I had another busy week spanning both national and local considerations.
I was the guest speaker at Aberdeen Independence Movement (AIM) early in the week. I enjoyed catching up with the former MSP and MEP Christian Allard – he indulges my attempts at French and corrects me with weary patience!
I was asked to write a blog for the website of former MP Roger Mullin. I chose to write about our financial system and choices we can make. There is much more we could and should be doing:
I also wrote an article for IScot magazine – I announce the launch of the next Momentous Change project – this will be a very exciting piece of work on a national scale. The article will be out around mid-October.
I had 2 trips last week – to Slamannan for a chat about some of the local issues such as replacement heating in off-gas areas, and waste issues. We also discussed flooding with existing problems caused by a single combined water and sewerage pipe and also with local burns and water courses. Scottish Water will have their part to play in future investment. Aged infrastructure and complex supply chains are all contributory factors and I believe the Scottish Government will need to further revisit their flood risk management strategies as the effects of climate change are felt more frequently.
I noticed that Bo’ness Recreation centre was still shut. This is a really important local resource. The updates from Falkirk Community Trust did not make clear what the plans were. I think most people understand there is a great deal of preparation required to re-open resources particularly as the Covid-19 ‘R’ number moves upwards – but there were no parameters explained as to how the decision would be made.
I was also back once more to Grangemouth and am building up my network of key connections across the community – people really appreciate the confidential nature of meetings. They can be open and honest about some of the issues they see. Putting effort into building relationships based on trust and mutual respect always yields dividends.
I noted an article in Business Insider concerning the arrival of 6 purpose-built fermentation vessels for Celtic renewables at Grangemouth. These are intended for Scotland’s first biorefinery and are intended to produce around 500,000 litres of Biobutanol biofuel. I offered a “cautious welcome” noting that the world was slowly adopting battery or hydrogen fuel cells which produce no greenhouse gases. However, I am looking forward to hearing more and understanding the detailed strategy.
The 18th September saw another anniversary of the first independence referendum. I posted a picture of the former First Minister, me and various other business leaders prior to the vote. My reaction to each anniversary is one of increased determination not stoic acceptance. I made the point that many people would now vote yes having previously voted no. English votes for English laws (EVEL), Brexit, the power grab and the complete disregard for the rule of law have all made a difference. So too has the handling of the Covid-19 crisis – contrast the shambolic U-turns offered by Boris Johnson and compare it to the calm efficiency and excellent communication offered by Nicola Sturgeon.
In the national news my great concern has been the so-called internal Market Bill. This is a significant risk to the continued operation of the Scottish Parliament. For example, section 32 gives a Tory Government the power to refer legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament to a UK Government Department. This is an affront to our democracy. Only today we learn that the proposals could lead to lower standards in our buildings that could have led to similar issues such as with the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. Read more here:
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