Ineos fight is about preserving our nation’s industrial capacity

In my younger years, my skates-in-hand Saturday trek went from the ice rink down St. Clair St, Junction Road, Factory Road and along Nairn Street. I’d then wind my way through the old mill buildings above Pathhead and on down to the High Street. I was fascinated by the abandoned majesty of the mills and the industry that once took place within.
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The mills were eventually removed from our built history, but even though industry persisted in the pits of Kirkcaldy and the surrounding area well into my early twenties, the wholesale deindustrialisation of Scotland that took place in the late 80s under Thatcher put paid to that. Yet her actions inflicted something far worse than mere closure, it ripped the identity from proud mine workers and destroyed the economic power of whole communities putting many others out of work in the process.

So, it’s tragic to see some forty years later that Grangemouth oil refinery, arguably the last vestiges of Scotland’s once world leading industrial capacity, is being surrendered without so much of a fight from the SNP Scottish Government.

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When oil was first discovered in Scotland the SNP slogan was “It’s Scotland’s Oil”, and despite repeated unionist claims it had all but run out, with the loss of Grangemouth, it may as well have never existed for all the benefit its vast riches have brought to Scotland.

Ineos Grangemouth Refinery (Pic: TSPL)Ineos Grangemouth Refinery (Pic: TSPL)
Ineos Grangemouth Refinery (Pic: TSPL)

But it’s not the oil that has run out, it will be pumping billions into the UK Treasury for decades to come, it’s the SNP who have all but run out of fight and ideas. They have utterly abandoned the values of common purpose with the people of Scotland that were central to the 2014 Yes campaign.

This week my ALBA Party colleague Kenny MacAskill MP wrote a powerful account of Scotland’s proud history of industrial struggle in The National. Some won, many lost, but they sit at the heart of the politicisation of Scotland’s people. As a politician with a credible and creditable history he makes the argument why support for workforces whether at Ferguson Marine, the Grangemouth oil refinery and elsewhere is vital.

These struggles go back centuries not decades and it’s time for all Scots to get behind the campaign to save Grangemouth. The Scottish Government must be pressed to give its full support to the workforce, their unions, and the community. Their struggle is our struggle. This is about preserving our nation’s industrial capacity.

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