Agreement Reached over Scottish Defence Jobs Threat

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The Scottish government has announced that cross-party agreement has been reached in an attempt at protecting jobs threatened by the Tory-LibDem Government’s Strategic Defence Review.

The agreement comes after First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond urged leaders of Scotland’s opposition parties to join the Scottish Government in opposing any cuts to the aircraft carrier contracts at Govan and Rosyth yards.


The Scottish government has announced that cross-party agreement has been reached in an attempt at protecting jobs threatened by the Tory-LibDem Government’s Strategic Defence Review.

The agreement comes after First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond urged leaders of Scotland’s opposition parties to join the Scottish Government in opposing any cuts to the aircraft carrier contracts at Govan and Rosyth yards.

There are concerns for the contracts after BAE systems chief executive Sir Ian King told the Commons Defence Select Committee the company had been asked to consider a number of options ranging from “one carrier to no carriers”.  The Scottish government has estimated that up to 10,000 Scottish jobs could be lost if the builds do not go ahead.

A joint submission will now be lodged to the UK Government’s review of military spending on behalf of the SNP Government and the opposition parties at Holyrood.  The submission outlines the undeniable case for keeping the jobs and skills in Scotland.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The more united Scotland’s voice is, the stronger it will be, which is why this cross-party submission is of vital importance.

“The document is about the compelling case for Scotland and Scottish jobs and skills.

The First Minister appreciated that each of the Holyrood parties had different view on nuclear weapons and other issues but said the submission would emphasise those areas where there was unity.

Mr Salmond added: 

“The different parties have different policies on issues such as Trident – which the Scottish Government and many others strongly oppose – but this submission is about what unites us and what we do agree on.

“This is an issue that affects families and communities the length and breadth of Scotland, including the need to secure the aircraft carrier contract work being carried out on the Clyde and at Rosyth, and the RAF bases at Kinloss and Lossiemouth currently under threat from the UK defence review.”

Mr Salmond went on: “Our best chance of success in achieving that goal will be if we act with maximum unity of purpose – anything which detracts from that will only serve to undermine that case.”

Labour’s Holyrood group leader Iain Gray said of the submission: “There have been significant additions made which recognise the socio-economic impact of the whole of the defence industry footprint on Scotland and its importance for jobs and apprenticeships all over the country.

“It also recognises the wider spin-offs from the defence industry for the rest of the Scottish economy.”

Scottish Tory leader Annabelle Goldie blamed the concerns for the contracts on Labour’s financial mess saying: “I have always argued that a robust case should be put forward for the Scottish contribution to the UK defence facility.

“Labour’s financial mess poses very tough choices for the coalition UK government but this cross-party submission is a well documented, factual representation of how important that contribution is.

“It is essential that the MoD decision making process has the best information available from all sources.”

Reports this weekend have suggested that UK Defence Minister Liam Fox favours keeping the contracts alive.  However as yet there has been no official decision.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. Its all very well saying build the carriers to protect scottish jobs but do we actually need the carriers?

    Cant we change the order to a couple of desperately needed frigates, keep the workers employed and the Royal Navy gets something it needs?

    • Polstar

      No, as weapons of war, we don’t need the carriers. They are a vanity project for the imperialist Westminster Government. It allows them to strut and pose on the World’s stage as if they were some kind of military power. They have to keep up that illusion for the sake of British national pride (Scottish national pride is a different matter altogether – that is to be suppressed).

      Yes, to save the current jobs on the Clyde, we do need the carriers. They are the only game in town. There are no other orders forthcoming from anywhere else in the world for the Clyde shipyards. The Clyde shipyard was given the carriers we don’t need in order to buy votes for the Labour Party.

      Can’t we change the order to a couple of frigates? Unfortunately – No.

    • It does not matter if they are kept, in the event of independence we will automatically in herit one of them by right, this includes all things military as we paid for our share, it does not matter if we do not need, them once we have them if surplus to requirement we just sell them on to the highest bidder, moneyinto our pockets.

