Scotsman Letters: What happened to the bIllions of pounds of Scots oil revenue?

The U.K. Government proposes to issue hundreds of new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, mostly around the shores of Scotland.
The UK Government is proposing to issue hundreds of new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North SeaThe UK Government is proposing to issue hundreds of new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea
The UK Government is proposing to issue hundreds of new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea

The Prime Minister himself said that there are still billions of barrels of oil to exploit and that these billions will help to support a just transition to net zero.

How can this be? I clearly recall during the 2014 referendum on independence that we were told times without number that there were no longer any new or exploitable deposits of oil and that an independent Scotland would have no worthwhile energy resources.

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This was described as a “devastating blow” to the Yes campaign by no less a person than Alastair Darling, the leader of the No campaign.

Of course it turned out to be a total untruth and the subsequent bIllions of pounds of revenue all went to the Treasury. Not a penny of that money was allowed to be spent directly by the Scottish Government.

The so-called “European Oil Capital” (Aberdeen) is now a sad place of closed shops and empty office space while London and the South of England are by far the wealthiest part of the UK., largely funded over the last 50 years by the trillions of oil revenues.

Elsewhere in the world, great gleaming cities arise whenever oil has been found in such massive quantities, but not in Scotland.

James Duncan, Edinburgh

The Kirk in crisis

I write as a retired Church of Scotland minister in response to the article in Saturday's edition concerning the proposed closing of 700 buildings before the end of the decade.

To say that I write in despair would be an understatement. Like many other members and ex members, my despair is aimed at the church, not God, who must be despairing too.

The symptoms of the Church's plight suggest that it is moribund and perhaps already dead. Presbyteries are at the heart of the Presbyterian Church and are actually being sacrificed by being themselves united into mega-presbyteries, which by definition makes them more remote. The Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland says it all. Perhaps even more serious than the dwindling numbers is the neglect of those who remain, many of them disillusioned. I write as one of the dwindled.

What the Church needs is a root and branch revolution far beyond a tinkering reformation. It's not coincidental that Jesus said: “Where two or three are gathered together, there I am in your midst”. Perhaps the future is small groups having a stronger voice in the things that matter in our local neighbourhoods.

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Perhaps the closure of 121 George Street with all its bureaucracy would be a start and might save some of the 700 churches. I wish I could say I lived in hope.

Ian Petrie, Edinburgh


I’m not a great fan of the royal family, but I did feel a bit sorry for King Charles as he struggled to utter the words written for him by the Tory Government in his first King’s Speech the other day.

Particularly troubling for the new king was to have to announce the government’s principal plan to ‘max out’ the fossil fuel reserves of the North Sea.

Not just troubling, but also desperately humiliating for a new king not long on the throne whose 50-year commitment to environmental matters is well-known and had earned him the honour of being invited to make the keynote speech at the forthcoming COP28 climate summit in Dubai, taking place in just a few weeks.

I know that the Tories are a ruthless bunch, but I would imagine that the new king may have learned, in his long apprenticeship, that there are ways and means of getting one’s own back on politicians, and indeed political parties, which have placed one in such a publicly embarrassing position.

It was rumoured that his late mother was not terribly keen on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and was sometimes, at their regular weekly meetings, a bit tardy in inviting her to take a seat, without which, of course, protocol demanded that she stay on her feet.

And I would hope that the king’s retaliation when it comes, as hopefully come it will, might be of a measure commensurate with the gross humiliation imposed upon him.

Les Mackay, Dundee

Poppies plea

I suppose as one ages Remembrance becomes more precious, and this year’s services on television were particularly poignant.

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I do wish, however, that our modern generation would leave our ‘tokens’ in peace. It defames the red poppy to have ones of different colours. Please don’t latch on to our tradition. By all means have a white rose or other to reflect your individual taste, but the red poppy is rooted in tradition.

Similarly, the rainbow has great significance for Christians portraying the promise of God. It is hurtful to see it highjacked by groups who can’t be bothered to introduce their own symbol, but choose instead to belittle history.

James Watson, Dunbar

Fish in a barrel

Another excellent article by Brian Wilson in The Scotsman of November 11. Criticising the current SNP administration for someone like Mr Wilson must be akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Almost weekly they present him with an open goal and to his credit he never misses.

One thing I found amusing was the article heading, “’Being not as bad as the Tories” is now height of SNP ambition.'

Playing devil's advocate, could that heading not equally apply to Mr Starmer's Labour party?

George Shanks, Edinburgh

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