Oil’s not well

Alex Orr’s letter about our missing oil fund (10 October) again goes over old ground. If we had had the full revenues from the North Sea oilfields for the past 40 years or so there might have been a fair accumulation by now. We don’t and it is impossible now to build up a big enough fund to make much ­difference to our future.

It seems to need repeating that the First Minister’s putative £30 billion actually ain’t much when spread out, and gives us in today’s money per capita just £6,000 cash or an income of maybe £240 a year – without taking inflation-depleted purchasing power into account.

Further, Mr Orr’s “our ample resources” lacks any definition. Presumably he means oil but that is declining fast and the long-term future remains cloudy, with supply not meeting our needs.

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We all agree we must spend more money on infrastructure, but this means diverting dosh from other needed areas – such as already hard-pressed further education colleges and care for the elderly.

Let’s have details and not generalities. Holyrood may specialise in avoidance but must now spell out firm proposals for the future or lose further credibility.

Viewed from the Highlands, upgrading of the A82, A96 and the A9 is still eagerly awaited, plus building lots more affordable housing, lending money to kickstart business start-ups with more jobs and helping the ­ageing to get better home care.

Joe Darby



Andrew Gray (Letters, 10 ­October) is correct to say that I have a medical background – I qualified in medicine in 1957 (having joined the SNP in 1950).

He says he was brought up on “Nationalist misinformation”. At school in Scotland I was taught to recite the dates of the Kings of England and Great Britain from 1066.

I think I learned about Bruce and the spider but very little else from Scottish history. I learned later by personal reading, and am still learning.

Unionist misinformation has included distorted pictures of how the Union of 1707 was 
obtained and of its results since. In a career largely in international health and tropical medicine, I have come across some of the ill-effects in other parts of the world of the imperialism which the 1707 Union facilitated.

I hope that Scotland will choose, in 2014, to end that Union and, as well as making better use of Scottish skills and resources for the benefit of those who live here, to play a constructive role in world affairs.

David Stevenson

Blacket Place


Unlike Alan Clayton (Letters, 10 October) I am not particularly enthusiastic about the possibility of Scottish independence. However, I agree with him that the performance of the current Nationalist Holyrood administration is not doing its cause any favours.

It is a not infrequently heard assertion that a distinction should be made between the main independence party and the case for independence itself. That suggestion, unfortunately for the SNP, while probably desirable is not particularly realistic.

I cannot but think that the photograph of the First Minister and Donald Trump, accompanying Brian Wilson’s article (same day) will do the Yes campaign no favours, reminding us as it must do of the former’s attachment to not only Trump but to the likes of Fred Goodwin and Rupert Murdoch.

It may not be entirely appropriate but we are bound to be influenced, at least to a degree, by the portrayal presented by the SNP leadership in power of what politics and democracy in an independent Scotland would be like.

I, for one, do not like what I see. Those of us who had high hopes, naively as it turned out, for the opportunities offered by devolution are reminded, almost on a daily basis, that the Westminster way of doing politics ­remains firmly entrenched north of the Border.

Alex Salmond and special ­adviser Geoff Aberdein seem no more capable of learning that media manipulation is eventually counter-productive than were Tony Blair and Alastair ­Campbell.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive