There’s always a good time to bury bad news, or so the political spin-meisters would have it. So whilst there’s flooding and mopping up going on in far too many places, and people without heating in freezing temperatures, one of the subjects being aired is the possibility of BAE Systems closing at least one of their three shipyards., with the devastating loss of jobs that will ensue.
Two of those yards are on the Clyde, the third in Portsmouth. And that’s where it gets far too political. And remember BAE is not a government agency, though it does rely heavily on MOD contracts. There are warships, and of course those two aircraft carriers. Current work may be completed in 2014, with no new orders due to commence until a further two years down the line.
And in between times there are opportunities to cast votes; for Westminster in 2015, Holyrood in 2016; but perhaps more importantly in a referendum in 2014.
So the scaremongering has started. Scottish yards will be ‘foreign’ and get no orders from the Royal Navy who never place contracts overseas – forgetting Korea of course, and forgetting perhaps the possibility of a Scottish Defence Force’s needs and indeed their entitlement from UK assets.
As always we have to rely on web sources for news and opinions. So have a look at this summary over at Wings. And if a Clyde yard is to go where does that leave all that guff from the Bitter Th’gither mob, using shipyard workers in their promos.
Interesting too that the STUC have refused to join the BT campaign. The left may be on the rise, as witnessed by up to 900 people paying to attend a cross-party Radical Independence Conference last week. That does tend to leave the red tories firmly in bed with their best pals the blue ones, far away from their socialist roots.
On the other hand if, as is speculated by BAE and the local press down Portsmouth way, it is the southern yard that has its anchor chain tugged – for wholly practical and commerial reasons around the type of work possible in that location – then consider the impact in a tory heartland in the run up to the election. And what about the ‘no foreign yards’ argument, if England’s only facility closes?
As always there’s excellent input at Newsnet, and much to be learned by the comments from contributors on both sites.
And of course at the same time we have the legacy of the Olympics back in our minds, with the announcement of the candidates for this year’s Sports Personality bunfight. Get your union jacks out again. For what it’s worth I think if I were to vote I would have to favour Mr Murray. I rank the achievements of him and Mr Wiggins on an even footing, but Murray gets the edge, not for parochial reasons, but because when he is out there on the court he is completely alone. Cycling is a team game, as evidenced by the failure of the team to get Mr Cavendish his gong. It’s a tough choice, and ultimately I think Wiggins will lift the trophy. But it could be Jessica Rennis, or Nicola Radams I suppose.