Oil oversight

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Brian Wilson, in his apparently endless series of articles designed to rubbish the SNP and all its works and prove that Scotland, alone among all the small countries of Europe, would be unable to cope with independence, does, in his most recent article (Perspective, 25 October) heavily criticise the SNP government for being culpably over-optimistic in its estimate of future North Sea oil revenues in the near future.

However, he fails to mention a few other relevant factors.

First, the Scottish Government had planned to even out the effect of fluctuating oil prices by using a “smoothing out” oil fund.

It was hardly the fault of the SNP that the referendum happened to be followed by a temporary period of low oil prices.

Secondly, the relevant Westminster government departments grossly underestimated the available oil reserves in 
the 1970s, perhaps deliberately, in order to thwart the then 
rising tide of Scottish nationalism.

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Finally, Mr Wilson fails to explain how such countries as Switzerland and Austria manage very well without any oil at all.

However large or small Scottish oil revenues would have been, they would still have represented a bonus unavailable to numerous other highly successful small countries.

What is required now is a 
period of fair and reasonable debate about Scotland’s future, not a continual tide of one-sided prejudice.

(Dr) John Slee

Hopetoun Terrace

Gullane, East Lothian