Secret papers show Westminster ‘pipeline veto’ cost thousands of North Sea jobs

93
4432

By G.A.Ponsonby
 
Secret files published after the 30 year rule have revealed that the Tory government in the 1980s refused to fund a north sea pipeline that would have led to the creation of up to 17,000 Scottish jobs.
 
The revelation, reported in today’s Press & Journal, shows that the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ignored the advice of several of her Ministers and vetoed plans to build a gas pipeline that would have linked North Sea fields together.

By G.A.Ponsonby
 
Secret files published after the 30 year rule have revealed that the Tory government in the 1980s refused to fund a north sea pipeline that would have led to the creation of up to 17,000 Scottish jobs.
 
The revelation, reported in today’s Press & Journal, shows that the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ignored the advice of several of her Ministers and vetoed plans to build a gas pipeline that would have linked North Sea fields together.

According to the documents the £1.5 billion project, which had been left by the previous Labour Government, could have led to the creation of jobs at new chemical plants at Nigg and Peterhead.

The P&J report one Cabinet briefing note as saying: “It goes without saying that inward investment of this magnitude would have a very significant impact on the wellbeing of Scotland and of the Highland area in particular,”.

The files also show that the then Scottish Secretary George Younger wrote to Mrs Thatcher saying:
 
“I believe it would be a great mistake to allow a scheme of such importance to founder because we find ourselves confronted with a problem in setting out the mechanics of its financing.”

Cabinet colleagues also argued that private companies in the sector would eventually fund the project themselves if the initial work was underwritten by London.

However, despite being warned that to abandon the scheme would be “inexplicable”, would be “a great mistake” and would be “fatal”, the Tory Prime Minister refused to provide any initial funding for the scheme which was eventually scrapped.

Responding to the revelations, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, Mark McDonald said it underlined how Westminster cannot be trusted with Scotland’s oil and the jobs and economic benefits it brings.
 
Mr McDonald said:
 
“These papers just underline how Scotland’s oil and gas industry is far too important to Scotland to be left in the hands of the UK government.
 
“They are an echo of how successive Westminster governments don’t understand the industry and have squandered opportunities for jobs and investment in Scotland.
 
“Even now we see that George Osborne clearly doesn’t understand the industry’s concerns about his tax raid and its negative impact.
 
“The SNP is working hard to attract investment in North Sea Oil but Westminster’s historic bumbling risks some fields being left underdeveloped.  After 40 years of inept management by the UK Government, it is time Scotland was given a chance to control these natural resources.”

The refusal to offer funding to a North East energy project has similarities with the Peterhead and Longannet Carbon Storage projects that have been blocked by the refusal of successive Labour and Tory Government’s to commit funding.

The UK government recently announced they are to re-run a £1 billion carbon Storage competition originally ‘won’ by Longannet.

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne scrapped UK government commitment to funding Longannet after claiming technical problems and increased costs.

93 COMMENTS

  1. This I believe was a deliberate act to sabotage jobs in Scotland, bearing in mind Thatcher’s destruction of our manufacturing base.
    It was all done to keep us natives too small and too stupid to want Independence.
    She must have done this just after reading the McRone report!

    I also believe it was done to facilitate jobs in the North East of England.

    • I agree. This was the Westminster nightmare – a wealthy Scotland. They had to get the balance right – strip mining without any real benefit to the natives.

      A great deal of wealth remains in the North Sea – do not fall for the unionist line for a second time – vote for independence.

  2. When under a foreign government, the choice is always between bad and worst.

    State funeral? My…

    • The funeral should be privatised – sold to the highest bidder! And there is no time to waste, the process should start now. The tender document should specify both a small dancefloor and a toilet to adorn the final resting place.

      • I understand the rage and frustration that this has caused. ( I come from a long line of mining families) I too am against a State funeral for politicians.

        Personally I would rather she was alive and have enough mental capacity to see Scotland launch as an independent country.

