McCrone DeJa Vu

There have been a couple of reports over the past couple of days, emanating from Whitehall and Westminster, which have had me sticking my finger in the air and proclaiming something is smelling somewhat rancid.
Combined, they reminded me of the McCrone report, and that does not bode well.

For those not familiar with the McCrone report, here is a very quick summary of what occurred, but I would say it is absolutely essential reading for any Scot.

The McCrone report was a document that could have changed the course of Scottish history.Gavin McCrone, presented the report to the Cabinet office in April 1975 and it was subsequently buried in a Westminster vault for thirty years. It revealed how North Sea oil could have made an independent Scotland as prosperous as Switzerland.
It took a freedom of Information act request in 2005 to eventually unearth it. Without that request, we may still have never known of it’s information,and Westminster would not willingly part with it of it’s own volition.

“An independent Scotland’s budget surpluses as a result of the oil boom, wrote Professor McCrone, would be so large as to be “embarrassing”.

Scotland’s currency “would become the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian Kronor.” From being poorer than their southern neighbours, Scots would quite possibly become richer. Scotland would be in a position to lend heavily to England and “this situation could last for a very long time into the future.”

Within days of its receipt at Westminster in 1974, Professor McCrone’s document was judged as incendiary and classified as secret. It would be sat upon for the next thirty years.

The mandarins demanded that Professor McCrone’s 19-page analysis be given “only a most restricted circulation in the Scottish Office because of the extreme sensitivity of the subject.”

By the mid 1970s, international convention had already agreed that the North Sea north of the 55th parallel was under Scottish jurisdiction. That meant around 90 per cent of the UK’s oil and gas reserves fell within Scottish waters. Such was the fear of the rise of Scottish nationalism that the document remained secret under the governments of Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major and even Tony Blair.

In short had that document been released in 1975, Scotland would have almost certainly have been Independent by now.
The betrayal by Whitehall and Westminster, instead ensured that Oil bailed out the British economy of Thatcher, paid for the London Orbital motorway, and many other ventures in the South,while Scotland Industries were decimated.

And so, fast forward to today.

The Telegraph reported senior Westminster civil servants are under instructions to freeze out their Scottish counterparts when they attend official meetings.

A “senior Whitehall source” quoted by the Telegraph said:
“It has come from the top that if there is anything very sensitive about Scotland then it cannot be discussed in front of [Sir Peter Housden].
“Concerns have been expressed at the highest level about this individual. People cannot serve two masters ultimately and he has been put in a very difficult position by Salmond.

the permanent secretaries from all Whitehall departments will no longer discuss Scotland in meetings if Sir Peter Housden is present.

Another “senior source” quoted in the Telegraph added: “The other permanent secretaries only discuss Scotland, nowadays, when Sir Peter is not there.”

The source told that Telegraph that Whitehall’s permanent secretaries believe they can no longer have “free and frank discussions” on Scotland in front of Sir Peter. The heads of other Westminster departments now hold ad-hoc meetings in private to discuss Scotland, without informing the Scottish civil service of the outcome of their meetings.

What an incredible turn of events in Whitehall. Scotland is being treated as if it were already a foreign country, and cannot be trusted.
But it also begs the question, what is it that these Senior English Civil Servants are discussing about Scotland, which they don’t want Scotlands Senior Civil Servant knowing about? What do they have to hide?
Scotland as a founding partner of this Union, are supposed to be an equal in the decision making of the United Kingdom. We haven’t left it yet!

Which brings us on to the other report which came to my attention, this time from the Scotsman.

A request had been made for publication of the minutes of the Cabinet Ministerial Committee of Devolution to Scotland and Wales and the English Regions, dating from 1997 and 1998.

The Scotsman reported:

“Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, has blocked the release of Cabinet committee papers relating to devolution under the Freedom of Information Act.
Grieve confirmed today his belief that their release would not be in the public interest.”

Mr Grieve’s veto related to two specific requests for documents.

The first, received by the Cabinet Office on May 24 2010, asked for the “minutes of the 1997 Cabinet meeting on devolution”.

The request was rejected on June 18 2010, and the applicant requested an internal review of the decision on July 14 2010. Refusal was upheld the following month, on August 11 2010.

