Tag Archives: Westminster


The long intervals between postings on this blog might suggest to my readers that nothing is happening to the relationships between Scotland and rUK, and Scotland and the EU. This is both true and not true. Plenty of stuff has been written and broadcast on hypothetical areas of conflict and whether or not Brexit will actually happen but until very recently there has been no real substance in these reports. So there wasn’t any point in repeating them.

The “Phoney War” was the 6 month period of relative quiet for the British Isles before Hitler unleashed his all-out attack during WWII. It has taken more than three months after Ms. May assured us that ”Brexit means Brexit” for a skeleton framework to emerge showing how she intends to proceed. Repeated claims have been made by the ”Three Brexiteers” Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davies that, in BoJo’s words, Britain can have its cake and eat it, i.e. continue as a full member of the European single market and still get the right to impose limits on immigration. The best response to this rubbish has been made by Mr. Tusk, currently President of the European Council. He advised : Buy a cake, eat it, and see if it is still there on the plate (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/full-hard-brexit-speech-european-council-president-donald-tusk-1586332). Mr. Junker, Ms. Merkel and M. Hollande have been equally clear that a compromise on the Four Freedoms is not up for negotiation.

Ms. May considers that Brexit negotiations are part of UK foreign policy, an area ”reserved” for Westminster under the terms of the Scotland Act (1998). This point of view does not take into account the enormous effects that any form of Brexit will have on the internal workings of the UK. The obvious compromise would be for the preparations for Brexit to be made by a cross-party committee, representing the major shades of opinion within the UK. Negotiations with the EU would then proceed on the basis of the committee’s conclusions, which would be its negotiating mandate.

This will not happen, because….

Ms. May has formed a Cabinet committe (The European Union Exit and Trade Committee, EETC) to handle the Brexit negotiations. According to the news website Politico, the EETC is made up almost exclusively of hard-line Brexiteers. It does not include the Attorney General, a significant ommission in view of the legal complexities of the task. Neither does the Scottish Secretary (Whitehall’s man in Holyrood, David Mundall) have a permanent seat. On this score Scotland is no worse off than Northern Ireland and Wales. This is not a committee to produce a result balancing as far as possible the national and regional interests that make up the UK. Instead it is a committee to deliver the result ”Out whatever the cost”, thus putting the politics of the xenophobic right wing of the Conservative party well ahead of the national interest.

There is a hope that Westminster can at any rate be given a scrutinising role in the process – a decision by the High Court is expected next week, though the decision will almost inevitably be referred immediately to the Supreme Court (http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21708649-government-faces-legal-well-political-challenges-triggering-brexit). There is also speculation that, if Parliament were to be given the opportunity, a coalition of Labour, SNP and Europositive Conservative MPs might be able to prevent the invocation of Article 50. This would certainly inflame many of those who voted for Brexit and would require substantial courage from Conservative MPs to go against the party line.

Meanwhile, in Scotland Ms. Sturgeon has been delivering a consistent and prudent plan on how to approach the challenges of Brexit. Although the media have been full of reports that she will announce a new review of the need for a ”Second” IndyRef (it would actually be the third but no one seems to remember the IndyRef vote in 1978), her main thrust has been to try to ensure that the needs of Scotland will be adequately represented prior to Brexit negotiations. The first and overriding need is to remain within the EU. The second is to protect Scotland’s interests within Brexit negotiations. Only if these needs cannot be met, argues Ms. Sturgeon, can Scotland then claim that the conditions relating to IndyRef in 2014 have undergone such substantial changes that a new Independence Referendum should be organised (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14801465.Nicola_Sturgeon_warns_Theresa_May__I_m_not_bluffing_about_independence_vote/). Holding another referendum would require permission from Westminster, something that is hard to imagine in the current political atmosphere.

Angus Robertson MP has done a good job as spokesman for the SNP in Westminster. At the recent SNP annual conference he was elected Deputy Leader of the party by a comfortable majority. Angus Robertson used his speech to call for immediate preparations for another IndyRef. This was injudicious for a number of reasons. Several opinions polls have shown people seem to be waiting for clearer details of what Brexit will mean before thinking about another IndyRef. Nor will a new IndyRef simply be a re-run of the 2014 campaign as the issues have changed. Furthermore no one should  think that IndyRef could take precedence over Brexit in the timetable for negotiations. Whether one likes it or not, Scotland’s future hinges on the relationship of the UK, or the rUK, with the EU so this must take precedence.

