This article first appeared on Liberal Democrat Voice
One of the weirdest things about Scotland at the moment is that there is no great sense of an asteroid, let alone a bullet, being dodged. The SNP’s predictions about oil prices, based on them being around $113 a barrel, have been shown to be well wide of the mark. They said we’d have this massive oil boom. That’s before some of their more excitable supporters started going on about secret oil fields whose existence was being kept from us by a malevolent Westminster establishment.
Nobody really appreciates how lucky we are. Scots could be facing independence, which the SNP had said would happen on 24th March this year, that’s in less than 10 weeks’ time, with the price of oil barely above a third of their estimates. It wouldn’t be much freedom for people who desperately needed public services. There would have to be either massive cuts or massive tax rises to cope with that massive hole in the public finances.
The plummeting oil price had, according to Oil and Gas UK, cost 65,000 jobs as far back as last September. It’s had a devastating effect on the economy of North East Scotland. Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson doesn’t seem to think so, though. He said that there was no jobs crisis in the North East.
From the Official Report:
The member has just mentioned a jobs crisis in the North Sea oil industry. There is no crisis. We have just extracted more oil than ever before in the North Sea.
Denial or what?
A shocked Alison McInnes, Lib Dem MSP for North East Scotland, said:
While local people are looking to the Scottish Government to help protect jobs, SNP MSPs are telling us there is no crisis. This was a breath-taking display of complacency from the government benches. I am not sure what Dennis Robertson did over the Christmas break but it is time that he and his colleagues got serious about giving people in the North East the support they deserve.
We were warned last year that 65,000 oil and gas jobs have already been lost and contractors are predicting further redundancies. This is an employment crisis by any definition of the word.
The Scottish Lib Dem Twitter account used an old video of Jeremy Purvis looking shocked to show its reaction to Robertson’s comments:
Our reaction when Dennis Robertson told Parliament there’s no crisis in the North Sea, despite 65,000 job losses: pic.twitter.com/m5MMl7G5TA
— Scot Lib Dems (@scotlibdems) January 5, 2016