Oil would have fuelled independence boom in Scotland

Oct 03, 2005 02:00 AM

A previously secret document which stated how North Sea oil might enable an independent Scotland to prosper has been released.
The advice by the economist Gavin McCrone and prepared for ministers in 1974 said that an independent Scotland could be transformed by oil revenues and become a leading power in Europe.

Scottish Nationalists obtained a copy of the document in September which they claim showed that Labour and Conservative ministers in the 1970s were “conspiring to deny” Scots their “rightful” wealth. The paper, The Economics of Nationalism Re-examined, said that the significance of North Sea oil finds remained “in large measure disguised from the Scottish public”. It said that “all that was wrong” with estimates by the SNP that North Sea oil could yield a revenue of £ 800 mm by 1980 was that “it is far too low”.

Dr McCrone, now a professor, said that the economy of an independent Scotland, properly managed, would “tend to be in chronic surplus to a quite embarrassing degree”.
“Its currency would become the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian kroner,” he wrote.

“Just as deposed monarchs and African leaders have in the past used the Swiss franc as a haven of security... the Scottish banks could expect to find themselves inundated with a speculative inflow of foreign funds.”
“Thus for the first time since the Act Of Union was passed, it can now be credibly argued that Scotland’s economic advantage lies in its repeal.”

Source: The Times
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