Voters urged to engage in debate

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has urged voters to engage in the independence debate and think carefully ahead of September’s referendum.

Mr Carmichael insists it is crucial for voters to stay well-informed as the referendum – now just 200 days away – draws ever closer.

He has also posed questions for voters to consider, such as what independence would mean for welfare payments, income tax and whether a possible currency change might impact on businesses.

The Scottish Secretary has insisted the isles benefit from UK membership. He cited the roll out of superfast broadband and support offered to new businesses as examples of how communities have gained from being part of the UK.

His comments come after representatives of the Yes campaign held a public meeting in Burra. Last month’s meeting in the Hamnavoe Public Hall allowed pro-independence campaigners the chance to outline the benefits they see in Scottish independence.

Mr Carmichael said: “The referendum is fast approaching and that means it’s time for everyone in Orkney and Shetland to turn their attention to how they intend to vote.

“But this is not a decision to be taken lightly – we cannot afford to gamble with our nation’s future – so that means making an informed choice and to do that we all need to get the facts. There is a wealth of information out there already and I know there is much more to come.

“Nobody should think that this is not a decision that matters for them. Crucial decisions – like whether you keep the UK pound in your pocket and who will be a British citizen – rest on this vote.”


Add Your Comment
  • Victor Walker

    • March 3rd, 2014 17:10

    If you would indulge me for a moment with a comment from down South. The SNP claim that rUK steals oil from Scotland. Although the North Sea is the territorial waters of the United Kingdom, not Scotland. However, if you carry their argument to its extremes :- rUK have been stealing coal from Wales, the UK have been stealing tin and lead from Cornwall, Scotland with nearly 20% of its population living in the UK are stealing jobs from rUK …. You can see how stupid the argument becomes.

    However, there is one very sinister thing underlying the greed of the SNP. In order to prevent profits from oil going South, they intend to pocket them, themselves. In other words the oil in the Shetland basin is to be an acquisition wearing a dress of independence. One just hopes that the Shetland islanders are aware where this is heading

    • Robert Sim

      • March 3rd, 2014 17:53

      Where, Victor, has the SNP – or indeed any political party – said that the rest of the UK “steals oil from Scotland”? Where precisely?

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 3rd, 2014 19:42

      Victor Walker: It sounds to me that you are quite content with the status quo?
      Have you won the Lottery
      Look at the state of the UK! (read my post on the National Debt – are you happy leaving this debt for your Great Grandchildren, and their children? I ask because your UK government will NEVER be able to pay off this debt
      If you really believe that the Independence vote is about Alex Salmond or point-scoring you are misguided or naïve – In reality, it is about Scotland and us, it’s people, to decide if we truly believe we would have a better, just and fairer society for all of us.
      May I remind you that in the event of a ‘Yes’ Vote independence would not come into effect for 18months, during which time there will be a General Election for the Scottish Parliament. So why do you think that Alex Salmond want the North Sea oil for himself?

      What a ridiculous and childish assertion is that? Pathetic

      In analysing your comments it is so easy for any open-minded and well informed person to better describe and even accept your premise, all they would have to substitute Alex Salmond’s name with David Cameron – because then it would be a very credible description of exactly what has been happening to Scotland (and the rest of the UK) for far to many decades.

      Victor, for your own sake, and the sake of your children, wake up before it is too late
      open up your mind, study the evidence. The truth is out there you know.
      Question the ‘Bitter (sic) Together’ fear tactics and bare-faced lies spewed by the London-based ‘Scottish’ (lol!) Daily Mail articles an their poisoned view of Scotland and it’s people. Not one positive comment from any of this lot
      Britain is Broken – and beyond repair and in reality there is nothing ‘United’ about the ‘United’ Kingdom.
      Perfect example of Oxymoron don’t you think?

      In case your are wondering, I was born in England so I have no ‘axe’ to grind, other than to try my best to help make my ‘adopted’ Scotland an even better place to live, knowing full well than can happen by shaping our own destiny, making our own decisions. UK governments have had their chances, too many to count. No More!
      A new start, a clean sheet, pay our fair share per capita of UK debt, combined with our commensurate per capita share of all UK fixed assets including the Bank of England, overseas embassies and military establishments. That could, and SHOULD be the basis of a friendly divorce. Why not?
      (BTW we don’t want Trident the US owned Nuclear – that can be moved to Portsmouth – if they will have it

    • Stuart Hannay

      • March 4th, 2014 7:51

      Hello Victor
      As the gentleman below testifies, negative comments are unhelpful to furthering debate. I do not understand your use of the words ‘greed’ and ‘stealing’ in this context.

