Monthly Archives: July 2013

Allison Hunter – A mentor and an inspiration

We receive this news with great sadness that our dear Friend Cllr Allison Hunter has passed away after being ill for a long time. On Behalf of Scots Asians for Independence our deepest condolences to Allison Hunter’s Family and her loved ones, we pray that God grants them the courage and patience to bear this great loss.

Allison Hunter

The death of Allison Hunter is not just a loss for the family but, for people of Scotland, she mentored and trained and inspired thousands of activists in which her role was pivotal in betterment of organisational and campaigning capacity of the SNP as a National Organiser.

 

 

 

AMThere are no words to describe the dedication and the passion that Cllr Allison Hunter portrayed which inspired everyone around her. Someone will come and fill in the position of a Cllr but no one can replace this wonderful Human Being who dedicated her life and soul for a Brighter future for people of Scotland. With passage of time she will remain a loving memory and an inspiration for coming generations.

Abdul Majid

Convenor: Scots Asians for Independence

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First Minister sets out vision on defence

Independence will allow Scotland to set defence priorities that reflect Scottish needs and develop the right capabilities to meet them, First Minister Alex Salmond said today.

In the third of a series of keynote speeches the First Minister is making over the summer, Mr Salmond focussed on Scotland’s defence needs and the difference between current capabilities based around maintaining the UK’s perceived prestige and Scottish priorities.

The First Minister reaffirmed the commitment that Scotland would remain part of a wider defence union as a non-nuclear member of NATO and stated that only through independence can we ensure Scotland never again takes part in illegal wars.

Highlighting the opportunities independence brings to deliver priorities that meet Scotland’s needs as a maritime nation the First Minister criticised the UK approach which is seeing billions spent on nuclear weapons while the protection of our seas is neglected.

Speaking in Shetland, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“Independence will allow Scotland to devise more appropriate capabilities – based on our modern needs and those of our neighbours and allies.

“Although an independent Scotland will work closely with the rest of the UK on many issues – we will no longer be tied to UK policies which are overwhelmingly rejected by most people in Scotland.

“It is inconceivable that an independent Scotland would have taken part in the illegal and costly invasion of Iraq – costly not just in terms of money, but in terms of human life. And an independent Scotland will no longer keep Europe’s largest concentration of weapons of mass destruction within 30 miles of our largest city.

“Independence would enable us to make our own decisions on Trident and overseas deployments. It would allow us to develop new capabilities and we could create a new more consensual approach to defence strategy.

“At present what we have, we don’t need. And what we need, we don’t have. Our current naval capability is based on prestige, not performance.

“The navy does not have a single major surface vessel based in Scotland. The largest protection vessels stationed in Scottish waters are those of the fisheries protection vessels run by the Scottish government.

“It is absurd for a nation with a coastline longer than India’s to have no major surface vessels. And it’s obscene for a nation of five million people to host weapons of mass destruction.

“An independent Scotland would prioritise having the air and naval capability needed to monitor and secure our offshore territory and resources – our oil and gas resources, fisheries protection, and safeguarding our coastal waters.”

Mr Salmond continued:

“Our view is that in an independent Scotland, the Government should work with Parliament to reach a consensus on Scotland’s defence strategy. This approach would build on the example of the cross-party Danish Defence Commissions.

“Rooting decisions in consensus – and this point goes beyond defence issues – isn’t a soft option. It is about being responsible as a nation. It is about taking tough decisions for the long term, instead of seeing priorities change and costs rise with every single shift in the political weather.”

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Maximising the return from oil & gas

Scotland’s oil and gas reserves are a premium advantage, offering an independent Scotland greater choices and chances to strengthen its diverse economy, Alex Salmond said today as he unveiled a key policy paper ahead of next year’s historic referendum.

‘Maximising the return from Oil & Gas in an independent Scotland’, developed alongside extensive discussion with industry experts, outlines the sector’s contribution to the economy and the substantial gains it offers to an independent Scotland. It sets out the Scottish Government’s commitment to provide long-term stability for the country’s world-leading offshore industry, including guaranteeing formal consultation on future changes and greater clarity on decommissioning tax relief.

The paper also highlights the impact of damaging decisions made by Westminster, including the failure to establish an oil fund and the uncertainty caused by numerous tax changes.

First Minister Alex Salmond said Scotland’s oil & gas reserves are a huge bonus which strengthen further the country’s diverse economy. 

