CONGRATULATIONS on your bold production of a Saturday magazine, which was a very good read. I read with interest the decent article by former SNP strategist Gordon Guthrie but was genuinely angered by a statement in it: “It is an unavoidable fact that the Scottish economy has been too long dependent on a single commodity – oil”.
The Scottish economy is not dependent on oil, was never dependent on oil and never will be dependent on oil. The only economy that is or was in any way dependent on Scottish oil is the UK economy. All the oil revenues for all the years went to the UK Treasury and Scotland never got any. The Unionist distortion of a Scotland dependent on oil is compounded by the fantasy Scottish UK deficit and a notion that Scotland, as a result of the Barnett formula, gets more public spending per head than the rest of the UK. All this furnishes the “beggar nation” insult that the Unionists are pinning their hopes on.
The truth is that Scotland gets less than half its per capita share of the vast sums – totalling about a third of government spending – distributed on government procurement. The area of the UK that in fact gets by far the biggest benefit per head from government spending is the south-east of England.
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The economic fact we have to promote is that the Scottish economy – fully powered, with huge natural resources, a more than sufficiency in food, high exports, large lightly populated areas, terrific universities and colleges, terrific technological innovation, higher level of production than the UK with a hard-working and clever population – is a much more viable economy than the hugely indebted, underpowered, under-resourced, overpopulated and overpaid one we are trapped in now.
The rating companies confirm this. Our economy is more viable than the UK economy and the bonus on top of oil, again at a very useful price, is the biggest reason we get independence and transform our future. But it is the biggest reason at the same time for a UK, facing what is steadily becoming an unsustainable level of debt, to hang onto us.
So people on our side thoughtlessly repeating Unionist anti-Scottish spin is not a good idea.
Dave McEwan Hill
YOUR piece on the renewables sector future job losses rather misses the point (Scotland’s renewables sector could face job losses of 3500 thanks to closures of support schemes, The National, March 4).
The onshore wind, solar and hydro sector has been haemorrhaging jobs for the last 18 months, and thousands have already lost their jobs. Those surveyed are some of what little remains so the “future losses” are from that that remains. Westminster are firmly to blame for this disgraceful destruction of a once vibrant sector (a reserved power), though the lack of support for the onshore industry from the Scottish Government has been shameful.
THE question of the absence of religious debate in Scottish writing is thoroughly discussed by Alan Riach (Sport and God are Scotland’s obsessions – why doesn’t our literature reflect this?, The National, March 3). He states that “religion and politics are the same thing” in certain older works. One such book that he does not mention is Johnny Gibb of Gushetneuk, a Doric classic of 1881 by W Alexander which deals in human terms with the “disruption” of the Kirk, and which conforms with this specification.
A slightly later and surprising example is Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by RLS. Stevenson had a background of friction with his family and while this book was about escape, after page 50 he could not distance himself from religious debate, which started with the author visiting a monastery and becoming involved verbally with other Roman Catholic guests. Soon he arrived at the land of the Camisards, early Protestants once brutally persecuted, and found himself at home spiritually for the rest of the book. A modern volume that makes the transition from religion to politics is Grassic Gibbon’s trilogy Sunset Song, which ranges from the mystery of the Neolithic megaliths brooding over the imagination to the urban politics of today.
Iain WD Forde