  • fraser cluness

    • March 3rd, 2014 17:56

    Going on the slaggin off and roumers each side put out, on what might be or could be this or that, i as a floting voter dont actualy know what will ACTUALY will happen if we vote yes or no. its like no one knows what will actualy happen, and if the do know anything its so mixed up with each others slagging of of eachother i have no idea what is right or wrong. I watched 2 ladys act like two cats in an ally the other night on TV – i learned nothing to help me deside to vote yes or no. but i struggled desiding to vote or not to bother. i dont need a lecture on how importaint it is, i know that, but i need help with the true facts on what will happpen.

  • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

    • March 3rd, 2014 18:10

    I am in agreement with the first premise id Carmichaels ‘call to arms’ All of us of voting age should, after studying the pros & cons make a decision Yes or N.

    Mr Carmichael could very easily help me make up my mind – if he could tell me exactly how HIS government in Westminster plans to pay-off the £1.3 TRILLION National Debt (that by 2017 will grow to £1.8 TRILLION). Eye watering isn’t it Alistair?

    It would take 103 YEARS to pay off this debt just using ALL of the Oil Revenue from the North Sea until the year 2117. But they have never used Oil Revenue wisely – there is no cash reserve (Norway has =£600bn stashed away) Go Compare!
    Successive UK governments over the last 50 years have squandered our wealth for far too long.
    We gave them our trust, our loyalty and our hard-earned money and we have been
    All we get from them now is scaremongering, downright fear-mongering lies that Scotland, on it’s own could not possibly thrive
    Not to mention of course, the 67 Scottish MP’s in Westminster (including Alistair Carmichael) who would definitely lose their cushy MP’s jobs when Scotland becomes Independent. We must ask ourselves if all (but one SNP) of these ‘Scottish’ MP’s are urging us to vote ‘NO’ just so that they will keep their cushy over-paid jobs?
    Self-Preservation is a trait in all species, but if it is used like this, at the expense of the working public it would be shameful
    I honestly believe that to be the case, partially because of the fact that this must be the first time in History (other than war) when UK MP.s from all parties have actually agreed on something. Trust me, this is a one-of – you will never see it happen again.
    And please remember… the Independence vote is not about Alex Salmond – it is about Scotland an it’s people. Independence would on come into effect 18 months AFTER the vote in September which is AFTER the Scottish Parliamentary Elections – So Alex Salmond may even not be elected
    Alistair Carmichael for Scotland’s First Minister? Sickening thought.

    Please vote yes your children and yes, their Grand Children will thank you for it

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 4th, 2014 10:37

      After a yes vote Salmond will negotiate all treaties before any general election Charlie, If you can’t even grasp that basic fact…..

      • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

        • March 4th, 2014 13:32

        Thanks Ally for confirming what I already knew,( but failed to mention in my post)
        The reasons being, that Alex Salmond is the ONLY Scottish politician capable of securing a fair and equitable deal for an Independent Scotland, It is so obvious, that I didn’t really have to mention it
        So, I ask you Ally…..Could you honestly come up with one or more other Scottish MP’s (Westminster or Holyrood) that you would have confidence in to undertake that mammoth task and come out of it with Scotland not being short changed?
        Like him or despise him? it matters not. I would trust him like no other on this matter.
        To reinforce my view, why do you suppose David Cameron will not join an a televised debate with Alex Salmond? Instead, he passes that job along to Alistair Darling – a LABOUR OPPOSITION MP
        Think about it… Conservatives working with Labour? What a joke!
        Maggie Thatcher would turn in her grave. (not that I ever liked or respected Thatcher – far from it, but I use her name just to make a valid point. Cameron despite his Conservative doctrine would be no match in any debate with Alex Salmond – and he knows it

      • George W. Pottinger

        • March 8th, 2014 0:43

        Really, Ali? Been crystal ball gazing again?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • March 4th, 2014 12:59

      Charlie makes a cherry picked reference to Norway, its wealth and how Scotland could duplicate this. He coyly forgot to mention that Norway’s wealth was not built on oil cash alone. Oil cash, high taxation and massive borrowing have paid for what the Norwegians have; 95 billion Krone of national debt, that is 187,000 Krone for every person in Norway. Just to put that into perspective, although we have a bombshell of a national debt ours is £19,000 for every person in the UK.

