YOUR heading on yesterday’s National Conversation (Let’s show how indy will make a real difference), was very significant because of something I encountered while on holiday in Spain recently.

I met a pleasant enough gentleman who came originally from Birmingham but is now living in Glasgow. During a conversation about Scottish independence he stated that if he had been given the choice while he was living in Birmingham, he would have voted for Scotland to be independent so that England would no longer need to support us. We would have been a burden off his back. But now that he is living in Scotland there’s no way he will vote for independence as all the money we get comes from England. As I said above – a pleasant enough bloke but completely ignorant of the reality relevant to taxation, government spending, and Scottish independence.

As the ratings in favour of independence slowly creep towards the 50 per cent mark, and that without any campaign, it becomes more and more important that somebody, if not the government then the Yes campaign, produces and publicises accurate figures to show just how much better off we would be if we were independent.

Peter Hynd’s letter was right on the mark. We do need to educate Voltaire’s “fools”, as per the example above, and show them how rich Scotland actually is and how our economic strength can develop much more benefit for Scotland than Wastemonster can be bothered to allow us.

Yes, we need our own central bank and our own currency; and with complete control over our taxation and revenue we can invest in infrastructure and housing and other improvements. But that statement doesn’t actually demonstrate the ability to be able to afford all of this. People like the man from Birmingham, and a lot of Scots who have similar beliefs, need to be given facts and figures to show what money is needed and where it will come from.

A very good example of “before and after” can be derived from the situation regarding the oil in the Moray Firth that is presently being extracted by the Norwegian State Oil Company. The estimated tax on that oil is £5 billion. I would imagine that the profit on that oil is therefore likely to be around £50bn.

As things stand, that means around £45bn of profits will go to Norway and go into their pension fund. They will pay the other £5bn in tax and it will be divided up as follows*:

£4.8m to Scotland;

£3.2m shared between Northern Ireland and Wales;

and £4.2bn to England.

So, that’s England receiving from us £4.2bn in tax for oil drilled for and extracted from Scottish waters. That’s almost 10 times more tax than we will receive; and this is for something produced in our own country – not in theirs. That is tax that will not come back to Scotland. It will be used in English infrastructure.

If we were independent, we could be drilling for and extracting our own oil from our own waters. Then the £45bn wouldn’t go to Norway; and England wouldn’t get £4.2bn; nor would Wales or Northern Ireland get £3.2m. What a difference that would make.

The same thing is happening with our power supplies, which are mostly foreign owned so the profits go overseas and not to Scotland. Our railways are run by the Dutch National Rail Company, so all profits go into Dutch infrastructure. If we were independent we could nationalise all of these and keep the profits to provide better and cheaper services in this country.

We need to show the doubters that we have the wealth and that this gives us the means. We just have to stop giving it away to everyone else and instead use it for ourselves.

CJ Kerr

*NB correction, January 9

I WISH to apologise to you and your readers for incorrect figures that I quoted in the letter I sent you and that you printed as “The Long Letter” last Friday.

I quoted £4.8 million in tax to Scotland and £3.2m in tax shared between Northern Ireland and Wales for estimated tax on the oil being extracted by Norway’s Statoil in the Moray Firth. Those figures are incorrect. (I don’t know what was wrong with my arithmetic that day – maybe I had other things on my mind.)

The figures should have been £480m (or £0.48bn) to Scotland; and £320m (or £0.32bn) to England and Wales.

However the point I was trying to make is still valid; namely that England receives almost ten times as much as Scotland does for oil extracted from Scottish waters.

Only Scottish independence can rectify that, although a simple letter of apology can rectify the incorrect figures I quoted.

CJ Kerr