Saturday, October 01, 2005

Scottish fishing and Scottish oil.

Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, writes in the Buchan Observer about 'Lies, damned lies, and statistics!'

Salmond points out:

1. Documents released under the "thirty years rule" revealed that, in the view of a civil servant, the Tory Government of the early 1970s regarded the Scottish fishing industry as being "expendable"..... a price worth paying for European entry.

2. Secret documents show that the real information on the economic significance of North Sea Oil was very different from the version being peddled to the Scottish people.

First the Tories under Ted Heath, and then Labour under Harold Wilson were busy saying that the oil resources weren't worth all that much, that they would soon run out, and that they couldn't be used to transform Scotland's economic prospects as the Scottish National Party were purporting.

The economic adviser to the then Scottish Office was Dr Gavin McCrone.

He wrote: "all that is wrong now with the SNP estimate is that it is far too low".

When the Government was proclaiming to the people that much of the oil was actually in English waters, he was informing Ministers that, in fact, "99 percent of it would accrue to an independent Scotland."

When the Labour and Tory parties were running down the prospects of an independent Scotland, he was telling Ministers "the advent of North Sea Oil has completely overturned the traditional economic arguments used against Scottish nationalism."

And when the Government was telling Scots that the rest of the EEC wouldn't want an independent Scotland, McCrone was telling Ministers that oil would make Scotland "a highly desirable member of the EEC with a strong bargaining position."

"The country would tend to be in chronic surplus to a quite embarrassing degree and its currency would become the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian kroner.".

3. Oil is now at $65 a barrel.

4. Half of the reserves in the waters around Scotland remain to be exploited.

5. This year's government revenues are heading towards a massive £12 billion. There is still more than enough time to transform Scotland's economic prospects.


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