By a Newsnet reporter

The accusations of hypocrisy faced by anti-independence politicians have deepened today after Johann Lamont used a trip to Aberdeen to highlight the 'boom' taking place in the oil and gas industry.

While visiting the company, the Scottish Labour leader described skills and learning provider Atlas as "contributing to the boom in the north east economy".

Meanwhile a separate event in the city saw Ms Lamont talk up the oil and gas sector, stating that it "presents great opportunities for Scotland by creating new jobs and skills".

However, just days ago she attacked the strength of the oil and gas sector claiming that "the oil boom that was announced on Monday drowned the credibility of the First Minister’s chief economic adviser, Crawford Beveridge, and of his finance minister."

The anti-independence parties have made great play of the supposed volatility of oil prices, and have highlighted claims that Scotland's oil and gas resources will soon run out.  In fact there is volatility in all markets, including great volatility in the financial markets.

This latest example of hypocrisy from a senior Unionist politician follows a visit to Aberdeen by Ed Davey, Vince Cable and Michael Moore last week, where they too talked up the prospects for the North Sea industry and said that oil and gas would have a vital role in supplying the UK's energy needs for decades to come.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, described oil as a "major resource", and admitted that the vast majority of the oil fields lie in Scottish waters, the first time that a UK Government minister has acknowledged that the oil reserves would belong to Scotland in the event of independence.

Mr Cable said:  "This is an expanding industry. We can either help create more jobs and opportunities across the UK if we get this right. Or see work going overseas if not."

While the anti-independence parties argue that the price of oil is too volatile, they also claim that Scotland's oil resources protect the UK from "volatile global markets", leading to accusations that the anti-independence campaign preaches inconsistent messages for different audiences.  

UK energy secretary Ed Davey said: "The UK's oil and gas industry is a vital strategic resource that helps fulfil our energy needs and insulates us from volatile global markets."

Despite Labour's Johann Lamont and UK Coalition Government ministers talking up the prospects of an oil boom, the Better Together website prominently displays an article entitled "Oil boom claims not supported by the evidence, say experts."  The article attempts to scare voters into voting against independence by arguing that Scotland is too small to cope with "volatility" in the oil markets and repeatedly stresses that it is a "declining resource".  

However Norway, which has a smaller population than Scotland and where oil makes up a far larger proportion of the country's annual exports, out-performs the UK on almost all economic and social indicators.

In fact, Scotland continues to see increased investment in its oil industry. Oil production is set to increase next year, while this year sees record investment in the development of the industry.  Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Malcolm Webb said recently:

"Record investment is forecast this year to search for and produce UK oil and gas reserves. This will be followed by an upturn in production from 2014, sustaining growth across the supply chain and reinforcing the industry’s already significant contribution to the UK economy."

Most industry analysts estimate that it will remain a major resource for the Scottish economy for decades to come.  Similar claims about the volatility of oil and the supposedly imminent exhaustion of the oil reserves were made by No campaigners in the lead up to the 1979 Home Rule referendum.

The Yes campaign argues that Scotland's oil resources should be used to develop the Scottish economy.  Under Westminster the revenues end up in the UK Government Treasury, where they are used to further the agenda of the UK government of the day. 

Commenting, SNP MSP Maureen Watt who previously worked in the oil and gas sector said:

"For Johann Lamont to come to Aberdeen and talk up the oil and gas sector after having so publicly trashed its prospects just days ago simply beggars belief.

"Anti-independence politicians always seem to talk down the oil and gas sector everywhere they go, until they visit Aberdeen and find themselves having to speak to the thousands of people prospering thanks to the industry.

"It doesn't matter whether it is Johann Lamont or a Westminster Government minister; it is simply hypocrisy and people can see straight through it.

"People here know that the sector is flourishing as company after company invests in the North Sea oil & gas industry. That investment is not made on a whim, it is taking place because the industry is growing and anticipating increased production.

"These are extremely bright times for the North Sea oil & gas sector and instead of these resources once again being squandered by Westminster, it is essential that they are put to work on behalf of people in Scotland.

"With a Yes vote in September 2014 we can use our resources to build a fairer, more prosperous Scotland and ensure that the benefits of oil & gas are felt in Scotland for generations to come."


