Unite the Union, the SNP and a small number of ‘nimbys’ in my constituency of Falkirk are deeply opposed to fracking. For most folk, that’s probably evidence enough that fracking must be a super thing. But I had a darkly-hilarious exchange of tweets today with a constituent who challenged a tweet of mine to the effect that the future of over 5000 jobs in my constituency alone are dependent upon fracking and I was moved to post this.
My constituent demanded I say which jobs I was referring to. He lives in Polmont. That village looks out over the petrochemical plant which supplies pretty much all of Scotland’s forecourts with their fuel and, amongst other things, supplies the area with nearly 2000 jobs directly and an additional 4000+ in the supply chain. Ineos, the employer there, having persuaded the workers that sacking themselves and thousands of much less well-paid local folk wasn’t such a great idea, secured a deal involving the UK government which guarantees thousands of jobs for the Falkirk area for years to come. Processing fracked gas will be the mainstay of the Falkirk economy.
Ineos has now also bought the extensive local coalbed methane extraction rights. And when gas comes up, who’ll be employed processing it? Falkirk folk (and Runcorn folk), that’s who. Many of them the sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of miners who worked the very coal seams within which the gas now sits.
The anti-science of the anti-fracking movement is a minority self-indulgence. But the shocking anti-jobs rhetoric of Unite, the SNP and the small number of local nimbys who seem determined to talk down the value of their own homes is profoundly dangerous for Falkirk’s strong manufacturing base and the many, many jobs which go with it. They should pack it in.
Maybe they’d like to form an orderly protest outside some butcher selling foie gras, or something, instead?