Readers' Letters: Top people should hang heads in shame over Grangemouth

Scotland’s political and business class should hang their heads in shame for facilitating Petroineos’s hard-nosed decision to close the Grangemouth refinery.

Almost no one supported their plan to develop and use the huge shale gas deposits right under the plant so they built huge tankers and ships to import and store US-produced ethane instead of creating a whole new Scottish industry. The main culprit was Nicola Sturgeon, but even after her departure and Wednesday’s death blow no politician has mentioned this shameful episode in Scotland’s economic history.

Instead Humza Yousaf spouted the usual multipurpose “of course… people very worried/UK’s responsibility/we’ll leave no stone unturned/just transition“ as if he was my granddaughter’s Peppa Pig bubble machine, his words disappearing as soon as they hit fresh air.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Grangemouth oil refinery could be closed down by spring 2025, with the loss of hundreds of jobs (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Grangemouth oil refinery could be closed down by spring 2025, with the loss of hundreds of jobs (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Grangemouth oil refinery could be closed down by spring 2025, with the loss of hundreds of jobs (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Slim hope

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News that the refinery at Grangemouth is to close will delight Humza Yousaf, Stephen Flynn, Patrick Harvie, Lorna Slater et al because they want an end to fossil fuel production/refining, irrespective of the cost to Scotland’s families and businesses.

Not is all lost, however. Perhaps the jobless will get one of those highly paid renewable jobs. I don’t think so.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire

Poor decisions

The Green/SNP coalition presently running Scotland have had their “Just Stop Oil” wish granted. The company operating the Grangemouth refinery have had enough and are pulling out – and who can blame them?

That there was a frantic desire on the part of the Green/SNP administration to outdo everyone in their zealotry to curtail oil and gas production simply cannot be denied, and of course, the refinery operating company would have noted these negative signals. The SNP/Greens had to be first to call for a ban. We all know that fossil fuels have to go; they are finite.

But there could and should have been many decades of preparation and certainty of alternatives instead of jumping in slapdash fashion into the unknown.

But they simply cannot help themselves, can they? They make decisions to make the lunatic fringes of their parties cheer, not to suit the well-being and fuel-safety/poverty of Scotland or the UK as a whole.

These people are simply not fit or qualified to make major decisions on our behalf.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Time to go

For the last 14 days Falkirk West has been in the spotlight due to the mendacious Michael Matheson. On realising that costs of nearly £11,000 had been run up by usage of a Scottish Government iPad while on holiday in Morocco, he instinctively said the costs were due to Parliamentary and constituency work and expected the Scottish taxpayer to pay for the costs.

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Nine months later we have had many excuses and tearful statements but the bottom line is that it would have been virtually impossible to incur these costs doing Parliamentary and constituency work over the Christmas/New year holiday period.

Mr Matheson has embarrassed many Falkirk West constituents by his disingenuous statements and must surely resign as Health Minister if he wants to have any chance of retaining his position as Falkirk West MSP in 2026.

John Smith, Bainsford, Falkirk


The Michael Matheson affair has spiralled way out of control simply because Humza Yousaf failed to read the writing on the wall. How can Scotland trust a government that is bending the rules to keep in place a minister who is hardly excelling at his brief? If Mr Matheson was superb then he might just have escaped, but given the awful state of A&E with the worst months still to come and the general decay in all branches of the Health Service, there can be no reason to keep him on.

Mr Yousaf's obvious problem is that he has no alternative minister waiting in the wings. This ought to be the spur to him to call a new Holyrood election to bring in fresh talent. After all, that is his trump card which he played at First Minister’s Questions. He trusts the people to always vote for his party. Trust works both ways. Why not put it to the test?

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Checks & balances

Marjorie Ellis Thompson (Letters, 23 November) demonstrates once again her failure to understand the problems that devolution has caused. It has given us a tame legislature that intervenes in reserved matters that are not a part of its remit, which leads to it neglecting its devolved responsibilities, and it has no mechanisms for holding the executive to account, as recent events have confirmed.

Her complaints about Westminster completely ignore the checks and balances there, including a revising chamber, a robust select committee system and the holding to account of those who abuse the expenses system or embark on projects that fail. The reason we know about abuses/failures is that there are systems of accountability there that do not exist at Holyrood, where failures are brushed under a large carpet. And that is a major shortcoming in any democracy.

Perhaps Ms Thompson could point to the glowing successes achieved at Holyrood that have made it a system where we get value for money? Are our schools the envy of the world? Is our NHS providing for the needs of our population? Are public roads in good order?

Ms Thompson presumes too much in impugning others’ alleged lack of affection for Scotland. But I appreciate that her devotion to Scottish separatism is based on emotion and not on the hard-headed appreciation that, if Scotland left the UK to become her unattainable nirvana, Scots would find that they could not afford the services and the freebies that they currently have. Probably not even a baby box.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Holyrood hope

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Alexander McKay alludes to the laughable character of Holyrood’s debate on a Gaza ceasefire (Letters, 22 November). The tone suggests that he wasn’t actually there.

An almost entirely still chamber heard informed debate address a complicated, deeply rooted historic conflict with notably few interventions during speeches. No one was laughing. Holyrood empowered itself to present a moral case, drawing on Scotland’s multicultural identity, represented by, among others, Humza Yousaf (SNP), Anas Sarwar (Labour) and Jackson Carlaw (Scottish Tories). Carlaw’s nuanced contribution bore witness to anguish for Scotland’s Jewish community, a high proportion of whom live in his constituency. Across the chamber there was calm and compassion; first-hand accounts from the front line; and a tour-de-force insight from decades of personal experience from Labour’s Pauline McNeil.

One MSP invoked the late Jewish MP Gerald Kaufman, whose grandmother was shot dead in bed by Nazis: “My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.” Dating from 2009, Kaufman’s words haunted a silent Holyrood in 2023.

Devolution enables the people of Scotland – through their representative MSPs – to express the moral view that the people of Palestine are not Hamas; and the people of Israel are not Israel’s war cabinet. Why does Mr McKay imagine that no one cares what someone in the “northern sector of the UK” thinks? Learning in October that Scottish politicians were calling out Hamas brutality and asserting the right to Palestinian self-determination, a colleague in the region emailed saying this: “There are no words to express my gratitude for anyone – specifically those that are not directly impacted by the events – that keeps the issue and the cause of Palestinian statehood, and the wellbeing of Palestinians, in their mind. It brings me an immense sense that we are not alone”. That is the point of public debate. When the evils of the world escaped Pandora’s box the last remaining, hidden attribute was hope; Holyrood’s debate brought hope flickering into the light.

Geraldine Prince, North Berwick, East Lothian

Pipe dream

Edward Mountain MSP asked the present First Minister on Thursday whether off-grid gas home owners would be forced by the SNP administration to scrap their LPG or oil central heating systems by 2025 as Patrick Harvie intends. Mr Yousaf did not answer the question.

At present those who are in receipt of one of nine state benefits, such as child tax credits, can have a heat pump fitted for free. The rest of us, if Harvie gets his way, will have to find thousands of pounds to replace our perfectly functioning heating systems with a heat pump and an immerser tank heater for hot water and possibly replace the entire pipework with larger bore pipes and bigger radiators causing disruption, plus annual maintenance costs. Then, find thousands more in 10 or 15 years time to replace the main unit which long before this time will have become unacceptably noisy. This is as silly an idea as Aberdeenshire Council ripping out fireplaces in Braemar, “to save the planet”.

Heat pumps are a great idea for those selling them or fitting them, but if they are so good why not let the public choose to have them fitted or not?

William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire

So cynical

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has just cut taxes. There must be an election coming.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

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