THIS week has been a sad week for Glasgow and Scotland, with the loss of hundreds of jobs at the Govan, Scotstoun and Rosyth shipyards.

The news is devastating for those who work in the shipbuilding industry, which has been at the heart of the Clyde for generations, and for the communities affected.
My thoughts are also with those who work in the shipyards in Portsmouth, as the shipbuilding industry is so vital to that community as well and this week’s news will be terrible for them as well.
I know that the best outcome for BAE employees at the shipyards will be the top priority for the Scottish Government, and I am pleased that the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney have been meeting regularly with BAE.
I hope that politicians can unite, as
they did over events at Grangemouth, to ensure that all
redundancies made
are voluntary measures.
We have heard from BAE Systems and the Secretary of State for Defence at Westminster that the Clyde is the best place to build ships – end of story.
The yards at Scotstoun, Rosyth and Govan were saved because of their international reputation for excellence.
This is why the shipyards will thrive, regardless of what the constitutional set up of Scotland is.
However it is important that we look beyond orders from the Royal Navy, to ensure that our yards diversify to secure a future for decades to come.
It is a real shame to see people’s jobs and futures used as a political football.
I was disappointed to see the Labour opposition and the UK Government dragging this issue into the independence debate by questioning
whether the Clyde shipyards have a future in an independent Scotland.
The comments from Ian Davidson MP were especially distasteful; we must rise above this scaremongering and focus on supporting those who are affected and protecting as many jobs as possible.
Some have suggested that defence contracts from the Royal Navy would not be given to an independent country.
I can echo the words of the Deputy First Minister and Glasgow MSP Nicola Sturgeon and say that UK defence contracts are already let outside the UK.
IF Malaysia, Korea and Australia are getting contracts from the UK Government, why wouldn’t an independent Scotland be able to win such contracts?
It would be surprising if the UK - who want to work collaboratively with Australia, South Korea and several other nations in these matters – would not want to work with its closest neighbour and ally where the world’s best shipbuilders are.