I’d hoped to have something a bit cheerier to write about on Burns’ Day, but was alerted to a haemorrhage of jobs by a Scottish friend: 5,500 late last year, forecast to rise to 10,000 soon, mostly in Aberdeen. I replied I was surprised that I hadn’t read about losses on such a scale in the national press, to be told "the SNP is managing the news".
The Scottish National Party (SNP), I should say, is the party that won 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in Westminster (with 50% of the national vote), making them Britain’s third largest party in the process.
Much of their astonishing performance was based on their own predictions of a new oil field discovered off the East Coast of Scotland which, they said, would add a minimum of £15.8 billion to the nation’s coffers, and a maximum of £38.7 billion.
After they had won 94% of the nation’s seats in the Westminster election, they were forced to admit that the true range was £2.4-£10.8 billion, but it turns out this estimated sum had already been factored into figures available before the election and therefore adds nothing new to anybody’s coffers.
As if the misery caused by unemployment on this (or any) scale were not enough, a brain-drain of highly skilled workers formerly employed in Scottish oil is taking place, taking not just income but know-how out of the country. If they’ve settled down by the time (please God) the industry recovers from what looks like turning into a global financial meltdown, how will they be replaced?
The Scottish National Party is a socialist party. Socialism and nationalism have been mixed before and it didn’t work. Personally, although I’m Scottish I live in England and, much as I value my Scottish heritage, in neither country have I ever voted for a party whose name ends in –NP.
Oil explorers predict 10,000 more job losses in North Sea sector Kiran Stacey, Financial Times, October 18 2015
Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce survey highlights challenges facing North Sea Mark Williamson, The Herald, 26 November 2015
SNP dramatically cuts pre-referendum oil predictions Simon Johnson, Daily Telegraph 25 June 2015
SNP MSP apologises after causing outrage with comments over North Sea oil crisis Catriona Webster, Daily Record, 6 January 2016
Nicola Sturgeon told to quit blame games and deal with oil crisis as union chief demands summit Andy Philip, Daily Record, 25 January 2016