Jim Sillars: Stop believing the lies they tell

Scots: Unique people
Scots: Unique people
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SCOTS are a unique people. That is not an uber-nationalist claim, it is a fact.

No other nation could have oil found in its territory, and regard it not as an asset, but a problem. Quite unique. In even the most undeveloped state where oil is discovered, and the elite steal its wealth, the people know it is an asset that should help raise their living standards.

We have the long available written evidence (April 23, 1975, classified as secret) that Gavin McCrone, government economist, told the then Westminster government that the new oil discoveries would make Scotland a rich country.

Instead of admitting this publicly, all Westminster parties kept the report secret and lied to us about the importance of the oil discoveries, warning consistently that “it would soon run out” and so we would remain too wee, and too poor to let go the beneficent hand of Father England.

Once bitten, twice shy? Not us. All it needs is for some academic, business, government or political interest to warn us once more about how the oil is no asset, and we go weak at the knees and believe them.

As the song Cap in Hand by the Proclaimers uncomfortably spells out, we are known to boast about ourselves “wha’s like us” style, then when faced with attempts to undermine us, we cower.

That song asks the question why should someone else rule our land? The answer is simple. We let them.

Take the latest from think-tank the Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR), which captured this headline: “North Sea cash warning deals poll blow to SNP” on December 20. Note that date. The report states that, taking the forecast oil income into account, Scotland within three years of independence will be much poorer than it is today.

The CPPR based its predictions on the report of the Office of Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) view that oil revenues would fall. There are two things to note about the OBR. One is that it has no expertise in the oil business. Second is that the OBR’s record of forecasting is one of one monumental mistake after another, where, for instance, its growth and debt forecasts are regarded as comical by every reputable economist, so often has it been wrong.

In its forecasts for government borrowing this year, it was wrong by between £10 billion and £15bn.

But no, a flawed base for the so-called research was overlooked by newspapers’ front page declarations of oil leading to national poverty on independence, and the Scots once again were invited to see this asset as a problem.

Meanwhile, on December 21 the media did record (most in the business pages) that people who do know about oil, Statoil the Norwegian company, was investing £4.3bn in the Mariner field, the largest new development in the North Sea in a decade.

It will produce for 30 years, with an average production of around 55,000 barrels per day. This will create 700 jobs, 200 of them onshore.

The Mariner field was discovered in 1981, but it is only now that the advanced technology of extraction has made it worthwhile investing in. Other fields are waiting to be developed as the technology improves.

While we Scots cave in to the lies and distortions fed to us to relegate the importance of an asset, the Norwegians know better.

There is, before I leave the subject of Scotland and its economy, something else that intelligent Scots should consider. All of these think-tanks that would have us run for cover under the Westminster umbrella assume that we will run our economy as is done now.

Don’t be kidded by John Swinney’s claims that with his budget he can have a significant effect on Scottish growth and jobs.

The real power over our economy lies still in London. But with all the necessary levers of economic power in our hands, we can do it differently, to suit our own needs, and to maximise on our strengths.

Were we not blinded by Unionist propaganda, we would recognise those strengths not only in the oil fields, but in our universities, life sciences, our specialist engineering, the financial services that operate huge investments outside the banking system, a tourist industry which is, in fact, an “export”.

The CBI and others keep calling for Alex Salmond to forget about independence and concentrate on the economy, oblivious to the fact that independence, and the power it can give us, is about the economy, stupid. Here’s a sensible new year resolution: stop believing the lies about yourselves.

It’s all hot air

Happily, more people are coming to realise they have been conned by the new religion – global warming.

The Met Office punts the idea at every opportunity. Using its predictions, the Environment Agency forecast “hotter, drier summers” for decades to come, and that the drought in spring would last until Christmas. The green energy policies are now costing the UK consumer £1bn a year in subsidies for wind turbines that often produce nothing. Time to reassert common sense.