2007 - 2022

ScotWind Offshore Auction


The ScotWind offshore auction has divided opinion across the Scottish left, green-left and wider independence movement exposing fissures of vision and understanding.

On the one hand is the feeling of a corporate sell-out – how did Shell and BP get their hands on our wind energy? The ongoing travesty that there is no National Public Energy utility, the impression that the figures while sounding impressive (£700 m) are a poor return and an under-sell, and suspicion about the role of the Crown Estate – on the other is the idea that is ScotWind represents a major change in how we generate our electricity and could lead to an estimated six million tonnes of carbon dioxide being prevented from entering our atmosphere annually (that’s about an eighth of all Scotland’s emissions for 2019).

The FM wrote: “Big day tomorrow – Crown Estates Scotland will confirm the outcome of the ScotWind auction. It holds massive opportunities for our renewable energy capacity and transition to net zero, and for our economy. This is a good background read… (‘Will ScotWind auction deliver a renewables revolution?’)

Others disagree and see it as a missed opportunity to really change ownership and control. Jonathon Shafi writes: “In 2009 Vattenfall won Gold for green-washing by climate activists for “its mastery of spin on climate change, portraying itself as a climate champion while lobbying to continue business as usual.” The Swedish energy giant has been awarded control of 798MW of Scottish wind power.”

Environmenal researcher Magnus Jamieson has summed it up: “I think there’s serious cause for optimism but also rightfully concern about missed opportunities. It’s likely there might be some project attrition so we won’t necessarily see the full 25GW realised but as a starting point that is an extraordinary amount of wind power being constructed on our doorstep. In an ideal world we would have more infrastructure for constructing the turbines themselves on our doorstep but the pressing need to build as much of everything as quickly as possible means the focus must be on getting the capacity built. There is still serious involvement from companies like SSE and SP who have substantial Scottish operations, but also a notable inward investment. Dropping 25GW of new capacity on the system is going to create a serious amount of operational challenges from a system perspective, but nothing we can’t manage. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry and there is still a lot of work to do to ensure Scottish communities actually benefit from this, not least because it remains a serious injustice that some of the most energy-rich land in Scotland is home to some of its most extreme fuel poverty- but we cannot let perfection be the enemy of good in the climate fight.”

I think it’s a complex situation – and I don’t pretend to have enough knowledge to fully understand it.

But £700m doesn’t seem a huge amount if it’s only a one-off “wind-fall” to the public finances. The lack of a public energy utility just seems like a yawning gap in our plans. The presence of Big Oil in Big Wind seems like a historic mistake. The inability to tie-in procurement requirements and local economy supply-chain clauses seems another missed opportunity, though I understand these opportunities may arise in the future.

I never really understand the birds argument. Sorry.

A wider question is whether we understand energy as a public resource or a commodity for export sale.

This does feel like historical failure and business as usual rather than a “green revolution.” But some of the reactions are being parsed through a spectrum of optimism/pragmatism and the play of other political agendas. Genuinely interested in peoples thoughts.

This is written to invite comment and understanding.

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Comments (59)

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  1. Michael Gray says:

    Interesting! There’s positives and negatives (mixed in with some unfortunate misinformation and confusion swirling around).

    My starting point is that if you want to build massive state owned infrastructure you need to borrow at least multi-billion £ for starters. You’re looking at tens of billions overall to construct the 17 projects in this round of offshore wind alone. The Scottish Government is severely restricted on that front (A yearly capital + resourcing borrowing limit of £1bn per year), and it’s another pain from the 2014 result and the limited Smith Commission that we don’t have large scale finance available to us.

    There’s an argument government should be making the case for a national energy organisation that manufactures and owns renewables sites, which I don’t hear much. Although an alternative view is that local community ownership – which already have many success stories – is far more achievable and actually a better model that a massive national company.

    Instead many seem confused about the separate National Energy Company proposal that ScotGov dropped. This focused on a retail energy offer to sell electricity and gas to consumers. Anyone paying attention to energy retailers will have noticed those companies across the market all going bust due to spiralling wholesale prices, with costs currently expected to skyrocket further. So not only was this proposal not focused on building and owning big infrastructure projects, it’s timing ended up being high risk and potentially counter-productive. Imagine if instead of a £700m wind auction + then ongoing lease revenue, ScotGov was currently stuck paying massive subsidies for wholesale gas while trying to justify huge price hikes after pledging the opposite…

    If anyone has any route to ScotGov raising say £5bn+ outwith and beyond its borrowing restrictions I’d be interested to hear it. For instance Aberdeen Council ran a £370m bond issue for capital projects in 2016. Maybe there’s creative, bold approaches here – but I doubt they’re simple!