Finally it is interesting to note the increasing presence of Nordic issues in the Scottish debate. Last week Ms. Sturgeon addressed  the Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik  and underlined Scotland’s commitment to the Arctic region and to multilateral cooperation. Nordic Horizons is planning a Conference on ”Scotland after Brexit” on Saturday 29 October, at which a number of the speakers will be from Nordic countries (http://www.nordichorizons.org/2016/09/scotland-after-brexit-event-details.html): your correspondent will report in due course. And on a humbler level your correspondent has addressed, and will go on addressing, branches of the Norden Association on the historical ties between Scotland and the Nordic nations and the issues of Scottish independence and the desirability of closer ties with the Nordic Union , which is itself evolving towards closer political integration.


The time is 03:20 on 16 September. In two hours my youngest daughter and I will start our journey to Scotland – she for her final year at the University of Strathclyde, both of us to participate in the experience of the Independence Referendum.

Whatever happens on the 18 September will start a series of changes with momentous consequences for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They will spread beyond those islands to affect Europe and indeed the world. Britain will cease to be “Great” but it will become a country or group of countries better adapted to supply all of its citizens with an adequate standard of living and a return to a more democratic governance.

The campaign for Yes Scotland has said No Thanks to:

a centralised government run by a clique of politicians that serve the interests of the ultra-rich, backed up by a set of mainstream media which no longer see their function as holding the powerful to account on behalf of the weak

– a government that spends billions on billions of pounds on a military establishment so that its leaders can pretend that Britain “punches above its weight” on the world stage – a capacity that was important when the Empire stretched around the globe but is now a vastly-expensive self-delusion

– a government which is opening the public services of the country to the possibilty of US-style of litigation with its risk of immense, trumped-up claims for damages

– a government that has consistently ignored the needs of the periphery for those of the southern parts of the country, particularly the needs of London, which has become a black hole that sucks resources from the rest of the country.

The Better Together campaign has offered more of the same old, discredited way to run the country.

Whatever the result of the referendum the future is now fraught with uncertainties. This could have been prevented by an orderly political discourse initiated by a Westminster attuned to the needs of the periphery, particularly Scotland, Wales, the North of England and the South-West. The (disallowed) “Yes” vote for Scottish Independence in 1979 was largely ignored by Westminster as were the possible consequences of the Scotland Act of 1998. David Cameron was completely unable to imagine what forces he was setting loose by his refusal in 2012 to allow the referendum to include a vote for “Devo Max”: if he had agreed to that, the present situation would probably never have arisen, the pound Sterling would not be facing a long period of weakness and the country itself about to be rent asunder one way or another. David Cameron and his Westminster colleagues then and now signally failed to understand the mood of Scotland. The Better Together campaign has had an impossible task because the reality is, if Westminster cannot offer anything better than Better Together to the poor and deprived people in Scotland, then Better is not Good Enough.

Against all the odds, against every-day common sense, against the torrents of advice from the rich and powerful (looking after their own interests as always) the Yes Scotland campaign has held out a vision of another way of governance. The campaign claims have been exaggerated but the idea that it could be possible to do things in a different way has caught on. When the discourse changed from the technicalities of accounting and macroeconomics to this wider and greater vision, people living in Scotland embraced the idea that they could do a better job of running their country than Westminster could. They know that way of governance has been tried and repeatedly found wanting.

The opinion polls tell us that the people of Scotland are evenly divided between Yes for Hope and No for Fear. Because we face great uncertainty whatever the outcome, I support those whose choice, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela, “will reflect their hopes and not their fears”. My daughter has the vote on the 18th. It will be a proud moment for me when she casts it. I suspect that she will join a majority of the people of Scotland and vote “Yes”.

This blog is now closed.