  2. I agree with Polstar, do we, that is the UK as a whole, actually need the super carriers? The reason for questrioning this is from the point of view that the UK is no longer and has never really been since 1945, a world power! Successive UK Governments have had this maniacal pretence that somehow the UK is a world power. Foreign governments have sagely smiled as you would to some senile old uncle. In reality the UK is punching well above its weight in the idea that it is somehow a world power and needs to have super carriers. The idea that by having them will provide a ‘global presence’ is laughable. The carriers in reality are Gordon Brown’s folly. The shipbuilding skills would have been better utilised building more and regularly smaller ships such as frigates and the like, not just for the UK, but for ANY government. In addition the world is seeing an increase in demand for commercial vessels, such as ‘Super’ Cruise Ships (mostly built in Finland these days) and the up and coming super sized container ships. So the re is a broad spectrum of vessel construction out there that Scottish yards should be going for instead of having this wholy reliance on UK MOD contracts and specifically that of these Super carriers. What politicians should be focusing in on, is this, IF the carriers go to completion, what next? what can the Scottish yards build? for as these yards are tied up for the next few years, have they considered what happens after?

    • I take your point and no doubt you are correct. The thing is that we have to deal with the here and now and with the Unionist media.

      My brother has a job at Govan as a result of these contracts, and I can tell you that people are very concerned. At 39 he is worried that he could be out of work at the worst time since the 1980’s. The Scottish media are hamstrung in that they cannot argue for alternative builds because defence is the last bastion of the Scottish Unionists, it is the last lie. That is why in my opinion these two contracts will remain, it has nothing to do with defence and everything to do with keeping Scotland. It is a bribe, alas their last one, and I have told my brother that it will give him three to four years to re-skill.

      I also believe that 2011 will be a battle for democracy itself. The Scottish media will not be able to stop their self destruct behaviour and such is the dire state of the UK finances that they will need to manipulate Scottish news to such an extent that we will effectively cease to be a recognised open democracy. The Union can only survive at the expense of an open enlightened democracy in Scotland. It’s Calgacus all over again, Unionists will create a desert and call it victory.

  3. Cameron targets Scots as Aberdeen is selected to trial Tories’ new incapacity benefit cuts:

    [url]http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/2010/09/21/cameron-targets-scots-as-aberdeen-to-trial-tories-new-incapacity-benefits-cuts-86908-22576721/[/url]

  4. This is really a difficult one.

    There are a number of considerations here, and the primary one is that whilst this Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom, Defence will continue to be a matter that is out of the hands of the Scottish Government. Now, that sounds fairly self-evident, but lets look at what it means.

    It means that our “Defence Industry” has an infrastructure that is geared towards the supply and manufacture of equipment on a United Kingdom Level.

    It means that the “Defence Infrastructure” itself is not geared towards the defence of a small, northern, social-democratic nation but of a Nuclear Weapons wielding power that perceives itself as a “major” player in world events and that it’s military is an instrument of that perception.

    Allocation of Ship-building has always been a political issue and it now seems fairly clear that the order for the carriers was placed with Scottish yards as, I hesitate to use the word Bribe, but I think certainly in the interests of the United Kingdom and Northern British NuLab party.

    Scotland needs jobs. Scotland’s ship-building industry can not compete with the yards in the Far East for the construction of Merchant shipping and so over the last 30 or so years has specialised in, and is therefore dependent on, orders from the Royal Navy. We must support, therefore, the efforts of the Scottish Government in bringing all parties together to support these jobs.

    The contracts have been signed and if the UK government wants to get out of them, it will cost. It may be cheaper to build at least one of the carriers than to back out of the contract.

    But it is I think unlikely that we will ever see either of these vessels under the White Ensign.

  5. There must be an incentive to maintain the indigenous skills of Scotland and the UK or we will be forking out even more more money for foreign built weaponry in the future and exporting even more jobs to other countries. It’s just a pity that the role of shipbuilding hasn’t been allowed to expand again into commercial shipping like in Italy, France and Finland, instead of having all the eggs in one basket.

  6. Having watched the “Dispatches” programme on Channel 4 last night, I believe that these carriers are probably not required. Not being in the military and involved in defence strategy, it is difficult to see what we need. Most likely it is for a couple of helicopter carriers with the ability to operate Harrier type aircraft.

