Tweet Follow @RPJblog
By Jason Michael
HOW THEY LAUGHED AT US back in 2014 when we claimed one of the greatest discoveries of North Sea oil was being hidden from us during the independence referendum. As the then British Prime Minister, David Cameron, shot a beeline for Shetland less than two months ahead of the vote – becoming the first Prime Minister to visit the islands in over three decades, the unionist media and political establishment was busy deriding what they described as the tinfoil hat conspiracy theories of the independence movement. Scotland is a small country, Shetland is smaller still, and the community of Scots oil workers is positively pokey – news travels fast.
“Expert confirms ‘there will be no oil bonanza,’” proclaimed the unionist campaign Better Together a week before referendum day. But no matter what Whitehall’s conjured-up experts were saying about the future of Scottish oil the people working on the rigs were saying something different. In mid-August 2014 those working west of Shetland were sent home on full pay, told not to come back until the end of September. They were aware of the rumours; that the Clair Ridge oilfield – known about since the 1970s – was “supposedly the biggest reservoir of oil in the world,” that the oil was premium grade, and that the most recent surveys had shown it to be three times larger than originally thought. This was the news they were sending home. Social media was abuzz with speculation, but the British mainstream media fell silent.
Better Together (@UK_Together) September 12, 2014
The news from the London newsrooms was that our oil was running out, its value had bottomed out and would continue to remain low. North Sea oil and gas, we were told – resources plundered by Westminster since they were discovered, were too risky a base on which to build the economy of a newly independent Scotland. The truth, according to the BBC and the entire unionist media and political machine, was that we were broke. Scotland, like every colony England has ever had, needed the broad shoulders of the union – that’s mother England’s charity – to survive.
On referendum day, 18 September 2014, the majority of Scottish voters – or so we are told – bought the spin. We opted to remain part of the United Kingdom, safe in the wider economic community of the European Union. We elected to play it safe, not to take the risk. Well, more fool us – we were lied to again! Tories like Murdo Fraser and Tories BBC “journalists” like Douglas Fraser’s Twitter pages were alive with mocking comments about “hidden oil fields” and the Scottish people’s suspicions they were being deliberately “hidden by Westminster and Tories.” But today it’s a different story. There were hidden oilfields and they were being hidden by Westminster and the Conservative political establishment. And when they said the price would never recover, it did. From January 2016, where crude oil hit bottom at under $40 a barrel, it had climbed to almost $75 a barrel by September this year. Oil prices fluctuate. We have always known that.
Days before the referendum The Scotsman newspaper published a poll which stated half of Scotland believed oil finds off Shetland were being kept secret. This was not an article intended to investigate the facts. Its purpose was to convey to its readership – the unionist half of Scotland – that the other half were motivated by fanaticism and fantasy. But that “newspaper” – as it goes out of business – is singing another tune today. In a now suspiciously cached article by Scott Reid it heralds an oil and gas “milestone” as Clair Ridge oilfield starts production, and is “expected to churn out 120,000 barrels of oil a day” – exactly as the recently released BP case study on the field said it would. That’s an estimated 640 million barrels over the next 40 years.
Better Together (@UK_Together) July 27, 2014
To put this is Texas terms: We’ve struck oil. We are rich. We are richer than our wildest dreams! But, wait, we’re not. We are not an independent country. We voted No to independence in 2014, believing we were broke, and that the oil was running it. We bought the lie that what oil we had left wouldn’t be worth a pittance. The same people who were laughing at us then are laughing at us now; that oil bonanza – which they knew was in the pipeline – will not be coming to us. It will be going right where it has always gone, to London. Our oil will be going south to fund the British government’s next big project – the Great British Brexit. We won’t be benefiting from the broad shoulders of the union. We will be torn out of the EU against our will and Britain will survive on the broad shoulders of Scotland’s massively rich oil and gas resources. We have been fucked.
In 2014, when we voted against our independence, it was obvious the road to freedom from that point on would be difficult, long, and painful. Another 40 years of oil guarantees that that road will be harder, longer, and even more painful. Cuts to the Scottish economy over the next four decades will fund the extraction and we won’t see the profits. Scotland will be made to pay for its own robbery. If we imagine now that another easy democratic referendum on independence will be handed to us on a plate – we have another thing coming. Westminster has spent the last 20 years systematically destroying the social, political, and economic fabric of the Middle East for oil. Millions of people have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen as a direct consequence of Britain’s insatiable and vampiric thirst for other people’s oil.
Better Together (@UK_Together) August 20, 2014
Even as we speak, the narrative has been set. This is not – as far as the British media and political establishment is concerned – Scotland’s oil. This is the “UK’s oil,” and that is to say that it is Greater England’s oil. Exceptions will be made for the occupied six counties in Ireland and for Gibraltar. Britain is cutting its losses to get what it wants from Brexit. No exceptions will be made for Scotland. The only democracy that matters here is the decision of 55 per cent of our country to hand over sovereignty to London, our nation’s consent to be robbed and pillaged.
Independence is coming. This I believe more today than I have ever done in the past. Independence is coming because it now has to come. Without it the life of our nation will be bled dry, to the point that there is no life left in it – nothing worth fighting for, nothing worth dying for, and nothing worth living for. The union is not only dead, the continuance of the union is death to Scotland. These people are liars. They are the scum of the earth. Independence will be hard won, but it must now be won. Our failure to end this union now will be the end of the line for our country.
Clair Ridge first oil