1984 – 30 YEARS ON


2013+15steadman orwell22(1)

cartoon Ralph Steadman

Top Westminster politicians, top banking executives and the mainstream media have all told us that a currency union between an independent Scotland and the Rest of the United Kingdom is impossible (the list is so long and the posts so easy to find that I’m not bothering with one reference here). It seems they have not read a calm, well-argued paper from Deutsche Bank experts Oliver Harvey and George Saravelos (http://www.voxeu.org/article/well-designed-sterling-union-will-be-needed-if-scotland-votes-independence) that was published in May 2014. The conclusion is:

A practical analysis of an independent Scotland’s currency options shows that a unilateral breakup, by either side, would be close to impossible because of the costs to financial stability. Even a mutual exit would be extremely complicated and risky, and would require policymakers to be planning already. A currency area would thus be the only viable option in the short term. However, as the Eurozone demonstrates, if badly designed this can be an exceptionally costly outcome.

There you have it. A currency area while calm heads work out the best options for both sides in the long term. For example it has been suggested that Scotland might use the Norwegian crown, which could be a good option if Scotland develops into a country rich in renewable as well as fossil energy (https://theconversation.com/the-best-currency-for-an-independent-scotland-would-be-norways-krone-25036 and this blog).

So the top brass have been talking against the best interests of the rUK, which they must have know, but that was less important than shoring up the neo-liberal alliance of Westminster to keep jobs for the boys (neo-liberal in the sense of Hayek and Friedman). Senior staff of the Deutsche Bank seem to have missed this too (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/09/neo-cons-of-the-world-unite-you-have-nothing-to-lose-except-your-slaves-mansions-and-huge-pots-of-money).

Recent comments and even some mainstream media articles have swung in the last week from details to principles. This campaign is not only about an independent Scotland but also about the principle of “One man (or woman), one Vote” against the rampant misuse of wealth and power by a system that delivers benefits to themselves instead of to the populace .

George Orwell would have applauded (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/26/the-establishment-uncovered-how-power-works-in-britain-elites-stranglehold).



Dave Simonds cartoon on London's economic dominance

cartoon by Dave Simmonds

The mainstream press in Scotland can still come up with a truth or two. For example;

The Prime Minister talks about the ties that bind the Union, in other words, but heads a government and a parliament that barely seems to register Scotland’s existence, except at those rare moments when we threaten the Union with imminent extinction; and to say that this is no way to run a mature and functioning democracy is to understate the case.

The truth is that over the last generation, Westminster has become increasingly unrepresentative of anyone except a narrow caste of career politicians; has become steadily more dependent on funding by wealthy individuals and corporations; has – as a consequence – largely ceased to offer a real political choice between neo-liberal orthodoxy and other approaches to creating a good society; and has been found guilty of spectacular levels of greed and corruption in relation to its own expenses system.

… there are questions to be asked about how far we should allow our decisions on Scotland’s future to be shaped by the representatives of what is essentially a failed financial system, now propped up only by taxpayer subsidy taken out of our own pockets.

And not only are those structures still in place six years on, but they are still seeking to impose their failed ideology on ever-larger swathes of the planet. The next scheme, courtesy of global corporate lobbying, is the so-called TTIP, or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, an imminent EU/US deal which will effectively forbid governments from running public services, and force them – regardless of the views of voters – to open up all services, including the NHS, for commercial exploitation.

And this is the paradox at the heart of the referendum debate, as we reach its final hours. On one hand, we are told of what are clearly real economic risks associated with independence. Yet, on the other, we cannot help but be aware that those risks are often being imposed, and even engineered, by corporations and structures whose power needs to be challenged – thoroughly, bravely and soon – if democracy is to have any chance of surviving and thriving in the 21st century.

To vote Yes next Thursday, in the spirit of the remarkable grassroots campaign for re-empowerment that has swept Scotland over the last year, is to throw down that challenge and to accept the consequences, whatever they may be.


Genuine democracy at work is something rarely seen today, when political campaigns tend to be run by lobbyists in the pockets of the ultra-rich. An opinion poll predicts that next Thursday more than 80% of the electorate will cast their votes. Since when did a general election in any Western “democracy” come near to such a figure? This energy has been generated by the Yes Scotland campaign, not by the Westminster politicians currently rushing to Scotland in desperation – behaviour reminicent of lemmings rather than people.

By the standards of any fair society, Yes deserves to win.