  2. david says:

    I have almost 50 years in project management in the energy business. We should build offshore wind and batteries now. Long term, (2050) Scotland has the best tidal power resource in Europe. We need to own this, and plan for our grandchildren. Now.

    I wrote at some length in the Edinburgh Yes Hub’s December magazine.

    https://www.edinburghyeshub.info/magazines

  3. Squigglypen says:

    Once again we give our resources away. Why’s that Nicola?
    Remember OUR OIL? The FOI papers revealed how the Westminster shower wanted to keep it quiet as Scotland would be one of the richest countries in Europe.Those documents were Top Secret for 50 years.They discussed redrawing the border so the oilfields would be England. Where did the money go?..straight into the coffers down south to be used for the tunnel and a ring road round London.
    £700 million..big wows…folk win more on the lottery
    Big Day Nicola…yeah right…

  4. Chris Ballance says:

    I think interpretation of this depends on your political philosophy.
    You could either see it as an example of how multinational capitalism completely fails society, maximising rewards for the rich and the mega.
    Or you can say that given that multinational capital is the name of the game, then short of revolution, this is probably about as good as it’s going to get.
    Both statements are arguably true.

    I’d be interested however to see if there were any community energy bids (e.g. from Energy for All), as I know that at least one was being considered – acceptance of a community-owned scheme really would be a step forward.

    1. Jacob Bonnari says:

      I doubt very strongly that E4All have the capacity to get involved in this. Dogger Bank C wind farm reached its financial close in December 2021 and looking at Equinor’s website the project vehicle has borrowed £2.5Bn to do . With a equity/debt balance of about 25/75pc the total build cost will be in the region of £3,300M for a capacity of 1200MW. It means that the equity was about £800M. In rule of thumb terms £2.75M per MW of installed capacity. Rate of return will be in the region of 7-10%.

      Looking at the Scotwind round we should assume that these costs will come down further, as a rough assumption £2.5M per MW.

      With a population of 5M and a personal savings pot of £2/wk that would give Scotland locally raised capital of £500M annually, not a kick in the arse off the £800M of equity put into Dogger Bank C.

      So the reality is that if we had a nationally-focused govt seeking public ownership of electricity generating assets (are you listening Scottish Labour?) then Scotland could be using its own citizen’s capital (equivalent to one Starbucks coffee per week or a very cheap pint) to build an energy infrastructure which would support our children and grand children.

      The local manufacture thing is a bit of a red herring. Fund a couple of these projects this way and the manufacturers will be knocking our door for a bit of the action, even if the turbines are only built under licence.

  5. Jim Sansbury says:

    This 700 million “windfall” (sorry) must be seen to be put to good use and Holyrood should be saying very soon what they might spend it on.
    Ferries? Hospitals? Rail nationalisation? Teachers? Investment Bank?………the list is endless and Im sure that with that wee short list Ive probably spent it all already. But there needs to be discussion and concrete plans to show how it will be used for the public good.
    Holyrood (SNP/Greens) need to be on the front foot.
    And we need to keep Westminsters sticky hands off it too.
    With hind sight some sort of long term plan as per Shetland and the oil companies way back when should have been worked out.
    But 700million is 700 million and there will surely be other auctions in the future.

  6. Wul says:

    “On the one hand is the feeling of a corporate sell-out – how did Shell and BP get their hands on our wind energy?”

    It feels a lot bigger than “corporate sell-out” to me. It is (yet another!) massive capture of our Common Good by a small, already super-wealthy, coterie of private capitalist interests.
    The natural resources of a properly fair and democratic country belong entirely to the people of that country. It should be exploited in a way which does the least environmental harm, delivers the cheapest possible renewable energy to citizens with a long-term dividend, sovereign wealth accumulation and progressive redistribution of wealth. When did Shell & BP ever deliver anything along those lines?

