Alex Salmond hints at Westminster SNP/Red Tory vote deal


He knows what he is doing

He knows what he is doing

By @ShaunyGibson – Used to be @ ShaunyNews – Via http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/alex-salmond-hints-at-labour-vote-deal-1-3638768

The media will spin this all ways and try to confuse us Scotland, we must not be confused. In the 2015 UK General Elections the SNP could give Labour UK control. Now many will say “Selling our souls to the Devil” BUT, Labour are so desperate for control they will most likely give Scotland home rule for SNP backing. So we ask is an “SNP/Labour” controlled Britain is the best interests of Scotland? I say no, BUT we must understand Alex will almost free us by doing so thus leading to a new referendum. I ask would you rather have this or a Tory/UKIP Britain? What do you think? Should the SNP use their support with Welsh Nationalists Plaid Cymru and the Greens to help a Labour Government into power in the UK, but Alex will only deal if we get Home rule and better deals for Scotland. I said many times “Watch this space” And this is the space. There is a LOT more to come here. But the SNP could get a new Referendum with PROMISES with legally signed documents in the case of a no vote with the RED TORIES. 

Alex Salmond talks to Kirsty Wark on Newsnight

ALEX SALMOND has been accused of “abandoning his principles” after indicating the SNP is ready to start voting on English-only issues at Westminster. The former first minister, who is in the running for a Commons return next May, has suggested SNP MPs could make the move in order to prop up a Labour government – and win concessions on more powers for Scotland. The SNP is riding high in the polls in Scotland, which suggest they could win 20 to 30 of 59 Commons seats north of the Border in May’s vote.  But the move has come under fire from Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, whose party are desperate to hold on to the Gordon seat which Mr Salmond is contesting. Mr Rennie said: “For years the SNP have taken a principled position that they should not vote on English issues in the House of Commons. “Now that they can see party advantage, they are prepared to abandon their strongly held principle. “The people of Gordon will see Alex Salmond posturing for his party’s gain instead of standing up for local people.”

SNP MPs have generally abstained from voting on areas which are devolved to the Scottish Parliament like health and education, although they have done so when there is seen to be a potential funding knock-on for Scotland. But the former first minister has suggested the SNP could in the future shift to a position of voting on English-only legislation.

Mr Salmond pointed to two pieces of legislation not directly affecting Scotland which he opposed when he was an MP, namely the introduction of foundation hospitals and tuition fees. He said: “There will be many things that come across the Westminster desk that would be of little moment to Scottish people, but will be of great moment to the government of the day.” Mr Salmond said he would “lay odds” on a balanced Parliament, also known as a hung parliament, which occurs when no party secures an absolute majority of seats. “That’s an opportunity to have delivered to Scotland what we have been promised,” he said.

The former SNP leader has already made it clear that he believes the “more powers deal” for Scotland set out in the Smith Commission agreement sells the country short of what was promised during the referendum. A strong SNP group, holding the balance of power at Westminster, would attempt to win additional powers for Scotland, particularly on welfare and corporation tax.

Mr Salmond has also pledged that the SNP would bring its influence to bear to end the climate of austerity, with both Labour and the Tories warning of more cuts in the years ahead. Nationalists also believe that a strong group of MPs could help bring about a nuclear-free Scotland by forcing Labour into a U-turn on the renewal of the Clyde-based Trident deterrent. But their influence would be severely limited if they were prevented from voting on English-only issues, which would also include most justice and transport issues.

The SNP also plans to join forces with Welsh Nationalists Plaid Cymru and the Greens in a “progressive” alliance. But the SNP would only deal with Labour, not the Tories – most probably in an informal “confidence and supply” arrangement. Nicola Sturgeon has formally ruled out putting the Conservatives back into power at Westminster. Last month, Mr Salmond formally stepped down as SNP leader and first minister following September’s independence referendum result.

He announced earlier this month his bid to return to Westminster and was unveiled as a candidate for the SNP nomination for the Gordon constituency in Aberdeenshire.

