East Lothian Courier – 18 January 2024


The Horizon scandal rightly dominated the parliamentary agenda last week. To be fair progress is being made but much more rests to be done.

It’s right that there should be legislation to exculpate those wrongly convicted. Those wronged individuals shouldn’t have to go through a complicated and perhaps painful process to prove their innocence. Besides sadly some aren’t here to do so or finding the evidence just is too difficult.

The Scottish Government working in tandem with Westminster also makes sense. That blanket action may result in a few wrongdoers of other crimes being exonerated but the victims of this appalling tragedy must come first. Justice requires that.

But there’s still much to do as the compensation offer’s totally inadequate for the suffering endured. That needs addressed but thankfully the Government are also recognising that these and other costs must be met by those who caused it, rather than the public purse. The culprits here are big corporations, and they must pay.

More importantly, we need to find out who knew what and when. This has been a cover-up of gargantuan proportions. Errors can be made in software engineering as in all walks of life. The crime has been in not simply refusing to acknowledge it but seeking to blame others when it was obvious that they were innocent or at minimum serious doubt over culpability. Those involved in what’s frankly a conspiracy must be punished severely.

I also raised Grangemouth Refinery last week. Research from the Commons Library showed that none of the top 25 oil producing nations lack a refinery. Even Norway has two. Scotland and the UK are 21st in world oil production. The only nations that are oil producers and lack a refinery both produce significantly less and are mainly developing nations such as the Republic of Congo.

It’s perverse to be an oil producing nation and lack a refinery. Worsening that the environmental damage of shipping it for refining undermines the arguments for using your own resource rather than importing it.

Scotland’s oil should be refined in Scotland. Both our economy and the environment demand that.