I've had a very unhappy morning. My faith has been shaken in a BBC employee whom I regarded as a shining light in the Beeb's blackness of PC dross and EastEnders. This employee was political commentator Andrew Neil, a man with a mind (and tongue) like a razor. A man willing to cut through blather from MPs and leave them gasping. A man willing to speak up for England. A Scot in the public eye firmly out to defend the rights of the majority.
But today Gareth reports an interview on This Week during which the uniquely trusty one slipped badly. At the time, another squirming unfortunate was, deservedly, getting the Neil treatment...
Over to Gareth...
I can't remember who it was, some blathering old nag, Baroness Williams I think, telling everyone that the Scots didn't get substantially more public funding than the rest of the UK.
"Not true", interrupted Neil, "They, the Scots, get over 10%, 12 or 13 percent actually".
"Oh, well, there's not much point me talking if you are just going to interrupt me", she whined.
"Well there's not much point you talking if you can't get your facts straight is there?", said Neil.
"Well", she said, "Scotland contributes oil wealth to Britain and because of that they get the Barnett Formula".
And there we had it, beans spilled, an unspoken known truth at Westminster beamed live into our living rooms. Everyone in the studio seemed perfectly happy at this explanation, but I wasn't.
Read the rest of Gareth's post here -
So, Andrew Neil has slipped in the oil.
For the record, the Barnett Formula was actually introduced in the late 70s (supposedly for one year only) to pacify nationalists. It had nothing to do with oil and was actually to do with poverty levels. In recent years, Lord Joel Barnett, the Formula's creator, has declared it unfair to England and has stated that he is ashamed his name is associated with it.
Scotland does not own the North Sea oil. Quite a lot is in English waters and the maritime boundary was tweaked by the UK Government some years ago, without consulting the English, to give "the Scottish sector" more of the oil. Fine when we are a supposedly United Kingdom, all sharing the resources, but not so if Scotland declares independence. In that case, England will require that the boundary is corrected.
The "it's oor oil" thing has whined on for years. But it's not entirely true, not true at all whilst the United Kingdom exists, and there is absolutely no excuse for Andrew Neil letting this sickening justification for the unjustifiable go unchallenged.
Shame on you, Mr Neil.
Our previous post on the subject...
The SNP once again recycles the same tired argument about North Sea Oil and gas subsidising the rest of the UK. Conveniently, they fail to mention that the maritime border was moved heavily in Scotland’s favour a couple of decades ago and that a lot of “oor oil” is actually England’s oil gifted to Scotland by a British government desperate to pacify nationalists.
International convention says that a maritime border between two countries is an extension of the land border. The land border between England and Scotland points upwards on both the east and west coast. The maritime border used to follow this convention putting a large portion of North Sea oil and gas in English waters. Should Scotland ever achieve fiscal or full independence, it would be unacceptable for the maritime border to remain where it is now.
Moving the border was nothing more than a bribe. The English weren’t consulted and their permission was not sought to donate their natural resources to another country. A lot of the North Sea oil and gas rightfully belongs to England.
Read the rest here - http://englandparliament.blogspot.com/2006/10/its-englands-oil.html
Sylv from Salford
Scotland actually makes about four BILLION pounds MORE than the TOTAL oil revenue, be it English, Scottish or British, from the Barnett Formula. I worry that when it comes right down to it Andrew Neil will not speak up for truth. If I'm misjudging him, I apologise in advance. It's just that the bloke usually has a good grasp of the facts he's discussing and is not shy in presenting them.