In the paper the Scottish Government makes clear it has no plans to increase the overall tax burden on the industry and commits to formal consultation before any changes are made to the fiscal regime.

An expert commission, chaired by leading industry figure Melfort Campbell, will be appointed next month to consider options for the implementation of the paper’s key principles for the future fiscal and regulatory regime – including how ministers’ commitment to formal consultation on future reforms could be given statutory basis.

Elsewhere the paper highlights that:

 

  • There are around 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil & gas remaining in the North Sea with a potential wholesale value of up to £1.5 trillion. This means that more than half the value of North Sea oil is still to be extracted.
  • Research by Professor Alex Kemp suggests that almost all oil production (98.8 per cent) and around 60 per cent of total gas production over the next three decades is expected to take place in Scottish waters.
  • An independent Scotland could produce six times its domestic oil demand and three times the country’s domestic gas demand based on current production.
  • Gross-domestic product (GDP) per person in Scotland increases from broadly the same level as the rest of the UK even without offshore oil activity to 118 per cent of the UK average when a geographic share of North Sea output is included. And while onshore tax receipts per person in Scotland are broadly in line with the rest of the UK, the inclusion of offshore revenues lifts Scottish tax receipts to £1,700 per person higher than across the UK.
  • Tax receipts account for a smaller proportion of revenue than in a number of other major oil-producing nations, for example it accounts for 15 per cent of public sector receipts over the last decade in Scotland, compared to around 30 per cent in Norway.
  • Around 200,000 people are employed directly or indirectly in the sector across Scotland, with record levels of field investment underway, significant growth expected in the next couple of years and total future investment in companies’ plans worth around £100 billion

 

The First Minister said: “Scotland has been blessed with unrivalled natural resources and communities around the country should benefit from them. Oil and gas revenues would offer a premium advantage for an independent Scotland – a tremendous bonus to boost any diverse modern economy.

“Almost all oil production and more than half of total gas production over the next three decades will take place in Scottish waters. And, of course, only through independence would Scotland receive the tax revenues from this production.

“This paper restates the Scottish Government commitment to establish an oil fund when the fiscal conditions allow. The decision by successive UK governments to spend all the oil revenues rather than investing them, represents a lost opportunity for Scotland. Norway established its oil fund in 1990, although it did not start transferring money into the fund until 1996. The fund is now worth £450 billion, equivalent to £90,000 per person in Norway, and is the largest Sovereign Wealth Fund in the world.”

The paper includes a Scottish Government commitment to assume responsibility for meeting the obligations stemming from tax relief associated with decommissioning costs – which represent less than 2.5 per cent of the wholesale value of future reserves.

Mr Salmond said:

“Stability and predictability will underpin the taxation and regulatory regime for oil & gas production in an independent Scotland. This is in contrast to the numerous substantial changes imposed by Westminster on the industry over the past decade, which have damaged both the industry and the Scottish economy.

“With more than half the total wholesale value of oil and gas reserves still to be extracted, record levels of field investment, and companies’ future plans worth around £100 billion, the sector in Scotland will continue to thrive for decades to come. With Westminster having squandered the opportunities of the first half, it’s up to us to make a better job of the second half.

“We will provide optimum conditions for the oil and gas industry to innovate and thrive in a globally-competitive environment. North-east Scotland is already a global hub for the industry, with many companies operating across other sectors such as engineering services, power generation and diversifying into areas such as offshore renewables, with Scottish firms increasingly active in oil and gas regions around the world. 

“Clearly our world-leading offshore industry can provide long-term benefits to the economy of an independent Scotland. With the ability to tailor policies to national and regional priorities, and by maintaining our close working with the industry, we will ensure this valuable human and natural resource can strengthen Scotland’s economic fortunes and enhance the prosperity of the people of Scotland.”

Commenting on the paper, renowned oil economist Prof Alex Kemp said:

“I welcome this paper, and the contribution it makes to the debate. The high-level principles outlined provide a clear framework for the expert commission to consider some of the more detailed policies and mechanisms in an independent Scotland. The Scottish Government’s commitment to formal consultation with the industry in advance of any reforms will provide the reassurance and predictability that the sector requires.”

Source: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Maximising-the-return-from-Oil-Gas-in-an-independent-Scotland-294.aspx

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Darling oil blunder reveals Project Fear panic

Darling oil blunder reveals Project Fear panic

Alistair Darling has been challenged to withdraw his ‘ridiculous’ claim that there are only 2 billion barrels of oil left in the North Sea, after the SNP accused the No campaign of ‘panicking’ over the success of Scotland’s North Sea oil industry.