    Look at the conflicts we have been involved in the last 20 years. They are all low level wars against small guerrilla type armies with a much lower level of technical equipment than us. What we have lacked is helicopters to move troops around resupply them and give them ground support.
    The carriers depend on an as yet unavailable aircraft costing billions. Without them all we have is a very shinny plaything for the navy.

    The issue of Faslane is a no brainer. It is a major naval base for submarines. Whether it is for the Trident submarines is neither here or there.

  7. Elvis Costello’s “Shipbuilding” comes to mind.
    When Geof Hoon proposed ordering the carriers he said it was important that we were able to “project coercion”. Other states are alleged to sponsor terror. We have a nuclear capability – others have weapons of mass destruction.

  8. These jobs are being purchased a one very large price, do not get me wrong I have nothing but sympathy for all of the workers in the various shipyards involved. I do wish that they had not taken up the British Government contracts that all I can see were just about keeping them above water, no pun intended. Yes, it infuriates me as a Scot to watch on television, Royal Caribbean launching their Super Cruisers from a Finnish Shipyard and knowing that at least two P&O Cruise ships were launched from Italian ones. The Clyde was synonymous with luxury and now all they can turn out is the odd Frigate for the Navy. These carriers are not only costing a huge sum of money to build but keeping them and the cost of the aircraft to put on them will cripple the UK. If they were even needed it would not be so bad, but it is a lot to keep the overweening ambition of a few Admirals and their Political Masters who really need a reality check.

  9. this is where i always have difficulties , as an inveterate life long anti british stater , i dont accept that any contact with their vile murderous militarism can be anything other than a very lucrative whores contract ,
    i have NEVER been british in my entire adult life …if i am required to fill an official form , i do it , for the benefit of ME never THEM , they are the people who have stolen my country ,they are definitely not my fellow countrymen
    , or my “cousins” dahn saaath , stop being so completely internally colonised by british minutiae , or so easily bribed by blood money

  10. if you think that securing these jobs and oiling jamie websters gob , will do anything to reconcile the staunchly small “u” ,unionist
    the red / orange , red / green ,
    anti S N P feeling of the poorly educated , aspiration strangled West Central Scotland , you are like all political activists , wearing your partizan blindfold at a jaunty angle ,
    they will just see it as further proof that ” all good things for the west of Scotland , come from London ”
    without a popular feeling of injustice that a braver exposition of Scotlands disadvantage inside the union would at least encourage , the engine for the sort of change Scottish freedom will require , will always run short of fuel , we will never convince a very timid ,conditioned electorate to take a leap of faith , by being only slightly less timid than they are , and seeing that as “tactical”
    the tactics of losers or terminal devolutionists

  11. We should lift our eyes beyond ‘grey ships’. Calmac used to have their ferries built in Ferguson-Appledore in Port Glasgow, now the latest one is being built in Poland (and it won’t fit the piers it is due to serve!). There are boats of every shape, size and description required around the world and, with our heritage and skills, we should be building some of them, instead of pleading with Westminster not to cancel two grey elephants!
    I’m with Hektorsmum on this. We won’t get building decent ships on the Clyde, Forth, Tay or in Aberdeen, unless we first gain independence. UKPLC is not going to do us any favours – they’ll throw us a few sops, perhaps, just to stop the natives from getting too restless, but won’t invest in upgrading our yards so that they can compete in the open market.
    I see in the latest issue of Time magazine, that countries in the far-east are building up their navies in the face of a perceived threat from China. Has anyone given them the Scottish ‘Clyde-built’sales pitch? If not, why not?!

    • Spot on Crazyhill with the added caveat that I’d like us to be building ships and structures for peaceful means.

      • [quote name=”Robabody”]Spot on Crazyhill with the added caveat that I’d like us to be building ships and structures for peaceful means.[/quote]

        Im hoping you mean as well as navy ships and not instead of.

        There would be little point in gaining our independence if we didnt put in place the means to protect it both in a constitution for internal threats and a military force for external threats.

        • [quote name=”Polstar”][quote name=”Robabody”]Spot on Crazyhill with the added caveat that I’d like us to be building ships and structures for peaceful means.[/quote]

          Im hoping you mean as well as navy ships and not instead of.

