Category Archives: #ScotRef: The Truth is Out There

On 14 Sept 2014, Scotland voted in a referendum asking if we wanted to become an independent state. We voted Yes: 45%, No: 55% which was a rise of about 20% in the Yes from the beginning of the campaign. That was IndyRef1. IndyRef2 hasn’t been announced. Yet. I’m betting that the Scottish Parliament will call a referendum sometime between finalising the Brexit deal and actually leaving the EU.

North Sea Oil – Still Game After All These Years?

Is the UK North Sea Oil Sector its Last Legs?
During the 2014 Scottish Independence campaign it certainly seemed that North Sea oil was at the end of its useful life. We kept being told that independence would be a disaster for Scotland. We’d be bankrupt, not least because the oil was about to run out.

The Scottish Government White Paper on Independence used the oil industry’s own estimates of 24billion barrels of still recoverable resources. Then Sir Ian Woods intervened in the debate  saying 15-18 billion barrels was more likely and that by 2050 an independent Scotland wouldn’t have any oil revenue income. (Ref: BBC, Aug 2014). Sir Ian doesn’t support Scottish Independence. That doesn’t mean he was being biassed in his estimate but his opinion was given a great deal of weight by the Unionist-supporting media (ie nearly all of the UK media) and less was given to the oil industry’s opinion.

Continue reading North Sea Oil – Still Game After All These Years?

Please, Norway, Could You Help Us Look After Our Oil?

Let’s start with this impressive statement of intent from Norway about its oil resources:

“The overall objective of Norway’s petroleum policy has always been to provide a framework for the profitable production of oil and gas in the long term.
It has also been considered important to ensure that as large as possible a share of the value creation accrues to the state, so that it can benefit society as a whole. This is partly obtained by the tax system.”
(Norsk Petroleum)

That’s called responsible stewardship.

Continue reading Please, Norway, Could You Help Us Look After Our Oil?

Journey to Yes

In 2014 we Scots voted in a referendum. Either Yes! we wanted Scotland to be an independent nation once more after more than 300 years of political union with England. Or No, we wanted to remain in that union. At the beginning of the campaign opinion polls showed a Yes vote at about 25%. By 14 Sept 2014 the day of the vote it was 45%. That’s a big increase. But not a big enough increase. 

Since then the promises made to us by the Unionist politicians to get us to vote No have mostly been shown to be empty. In particular the No campaign took a strong line over EU: the only way to be sure of remaining in the EU was to stay in the Union; an independent Scotland wouldn’t be able to join the EU; Spain would veto us; we’d be out in the economic cold. Aye, right. It was not correct then and it sure as hell isn’t right now after England voted to leave the EU last June. Scotland voted to remain by 62% : 38%. That isn’t important apparently and we should just be quiet and let our kindly Westminster Government get on with sorting things out for us.

Not surprisingly, some people who supported the No campaign in 2014 have shifted their view and now support Yes. Here are some videos made by Phantom Power which tell the stories of those Journeys to Yes.



Article 50 Delivered to Brussels :-(

Today saw Article50 with Theresa May’s signature at the bottom of it wend its way over to Brussels and in to the hands of Donald Tusk. In the House of Commons, our PM gave a statement to that effect and called for the ‘nation’ to pull together. We already heard from her the other day up here in Scotland that Britain is an “unstoppable force”. 

Here is Angus Robertson’s, leader of the SNP in the Commons, response to her statement. Angus is getting better and better …..

BBC Weather Maps of UK

Those of us who live in Scotland have become increasingly worried about the way in which Scotland is shrinking. What could be causing it?

  • Global warming perhaps? 
  • Has the earth titled on its axis recently?
  • Are the Russians the culprits? 
  • Could it be the BBC a fault? Surely not. 

To see what I mean, here is a photo – a photo, not a map – of the UK taken from the ISS, the  (International Space Station)


View from the window of the International Space Station

And here is a BBC weather map of the UK. Sorry Ireland, I took you out of the picture just to keep things simple.

BBC map which I’ve simplified by deleting Ireland…


And here they are again superimposed. I’ve kept the BBC map in its original proportions but aligned it so that it completely matches ISS photo of the south coast of England.