When Prime Minister David Cameron refused to allow a third option of “Devomax” on the ballot for IndyRef, he was sure that “No” would win. Now with even YouGov reporting the possibility of a “Yes” vote on the 18th (http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/yes-takes-lead-in-bombshell-indyref-poll.25254394) the media are beginning to speculate if Cameron would survive the secession of Scotland from The United Kingdom. Cameron himself has said he will not go but in critical times that decision rests with the hidden power in the Conservative party (http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/cameron-faces-calls-to-quit-if-scotland-votes-yes-30569191.html).

One sliver of hope for Cameron is that an independent Scotland would leave a post-independent Westminster with a comfortable right-wing majority, but it would also pose the threat of a UKIP surge to recruit Eurosceptic Conservatives (see earlier post).

The way the issue of currency has been tackled is also likely to be the subject of massive post-Indy criticism. The pro-Union position, both within the government and in the “Better Together” campaign, is that no currency union with an independent Scotland will be allowed. As the likelihood of a “Yes” vote increases financial markets are taking up positions that weaken the pound (http://www.cityam.com/1410155884/pound-plummets-scottish-independence-fears). This is likely to continue until a clear position on the future of the pound has been established. This could take months or it could be resolved quickly by an admission in principle that iScotland could use the pound with the Bank of England as a lender of last resort (http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/09/08/pound-droops-will-london-parties-talk-salmond-about-currency-deal). However, as the currency issue was seen to be the strongest argument for Better Together, that card has not been dealt so far, regardless of the risks of political and economic fall-out.



För första gången i kampanjen har Ja-sidan tilldelats ledningen av en opinionsundersökning . Den är knapp men den bekräftar en stadig trend under hela den senaste månaden (http://whatscotlandthinks.org/questions/should-scotland-be-an-independent-country-1#line).

Samtidigt har ”Better Together” hamnat i fullständigt panik. Löften om ytterligare utökade maktbefogenheter haglar (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/09/westminster-prepares-offer-further-powers-scotland-it-too-little-too-late). Men det är “för lite, för sent”.

1979 blev skottarna lurade på självständighet: Westminster dolde McCrone rapporten som visade hur mycket inkomster från Nordsjöoljan skulle tillfalla ett oberoende Skottland och dessutom ogiltigförklarade 1979 års “Ja” på grund av en teknikalitet (se tidigare post).

Nu är skottarna är trötta på tomma löften. De vill ta sin framtid i egna händer trots svårigheter och risker hellre än luras en gång till.

Ett Ja-resultat den 18:e innebär stora konsekvenser för rUK, Europa och i förlängningen också Norden.


Olli Rhen was the European commissioner with responsibility for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro. He left this post in July. There is no reason to think that Mr. Rhen has any personal position on independence for Scotland. So any statement he makes on the currency issue for an independent Scotland has to be given credibility.

According to the Guardian, Mr. Rhen has written to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Danny Alexander, to make clear the currency position of an iScotland applying to join the EU. He claims that iScotland must either have a currency agreement with rUK, i.e. the Bank of England, or else it must have its own central bank. To use Sterling without a formal agreement with Westminster would not satisfy the entrance requirements (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/02/indepdent-scotland-not-join-eu-without-central-bank?).


This must be a heavy blow to the Yes Scotland movement, which has been on a massive upswing since its leader Alex Salmond trounced Better Together leader Alistair Darling in a second debate broadcast nation-wide on 25 August. A YouGov poll published yesterday (2 September) showed that a swing of only 3% would bring the two sides neck-and-neck (http://research.yougov.co.uk/news/2014/09/02/support-scottish-independence-jumps-47/) and claimed that support for No had “collapsed”. The Yes Scotland campaign to win over women voters is expected to have gained from a heavily-criticised Better Together videoclip (see previous blogg) and there is a groundswell of pro-independence reporting in the media.

All is not lost for the Yes Scotland position, which is that a currency union is in the best interests of both the rUK and iScotland. Such an agreement would make the Bank of England also the central bank of Scotland. However, the political price of such an arrangement has gone up.

Currency agreement in exchange for Trident, anyone?

NOTE: as this blog is aimed at Swedish people, it has so far been published in Swedish. Articles have been checked for grammar by native Swedish speakers. As the rate of the debate increases, this is no longer feasible. Given that all Swedes interested in this subject can read English, I believe that the change to English will not cause them any difficulties. I would like to publically thank Maj Hasselgren and Lars Jannerdal for thier generous help.