Mr Salmond hopes to steal the seat from the Liberal Democrats, with current Lib Dem MP Sir Malcolm Bruce retiring in May after 32 years as the constituency’s MP. The former first minister said a “barrel-load” of SNP MPs would win seats at the 2015 general election. The SNP – and other pro-independence parties like the Greens – have been riding high in the polls since the referendum defeat.

A YouGov poll last weekend put support for the SNP at 47 per cent – up 27 per cent on the 2010 result – while Labour is 20 points behind on 27 per cent. It also put support for the Tories at 16 per cent while the Lib Dems, who hold the Gordon seat Mr Salmond is contesting, appear to be facing another election wipeout on just 3 per cent. The same poll also asked people in Scotland about their view of the Smith Commission proposals and found that 51 per cent of people thought that they failed to go far enough, 23 per cent of people thought it got the balance right and 14 per cent of people thought they went too far. And the poll put support for independence ahead at 47 per cent, to 45 per cent opposed.

At Westminster, Labour and the Tories have been neck and neck in the polls in recent months, with neither yet appearing to command the support to form a majority in May. Labour is five points ahead on 35 per cent in the latest YouGov poll, with the Tories on 30 per cent, but the Ipsos Mori organisation has David Cameron’s party four points ahead, on 33 per cent, with Labour on 29.

An SNP spokeswoman last night said: “SNP MPs voted against foundation hospitals in England and top-up tuition fees south of the Border over ten years ago because of the negative financial consequences for Scotland of these developments. “Replacing public spending with private money in England’s health and education sectors squeezes the resources available to Scotland through the working of the Barnett Formula.”

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/salmond-hints-at-labour-vote-deal-1.745243

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/alex-salmond-hints-at-scottish-votes-for-english-laws-9934542.html

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UK oil industry facing ‘crisis’ with price under $60


rgert

By @ShaunyGibson – Used to be @ ShaunyNews Via: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30525539

Anyone in the UK will notice a huge drop in petrol (Gas in the USA) at the petrol pump, Asda and Tesco sit at £1.12 a gallon, the lowest it’s been for a LONG time. But when you read this BBC article you will note this Corporate Greed I keep talking about. People have lost jobs because only £$Billions are being made, not Trillions of $£

The UK’s oil industry is in ‘crisis’ as prices drop, a senior industry leader has told the BBC. Oil companies and service providers are cutting staff and investment to save money. Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that the industry is “close to collapse”. Almost no new projects in the North Sea are profitable with oil below $60, he claims.

Retreat

“It’s almost impossible to make money at these oil prices”, Mr Allan, who is a director of Premier Oil in addition to chairing Brindex, told the BBC. “It’s a huge crisis.” “This has happened before, and the industry adapts, but the adaptation is one of slashing people, slashing projects and reducing costs wherever possible, and that’s painful for our staff, painful for companies and painful for the country.”

“It’s close to collapse. In terms of new investments – there will be none, everyone is retreating, people are being laid off at most companies this week and in the coming weeks. Budgets for 2015 are being cut by everyone.” Mr Allan said many of the job cuts across the industry would not have been publicly announced. Oil workers are often employed as contractors, which are easier for employers to cut. His remarks echo comments made by the veteran oil man and government adviser Sir Ian Wood, who last week predicted a wave of job losses in the North Sea over the next 18 months.

Decline

The US-based oil giant ConocoPhillips is cutting 230 out of 1,650 jobs in the UK.

This month it announced a 20% reduction in its worldwide capital expenditure budget, in response to falling oil prices. Other big oil firms are expected to make similar cuts to their drilling and exploration budgets. Research from the investment bank Goldman Sachs predicted that they would need to cut capital expenditure by 30% to restore their profitability at current prices. Service providers to the industry have also been hit. Texas-based oilfield services company Schlumberger cut back its UK-based fleet of geological survey ships in December, taking an $800m loss and cutting an unspecified number of jobs.

