I'm going to be serious for a moment.
I was doing a little reading today about something I thought I knew about but didn't, about something I did know about and about how the two things are linked.
Now be patient, I know the temptation is to close the window or navigate away because I'm going to talk about independence and you think its boring, just stick with it, I'll try and punctaute things with some levity where I can.
So, firstly; the McCrone Report.
This was a document that came into existence sometime after 1974, it basically outlined the ramifications of the recent oil find in Scottish waters. It was commisioned by Ted Heath (Conservative) and compiled by Prof Gavin McCrone to assess the impact of oil on the UK, Scotland, the SNP and the EEC etc. It basically said, that Scottish oil was a 'game changer', it would give Scotland a chronic fiscal surplus (meaning we'd be really quite sickeningly rich) and that we'd be the wealthiest nation in the Europe. Phrases like; "Scotland’s just been gifted an unassailable 5-0 lead" (talking about the argument for independence) and “all that is wrong with the SNP estimate now is that it is far too low” (in terms of estimated income from North Sea Oil.)
The most telling phrase is, "that Scotland would have an embarrassment of wealth" if it was to have its oil revenues to itself. Please click here if you want to know more about the McCrone Report, its worth it, especially if you have a strong sense of injustice.
Ok, you're probably bored now, (if you got this far at all) so here's a quick story. I was walking towards my newly clean car with a work colleague a while ago, since I'm not famed for keeping my vehicles clean (I hardly ever wash them) she asked, 'have you jet-washed your car?' 'Yes' I said proudly. She then asked, 'Where abouts did you do it?' to which I said, 'over the top round the sides and wee bit underneath.'
Ok, that was shit and you'll never get the time back but listen, put it behind you and keep reading.
The other thing I was reading about was the 1979 referendum for a devolved Scottish Assembly, not quite a referendum on independence but certainly a stepping stone in that direction had the SNP won the argument. Referenda usually work like this; if more people vote for something then that 'something' should happen, 51.6% of the vote was in favour of a devolved assembly which is more than 48.4%, so you would think we got what we voted for.
The then Labour MP George Cunningham shoe-horned in a small clause which said if the winning portion of the vote (the 51.6% yes vote) did not amount to 40% or more of the registered electorate then the result was null and void. Majority voting went out the window and people who couldn't be arsed, didn't have a view either way or were dead but still registered to vote were all counted as 'no' voters.
That was what I was reading about earlier.
Bored? Hold on; so I was talking to a friend the other day about The Flintstones cartoon, you know Fred and Barney and their wives? He said some people in Riyadh didn't like The Flintstones but the people in Abu Dhabi do.
Oh come on now, that was better. All the good ones I know are unprintable, there might be kids reading (or the police.)
Anyway, in 1974, the McCrone report is authored telling the then Westminster government that Scotland would be wealthy beyond imagination. It was immediately classified under the Official Secrets Act and not to be made available to the public for 30 years.
Then in 1979, the terms of the referendum for a Scottish devolved Assembly are tampered with, basically hobbled by the 40% rule.
I have a question. If the people of Scotland at that time knew about the 'embarrassment of wealth' sitting under the waters of the North Sea, if they knew about a report that showed they and their country would be enriched beyond belief, would they have voted no, or not bothered to vote in the referendum?
Imagine how different Scotland would be today if the £300 billion pounds (a conservative estimate) of oil revenues collected over the past 30 odd years had stayed in Scotland for the benefit of the people living here (where ever they might hail from originally?)
That was a long time ago but its still going on. Westminster are content to spend £90 billion on a replacement nuclear deterrent while cutting the benefits paid to people who are too ill to work (no, they're not all workshy reprobates as the daily mail would have you believe.) They're going to ask you, here in Scotland to give up free prescriptions, free travel for your elderly relatives (and you when the time comes,) free care at home for your elderly relatives (and you when the time comes) so they can spunk 90 billion smacks on a highly questionable weapons system that they'll never use and couldn't anyway without permission from the American administration, (we rent the current Trident system from the US, We've got the rockets but they have all the matches.)
And they say we wouldn't be able to run our own affairs.
I mean to say, they've set the bar so high haven't they?
And finally, heres a picture I drew after I'd finished reading.