I den första posten för denna blogg påpekade jag hur den politiska dominansen av sydöstra England kastrerade skotska politikers inflytande på Westminster. Om vi vidgar det geografiska området till södra England blir dominansen ännu större, enligt följande (avkortade) inlägg på en länk:

Ultimately, all Westminster parties are deeply influenced by the political culture prevalent in the south east of England.

Below a line drawn from The Wash on the east coast of England to the Bristol Channel on the west coast there are 302 Westminster parliamentary seats – almost half of all seats in the House of Commons.

Winning a UK election means pitching your appeal and your policies at that southern electorate.  That stark electoral reality has drawn all of the Westminster parties on to the same political terrain as outlined above.  We can only break with their socially unjust policies if we first break with the British state itself.”

I sig själv räcker det som argument för ett självständigt Skottland. Nej-sidan har försökt skrämma skottarna med budskapet att Skottland är för litet för att klara sig bra, att ekonomin kommer att sjunka och att folket kommer att få det sämre utanför ”Storbritannien”. En rapport från den oberoende Credit Suisse torpederar effektivt budskapet från ”The Campaign of Fear” ( Slutsatsen är att små nationer klarar sig fint, ett budskap som vi i Norden kan skriva under.

I ett inlägg har Rikard Ovin frågat varför Shetland och Orkney inte skulle kunna bli självständiga från ett självständigt Skottland och återansluta sig till rUK. Det hänger på att Orkney och Shetland inte har varit självständiga nationer under historisk tid. Därför sträcker sig deras andel av oljan bara ut till den nationella gränsen, d.v.s. 12 sjömil från kusten, ett område hittills utan fyndigheter. Men det finns andra inkomster från oljan som kommer öarna tillgodo om resultatet blir ett Ja (http://www.shetnews.co.uk/features/scottish-independence-debate/8714-salmond-offers-seabed-revenue-to-islands).

Under den senaste veckan har diskursen handlat mycket om vad som skulle hända sjukvården efter en Ja- respektive Nej-vinst. Sjukvårdstjänster levereras av “The National Health Service” (NHS). Den nuvarande regeringen har aviserat ett program för besparingar inom många sektorer. För NHS bygger dessa på en ökad privatisering av sjukvårdsleverantörer och en avgiftsbeläggning av vissa tjänster (http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/blog/state-debate-would-nhs-and-welfare-state-be-%E2%80%98safe%E2%80%99-independent-scotland). Ja-sidan har lovat att de skulle fortsätta med fri sjukvård för iSkottland. Här finns många lärdomar att dra från Sveriges erfarenheter av privatisering inom offentliga tjänster.

På senare tid har mycket skrivits om de stora medierna är oväldiga eller inte. The Scotsman, The Guardian, the BBC, alla ger mer ”spin” till “The Establishment” och Nej-sidan än till positiva argument för självständighet (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sara-sheridan/bbc-bias_b_5546493.html och https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/john-robertson/bbc-bias-and-scots-referendum-new-report). Trots dominansen av negativa nyheter i MSMs fortsätter Ja-sidan att växa. Denna blogg har tidigare rapporterat en stort övertag för ”Nej” bland tipsare (”bettors”). Men bland skotska tipsare satsar 80% på en Ja-resultat och liknande siffror rapporteras från Wales och Nordirland (http://www.forres-gazette.co.uk/Independence-Debate/Punters-backing-Scottish-independence-11082014.htm).

En skotte röstar där hen satsar sina pengar!



Vi förutsätter att valutafrågan kommer att lösas på ett tillfredsställande sätt för Skottland (se de senaste bloggarna) och kommer nu att diskutera andra faktorer som pekar på att ett självständigt Skottland (iSkottland) skulle också bli ett välmående Skottland.

Rig Opt 2

Det är nu klart att under minst ett par decennier så har Skottland levererat ett nettobidrag till den brittiska ekonomin, naturligtvis inte minst tack vare det som lite slarvigt kallas för “Nordsjöoljan”. Denna blogg kommer att titta på den aktuella och framtida ställningen för oljeekonomin samt förnybara energiresurser. Slutsatsen är att Skottland kommer att kunna sälja ett stort energiöverskott till sina europeiska grannar, inklusive “restUK” (rUK).

