Friday, September 16, 2005

Scottish nationalists demand apology over oil lies

Douglas Fraser:

AN apology was demanded yesterday for "30 years of lies" about Scotland's potential if it had sole access to North Sea oil revenues, with a claim that reserves at current prices are worth £1.5 trillion(£1500bn).

The call came from the Scottish National Party after a secret Whitehall dossier was published, showing Labour ministers were told in 1975 that Scotland could have become one of the strongest economies in Europe, yet said the nationalist strategy could not work.

A top economist told ministers the extent of the oil revenue boom was "in large measure disguised from the Scottish public" in official projections.

Kenny MacAskill, SNP deputy leader at Holyrood, said the document showed Scotland had been denied its "rightful wealth", which could have transformed it in the same way as Canadian provinces and Arab sheikhdoms.

"They knew for 30 years that Scotland was sitting on a bountiful presence that would have transformed our economy for the better," he said.

Jim Mather, SNP enterprise spokesman, said the Scottish Office had "tried to prove that a godsend was a curse. Since oil was discovered they have talked it down, telling us it would soon run out."

Showing just how much Scotland has lost

Can SNP capitalise on a gift in Labour heartland?

Westminster’s guilty secret

Oil revenue would solve a lot of problems

Oil gets blood pumping in chamber

Wir Jack can be a slippery customer over the oil question

Labour’s state of abject denial about oil

Fuel crisis? Here’s how we could easily be billionaires

The barrel loads of lies must stop now

‘Selfishness’ and Scottish oil


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