As a firm supporter of the ‘Yes’ campaign I couldn’t be more disappointed with the outcome of the referendum.
I’m not a nationalist, in fact I would argue I’m an internationalist, and I saw Independence as an opportunity for Scotland to make its mark internationally and showcase the skills and talents we have in abundance in this country. I believe we could have shown the world we were more than able to manage our affairs far better than Westminster ever has. In the oil and gas sector specifically we could have shown Westminster and the world how the sector should be managed to the benefit of all those involved with the industry and society at large.
For too long Westminster has used our natural resources as nothing more than a revenue stream and political football. Their boom and bust management approach has damaged the confidence of investors and operators, workers have suffered as activity levels have fluctuated with every tax unannounced tax grab, while Energy Ministers have come and gone through an ever revolving door. We haven’t had a clear energy policy since the early 1980s and Westminster has fundamentally failed to understand and work with the sector, instead making knee jerk reactions based primarily on the price of fuel at the pumps for their South East constituents.
Scotland will not have the chance to show how it should be done and how it could have been done from the outset. We now face an uncertain future which is disappointing, as I’m confident we could have managed this valuable resource in a way which would have guaranteed a viable oil and gas industry for several decades. Not only that I believe we could have harnessed the abundant skills and talents which have sustained the sector thus far to exploit a wide range of other potential energy sources and improved our environmental performance. All of this I believe is now in jeopardy as control is handed back to Westminster who care little for the sector or those who work in it.