Some UKIP dimwit, aka their Scottish MEP, has explained that his party will concentrate its general election efforts on Scotland’s ‘rust’ belt; “We’re looking at the Scottish rust belt. Seats where there were serious industries that were allowed to run down, with no replacement”.
Falkirk’s one of these seats, apparently. He’ll be thinking of the iron industry. Except, if he’d ever been to Falkirk – or Scotland, for God’s sake – he’d know that the old iron foundry sites aren’t rusty. They’re full of houses accommodating the folk working in manufacturing and services across the central belt from Glasgow to Edinburgh and Stirling. The present unemployment rate, at under 3%, is a fraction of what it was when the foundries were at their height (sometimes over 20%) and the employment rate is vastly higher because in the olden days most families relied on one modest weekly pay cheque.
Over a thousand Falkirk folk are employed in petrochemicals at Ineos in Grangemouth; not much less than that are employed building buses at a vehicle manufacturing plant, ADL, which is wholly owned in Scotland, is supplied by a Scottish metals company and supplies Scotland and the UK with iconic buses. There are thousands of people working locally in the supply chain to each of these companies. On the service industry side, Falkirk is 18 mins by train to Glasgow, 30 mins to Edinburgh and 15 mins to Stirling – thousands of Falkirk folk work in Edinburgh’s banks, Glasgows public services and Larbert’s high quality call centres.
If UKIP’s dimwitted Scottish MEP is looking for rust, he’d best check between his ears.