        After that I don’t care too much about her last years or how they deal with her funeral arrangements.

        I’m not advocating forgive and forget but we must move on. Let’s not get too effected by Mrs T.

        The main thing is not to miss the opportunity coming along to take our independence, that will surely be the best solution to ease our hurts and close our issues.

        Let’s not go digging her up (like they did to Cromwell) and having second helpings.

        @:+

      • I’ll be up for an almighty street party SJ.

        Bonfires, pipebands, firework displays, the lot.

        [b]I’d love to see the BBC and Unionist coverage of that party !!!!!![/b]

        • Apparently there are already 5 million shovels on order… cos every scot wants to help make sure the hole is deep enough! *;0)

      • They could make a fortune selling tickets for the post funeral dance – you know what I mean – I hope.

      • They could make a fortune selling tickets for the post funeral dance – you know what I mean – I hope.

      • [i]”The funeral should be privatised “[/i]

        It might be PFI and we can go on paying for it ad infinitum. The enduring legacy of MT.

      • [i]”The funeral should be privatised “[/i]

        It might be PFI and we can go on paying for it ad infinitum. The enduring legacy of MT.

  3. There was clearly some sort of personal vendetta by Thatcher against Scotland.

    And I do believe that Cameron sees himself as the second Thatcher.

    Quite disturbing too that one individual can veto multi-billion pound investments, against the advice of majority of cabinet colleagues. And that such veto can remain “secret” for 30 years. So much for transparency and democracy.

    Time to be rid.

    • With all due respect km, Cameron is no Thatcher even though he’s a little Englander with Westminster’s and England’s interest first and second respectively.

      Cameron is not as vicious as Thatcher although lately we have seen a regurgitated Thatcherite in the form of Forsyth.
      I would like to say what I feel for this extreme so & so and what he is to Scotland, but I’m afraid that NNS would remove my post.
      Oh I do hope Forsyth comes to the fore in the no campaign.

      • [quote name=”Alx1″]With all due respect km, Cameron is no Thatcher even though he’s a little Englander with Westminster’s and England’s interest first and second respectively.

        Cameron is not as vicious as Thatcher although lately we have seen a regurgitated Thatcherite in the form of Forsyth.
        I would like to say what I feel for this extreme so & so and what he is to Scotland, but I’m afraid that NNS would remove my post.
        Oh I do hope Forsyth comes to the fore in the no campaign.[/quote]

        Cameron may be no Thatcher as he is independently wealthy as is his missus. But make no mistake the ideology of his party and his cabinet are directly linked to Thatcher. The shocking decision to cancel the CC at Longannet was proof if Scotland needs proof.

        [quote]UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne scrapped UK government commitment to funding Longannet after claiming technical problems and increased costs.[/quote]

        Hunes reasons given for not funding this are just simply lies and propaganda. This had a huge potential, binned once more. Scotland is being systematically assets stripped.

        • The good people of Scotland could raise the money to fund Longannet and the SG could pay them back after independence using our Oil Billions.

        • The good people of Scotland could raise the money to fund Longannet and the SG could pay them back after independence using our Oil Billions.

  4. If she had funded it, we would have to contend with a UK government telling we can’t have the oil because UK taxes funded the infrastructure. As it is, all North Sea infrastructure was privately funded and rUK has no claim on any of it.

    They couldn’t even provide decent roads for the North East, let alone a gas pipeline!

  5. Didn’t hear the above being reported on BBC Scotland news today?

    *Also don’t know if it has already been mentioned:
    It’s been reported today that 46 new exploration (oil/gas) licenses have been given out by the UK government. (Apparently, the most significant licenses since the 1960’s)

    Charles Hendry (UK Energy minister) remarked “Oil and gas remains crucial to the UK economy…. ”

  6. as I said before, a state funeral should involve her being towed under the Erskine Bridge in an open canoe and hundreds of Scot’s lining up above with rocks in hand, and prizes for sinking it.