      He claims the referendum is not about Salmond; well Charlie I beg to differ as all the negotiations that set up all the key foundations for an independent Scotland will be led by Salmond and the SNP. They will also include the writing of a constitution that will bind future elected governments of whatever persuasion, therefore it is all about Salmond and the SNP. Maybe you would like to let us all have a look into your Chrystal ball if you know how much oil revenue there will be between now and 2117.

      • Robert Duncan

        • March 4th, 2014 15:04

        I appreciate you are representing each in their native currency but, alongside your general tone, that you’ve shown Norway’s debt in krone and Britain’s in GBP is somewhat misleading. 187,000 krone and £19,000 are not drastically different sums of money. A difference of perhaps 5-10%.

      • Robert Duncan

        • March 4th, 2014 15:06

        In fact, on my initial checking the converter had defaulted “krone” to the Danish version. 187,000 Norwegian krone is actually less than £19,000.

      • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

        • March 4th, 2014 16:16

        Gordon. you have totally destroyed completely, my opinion of the SNP and it’s vision for an independent Scotland – or so you think?
        Your rhetoric could have been (was it?) written by one of the ‘Bitter (sic) Together’ campaigners. Cut and paste is wonderful thing for those that cannot think for themselves, those that have tunnel vision like you appear to have.
        I apologise if I seem to be bringing this discussion down to personal insults – that should not be the case when discussing what is the most important decision ever that the Scottish People must make. It is not about me, you, Alex Salmond, or the SNP
        Let us all stick to the very real issues that will affect our country, us all and the future generations to come. We have to get this right Agreed?

        Your analysis of Norway, is very informative and enlightening and I have no basis for challenging it’s accuracy, but let us not forget that Norway has a huge oil fund – a staggering amount of CASH in the bank and it’s value is only slightly less than the country’s national debt making it much easier to manage. Don’t we in the UK wish our government had our country in the same position?
        Higher Taxes in Norway – yes there are – same with the cost of living – but, at the same time personal incomes are far higher there than the average in the UK (except London of course) so all of that balances out with the exception that Norway has a far higher standard of Living than the UK
        As far as you question as to how much oil will there be by the year 2117. Nobody really knows, but one thing is very, very clear: David Cameron, with all of his bluster and despite his recent history of claiming the North Sea Oil is drying up and cannot be relied upon, is still trying his hardest to keep the oil revenue flowing into the UK’s coffers.
        One thing is patently obvious – no matter how much, or how little oil there is, or will be in the future, the revenue from that to help /support 5 million people in Scotland, is much more viable than the same revenue used to support/help 63 million people in the UK. That, by any reasonable person, cannot be denied.
        Neither can the fact that the UK £1.3 TRILLION( as of end 2013) can never and will never be paid off
        Yes we all have a choice to make, that is as it should be

        You also mention the writing of a Scottish Constitution – you do realise that this document, no matter who writes it, would have to be unanimously ratified by the Scottish Parliament – that is what a true democracy is all about. Binding Government to behave ethically, honour and fulfil their promises – things that have not been done in the UK for time immemorial That in my book is a great thing to look forward to. Surely you must agree?

        Or, are you satisfied with the status quo?
        Vote ‘YES’ – you know it makes sense

      • Robert Duncan

        • March 4th, 2014 18:06

        “I apologise if I seem to be bringing this discussion down to personal insults – that should not be the case when discussing what is the most important decision ever that the Scottish People must make.”

        Hardly a sincere apology, you could have just gone back and deleted them before you hit submit…

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 4th, 2014 17:26

      you didn’t omit it Charlie you said that would be a general election before independence.