Speaking on Reporting Scotland, Mr Darling said that “He [Alex Salmond] inflated the amount that he thinks is left in the North Sea to something like 12 times what the independent experts say”

However, the figure used by Mr Salmond of 24 billion barrels is an accepted industry figure, and was even used in the UK Government’s own oil and gas strategy published in March.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Donside Mark McDonald said:

“Yet again, the No campaign seem to be falling over themselves in their desperation to attack anything said by the SNP.

“Alistair Darling’s claim that there are only 2 billion barrels of oil left in the North Sea is absolutely ridiculous – contradicting even the UK Government – and he should withdraw it immediately.

“We simply cannot believe a word that Project Fear say. They are panicked by the success of Scotland’s North Sea oil industry, which they are desperately trying to claim is somehow a burden on Scotland.”

Mr McDonald also welcomed the announcement today from Chevron energy that it had awarded contracts worth over half a billion pounds for its Alder and Rosebank projects to companies including Aker Solutions in his Aberdeen Donside constituency.

Chevron’s press release quotes UK Minister Michael Fallon who – in stark contrast to rhetoric elsewhere from the anti-independence campaign – said that “the North Sea is seeing a resurgence of investment” and “The Rosebank and Alder projects are worth billions of pounds and will unlock significant new oil and gas reserves.”

Mr McDonald added:

“This is fantastic news for Aker Solutions and I warmly congratulate them on being awarded this contract.

“On the very day that the No campaign is peddling the same old fears to the people of Scotland about the future of the oil industry, a UK Government Minister is telling a different audience about a ‘resurgence of investment’ which will unlock new oil and gas reserves.

“As today’s detailed Scottish Government paper makes clear, the North Sea oil industry has a very bright future, but only with the right handling –which is what independence offers.”

The UK Government used the 24 billion barrels figure in their oil & gas strategy published in Marchhttps://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil

It notes: There is a large enough resource base to feed supply chain field development and operations to well beyond 2050: over 41 billion barrels of oil equivalent have been recovered from the UK, but a further recovery of 15-24 billion barrels could be achieved with further new investment.

 

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5 Things to Tell Your Friends and Family About Oil & Gas & Renewables – and a whole host of other assets Scotland has, but which No don’t want to speak about….

1. Regardless of the differing views about how to best use these resources the fact that
we’ve struck oil – and gas – is without doubt an amazing bonus.  40_years_of_oil

And the industry has a very positive future.  According to David Cameron it’s the “jewel in the crown” of the UK economy (June 2013).

Between now and September 2014 various organisations, at home and abroad, will publish and revise their forecasts about oil prices and production levels.  They will go up as well as down.

The self-proclaimed “Project Fear” will jump enthusiastically on any “bad” news – even if it means Alistair Darling cheerleading for George Osborne’s Office for Budget Responsibility, which he previously described as “part of the Conservative party”.

But on any view of the bigger picture, the future of the oil & gas industry is a bright one.

“The message we have as we launch this oil and gas strategy in Aberdeen is that there is a very positive future for the industry.  Oil and Gas UK expect production to expand.”

Vince Cable, UK Business Secretary
Good Morning Scotland, 28 March, 2013.

2. The No campaign has quite some brass neck. The Westminster track record here is appalling. Where has our oil wealth gone? If you’re going to exploit oil resources, you should at least have something to show for it.

Countries and provinces around the globe which have struck oil – from Norway to New Mexico, the Emirates to East Timor – have built up wealth funds from the resulting revenues. These can serve as a buffer against revenue volatility and ensure that future generations also benefit from our good fortune.

In contrast, UK oil revenues were wasted on supporting Mrs Thatcher’s agenda– one which was repeatedly rejected at the ballot box in Scotland.

Analysis shows that even just investing 30% of oil revenues since 1980 would have established a fund of up to £140 billion.

So having shamefully wasted our first 40 years how can they argue that we should trust Westminster with the next 40 years of oil and gas revenues?

3. No-one denies that oil and gas revenues go up and down but so do other revenue streams – it is perfectly normal to manage budgets: it’s what Treasury Departments are paid to do.

It_all_ads_up.png

For Project Fear the rise and fall in oil prices is something that Scotland is uniquely incapable of dealing with – whereas the UK can manage and every other oil producer can manage.

