Editorial: Seven Months Of Rough Wooing

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Tim Haïdar

1543 - Henry VIII of England launches a medieval Totale Krieg on The Kingdom of Scotland in an attempt to force the unification of the two states through the marriage of his son, Edward, and the infant Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. The unsuccessful seven year long conflict would later become known as "The Rough Wooing".

Half a millennium ago, the rulers of England and Scotland were locked in a battle with Scottish sovereignty on the line. Yesterday, Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, and British Prime Minister, David Cameron, drew up their battle lines seven miles apart in the vicinity of Aberdeen. Their chosen champ de bataille? The future of North Sea oil and gas.

Cameron fully threw his support behind the final version of The Wood Report and its recommendations to maximise exploitation of the remaining 24 billion barrels of oil on the UK Continental Shelf.

Two leagues away at Portlethen, Salmond convened his troops to present the vision of an independent Scotland’s oil future, unveiling his plan to establish a new £10.6 million Oil and Gas Innovation Centre in Aberdeen "to increase production and reduce costs in the UK Continental Shelf by enabling the delivery of ground-breaking technical solutions, using the skills and expertise of Scottish universities, innovators and industry."

Salmond also stated his intention to launch a Norwegian-style oil fund in the coming decade "which gives greater security to the economy".

As mentioned last week in Independence Blackjack In The North Sea Casino, industry is already beginning to formulate which side to back in the run up to the September 18th referendum. Now both sides have hoisted their standards, the fog of war may have lifted slightly and alliances are easier to strike up.

In the coming weeks, the rhetoric will get fiercer and the stakes higher, with only one thing assured: the Scottish electorate are in for seven months of rough wooing ahead….