
    In any case, as been the demonstrated well already, the best way to tether the Scottish petro-pound post oil funded independence would be to invest very heavily in England. Perhaps then we would see the revival of the Northumbria in the same way that Scotland improved following 1707.

    In short, we all know that we must vote yes for independece in the referendum in 2 short, sweet years.

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  • 132. At 12:11pm on 06 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    wheredowegofromhere:

    "What a ridiculous post anaxim. You have deliberately chosen to confuse nationalism and racist indifference."

    We've had some nationalists positively assert that they have no duty other than to Scotland. It seems logical that this would operate at a personal level as well, hence ignoring drowning foreigners. An independent Scotland would presumably be more inclined (for a generation at least) to nationalist ethics, rather than humanitarianism.

    My question wasn't about the outcome of an independence referendum, but the disposition of nationalists to non-nationalists. Would you like, for example, nationalist ethics to be made preeminent in the education system?

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  • 133. At 12:18pm on 06 Jun 2008, darsielatimer wrote:

    @bluelaw
    BBC Scotland does leave a lot to be desired. They are desperately underfunded, and often treated very badly by the White City petri-dish. Most Scottish set networked dramas do not reflect reality here, presenting Scottish people as imagined by Londoners. After all, if it is to have the novelty of being set in Scotland, whats the point if the characters aren't either cliched novelties, or victims? Most scottish sports commentators, eg Andy Nichol, Andrew Cotter, Alan Hansen have internalised Scottish perceived deficiencies horrendously. Scottish arts programmes often consist of profiles of x-factor, stars in your eyes contestants etc, afraid of being challenging in case they are branded elitist. So the circle is unbroken, people low of confidence and aspiration watch Scottish programmes that are similar. They have their opinions confirmed, and the rest of us often leave the country through sheer boredom.

    But credit where due, Ms Millar went out on a limb two nights ago, and if you dont believe me you should read the tv review of it in the Scotsman yesterday. Whilst she could have been tougher - especially on McCrone - because of her the Scottish population was exposed to some quite revelatory facts and figures, and for that we should be thankful.

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  • 134. At 12:32pm on 06 Jun 2008, darsielatimer wrote:

    @Anaxim

    Hope my 131 post helps. But on a philosophical level, interpreting your point as being one about levels of personal responsbility, I am unable to answer further unless you define "nationalism", and "nationalist ethics" for me.

    I would also need to know what exactly you mean by the descriptive term "drowning foreigners". If you mean helping people in a humanitarian way, then of course we would. Scotland has always been generous both in terms of man-power (before and after 1707) and finance (not so much before because we were skint). If you mean in terms of interventionist wars, then, yes, we have always been a martial society, but in a post Gulf War 2 world we would have to be very careful indeed. If you mean giving money away to England, then of course not. What is inevitable, however, would be investing heavily in England in order to curb inflation of our oil based currency. And that, to my mind, would be better.

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  • 135. At 12:35pm on 06 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    post #132, you are being somewhat unrealistic in generalising the responses of some supporters of independence and applying them to all supporters of independence, and again you appear to imply that wanting independence for ones nation disguises some nationalistic racist tendency towards those who do not, I deeply object to such an implication.

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  • 136. At 12:41pm on 06 Jun 2008, BrianHillEdinburgh wrote:

    U9461192. Relax, you are sounding positively rattled old chap.

    Clearly the Oil, Lies etc prog, despite it's anodyne approach, is terrifying Unionists like yourself.

    BTW old bean, if you are going to lecture us, please keep it short...more effective.

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  • 137. At 1:16pm on 06 Jun 2008, wheredowegofromhere wrote:

    Anaxim:

    Other posters have already replied far more effectively than I can.

    Let me just add that, unfortunately, there are people with extremist (even bigoted) views on BOTH sides of the divide, some of whom blog frequently here. I think we can be mature enough to recognise that.

    But I do not see an independent Scotland necessarily closing in on itself, even for a single generation.

