I have seen, recently, two pieces stating, quite categorically, that the McCrone report written for the UK Government in the 1970s was released under the 30 year rule. One was Jim Sillars' paper (not very good) and one was a BBC production (passable).
For the sake of decency and history, can we be clear. This report wasn't released under the 30 year rule and it wouldn't have been. It was the result of the inspiration of a guy called Davie Hutchison who used the Freedom of Information legislation to dig deeper and deeper into the archives, using references in some archives to ask for other documents until he found a gold mine. I know this because I am fortunate enough to be his friend and lucky enough to have been one of the team that worked on his discovery before it was released. I was also the guy who got the text messages while Davie was in the archives, they went something like this:
DH to CC: What did we say about oil in the 1970s?
CC to DH: Dunno exactly, I was just a child.
DH to CC: I was several years away from being born, what did we say generally?
CC to DH: We had a campaign "its Scotland's oil" saying there was a lot of wealth in North Sea Oil and it belonged to us.
DH to CC: And they denied it?
CC to DH: As far as I remember, yes.
DH to CC: I've found something that might be interesting, I'll be up as soon as I've copied it.
I went back to work thinking Davie had got over-excited about something that 'everyone' knew about. Davie, meanwhile, spent about half of what he earned in a week on the huge charges for photocopying at the National Archives and brought us the stuff that has now become famous.
Having grown up in Dundee East, I was delighted to be able to send an embargoed copy to my father for him to share with Gordon Wilson who fronted the 'Scotland's Oil' campaign years before Davie Hutchison was born.
The 30 year rule works on the basis of the date that the last document was added to the folder. If my memory serves me right (and you can check it at the National Archives in Charlotte Square) the last document added to that folder was 1992 so none of it was due for release until 2022 (providing nothing else was added to extend the date). There was nothing blacked out - I'm fairly sure the Scotland Office didn't know what they were releasing - and I think that some people do a good job in keeping it available.
Davie Hutchison, though, deserves respect for the work he did and the dedication he showed. No-one should think that this was an easy release under the 30 year rule.