OIL prices will no doubt impact some jobs in Scotland and are bad news for Westminster in terms of reduced taxes. That said, we would be wise to consider this development in a wider context.
Saudi and the Gulf states enjoy a monopoly of cheap oil. They can still make a handsome profit which other businesses only dream about at $50 a barrel. Offshore oil and fracking need to be at least $80 to be viable. Russian production probably lies somewhere in between.
The current lower price is a response from Saudi to America’s newfound self-sufficiency from fracking – why co-operate with an artificially high price when your best customer walks away?
Oil is not just an economic necessity, it is a strategic and political consideration. No matter the price, many countries depend upon importing oil and that has a major impact upon their balance of payments. The importance of international trading imbalances has been played down over recent decades with the WTO and more recently the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which aims to remove all barriers to trade and investment between the EU and the US. The suggestion that this could include the right of corporations to sue governments is something which should concern us all.
The insidious takeover of democratic institutions by big business and international finance is well under way and I can only hope that the recent surge of political interest in Scotland will persuade politicians of all stripes to stop kowtowing to these vested interests and concentrate upon the priorities and interests of the individuals they represent.
RF Morrison, Helensburgh