A request for further appeal was then made to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and on September 12 2011, having reviewed the decision, the Information Commissioners ordered the material be released.
A second request, made on June 7 2010, asked for “the minutes of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Devolution for Scotland, Wales and the Regions”.
The Cabinet Office rejected the request on July 5 2010, and an appeal was made on July 21 2010. An internal review upheld the refusal on November 24 2010.
The request was referred to the ICO on November 29 2010 for further investigation. The Information Commissioner ruled on September 13 2011 that the information should be released.

In his statement, Mr Grieve said: “This is only the third time the power… has been exercised since the (Freedom of Information) Act came into force in 2005.
“In that time, central Government has released an enormous amount of information in response to FoI requests – including in October 2010 the minutes of the Cabinet discussion of the Westland affair.

“My decision to exercise the veto in this case was not taken lightly but in accordance with the Statement on Government Policy on the use of the executive override.
“In line with the policy, I have both assessed the balance of the public interest in disclosure and non-disclosure of these minutes and considered whether this case meets the criteria set out in the Statement of Government Policy for use of the veto.
“I consider the public interest falls in favour of non-disclosure and that disclosure would be damaging to the doctrine of collective responsibility and detrimental to the effective operation of Cabinet government.

“I have concluded, in light of the criteria set out in the Government’s policy, this constitutes an exceptional case and the exercise of the veto is warranted.”

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said: “The Information Commissioner is aware that the Attorney-General has exercised the veto and regrets that the tribunal has, for the second time, been denied an opportunity to consider the issues as provided for in the Freedom of Information Act.

“The commissioner will study the Attorney-General’s statement of reasons to understand what ‘exceptional circumstances’ there might be to justify the use of the veto in this case.

Such a veto has only been used twice in the past, once relating to further devolution papers and once over a request for Cabinet minutes relating to Iraq.
Which all sort of begs the question, Why out of all the thousands of papers they have released, Including cabinet documents on the Westland Affair have they refused to issue information on these two devolution cabinet meetings, and taken the highly unusual step of using their Veto? A veto only ever used with regards to the Iraq War,and these two Devolution requests.
What can be so incendiary about them, that we must not know?
Why are they being placed on a top secret scale equivalent to the Iraq War? We know now why they wanted Iraq hushed up, but Devolution?

Can it possibly be that we are seeing a McCrone mark11 ? What are they hiding now? What don’t they want us to know?
The Information Commissioner can find nothing which might endanger the British State, nothing he would consider to be Top Secret.
Yet, here they are, refusing to divulge what took place. Might it be that whatever is in these papers is political dynamite?
McCrones report would have come under that sort of category too.
Can it be that Scotland might be even more wealthy than we could imagine? Or is it something else entirely? Whatever it is, they sure as blazes dont want Scotland to know!

These two reports in different papers, only a day apart, both point to seriously underhand dealings by the British Government.
And I am left having a distinct feeling of McCrone Deja Vu.

Newsnet Scotland reporting on Telegraph story

Scotsman Article on Veto

Independent article 2005 McCrone Report

About auldacquaintance

I am not a member of any political party. I am however a strong supporter of Scots Independence. Any views which I express in this Blog are purely my own. This Blog intends to be a place where I will be putting my views on Scots Independence. It will primarily concern itself with the upcoming Referendum In Scotland. However It will also be somewhat diverse in the range of day to day issues which are evident to me in modern day Scotland. Not all of it will be political, and indeed may take me off into avenues I am not even aware of yet. Please come and join in on this journey, and any comments are welcome provided they are not abusive! All the best from a new acquaintance! Rod
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9 Responses to McCrone DeJa Vu

  1. Westminster is a dictatorship hiding under the cloak of democracy and as such were dragged screaming to devolution. I have posted various links in my ‘discussion’ I had here with someone who is in total denial over the reasons how we eventually got devolution.

  2. Airt says:

    It will be interesting to see if/how mainstream pick up and report on this. Any hush-up, down-play or bias will be very obvious and very telling.