          There would be little point in gaining our independence if we didnt put in place the means to protect it both in a constitution for internal threats and a military force for external threats.[/quote]

          please refer yourself to the Norwegian military establishment ….small northern european social democracies dont attract quite the same threat as redundant egomaniacal ex-empires , as an oil rich , tidal power harvesting state, peopled by financial literates , we would of course require a force to protect our assets , in our usual Scots manner i am sure we will make a continued success of shipbuilding , or any other endeavour , that requires smeddum , or native ingenuity ,
          not exactly ” wha’s like us ? ” more an accurate reading of history

  12. I keep getting this voice in my head that keeps saying,,BEWARE LABOUR,,BEWARE LABOUR.It may be a cross party agreement at the moment but i cant help feeling that labour will do a turnaround on this at some point.
    If these jobs are saved it will be the labour party that will get most of the credit by the bbc and the msm.

    • I don’t think the BBC will. They are restricted in how much they can manipulate. The BBC will present it as a victory for a United devolved parliament, which it will be, although they won’t highlight the fact that Salmond instigated the meeting that led to the joint submission.

      The Record on the other hand will simply credit Iain Gray, regardless of the truth. When negotiations were underway The Record prinited a blatant lie about Salmond and Trident saying he had backtracked. The paper deserves it’s current plummetting sales.

  13. I think there are a few interesting things about this scenario.

    First, these Scots workers need these jobs, while the Westminster dream-machine need these carriers.

    Secondly, if the UK coalition don’t bring the contract to Clyde, then Labour can say it wasn’t their fault, it’s all Con-Dem’s; but auntie annabelle has put in a couple of pre-emptive attacks already saying it is all the fault of Labour’s disaterous crash economy government anyway.

    Thirdly, the Unionists are trying very hard to avoid this contracts loss; all of them will lose votes next May if we lose these 2 carriers.

    Fourthly, it also puts the politicians on a battle-course with the armed forces; navy/airforce say yes we need 2 carriers, army say no, we don’t them, we needs more boots, flak jackets, and more logistical equipment for Afghanistan and Iraq.

    There’s no real out-and-out winner here, but the SNP have been made to look good by the Unionists squabbling. Labour have created a complete mess by ‘advertising’ these carriers for votes last year at Glenrothes etc, while the Tories don’t need them for their vote base, but would look anti-Scotland if they didn’t join the SNP-led crossparty agreement.

    My thoughts?
    Westminster will not bring the carrier contracts to Scotland.

  14. In the longer term the air bases in Moray are economically more important than the carriers – but do the unionists care?

  15. This is a focus to protect jobs under current UK and defense statements on projects that have already been announced. Damn right we should fight to protect the jobs despite the obvious lack of a real need for the end product.

    It is obvious that Gray will use the 10000 jobs figure as a card in a future game of UK verses Scotland election poker. But lets not mention the overall downward spend and jobs in Scotland that we pay towards.

    Lets not mention that today we pay for this out of our taxes, tomorrow all that money is still available to pay for miltary hardware or other infrastructure as we see fit.

    Lets DO mention that if the contracts go, its not just a temporary budget problem. The jobs and skills will go permanently, like our other heavy industry skills – all gone. even in the UK what would be built in 2015, 2020 etc.

    Concerning the usefulness and need of the carriers. I am not 100% certain, perhaps someone can clarify. But carriers afaik need planes to carry. Last I heard the airforce doesn’t have the quantities of the aircraft that these carriers are designed for.

  16. The building of RORO ships is more important to this nation than that of two hulks that in the theatre of war will have a lifespan of 20min.

  17. The contracts are essential for the jobs. You cannot switch to a couple of destroyers or whatever. Designing a ship takes years, then you have to tender the contract. The shipyards can’t sit waiting for years. Nor can they simply switch to RO-RO ferries. Where are the orders?

    What is more important? Getting one over the unionists or securing Scottish jobs which keeps the skills we need for the future?

    • [quote name=”enneffess”]The contracts are essential for the jobs. You cannot switch to a couple of destroyers or whatever. Designing a ship takes years, then you have to tender the contract. The shipyards can’t sit waiting for years. Nor can they simply switch to RO-RO ferries. Where are the orders?

