RECENTLY the television programme The Harbour, featuring the port of Aberdeen, was broadcast. Most people may not be aware that not one ship shown leaving or arriving at Aberdeen is owned by a Scottish shipping company. Furthermore, of the hundreds of vessels from oil supply ships to drill-ships operating in the North Sea none has been built by a Scottish shipyard.
Jim Murphy MP and other Unionists propagate that independence will lead to the demise of the Scottish shipbuilding industry but they never mention that successive Labour and Tory governments have presided over the closure of our major shipyards at Greenock; Port Glasgow; Dumbarton; Clydebank; Linthouse; Leith; Fife; Dundee and Aberdeen.
The last major passenger ship built on the Clyde was the QE2 in 1969, 43 years ago.
Since then, however, hundreds of passenger ships for the cruise industry have been built in shipyards from Finland to Korea but none in Scotland.
It is a sad day for the once famous Clyde shipbuilding industry to be dependent on uncertain warship orders rather than the important part the river once played in building vessels for the international shipping trade.
Donald J MacLeod
Bridge of Don
THANKS to Scottish Labour’s back-stabbing, (your report, 27 November) Portsmouth politicians are defending their BAE shipbuilding yard with the “uncertainty over Scottish independence” line. It amazes me just how arrogant and ignorant they are down south on this and other subjects – worse still, they don’t realise it.
We have the bland statement that the Royal Navy doesn’t built warships outside the UK. This is not strictly true. In February this year a contract for £452 million to build four RN supply tankers was given to South Korea.
Portsmouth council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, a Liberal Democrat, made a statement invoking Scottish independence which includes the words, “… because the Scottish yards would be outside the UK”. But what is/will be the UK? By the 1603 Union of the Crowns we had the birth of the United Kingdom. This will not be affected by Scotland’s parliamentary independence. On the other hand we have the Treaty of Union, 1707. This brought together the parliaments of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England and concerned/concerns no other territory. Therefore, when the Treaty of Union is abrogated, there will be a continuing UK in one sense, but in the other the UK will cease to exist.
It follows that either Scotland and what is the “Anglo-sphere” will together form the UK, or neither will.
The trouble with southern politicians, and the more dog-like Scots ones, is that they see England as the real UK, the core, the kernel, and other bits of these isles are simply bolt-ons to make greater England.
I sympathise with Portsmouth and would like to help out. After we grant the Anglo-sphere independence, we will have some surplus nuclear subs which we will send to them. I’m sure there will be millions to be made in maintenance contracts. Meanwhile, the Scottish yards can negotiate contracts with foreign governments, just as they have been doing.
Thomas R Burgess
St Catherine’s Square