# bringiton 2013-04-03 23:41
It is pretty well accepted by most economists that Westminster made a big mistake when it didn't use the oil revenues to build a buffer (stability fund) against the vagaries of world economic fortunes.
The current proposals from Westminster are to deplete this resource as rapidly as possible in order to compensate for their disastrous policies in failing to control the London casino culture.
We must not allow London to continue to waste this precious resource.
It IS "Scotland's oil" but only if we want it.
# clootie 2013-04-03 23:51
I will never understand the argument that Oil and Gas reserves are a "problem". It is akin to complaining that the sun rises everyday.

Johann needs to accept that the natural resources of Scotland are being wasted by Westminster. Does she not realise that the empire she supports has little regard for the values she claims to hold
# Coolbeans 2013-04-04 01:47
I am sick to the back teeth of the games these people are playing. O/T i read this morning in the telelgraph
All the hype this last week has been to lead up to this story. They are shameless.
# Dougie Douglas 2013-04-04 03:10
By extension all of those stinking rich Gulf states are burdened with such resources - what a cross to bear!

Isn't the problem when you squander that money? (as Westminister have)
# km 2013-04-04 03:51
The No Campaign has consistently said that oil prices are too "volatile" for Scotland to rely on.

Now Ed Davy says, that oil "insulates us from volatile global markets".

Hypocrisy laid bare. The No Campaign is coming apart at the seams.
# Angus 2013-04-04 07:05
Oil Revenues, Whisky exports, that is what the 'union' is about, this is what frightens the LabServative and unionist party.
I'm scared if I win the lottery, and invest that money somewhere, what if the interest rates go down, I shall lose a lot of cash, naa, its too volatile, I'll give it to Westminster, they will know how to handle it and they can give me pocket money every week.
# Breeks 2013-04-04 08:14
Look at what John Jappy said.

" 1968 I was able to examine the so-called "books" for the first time, I was shocked to find that the position was exactly the opposite and that Scotland contributed much more to the UK economy than its other partners. This was, of course, before the oil boom".

Fast Forward to the GERS figures which show Scotland with a significant deficit UNTIL you add oil revenues into the equation, hence the myth that Scotland's economy is a house of cards without the 'dangerously volatile' oil.

Forget about the oil, what has Westminster done to our economy that in 1968 Scotland could put more into the UK economy that it's partners without ANY oil? Our economy has thus shrunk under 40 years of Westminster's stewardship.

Look at Norway. They're not the exception. It's quite normal that countries discovering oil get rich. It's Scotland which is the exception. We get poorer and our economy shrinks.
# Willow 2013-04-04 08:33
With the amount of people reading NNS & spreading the word about Labours hypocrisy by the time 2014 comes Labour will have truly lost the argument & their own voters.

Sorry for going off topic but the BBC have an article open to comment on Cameron/trident.

How sly they are, the article in the Scotland section doesn't show it's available to comment on it, it's only when you have a glance at the UK politics pages it's becomes clearly visible at a glance.
# EphemeralDeception 2013-04-04 09:13
Breeks makes a strong point.
Another example is that till 2004 Kuwait had produced 115m tonnes of oil, UK 95m Tonnes.

Kuwait has transformed their country from a starting point of little resources, desert and little infrastructure. They have built everything out of the sand based on oil. What was Scotland under UK management able to do?

There is no investment now or planned in Scotland from the UK, with or without oil. Scotland would suffer greatly within the UK as oil declines without diversification . That is the guaranteed future as part of UK - Mismanaged decline.

Oil revenue is not a feast and a famine as unionists like to portray. It various between a feast and a boom.

Our future is never certain, but the past is a good guide. Decades of UK incompetence, deception and an entire set of polices wholly focused on the South East.
Why should we expect this to change?
# Macart 2013-04-04 09:21
This is becoming farcical. For the past two years they've spent every waking moment telling people what a volatile, short lived and onerous burden the oil and gas market is. This in direct contradiction to industry investment and practice. Now when this investment has become all but impossible to hide, its a welcome boom and an expanding market.

