There are arguments to be made against Scottish Independence, but I believe that both the opportunities that arise, never mind our peoples history mitigate against them. After all the real tragedy of Scotland’s not how bad things are, grim as they’re becoming for many, but how much better they should be, given the resource and talent available. Ireland and Norway have both surpassed us, with far less favourable hands played to them.
To be fair the Scottish Government with their failures to address the need to join EFTA to address the border issue and move speedily to our own currency don’t exactly help. But the too wee, too poor, too stupid line has never struck me as anything other than a caustic attempt to damage. Yet its being repeated again this time with offshore wind.
For sure its now accepted that the claim that Scotland has 25% of Europe’s Offshore wind resource is inaccurate. Though to be fair it was also a line accepted by the UK Government with Deputy Prime Ministers and ministerial colleagues either endorsing or parroting it. Indeed, only a few months ago I repeated it in the House of Commons, and it was unchallenged by the most recent iteration as Energy Minister.
But technology and time have moved on. I don’t know what the precise figure now is. I doubt anyone precisely knows. The story also given legs by a powderpuff defence by the Scottish Government. For it’ll still be massive as our waters and wind are perfect for it. A cursory check discloses that the European Commission stated;
“The North Sea is currently the world’s leading region for deployed capacity and expertise in offshore wind.”
Of course, that includes other nations waters besides Scotland, but our assets extend around into the Atlantic. And what I do know’ s that the resource is significant and the potential for Scotland’s huge, with even Boris Johnson talking about the “Saudi Arabia” of wind. He may have been talking about the UK but the bulk of that bounty lies in Scottish waters. Not just the energy it’ll produce but the businesses and jobs it can create is vital. Talking it down is nonsensical.
Yet instead, unionist fronts and organisations founded by rich men with a certain political hue have been decrying the resource and alluding to almost some devilish nationalist plot. But we’ve seen it all before with our first natural bounty in oil and gas.
As a child of the 60s I recall initial statements that it would be gone by the 80’s yet the hidden McCrone report stated otherwise. By the referendum in 2014 it was to be a liability. All but gone and a millstone around an independent Scotland’s neck. Yet now they can’t extract it fast enough to prop up the UK economy, despite the risks to the planet.
Many of the same voices echoing “Dad’s Army’s” Private Fraser and suggesting we’re now doomed are the same folk doing backward flips on tax. 8 weeks ago Scotland was to be deserted as rich folk fled south. Now higher taxes are a positive boon and the UK’s counsels is wise.
The reality is that offshore winds yet another natural bounty and Scotland can do so much better than this.