    For me, Scottish nationalism means Scottish INTERnationalism, with Scotland taking its rightful place on the world stage and, I sincerely trust, ready to take on its responsibilities in ALL fields.

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  • 138. At 1:27pm on 06 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Brian, you were warned in #1 and several times thereafter: What an appalling "debate" this is. What a waste of time and space repeating all the arguments. It grieves me as a Scot to read through the swathes of illiterate propaganda pouring from my countrymen. Misspelled, ungrammatical, mispunctuated drivel I could excuse, if the substance shone through. But all we get is ignorance, lies, myths, insults and abuse.
    Of course there are arguments for independence. Of course we could go it alone. But the people advocating this are so narrow-minded, so greedy, so childish, and so ignorant that it bodes ill for a "free" Scotland. If our rulers-to-be were to reflect the attitudes shown here, Scotland would be a grim and frightening place for dissenters and intellectuals. Remind you of anywhere?

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  • 139. At 1:36pm on 06 Jun 2008, wheredowegofromhere wrote:

    Brigadierjohn:

    What you say is equally valid for more than a few supporters of the Union. So following your argument, this bodes ill for a "United" Kingdom. You can't have it both ways.

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  • 140. At 1:54pm on 06 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    Darsielatimer:

    On a philosophical level, nationalism is the doctrine that the nation is the fundamental unit of human society. Nationalist ethics is taking this as the answer to question 'how should one live?'

    The descriptive term 'drowning foreigners' is reference to the moral example earlier. The foreigner who's drowning is not a Geordie friend, but a complete stranger. If a nationalist is prepared to help people on a humanitarian basis in everyday life, but effect social changes based on the supremacy of the nation, I would suggest that their views are inconsistent.

    You say that Scots are generous, but rule out 'giving money to England'. It would be quite easy to establish a small fund, in recognition of the Glasgow-Newcastle problem. It need not be anywhere near amount of the money the nationalists intend to give to Glasgow.

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  • 141. At 2:06pm on 06 Jun 2008, darsielatimer wrote:

    @brigadierjohn
    You disappoint me. Debates are great if you respect the subject matter and the people opposing you, but you have done neither. Sure, as a dissenter (and, I am sure, an intellectual) you are entirely entitled to your opinion, but if the sole purpose of your post is to denigrate and demean then you really should stay out of it. You have brought no substance to the table, no evidence, no analysis, no opinion, no conclusion etc, and therefore you are in no position to comment on the standard of chat on offer. My 12 year old brother could do better. If you have nothing to say, then don't say it.

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  • 142. At 2:10pm on 06 Jun 2008, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    Dear Brigadierjohn,

    Please could you point out any instance where I have been ignorant, any lies that I have propagated, any myths I have promoted, and any insults or abuse that I have hurled.

    Please also point out where I have been narrow-minded, greedy or childish.

    Furthermore, please point out any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or misuse of punctuation on my part, and please bear in mind that it is considered rude to do so in modern 'netiquette'.

    I also resent the implication that I am not an intellectual, as your last paragraph suggests.

    Sorry if I am not supposed to have taken this personally, but you appear to be tarring us all with the same brush.

    I do not consider these blogs to be a waste of time or space. I consider them to be one of the few places where the ordinary citizen can air his or her views and attempt to discuss these highly important issues.

    I've told you before that I am happy to be persuaded, but this will require rational discourse and reference to verifiable facts, as far as this may be possible.

    Thank you for you time.

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  • 143. At 2:17pm on 06 Jun 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    Poster 19 and 138.

    Did not take you long to break your promise in 19, did it?

    'I'm off to look for intelligent life in the crevices of an artexed wall'.

    We have so enjoyed your brief absence!!

    Now try and do better and remember as you said in post 19:

    'There is no debate to be had with fundamentalist unionist zealots'.

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  • 144. At 3:13pm on 06 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Anaxim:

    I am a Nationalist. I am not racist.

