Ian Blackford confronted over ‘black hole’ in referendum argument
The Scottish MP was told the SNP’s argument for independence rested on North Sea oil and how it would fund public services. But the SNP Leader of the Commons was confronted with the fact that oil prices have tanked and the world is moving towards a greener future, including the rest of the UK. Mr Blackford decided to dodge the question and instead talked about the Scottish fishing industry.
Speaking on Channel 4, journalist Cathy Newman said: “Let’s look at the central argument that you deployed at the last referendum, Scotland would be able to use North Sea Oil to fund public services.
“Since that referendum, oil prices have around about halved and the UK is heading rapidly for a zero-carbon future.
“You have a massive black hole in your referendum argument.”
A worried-looking Ian Blackford began to divert from the point that was raised and said: “Scotland has paid its way over the past few decades and, of course, we’re in a period of change, we’re moving towards a greener future.
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“And the fact of the matter is our targets for climate change are more ambitious than the rest of the UK are.
“We want to take our responsibilities, we want to make sure we deliver a fairer Scotland, a more prosperous Scotland, and a greener one is part of that.
“I’m looking forward to having the debate with everyone in Scotland about the type of society and what type of country we want to live in.
“Let’s not forget, we’ve been taken out of the European Union against our will our fishing industry on the west coast has been shut down because of what Boris Johnson has done to us, (he’s) dislocated us from our European markets.”
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The SNP’s Westminster leader added: “People are not stupid, they recognise, like lots of small countries around the world, an independent Scotland would be a prosperous independent country.”
Ms Newman quipped: “I’ll have to get an answer about the oil prices another time.”
The North Sea oil has been a historic political issue which the SNP have campaigned for since the party’s inception.
In the 1970s, the SNP campaigned with the slogan “It’s Scotland’s Oil” when the oil reserves off Aberdeenshire were discovered.
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Since then, the reserves have been used by the SNP as a potential source of funding to support an independent Scotland.
The reserves exist within Scottish waters and would become theirs in the case of independence.
Oil prices in April last year went negative for the first time meaning oil companies would pay customers to take oil off their hands.
This was due to an oversupply of oil and a lack of storage since the pandemic slowed down travel, industry and oil use across the world.
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