That was a lucky escape.
Brian Wilson presumably gives up on being invited to another SNP press conference:
But – as the price of Brent plunges towards $60 a barrel – let us not forget what the Scottish Government was saying just a few months ago. In paragraph 423 of its white paper, it declared: “Production in Scottish waters can generate approximately £48 billion of tax revenues between 2012-13 and 2017-18 based on industry estimates of production and an average cash price of approximately $113 a barrel”.
Remember that this was a white paper, funded by taxpayers and written by supposedly neutral civil servants, rather than a party tract. Yet it has been clear from the day it was published, and is even clearer now, that this crucial statement on which so much depended – jobs, schools, hospitals – was a complete and utter fabrication, concocted for purely political purposes.
There was no evidence or credible body of opinion which remotely justified these statements. If the Scottish Parliament had a committee system worthy of the name, it would now be instigating an inquiry into how forecasts which were so plainly untrue (as events are now confirming) could have found their way into a white paper intended to direct the nation’s constitutional future.
Who wrote paragraph 423 and under what instructions? Where did the “industry estimates” on which such extraordinarily wrong forecasts were made come from? This is not past history from which the Nationalists should be allowed to sail merrily on. It was a pack of publicly funded fictions for which the authors should be held accountable. Unfortunately, the Scottish Parliament is geared to shutting down any such exercise.