Saturday, 20 December 2014

Oil price slump would have left independent Scotland facing unprecedented cuts, says Treasury Minister

AN independent Scotland in its first year would have faced a £6.4bn “gaping chasm” in its finances, the Treasury has calculated based on the slump in the oil price.

Peter A Bell's insight:

With perhaps as many as 15,000 jobs at risk, I am surely not alone in being utterly sickened by the unvarnished glee with which British nationalists have greeted the oil-price slump. It appears that the livelihoods of all those thousands of people, and the distress that this will cause to their families, is considered a “price worth paying” by scum like Danny Alexander if it affords them an opportunity to lash out at the SNP and those who aspire to the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status.

As we as having absolutely no compunction about lying to the people of Scotland in order to defend the ruling elites of the British state, it was notable during the referendum campaign that British nationalists were not at all averse to making complete fools of themselves in the name of preserving the old order and the old ways. Danny Alexander was always among the most eager of these clowns. Nothing much has changed.

In the first place, he stupidly ignores the fact that the oil price forecasts used by the Scottish Government in its economic projections came from bodies such as Oil & Gas UK and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The UK government and the British political parties which were part of the the anti-independence alliance were perfectly happy to use these figures themselves when their purpose was to talk up the oil industry and potential revenues. It was only when they were bent on denigrating Scotland’s economic prospects as part of Project Fear that they would resort to the considerably more pessimistic forecasts supplied by the Office of Budget responsibility (OBR). An organisation whose figures exhibited a remarkable “flexibility” and a curious tendency to align precisely with the doom-mongering propaganda oozing out of Whitehall and Better Together.

Then there are the contradictions and inconsistencies which have also been a defining characteristic of the campaign to deny the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. Out of one side of his deceitful mouth Alexander makes a big fuss about the volatility of oil prices - as if this was something we were unaware of. Out of the other side of his mouth he talks about the price of oil remaining at current levels for two years or more. Which would require stability of a kind which is the diametric opposite of the volatility that the other side of his mouth was banging on about.

Nobody, including acknowledged experts such as Sir Ian Wood, expects the present slump in oil prices to last. It is a blip which defines the very volatility we anticipate and denies the kind of long-term stagnation that is conjured by Alexander’s fevered imagination.

Knowing that oil revenues can fluctuate dramatically, responsible governments in oil-producing nations implement measures to ameliorate the effects. The SNP at least had a plan for an oil-fund expressly for the purpose of evening out the peaks and troughs. Successive UK Governments have failed abysmally in this regard and stand condemned as dangerously inept as a consequence.

Unionists like to prate endlessly about how Scotland is protected by the “broad shoulders” of the UK even as austerity bites ever-deeper and poverty and inequality soar. Simple observation of reality tells us that we are not being protected at all. The ones who need to “reflect very carefully” are those who believed the fear-mongering of the anti-independence campaign and the myth of the British state as an economic powerhouse committed to progressive redistribution. They need to be asking themselves why they put their trust in nasty numpties such as Danny Alexander rather than having faith in themselves.

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