The Sunday Herald, turncoat commercialist opportunists that they are, ran with a splash on a second recently discovered McCrone report written in the late 70s which had recommended establishing an oil fund, as had been done in Norway.

There’s a bit of a difference though: during the late 1970s through most of early 1990s and ever since Norway ran budget surpluses which enabled it to save money without raising taxes, cutting spending or borrowing more.

Which are, unfortunately, the choices that the UK was faced with at the time and which Scotland would also have been faced with had it been independent. They’re also the choices that an independent Scotland would face now.

Not establishing an oil fund wasn’t actually a failure of government but rather an almost inevitable consequence of the proportionally bigger share of North Sea reserves Norway has and the almost immediate, but slightly accidental, involvement of the state (do read that link, it’s a great story).

If there’s an argument to be had about this it’s about the need to nationalise natural resource exploitation, but that’s not the argument that’s being made. The argument being made is that, essentially, the UK should have borrowed more to invest in non-UK assets (the Norwegian oil fund is entirely invested outside of Norway to avoid distorting the economy) which seems unwise. Would you take out a bank loan to invest in the stock market?

It was Scotland’s oil. And we spent the money. On Scotland.