I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Sunday, August 15, 2021



Even though I have never shared a room with an elephant, I don't find it so very hard to imagine how it would feel. Yeah. Bloody terrifying. There are certain provisos I suppose. Like how big is the room? If the room was genuinely cavernous and I was at one end and the elephant was at the other end, then I guess it might be relatively OK. But sharing a regular sized room with an elephant?

No thanks.

So Frankland, what's with all the elephant talk on this grey Sunday morning?

Well it goes something like this.

Obviously the prospect of how an independent Scotland would manage to pay its bills continues to be a regularly aired favourite for the media.

Things don't tend to vary much.

The Scottish Government panelist will say everything is going to be be great: fairness and freedom and ice lollies for everyone.

The British Government panelist will paint pictures of a Scotland looking a lot like South Sudan with emaciated citizens fighting over who gets to eat the dead rat.

The usual back and forth will carry on for a while. Yes, I'm afraid you will be too poor to manage on your own. No we won't. Yes you will.

Until eventually it's time to wrap the thing up and the presenter will dutifully give a nod and a wink to the panelist from the British Government and dream of promotion.

And all the while the big fat elephant in the room munches quietly on a bunch of Acacia leaves and nobody notices it is even there.

Why on earth is the Scottish Government so utterly incapable of getting itself onto the front foot when it comes to explaining why Scotland will be absolutely fine and dandy as a small independent nation in the wild west world of the twenty first century?

Big talk Frankland. Is that all it is, or can it be backed up? Can flesh be retro-fitted onto the bones?

I reckon it can.

A good rule of thumb in almost anything is when in doubt, follow the money.

So let's follow.

Where is all the big money? The so called clever money. The money of the two thousand supposedly super smart multi billionaires who more or less own the planet? Who do they trust to look after their ill gotten gains?

Well that is easy enough to answer. It's not exactly a secret.

We're talking the likes of BlackRock and Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

The masters of the universe. The gleaming towers in Manhattan and the City of London where all the trillions of pounds and dollars are stashed. The best and brightest Oxford and Harvard have to offer are recruited to find the very best home for the treasure of the super rich. Their Cray computer sized brains are tasked with spotting the next big thing. The Shangri La where the greatest return on capital will be found over the coming decades.

Surely such a place is as hidden and mysterious as the lost city of Atlantis. Is it the bones of an idea inside the head of some obscure Silicon Valley wizz kid which in time will become the next Facebook?

Actually, it isn't.

Instead the answer the big brains have collectively found is completely old school. Right out in the open. Blindingly obvious.

The greatest of all elephants in the room.

They call it the next oil.

And it comes out of your tap when you clean your teeth in the morning.

Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, we're talking water.

As in the second most important thing in the world.

We humans can only manage without oxygen for three or four minutes, so air has to be our number one commodity and my how the high fliers at Goldman Sachs must yearn to find a way to corner the the 'air we all breathe' market.

Imagine it? Privatised air. A dollar a day for the privilege of breathing in and breathing out. A income stream of eight billion a day. The dream ticket.

Thankfully, this particular corporate wet dream is out of reach for the moment.

The second most important thing on the other hand is very much within their grasp.

We can only get by without water for three or four days and then it is very much goodnight Sooty.

And unlike the air we breathe, water is very much buyable. And right now the big money is pouring into water.

It is the ultimate commodity. Oil was pretty good. Almost impossible to manage without. But never completely impossible. There was always coal or gas or horses or slaves to be used as a fall back if the oil ran short.

There were always other sources of power.

But there is nothing to replace water and our planet is slowly but surely running out.

Or to be more accurate, we are running out of the water we can actually do something with. As in the fresh stuff. If only we could get along with the salty stuff, we would be right as rain. To coin a phrase.

And no doubt one day we will find a practical, affordable way to yank the salt out of seawater and thereby make it usable.

So long as we don't all die of thirst before getting there.

