Saturday, 13 September 2014

It It Moves Nationalise It

The debate over the realities of Scotland's economic future has turned nasty.  The SNP now threatens a "day of reckoning" for firms having doubts about aspects of business.  This seems to entail sending in the State Police to take action against dissent.  For BP there is the threat of nationalisation.

All of which tells me of the depth of ignorance and lack of insight of all the politicians engaged in the debate about money, trade, investment and the rest in the second decade of the 21st Century.  The SNP seems to be locked into a Bolshevik mind set from the era of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others of that ilk.

In my formative years the State was all controlling and pervasive and we were subject to never ending and often silly propaganda to justify and explain it.  So when The War ended people voted for the political party which thought it right and proper to nationalise what were regarded as the basic industries.

Those left "private" were subject to extensive laws, controls and regulations, notably in the raising and using of capital and in the distribution of what profits remained after taxes and charges.  The bread we ate, the food on our plate, the clothes we wore and much else was State determined and controlled.

In 1945 during the previous 31 years we had ten years of total war, around ten other years of major economic problems and a goodly number of small wars of Empire and foreign conflicts.  We had gone from being the world's banker and creditor to being a major debtor with an ageing damaged economy.

The "people" wanted peace, security and were told that all the basic needs would be cared for and managed by the State in their name and along with this many of the major employment sectors of the economy would be nationalised with the Trade Unions having a major say in decisions.

But the economy had to change and also radical reform and reorganisation was necessary in all of those sectors.  For over thirty years the inherent contradictions and conflicts arising in a State which needed real growth, new industries and major changes across the whole field were at the heart of politics.

During this time the major nationalised industries went from engines of growth and surpluses enabling income and profit for the State to becoming quasi-workhouses existing on subsidies and major support the burdens of which penalised and dragged down the sectors needing opportunity, scope, capital and freedom to grow.

There were different types of industry and activity.  One which was limited to Britain, for example the railways.  Another were those largely British in activity but affected by world matters.  Then there those that had to face up to world competition.

The trouble was politicians and unions who thought they could control all of them in detail when it was all too apparent that they could not and as time wore on and trade and money became more global the damage worsened.

BP is a world company with complex ownership and activity.  It has had a key role in the North Sea but that is conditioned by the market price of oil, world finance, costs, the risks and nature of drilling and the rest.  It could very easily go into the red and who would then subsidise it?

Currently it is in trouble with the USA and facing billions in damages from one bad event in the Gulf of Mexico with a lot more to come.

And this is the key source for all that oil money that Scotland will need for all its futures.


  1. Surely it is impossible for a Scottish Government to nationalise BP? All the SG could do is steal BP assets on mainland Scotland or in Scottish territorial waters.

    Attempts to steal oil in international waters would inevitably lead to conflict between Scotland and several other nations including France.

  2. How long before the Border Reivers reappear?

  3. "quasi-workhouses existing on subsidies"

    From oakum to hokum.

  4. "And this is the key source for all that oil money that Scotland will need for all its futures."

    No, it isn't.