By a Newsnet reporter
The anti-independence campaign has today been urged to bring to an end its widely discredited claims that a Yes vote will end Scottish shipbuilding.
The call from the SNP followed yet another claim, this time from the Scottish Labour party, that independence would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.

Speaking today, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: “There is a danger that if we vote Yes in September we won’t have a shipbuilding industry any longer, because we’re reliant on these defence contracts.”

Arguing that MoD contracts would be at risk, the MSP said it was: “inconceivable contracts for defence work will be let outside the United Kingdom if Scotland became independent.  It’s irrational to think anything else,”

The claims are a repeat of similar attacks on independence by Unionist politicians who have previously claimed only a No vote will preserve Scottish shipbuilding.

Claims that a newly independent Scotland would be prevented from winning defence contracts from the rest of the UK were proved baseless in November when a UK Minister confirmed that EU procurement regulations would allow naval orders from the rest of the UK to be undertaken by yards on the Clyde without tender, even if Scotland voted Yes to independence.
Appearing in front of the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster, Andrew Murrison said EU competition law – known as Article 346 – would allow for orders to be completed in Scotland provided the Westminster Government said it was for national security reasons.

The SNP has also pointed out that comments from BAE Systems, the company that owns the Clyde Yards, have already confirmed that the Clyde is the only option for the Type 26 Frigates, regardless of whether there is a Yes vote or not.

Head of the BAE Type 26 programme, Geoff Searle, recently confirmed that the company was only looking at a “single site” solution on the Clyde.

Speaking earlier this month, he told defence magazine Jane’s: “All of our planning is based on the assumption that we will build at the revamped Scotstoun facility.  We are looking to start work on the redevelopment in early 2015 to allow Type 26 manufacture to start in May 2016.”

Searle also said that there is “no plan B” for the build of Type 26 elsewhere in the United Kingdom if there is a Yes vote – reflecting the fact that they are ending shipbuilding capacity at Portsmouth, the only yard that could have been refitted to complete the order.

Speaking in November last year, after the Clyde had been chosen over rival Portsmouth to build the Type 26 vessels, BAE’s Busines and Transformation Director Charlie Blakemore told the BBC that the decision to keep shipbuilding on the Clyde was “absolutely not” political and that the decision was a commercial one.

He said: “The Clyde has been chosen purely based on industrial grounds, all to do with capacity, capability and skill-mix.”

Commenting, SNP Defence Spokesman Angus Robertson ridiculed the claim that Scottish shipbuilding jobs were safe if Scotland remained in the Union.

He said: “The No campaign is looking and sounding desperate as they cling on to Project Fear scare stories which have already been dismissed.  It is beyond belief that anti-independence politicians claim that shipbuilding on the Clyde and at Rosyth is safe in Westminster’s hands.

“This is an industry that in the last 30 years has lost thousands of jobs and been decimated by Westminster government after Westminster government.  The Clyde has been, is now, and will in the future be the best place to build the new generation of naval ships, and that is coming direct from senior directors at BAE Systems.”

In March this year, a senior naval source told the Independent newspaper that aircraft carriers being built at Rosyth have “got to be finished” at the yard regardless of the referendum result, securing thousands of jobs.

Mr Robertson added:

“The No campaign have also said thousands of defence jobs would go at Rosyth after a Yes vote for independence, however a senior naval source has said that the aircraft carriers have ‘got to be finished’ at Rosyth, ensuring 2,000 jobs for years to come.

“Rosyth has a bright future in an independent Scotland – including military procurement, and its highly successful record in the global market place in a range of other areas, such as offshore energy and marine services, and Labour should stop scaremongering.

“The UK track record on defence in Scotland is appalling, with a multi-billion-pound defence underspend and the loss of more than 11,000 jobs in the last decade. With a Yes vote in September we can start to have a defence policy that meets the needs of Scotland.

“With Scotland’s own procurement requirements – as detailed in the white paper – along with continued success in the international market, it is clear that shipbuilding has a bright future in an independent Scotland. After generations of closure and decline under Westminster, for the first time we will be able to develop a shipbuilding strategy tailored for Scotland.

“The disgraceful anti-independence shipbuilding scare stories must end once and for all.”

Claims that independence would hit Scottish Shipbuilding have also been challenged by Alf Baird, Professor of maritime business at Napier University who suggested that only with independence could Scotland diversify its shipbuilding away from an over reliance on defence contracts.

He said: “…the re-introduction of commercial shipbuilding in Scotland will only be achieved through independence.”

