Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Scottish independence, Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’ Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon will destroy 3,000 jobs on the Clyde, Govan Shipbuilders can only be protected within the UK system of defence contract procurement, 3,000 jobs means 3,000 families unprotected under the Nationalists

Dear All

Sitting in Ward 5 in Glasgow is Govan shipbuilders, the yard is responsible for churning out many of the UK Ministry of Defence warships currently in service with the armed forces.

Shipbuilding on the Clyde has military, economically and social history attached to it in a way that borders on urban myth.

When Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon decided to attempt their doomed independence many people thought that they had their act together. Everyday, we heard that everything would be so wonderful in the 'Land of milk and honey', new Nirvana was just around the corner.

In 'New Eckistan', the Eckistanis would have utopia, no one would be unhappy, and everyone would have a job because the SNP would have control of all the financial levers, except those they wanted to give away to Westminster and Brussels. The SNP based their concept on the idea that they were talking to simple minded bastards who would swallow anything.

What Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon weren't going to discuss was the 'bad things' which would happen if Scotland was independent.

Total closure of both Govan and Scotstoun shipbuilding yards.

3,000 jobs in the industry on the Clyde alone gone, Govan and surrounding areas badly affected, you see there are real consequences of a Yes vote in the independence referendum. Instead of offsetting this by having a plan, there was no plan. Recently a hard choice faced BAE. In the Scottish yards, 835 jobs had to be shed to save both yards, the Portsmouth yard was closed with the lost of over a thousand jobs. This was a political decision due to the referendum. In truth having Govan and Scotstoun so close made a compelling case, the yards have a fine record of achievement both in quality and bringing in vessels on time.

After Westminster saved the Scottish yards, Scotland's unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a fool of herself by going to Govan to offer assistance and try and get credit for doing nothing. Sturgeon even took along John Swinney with her, two senior Government, numbers of jobs saved by them....... zero!

Yes, all their talk added up to not a single job saved.

Unpopular Nicola Sturgeon, the 'face of independence' lost 835 jobs in Govan.

And they must have known this prior to going to Govan, this was a deceitful attempt to be seen to be doing something which in reality added up to doing nothing, how many people at Govan shipbuilders need someone to point them towards the Govan jobcentre?

Nicola's going to Govan, Nicola's going to save the jobs, oh oh oh Nicola's coming!!!!    

The SNP has been in 'business' for 80 years, so this begs the question, if they are supposed to be a Nationalist party and if they are supposed to standing up for Scotland and Scots, where was the rolling blueprint of an independent Scotland?

It surely must have occurred to someone in 80 years that a plan for the entire country was needed?

Seeing a chance to highlight the lack of substance to the Nationalist case, Labour Leader Johann Lamont launched a new poster campaign focused on the impact of independence on the industry as met trade union leaders on the Clyde.

Lamont said shipbuilding industry in Scotland had “come through really tough times”, but she insisted:

“There is a danger that if we vote Yes in September we won’t have a shipbuilding industry any longer, because we’re reliant on these defence contracts. These jobs are at risk if we vote Yes, people need to understand that, but for the SNP clearly that’s a price worth paying.”

Englishman Angus Robertson, SNP MP and their Westminster leader and defence spokesman replied by demanding the “disgraceful anti-independence shipbuilding scare stories must end once and for all”.

He said:

“The No campaign is looking and sounding desperate as they cling on to Project Fear scare stories which have already been dismissed. It is beyond belief that anti-independence politicians claim that shipbuilding on the Clyde and at Rosyth is safe in Westminster’s hands. This is an industry that in the last 30 years has lost thousands of jobs and been decimated by Westminster government after Westminster government. The Clyde has been, is now, and will in the future be the best place to build the new generation of naval ships, and that is coming direct from senior directors at BAE Systems”.

So, lets look at this ditto by him objectively.

It isn't a scare story that Scotland would lose Ministry of Defence warship contracts, Britain for the last 50 years hasn't built a warship outside the UK. The SNP leaders tried to muddy the waters by claiming auxiliary vessels built elsewhere was the same as warships. In their mind a ship is a ship, totally military unaware, how can anyone trust them with the defence of Scotland with under developed thinking like that?