    I remember my auld grandfather saying, when the discovery of North Sea Oil had just been announced and the talk was of almost free fuel and energy; “Son, it wouldnae matter if the whole North Sea was oil. Those bastards will make us pay through the nose for every drop!”. He was right.

    I imagine that fuel poverty on off-shore-wind leccy will feel much the same as gas-fired fuel poverty.

    1. Jim Sansbury says:

      “When did Shell & BP ever deliver anything along those lines?”
      Thanks for making my 25 years offshore sweat seem useless!

      1. Wul says:

        Don’t take my comment personally Jim, because it wasn’t meant to criticise oil and gas workers some of whom are my friends and family. Private oil co’s are good at extracting oil, providing well-paid jobs, producing a commodity we all need and use at a viable price point and making a good profit for shareholders.

        They are not so good at creating resilient, long-term social security for a country’s citizens. Why would they be? It’s not what they are for.

        1. Jim Sansbury says:

          Cheers Wul.

  7. Wul says:

    £700 million is beads & feathers for the natives. BoJo spaffed more than that on freebie Covid contracts for his pals in a few weeks in 2020.

    1. Tom Ultuous says:

      That was probably his share Wul.

  8. @ Bella Caledonia Editor says:

    Vattenfall Group’s parent company, Vattenfall AB, is 100% owned by the Swedish state. Its main markets are Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the UK.

    Why isn’t the Scottish government competing/investing in those markets? Does it just nationalise heritage industries?

    1. Chris Ballance says:

      Because we have traditionally seen nationalisation as something one does to failing industries or essential services which could not make a big profit. The idea of nationalising something which is capable of making a very decent return for the state and tax-payer is something incomprehensible within traditional Tory-Labour thinking.

      1. @ Chris Ballance says:

        Yup, the Scottish government is still so stuck in 20th-century Tory/Labour thinking. That’s why it has to rely on other states to build our bridges and tramways, generate our power, and (until recently) run our railways. Imagine how reliant it could be if it were independent!

        1. Niemand says:

          Whatever happened to the old mixed economy? Long dead.

          1. @ Niemand says:

            The mixed economy (a combination of free-market principles and principles of socialism) is surely the sort of ‘Tory-Labour’ thinking to which Chris refers; an economy in which the public subsidises the loss-making bits.

          2. Niemand says:

            That’s rather simplistic. It is also about regulation and in the days of old Labour, some nationalisation of industries deemed essential or that produce public goods. It is true that it got a bad name by nationalising industries to save them from financial ruin (and that does still happen).

          3. @ Niemand says:

            Yep, the state regulation of strategic and other key industries to secure the public good comes under the rubric of ‘the principles of socialism’.; leaving the rest to the regulation of a free market is the mark of a mixed economy.

    2. Tom Ultuous says:

      Does the Scottish govt have the power to nationalise anything? Even if it did, its borrowing powers are such that it couldn’t afford a supermarket.

      1. @ Tom Ultuous says:

        It does and has nationalised some failing concerns. And, yes, it would have to borrow heavily to invest in developing markets. Developing new markets like the large-scale extraction of energy from offshore wind involves considerable outlay and risk, which is why governments prefer to leave it to private enterprise. Although, some economists, like Marianna Mazzucato, prescribe the establishment of state investment banks to provide the outlay and assume the risk (and, of course, reap the rewards) instead. We’re talking ‘Vattenfall AB’ and ‘Abellio’ rather than ‘NCB’ and ‘British Rail’ as the model of nationalisation here.

        1. Mike Fenwick says:

          Question, ‘cos I don’t know:

          Does anyone know if the Scottish National Investment Bank has any present or potentially future interest in any of the Scotwind developments?

          Kinda thinking – if not, why not?

          1. @ Mike Fenwick says:

            I’ve no idea. What are its assets? Could it afford such massive investment as this development will require?

            It’s early days. Maybe the bank will need time to grow its assets before it can compete with other investors in developments of this scale.

          2. Mike Fenwick says:

            Why did I ask my question? Should the SNIB be examining a role in Scotwind (even if small in one of the sites) – as an initial lender of funds, perhaps as a platform to involve further funds – and most critically with an ongoing stake in the revenues?

            If not, why not?