ISS & BBC comparison

As the Broons would say, Michty Me!! the BBC’s Orkney islands are only as far north as Crieff!! Now I know that BBC show maps that include an allowance for the curvature of the earth which means they have a fore-shortening effect as you look north. But crivens, the curvature effect isn’t as big as this.

#ScotRef: The Truth is Out There #1

I don’t mind journalists taking a devil’s advocate approach or even being downright antagonistic when they interview someone. It’s part of their job. But they’re meant to bring some creativity to their work, they’re meant to do some background reading, they’re meant to have a go at thinking things through. The best of them do all of those. 

Unfortunately many of them rely on social media and tweets for their inspiration. Or they memorise the memes associated with some topic and toss them out as their own words of “wisdom”. Maybe some don’t have much choice and they’re stuck following the dictats of their employers and their employers’ owners. Think Murdoch. 

Experience from the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 showed time and time again that even the highest-brow media have their own agenda and if the facts get in the way of that then the facts will not be reported. The BBC’s agenda wasn’t to bring unbiassed reporting of our referendum to our screens. I thought it would be but how naive was that. The agenda was to defend and support the UK Establishment and the said establishment did not and does not want an independent Scotland.

But the Truth Is Out There!!! Sometimes it manages to slip through the defences. Sometimes you have to go looking for it. Second time round the independence arguments at least we know what to expect. And at least we now have a small but noisy section of the media supporting independence. And we have a great band of civic action action groups like Common Weal and Independence for Women working away in the background and coming up with new ideas and strategies to bring Scotland into her own once more.

Every now and then I’ll be posting examples of the truth out there. Here’s the first.

BBC reporter Jane Hill speaking to Elmar Broks, member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs. She says – at length – what she thinks he thinks about an independent Scotland joining the EU. Then he tells her what he actually thinks. 

And just for a laugh, some of the questions lobbed at Mrs Mayhem during PMQs yesterday:


AllOfUsFirst web from Common Weal on Vimeo.

Recently I set up a regular payment to Common Weal a  Scottish civic based group working on various projects to improve governance in Scotland, now and in an independent future. Here’s the email I received in response to setting up the bank order. All of Us First is their website address but also their political slogan.

Hi Marlene,

A happy new year to you! I’m getting in touch to say thank you so much for recently signing up as a regular investor to Common Weal. We returned to work yesterday, and started strategizing for 2017. There is so much work to be done – and since Brexit and Trump – the time for creating an alternative society, economy and politics, that works for all of us in a caring and compassionate way, has never been so crucial. So thank you for being a part of the Common Weal community. We will be working as hard as ever to make our voices heard.

I would be very grateful if you could take the time to let me know why you decided to start investing in Common Weal? What is it we do that is meaningful to you? And what would you like to see us focus on in 2017? Your opinion is of great value to us so please do keep in touch and let me know.

Very best for 2017 – All Of Us First.

Tiffany Kane

And my reply:

Hi Tiffany
Thanks for your email.

New Year is when I have a look at the various charities, people and groups I support with a bit of financial help. It’s almost always a small bit of help but hopefully I’m one of many doing that. It had been in my mind for a while to give some support to Common Weal so this time I added you in.

I came across Common Weal first during the IndyRef campaign. I was impressed. I got myself a copy of the Book of Ideas when it came out. I must admit I haven’t read it all even yet but it seems to me to epitomise the kind of approach we need to make sure that IndyRef2 succeeds.

Basically I think we should be acting and thinking things through now so that we’re ready for that Yes vote. I thought the SNP White Paper was good but it wasn’t thorough enough. No blame to SNP for that. But next time we need more developed policies for things like currency, banking, benefits, pensions, etc, so that we’re ready to counter the onslaught of arguments and disinformation that we know now will come flying from Unionist voices, media and vested interests. I’m sure both SNP and Green Parties will be working on those issues too but since one of the hallmarks of of the referendum was the involvement of civic groups alongside political parties, I’m keen that the strength of our civic based input is maintained.

A few weeks ago I came across reference to the Common Weal White Paper and I’ve read some of the online. That was probably the main lever that got me sending you some cash. And since I’m in the 65+ age group who apparently mostly voted No (not me obviously) it seems the least I can do to make amends for that, 🙂

Best wishes for the New Year to you,

Marlene Halliday