      What is more important? Getting one over the unionists or securing Scottish jobs which keeps the skills we need for the future?[/quote]

      I think we must also consider that we are spending very scarce resources on building ships we dont need and cant afford to operate.

      These resources are being taken from elsewhere in the defence budget and might be one of the reasons that we are now down to a single infantry regiment in Scotland.

      We should really ask our selves if we save these 1000 jobs, will we lose them elsewhere in the defence industry in Scotland and are we really saving them or just giving them a relatively short stay of execution.

      • So what you are saying is that it is ok for 1,000 people (I’d say substantially more) to lose their jobs for short term savings?

        If you lose the skills now it means the long term future of industry is at risk. If that happens it reduces the diversity of skills and talent Scotland must have to be a success.

        What is your alternative? Give them jobs in Tescos?

        • [quote]What is your alternative? Give them jobs in Tescos?[/quote]

          Hey there will come a time when everybody will be working for Tescos !

        • [quote name=”enneffess”]So what you are saying is that it is ok for 1,000 people (I’d say substantially more) to lose their jobs for short term savings?

          If you lose the skills now it means the long term future of industry is at risk. If that happens it reduces the diversity of skills and talent Scotland must have to be a success.

          What is your alternative? Give them jobs in Tescos?[/quote]

          But what your saying is its fine to spend billions of pounds we dont have so it prolongs the life of these shipyards for a few years building ships we dont need.

          Look at westminsters A400M transport aircraft debacle, were paying over £100 milion per aircraft and we might get them around 2015 if were lucky.

          We could have bought American C17’s which carry far more and would already be in service to supplement our outrageusly under equipped transport fleet today. We would still have enough money to give every UK worker who would lose out £1,000,000 each and still save the treasury money.

          I suspect we are in the same position here, we could pay the cancellation penalties, buy what we really need, pay each woker who would lose their job a million pounds and still save money.

  18. i wonder who was the naughty person who put this up on an anti SNP Facebook group :o)}

    [url]http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/photo.php?pid=183500&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=2233700700&aid=-1&id=100000532202066&oid=2233700700[/url]

  19. [quote name=”enneffess”]The contracts are essential for the jobs. You cannot switch to a couple of destroyers or whatever. Designing a ship takes years, then you have to tender the contract. The shipyards can’t sit waiting for years. Nor can they simply switch to RO-RO ferries. Where are the orders?[/quote]
    Superfast ( greek company ) was running the first scotland- zeebrugge ferry service. Contrary to belief it was making a reasonable profit, but switched it’s new vessels ( due to lack of RORO ships ) to a more lucrative route. It swapped an older less comfortable vessel onto the scottish route which became less popular. Eventualy they just pulled out. Norfolkline then picked up the route a year later with an even older slower ship ( again due to lack of decent RORO ).Before it even started DFDS had bill boards up at the port of Rosyth telling people to head south to Newcastle for a more luxurious crossing.
    Then DFDS bought over Norfolkline and will soon be closing down ( like we didn’t see that coming ) the passenger service and making it a cargo only route.
    So if you fancy a wee trip to the continent in your car it’s ( yes, youv’e guessed it ) back down through good old blighty.
    A proper ferry service from Scotland to europe and scandinavia is what we need.
    Not some mahoosive aircraft carrier that when it leaves Scotland, will not return as we don’t have a port large enough to take it. So no refit work there.

    • You still need to plan the construction of one. And with current EU legislation a government needs to put the contract out to tender (I think!).

      So where are these orders?

      It’s the short-term issues I am concerned about, not the longer term. People seem to think we can simply stuff the carriers and start building something else. There are real people with real jobs at stake here.

      • “It’s the short-term issues I am concerned about, not the longer term”

        Spot on! The Unionists love to link the idea of what we would eventually want for a Scottish Defence Force, and the current situation in the UK, then pretend there is a conflict in the thinking. I feel it’s important to separate the issues.

        1. In an independent Scotland, we would want a defence force appropriate to our needs, not those of a pretendy wee imperialist state. That does need the SNP to stress the importance of the air bases and naval base we will need at that point (Faslane doesn’t need to be nuclear!) We don’t need the huge military establishment centred in the SE of England.

