The closure of the Grangemouth Refinery wouldn’t just be a severe blow to Scotland but it highlights the absurdity of an energy rich country failing to see the benefit of its natural bounty. The oil that Scots were told in 2014 was all but gone and really was a burden is now at the heart of reviving the UK economy.
I disagree with the pace and scale at which Sunak seeks to extract it. To tackle global warming requires us to decarbonise but that takes time, and a Just Transition is needed. In the interim Scotland should benefit from the bounty off its shores.
Yet we’ve the absurdity of the Rosebank field being developed by Equinor the Norwegian State Energy Company. Norway discovered oil at the same time as Scotland and yet has seen its economy and society transformed for the better, with unbridled wealth but now and secured for future generations. Some countries discovered oil and saw the desert bloom, meanwhile Scotland did likewise but saw areas turned into industrial deserts.
Now it’s Grangemouth. With the North Sea revitalised it’s not just absurd but perverse that our refinery should be closing. It’s the equivalent of a “banana republic” when raw commodities are taken from them at a discount and then the refined or produced product sold back at a premium. It’s off our shores but we’ll have to buy it back and pay through the nose for it at the pumps.
If anything makes the case for Scottish Independence, it’s this. That the Scottish and UK Governments both seem so sanguine about its extraordinary and disgraceful. Workers and the country deserve better.
On a sadder note, Lord James Douglas Hamilton died. I not only served with him in Holyrood but often met him on the train to or from London. Politics can be rough at times, but he was universally accepted as the nicest man in Parliament. That wasn’t simply by his Tory colleagues but across the political divide and was also shared by staff who worked for him. He’ll be missed by far more than his family and friends.