What we learned this week

  • Banks aren’t the only things that are too big to fail. The Grangemouth oil refinery and petrochemicals plant provides 80% of Scotland’s fuel. Here are a couple of takes on it, one from the Spectator and one from OpenDemocracy.
  • “The problem isn’t just that some people in today’s world are fabulously rich” writes Christian Caryl in his FP article on oligarchy, “It’s that disproportionate wealth increasingly goes along with disproportionate power.”
  • Speaking of price rises and the complexities of dealing with them, here’s eco-home pioneer Donnachadh McCarthy on why his bills have gone up by 583%.


  1. Well the OpenDemocracy take on Grangemouth is full of holes. Union convener Mr Deans has now resigned rather than face the result of the Ineos investigation. Given that if it didn’t have evidence that would stand up in a tribunal he could have taken them to the cleaners if they disciplined him it suggests the accusations against him stack up.

    Secondly the ‘business analyst’who doubts the profitability of the plant (“no friend of the trade unions”) turns out to be Richard Murphy, and accountant employed by Unison to exaggerate the supposed Tax Gap to justify more Unison workers being hired by HMRC.

    None of this means Ineos aren’t sentimentally utterly fixated on the bottom line, they are. But then chemicals and refining is a dying industry in Europe and so that is the only way to keep them alive.

    1. Yes, the OpenDemocracy article is clearly biased, which is why I posted two links on the same story. The reason I included it at all is that it makes some good points about Scotland’s dependency on one company – which being private, is actually in the hands of one man.

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