  • Ali Inkster

    • March 3rd, 2014 21:57

    “Scottish oil” has been at the forefront of the debate since it was discovered Robert, I think you would be hard pressed to find any conversation on the subject of independence where the “It’s Scotlands oil” hasn’t been the rallying cry of the yeSNP. When in fact we here know it’s Shetlands oil.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 4th, 2014 13:52

      Yes, Ally the oil is in Shetland waters (70% of it) but until legally proven otherwise, like it or not, Shetland is part of Scotland

      I realise that there is sufficient historical evidence to challenge the UK/Scottish claim to these islands. That challenge should be taken up and taken to it’s logical conclusion, if even only to settle the issue once and for all
      This type of court case would, of course go on for perhaps decades and be very, very expensive.

      So, we must ask ourselves:
      a) Do Shetlanders have the appetite for such a challenge?
      b) how would we pay for it?
      c) who would ‘run’ Shetland?
      d) How would we spend all of that Oil revenue?

      Many other questions too, but meanwhile, just saying that it is Shetland’s Oil is not enough.
      Perhaps we should wait to see if there is a ‘YES’ vote in September, see our New Scotland government and how it looks after Shetland. If we not happy with that then, and only then should, we pursue Shetland Independence

      • Brian Smith

        • March 4th, 2014 15:52

        There is no ‘historical evidence to challenge the UK/Scottish claim to these islands’. Saying it doesn’t make it happen.

  • fraser cluness

    • March 4th, 2014 10:24

    I can remember my dad telling a story about Winny Ewing standing in lerwick in the 70s (i think) banging on about shetland’s oil, then weeks later standing in grantown on spey banging on about scotlands oil. The owner of the oil seems to move depending on who is talking and where they are standing at the time.

    I’m now starting to take note on what i should start thinking about the big vote. one point that has hit me very hard from charlie above. its not a SNP against the rest of the parties, its free scotland or the status quo. All the SMPs will then have to stand to be in the next scottish parlement and we then get the oppertunity to vote the lot of them out and get a new start forward. ie vote alex samond and his palls out!

  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 4th, 2014 20:21

    Charlie, you can bring as many personal insults into the debate as you want, it is the biggest indicator going that you have lost the argument when you attack the person. What I was pointing out with Norway’s debt and high taxation is if we want to emulate Norway and have an oil fund in an independent Scotland (This being one of Salmond’s empty promises) we cannot do it with out borrowing and I mean borrowing big, as well as high taxation for the working man. You quite rightly pointed out that the Norwegians earn higher wages than we do so high taxation on our low wages will cripple the finances of everyone in the Scottish working classes.

    For your information the Norwegian debt will not be easy to manage because of the oil fund as the oil fund records short-term profits from its holdings of bond and stocks, its strategy is one of “speculate and diversify.” It is based on the hope that spreading the risk widely enough can hedge against a catastrophic collapse in a particular region or sector. Yet in today’s turbulent economic environment, this seems to be a strategy for multiplying exposure to speculative risks rather than protecting against them. Thus, not only does Norway’s massive debt render the fund’s true value largely illusory, the future of the fund itself is highly precarious.

    Off course I know that the constitution will have to be ratified by the Scottish parliament which has an SNP majority, therefore it will not be democratic as this government got in with around 25% of the vote and that means there are 75% of the electorate who did not vote for this government. To be democratic the writing of a constitution and the independence negotiations should be drawn up by an all party committee, but that’s not going to happen under this assertive autocrat of a First Minister.

    By the way one of the reasons Britain is broken as you claim, is because there are those who rather than work hard to make it better will selfishly jump ship and go where the oil looks blacker. What those people don’t realise is that, that oil is not only blacker but thicker and deeper making it more expensive to bring ashore. Governments have to give massive tax breaks to the oil companies thereby reducing the revenue collected, making one more reason why taxes will rise and the now crippled Scottish working man will be wishing he had voted NO.

    One more thing, you will be aware of the conflict over the past few days in the Ukraine, something that has nothing to do with us, yet will and is starting affect the price of oil. My point being, incidents anywhere in the world can have a devastating affect on the price of oil. Yet there are those who are witless enough to want to build and independent country on the assumption that such a volatile commodity could finance such a foolhardy venture.