            Extract: “The bank was established with £2 billion of funding from the Scottish Government, which it will look to deploy to firms in Scotland that meet its “mission-led” criteria – innovation, tackling inequality and supporting the drive towards net zero. ”

            From here:

            https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/18888084.new-scottish-bank-opens-doors-12-5m-investment-pioneering-glasgow-laser-firm/

          3. David B says:

            Good question, Mike F. Also what about Scottish local government pension funds? That’s another substantial pot of Scottish funds that could help secure public part-ownership of our own resources.

          4. @ Mike Fenwick says:

            Investing in offshore windfarm developments (and all the ancillary development that will need to go with them) would certainly come under the ‘net zero’ mission that the Scottish government has set the SNIB. According to the paper, ‘Scottish National Investment Bank: Proposal to Set Missions for the Scottish National Investment Bank’, which the Scottish government laid before the Scottish parliament in 2020, areas that support ‘carbon-neutral power generation, storage and distribution’ is just the sort of area the Scottish government ‘would anticipate’ the bank to be investing in.

            I’ll give one of my MSPs a bell and see what’s happening. Maybe the bank’s still getting up to speed with its operation. Maybe its ‘missions’ are still out for consultation. Who knows? I’m sure the republic will be a lot more transparent after independence.

          5. @ Mike Fenwick says:

            I spoke to Finlay Carson last night, and, according to him, to the best of his knowledge, the SNIB is precluded by the terms of its charter from offering investment to sub-commercial projects. A project is ‘sub-commercial’ if the degree of commitment is not such that the project is expected to be developed and placed on production (and therefore a return made on the investment) within five years, and the windfarms development won’t be realised within the next five years.

            Basically, the SNIB isn’t all it’s craic’t up to be; it can’t really provide long-term, strategic investment.

          6. @ Mike Fenwick says:

            Oh, aye; and he also said that, while such sub-commercial investment isn’t part of the business of the SNIB, it remains in the gift of the enterprise agencies and central Scottish Government.

            As far as I can gather, the SNIB is basically a device whereby public money can be lent to private enterprise at affordable rates for a commercial return.

  9. Dougie Harrison says:

    I share your concern and lack of understanding of how we on the Scots left should respond to the urgent issues posed by the climate crisis Mike. I was for several decades in a privileged position to influence public policy here, as a committed marxist economist who enjoyed a significant post in Scots public life. Thought then that I at least understood some of the answers. I accept now that neither I nor any other individual has them all.

    I’m confident that the Scots left has the capacity to find them. The big issue posed by the climate crisis is: do we have time to enjoy the luxury of always finding the right – which of course means LEFT – answers politically?

  10. Mike Fenwick says:

    Marianna Mazzucato – is one of the Scottish Government economic advisors (perhaps not keen (unless) on Indy) – but have been reading her books for a while and I very much doubt she would see Scotwind as other than a MAJOR opportunity lost. Flavour of her thinking here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/jan/20/mission-economy-by-mariana-mazzucato-review-the-return-of-the-state

    1. @ Mike Fenwick says:

      I really don’t think capitalism can be saved by infusing it with public interest, as Marianna Mazzucato suggests. Capitalism is predicated on exploitation-fuelled growth, which can’t ultimately be sustained. Whether that growth is pursued from public or private interest, it makes no difference.

      1. Mike Fenwick says:

        Is growth that you have used- GDP – the proper measure? It’s why maybe welbeing and happiness indices are appearing as alternative thinking?

        Not my examples, pinched the thoughts:

        Don’t marry your childminder – it reduces GDP – but by all means pollute – it increases GDP.

        1. @ Mike Fenwick says:

          Indeed, definitions of growth that are alternative to the definition on which capitalism is predicated are available. But the definition on which capitalism is predicated is… well, the definition on which capitalism is predicated. Economies that are predicated on alternative definitions ain’t capitalist. Maybe, when capitalism crashes and burns, such alternative economies will evolve from its ruins. Who knows?

          BTW: Definition of happiness/wellbeing: ‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six.’; ‘growth’.

          1. Mike Fenwick says:

            My reference to Mazzucato relates to her views on “value” and “value extraction – and on how from 300 years ago “value” and its analysis was farm related, then changed in its measurement through the industrial revolution and from the 70’s changed again with neo-liberalism – seems to me we are again at a change point and I think the thinking of Mazucato has a part to play – in helping us think.