You won't!

Procurement placement is a political decision and will always remain so. SNP MP Angus Robertson highlights jobs have been lost in the past, that is true, but it is the same all over the world. As to his claim by default that an indy Scotland would build warships because it is the best place and that is coming direct from senior directors at BAE Systems. That is fact woven with fiction, yes, it is the best place, but BAE takes its orders from Westminster. Military shipbuilding contracts wouldn't be available.
And to imply it would be so, after firm assurances is totally disingenuous. 

Duncan McPhee, Unite union convener at the BAE Scotstoun yard on the Clyde, said the MoD was the yard’s “major customer”.

And given they foot the bill, they get to decide when and where their products get built and by whom.

Scotland is being earmarked to build the new type 26 combat ships for the Royal Navy.

McPhee said the contract could provide some years of work for the yard but he added as well:

“The Ministry of Defence will not build a complex warship outside of the UK. Unless the Scottish Government could replace that work, our industry would be decimated if Scotland became independent. We have 3,000 jobs on the Clyde at the moment that would be under immediate threat if there was a Yes vote. We’re here today because we want to help make the public aware of the implications.”

Over in Rosyth; Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael was also visiting Babcock Rosyth, where the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier is currently under construction.

After doing the tour, he spent time listening to workers’ concerns regarding Scottish independence.

After the meeting, Raymond Duguid, Unite convener at Babcock Rosyth, said:

“Our message to the minister was we need facts. We need to know what Yes means, what No means, and the workforce of Rosyth deserve those answers. We’re getting those answers, whether they are palatable or not, from the No side. Unfortunately we’re not getting them from the Yes side and that’s what we need now. Our members need to make an informed decision on September 18. We are under no illusion that the UK Navy will not come to Scotland to do refits. We are building the carrier at the moment but we are primarily a refit yard and that work will not come to Rosyth, we know that, and the Scottish navy in the white paper is not big enough to sustain Rosyth.  I would question whether he (Alex Salmond) knows where Rosyth is.”

So, the workers are not backing Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon, and why should they, they are being asked to risk their entire future, their jobs, their homes, their mortgages, their families future and Alex Salmond can't be bothered to even produce a plan.

Sheer utter contempt by Alex Salmond.

Carmichael added:

“The key messages that I heard today from the workforce and the shop stewards is that they are very concerned that with 86 days to go before decision day on September 18 they have still not been told what the future holds for them in an independent Scotland. We know that as part of the UK there is a future for the shipbuilding and defence industries in Scotland. It’s now for the nationalists to come forward with some certainty to the workforce here and elsewhere”.

Carmichael added:

“We are told that neither Alex Salmond nor Nicola Sturgeon is actually prepared to meet the unions or talk to the workforce. I have to say I find that very disappointing, if not massively surprising.”

So, there you have it, neither Alex Salmond nor Nicola Sturgeon will support the workers because they have nothing to say to them of any value whatsoever. Salmond and Sturgeon if they achieved their goals would oversee the closure of Scotland entire shipbuilding industry. A Scottish MoD couldn't sustain a healthy order book for the Scottish yards. Englishman Angus Robertson should obviously know this that given the time he has been the SNP defence spokesman.

Or maybe he is doesn't, he could be genuinely thick!

One also wonders as SNP defence spokesman, how many requests has he made to visit Scottish troops stationed in operational areas during his tenure in that post?

How many times has he actually visited Scottish troops when they have been placed in harm's way?

The case for Scottish independence has collapsed entirely, because the SNP leaders aren't fit for purpose, they have spent their time feathering their own nest and operating as a clique. When original thinking was needed, Salmond and Sturgeon hadn't a pool of talent to draw on, they created a 'rat ship', and now they are paying the price for it.

Time for a quote:

"My problem is that I have too many talented people and not enough Cabinet positions".

Alex Salmond.

Where are the plans then?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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