    It is not a case of being satisfied with the Status Quo it is a case of being safer with the Status Quo because if you vote yes you will not get “Whatever you want” because with “What your proposing” you will only go “Down down” so lets not start “Burning bridges” as independence will be like “Ice in the sun” so if we want “Marguerita time” and don’t want to “Break the rules” and want to carry on living on the “Wild side of life” while “Rocking all over the world” vote NO.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 5th, 2014 14:07

      Gordon, with all due respect your assertion that an Oil Fund set up in an independent Scotland would have to be funded by higher taxes or higher borrowing is deeply flawed. You seem to think that Scotland would have to follow the reckless spending patterns of the UK government’s – namely, borrow, borrow more and keep on borrowing without EVER thinking of getting OUT of debt, or at least putting the brakes on reckless spending. So, why would we?
      Perfect example: Hey! let’s spend £46bn on a 20 year project to build a high speed rail line that will save about 30 minutes for the 100 mile journey between Birmingham & London. Utter Stupidity or total incompetence? – take your pick
      The UK government does not have the sense, or the decency to spend much less than that on fixing what they already have – train service, particularly in England is a shambles >late trains, overcrowding, vastly inflated fares, and standing-room only both legs of the journey for many long distance commuters And that is only one example of the shambles in Westminster. Another is the ‘mistake’ made when it was recently discovered that there had been a staggering £10bn error in calculating the cost of decommissioning ageing Nuclear Power Stations. The list goes on. And on.

      Anyway, back to the main issue – an Independent Scotland:
      If you think that Alex Salmond should not ‘write’ the Scottish Constitution, I agree with you, but in saying that, it should not be written by politicians of any persuasion.
      I honestly believe that such an important document should be written by a legal team all of whom would be qualified in such matters. Perhaps referencing the constitutions of similar democratic countries to ours, and where necessary deleting or adding clauses that would suit Scotland and it’s people.
      Costly? Yes but an iron-clad document, literally ‘carved in stone’ that has clauses to hold current and governments to account along with all of the other safeguards could be nothing but a good thing. And would be worth every penny .Do you agree?

      And as far as negotiations with rUK after a ‘Yes’ vote – Alex Salmond is up for the job, and I can think of no-one else in Scotland that could secure a fair and equitable deal for Scotland during the negotiations on Currency, Share (*or not depending on the assets issue) of the National Debt and Scotland’s right to it’s fair per capita share of non-geographic *assets (which, like it or not includes the misnamed Bank of England
      Labour, Conservatives & Lib-Dems ‘leaders’ in Scotland as you know, are all too weak to stand up to their bosses in London and would buckle

      An independent Scotland’s’ Oil Fund should be, and I am sure WILL be funded directly from the tax revenue from oil and gas – and that revenue invested prudently, but before that is invested wisely set aside in two pots (as described in the White Paper) one pot for future state pensions to suit our aging population and the other pot for a cash reserve to be built up over the decades. – perhaps for green energy projects when the oils eventually dries up?
      Please remember that Oil revenue for an independent Scotland (I love that phrase!)
      will be a bonus for us, not, on it’s own a requirement to be used in it’s entirety for day-to day spending

      Your reference to Norway’s Oil Fund seems rather dismissive if I might say – but tell me Gordon: Would you rather have a huge oil fund invested (potentially risky as you assert) or have NO oil fund at all and your country currently in debt owing more than £1.3BN (set to rise to £1.8 TRILLION by 2017 and no way of paying off that debt?
      Do the math Gordon – use Math 101 as your template it works!

      Back to the SNP’s majority in the Scottish Parliament – the numbers you equate actually reinforce my stance on these matters – Scots do not have the government that they voted for in Westminster either – that is just one of the reasons why we are having an independence referendum.
      So at this point your ‘numbers’ or my ‘numbers’ don’t matter a jot.
      What really matters is how those eligible to vote on September 18th by answering Ye or No
      Let us hope that we all consider our decision very carefully, and with the comfort and confidence that we will make the right decision for Scotland an it’s people

      Quite unlike David Cameron’s laughable pledge that ‘We Are All In This Together’
      (We all know how THAT has turned out don’t we?)

      • Gordon Harmer

        • March 6th, 2014 6:20

        Charlie, my assertions are based on facts not wishes, read this report which came out yesterday and then tell me an Independent Scotland will not need to borrow.

