Unlikely scenario

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Dr David Stevenson (Letters, 19 April) suggests that, without North Sea oil, Scotland would be “independent” already. In all 
honesty, it is highly unlikely that would have happened.

Indeed, the rise of the SNP (if one conflates the SNP with a wish for independence, however one determines what that means) was almost in tandem with oil and gas discoveries being made in the North Sea.

It is disingenuous to suggest that the push to break up the UK would have arisen despite the hydrocarbon riches of the North Sea. The support for the SNP 
subsided along with the price of oil and the recession in the oil 
industry in the mid-1980s.

The difference now is that the SNP is supported as a party of Scottish Government by people who have no intention of voting to break up the UK.

As such, it is now separate from oil in that respect, but reliant upon that resource when it comes to British constitutional affairs. With oil and gas, there is not much core support for the balkanisation of the UK. Without it, support would almost disappear.

Andrew HN Gray