An independent Scotland will ban nuclear weapons, we are told. Top stuff. I’m all for it.

Nuclear weapons are amoral and have the potential to kill millions of people if they were ever used, as well as belonging to an age now past.

But there is a bigger threat to  global peace and wellbeing lurking in Scottish waters, one which the more head-in-sand types in the SNP leadership and UK government are all too eager to embrace.

Scotland is about to undergo a second oil boom apparently. At least according to the First Minister.

And in the week that a leaked document accepting the idea of change and adaption as a central component of any society made the headlines, we are told that things shall always be as they have been, for ever more. The boom becomes a beat and the beat goes on.

What is pretty clear is that we can’t just turn off the oil industry. The Scottish economy would collapse, and thousands of people would lose their jobs. Like those peace-loving Swedes exporting Bofors armaments far and wide with a shrug of their shoulders and and a nod to the employment statistics, it is easy enough to take away the pain of responsibility with a few spoons of relativism.

And it is incredibly tempting, because all those guns and all that oil pays for the welfare and investment in the public good which so many right thinking people want in a society.

But the kind of politicians who would take the oil and look away are the same type of person who would use the cheats on Championship manager, only to wonder why winning the European Cup carries no sense of achievement. It’s the Dorian Gray of natural resources, and for every single drop pumped out the official portrait at Bute House will turn a touch more grotesque. Or maybe Faust if you want. They’re all the same basic metaphor.

It’s our oil till we’ve sold it, and then it’s another man’s grievance.

There is no denying that the low-carbon world which we must inevitably transition to – either by design or by sheer necessity – will and must come. I’ve stood in the gallery at Holyrood and watched the whole parliament pat itself on the back over climate change legislation. You can call yourself world leading or pioneering as much as you like, but if you then choose to adopt a position which runs counter to received scientific wisdom and moral defensibility you will find yourself leading a world of one.

Because the emissions from an ever expanding Scottish oil industry will kill more people than Trident, be it in the form of air pollution or crop failure, flooding and conflict.

And because we must transition to a sustainable economy, does it not make sense to do it immediately?  I’ll be voting Yes to change Scotland into the country it can be, not into an unthinking and morally indefensible oil state.

Tags: , , ,