        The Institute of Fiscal Studies has warned that Alex Salmond’s government has exaggerated the size of Scotland’s latest North Sea oil revenues, leaving a deeper shortfall in tax income.

        The IFS said the Scottish government’s forecasts of oil revenues were “too optimistic” for the last two financial years, and were also double the size of the oil taxes predicted for the first year of independence by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

        In a new analysis on the current state of the UK economy, the IFS said that the OBR had downgraded Scotland’s oil revenues in 2016/17 to £3.3bn, leaving an independent Scotland having to borrow the equivalent of 3.6% of its GDP that year.

        That prediction was half the size of the oil revenues of £6.8bn-£7.9bn forecast for 2016/17 by the Scottish government’s white paper on independence in November – a disparity that highlighted Scotland’s vulnerability to fluctuating oil revenues, the IFS said.

        The IFS added that other forecasters were more optimistic, and cautioned that neither the Scottish government nor the OBR could be sure how much North Sea oil would raise in 2016.

        “What is clear is that fiscal decisions in an independent Scotland would need to be taken in the context of considerable uncertainty over this very important part of the budget – and in the context of long-term pressures both on these revenues and arising from an ageing population,” the IFS warned.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • March 6th, 2014 13:28

        Charlie you like Salmond seem to have Delusions of oil grandeur. The SNP’s main economic platform is that Scotland should own the revenue from North Sea oil and gas, making it a petro-dollar paradise equivalent to Norway. Although they have similar populations (5.05 million for Norway, 5.3 million for Scotland), the hydrocarbon revenues are massively different. Norway’s government gathered $40 billion in 2013 (according to the BBC) while the UK made $10.8 billion (according to the Financial Times), a fall of 40 per cent from 2012. Current predictions; further falls, to £3.3 billion ($5.5 billion) in 2016/17, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. There’s no amount of careful stewardship that is going to magic $5.5 billion into $40 billion, when many of the North Sea rigs are at the end of their life and production levels are falling. Once the oil runs out, what does Scotland have that will sustain its fabulously wealthy future? It has whisky, but even with this contribution of £3 billion ($4.8 billion) across the economy, as estimated by the Scotch Whisky Association, it’s small beer. The ability to attract major industries, manufacturing, IT or finance to the country would be diminished by independence.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • March 5th, 2014 17:39

    Any one of you who listens to Alistair Carmichael, will see Shetland in ruins, the one and only bit of nonsense he has to offered is to vote NO in September, when the answer is a YES vote, Westminster has robbed Scotland of its share of the income from North sea oil for the last forty years, yet Scotland can still stand high and proud of what it has achieved, Scotland must get away from the Westminster.
    What does Scotland get from Westminster? (Answer Nothing) from lets say the North Sea, Atlantic All of the North Sea Taxes end up in the Treasurery and allows Westminster to hand out to these Countries who are blowing one another heads off they call it charity.
    If Shetland had looked after there reserve fund, we may have been in the same position as our relatives and friends across the North Sea, but for one thing the Shetland Islands Council and the Shetland Charitable Trust squandered there chance,
    They gave hand outs for example to the Smyril Line, Judanes Knitwear, Fish farms and many more without a penny in return, and now the pensioners have to suffer, The Trustees say it will go into a pot what pot. (Does anyone know where this pot is and why take away the money for it to be put in this pot?)

  • Jon Pulley

    • March 6th, 2014 17:56

    “The ability to attract major industries, manufacturing, IT or finance to the country would be diminished by independence.”

    Charlie, could you qualify this statement for me please? Why would this ability be diminished?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • March 6th, 2014 21:28

      Because of the unequivocal uncertainty that comes with independence; the same reason big name companies are jumping ship now or making plans to jump ship if we have a yes vote.

  • Robert Sim

    • March 7th, 2014 0:07

    Reading the assertions and counter-assertions in this thread concerning the yet-to-be independent Scottish economy, I can’t help feeling that the point is being missed. Whether the economy is strong, weak or somewhere in the middle after independence is not the point. The point is that the Scottish people will have full control over their own economy following a yes vote. In other words, you either believe that Scotland should be independent or you don’t. Arguments about the economy are rarely objective and simply back up the proponent’s already-decided position.