Skottland och Norge började exploatera oljereserver i Nordsjön nästan samtidigt. Men medan Norge inrättade en energifond (som betalar en hel del av min pension) använde Westminster det brittiska överskottet från oljan för att täppa till diverse hål i 80-talets ekonomi. Oljeproduktionen i Nordsjön toppade 1999 och enligt prognoserna kommer den att “ta slut” om två till tre decennier. Oljepriset är känt för att fluktuera ganska mycket och dessa två faktorer har fått ligga till grund för Westminsters bedömningen att det vore oklokt av ett oberoende Skottland att lita på oljan som en framtida långsiktig inkomstkälla.

Denna bedömning må tidigare ha varit rimlig utifrån då kända fakta men är idag felaktiga (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28827295). Westminster har konsekvent gjort offentliga underskattningar beträffande oljereserverna. Som tidigare påpekats i denna blogg visste Westminster redan 1974 att det fanns mycket mer olja än den offentliga statistiken då visade men hemligstämplade McCrone-rapporten inför en tidigare omröstning om skotsk självständighet. Westminster har också förhindrat oljeutvinning i Firth of Clyde med hänvisning till säkerhetsbehovet för kärnvapenbestyckade Trident U-båtar när de tar sig till och från basen i Faslane. Under senare år nya stora fyndigheter hittats väster om Skottland och öster om Shetland (http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/clair-ridge-and-scotlands-new-oil-boom/ och http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/9594-huge-north-sea-oil-find-enough-to-produce-for-over-thirty-five-years). Shell har uttryckligen konstaterat att de är inte orolig för en iSkottland och planerar nya investeringar i Nordsjön (http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/shell-vows-to-invest-billions-in-north-sea.24925660). En säker prognos för oljepriset kan inte göras idag: fracking i Nordamerika pressar efterfrågan och/eller priset för Mellanösternolja, samtidigt som exporten från länder som Irak och Syrien är opålitlig. I ett längre perspektiv så verkar dock sannolikt att oljepriset stiger, till gagn för iSkottlands ekonomi.

Enligt en uppskattning har Skottland c:a 25% av alla förnybara energiresurser i Europa. Vindkraften är beprövad men kontroversiell. För några år sedan fick planerna för en “wind farm” med 500 turbiner på ön Lewis inte godkänt, främst på grund av möjliga konflikter med turism och natur. Till en del berodde det på en okänslig inställning från exploatören. På samma ö finns nu en positiv inställning till en produktionsanläggning för vågkraft (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/worlds-biggest-wave-energy-farm-off-lewis-gets-go-ahead.21156952). Pilotanläggningar för tidvattenkraft har också byggts i farvatten runt Skottland (http://www.energynews.es/english/alstom-and-iberdrola-sign-an-agreement-to-supply-tidal-energy-turbines-in-scotland/ samt http://www.hammerfeststrom.com/research-and-development/testing/emec/)och planer för produktionsanläggningar i Pentland Firth, där tidvattenströmmar kan uppgå till 12 knop, annonserades idag (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/51m-funding-starts-construction-of-massive-tidal-power-scheme-in-pentland-firth.1408689300)Tack vare det skotska parlamentets Land Reform år 2003 är ön Eigg numera ett kooperativ med energianläggningar som täcker 100% av öns behov, mycket från förnybara resurser. En kooperativt ägd pilotanläggning för tidvattenkraft ska också installeras mellan Fetlar och Yell i Sheltandsöarna (http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/25825).

Det kan ta ett eller två decennier innan alla tekniska problem förorsakade av stormar, korrosion och underhåll kan kostnadsberäknas på ett pålitligt sätt men skotsk ingenjörskompetens inom offshoreteknologin är redan stor. Idag har det skotska parlamentet en målsättning att 100% av Skottlands egna energibehov ska komma från förnybara resurser redan 2020 och det har utlyst “The Saltire Prize”, värd £10 miljoner, för den anläggning som kontinuerligt producerar mest ström under en 24 månaders period (http://www.saltireprize.com/challenge). Under utvecklingsfasen för vattenburen förnybar energi kommer Skottland att kunna förlita sig på oljeinkomster.