  7. Our salvation is at hand. There is one individual above all others who understands the Oil and Gas industry better than anyone and that is Beaker Alexander.
    As far as oil and gas being crucial to the UK economy I would replace the crucial to critical and no mistake.

  8. Well the cause of independence just got another boost.
    As more and more of these stories reveal the attitude of Westminster towards Scotland and the people can see that unionists can’t be trusted to serve Scotlands interests, we will eventually reach the tipping point, when the people of Scotland will simply not believe a single promise from any of them.

    It’s coming !!!!!

    • [quote name=”patrickotic”]Well the cause of independence just got another boost.
      As more and more of these stories reveal the attitude of Westminster towards Scotland and the people can see that unionists can’t be trusted to serve Scotlands interests, we will eventually reach the tipping point, when the people of Scotland will simply not believe a single promise from any of them.

      It’s coming !!!!![/quote]

      That time is now. All these stories do is convince the people of Scotland, England Wales and Northern Ireland that the Westminster system of government is broken. Voting for any of the existing political parties only encourages them to further outrages.

    • Yes it certainly did and very difficult for the present incumbents of power in the unionist parties to brush under the carpet.

      I see Mickey Moore is asking us all to stand united in 2012. Well that’s sunk for a start in less than one day and it’s still 2011.

      Ruthless must be wondering where to get a handhold on the long climb to a Toryland heaven in Scotland. Every time they attempt to launch – relaunch or revamp the relaunch their leopard unionist spots always shine through the thin veneer used to camouflage their true colours.

      Labour meanwhile are too busy trying to hide the evidence in Glasgow AND pulling Christmas crackers in an attempt to find a policy suggestion in one that might find favour with the Scottish people.

      It’s all simmering away nicely again!

    • But how many people are actually going to hear of the story apart from those who use this site and read The P&J’s Energy news.

      It’s not as if it is going to be headline news on The EBC and the rest of The MSM.

    • But how many people are actually going to hear of the story apart from those who use this site and read The P&J’s Energy news.

      It’s not as if it is going to be headline news on The EBC and the rest of The MSM.

  9. Haven’t seen or heard any Scottish media but reading the Times there is of course no mention of Scotland or it’s Oil! Their leader starts with “The history of England” etc etc and goes on to say compliment the Tory governments approach and how we need more of the same conflating England and Britain as usual.
    What I find amazing is the ability of so many Scots not to see the evidence in the McCrone report and this latest piece of chicanery in the 1981 Cabinet papers. Of course the media have a have a huge responsibility for this – and they tell us we shouldn’t believe in conspiracy. The Scottish government need to shout about this type of evidence and challenge the Unionists to answer !

  10. When I hear news like this I usually sing a few lines of the Green Day hit Holiday. I beg to dream and differ from their hollow lies this is the dawning of the rest of our lives. In fact the other Green Day hit American Idiot fits the bill perfectly to be renamed Unionist Idiot.

  11. Having just watched BBC news and the article on Liverpool,and how the Torys were considering abandoning it to the gangs, I fully expected to see the rest of the papers released mentioned in particular the North Sea pipeline treachery.[b] Not a squeak. BBC reporting Scotland, “where you are” not a squeak. What a bunch of propaganda lackeys BBC Scotland and the BBC are.[/b]

    • Your bang on DonaldMhor, I was thinking the very same thing, I’ll bet if papers from decades ago came to light that could be used to damage the SNP then the BBC would be ramming it down our throats at every chance, the BBC are just the propaganda wing of the London rule partys. So the torys were ready to abandon one of their own citys but for some reason they are desperate to hang onto Scotland!!!! I wonder why?

  12. [i]”Responding to the revelations, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, Mark McDonald said it underlined how Westminster cannot be trusted with Scotland’s oil and the jobs and economic benefits it brings.”[/i]

    That comment could be expanded to, ‘Westminster cannot be trusted with Scotland’s ecomomy’.