            So too does Prof Richard Wolff help us think – from a marxist standpoint – offer this for those interested – when he gave a talk at and to Google:

            Curing Capitalism | Richard Wolff | Talks at Google

          2. @ Mike Fenwick says:

            Indeed, Mazzucato’s analysis of the tension between how value is created and how value is extracted in capitalism and how this tension has become critical is a rehearsal of the now-classic Marxian narrative of capitalism’s immanent deconstruction.

            I’m just not convinced by her mission to save capitalism from itself by prescribing a greater role for the state creating and shaping new markets rather than just fixing failing ones. Her thesis that mission-oriented market-shaping state investment banks will arrest capitalism’s deconstruction is particularly wishful thinking.

  11. John Learmonth says:

    Once these wind farms are built get used to seeing a lot less seabirds. 100ft rotor blades vs flesh and feathers.
    Thats before the effect they’ll have on whales and dolphins. No form of energy is cost free to the wider enviroment.

    1. Drew Anderson says:

      Perhaps you’d care to enlighten us as to the effect on cetaceans is; rather than saying there’s an effect, without specifying what it is?

      As far as seabirds are concerned, could you please quantify ‘a lot less’ (sic). If the graphic Mike used is accurate, the locations don’t seem to be particularly close to shore. How much time to seabirds spend, on the wing, that far from land?

      Mike invited comment and understanding, your bold comment provided none of the latter.

    2. SleepingDog says:

      @John Learmonth, you’ll be dead set against cars, cats, windows, plastic and above all drilling for offshore oil which has calamitous effects on seabirds and cetaceans then?
      https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/oilimpacts.html
      and of course Royal Dutch Shell’s seismic blasting for oil prospecting in whale breeding grounds. And royals! I’m sure the average royal kills many more birds than an average wind turbine every year. Norman Baker’s chapter “Killer Wales” in And What Do You Do? What the Royal Family Don’t Want You to Know (2020) suggests industrial scales of birdslaughter, with by one estimate Prince Philip exterminating 30,000 pheasants alone in the thirty years leading up to 1996.

  12. Roddie MacLennan says:

    Can we keep this in perspective? Scotland is NOT an independent nation. Westminster is in charge of energy policy. Public ownership is the goal. Let the power companies do the groundwork. Accept it for what it is, become independent, then change it.

  13. Roland says:

    While the world does not always work the way I would like it to I am somewhat relieved that we have substantially more renewable energy coming on stream near us soon. I hope we can do enough to avert climate catastrophe but as an aside, if we can displace big oil many long-standing wars and awful geopolitics dissipates. No doubt there will be other resource wars but oils a big one to be well shot of.

  14. Tom Ultuous says:

    Is it the case that when the licences run out the govt can take ownership of wind farms? Not that Westminster would do so but perhaps we’ll be independent by the time the licences expire.

    1. @ Tom Ultuous says:

      Providing the EU would allow that. (I’m presuming an independent Scotland will by then, as promised, have again alienated part of its sovereignty to that Union.)

      What are the current EU regulations on offshore leasing to developers? I’ve no idea… Do those regulations require a competitive bidding process, in which several state-owned enterprises like Vattenfall AB can participate, or could Scotland’s state-owned enterprise claim a monopoly of such leases?

  15. Paddy Farrington says:

    “£700m doesn’t seem a huge amount if it’s only a one-off “wind-fall” to the public finances. ”

    But isn’t the deal that Scottish Crown Estate will charge leasing fees once these windfarms are operational, thus bringing in a steady source of revenue? Clearly, building the infrastructure requires very substantial investment, which the Scottish Government cannot currently provide as it has such limited borrowing powers. Independence would change that, and would make it possible to drive progressive policy ends in the ways that Mariana Mazzucato suggests.

  16. Susan Dyer says:

    So what can we do about this? I’m up for concerted action.