    • Charlie Banham Cullivoe

      • March 7th, 2014 15:52

      Robert Sim – Congratulations a vey good post – one of the most sensible to date
      We should learn a lesson from it – common sense rhetoric, balanced views and cold hard facts should be the order of the day! Not which politician (heaven forgive!) should get our vote .

      For all those eligible to vote, please use that vote after searching your heart and using your head!

      Me? -‘YES’ for an Independent Scotland

  • Charlie Banham Cullivoe

    • March 7th, 2014 14:34

    Gordon Harmer…re your reply to my post. You seem to paint a very bleak future for the North Sea Oil Industry?
    Strange that you would feel that way, after your ‘hero’ Cameron’s visit to Aberdeen 2 weeks ago announcing plans to BOOST oil production so that it would produce an EXTRA £200bn in tax revenue over the next 20 years.

    Oh yes he also said that only the UK with it’s ‘Very Deep Pockets’ could afford to support this expansion. More important though is what he did NOT say – that those same ‘DEEP POCKETS’ are EMPTY – all he would do is once again borrow, borrow and borrow again to finance this project, while at the same time, effectively wiping out the benefit of that EXTRA £200bn revenue stream because the borrowed money would be added to the eye-watering and rapidly growing National Debt which is currently £1.3 TRILLION.

    Yes, an independent Scotland would have to borrow money to finance such a project- but (as Cameron has stated and Salmond expanded upon (Not sharing the £ and non-geographical UK assets = Not sharing the National debt)
    Start-up costs for any newly independent Nation – we all realise that – it will not be easy, there will be hurdles, there will be problems. But they will be OUR problems – and yes there will be OUR solutions hopefully, our Independent Scotland Governments will learn the harsh lessons of how NOT to squander and waste, OUR money as has been done in the UK for far too many years.
    Regardless Scotland will borrow (and INVEST) money prudently – and that revenue from North Sea Oil, no matter how small or large it is, will go a lot further in a country of 5.3 million people as it would in the present UK’s 63 million people. Pure Logic!
    Tell me Gordon, if there is such a bleak future ahead for Scotland, and oil revenue will dry up, why are the better-together people trying to keep the oil, the ‘poor scrounging’ Scots?

    I see that you ‘cherry-picked’ the easy but complicated and very important monetary issues for an independent Scotland to dwell on in your reply to my post, I like many others take a very pragmatic view on these matters. What will be, will be.
    If a currency union cannot be agreed, as seems to be the case, there is nothing to stop Scotland using the pound albeit the Scottish pound which we could, if so desired peg the value of this to the UK pound. Several experts on this matter have suggested this is a viable option for Scotland
    There are those ‘experts’ who say that Scotland would have to
    have a Central Bank.
    That flies in the face of logic and the fact that other countries e.g. Hong Kong up until it was handed back to China NEVER had a Central Bank, nor was it ‘propped-up by The Bank Of England – it traded in £, $ and many other stable currencies from around the world. As we all know, despite having any natural resources was, and still is very successful
    There has been much negativity from both camps in this debate, and sadly, no doubt there will be much more. But is wise to remember that the Referendum is NOT about Alex Salmond, nor is it about David Cameron. It is about Scotland and whether or not we think Scotland will be better being self governed
    Notable by their absence in replying to my post, were your views on my comments regarding the UK national debt – what views do you have on that Gordon? Do you honestly believe that debt will not get larger and larger – or EVER be paid off?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • March 8th, 2014 14:48

      Charlie what a parochial and somewhat bigoted view to presume that Cameron is my hero and I paint a bleak future for the North Sea oil industry. Once again you are the bearer of insults and illogical arguments that use presumption instead of facts because you have no valid facts. You have to ask yourself how Cameron would boost oil production. He most certainly would not go and turn on a big tap that has been turned off; what he could and more than likely would do is to give the oil companies bigger tax breaks. This as I have tried to explain to you if emulated in an independent Scotland would mean lower oil revenue, higher taxes and greater borrowing for a new country; not a great start or something to look forward to.

      Scotland could continue to use the pound unilaterally and unofficially, but this would not be a currency union. For a country as developed as Scotland, with a large banking sector, this is hardly a serious option. A Scottish government under these circumstances would have no control whatsoever over monetary policy. To become independent only to have the status of Kosovo, Montenegro or Panama is hardly a pleasing prospect. Once again to prop up the unofficial use of the pound we would suffer higher taxation and interest rates. So something of a vacuous statement to say the least.

