Thursday, September 11, 2014

Memories of Ardrossan Refinery whose closure, along with thousands of other community-based employers, was to lead to Alex Salmond - and Nigel Farage

Ardrossan was different. It once, improbably, had an Oil Refinery. It wasn't a very large Refinery, and it was a specialist one (it produced Bitumen) . But it was the heart of the town and gave it its purpose for a time. Tankers delivered Crude Oil and lorries and trains took away its refined products. It was a busy place and it was a major employer, and it generated spin-off activities, especially small services providers. But the harshness of the economic climate in the 1980s put its future in doubt and it was soon to close, in 1986. 

Ardrossan is different from Brighton, it once had a reason to exist beyond the faux gentility of its seaside location. That created a sense of community. For 60 years Ardrossan, it's Refinery and many other commercial and industrial enterprises made it a place of significance. But when the accountants arrived, at a time when the workers' representatives were losing their power after the defeat of the miners, then it began to fade away fast. Because the neo-liberal imperative of Thatcher and her gang didn't place community very high on the agenda. Society, you'll remember, didn't exist - only families. So those once vibrant mini-societies that were Ardrossan, Ravenscraig steel works, car plants, shipbuilding and the rest in Scotland were swept away. It wasn't that it was done that lost the Consevatives their strength in Scotland (from 21 seats in 1983 to one today) it was how it was done. The enemy culture, the offensive idea that working class people were the enemy within.

So don't cry for me about Ardrossan, or Clacton or any more of the places that once were. Don't weep for me about mining towns destroyed, but with nothing planned to replace them. Don't bemoan the rise of Nationalism and other extremisms. Because the causes of all this, of political alienation, of a failure to value communities were the seeds planted in the 1980s - the decade where disposing of assets, businesses, industries, public housing - and people - became the order of the day. And Adrossan Refinery and the thousands of purpose-giving employers like it were cast thoughtlessly aside by a Government relentlessly pursuing efficiencies and carelessly destroying things that mattered. Alex Salmond is a child of those 1980s in Scotland. As, elsewhere, was Nigel Farage. Those who vote for them haven't forgotten. 


At 3:29 am , Blogger Unknown said...

True true a old work mate electrian said to me maggy thatcher was binned by working man an not a shop keeper she then came back to screw the working man an sold our country out what is brittish we used to sell electricity to France Holland an Belgium now France runs our power all our best were sent down the drain glengarnock steel works was maker of the best rail in the world look at all our shipbuilding now gone by a kids toy it is made in China a country is like a household u can't spent more than that's comming in we import more than we export things to ur goverment under we are also taxed over the odd to make up for there mistake vat at 20percent kills all work add on cost plus fuel tax do away with House of Lords an no more help abroad if money needs to be funded to help abroad it should be our lords an lairds who made their wealth from there not the working people of UK I am a retired electrician an still paying tax on what I worked a lot o hours to get


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