    1. @ Susan Dyer says:

      All this talk of ‘concerted action’ never really comes to anything, though, does it? It’s just a ritual response, prescribed by the traditions of the Left, and characterised by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance; and language-game, in other words. It doesn’t serve any purpose other than to express a sense of community or belonging among its speakers.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @AnonymousAntidemocrat, the UK as a whole is unusual in not experiencing a successful popular revolution that toppled its ruling elite as has happened in most other nations.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_revolutions_and_rebellions
        Nevertheless, in the hundred years up to the equal enfranchisement of women and men, popular concerted action has forced a number of highly significant reforms and changes, such as the early reforms of Parliament from exceedingly corrupt to slightly less corrupt, forcing Parliament to legislate for outlawing some of the worst forms of slavery, largely ending the primacy and exclusiveness of Anglicanism (if not in the Lords), achieving five out of six Chartist demands (universal manhood suffrage; secret ballot; equal-size constituencies; MP salaries; abolish MP property qualification; but not yearly ballots); penal reforms and policing by consent (at least, to the extent that consent was given, a renewed social contract); trade union recognition (albeit ever contested, see Matchgirls and London Dockers’ strikes); sanitation improvements (partly inspired by Florence Nightingale) which led to social plumbing and is credited with saving more lives than the medical profession; the development of comprehensive mass education; raising the age of consent and outlawing various kinds of child abuse (though corporal punishment took longer); the emancipation of married women (who were earlier treated like chattel in some aspects of law); some protections for women and sex workers; largely ending child labour and bringing in important labour and workplace reforms; the decisive popular moves towards the liberation of Ireland from the British Empire; some restrictions forced on the House of Lords by popular will; and the achievement in UK law of near-universal adult suffrage. Most of these were heavily resisted by reactionary forces in the political establishment, and only popular concerted action wrung these victories from the forces of reaction and elite privilege, through well-documented campaigns.

        And you might remember concerted efforts in 20th century total warfare, but maybe you don’t consider them successful for some reason. And the partial decolonisation of the British Empire was eventually achieved by popular concerted efforts, which is why the British Empire had been imprisoning, torturing, raping and killing their populations for so long, to delay the days of independence.

        Why do you hate democracy so much?

        1. @ SleepingDog says:

          ‘…in the hundred years up to the equal enfranchisement of women and men, popular concerted action has forced a number of highly significant reforms and changes…’

          Indeed, and commemoration of these historical successes forms part of the traditions that prescribe the ritual responses belonging to the Left’s religious or quasi-religious discourse.

          The call for ‘concerted action’ is part of what has been referred to elsewhere on these threads as the disconnect between power and aspiration that forms part of the ‘spectacle’ of our contemporary politics. The Left can call for concerted action as long and loud as it wishes, but the reality is that it doesn’t have the power to orchestrate it. It serves only as a ritual invocation, in much the same way that ‘Thy Kingdom come!’ does in the performance of the Lord’s Prayer.

          ‘Why do you hate democracy so much?’

          I don’t know. Why do you think the decentralisation and democratising of policymaking in Scottish education (i.e. making it less of a political spectacle) would make it more susceptible to corporate capture?

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @IncorrigibleIdeologue, kindly use the comment form fields for the purpose they are clearly marked for. In the case of “Name”, please supply your name or pseudonym. Otherwise the system of replies breaks down. I have checked the accessibility code, and it seems fine, so even a vision-impaired user of screen-reader should be able to determine the input marked “Name”.

            What is this mysterious The Left? Does it intersect with the fabled Middle? On second thoughts, I don’t really want an answer, you’re obviously off in a world of your own. Here is a more modern case study on collective action, which includes a model for the information age:
            https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/dec/16/mps-expenses-what-we-learned
            More widely, the Black Lives Matter campaigns have radically shifted debates on government policies around the world, and impacted legal systems with raised expectations of equality before law. Your preference for topdown gifting presumably means you prefer COP26 professional dithering to environmental activism, whose campaigns have forced significant government policy changes in the face of opposition from well-funded interests, though there is always pushback.

            I have answered your final question patiently and adequately on the relevant article. Incidentally, that answer also relates to one of the justifications of the EU, in that it is large enough to stand up to (regulate and fine) even the largest US technology corporation, in the public interest. Although in practice, corporations hold great sway over EU policy, partly due to a democratic deficit in its institutions. But out of the EU, the UK under present regime with an extreme democratic deficit is more vulnerable to predation by corporations including fossil fuel companies who may see opportunities (not in the public interest) in the renewable energy sector. On the other hand, you have made no attempt to justify your claims that democracy and decentralisation go together; it doesn’t in feudalism, it doesn’t in patriarchy, and it doesn’t anywhere where policies are best decided at national or international level, for example using the best evidence base to judge whether phonics is the best method for teaching reading, not something those pupils will be democratically able to judge for themselves.

