In my opinion, the crux of the forthcoming referendum issue is a squabble about oil.
We’ve seen this sort of thing many times before in various parts of the world, and as natural resouces get more scarce, there will be further examples.
The Biafran struggle, when a part of Nigeria declared independence – the Biafran war was largely a struggle over who controlled and benefitted from the oil in that region. Renewed Argentinian nationalistic claims over Islas Malvinas/Falklands grow as soon as there are new hydrocarbon activities in that area. Many of the conflicts during the past century in Iraq have had oil at their heart, and now we’re seeing the possible emergence of new nation states in that region – one of the first things that the Kurds have done is to divert oil supplies under their control. The secession of Katanga from the Congo in 1960 wasn’t about oil, but rather other natural resources (copper, gold, uranium). There are often outside, or commercial forces which are able to influence such situations.
It’s the same thing, once again, in Scotland, isn’t it?
At least the nats in Scotland recognise the importance of the oil question. If it isn’t really about oil – if it is really about a nation wanting independence – then why don’t the nationalists say, “We’ll donate all the future revenues from North Sea oil to the Red Cross”. Then we’d see to what extent the feelings for nationhood are real, rather than about greed for control over natural resources.