Wasting North Sea Oil and Buying Votes

In the same news bulletin that told that oil has been discovered in economically viable quantities in the Weald, which stretches from Kent to Surrey, I heard that the Scottish National party complain that the wealth from  North Sea Oil had been wasted by Westminster Governments.

No doubt much of it has been wasted. A good deal of the oil wealth has been wasted on making much of the United Kingdom’s population comfortable on benefits and building a social security system that is no longer a safety net, but a structure that provides many with a viable alternative to work from the cradle to the grave.

In fact successive governments have managed to spend the oil and gas wealth generated from offshore without putting any of that wealth aside as a reserve and investing it in projects which will produce income and allow the reserve to keep pace with inflation.

If we ask “where are the reserves?” like Churchill’s famous question to the French before Dunkirk question “Ou est la masse de manoeuvre?” we get the same answer. “Aucune.”

It has been in the nature of democratically elected governments to take wealth where they find it and distribute it to those that do not have it. They will be safe in the knowledge that there are far more poor people than there are wealthy people, and to poor people taking money off rich people and giving it to poor people sounds like a good idea. There are more votes among the poor than there are among the rich.

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