Once again The Scotsman publishes a strong editorial (22 October) demanding that politicians of opposing parties co-operate to face a national crisis – in this case the death of Grangemouth.
How often have your correspondents made similar pleas as the inability of the politicians to work together has morphed dramas into crises, crises into disasters and disasters into tragedies?
Readers will be pleased to know that our British parliament at Westminster demonstrated on Monday that MPs of all parties can reach an accord.
The subject? MPs’ taxpayer-funded allowances.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority – our parliamentary watchdog – recommended the MPs receive a pay rise of £7,600 a year in exchange for relinquishing their rights to claim a bewildering level of expenses, but the MPs, arguing through the Commons Standards Committee, have held out for the pay rise and the expenses. It’s good to know that MPs can act together over the important things in life.
At the same time, the same MPs will probably let Grangemouth go. Alex Salmond will fight for it, because if Grangemouth goes it will probably take the SNP dreams of independence with it, while some of those who crave the Union look the other way.
Where is our Cromwell? Where is the one with the authority to tell the armies of power-obsessed party parliamentarians: “Depart I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”?
We need, as The Scotsman’s editorial demands, proper public politicians.
Your editorial, which tries to shift the onus for the Ineos debacle onto the politicians, is a continuation of the Scottish media’s mealy-mouthed attitude to the failure of the Scottish workforce to take a considered, grown-up approach to the changing world we all live in. Of course, at one time, when North Sea oil was in full flow the workers had the ball at their foot and they cashed in fully on it.
That is reflected in the generous remunerations they negotiated at that time.
But those days are gone, and the plant needs to import oil to keep operating.
Suddenly it has to compete on the world market with other plants which import oil but which are far less expensive than Grangemouth to run. No amount of intervention by politicians can alter that fact.
The irresponsible action of the London-controlled Unite trade union in fostering the belief that all they have to do is “fight” and the company will back down has terrible echoes in Scottish industrial relations over the past century.
Dr John Cameron, in a recent letter, listed many of the Scottish industries which the “fight” strategy killed off in recent decades, but still the Scottish workforce is suckered into the same old trap. If the workers at Grangemouth do not have the savvy to negotiate new conditions in the much weakened circumstances in which they find themselves then The Proclaimers will be singing “Grangemouth no more” in the very near future.
We must thank Alf Young for revealing “the Chinese dimension of the Grangemouth saga” (Perspective, 19 October). But isn’t global capitalism a topsy-turvy world of conflicting values and the realpolitik of interests?
Seemingly one realistic outcome of the dispute could be that the “bulk of Scotland’s petrol supplies” could be state controlled.
This raises the prospect of a Communist, authoritarian state, far removed from either a Scottish or British settlement and at odds with the very values of liberal democracy.
Hence, important as “strategic and security interests” are for a possibly independent Scotland, they aren’t the only issue. Arguably for a country seeking self-determination, Scotland should be in the forefront of raising China’s record on, for instance, the political independence of Tibet.
Old Chapel Walk
It now seems the Scottish Government is trying to find a buyer for the Grangemouth refinery should Ineos decide to close the plant.
This is right and proper but, unfortunately, like the fabled emperor, it also shows that the SNP has no clothes.
If the Grangemouth plant shuts and does not reopen the SNP loses its main source of revenue and the means to fund its grandiose plans for the nirvanic state that it assures us will follow independence.