    If I saw an English person drowning then I would save them. (if I thought it possible, or call for help instead)

    I would not be able to tell if they were English though. Quite impossible unless they had a strong accent or were able to show me their passport during the saving process.

    You point is flawed there you see.

    But am I happy that Scotland shares her resources with England? No I am not.

    Why? For years Scotland has been the economic basketcase (according to Westminister)

    It is now time we go our own way and do what we want to do.

    Westminister has put us down for to long and for what reason?

    How can they justify the lies?

    They can't.

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  • 145. At 3:31pm on 06 Jun 2008, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    #139, #141, #142, and #143

    Precisely!

    It was reported yesyerday, courtesy of the BBC, that all the ministers in our Scottish Government have university degrees and were state-school educated.

    Now, as so many unionist arguments are exposed for the discredited bluster they clealy are, we see how they resort to more desperate abuse, like attempting to portray those who express support for the SNP as 'narrow-minded', 'backward' or 'illiterate'.

    That is failed unionist card that has been played more than once too often on this blog.

    Moving on, and I was interested to hear Scotland described today by a respected BBC broadcaster (not known for his nationalist leanings) as "the only oil-producing nation never to benefit from an oil fund".

    The truth will out

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  • 146. At 3:37pm on 06 Jun 2008, darsielatimer wrote:

    @ Anaxim

    So nationalism reflects the belief that nation as the fundamental unit of human society, and ethics how should one live?

    Using this definition then, Scottish nationalism must be unique, as it has grown in strength as the nation state in general has corroded, with transnational actors such as multinational companies and aid organisation growing in strength as never before. The nation state is fragmenting, all around the globe.

    Regarding your earlier comments about Geordies, you are contradicting yourself now, as before the example was merely about non-Scots, not whether the person in difficulty was a non-scot one already knew. And again, you have not properly defined what level, and type of distress this person/country/territory is in. But never mind. Scottish independence is not attractive just to indigenous folk. The SNP is the only "nationalist" party in the world which enjoys majority support amongst new arrivals, recent immigrants, and immigrant minority groups; believe it or not.
    What I would suggest this means is that wishing for an independent Scotland is not based on the supermacy of the Scottish nation at all, and indeed under your definition cannot even be properly called nationalism. Most people who want this do so in my opinion because of a deep attachment to a land of ancient distinctive intellectual schools and traditions, and because they currently feel that the supranational British state does not allow us to reach our potential, from both a financial and societal perspective.

    As to your point about a "Newcastle fund", you still don't describe either the nature of the fund - investment? charity? social enterprise? This is sounding ridiculous - It's not as if Newcastle is the third world is it? As Ive already said, Newcastle will probably score a net gain, as the source of the English oil and gas industry. And you should remember that such disputes as maritime boundaries are covered by the law of the sea. You've got to respect the law and abide by it.

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  • 147. At 3:47pm on 06 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 148. At 4:08pm on 06 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    post #140,

    Anaxim, here is my moral answer to your moral question. If I saw someone in danger of their life would I stop to consider my supposed 'nationalistic' ethics, are they the correct race, creed or colour to save? My answer would be no, I would do what I could do to save them.

    If I saw someone begging for money on the street would I give them some money? My answer would be no, I do not give directly to people who beg but I do give money to charities who will help them.


    If England was hit my some natural catastrophe for example would I consider my 'supposed' nationalistic' ethics and refuse them help? My answer would be no, I would send as much help not necessarily money as I could afford.

    Would I directly fund England or any other country? My answer would be no, I think that would be an unreasonable and unrealistic thing to do.

    Would I contribute a percentage of Scotlands oil wealth through contributions to the various EEC funds, these funds then being distributed in a fair manner to other EEC countries who need them, one of which may or may not be England? My answer would be yes.

    I do not see my views on the above being in the lest bit in-consistant.

    Once again Anaxim you seek to mentally filter out any positive aspect of Scottish independence and you choose to focus only on contrived negative arguments based around racism.