          2. @ SleepingDog says:

            The Left is whatever it is that those who identify with the Left are referring to when they talk about themselves as ‘the Left’; something like ‘relating to those who favour radical, reforming, or socialist views’.

            It’s a common-enough term; there’s nothing ‘mysterious’ about it at all. Ask any of those who use it to self-identify on Bella what it means and I’m sure they’ll be able to tell you.

            And, yes; Black Lives Matters is a great example of how decentralised, grassroots democracy works ‘from the bottom up’, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. It is probably because the movement is so decentralised and unconcerted in its decision-making and activism that it’s proving to be so resistant to corporate capture.

          3. SleepingDog says:

            @IdentityImpersonator, corporate capture is not the only threat, though. Corporate appropriation is far harder for a decentralised movement to stave off, such as the corporate greenwash which Greenpeace views as entering a new golden age: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/golden-age-of-greenwash/
            parasitising off the environmental movement, and something similar seems to be happening to Black Lives Matter corporate rebrands. Plus, of course, false flags and the rest of the dirty tricks. Of course, one the most significant expressions of collective decision-making (in, for example, protecting minorities, rights, and potentially the environment too) is in public deliberations leading to a national codified constitution, something you appear to reject for the UK.

            BTW, your misusing of other commenters’ names in your comment Name field (and not supplying one of your own) appears to be confusing and/or annoying others. Please cease and desist. I would suggest that Bella put something in its site terms and conditions of use (link?) that makes this offence a sanctionable violation.

          4. @ SleepingDog says:

            ‘And, yes; Black Lives Matters is a great example of how decentralised, grassroots democracy works ‘from the bottom up’, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. It is probably because the movement is so decentralised and unconcerted in its decision-making and activism that it’s proving to be so resistant to corporate capture…’

            …Indeed, one could say that the decentralised and democratic ‘establishment’ of Black Lives Matters – the whole matrix of formal and informal relations within which power is exercised in such movements – provides us with an alternative political paradigm for society generally.

  17. David B says:

    I think some commentators’ focus on post-independence borrowing powers is potentially misguided. An independent Scotland will only be able to borrow what the international markets are prepared to lend. And they will only lend once we’ve developed a track record for economic ‘responsibility’, which in their terms means privatisation and neo-liberal policies. I doubt we will be able to accrue substantial debt in order to finance public energy ownership, at least not in the first decade or so of independence.

    In any case, expertise is as much a barrier as finance. Vattenfall, DONG etc. are decades ahead of us. We should be developing a publicly owned energy firm that can at least bid in partnership with the bigger companies, in order to increase our own capacity. Why wait for independence to start that process?

    Mike – you say “The inability to tie-in procurement requirements and local economy supply-chain clauses seems another missed opportunity.” From the press statement it looks like there was a Local Procurement Statement submitted as part of each bid, and that the winning bids’ statements will be published at some point.

    1. @ David B says:

      We should be developing a publicly owned energy firm that can at least bid in partnership with the bigger companies, in order to increase our own capacity.’

      Spot on! Several of the successful Scotwind bids were made by consortia of both publicly- and privately-owned companies.

      A proper SNIB would play a strategic role in developing our own publicly-owned Abellios and Vattenfalls to compete in our global marketplaces for green energy, transport, etc.

    2. David B says:

      My mistake – the procurement statements were apparently not part of the selection process so Mike you are totally correct. I fell for the spin. This is a huge missed opportunity.

    3. Yes that’s right – but it remains unclear – other reports state that we cant operate at a scale to be competitive. There is much complexity in all of this, one reason why I am trying to invite input.

      1. David B says:

        Totally. I look forward to understanding it better

  18. Meg Macleod says:

    the history of big oli companies …..their overwhelming power …. leads to the question .why do we put our heads upon the proverbial block?..puppet strings ar work again I wonder…. the master puppeteers…can we wiggle our way from their control? we must believe we can or there is no futurefor Scotland`s independence or so it seems to me….old age brings a belief in miracles……

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