Well the big brains at Goldman Sachs obviously don't see that day arriving any time soon which is why they are buying water companies from Chile to Outer Mongolia.

As actual human beings, we don't actually need all that much water to meet our daily needs. Drinking, washing and toilet flushing can be covered by a couple of hundred litres a day. However, even such modest demands are becoming hard to meet in more and more places. A couple of years ago Cape Town took its four million citizens all the way down to sixty litres a day each. For a while it looked like they were about to run out altogether.

This is the story of the next hundred years for city after city. Country after country.

Even the worst of governments will have no choice other than to prioritise their citizenry when it comes to sharing out whatever water is available. To try to do otherwise would mean a mass uprising within weeks.

If there is only sixty litres a day of water available for the people, what are you going to say to the brewery which uses hundreds of litres to make a single pint of ale?

You're going to have to say sorry but no.

2000 litres of water = one quarter pounder

15000 litres of water = a pair of jeans.

This will become an increasingly common story which will play out over the decades to come as all kinds of industries roam the earth looking for a place to call home. A place where water is in abundant supply. A place where they can minimise the risk of laying out millions on a new plant only to have to shut it down a few years later due to there being no water.

This will be story for ninety percent of the nations which make up planet earth.

Only ten percent will be able to say yes. Nae bother. In you come pal. We've plenty of sites for you to choose from. Water? Of course we can give you water. We've got plenty. And renewable energy? Sure. Fill your boots, pal.

And guess what? Getting warm?

Of course you are.

Scotland is absolutely in that magical ten percent.

And being a part of the magical ten percent of places where water and renewable energy are in huge surplus with have any number of benefits.

Like being able to tell the corporations desperate to find a water rich home that a forty percent corporation tax is non negotiable. As is a generous employee pension fund. As is providing all employees with the best working conditions in the world. And maternity care. And sick pay.

And of course the companies would much rather be in Bangladesh paying a dollar for a twelve hour day, but Bangladesh is all out of water.

All the dollar a day goldmines are running dry.

In the years to come, there will be a price to pay for locating factories in the places where water is to be had.

Places like Scotland.

I mean, just take a look at a map. If Carlsberg were to create the perfect water collection system....

Here are a few cold, hard facts which London is no doubt more than aware of. Facts to keep them up at night.

Scotland has 31,000 fresh water lochs.

Scotland is home to 90% of the UK's fresh water.

England is on track to start running out of water in 25 years.

Scotland only uses 1% of the fresh water we have available.

I'm going to say that again.


99% percent is available to take us into the brightest future of just about any country on earth.

So long as we wake up and claim the right to own our own future and not allow it to be stolen.

It's the elephant in the IndyRef 2 room.

And you can bet your bottom dollar the smug faced bastard from the British Government knows it only too well.

It's what our lords and masters in London have been on with for four hundred years and more.

They are the leaders in their field when it comes to stripping a colony right down to the bone.

When the Brits arrived in West Bengal in the seventeenth century it was the richest place on earth.

When we left in 1947, it was the poorest place in the world.

Now what happened there I wonder? What indeed?

Well this is something we should all be all too familiar with here in Scotland. It's yet another elephant right there in the room. All that North Sea Oil money which was piped straight down to London to pay for the M25 and Crossrail.

Do we seriously thing anything has changed? Do we seriously think they don't have their plans in place to go to their colony stripping playbook which has been four hundred years in the making?

And yet the panelists from the Scottish Government refuse to paint the big picture.

It's all about water, stupid.

The new oil.

And we are Klondike.

Can anyone seriously suggest with a straight face that the Government of a newly independent Scotland will struggle to sell treasury bonds?


Try selling the fairy tale of endemic Scottish poverty to a Goldman Sachs bond trader tasked with finding a safe ten year home for a whole bunch of big money.

We own the box seat and right now we are allowing a public school boy from London to sit in it rent free and it seems we are too shy and embarrassed to acknowledge the fact that the said box seat is actually in our name.

Now if that ain't an elephant in the room I really don't know what is!