Chilling spectre of reds under the bed

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Gordon H MacSpadden (Letters, 2 November) takes issue with this newspaper’s comment (31 October) on the Grangemouth dispute. I disagree with many of the points he makes, and question the terms he uses to convey his anti-union views.

Mr MacSpadden wrongly refers to the situation at Grangemouth as “anarchy”, which of course entails disorder, with no guiding principle, conjuring up images of “the mob” – hardly a recognisable description of organised union activity with clear aims.

He also asserts that Ineos had “no option” but to act in the way it did – implying that the company was a helpless victim of a treacherous union. The “ordinary working men and women” whom he purports to pity are fully paid up members of that union, and knew exactly what they were objecting to.

The Scotsman comment was completely accurate in its assertion that David Cameron’s view of the situation was “partial and revisionist”: not only did he choose to omit any mention of the opportunistic part that Ineos played in the affair, but he also created a version of events which depicted the company as hapless victims of “a rogue trade unionist”.

It’s hardly “totalitarian” to wish to present the facts rather than a biased version of the truth. Mr MacSpadden also cites a letter by Alastair Harper (31 October) as being “much more professional and accurate” in its content than the The Scotsman comment.

Since the main thrust of Mr Harper’s letter is an attack on trade unionists, whom he sees as “Marxist extremists in their varying disguises”, I fail to see how he can come to this conclusion.

What he really means, of course, is that he agrees with the latter’s views, which is a different matter all together.

It would appear that the spectre of “reds under the beds” still haunts many who equate unions with Marxism.

It’s been interesting, if dispiriting, to see how quickly these old prejudices have been brought to the fore in this time of economic upheaval.

Carolyn Taylor


Broughty Ferry

Michael Kelly’s conclusion that Alex Salmond’s cause was lost on Grangemouth (Perspective, 31 November) is 
beyond belief. Far from having lost over the “Grangemouth debacle” the First Minister merges with his reputation intact and much credit.

It would appear he played a central role in helping Unite, Ineos management, the Scottish and UK governments come together to reach a positive outcome. As First Minister, he is expected to fight for Scottish interests, in Scotland, UK and Europe. Closure of the Grangemouth plant would have been as much of an economic and social disaster for both the UK and the Scottish governments.

The SNP, Tories and Liberal Democrats were thus able to work together to the advantage of everyone. Labour’s Scottish Leader, Johann Lamont, and UK leader, Ed Miliband, were both peripheral and silent throughout the crisis. Both were unwilling or unable to express an opinion.

Both Unite and Labour in UK and Scotland have work to do to restore their respective reputations.

John Mowat