The Proclaimers back Alba Party in bid to save Grangemouth oil refinery

The Proclaimers have backed Kenny MacAskill’s bid to become MP for Grangemouth and fight to save the town’s famous oil refinery from closure.

The legendary twin singers Charlie and Craig Reid are endorsing the former SNP Justice Secretary – who is standing for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party – because they fear the Fourth Valley community could suffer the same fate as those in their world famous hit song Letter From America.

The lyrics tell of Scottish towns decimated by post-industrial decline and features the line: “Bathgate no more, Linwood no more, Methil no more, Irvine no more.”

MacAskill said: “Their song, with its haunting words on de-industrialisation and emigration sear the soul of every Scot and Craig and Charlie have said that we can’t add ‘Grangemouth no more’ to those lyrics.”

From the beginning of the campaign to save Grangemouth Refinery, The Proclaimers pledged support.”

The new Alloa and Grangemouth constituency is a key election battleground with the future of Scotland’s only refinery top of the campaign agenda.

The facility is co-owned by the Chinese government and billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos.

But they want to close the refinery and turn the site into an import only terminal. It would mean North Sea oil would be transported abroad for refining before being shipped back to Scotland as diesel and jet fuel.

There has been criticism that both the Scottish and UK governments are not doing enough to save the key
industrial asset and the race to a greener economy has left them apathetic towards Grangemouth.

MacAskill said: “Closure would be as catastrophic for Grangemouth, the Forth Valley and Scotland as those past industrial closures.

“Yet the threat to the refinery has worsened whilst the actions of both the Scottish and UK Government to avert closure have been feeble. It’s why The Proclaimers are now endorsing my election campaign for Alloa and Grangemouth constituency on a Save Grangemouth ticket.

“I’ve been the only member of any Parliament pursuing this and working with the campaign. I’m standing to make it clear that the refinery must stay.

“It’s been here a hundred years. It’s where the Forties pipeline bringing North Sea oil ashore ends. The plant’s profitable and can be even more so.

“It’s not just sentiment that demands it stays, but our economy and society.

Grangemouth provides 70 per cent of our filling stations supply and most of our aviation fuel – both of which are vital for life and work. Around 500 are employed on site along with thousands of contractors.

“Scottish Oil has provided trillions for the UK Exchequer and receipts for this year alone are expected to be £6.1billion – any investment needed to save the site would be a fraction of that.

The proposed closure is absurd and damaging. It’s absurd as it would leave Scotland as the only major oil producing Nation without a refinery capacity.

“We’d be like a developing nation such as the Republic of Congo and Trinidad and Tobago both of whom produce less than us but lack a refinery.

“It will allow multi-national corporations to take our natural resource from us at a discounted price, refine it, and then sell
it back to us at a premium. That’s perverse.

“It’s also economically disastrous, environmentally damaging and dangerous for energy security.

“It’s not just the loss of skilled jobs amongst the workforce but the knock-on effect on contractors and businesses dependent upon the refinery.

“It’s skilled work that we need for the renewables transition. We already have a skills shortage and this exacerbates it. .

It’s also environmentally damaging as whatever carbon savings there are from closing a very efficient plant, they’re dwarfed by emissions that will come from tankers bringing oil in and out for refining on supertankers.

Finally, in this increasingly dangerous world its absurd to be dependent on imported fuel, when you have your own resources.”

MacAskill will be up against his former SNP colleague John Nicolson MP, Labour’s Brian Leishman, and the Conservatives’ Rachel Nunn.

The SNP will be hoping to win the seat but both Labour and the conservatives will be hoping to increase their share of the vote on the communities covered by the new constituency. Charlie Reid, who formed the Proclaimers in 1983 with brother Craig, said: “We are endorsing Kenny MacAskill for the Grangemouth parliamentary seat.

He has been a fantastic campaigning MP, the only guy who has really been supporting keeping Grangemouth open for the last couple of years. We fully endorse Kenny and wish him all the best for the campaign.”

Labour, the SNP and the Tories have repeatedly clashed during the election campaign over the plan for a low carbon economy while

maintaining thousands of jobs in both the north east of Scotland and in places like Grangemouth which rely heavily on the fossil fuel industry.

Labour and the SNP have insisted they can transition the economy towards renewables, but Unite union leader Sharon Graham has warned that their plans are not good enough and that it would be unacceptable to ban new oil drilling licenses before realistic proposals are in place.

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