The No camp want you to believe Scotland is “overly-reliant” on oil, but Norway is an instructive comparison. Looking over the last decade Norway has always relied on oil and gas for a bigger share of its total revenue than Scotland. It has frequently been two or three times more reliant on oil than Scotland. Has it caused Norway problems?

On the contrary. Norway is close to being the wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per head of population; it tops the UN Human Development Index on broader measures of prosperity; and has the largest sovereign wealth fund on the planet to help support government spending when times are tough – a fund now worth over £450 billion, or £90,000 per person!

But the No campaign still thinks Westminster knows best.

4. But it’s daft or (in the case of Project Fear) deliberately misleading to talk as if oil and gas is all we’ve got in Scotland, or the centre-piece of the argument for Yes.

As the internationally renowned economists on the Fiscal Commission working group pointed out:

“The Scottish economy is a modern, advanced economy with key international strengths across a range of diverse sectors and companies”

As well as energy, Scotland has key strengths in sectors such as food and drink, life sciences and tourism. Scotland also has a world-class research base, with top-ranking universities, and a global reputation for science, engineering and creativity. And despite the recent challenges, the financial sector continues to perform well.

The contribution of the people of Scotland to the UK economy (when measured as Gross Value Added per head of population) is 99% of the UK average – even without taking into account oil and gas.

Scotland is lucky to have oil and gas – but has so much more going for it. In fact, it has more going for it than many of the small independent countries that outperform both Scotland and the whole of the UK in terms of prosperity, equality, fairness and human development.

5. We’ve struck oil and gas. And now we’re lucky to have struck gold again with our extraordinary renewable potential.

In an age where energy security and global warming are two key issues, our country (with about 1% of the EU population) is blessed with up to 25% of Europe’s potential offshore wind and tidal energy and 10% of Europe’s wave potential.

Little wonder the EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger, has spoken of Scotland’s position as an “energy powerhouse of Europe”.

Even here Project Fear is full of doom and gloom arguing that rUK might not buy our energy after independence, making it more expensive for consumers in Scotland. Yet that would make energy more expensive for consumers in rUK too, since they’d need to buy electricity from more expensive and less efficient sources.

Unless, of course, Westminster decided to let the lights go out, or to ignore legally binding EU targets on carbon emissions. As the Altium Investment Bank pointed out:

“We would highlight the fact that Scotland is the windiest part of Europe and as such has the potential to be the lowest cost supplier of renewable energy.

“The UK is bound by EU emission reduction targets and Scottish based renewables will play a key part in de-carbonising our energy market place; regardless of the political scene.”

We’re just waiting to hear what No have to say about our over-reliance on wind!

Conclusion

We are fortunate to have resources like oil and gas……..but also celebrate our renewables, food and drink, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, public services, life sciences, engineering, financial services……….

Scotland’s got what it takes!

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Excellent Speakers for the public Meeting on Friday 26 July in the Fair Maid’s House, Perth

Here are speakers for the public Meeting on Friday 26 July in the Fair Maid’s House, Perth

Humza Yousaf, MSP and Minister for International Development and External Affairs
Aamer Anwar, Scotland’s top criminal lawyers and human rights campaigners
Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, Lawyer, actress and Advisory Board Member of Yes Scotland
Toni Giugliano, Interest Groups Adviser at Yes Scotland.
Nighet Nasim Riaz
, Associate Lecturer & PhD Researcher, Institute for Youth and Community Research

The aforementioned speakers will be speaking at a Public Meeting on Friday 26 July in the Fair Maid’s House, Perth, from 3.00-5.00pm on behalf of Scots Asians for Independence and Scots Asians for Yes. If you know of family or friends who live in Perth or Perthshire, please do pass this message onto them to drop by and listen to these excellent speakers. Thank you :)

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Public Meeting on Friday 26 July in the Fair Maid’s House, Perth

Humza Yousaf, MSP and Minister for International Development and External Affairs, Aamer Anwar, Scotland’s top criminal lawyers and human rights campaigners and Nighet Nasim Riaz, Associate Lecturer & PhD Researcher, Institute for Youth and Community Research,University of West of Scotland, Women for Independence and YES Scotland Ambassador will be speaking at a Public Meeting on Friday 26 July in the Fair Maid’s House, Perth, from 3.00-5.00pm on behalf of Scots Asians for Independence and Scots Asians for Yes. If you know of family or friends who live in Perth or Perthshire, please do pass this message onto them to drop by and listen to these excellent speakers. Thank you 🙂

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