Aberdeen-based Wood Group announced a pay freeze for staff, and cut rates for its contractors. UK oil and gas production has been in decline since 1999 – though the rate of decline slowed in 2013, a year which saw the highest level of investment on record. The industry was hoping to see continued high levels of investment, stemming the inevitable decline of production as North Sea’s resources are used up. But falling oil prices have put that in doubt.

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Joan McAlpine: It’s time to take a close look at some of London’s lies over Scots oil wealth


Joan answers some hard hitting questions related to Scotland's oil

    • JOAN looks deeper in to the some Westminster’s claims regarding how Britain’s oil would be distributed if Scotland became an independent nation.

Does the oil belong to Scotland?

Yes. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) says oil revenue should go to the country in whose waters it was discovered. Professor Alex Kemp, of the University of Aberdeen, says 90 per cent of UK oil lies in Scottish waters but we need to be independent to get the revenue it generates.

Isn’t the oil running out?

No. UK Oil and Gas, who represent companies working in the industry, say there are 24 billion barrels left in the North Sea. That is why they are investing record amounts. Even the UK Government have conceded it could last another 50 years.

How much is it worth?

Around £1.5trillion. This could rise as world demand pushes up prices. The International Monetary Fund’s research team have predicted world prices could double by 2022.

Will we be too dependent on oil if we choose independence?

Even without oil, Scotland’s wealth is around the same as the rest of the UK, according to official figures. Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s say, even without oil, Scotland would be one of the most successful economies in the developed world. But the oil is a huge bonus and gives an independent Scotland a great head start.

What does that mean for me and my family?

We can create an oil fund by saving some of the tax – Norway, a country the same size as Scotland, has accumulated an oil fund of £500billion to be used for pensions, healthcare and investment in the future. The UK has failed to set up a fund and squandered our oil wealth.

But the UK Government say the Scottish Government have exaggerated the value of oil

They would say that, wouldn’t they? The highly respected Investors Chronicle magazine said the UK Government are underplaying the value of the North Sea oil because of the forthcoming referendum on independence.

Who else backs the Scottish Government?

Professor Sir Donald MacKay, the world’s foremost expert on oil prices, says the UK government are wrong and the Scottish Government are right. He said: “There is no hole in the Scottish Government’s oil predictions but there is a mountain of black gold missing from the UK Government’s.” The economic think tank N-56 said the figure for future tax revenues was six times more than the UK government claimed.

Is more oil being discovered?

All the time. This month Xcite Energy announced a major new oil find east of Shetland. The Bentley field will produce 700 million barrels over 35 years. The Clair Ridge Project to the west of Shetland is expected to produce 640 million barrels in the future. BP’s publicity video says Clair will make an enormous contribution to the UK economy for many years to come.

Why don’t I know this?

Good question. David Cameron made a secret visit to Shetland to see this important field. But the visit was hushed up along with the latest results of test drilling, which are rumoured to reveal even more oil.

Why would they bury a good news story?

A certain independence vote on September 18. It has even been suggested that workers on the field stand down till after the referendum.

Surely the UK Government are not involved in a cover up?

They have form. When oil was found in the 1970s, a report for ministers by the senior civil servant Gavin McCrone predicted an independent Scotland would be richer than Switzerland. That was kept secret for 30 years.

So they lied to us?

Denis Healey, the former Labour chancellor in the 1970s, admitted the value of oil was played down by Labour and Conservative governments to stop the Scots supporting independence.

How much did these lies cost us?

Around £300billion of oil tax revenue has gone straight to the London Exchequer since oil was discovered. Scotland didn’t receive a penny.

Anything else I should know?

Significant oil finds were made in the Clyde in the 1970s but the industry was blocked by the UK Ministry of Defence because they didn’t want anything interfering with nuclear submarines. Michael Heseltine, defence secretary at the time, admitted it this week.

Last weekend the Scottish Government created a taskforce to examine the potential of oil in the west. A Yes vote will mean the Ministry of Defence will no longer be able to block these developments.

What will independence change?

All the tax money from oil will stay in Scotland and be used for the good of the people who live here.