McCrone and the trust of the Scottish people

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by David Milligan

The McCrone Oil Report was released after a Freedom of Information request in 2005 shortly after the law regarding information such as this was brought in.  Not much has been said about the background of the people surrounding it and I decided to do on-line research to establish or discredit this document, which the British government classified as secret.  It gives an insight into the thinking of the politicians surrounding the events of that time (1975), and clearly shows that Scotland would have done very well if it had gone independent at that time.

by David Milligan

The McCrone Oil Report was released after a Freedom of Information request in 2005 shortly after the law regarding information such as this was brought in.  Not much has been said about the background of the people surrounding it and I decided to do on-line research to establish or discredit this document, which the British government classified as secret.  It gives an insight into the thinking of the politicians surrounding the events of that time (1975), and clearly shows that Scotland would have done very well if it had gone independent at that time.

Why is this document relevant now?

Very simple, with the exception of the majority SNP Government, almost exactly the same set of circumstances exist now as did all those years ago.  With the latest find to the West of Shetland promising many more years of oil and gas, the Unionist parties are doing their very best to keep Scotland in a Union which will keep the gravy train flowing into the UK Treasury coffers whilst Scotland suffers under the austerity cuts imposed by Westminster for however long that they care to impose them.  

The report shows that Westminster has been lying to the Scottish people on a grand scale and those lies in fact continue today.  It is the single most embarrassing piece of evidence that we’ve got that shows up this huge lie.  The Nazi Joseph Goebbels once said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.  The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.  It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State”.

So here we have a document that clearly shows Westminster (the State in this case) lying to the Scottish people by masking the truth of their prosperity if independent, to allow the UK Treasury to “coin in” the riches of the North Sea.  That lie continued right through and past the first vote that I took part in (the Scottish devolution referendum 1979) where we were being told on almost a daily basis that North Sea oil is just a flash in the pan and would soon dry up.

What should we do with the McCrone Oil Report now?

If we could rely on the media in Scotland then the answer would be simple, it would be published and given the same treatment as the MPs’ expenses scandal or the NoW phone hacking scandal.  In other words it would be laid bare for all the world to see.  In Scotland, that wouldn’t happen.  The document, when it was released was “aired” by a few newspapers and there was even a page on the BBC’s website but due to its 18 pages and relative obscurity, few people got interested.

The report has to be seen, talked about and understood by all the people living in Scotland today, if possible.  It is still seen by some as a ploy thought up by the SNP to win more supporters or its existence is downplayed and consigned to the list of documents produced by the Civil Service that includes the sandwich list or the order for tea bags.  This is why I have looked into its background to find its kudos and authority.  This was not a report (in the eyes of the State) that the ordinary citizen of Scotland should have been made aware of – at any time.

During the last Scottish election, people at grass roots were responsible for winning over their friends and neighbours and helping to create a jaw-dropping result for the SNP.  It is to these people that the task must fall on to tell the story and open the eyes of the undecided.

Actors and scenery

The McCrone Oil Report was written by Professor RGL McCrone who was an expert economic advisor working for the Scottish Office when Edward Heath’s Conservative Government was in power.

At the time of the report, Scotland had just begun to see the opening up of the North Sea oil fields and the Scottish Nationalist phrase “It’s Scotland’s Oil” was on the streets.  The growth of the SNP at that time was quite marked. In Westminster the SNP’s rise was seen as a real threat which might lead to the possible break-up of the United Kingdom at a time when the UK Treasury was almost devoid of funds and needing the oil revenue.  

When the government changed over to a Labour administration under Harold Wilson, Willie Ross was appointed the Secretary of State for Scotland (later Baron Ross of Marnock).  It was under his tenure that the book was opened on the recently produced McCrone Oil Report and he would have played a major hand in deciding the strategy to avoid giving the SNP any ammunition in the independence debate.

Willie Ross, Secretary of State for Scotland 4th March 1974 – 1976

Born in Ayr, went to Ayr Academy and later to Glasgow University.  He worked as a School Teacher until the Second World War where he joined the Highland Light Infantry.  He saw action in India, Burma and Singapore rising to the level of Major in Lord Mountbatten’s HQ in Ceylon.  He was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1945.

Here is the background of a proud British citizen, nothing wrong with that at all.  When he became Secretary of State for Scotland, he was responsible for setting up the Highlands and Islands Development Board and the Scottish Development Agency.  Decent enough.  However, he campaigned hard for a no vote in the 1975 referendum on British membership of the EEC.  This gives insight into his staunch British Empire leanings.  This is further backed up by his overt opposition to any form of devolution or any idea that Scotland or Northern Ireland would leave the UK.  

At that time, Andrew Marr described him as “a stern faced and authoritarian Presbyterian conservative (with a small “c”) who ran the country like a personal fiefdom for Harold Wilson”.  Ross thought up the name “Tartan Tories” for the SNP he hated so much and was himself labelled the “Hammer of the Nats” due to his many confrontations with them.

So here we have established the credentials of a true “BritNat”.  Someone who believed wholeheartedly in the British Empire and was prepared to stamp hard on the head of anyone who opposed it, wanted to decrease its power or would wish to break it up, no matter what that would do to the people in the country of his birth, the Scottish people.

Sir John Garlick K.C.B.

The covering letter is written to a “J.Garlcik Esq” which is obviously a typo as the only similar name that I could find attached to the Cabinet Office at this time was Sir John Garlick K.C.B. 1974 to 1977 – as the second permanent secretary heading the constitution unit set up within the Cabinet Office to plan devolution.  He probably brought the McCrone Oil Report to the notice of the new crop of Cabinet Ministers.  You can read more about  him at;-

Obituary: Sir John Garlick | Politics | The Guardian

Professor R.G.L. McCrone (Prof Gavin McCrone, CB, FRSE)

The author of the report is not a minor civil servant.  Prior to writing this report he was the author of, The Economics of Subsidising Agriculture (1962), Scotland’s Economic Progress 1951-60 (1965), Regional Policy in Britain (1969), and Scotland’s Future (1969).  Here was a man who had given great thought and research to his chosen field and he was at that time economic advisor to the Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning from 1970.  In fact, his words would have carried great weight for the Labour Government of the day.  He was seen by all concerned as a “heavyweight” economic advisor.

The complete report can be seen at: http://www.oilofscotland.org/mccronereport.pdf

The first few pages up to the bottom of page 4 paints a picture of a Scotland that would be heading for an economic crisis without the help of a generous Treasury.  After that the image gets more interesting and goes on to describe an independent Scotland that would be called a serious player on the world stage.

In conclusion, contrary to certain other commentaries made by the Unionists, this was a serious document produced by a heavyweight economist for an administration in Westminster that knew that it had found the goose that laid golden eggs in the North Sea.  The only problem was that it was in Scotland and the “troublesome Scots” were creating problems again.  The simple answer was to hush up any good news and downplay the oil industry until the “stupid” Scots forgot all about it.  This is where the nature of the lie exists along with their omission about the true wealth that would have been (and is) Scotland’s birthright.

Scotland may well declare independence when the referendum is run but in order for the maximum number of people in Scotland to support it, we need a good vision of the future along with clear evidence of the underhanded dealings of our colonial masters laid out before them.  Certainly the McCrone Oil Report should represent a good part of this side of the argument.  

If, as someone who wants to promote independence, you haven’t read the McCrone Report yet, then now would be a good time to do so.  You see, in order to address the lie that has been told and reinforced so many times, you need to tell the truth about this story over and over to undo the “brainwashing” of 30 odd years of lies about Scotland’s wealth.

Nae limits for Scotland.