  3. Morag says:

    I suppose we’re just going to have to put up with a bunch of people who take James Wilkie at his own (not inconsiderable) evaluation peddling his myth for him. It’s probably too much to expect a bit of critical thinking when presented with such a seductive conspiracy theory.

  4. jafurn says:

    Great article . Perhaps what was contained within these minutes was even more damaging than the disclosures within these papers….

    Should be read by anyone who wishes an insight into UK government thinking on Devolution and the ‘Scottish question’

    As a taste of what it contains consider the following…
    {They leave no doubt that Treasury officials regarded the case for Scottish independence as being much stronger than the Government was prepared to admit publicly. This judgement was largely based on North Sea Oil, so a different conclusion might be reached today.

    Nevertheless, the material is relevant to contemporary debates about the UK, if only because it illustrates how far a British Government’s perceptions can differ from its own unionist rhetoric.}

  5. jafurn says:

    Some more here…
    “the orders of magnitude are sufficient to show that Scotland would have more cash on independence than under continued union.”
    Devolution: Economic advantages to Scotland of the Union

    “If there is a moral from all this, it is that progress toward devolution should be delayed for as long as possible consistently with honouring the Government’s commitment to move down the devolution road and containing the SNP lobby in Parliament.”
    Scotland: Implications for External Financing.

  6. Robert, (Auld Bob), Peffers. says:

    Where is there any legal informantion that the Treaty of Union was anything other than a Treaty between only TWO equal sovereign nations, (Greater England then encompassed The pnincedom of Wales and the crown of Ireland). There is no suggestion that either nation is superior to the other. The treaty formed the already united Kingdom’s joint, “Her/His Majesty’s Parliament of the United Kingdom”. Not a word that it made either nation the superior partner. That means, in effect, that each partner are equal owners of every last item of the present, “Her Majesty’s Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland”. Every last UK nuclear warhead, every last soldiier, sailor and airman, every civil servant and even every last paperclip in Her Majesty’s Stationary Office belong, equally, to both signatory partners. Every treasure in The Nation’s coffers, art, music and museum and all joint assets of both countries. There is not one single word in that Treaty, (a legal contract), that mentions the partners share on either a geographic or per capita basis. The term used is Sovereign nations. So let’s just be clear, no noe has the right to claim that England has better claim to any assets of that partnership. Made quite clear as Her Majesty’s Government has grabbed ALL the proceeds of the North Sea as if they were an equally owned asset but then alocate only an 8.5% per capita share as Scotland’s. Those papers being sat on are as much Scotland’s as they are England’s or indeed those of the United Kingdom Parliament.

  7. Bill Cruickshank says:

    Well said Bob! The problem is how do we get such information out to the people of Scotland, I’ll wager that the vast majority of Scots have never heard of the McCrone Report. I have to confess as a retired teacher, I thought it was a reference to the McCrone Report on teacher’s pay and conditions (Jan.2001), I now have a copy of the 1975 Report and think it is vital that Scots are made aware of the Report and that we are still being denied information even today! I have many friends and two sons who work in the oil industry and all are of the opion that there is at least another 50 years of oil and gas in Scottish waters (a report in the Telegraph claimed 100 years), hence the fight for Scottish resources to be used to benefit the lives of all in Scotland is still very relevant.I would welcome becoming involved in some sort of campaign which would publicize the McCrone Report and the fact that information is being witheld from the Scottish people by Downing Street.

  8. bigbuachaille says:

    You are really doing us proud.
    I am convinced that if the facts behind the McCrone Report (not to mention the Scottish-English Maritime Borders Scandal) were generally known, we would be a substantial way along the route to independence. Falsification of the facts, dissimulation and secrecy have been the default position of successive Westminster Governments.. We really need Scottish journalists and broadcasters to take the initiative and publish / broadcast the full facts. There are a number of high-profile journalists and broadcasters whose opinions are highly rated by the general public – a proportion of the population which is entirely ignorant of the two scandals to which I have referred. It cannot be left to the SNP to make the running on this matter, as the Unionists will simply decry it as politicking.
    Scottish journalists and broadcasters, wake up!
    If the truth is so important to Westminster for the regime to conceal it, it is certainly in the public interest that you draw this to the attention of the voters..

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