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British cabinet to meet in Scotland amid independence fears

31 Comments

The British cabinet will meet in Scotland for only the third time in history on Monday to announce plans for the country's oil industry, which it warns will decline if Scots vote for independence.

The fate of North Sea oil revenues will be a key issue ahead of the Sept 18 referendum to decide whether Scotland will end its 300-year-old union with England, and is expected to be the focus of Prime Minister David Cameron's cabinet meeting.

In a statement released on Monday, the prime minister revealed new measures for the industry.

They include plans for the industry and government to work closer to share infrastructure and geophysical information and to ensure that licenses are awarded with a view to extracting the maximum amount of oil.

"These steps -- good for the economy and good for jobs -- will increase our energy security and reduce our reliance on imported oil and gas, which is one of the main drivers pushing up people's bills," said Downing Street.

It is only the third time that the British cabinet has sat in Scotland as Cameron strives to convince voters of the economic case to stay in the union.

"For many years the UK has supported the North Sea oil and gas industry and we have worked together to make this an economic success the whole country can be proud of," argued Cameron.

"I promise we will continue to use the UK's broad shoulders to invest in this vital industry so we can attract businesses, create jobs, develop new skills in our young people and ensure we can compete in the global race," he added.

London warned that the UK Continental Shelf, source of the country's oil, faces "unprecedented challenges" that can only be met by a United Kingdom.

"Tax revenues from oil and gas in 2012-13 were £4.7 billion ($7.8 billion) lower than the year before -- a drop of more than 40%," said the Downing Street statement.

"While the UK's broad and diverse economy is able to absorb this volatility, this equates to more than one third of Scotland's health budget or two thirds of Scotland's spending on education."

The British Cabinet has only been held in Scotland twice before: under Cameron's predecessor Gordon Brown in Glasgow in 2009 and under David Lloyd George in 1921 in Inverness.

While Cameron's cabinet meets in Aberdeen -- where the North Sea oil industry is based -- Scotland's pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond will meanwhile lead a rival cabinet meeting of his devolved Scottish government just a few kilometers away.

Salmond is taking his cabinet to Portlethen, just south of Aberdeen, and has challenged Cameron to accept a head-to-head debate.

Cameron's Conservatives, their Liberal Democrat junior partners in the British government and the Labour opposition are all campaigning to keep the United Kingdom intact.

Opinion polls have consistently shown a majority of Scots preferring to stay in the UK, although the gap with those who want independence has narrowed.

An ICM poll of 1,004 Scottish adults for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, conducted between Monday and Friday, found some 37% would vote for independence while 49% said No.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

31 Comments
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To the Scots, do not let yourself be bribed and lose your freedom.

-8 ( +4 / -11 )

Independent Scotland makes little sense, but if that what the Jocks want then amen. Cabinet meeting there will probabaly annoy many of the electorate.

upside is that if Scotland goes Labour will NEVER EVER get into power in England/Wales/NI again.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

To my British cousins, I would ask if this is a real issue or just some politicians mucking around. What currency are the Scots going to use? Westminster has apparently said it will not be the pound. What about EU membership? The folks in Brussels don't sound keen. What about borders? What about the dangers of an intellectual brain drain? What about basically every issue I can think of? Besides wrapping themselves in Bay City Roller tartan flairs and doing William Wallace impersonations with faces made up, what are the Yes vote actually putting forward as a coherent argument. The English PM is a tosser? That might be a case in fact, but it hardly an argument to devolve from the union.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

“While the UK’s broad and diverse economy is able to absorb this volatility, this equates to more than one third of Scotland’s health budget or two thirds of Scotland’s spending on education.”

Some strange logic there. That's only the case if you treat all the oil revenues as income out of which current government costs have to be met. With a population of only 5m, Scotland is better placed to rely on a smaller proportion of the oil revenues for current spending, and place a considerable portion into a sinking fund. Look at how Norway has managed it.

"Independent Scotland makes little sense". Do Denmark, Singapore, Finland or Paraguay also make little sense as independent countries?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Per capita, Norway is one of the richest country's in the world and Scotland in control of its own natural resources could be joining them.

The Trident nuclear submarine base is also based in Scotland and the English have no other safe location to move it to.

