Today's Sunday Post column expanded
Can an oil boom really cause economic doom? Figures last week showed Scotland’s deficit is now higher than the UK’s due to falling oil revenues. Critics say that makes Alex Salmond's case for independence look gey wobbly. But hang on a minute. Scotland’s actually got oil. Can that really be such a bad thing? No it can’t. Certainly it’s tricky when a nation relies too heavily on one commodity like the black gold whose price fluctuates dramatically on world markets. The latest balance sheet for Scotland – the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (Gers) – shows oil profits took an unexpected nose dive last year. One field had an unplanned shutdown and maintenance costs have increased as the rigs and pipelines age. With the referendum just six months away, Better Together say this proves what a perilous place an oil- dominated, independent Scotland would be without the “stabilising” influence of rUK. But that’s not what the smart money is saying.