IT is reckoned to be a sign of insanity if you keep repeating the same actions but expect a different result. This seems to be what has happened with Ferguson Marine Engineering. It keeps going into receivership and being “rescued” by someone or another. Now it is the Scottish Government which is touted as the next benefactor but with taxpayers’ money.
The present owner, Jim McColl, seems to think the yard has a bright future (“McColl considers legal action as SNP refuses to share yard losses”, The Herald, August 12), but history tells a different story. This yard cannot build ships, either to a deadline or within a budget. There is no point in putting good money after bad. The workers have been put through this undesirable uncertainty several times in the recent past and it is time they moved on to a more stable and profitable industry. There are many of them from which to choose. As regards the Calmac ferries, they need to be moved somewhere urgently to be completed. Their need is overwhelming. Please don’t delay them any more by trying to beat a dead horse.
Colin Gunn, Glasgow.
THE hands of the SNP Government have again been involved in the creation of a right bourach. Jim McColl and Clyde Blowers were encouraged by the Government to take the yard over. The original intention was that a Government-supported contract, to construct two hybrid ferries at a cost of £97 million, would not only provide two much-needed new ferries, but also open new opportunities for the yard.
This particular situation obviously has many complicated and serious aspects: the yard is now in serious trouble and its future is at stake; the completion of the contract is delayed significantly and is well over budget; the yard and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, which owns Calmac’s fleet, continues to be in serious disagreement about responsibility for the extra costs of the order of £90 million; and Mr McColl has accused the Government of “abusing its power”.
It is now a possibility that the yard could be nationalised at heavy cost to the taxpayers. The Government’s performance in taking businesses into public ownership is not impressive. It came out some months ago that Prestwick Airport had required some £50m of taxpayers’ money since being taken over for a £1 some six years ago. In view of the state of the yard now, one has to wonder about the wisdom exercised by the Government in lending £45 million of taxpayers’ money to the company.
Unfortunately, it looks like this is another item to add to the list of areas of poor performance generated by the SNP over the last decade or so.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.