Last Thursday evening I was delighted to be part of a panel in Newtonhill who took questions from residents of the village on the independence referendum.
The evening was a great success and I am sure that all who attended were pleased at the manner in which this lively debate was held - and I have no doubt that those ‘undecided’ voters in attendance will have gone home with much food for thought.
Irrespective of the outcome of the referendum, the return of regular political debates to town halls and community centres across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has been fantastic and I hope that this trend will continue beyond September 18.
I have now been fortunate to attend a host of public meetings, with numerous more planned before we go to the polls, and one of the key issues which rightly continues to be raised is whether Scotland can ‘afford to be independent once the oil runs out in 40 years’.
The simple answer to this is Yes.
Independence will finally offer us the opportunity to make the most of this asset by creating an oil fund akin to that of Norway which is currently working towards the $1 trillion mark despite only being set up in 1990.
When this oil fund is considered alongside our burgeoning renewables, tourism, life sciences, creative and food and drink industries, as well as our world leading research and higher education institutions, it is clear that the long-term financial future of Scotland would be secure and successful far beyond our oil producing years.
However, this future is one reliant on a Yes vote - we already know that the UK Government has no intention of creating an oil fund to support future generations and that they will instead seek to renew their nuclear weapons..