AMID the royal fanfare and gushing rhetoric surrounding the official opening of the Beatrice offshore wind farm, spare a thought for the working-class communities in Fife who are still paying the price for Scotland’s renewables manufacturing failure.
How can it be that we have a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource but we are fighting for scraps of work and value from our own market, while our main fabrication yards in Fife lie almost empty and woefully under invested?
Once upon a time the yards in Fife fabricated the jackets and topsides for the rigs and platforms that would deliver the North Sea oil and gas revolution. It was a thriving part of a manufacturing industry that supported the employment of more than 20,000 people.
Today in Methil a skeleton staff of 40 people work on a catch-up programme for turbine pins, while Burntisland remains shut. There is the prospect of a further 200 jobs through a contract for eight turbine jackets from the £2 billion NnG wind farm, but the truth is it’s a paltry return as 85 per cent of those jackets will be built in Indonesia.
It’s the same old story as the bulk of jobs and prosperity go elsewhere. So as the bunting blows in the Caithness wind, the Scottish Renewables lobby and every politician that promised us a green jobs revolution should not be congratulating themselves. Instead they should be cringing that we are getting so badly rinsed.
It’s an inconvenient truth for some but what’s happening in our renewables manufacturing sector is a national humiliation.
Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, Glasgow G3.
Farewell to a true champion
FATHER Time finally caught up with one of the all-time greats when Tom Watson played his final competitive round at Royal Lytham and St Annes (“Watson says goodbye as Langer just goes on and on”, Herald Sport, July 29).
Tom Watson has been described as “the most Scottish of Americans” and throughout his career he proved time and again his love for and skill at playing links golf. His five Open Championships are testament to his supreme ability to understand and vary his game to suit the vagaries of our links and the weather.
I had the privilege to attend one of his golf clinics and some of the shots he demonstrated made one wonder if he was more than human as there was certainly a large element of the magical about his game. More than that, however, when you chatted with him he was an absolute gentleman with no hint of inflated ego that so many “stars” appear to have.
I wish this superb golfer and truly delightful human being a long and happy retirement from competition and trust we will see him on our links many more times playing just for the sheer pleasure of it.
David Stubley, Prestwick.
AS one of those who wrote protesting its summer break, or as it rather seemed, sudden terminal decline, I gave it a cautious welcome back when viewed last Thursday (July 25), but for all is overall content still came over, in my view, somewhat half-heartedly compared with times past.
Something is lacking. Additionally, the channel it is now shown on means it has an air of having been relegated.
At the end of season broadcast it will be interesting to see if there is a cheery good-bye from the presenters with a “see you next year”.
John Macnab, Falkirk.