FOR all of us who are desperate to see a free and independent Scotland, Tuesday’s edition was a miserable and depressing read.

Not just the McCrone report itself, which most will have read before, but the accompanying articles, which underline how we were robbed of a resource that would have transformed our infrastructure and life expectations.

READ MORE: Marking 50 years of McCrone Report being hushed up by UK Government

In addition, your pages made plain what a hapless bunch we and our government are when, after 50 years, we have done little or nothing about this huge crime visited upon us. The article by Dr Simon Forrest in particular was extremely effective in demonstrating the paucity of our actions (I founded a leading tidal firm ... and fear renewables could be McCrone part two, Feb 28). I have used these columns before to plead for our government not to be pushed around by the enemy in Westminster but just to get on and do “stuff”, concrete things that will salve our situation and morale.

On this theme, Dr Forrest gives several specific examples of initiatives that our non-independent government could have taken but hasn’t. For example, our own national energy company, the establishment of which Nicola Sturgeon announced at the SNP conference in October 2017 – a company “that would offer green energy at cost price by 2021” – and then quietly dumped. Further, the Scotwind lease from the Crown Estate in 2022, which was thrown away to 17 multinationals for a song, when Dr Forrest tells us that we could have retained a 29% share for the public good – why didn’t we? Who decided not to?

READ MORE: Tom Devine: The reason the McCrone Report is so significant

In not taking such actions, it seems that our government are clueless about what to do or how to go about it. It appears that they lack the professional experience to guide them. I feel sure that if initiatives that demonstrated fightback and promised an improvement in all of our circumstances were pursued, the public would respond very positively. Some success would demonstrate much more effectively than endless reports and white papers that our freedom is within our own hands, and would surely result in a clear movement towards an irrefutable majority for Yes.

So can we maybe act now to set up a panel of friendly experts in the renewable energy and transmission industries, in the related law and land issues, and others. Such a panel would be tasked with identifying and reporting on initiatives that might be enacted now, so to deliver positive and relatively rapid results.

Ken Gow

EXCELLENT article by Simon Forrest in yesterday’s National and remindful of so much deceitful double dealing on the part of Westminster mandarins over many decades. More especially in the energy sector. I finally sourced the two-volume biography of Glasgow-headquartered Burmah Oil, situated at 191 West George Street for many decades since its founding in 1886 by David Sime Cargill to replace the Rangoon Oil Company he had previously purchased. It is a narrative of exceptional personal courage and far-sightedness.

Cargill passed away in 1904 having handed the reins of Burmah Oil to his son John, who was instrumental in advancing the fortunes of the company to unimaginable degrees; sequentially securing the exploration rights to a fledgling oil development in Persia. Named Masjed Soleyman and discovered in 1908 by George Reynolds on behalf of William Knox D’Arcy – an Australian businessman who had made his fortune mining for silver – the oil field was to prove one of the most prolific in the world until eclipsed by gigantic oil acreage on the opposite side of the Persian Gulf in Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond: Why the McCrone Report is still so key 50 years on

Knox D’Arcy was running short of capital, however, and John Cargill saw an opportunity to secure more than 90% ownership of the concession to be named Anglo-Persian Oil Company. In the 1930s the name became Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, but not before the British Government had become a major shareholder, principally to keep warships of the Royal Navy well supplied with oil.

Up until the Second World War and beyond, the Iranian government received only a miniscule amount of royalties and consequently nationalised their valuable asset under the stewardship of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. There followed an embargo of Iranian oil engineered by both Britain and the United States whilst the considerable number of UK nationals in the country, especially at the huge refinery in Abadan, were unceremoniously kicked out. But of course that is another story.

In the early 1950s Anglo-Iranian became British Petroleum or BP, and Burmah Oil was devoured by BP in 2000, including Castrol Company in the former’s portfolio. In the earlier years of North Sea development a state-owned oil company in the shape of British National Oil Corporation sourced North Sea acreage on its individual behalf, but was in all probability much too efficient before transposing into Britoil, headquartered in a brand new opulent building in Glasgow. It also succumbed to the BP banner centred on London.

Of course, with the advent of North Sea oil the Scottish stock exchanges became prime targets for consolidation, with Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh operating as local branches centred on the main Glasgow exchange until 1973, when it finally closed its doors for the last time.

The foregoing is only the tiniest fragment of the worldwide enterprises begun and populated by Scots before eventually being absorbed or unconditionally adjoined into the British state, normally centralised in London. Throughout my years in Glasgow the poignancy of “North British” hotels or Europe’s largest locomotive manufacturers, “North British Loco”, never struck me as extraordinary but it most certainly does now!

Roderick MacSween