Thursday, 28 March 2013

The oil must flow

The beginning is a very delicate time, know then that it is the year 2013.  In this time, the most precious substance in the world is oil.  The oil provides fuel, the oil provides chemical feedstock, the oil is vital to the global economy.  Oh yes, I forgot to tell you.  90% of the UK’s oil exists on one nation.  A beautiful, wet nation with vast mountains.  The nation is Scotland, also known as home…

Alistair Darling's recurring nightmare

Before I torture the late, great Frank Herbert any more, let’s talk a little more about North Sea oil.  There is a lot of misinformation floating around, so sticking to the facts would be best.

Full production of North Sea oil can, according to various sources, continue into the 2040’s, and possibly long beyond that.  This life can be extended with good management (which small, independent Norway achieves).  Part of the expected $1 trillion (or 1 with twelve ‘0’s’ at the end) revenue can be invested to create a sovereign wealth fund that could end up being worth more than the oil itself.

Scotland produces more oil than Libya, and has 25% of the EU’s total oil reserve, but this isn’t the only natural resource we control.  Drinking water, which is becoming rarer and more precious every day, is stored in vast quantities.  We also have fantastic potential in renewable energy, with the very real possibility of complete energy independence from fossil fuels being achieved within our lifetime.

We have world class universities, a strong healthcare system, and exports of food, spirits, textiles, renewable energy technology, and entertainment products, allied with an experienced tourism industry.

Control over the oil will be a boast to the people of Scotland, yet we need independence to diversify our economy.  Westminster hasn’t developed our industries or infrastructure the way they should have so we need to take responsibility for ourselves.

The scare stories and predictions of doom being pedaled by better together don’t match with reality.  Regardless of what we choose, the oil will flow.

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Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Lion that's told it's a kitten

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Attributed to Joseph Goebbles.

UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond claims to believe that Scotland would be incapable of organising a military that can defend itself.  This isn’t a new approach as he has been talking down Scotland ever since he got the job.
The question we should ask is, is this really how Westminster views us?

“You need us, you need us, you need us…” – Better Together Defence Policy

The best way to answer this question is to look at their attitudes towards countries similar to Scotland.  At a Norwegian Army Conference in October last year, Lord Astor of Hever DL, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and the Lords Spokesman on Defence, had this to say...

"Allow me to stress in person, on behalf of the government of the United Kingdom, how highly we value the defence relationship between our two countries.  As an ex-Army officer myself, I am doubly delighted to be addressing a Norwegian Army audience."

He later added, "Norway is one of the United Kingdom's closest and most important partners."  As well as, "Your capabilities are world leading."

In 2009, in Copenhagen University, the then Defence Secretary John Hutton had this to say...

"One thread that weaves its way through all of these issues is the ever closer relationship between Britain and Denmark.  This relationship is built above all else on a firm foundation of shared values and outlooks."

He added: "...the bravery and professionalism of Danish soldiers has earned the profound respect and admiration of everyone at home.  The British Armed Fores feel proud to serve alongside you."

I wonder if Scotland is the only country a UK Defence Minister would mock during a visit.

You ain't so big!

There are plenty of other examples of how small independent nations can possess highly regarded military forces (including this report from NATO regarding Sweden  To suggest that Scotland is any different is simply lying. 
Independence means that we can make our own decisions regarding defence, from how much we spend, to what weapons we use, and well as the friends we work with.  Westminster wants us to believe we are a kitten that can't cope without them.  We know better.

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Friday, 1 March 2013

The Melancholy of the No Campaign

The prospect of the decisions affecting Scotland being made in Scotland is a terrifying one for the ‘Better Together’ campaign (and I don’t just mean Alistair Darling losing his ability to flip homes and charge taxpayers for an accountant to work out his tax!).  To them, an independent Scotland would be, unlike every other independent country, doomed to tragic failure for a near endless number of reasons…

The Better Together official spokesperson

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie envisages a future where the enemies of England congregate in Scotland.

“If that were to happen,” he said, “what alternative would England have but to come and bomb the hell out of Glasgow airport and Edinburgh airport?”  He doesn’t appear to mention who these villainous fiends could be or why they would attack an independent Scotland to hurt England…

Anas Sarwar MP says that Scottish viewers might miss BBC programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing.

The fact that the BBC is broadcast in a host of other independent countries including Belgium, Austria, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, and Portugal isn’t important, nor the fact that we would have our own broadcasting company to produce our own shows.  No, to the melancholy ‘No’, only the worst possible outcome could apply to Scotland.

It isn’t just individuals who act like this, as anti independence institutions are scared too.  The Foreign Office stated that Scots abroad face a greater risk of “child abduction, forced marriage or crime,” if we dare make our own decisions.

It is a wonder how anyone from the Republic of Ireland musters the courage to travel abroad.

But most worrying for the No campaign, is the removal of Tian Tian and Yang Guang, the two Chinese Pandas currently at Edinburgh Zoo.

A Westminster official actually said “No one has fully understood the ramifications for the Pandas of any bid for Scottish Independence.”  There was, of course, nothing more important for that tax payer funded Westminster bureaucrat to talk about.  But then, it is just yet another ‘why Scotland would be worse off without us being in charge’ story.

There is one sure fire cure for this melancholy…stop hoping for the worst and start talking Scotland up.  But when you see past the scare and the absurd, when you realise that the same, tired, disproven claims keep coming back every few months, you find that ‘Yes’ is the only real option.

And very few feel melancholy after voting for a positive change.