In 1845, during the Polk administration, America coined the term ‘Manifest Destiny‘ as a rallying cry for its vision of becoming a world-class power stretching from Atlantic to Pacific. Still absorbing the massive 1803 Louisiana Purchase, in 1848 the US incorporated Texas, Northern Mexico and the Oregon territory as the final third of the ‘Lower 48’.
Yesterday saw the launch of the colourful 44-page SNP Manifesto for this election, by far the most ambitious, costed and detailed blueprint for the future of the Scotland. There may be no territorial ambition but, unlike any other manifesto, the aspiration to transform our country has a vision and scope that gives a lie to the old unionist girn that Scotland is too small or too poor not to need Britain.
As an example, central to our future is a green energy programme of renewables development by 2020. This will put Scotland firmly on the global map as a leader in wave and tidal technology, with a seismic shift in jobs to our periphery, somewhat like the US pioneer movement. With its clock-like predictability, tidal can replace nuclear as ‘base load’ for the energy grid. We’ll need installations around the coast, from the Pentland Firth to the Forth, perhaps even the Corrievreckan, Clyde Kyles and North Channel, Variants on the oil boom that came to Aberdeen and Lerwick thirty years ago will occur in Thurso, Nigg, Oban, Methil, Campbeltown, Ardrossan, as well as wherever the engineering happens. Companies equivalent to the oil service sector will suck in new employees as they grow, expanding abroad with the export market. The economy of peripheral areas will surpass some cities.
It won’t be the Wild West…but it will be the biggest demographic shift and economic boost anywhere in Britain since Scotland led the way in oil.