Its true the opposition really are that two faced, deceitful and hypocritical.
# Independista 2013-04-04 10:27
Qatar produces less oil than Scotland yet has a $115 billion wealth fund. Norway, another independent nation, has a $716 billion sovereign fund, the biggest in the world. 36 of the top 67 countries have wealth funds generated by oil. None of these countries have a problem with fluctuating oil prices and are actively investing globally for the long term benefit of their respective people.
However, not all of our eggs are in the oil basket. We manufacture 28% of Europe’s PCs, as well as 29% of Europe’s notebook laptops, accounting for 14% of our GDP- which is about the same as oil and gas . not bad for a poor wee nation of 5,000,000 people!
# mealer 2013-04-04 10:53
Yep.The oil boom presents us with enormous opportunities.But are we Scots able to use these opportunities without London supervision ? Think about it.Are your colleagues and workmates,your friends neighbours and relations,reall y capable of harnessing this resource ? Or are we just too thick?
# Marian 2013-04-04 11:31
These words attributed to Calgacus would appear to be still relevant today:-

"Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace."
# Mad Jock McMad 2013-04-04 12:39
When the 'Bitter Togethers' go on about oil and gas I simply remind myself of what the UK Goverment's 'secret report' about an independent Scotland with the £1 Scots linked to the petro-dollar. According to the McCrone Report the expectation is a petro-dollar floating £1 Scots will be worth £1.20p sterling within two years of independence. In other words; without Scotland within the sterling zone, sterling's exchange value will sink like a stone.

Now think about the impact on England's energy, food and drink import costs if Scotland left sterling on independence and in turn tells you all you need to know about the importance of Scotland's economy to Westminster's well being.

At some point in the next 18 months the people of England will wake up to this salient fact and I would suggest standing well back from the fan.
# Macart 2013-04-04 13:31
We may be seeing a little of that now Mad Jock. Twice within a week we've had firstly Cable and now Lamont pulling an about face on the importance of oil to the economy. Basically publicly verifying the conclusions of the Scottish Government. Of course it'll really hit the public notice and said fan when either Cameron or Osborne drops the same line. The daily rags can't help but pick up on that soundbite.

Still I've got my overalls and wellies on order.
# call me dave 2013-04-04 14:31
Aye overalls ; wellies ; ear defenderss for the sabre rattling and a tin hat.

The penny has yet to drop that their neighbour not only has right on its side but has all the potential to leave them far behind as it soars onto a higher level to secure a better society for it's population.

They will fight tooth and nail to avoid a YES vote.
# Macart 2013-04-04 15:02
You'll know its gone pear shaped for them when their own press begins to savage them. That'll be tipping point as the titles jockey for position to proclaim just how outraged they are at having been so mislead. :)
# Adrian B 2013-04-04 17:51
Camerons getting some practice in with a devalued pound at the moment. Its making imports very expensive. I am already noticing 5% - 20% increases in price across computer components, but it will make everything that we import more expensive - the trade off as far as the treasury is concerned is an increase in the VAT paid on many of these goods.

It might be good for exports and it might not be bad for the travel and tourism industry, but it means that for us going to Europe or further away to get some good weather is likely to be very expensive.

Best stand well back from the flying brown stuff.
# dpict 2013-04-04 16:02
With UK debt levels predicted to reach around 900% of GDP in the very near future, they cant afford to loose our oil/gas/whisky/etc tax income. Expect quite a fight comming up folks, they will treat the threat of our possable independance as a major national threat. The spooks and whitehall creeps will be very active along with the MSN to de-rail our chances. I recon they will push to hard though which could well be counter productive for the unionist cause.

One thing is certain though and that is we are in a race against time and the UK economy crashing, if a huge crash happens before the indy vote it could be too late for us, or it could, if it happens fairly slowly, persuade more people to vote yes. All thats needed is for the cost of borrowing to rise a couple of percent for the UK economy to collapse, things could get scary!
# UpSpake 2013-04-04 16:46
Yes Mad Jock. What is not articualted though is with the loss of Scotland and England creaking at the seams with immigrants, a falling currency and further increased costs of borrowing caused by aggressive downgrades in its credit rating, the elephant in the room is the vast British state which has grown rather than shrunk as the population expands rapidly.
Until recently, Scotland's population has remained largely static at just over 5.000.000.
It is not rocket science to see that even if an independent Scotland did not spend a penny more on social services post indy, that our social welfare system would be seen to be significantly better than that of Englands. Their greatest fear.

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