The way that both big companies and the ConDem coalition think of Scotland has been revealed through a number of key issues over the summer. Far from being the sovereign state that only the SNP argues for and that could deal with the kind of paternalistic colonialism that has been Scotland’s lot, we remain, in Cameron’s or Murphy’s eyes, pair wee Scoatlun that cannae see tae itsel’—better that we look after their oil resources because they’d just blow them on economic prosperity, like Norway.
The result has been Huhne’s recent admission that Westminster has abandoned vital carbon capture technology for coal-fired Longannet power station, just like the gas-fired Peterhead power station four years ago. His excuse? The technology’s estimated at £1.5bn to develop; he would only provide £1bn max. And yet they’ll spend £7bn on aircraft carriers that we don’t need and with no planes on them (because they can’t afford them). They’ll keep Trident foisted on us.
Scotland is investing in being a lead in energy. Our supposed partner should be helping.
Likewise Iberdrola, using the front of its ‘Scottish’ Power subsidiary, wants to blight East Lothian’s densely populated coast for another 30 years with its second power station—and offer only 50 jobs while squeezing profit from it. And what will they use as fuel? Scarce gas—the same gas that is running out in the North Sea and dependent on Russia for future supplies. Are they going to invest in carbon capture? Are you kidding? They don’t even pretend to be interested in anything like that—it might interfere with their bottom line.
And so, as with so much that affects everyday life in Scotland, not to mention its future, our interests are subsumed into those of a country that is supposedly our closest friend and of companies that don’t even pretend to be a part of our communities.
It is under these conditions that the SNP gather in Inverness to discuss a full programme that today includes several positive motions about international relations and how Scotland should participate in them. Laudable though they are, most would be infinitely more effective if we were a normal country—already independent. SO, as we debate them, I hope speakers point out the gross anomalies under which our country still must labour if it is to find its rightful voice in the world.
There is little of this in the Conference Agenda. I hope someone has the cojones to examine paras 2 or 4 above and put in a topical motion for conference to debate so that the UK government—never mind the pitiful Scottish opposition—gets a flea in its ear and knows full well the liberties they are taking.
We’d be doing them a favour: they’d be that much less surprised when they get thoroughly gubbed in a referendum in three years’ time.