As the opinion polls started to close in the summer of 2014 and one even gave a majority to Yes, the Unionist forces were stirred into action. David Cameron came to Scotland to launch a love fest, pleading with us to stay and to ‘lead’ the UK. Gordon Brown intervened to draft a pledge which would guarantee Scotland federal powers. Who knows what effect these interventions and others had on the outcome of the Referendum, but did a less transparent intervention weaken the case for independence by concealing a major oil find to the west of Shetland?
When Cameron chose to visit Shetland, on July 22nd, the first PM to do so in 34 years, suspicions were raised.
Research published in the Scotsman on 8th September 2014 found that ‘almost half of Scots believe the UK government is hiding North Sea oil discovered during the independence campaign.’
Official reports discounted the rumours and any expressing suspicions were sneered at in social media, for some time after. BBC Scotland’s Douglas Fraser and that other Tory, Murdo Fraser, played leading parts in this:
More than four years later, however, is new evidence suggesting a cover up emerging? Today, BBC Scotland have announced, though not headlined, Scotland’s biggest ever field has begun to produce oil and will continue to do so at levels and for a time greater than expected.
‘Oil from BP’s major Clair Ridge development which is expected to produce for the next four decades – has begun to flow. Two new bridge-linked platforms and export pipelines will be used to recover an estimated 640 million barrels of oil at Clair Ridge. BP expects production to peak at 120,000 barrels of oil a day. The Clair field – 47 miles (75km) west of Shetland – was discovered in 1977 and is estimated to contain seven billion barrels of oil and gas.’
There is much to say here but little of it will make our Nomedia.
- There are apparently now four decades of oil to be tapped yet we were told oil would run out long before that
- We’re told now that the field was discovered in 1977 but when was its true scale discovered – 2014?
- What are 7 billion barrels worth? At today’s prices ($80pb) it would be $560 billion!
- This is only one of the oilfields in Scottish waters.
Footnote: Remember this other Cameron intervention before the 2014 Referendum:
‘The “importance” of the US television drama Outlander to the political atmosphere of last year’s Independence Referendum was highlighted by key TV executives before a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron. In a cache of leaked memos from the Sony organisation obtained by Wikileaks, an email written by Keith E. Weaver, executive vice president at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produces Outlander, discusses a meeting with the Prime Minister last summer . An Outlander insider last night said the meeting may have been why Sony “took the foot of the pedal” with finding a UK broadcaster.’
From the above, it seems clear that Outlander’s potential effect on the first referendum was a concern to the Cameron government.