Independent oil

May I be permitted to join the Duncan-Lakin oil fund debate debate (Letters, 4 September)?

I agree that the UK squandered oil revenues in order to soften the effects of economic under-performance in other areas, as I feared in 1979, when I won a Sunday Times competition to write a haiku about UK oil policy. It went: “Confucius he say/man who spends oil like water/end up in drink.”

Unfortunately, that was then and this is now, and when the original author of the idea, Professor Gavin McCrone, revisited it in The Scotsman recently, a fund started now would create a piffling amount.

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I read somewhere that his original proposed UK fund would be worth around £120 billion. The Norwegian fund is worth £500 million, or £100,000 for each of its 5 million residents.

An independent Scotland’s roughly £10bn share of a UK fund would equate to £2,000 per person, or one fiftieth of a Norwegian’s “pot”.

Even taking Alex Salmond’s estimate in 2012 that a new fund for an independent Scotland would be worth £30bn “over a generation” this would still only be £6,000.

Mind you, Alex Salmond’s definitions of a “generation” differ enormously before and after losing referenda.

Allan Sutherland

Willow Row