  13. BOOP………………BOOP BEEP……………………BOOP…………………….BOOP BEEP……BOO BEEEE!

    [b]Junior 11-9 Dad[/b]

    Sorry ah wiz playin’ pong wi the wean!

    Incompetent, irresponsible and incomprehensible and that’s just the decision to make this person a PM in the first place.

    I can’t actually post on either this subject or this PM without losing it big time, so I’m off tae the darkened room! :0[

  14. Yawn.

    The Blessed Margaret did not “veto” anything; she simply declined to commit public money to what was clearly a private-sector project.

    After all, if this pipeline was economically viable, why didn’t the likes of BP, Shell, Exxon and so on build it themselves?

    QED.

    • Are you perhaps being just a little disingenuous, 357ms? Could be the oil companies didn’t see big profits in it for themselves. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been of massive benefit to the Scottish economy.

    • Are you perhaps being just a little disingenuous, 357ms? Could be the oil companies didn’t see big profits in it for themselves. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been of massive benefit to the Scottish economy.

  15. I remember all this very well. Now I’m waiting to read the papers on the decision to kill off BRITOIL which meant that unlike most other countries and especially Norway we ended up with no national champion able to support R&D, new product development etc.

    It’s one of the prime reasons Norway and the USA now dominate the high tech, value adding, strategically critical sectors of the industry and we’re just an also ran.

  16. most people iun scotland knew that she hated us, it was rather obviouse after all like Macart i can’t post my true feelings about this latest revalation about how that scum tryed [and still trying] to destroy this nation of ours, as for the BBC, the clues in the title, British

  17. My faith is shattered.

    I had taken the heroine of the Home Counties at her word when she said at the Young Conservatives Conference in Torquay in 1990 –

    “We English who are marvellous people are really very generous to Scotland”

    Surely she wasn’t talking shite after all?

  18. HANSARD 1803–2005 → 1980s → 1982 → July 1982 → 28 July 1982 → Commons Sitting

    Aluminium Smelter (Invergordon)

    HC Deb 28 July 1982 vol 28 cc1065-73

    I remember this as well on day shift we got a very nice New Year present the Smelter is closing and it did that day mind you Hamish Gray lost his seat but then he went to the Lords the workers went on the dole thats the Tories for you.

    • Both BBC Misreporting Scotland and STV news had this as main item, but I don’t see a thing on the FM’s Message on the BBC wesbite..??

      • Now that’s a message! Hope, positivity, a goal and a real sense that we can do it if we all pull in the same direction.

        Nae Limits!

      • Now that’s a message! Hope, positivity, a goal and a real sense that we can do it if we all pull in the same direction.

        Nae Limits!

    • what a fantastic first minister we have. I am so proud to be alive to witness the great events that are to come. Happy new year everyone when it comes.

  19. I was working in the North Sea at that time and know first hand what the reaction was from Norwegians and Americans. Total astonishment is an understatement to say the least.

    Gorgon Brown, an other oil industry ignoramous, wants to give Thatcher a state funeral. Here’s one guy who will be toasting her at long last on the road to hell !!!! An evil woman is what she is to the vast majority of thinking Scots.

  20. A national oil company (or at least majority stake) is known the world over as the best way to manage and profit from oil/gas reserves.

    The UK government did not do this as it would mean that detailed UK oil/gas reserve data would have been accessible to the public. In contrast, private companies are not required to divulge such data in detail and have a vested interest in underplaying potential reserves lest they see tax hikes.

    Obviously, it would not have been in the interests of the UK government to have publically available data on N. Sea oil potential lest the Scots find out. Better to lose a lot of revenue but still make some good money by keeping Scotland in the union. Hence the sell off of BP etc.

  21. its ok guys.. Thatcher is the best thing that ever happened to Scotland in 300 years… she ensured Holyrood.. and through that.. Independence… We should really errect a statue to her.

