By Stephen Noon,
Chief Strategist of Yes Scotland
Energy readers are able to spot a mile off attempts to tell them black is really white.
That is what the leader of the No campaign, Alastair Darling, is trying to do. But you know better than anyone what a tremendous asset North Sea oil and gas has been, and will continue to be, for many years to come.
The No campaign wants us to believe that oil and gas is a problem for an independent Scotland, when in reality it is a huge opportunity. Nations around the world would give their eye teeth to have Scotland’s energy wealth.
Current forecasts tell us that Scotland’s oil and gas will last for many years to come. Indeed this year has seen important new investments as you’ll have seen in the pages of the P&J.
Remaining reserves are worth over £1trillion – that’s 10 times Scotland’s share of the UK national debt.
This is not a sunset industry, but one that will provide wealth and opportunity for Scotland for decades.
And the suggestion that Westminster has been good for Scotland’s fishing industry is laughable. Coastal communities will remember the view of British negotiators who “in a UK context” viewed the Scottish fishing industry as “expendable”.
They will also remember that it was the government of independent Ireland that secured the much-valued Hague Preference concession that has protected the level of Scottish quota.
The No campaign wants us to believe that Scotland is uniquely incapable of self-government.
They say the many blessings we have, in oil and gas, renewables, and fishing are beyond our capacity to manage well or are burdens rather than opportunities.
It seems they have such a low opinion of the people of Scotland and our ability to make the right choices for our future that they would rather have David Cameron and George Osborne in charge.
That tells us all we need to know about Mr Darling and the No campaign.