THE BLOG

Scotland's Hydro and a Tale of Two Futures

12/02/2014 12:10 GMT | Updated 13/04/2014 10:59 BST

The pumped-storage hydro electricity station at Cruachan, near Oban, could almost double in capacity under plans revealed by Scottish Power.

Currently generating 440 MW, if the plans get the go ahead then Cruachan could generate over 1,000 MW - enough to power 900,000 homes while creating 1,500 jobs. A 600 MW pumped-storage scheme is also in the pipeline at Coire Glas.

Pumped-storage hydro schemes are the perfect complement for other forms of renewables such as wind and wave power, storing power by pumping water to a reservoir when there is a surplus of energy which is then released when demand is high.

A tale of two futures: guaranteed austerity with No shows why Yes is a must

We know the Tories are wedded to cuts because of ideology rather than economic necessity - even the UK Business Secretary says so. Last night Westminster Labour leader Ed Miliband confirmed his party's commitment to post-election cuts and "continued austerity", according to the Scotsman, (with the Daily Express also noting his determination to be a 'conviction politician' in the mould of Margaret Thatcher).

With all this austerity, few will be surprised at the findings of a new Resolution Foundation report showing living standards in 2018 will still be 3.5% lower than at the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

So austerity for the many is the consequence of a No vote - but not austerity for all. TUC research published today shows that since the financial collapse, financial services firms have paid half as much in corporation tax (£32.4 billion) as they have in bonuses (£67.6 billion).

Today Barclays' bank figures show profits down 32% to £5.2bn, but bonuses and incentive awards are up 10% to £2.4bn - all in the same week as the bank announced 12,000 jobs were to go. "So incentives to do what exactly?" tweeted the BBC's Robert Peston. Quite.

And as Aditya Chakraborrty argues in the Guardian "a giant sucking sound can be heard in the UK today: the sound of public money and private wealth being sucked down south to London...this is no longer north v south: it's the rest of the country versus a small elite in London, on which is lavished a surplus of political attention, public funds and opportunities". Westminster isn't working for Scotland!

A tale of two campaigns

Alex Massie in the Times notes the momentum behind Yes and comments of the grass-roots campaign: "online and offline alike, Yes Scotland is more motivated and better organised." In contrast former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy has criticised the No campaign for "shrill exaggeration" and for a failure to set out what a no vote will mean for the Highlands and Islands. And Yes Scotland board member and SSP national spokesman Colin Fox writes in the Morning Star on why more and more voters are switching to Yes.