      Charlie you have twice said the UK will never pay of its debt you also said “It would take 103 YEARS to pay off this debt just using ALL of the Oil Revenue from the North Sea until the year 2117”. What has happened here has your chrystal ball fogged over? You also said “Do the math Gordon – use Math 101 as your template it works!” so which is it chrystal ball or math 101?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • March 8th, 2014 17:03

      Charlie here is the view of the North Sea oil industries future from an expert.
      Investment in North Sea oil and gas will fall away sharply unless urgent action is taken to address serious underlying problems in the sector, a Government-commissioned review has found.
      Former oil industry boss Sir Ian Wood warned there could be a 50% cut in investment over the second half of the decade unless further new commercial fields are discovered.
      While he estimated that a further 12 to 24 billion barrels of oil could still be extracted from the North Sea over the coming decades, he said the existing regulatory framework needed to be overhauled in order to maximise the economic benefit.
      He reaffirmed his recommendation in his interim report last November for the creation of a new arm’s length body with a remit to maximise collaboration in exploration, development and production across the industry.
      Sir Ian said that it should be possible to deliver at least three to four billion more barrels over the next 20 years – worth around £200 billion to the UK economy.
      However the the existing light-touch regulatory framework was no longer suitable for an environment where there were now more than 300 fields – many of them marginal – competing for the use of an ageing infrastructure.
      “There is a huge prize at stake, and I believe government must implement the key recommendations, including the creation of a new regulator, as quickly as possible,” Sir Ian concluded.
      “The case for swift implementation is made all the more pressing by the industry’s expectation of at least a 50% reduction in new field investment in the latter half of this decade, unless further new commercial fields are identified.
      “There is also clear consensus that exploration is at a critically low level and badly needs significant new initiatives.”
      The review said that 42 billion barrels have so far been extracted from the North Sea while investment in the sector reached a record high last year of more than £14 billion.
      However it found there were “serious underlying problems” with a 38% fall in production between 2010 and 2013 – the equivalent of around 500 million barrels.
      Of that, 360 million was due to a rapid fall in production efficiency – which cost the Treasury £6 billion in lower tax receipts – while a sharp decline in exploration had led to the equivalent of less than 150 million barrels being discovered over the past two years.
      Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, who commissioned the review, said he fully accepted the findings and would begin implementing its recommendations immediately.
      “The UK Government already supports Scottish energy projects worth hundreds of millions of pounds each year, and our large tax and consumer base will ensure that the potential £200 billion benefit Sir Ian Wood has identified can be realised,” he said.
      Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney backed the call for a new industry regulator, and said Aberdeen was “the only conceivable location” for such a body to be based.
      He said: “Although Sir Ian was not asked to make specific recommendations in relation to the fiscal regime, it is clear that stability and predictability are essential if we are to realise the North Sea’s full potential. That is why the Scottish Government appointed an Independent Expert Commission on Oil and Gas in September 2013, chaired by Melfort Campbell, who will report in the spring.”

      “Stability and predictability are essential if we are to realise the North Sea’s full potential” not something independence can offer let alone guarantee.

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 9th, 2014 13:00

      and the oil money will go a lot further among 23000 people than 5.3 million people, if we are basing independence on that then I guess thats trumps.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 7th, 2014 20:26

    Robert, generally your comments are of a high standard even if I don’t agree with them, but this one hits an all time low. Of course the economy is important it is the one factor which will determine how much pension we will receive. how much interest we will pay on mortgages and loans, how much interest we will earn on savings. Weather businesses will survive and invest in the future, weather new businesses will come to Scotland and weather established businesses will stay.

    The Scottish people will not have control over their own economy, what ever government is in power will. The only difference is that government will be in Edinburgh and not London and centralisation will move a few hundred miles north. You and I will have no more say in the governance of Scotland than we do now; just imagine if Salmond in his haste to negotiate a deal in the very short 18 months he has given him self is landed with a bum deal. Who will be in power at the next election? More than likely a Labour government and we will go right back to 1997 for 13 more years of boom and bust and then Scotland and the rest of the UK will have £1.3 trillion of debt each.


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