Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Grangemouth Crisis Shows Need for Independence and Nationalisation

The closure of the petrochemical plant at Grangemouth has led directly to the loss of eight hundred jobs and put at risk not only a further 570 jobs in the refinery, but two thousand contractor jobs and further jobs independent from, but dependent on, the facility such as burger vans, newsagents and cafes. 

This has come as a direct consequence of a facility of vital strategic national importance being owned by a Hampshire venture capitalist and operated by a Swiss shell company.

Not since the beginning of devolution in 1999 has there been a more salient demonstration of the need for Scottish industry and Scottish jobs to be controlled by the people of Scotland. 

Rarely before has there been such a clear need for the full powers of sovereign Government to rest with the Scottish people. 

Rarely before has then been such an example of the contempt in which Westminster holds Scotland than when a Prime Ministers Questions at which Grangemouth was not mentioned ended, an Emergency Question on Grangemouth was raised, and the Prime Minister, bored, walked out of the chamber.

The Westminster government - a gang of scoundrels - was content to nationalise the banks to protect the shareholders and the big businesses who donate to the BetterTogether parties. They're making no move at all to nationalise the Grangemouth plant, which is one of the most important facilities in Scotland, supplying fuel to petrol stations across the country as well as to the north of England. We draw our own conclusions. Bankers are important to Westminster. Workers aren't.

What should be done here is multi-faceted:

If Ineos believe their plant is worthless, then the Scottish Government in the face of Westminster's refusal to act should nationalise it for £1. As the plant is "worthless", this represents a huge profit for Ineos. 

All of Ineos' assets in the United Kingdom should be frozen pending an investigation into tax fraud.

Ineos should be banned from operating any facilities of national importance in the future. This act of economic terrorism surely renders them unfit to be in control of any strategically important facility. 

This is a black swan moment in the independence debate. 

The anti-Scotland campaign has invested a great deal of time and energy in telling us that jobs will not be secure in an independent Scotland - soundly ignoring the fact that under Thatcherism, industry in Scotland was deliberately destroyed in an act of spite and malice. 

The repulsive, woman-abusing, Orange Order-linked Ian Davidson has been touring my own ward, Govan, handing out leaflets claiming "Separation [sic] Shuts Shipyard", a terror tactic lower than a snake's balls, and deceitful by omission to boot, given that under the protection of the United Kingdom, Govan's shipbuilding industry has been utterly destroyed and reduced to a pathetic rump of its former glory. 

This is a moment for the Scottish Government to demonstrate than only with independence can we protect workers' jobs from capitalist predation. The British are not interested in Scottish jobs. They are not interested in Scottish workers. 

Let's bring our industries and jobs back under the control of the Scottish people, seizing them from uncaring capitalists who seek constantly to drive down our pay and conditions and expecting us to be grateful.

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