Det är inte bara inkomsterna från energiresurserna som ger framtidshopp men alla arbetstillfällen för konstruktion och underhåll som genereras av anläggningar för förnybar energiproduktion. Dessa anläggningar är ofta i avlägsna platser där arbetsmarknaden består i bästa fall bara av turism och en fiskodling eller småskaligt fiske. Fem eller tio heltidsarbetstillfällen i sådana platser är guld värt för det lokala samhällets fortbestånd. 

Allt det här är “Här och nu”. Skottland är en rik nation: rikt på kunskap, rikt på energi, rikt på duktigt folk. För att kunna fortsätta bestämma över denna rikedom vill Westminster att det skotska folket ska rösta Nej den 18 september.


Den första debatten i kampanjen för skotsk självständighet är över. Enligt “The Guardian” fann 56% av TV-tittarna att Nej-sidans Alistair Darling vann debatten över Ja-sidans Alexander Salmond. Tyvärr var länken från konferanshallen var under all kritik. Efter att helt ha missat de inledande presentationerna så kom den till sist igång, men med upprepade, långa avbrott. Att döma från tweets till “The Scotsman” så drabbades de skotska tittarna av samma problem. Man kan dock se debatten på nätet med play (http://player.stv.tv/programmes/salmond-darling).

Det som vi kunde se i Sverige handlade till stor del om valutafrågan. Darling pressade Salmond gång på gång om en plan B för den skotska valutan om inte Skottland fick använda pundet. Sal­mond påpekade att pundet var lika mycket Skottlands som Englands och att framstående finansiella experter, inklusive f.d. ministrar, har sagt att Skottland visst skulle kunna fortsätta använda pundet. Detta var debattens hjärta och här fick Darling ett övertag över Salmond, som med sina fantasilösa svar stundtals påminde svenska tittare om Bosse Ringholms ökända upprepningar i Ahlenius affä­ren.

Inför debatten kunde Salmond glädjas åt en fortsatt rörelse i opinionsundersökningarna till förmån för Ja-sidan, enligt Ipsos-Mori upp 4% till 40%. Dessa röster kom från “Vet ej” väljare medan Nej-sidan är kvar på 56% (http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3429/Yes-continues-to-make-progress-as-we-enter-the-final-stretch).

Uppenbarligen kommer inte dagens debatt att vara den kioskvältare som Ja-sidan behöver för att fortsätta ta röster. Andra positiva nyheter kommer sannolikt att drunkna i mediabruset kring debat­ten. T.ex. att fler och fler rapporter understryker närvaron av stora oljefyndigheter väster om Skottland (http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/9535-rumours-of-massive-oil-find-follow-camerons-secret-shetland-visit samt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxZlMLmbgQ4#t=167). Samtidigt är en sedan 1977 hemligstämplad rapport om hur Skottland kunde ha blivit en annat Norge tack vare Nordsjöoljan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL8rPmkkcAY) nu offentlig. Det var inget slump att denna för skotsk självständighet så positiv rapport hemligstämplades av Westminster innan en tidigare omröstning om självständighet.

Negativt för Ja-sidan är den ökad osäkerhet i geopolitiska frågor (http://www.scotsman.com/news/comment-foreign-policy-will-affect-referendum-1-3500217) samt ytterligare ett lamt försök från Westminsters sida att lova DevoMax till Skottland (http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/08/05/scots_offered_more_tax_powers_to_stay_with_britain). Men av debatten att döma är konstitutionen, EU, försvaret och liknande frågor så gott som osynliga för väljarna: ”It’s the economy, stupid”!

Stämningen under debatten och i tweets var det att väljarna vill nu ha konkreta svar istäl­let för “pie in the sky”. Med dubbelt så stor kampanjkassa och med stöd från de flesta massmedierna samt från Whitehall etablissemanget kan Nej-sidan känna sig nöjd. Om inte Ja-sidan börjar leverera övertygande svar om ekonomin till väljarna så är det farväl till självständighet för Skottland i min livstid. Och i så fall skulle ytterligare en möjlighet har gått oss förbi. (http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/08/04/scotland-a-world-leader-again/).