I look forward to getting my new passport and for those with international marriages and having problems moving to Britain, if Scotland became an EU member, you could go to Scotland first and then over the border into England.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I look forward to getting my new passport

And where will you get said passport? Will there be a Scottish embassy nearby where you can apply for it to be issued? What currency will you pay for it with, and will it be within the EU? Maybe some questions to think about before you start dreaming.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The issue of Scottish independence has nothing to do with us English as it is an internal scottish affair. In the event of a yes vote then it will be westminster that decides on the issue of currency union, the snp will have no input into this what so ever what ever Alex Salmond may say.Personally I wish them all the luck in the world as an independent scotland would be interesting although it would have a little of the look of the darien scheme about it again .

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"The Trident nuclear submarine base is also based in Scotland and the English have no other safe location to move it to."

Zichi, I'm not sure how its current location is any "safer" than any other location. Unless you mean "safer" for the residents of London and the home counties.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

An independant Scotland will have much less influence over England, there are quite a few English who would prefer that. Im surprised the English dont at least get a say though. The union includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland and even though a vote or referendum in any of the other home nations shouldnt be the deciding factor on whether Scotland leaves (thats a decision for them alone), Scotland should at least gauge the opinion of the other member nations. The individual nations of the UK are stronger united.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Even if there are no other reasons, I hope Scotland becomes independent just to be an example to the world how independence can and should be achieved; by vote of the people and not force of arms.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I am not a fan of David Cameron. I do not know much about Scottish history. However I have watched Mel Gibson historical movie "Brave Heart" for three times. According that movie Scottish hero William Wallace was chopped into many pieces by British for pursuing the liberation of Scotland.

If Scottish will vote for Yes for becoming Independent, William Wallace dream has come true. He may smile from heaven.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@albaleo

Zichi, I'm not sure how its current location is any "safer" than any other location. Unless you mean "safer" for the residents of London and the home counties.

Because very few people live near the base and there's no location in Wales or England which are the same. The gov't does not want to move it but at the same time it couldn't keep its nukes in a foreign country.

@Nathaw

According that movie Scottish hero William Wallace was chopped into many pieces by British for pursuing the liberation of Scotland.

yes! I'm from the Wallace Clan and we've been abiding out time to revenge those English!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

"Because very few people live near the base"

Zichi, half the population of Scotland lives within 60km of the base.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am not a fan of David Cameron. I do not know much about Scottish history. However I have watched Mel Gibson historical movie "Brave Heart" for three times. According that movie Scottish hero William Wallace was chopped into many pieces by British for pursuing the liberation of Scotland.

...you do realise that for all his many and undeniable faults, the Cameron is not the Longshanks?

yes! I'm from the Wallace Clan and we've been abiding out time to revenge those English!

I'm fra the Campbell Clan mesel', an' we're no too pleased at wha that gibson mon did ta oor Skoats accent! Noo tha's summat as needs a wee bit o'revenge!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

alberaleo

you are right about that. Probably it all about money? http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/jul/10/mod-trident-scotland-independence

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Scot free? Many Scots aren't looking for separate statehood,but for devolution - the authority from Britain to do their own housekeeping.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The fact that this vote is taking place under a Tory government is significant. The Tories have just one MP in the entire country and it's a travesty that this party has a say in the affairs of that country. The Tory government of the Thatcher years saw the murder of its industries while wasting North Sea oil and the use of the Scots as guinea pigs for the poll tax. The Tories are rightfully despised by the majority north of the border and a future without their abuse must be appealing.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"Independent Scotland makes little sense". Do Denmark, Singapore, Finland or Paraguay also make little sense as >independent countries?

Notably, all the countries you mention have their own currencies, except Finland (EUR). Scottish EU membership has been pretty much ruled out. So no GBP, no EUR - now what? A Scottish pound with no central bank to back it up? Good luck with that.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Zichi,

Perhaps thats a good example of the kind of article you should be reading BEFORE posting what you guess might be true as if it were fact.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

" Britain's lucrative North Sea oil and gas industry, estimated to be worth up to £200 billion in potential benefits, may be in peril should Scotland vote for independence, David Cameron has warned, campaigning against independence ahead of the referendum." RT article

Clearly, an independent Scotland would face a number of challenges. But, seems England is greatly concerned about North Sea oil.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Davestrousers

