Alex Salmond accuses SNP and Greens of ‘student politics’ over North Sea

ALEX Salmond has accused Nicola Sturgeon and the Greens of “student politics” as he waded into the debate over the future of North Sea oil and gas. 

In a statement, the former first minister insisted securing a just transition required more than just “sound bites”. 

And he said dodging the debate by leaving it to Westminster was “even worse”.

Mr Salmond said the North Sea has been “one of the greatest wasted resources in the history of humanity”.

He said abandoning it would be a “betrayal” of the workforce and would be used to damage the independence case.

The former SNP leader argued it is “perfectly possible” to reconcile hydrocarbon development with a zero carbon future. 

It comes after Ms Sturgeon’s Government announced a draft cooperation agreement with the Greens in Holyrood.

Earlier this month, the First Minister wrote to Boris Johnson urging him to reassess the development of a new oil field west of Shetland.

Mr Salmond, who now leads the Alba Party, said: “The North Sea has been one of the greatest wasted resources in the history of humanity. 

“Whereas our Norwegian counterparts created a sovereign wealth fund that benefits the common good of the people of Norway, a fund worth over $1 trillion, which grew by £90bn last year alone, Scotland’s oil wealth has been squandered for decades on obscenities such as illegal wars and weapons of mass destruction. 

“’Scotland’s Oil’ wasn’t just a slogan that helped create the foundations for modern support for independence, it highlighted the democratic deficit of Scotland’s resources being squandered by Westminster governments we simply do not vote for.

“The climate emergency has rightly taken centre stage as the greatest issue the world must confront. 

“As first minister, I first took control of climate change legislation from Westminster and then took the tough and controversial decisions to secure Scotland’s renewables future like building the Beauly- Denny transmission line, and licensing onshore and offshore wind projects like the Aberdeen Demonstrator. 

“If it hadn’t been for Westminster perfidy, we would already have the world’s first commercial hydrogen power station in Peterhead and proof positive that North Sea development can be both clean and green.

“However, the future of North Sea, the communities it benefits, the jobs it supports, and the economic advantage to Scotland merits much more serious consideration than what currently looks like student politics masquerading as coalition building. 

“It is perfectly possible to reconcile hydrocarbon development with a zero carbon future, just as it’s possible to decarbonise transport without stopping essential road building. 

“If I had placed government in the hands of the Green Party, there would currently be no Forth Crossing and no Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road.

“Abandoning the North Sea would be a betrayal of the workforce and used by opponents to damage the independence case which for many decades has focussed on developing our country’s huge natural resources. 

“Dodging the debate by leaving it to Westminster is even worse, sending out the debilitating message that Scotland is not capable of taking the big decisions for ourselves.

“Securing a just transition requires a lot more than sound bites, but rather a thought out plan on how to protect the jobs we have, build on the economic benefits we have gained and use the unrivalled expertise of a world energy capital to lead in offshore renewables.”

A Scottish Greens spokesman said: “It’s just three months since Alex Salmond and his band of political misfits were sent packing at the ballot box by the people of Scotland.

“As a result of our record election result, Scottish Green Party members will have the opportunity to build a brighter future for Scotland by voting for a transformational cooperation agreement this weekend.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992