        2. But we ARE currently in the UK. Westminster takes our taxes and spends too much on “defence” (why don’t they say “attack”?) As long as we have no power over how our taxes are taken and spent, the very least we can expect is that those taxes (if they are going to be wasted anyway) are at least going to be wasted on Scottish jobs.

  20. I remember only to well when Rosyth lost the Trident contract to Davenport. Rifkind the traitor personaly signed Rosyth’s death warrant. A great deal of people lost jobs from it. Highly skilled jobs which went south to the wealth of southern England.
    What are we looking at losing here. About a 1000 jobs which technically don’t exist at the moment. Of which 90% will be welding / temporary work.
    A ferry service will provide RORO services on shore.Plus the spin off from tourism and liner visits could be huge.
    Looking at the stats building the carriers is going to cost the tax payer £4 millon per job.

  21. And for light relief we have the Hootsmon’s take on defence.

    http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/39I39m-vigorously-fighting-Scotland39s-corner.6543680.jp

    I especially liked this

    “Much of the attention has been focused on the £5.2 billion aircraft carrier projects, said to be on a knife edge, on which 10,000 jobs on the Clyde and in Rosyth and the future of the shipbuilding industry are dependent on. However, also under threat are two of Scotland’s three RAF bases, the Black Watch base at Fort George, the Royal Marines’ base in Arbroath, [b]and the Queen Victoria Army School in Dunblane.

    Added to that there is a danger that the Craigiehall command post could be downgraded from a two star general to a single star post.[/b]”

    Clearly the real need isn’t Scottish jobs, but the number of stars that the General at Craigiehall has.

    Incidentally, the Hootsmon’s command of language has sunk as low as its politics. Just what is the point of that final “on” in the first sentence of this quotation? Clearly, the Hootsmon is recruiting its journalists from the school of “Grammar? What’s that?”

  22. oldnat, I especially liked the last paragraph:

    [i]However, he (Mr Moore) also accepts that the other part of his job is to explain the effects of the radical cuts and reforms being brought forward by the coalition. But Mr Moore said he has a simple message. He said: “I am just going to keep hammering out the line that this is Labour’s legacy.[/i]

    [b]I AM JUST GOING TO KEEP HAMMERING OUT THE LINE THAT THIS IS LABOUR’S LEGACY[/b].

    By the way I think ‘North British Labour’ have a message for the electrate:

    [img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_SsEJYY3HW8E/TJVKfktVWvI/AAAAAAAAChA/OIo6TzTHqd0/S748/Labour+lies.jpg[/img]

    • Oh gee! I am stupid (what else could I be?) so I have to vote Labour. All these years, and I never understood that.

      Thanks Mr Gray!

  23. J Will
    [quote]It’s just a pity that the role of shipbuilding hasn’t been allowed to expand again into commercial shipping like in Italy, France and Finland, instead of having all the eggs in one basket.[/quote]

    The yards have been limited to military work because it gives Westminister total control over them. And they are finding it’s very usefull.

  24. i really like these spoof leaflets , without the mention of the S N P , these would be a great electoral ploy , if everybody could cultivate a good jobbing printer , or gain access to a good quality home printer , targeted flyposting / leafleting in problem wards could really pay dividends , for instance there are parts of Falkirk where the labour majority is almost dependent on votes given them in complete ignorance from quite identifiable (easily leafleted) areas ,some of which have just been abandoned to the labourites clutches

    • Theres another one with Murphy ..maybe Roll_on_2010 can go get it and post it cos i didnt manage to upload it to here. I did find this little bit of humour tho !

      [url]http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/politics/politics-headlines/vince-cable-is-just-so-cute%2c-say-bankers-201009223106/[/url]

  25. ubinworryinmasheep – I see what you mean:

    [img]http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs459.snc3/26251_111749748852765_100000532202066_183499_3743844_n.jpg[/img]

  26. ubinworryinmasheep

    By the way my Elmer Fudd on a union jack came from here:

    [url]http://darklochnagar.blogspot.com/[/url]

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