Yes I accept your point which I have already stated so your additional comment wasn't needed but its one of the points being put forward by the London gov't. There's also the problem of nuclear power plant in the far north which is also storing plutonium, some of which belongs to Japan?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think this is the first thread I've genuinely seen zichi shot down, not that I'm happy about it. But I doubt any kind of independence will be reached in the near future as it will take a LOT of time to be done politically. I do hope Scotland becomes an independent nation in the future, but a radical move to do so now would only prove to make itself weaker.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I would like to see Scotland become a republic with an elected president has head of state and not the current queen.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

ILikeTurtles

"Scottish EU membership has been pretty much ruled out."

Really? There have been various statements by various people, but nothing is very clear.

"A Scottish pound with no central bank to back it up?"

Scottish banknotes are already printed by three commercial banks. Is it such a big task to regulate their issuance in a different way from now? Scotland is probably better placed than most to become independent. Government administration has long been handled separately for most government functions (education, health, transport, local government, policing, etc.). It has a separate judicial system from the rest of the UK. Taxation, foreign policy, defence and driving licenses are the main outstanding functions that are currently handled by the UK government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I find it absolutely amazing how people can delude themselves .Having been told very clearly there will be no currency union and that membership to the EU will take much longer and be much harder to achieve than the SNP is making out Mr Salmond still persists in claiming that of course after a yes vote they will be able to enter in meaningful and constructive dialog with westminster. The same westminster that has ruined the steel and shipbuilding industries in Scotland the same westminster that introduced the poll tax the same westminster that is run for the benefit of the city of london and the south east . They really dont give a monkeys toss about the north of England and they hold Scotland in even less esteem so good luck with the constructive and meaningful talks about the Scottish future after independence.All the power as now will remain firmly in the hands of westminster and they will allow or not allow as they see fit with nothing that can be done by an independent Scotland .

0 ( +2 / -2 )

However I have watched Mel Gibson historical movie "Brave Heart" for three times. According that movie Scottish hero William Wallace was chopped into many pieces by British for pursuing the liberation of Scotland>

4 actually. As was summary at the time, he was hung, drawn and quartered. Incidentally, you do realise that film is littered with factual innacuracies?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A number of the key advantages of independence that Salmond is laying down have already been debunked.

Scotland can keep the pound - nope. Scotland will be a member of the EU - nope, it will need to get in line behind the other nations already waiting to get in. Scotland will be able to continue to charge English students massive student fees and give everyone else free University education - nope, not if they want to be in the EU; it's called discrimination Scotland will have low unemployment - not when the Scottish army/naval/airforce regiments are all disbanded by the British army, and jobs are lost in cross border industry as London/England based companies bring jobs back into England

If Scotland wants to be independent, lots of other countries have done it very successfully. At the moment, the SNP is lying through their teeth to get a positive vote and hoping to the almighty God himself (William Wallace apparently) that everything works out.

I'd love to hear some real policies/strategy, not just the lies of a fat racist git.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Every move away from the world being dominated by a few prejudiced empires that are after everyone else's resources to personally benefit at others' expense is a good thing. England has no right to the resources of it's "Commonwealth" oppressed peoples. The empire has been stopped in expansion, but it has yet to have released many of it's captives. Too many people are forgetting that the Commonwealth is a case of OPPRESSION. THEY WERE CONQUERED. They did not vote to be part of a United Kingdom. It would be spitting on their ancestors' graves to vote no when given opportunity to peacefully vote out of the situation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

England has no right to the resources of it's "Commonwealth" oppressed peoples. The empire has been stopped in expansion, but it has yet to have released many of it's captives. Too many people are forgetting that the Commonwealth is a case of OPPRESSION. THEY WERE CONQUERED>

You seem slightly confused. Actually, membership of the commonwealth is voluntary. Member states have no legal obligation one to another, including those tyrannical 'English oppressors'. As an exampe, Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth last year after the United Kingdom condemned human rights abuses in the country. No one told them they couldn't leave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

See you Jimmy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AnonymousArizonan, "THEY WERE CONQUERED. They did not vote to be part of a United Kingdom".

The Scots weren't conquered, the union was an agreement following negotiation between parliaments. That following a hundred years of Scottish attempts to unify the crowns.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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