Good news on the oil front
Only three months after the find of an approximate 300 million barrels of oil in Scottish waters, a further 100 million barrels has been discovered by German firm Wintershall.
At today’s prices the latest find would equate to something in the region of $7billion of a boost to the Scottish economy. Added to the $21 billion in May, that makes a tidy wee sum which could easily be salted away as an oil fund...
Prof. Josef Stiglitz has called for an Oil Fund. The Nobel Prize winner and former Chief Economist of the World Bank, said on BBC Scotland’s Newsnight programme last Tuesday that the UK had “squandered" its oil wealth and that it is now "imperative" an oil fund be established to secure the wealth that remains under the North Sea for future generations.
Fat chance! When oil was first discovered in the North Sea in the late 1970s, the details of how much there was, and how much money was involved were deliberately hidden from the British and especially the Scottish people by the Labour government. It was feared that knowledge of the potential wealth in Scottish waters would encourage the Scots to ditch the union in favour of the life style now enjoyed by Norwegians, a lifestyle which might be described as being from an altogether different planet.
Mrs Thatcher failed to correct Labour’s criminality. Instead of investing in the run down industry that was rife in the north of England and the central belt of Scotland, as for example the Germans have done with their eastern länders (without the benefit of oil), Mrs Thatcher used the oil money to support a vast unemployment programme whilst converting Britain to a service economy which made nothing but money. Insurance and banking, tourism and popular culture. In the mean time vast numbers of people in Scotland were dumped on the dole.
And as the unemployment figures rose, she ordered that people be transferred to the more secretive Sickness and Invalidity Benefits which were supposed to be for people incapable of work (as opposed to those who had become an embarrassment to the government).
Messrs Blair and Brown used the oil money to help fund war wherever they could find it. So the money from our oil wealth was used for anything but making our country comfortable.
I am forever hearing of an oil fund in this or that country. Vast amounts of money put away in the good times to help support the country in the future. It’s happened in Norway where there is over $500 billion of wealth in a country of 4 million people, making them the richest folks in the world at $117,000+ per person in a bank account... and they are only just over the water from us. Amazingly Scotland produces almost the same amount of oil as Norway, and yet not a penny piece has been put into a fund.
Funds exist in feudal states. Sensible and prudent government from the likes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Gulf Emirates, countries in which there is little if any democracy. And even when a state is not totally independent, like Alaska and in Canada, the federal government has still seen to it that oil funds are set up for these states.
Scotland must the only country (or if you want it province) which found oil and got poorer.
We really have to insist that with these finds the Scottish government be allowed to set up a fund for the future of the Scottish economy when oil has dried up. To do anything else is criminal lunacy... and we have already had 30 years of that.