  22. They should do an Osama on Maggie. Put her in a weighted sack and drap her aff the Ullapool tae Stornoway ferry. that way the Tories couldnae make a shrine oot her grave.

  23. It’s all coming out now Thatcher cancelling the pipeline and Gas being burnt off instead of being harvested. Wasting £Billions.

    Thatcher cancelling the pipe line, not investing in the North Sea, while some years the equivalent of £40Billion in Oil tax revenues was going into the UK Treasury.

    Fiscal autonomy/Independence, don’t waste anymore Oil tax revenues. Put it to good use in Scotland.

  24. O/T,

    My God the unionist press are certainly going to town today aren’t they?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1386910/Good-riddance-Quentin-Letts-fed-ungrateful-Scots-gorging-money-He-says-independence.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/8984954/Scottish-independence-will-be-a-recipe-for-unfairness.html

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2011/12/30/independence-could-have-devastating-effect-on-scotland-s-defence-industry-and-lead-to-unilateral-disarmament-says-ex-navy-chief-86908-23668475/

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/wintour-and-watt/2011/dec/29/alexsalmond-scotland

    Wouldn’t happen to be the end of the year and they just want to remind us at the end of 2011 that we the nasty nationalists are all wrong and we really love being shafted by Westminster.
    To cap it all, our ever forgetful of Labour sleaze and SNP good Government BBC Scotland is shortly showing a programme on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Scotland….Oh yes an end of year homage to Lizzie the Queen of BRITAIN, just in case you forgot you were British,
    Now call me a sceptic (you’re a sceptic! I know the joke) but I do get the feeling that there is something deliberate and coherent about this onslaught from the unionist press and dare I say very deliberate of the BBC Scotland to remind us, nae propagate Britishness to us at a very important time of the year with a programme that will basically say that the Queen loves Scotland, her tradition etc. etc. I think you all know the script by now.
    I’m sure I’m just being overly sceptical and the BBC wouldn’t do something like that…would they?

    Just thought I would leave you with the last thought of the year, just as the unionist press are obviously trying to do.

    • When was Scotland last headline news in most of the daily press? As some would say, we’ve obviously got them worried.

    • I’ll stack the FM’s message of hope in a brighter future against that pile of plant food anyday Alx.

      VOTE YES!

    • I’ll stack the FM’s message of hope in a brighter future against that pile of plant food anyday Alx.

      VOTE YES!

  25. I seem to remember Thatcher stopping a plan to rebuild Hampden. 8 million rings a bell.

    OT did anyone hear Mr. Cochrane on GMS today. Three gems come to mind.

    2011 was the year of the Nat as opposed to the year of the rat.

    SNP are Stallinist.

    Willie Rennie is the best performer at Holyrood.

    Enough said.

    • Did that diddy really say these things? Time he was off the sauce. On the other hand – maybe he’s our own wee agent provocateur, doing a great job rubbishing ad nauseum!

      Happy New Year to all the good guys when the time comes !

      • He is the Jeremy Clarkson of the newspaper world; a cartoon character that mouths off for effect on the basis that a bad reaction is better than no reaction.

        Best ignored.

        All the best for 2012.

      • He is the Jeremy Clarkson of the newspaper world; a cartoon character that mouths off for effect on the basis that a bad reaction is better than no reaction.

        Best ignored.

        All the best for 2012.

  26. With Geoffrey Howe, only yesterday, denying on a radio interview that he actually said what was in the cabinet papers about running down Liverpool (which, by the way, was not repeated in the TV news reports) and Huhne telling lies in parliament about the CO2 pipeline being unsuitable for the Longannet project, we now have clear evidence (as if any more were needed) of the dishonesty of government. We cannot trust them one iota in what they utter. If they can even [u]think[/u] about destroying a large UK city like Liverpool then there is nothing they would not consider doing.

