The Sunday Times ran a poll today which showed that English voters resent Scotland's funding, want it cut further - and a majority would be happy to see us become independent. I actually take encouragement from the poll, even though it shows once again how misled the general public is on these matters. For example, many English people believe they have had to bail our "Scottish banks". As one commentator suggested afterwards, if these were Scottish banks, can Scotland have a refund of the billions of pounds of revenue they sent to the UK Treasury during the boom years? Similarly if these were Scottish banks, that means the oil and gas in Scottish waters must also be Scottish. Will we get a refund of that tax revenue too? It's difficult to calculate, and many economists believe revenues have been underestimated. But around £250billion worth of revenue from the North had gone to London since the first barrel came out in 1975. Even if you quibble with the figures, it is widely acknowledged by economists that oil supported Mrs Thatchers "industrial restructuring", tax cuts and mass unemployment in the 1980s as well as the Brown Blair public spending programme from 1997 onwards.
And it's not going to stop. Scottish Oil will remain plentiful and profitable for the next 30 years according to industry reports. This is why the uk government went to such lengths to deny the significance of oil to the economy - see the secret McCrone report. The phenomenon of Peak Oil, combined with the expansion of newer economies like China, means the price of crude will rise in the longer term . The North Sea is well placed to take advantage of this given its reserves. When I have written about oil in the past, several English parliament supporters have argued with the figures but said - let's put it to the test. I agree, it's the only way!
*For more see a site called oilofscotland.org. It is unashamadly campaigning, but has excellent links as well.
In other political material in The Sunday Times I reflect on the tone and content of the Labour manifesto launched by Jim Murphy last week.
Elsewhere in the paper James Mitchell, professor of government at the University of Strathclyde, analyses the alliance between the SNP and Plaid Cymru, which could be significant in the event of a hung parliament.