Rising prices, the secret report, and the black black oil

by Joan McAlpine

Can we really be threatened with yet another pump price rise from the Westminster government?

We already pay the highest fuel and heating bills in Europe – despite being an energy-rich nation.

You need to go back to 1974 to understand why we are so powerless.

That’s when the British government commissioned a report on the then newly discovered North Sea oil and its economic implications for Scotland.

The document packed such a punch it was stamped “secret” and locked away for 30 years.

It was written by Professor Gavin McCrone against the backdrop of a rising SNP and growing support for independence.

Professor McCrone said an independent Scotland would be among the world’s richest nations, with a budget surplus so large it would be “embarrassing”.

The SNP at the time claimed that North Sea oil would earn £800million a year for the government by 1980.

McCrone said that forecast was “far too low”. Annual earnings would be more like £3billion.

He predicted that Scotland’s currency would be “the hardest in Europe” and this level of prosperity would continue “for a very long time into the future”. He also suggested England could borrow from its wealthier neighbour.

But the report was suppressed, independence was postponed and Scotland gave her oil wealth away for nothing.

The Labour government in 1974 ordered McCrone’s paper to be classified immediately. It was restricted in much the same way as top military secrets.

In the 30-odd years it lay in the vaults, £300billion of oil tax revenue flowed from Scotland to the Treasury.

All that time, Labour and Tory politicians told Scots they were too poor to run their own country.

They all kept schtum about McCrone, even during the Thatcher era when Scotland’s industry was devastated. Our oil revenue built the Channel Tunnel and bought nuclear weapons but our shipyards, steelworks and mines were run down. The oil revenue financed tax cuts for the rich financiers and property speculators of the south-east of England, while millions of workers languished on the dole.

All the while, we were told we’d be as poor as Bangladesh if we dared take our country back.

We didn’t know the secret McCrone report said we’d be as rich as Switzerland. Well, we know now. The report was finally uncovered in 2005 thanks to Freedom of Information Laws.

But it is not as widely publicised as it should be. This is a good time to remind ourselves of McCrone, and not just because of the rising cost of heating the house and filling up the car.

(The rest of Joan’s article can be read here, in her column in Daily Record)

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Categories: Anti-Capitalism, Autonomism, Oil

3 replies

  1. Our nation partner in one one of the world’s oldest political unions. Our best bud, bosom chum and comrade through thick and thin for three hundred plus years.

    Before we go, check the cutlery drawers and the silver cabinet.

  2. I think it continues to this day. I think the amount of oil wealth is really being underestimated again.

    For one, with oil as a diminishing commodity the basic price will rise, thus leading to a higher tax return. This will be partly offset by rising prices for goods based on oil, transportation costs etc.

    Secondly, I am sure there is a lot more oil, west of Shetland. It is matter of developing better extraction technologies to get at it.

    Thirdly, with renewables able to power our domestic needs, more of the oil revenues can be used at home to tackle the woeful state of our infrastructure, the health of our nation and developing post oil technology (e.g. biofarming for making monomers for biopolymer based materials)

  3. This betrayal under trust by powers south of the border is nothing new, remember the Glencoe Massacre? While we’re in this vein we can also ponder the circumstances of the 1707 Act of Union. Ergo we should be shocked but not surprised.
    Hiding the McCrone Report by using WW1 legislation designed to protect the UK from the release of information to an enemy really highlights what Westminster thinks of the Scots ie. WE ARE THE ENEMY!
    Labour and Conservative parties have betrayed the Scottish people and will continue to do so as long as we allow it. Instead of being the sixth richest country in the world we suffer the heartbreak that one in three of our children live in poverty. Knowing these facts can anyone in Scotland with a conscience remain in support of the this Union? Roll on the 2014 Independence referendum when we can lay this lying, corrupt Union to rest once and for all.
    In the interim let’s all spread the word of the McCrone treachery, outline to your friends how they, their children and grandchildren et al have been robbed of their birthright by the uncaring deceit of Westminster governments .

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