  27. With Geoffrey Howe, only yesterday, denying on a radio interview that he actually said what was in the cabinet papers about running down Liverpool (which, by the way, was not repeated in the TV news reports) and Huhne telling lies in parliament about the CO2 pipeline being unsuitable for the Longannet project, we now have clear evidence (as if any more were needed) of the dishonesty of government. We cannot trust them one iota in what they utter. If they can even [u]think[/u] about destroying a large UK city like Liverpool then there is nothing they would not consider doing.

  28. I was on the rigs at the time of Thatcher, it is no exaggeration to say that at that time, there were no Scottish management in the Oil industry, we were not trusted. The top work went to people south of the border, while the caterers, drill crews and service hands were predominatly local

  29. I was on the rigs at the time of Thatcher, it is no exaggeration to say that at that time, there were no Scottish management in the Oil industry, we were not trusted. The top work went to people south of the border, while the caterers, drill crews and service hands were predominatly local

  30. 30 years ago when I worked in a government lab where security clearance was required, one guy who worked there was a member of the SNP. He was refused a security classification.

  31. 30 years ago when I worked in a government lab where security clearance was required, one guy who worked there was a member of the SNP. He was refused a security classification.

  32. Today’s Der Sturmer really scraped the bottom of the Propaganda Barrel with a sensationalised 2 page spread which was intended to convince the easily fooled readers that The SNP would have supported the Nazis in the event of a successful invasion in WW2 and that they would have led a Q–sling type government.

    Unionists – getting more desperate by the day.

    • [quote name=”gus1940″]Today’s Der Sturmer really scraped the bottom of the Propaganda Barrel with a sensationalised 2 page spread which was intended to convince the easily fooled readers that The SNP would have supported the Nazis in the event of a successful invasion in WW2 and that they would have led a Q–sling type government.

      Unionists – getting more desperate by the day.[/quote]
      That just shows what the unionists have become, infact what they always were.

  33. Today’s Der Sturmer really scraped the bottom of the Propaganda Barrel with a sensationalised 2 page spread which was intended to convince the easily fooled readers that The SNP would have supported the Nazis in the event of a successful invasion in WW2 and that they would have led a Q–sling type government.

    Unionists – getting more desperate by the day.

  34. Yet another reason for slinging the yoke and pulling free with all our collective might from the shackles of a Union which has done us down at every turn, whilst sucking our larder dry and at the same time ‘informing’ the gullible amongst us that without their largesse we would be paupers.

    We are sitting on at least 50% of the Scottish fossil fuel reserves estimated back in 1970.

    We have potentially sufficient renewable energy resources to provide 10 times our needs. We have the opportunity to export the surplus. We have the research and development capability to build a manufacturing base to not only provide the technology required but to create an industry of high export value. We have the brains and knowhow to make a success of both. This is a golden opportunity for us to build a future for our people and above all our children and grand children.

    We must ensure that Westminster’s hands are nowhere near the revenues and that the stultiying perfidious schemers of Whitehall have no say in the development of this industry.

    Independence is a must.

    [b]Alba gu bràth! [/b]

  35. Yet another reason for slinging the yoke and pulling free with all our collective might from the shackles of a Union which has done us down at every turn, whilst sucking our larder dry and at the same time ‘informing’ the gullible amongst us that without their largesse we would be paupers.

    We are sitting on at least 50% of the Scottish fossil fuel reserves estimated back in 1970.

    We have potentially sufficient renewable energy resources to provide 10 times our needs. We have the opportunity to export the surplus. We have the research and development capability to build a manufacturing base to not only provide the technology required but to create an industry of high export value. We have the brains and knowhow to make a success of both. This is a golden opportunity for us to build a future for our people and above all our children and grand children.

    We must ensure that Westminster’s hands are nowhere near the revenues and that the stultiying perfidious schemers of Whitehall have no say in the development of this industry.

    Independence is a must.

    [b]Alba gu bràth! [/b]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here