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  • 149. At 5:46pm on 06 Jun 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    I take back what I said. I was perhaps a little harsh.

    This idea that Scotland is somehow selfish for wanting to have access to her own resources is utterly absurd. Name any other country in the world that would tolerate such nonsense.

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  • 150. At 6:17pm on 06 Jun 2008, R campbell wrote:

    brigadierjohn, you're well out of step with the rest of Scotland laddie. I'm afraid I'm demoting you to a private. Report for drill duty 06:00hrs tomorrow morning.

    Major Campbell, of Her Majesties Army of Scotland

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  • 151. At 6:51pm on 06 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Is there a Unionist going to comment on Henry McLeish's comment?

    On the BBC's Riddoch programme this afternoon McLeish said "the union is not fit for purpose at the moment"

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  • 152. At 7:11pm on 06 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    ClanCampbell73: If I'm sleeping in Glencoe, I'll probably not survive till 06.00! How many Majesties have we?
    I think the moderator has demoted me also, #147, although it seemed a harmless wee post to me.

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  • 153. At 7:31pm on 06 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Thomas: McLeish is right. The union is in a mess, needing to sort out voting rights of Scots MPs for a start. Think of it as a football team, Thomas, weak in several positions, lacking tactical nous. A couple of new signings and a smarter manager could cure everything. We don't need to disband the team, do we?

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  • 154. At 7:51pm on 06 Jun 2008, R campbell wrote:

    "We don't need to disband the team, do we?"

    I agree, let's keep a social union but I think Scotland should be run from Scotland. I think it would bring us closer to all our neighbours, give Scotland the voice that it needs in world and when things go right Scotlands name can shine and when we're down we can all pull together as a normal country managed by Scotland. I think someone mentioned a 'Council of the Isles' somewhere on Brian's blog. Seems a very mature and sensible idea.

    brigadierjohn sir, 153 a good post, I apologise and you are hereby promoted to Lieutenant. ...

    ....you also get a long lie in the morning ;o)

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  • 155. At 7:57pm on 06 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    John:

    No one has prepared an option for reform. The only option we currently have is Independence or for things to remain as they are.

    but if you would like to continue with the Union you must first find out why Scottish Nationalism exists and what encourages Scottish Nationalism. Do not set out to 'kill' Scottish Nationalism but to compromise on a new system of working for each country.

    I personally do believe that each country should become Independent and a creation of a new 'Union' between Ireland (unified), Scotland, England and Wales should come into place.

    It would not be political binding but we could become greater partners on the world stage. Hold regular meetings, talks, share ideas and handle matters of concern in the EU together and contribute together. We are neighbours and we hardly do enough with one another today.

    It would also stop the tit-for-tat arguments you constantly hear.

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  • 156. At 7:59pm on 06 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    And John.

    You should not defend the Union and be a Unionist.

    You should be campaigning for reform and be a reformist.

    Difference?

    Unionists will preserve the Union.

    Refromists will change the system on how the Union works.

    ;-)

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  • 157. At 10:45am on 07 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    The Newcastle fund is a response to the nationalists' moral principle of proximity to natural resources conferring benefits. I suppose it would be a social fund that Newcastle council and the immediate area) would have access to. As I said, it needn't be a large fund, it would be a compromise between the two distinct moral principles the nationalists are advancing.

    As for darsielatimer's explanation of nationalism, I don't agree that political independence based on a deep attachment to ancient schools and traditions is conducive to human potential. The world is littered with dead civilizations that clung to the ancient ways. Given the rapid changes which are happening even now, the cloying treacle of tradition is the last thing we need.

    To return to the topic, there's a peak oil website where the commentators criticise the claims in the Truth, Lies and Oil.

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/4103

    They think O'dell is a rent-a-cornucopian who gets wheeled out regularly to say there's no problem with the oil.

