Remember, readers, saying the Scottish NHS is in danger from Westminster attacks on the English one is just a despicable and outrageous Nat scare story.
Alistair Darling and Alistair Carmichael wouldn’t lie to you, after all.
The UK government is about to put another taxpayer-funded leaflet through every door in Scotland, laden with dire warnings about the consequences of independence.
Boiled down to just five bullet points – one of which is the meaningless “best of both worlds” – it presents the case for the UK as amounting to keeping the pound (which Scotland can do either way), higher public spending (omitting the fact that Scots pay over the odds for said spending), jobs with UK companies (which would be unaffected because EU law demands freedom of employment) and lower energy bills.
The latter is based on the oft-repeated claim that fuel bills would rise in Scotland because the rUK would no longer pay to import subsidised Scottish renewable energy. But an article in The Ecologist this week, by two respected academics from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, blows that argument out of the water.
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Investors Chronicle (part of the Financial Times group), 25 July 2014:
“In the 12 months since we recommended EnQuest (ENQ) as a speculative buy option, the share price of the North Sea independent has oscillated within a relatively narrow range (-11p/+16p) either side of the current share price of 132p. The relative stability (or stagnation) of the share price – depending on your point of view – is partly attributable to repeat production delays on the Alma/Galia project.
But oil from the 34m barrel development is now imminent, which will help to shore-up near-term sentiment, particularly if output is cranked-up in fairly short order. However, even beyond the immediate quest to bump-up EnQuest’s daily production volumes by another 13,000 barrels, the driller’s strategic focus on exploiting maturing assets and underdeveloped fields in the UK North Sea places it in an ideal position to benefit from likely regulatory reforms, and we recommend buying in anticipation.
We think that Westminster has been deliberately downplaying the potential of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) ahead of September’s referendum on Scottish independence.
The Department of Energy has certainly been far more subdued than it was at the time of the February publication of Sir Ian Wood’s preliminary findings on the future of offshore oil & gas in the UK.
According to the report, the UK economy could generate £200bn over the next 20 years through the recovery of only 3-4bn barrels of North Sea oil and gas. Many analysts believe that the potential is much greater.“
(Our emphases.) We all suspected as much, of course. But the Investors Chronicle isn’t exactly a renowned fount of Scottish-nationalist propaganda – for 150 years it’s been making its living out of telling the City of London how to get richer. If you want to find out what the UK’s wealthy elite REALLY think about the North Sea’s prospects, you won’t find a much better indicator.
So if it’s telling its readers to dive in on oil companies which had a big DROP in profits last year (you know, the freak low year for oil tax receipts that the UK government just loves to use as the foundation for its theatrically gloomy analyses of an independent Scotland’s finances), it’s probably worth taking note.