Related article:
EU rule can be used to award indy Scotland warship orders confirms UK Minister


2014-06-23 22:23

There has been a loss of 30k shipbuilding jobs over the last 30 or so years, while Scotland has been in the union. Add to that the loss of jobs at Springburn Railway works, Ravenscraig, Beardmore, coal mines, Caterpillar, the Invergordon Aluminium smelter, Linwood and lots more. Has Johan Lamont forgotten these union benefits? Scotland needs to actively re-industrialise not just hang on to the few remaining jobs courtesy of a capricious Westminster. Our shipyards should be looking for commercial contracts instead of depending on MOD orders. Ships are still being built and modern and efficient yards have every chance of securing contracts. It’s not all down to who has the lowest wages but about the ability of the yards to produce high quality at a sensible price. That can be achieved through investment. But that investment won’t be available while Scotland remains shackled in the UK.
2014-06-23 22:45

Lamont must (surely) be able to make the connection between being reliant on defence contracts and the vulnerability that comes with it. Yet she continues to peddle this obscene and insulting nonsense. She carefully (again, I’m giving her credit for having the ability to think things through) avoids asking the questions about why all those thousands of shipbuilding jobs were lost and with them a realistic chance to bid for other work. For Lamont, the union comes first, last and everywhere in between. She accuses the Yes campaigns of playing with people’s lives and futures when she herself is guilty of precisely that in pursuit of power at westminster for its own sake. It surely isn’t for the people she and her zombie party claim to represent. It’s power; the preservation of the pure, naked, seductive power New Labour and the Tories share between them. There is no real difference between them.
2014-06-24 09:48

I disagree with one word in your last sentence….

Quoting westcoast:

There is no real difference between them.

Isn’t that more accurate?


2014-06-24 05:43

I watched “From Scotland with love” last night on telly, and the images of Scotland from the 1st world war through to the 70’s was very emotional, it portrayed the country we once were, of people flocking to and from their (local) place of work such as sewing machine factories, shipyards, coal mines and so on, and the sense of community among the people was obvious,and seeing throngs of “oor ain folk” on beaches from Largs to Burntisland was very moving, but it wasn’t a perfect country by any means, there was poverty, slum housing, chimneys belching smoke,
A decent government would have modernised these industries and brought them into the modern era but they abandoned all these people to neo liberal forces.
And although we had a long way to go back then we had the bones of a modern society, now, we look around and see wastelands where once hundreds of thousands of people worked, shame on Labour,
2014-06-24 06:13

Reassuring to see Ms Lamont’s got her finger on the pulse of the moment, as always. She’ll be warning of the dangers of salmonella in eggs next.
Leader of the Pack
2014-06-24 07:55

Its no good the yes campaign complaining to the No campaign about the scaremongering its the media who is at fault here.

They continue to publish and broadcast the same rehashed debunked stories over and over and over again without question.

In fact they present them in such as way as to show they are new stories just becoming headlines for the first time.

That’s where the Yes campaign needs to concentrate its fire. the No camp wont care how many complaints Yes directs at them they are immune and oblivious.

Hit the media. The No campaign are not shy about attacking wings and Newsnet. Its about time the Scottish Government upped its game.

Saying that its good to see Newsnets continued pressure on the BBC, Keep it up. You may want to have a go at the Scotsman and Herald while youre at it.
2014-06-24 08:48

It’s almost as if unionists want to see Scotland’s industries fail in order for Scotland to be dependent on Westminster’s “handouts”.
2014-06-24 09:31

What does the McCrone Report confirm but that a successful Scottish industry would encourage nationalism unless the truth was manipulated by Westminster and kept secret decades?

They only care about Scottish industry which can be exploited for their gain. Everything else is a burden to them.
Jo Bloggs
2014-06-24 11:54

“The only thing wrong with Scotland is that it’s full of Scots.”

That’s the only decent line of dialogue in Braveheart, as it sums up perfectly the view of the UK establishment. YES could take heart from a much better film, “Thunderheart”, about events on an American indian reservation in the 1970s:

“What makes you such a threat?”
“We choose the right to be who we are. We know the difference between the reality of freedom and the illusion of freedom. We choose the reality of freedom.”

Come on Scotland. PLEASE choose the reality of freedom in September!

2014-06-24 11:23

I must agrre with Alf Baird, independence, will give shipbuilding in Scotland a way out of solely relying on UK government contracts.

It seems as though Lamont and Co are the ones hell bent on destroying Scottish shipbuilding, by scaremongering.
2014-06-24 12:55

I’ve just posted the UK Government booklet which came in the post today to this Freepost address –

Better Together,
5 Blythswood Square,
Glasgow, G2 4AD

Marked No Thanks
2014-06-24 13:16

It is really good news that BAE have decided to keep shipbuilding on the Clyde.
2014-06-24 20:27

The last Labour governments defence strategy police stated that ther was no requirement for warships to be built in the UK.
I wrote to Ms Lamont raising this with her and asking if and when Labour had changed its mind on this policy. She replied that this was a matter for the shadow defence secretary in Westminster. She only commented further by quoting union officials on what they had to say about the matter.
Nothing more than misinformation, scaremongering and down right lies.
2014-06-24 22:05

Quoting neoloon:

It’s almost as if unionists want to see Scotland’s industries fail in order for Scotland to be dependent on Westminster’s “handouts”.

Not “as if”….. it’s a direct policy. keep them on their knees, then they won’t have the confidence to vote for Independence! Feed them a diet of soap operas, cheap booze. they won’t be able to think. Job Done, old chap!


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