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  • 158. At 11:04am on 07 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Anaxim:

    Considering my family have strong links within the Oil Industry I can confirm that Scotland produces enough oil to last yet another two decades or even longer.

    but also you must consider that the information you present to us is currently 3-4 paragraphs long.

    The documentry we watched was at least an hour long that went into detail with important figures within the Oil Industry and much better explained estimates about the current Oil Reserves.

    Quite a difference on type of qaulity and of course a difference on how reliable your source is.

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  • 159. At 12:15pm on 07 Jun 2008, wheredowegofromhere wrote:

    Anaxim:

    "Given the rapid changes which are happening even now, the cloying treacle of tradition is the last thing we need."

    Tell that to British Eurosceptics who would believe, say and do anything to get out of the EU.

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  • 160. At 1:10pm on 07 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    TP:

    It's the comments I suggested you read, some of them are from people on the programme.

    WDWGFH:

    The British eurosceptics are not people I agree with. Some Scottish nationalists aren't in favour of the EU either, influenced by their unrealistic views of the importance of fishing to the Scottish economy.

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  • 161. At 1:33pm on 07 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    Post # 157 well done Anaxim!!

    Finally someone in here has summed up the Scottish pro-independence movement in one eloquent phrase “the cloying treacle of tradition is the last thing we need”. I could not agree with you more Anaxim the cloying treacle of 300 years of the Act of Union and centralised control of Scotland’s financial, political and social structures from Westminster is truly the last thing we need, now I can see why it is so important that the people of Scotland wipe of those 300 years of ‘treacle’ and vote for independence, only then can Scotland and those choosing to live in Scotland move into the 21st Century as a democracy rather than continue to be chained to an undemocratically implemented Act written and agreed upon 300 years ago by the privileged few.

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  • 162. At 5:40pm on 07 Jun 2008, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    Anaxim, thank you for the Oil Drum link.

    Peak oil is indeed a greatly underestimated concern and that is why I believe we should not be going hell-for-leather to get our oil out of the ground. Instead, we should be attempting to make the resource last as long as possible, balanced with using some of the revenues to invest in renewables. Oil prices are high, but in the medium to long term they are only going to get much higher as supply outstrips demand. Renewables may be relatively uneconomic at the moment, but as the price of energy goes up, the countries with some form of energy production not based on oil will have a significant edge.

    Whether Scottish oil (and it IS Scottish oil) lasts another 20 years or another 40 is, to some extent a moot point. Independence will allow us to return to being a net exporter, and will provide the necessary revenue to invest in the future energy sources that we will undoubtedly need.

    Either that, or we let the Westminster squander it on supporting a flagging UK economy.

    In my opinion, the decisions we take in 2010 and 2011 are absolutely critical to the future of our country. This could well be make-or-break for us.

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  • 163. At 5:12pm on 08 Jun 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Salmond is on to another big vote winner with this idea for a Scottish oil fund.

    He really is wiping the floor with Wendy Alexander.

    Every time she opens her mouth she sounds as if she's talking down Scotland and the Scots.

    Salmond the exact opposite.

    More power to him. He's played an absolute blinder so far.

    Labour in Scotland must be about ready for the high jump.

    Alexander's "leadership" is so ineffective it's a miracle she's still there.

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  • 164. At 09:22am on 10 Jun 2008, MannyGee wrote:

    "What will Scotland do when the oil runs out? Under sustained devolution? Under independence?"

    We hear this question all the time, a question we don't hear is:

    "What will Britain do when the oil runs out? Under the Union?"

    The north sea oil has been propping the UK up for the past 30 years and what do we have to show for it? do we have the 100 Billion that Norway saved? No, we've got nothing.

    If Scotland was independent the money from the remaining reserves could be invested wisely and secure Scotlands financial future.

    Otherwise the UK government will continue to blow the money till the oil is gone and we'll all be up the creek without a paddle.

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  • 165. At 10:45pm on 28 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Brian:
    I hope that you enjoy your time reserving you strength and the book festival and also; the ice cream....

    ~Dennis Junior~

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