In My View - Flood, waves and oil

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In my new role as Acting Deputy Editor for the Aberdeenshire Division, I have editorial responsibilities for the Deeside Piper.

This week has been one of heartbreak for the residents of Deeside and Donside with the flooding, all of which Stonehaven knows too well. I can see a lot of similarities of how residents and the community have banded together after Storm Frank and how the community here came together after the floods.

The images printed in this week’s Piper from Braemar, Ballater and Aboyne are devastating. The emergency services did a fantastic job in my opinion and deserve to be thanked for what they did.

Losing possessions in such a manner would be very hard to take. I hope people manage to get on their feet sooner rather than later.

In Stonehaven we have seen some high waves, which some of you might have already seen on our website.

I would urge caution to everyone who finds themselves down at the harbour when waves are crashing against the outer wall. I found myself struggling in the wind to capture footage for our website and wouldn’t want to see anyone else in harms way in those conditions.

On a completely different note, I wanted to talk about something I heard an MSP say in Parliament recently.

Dennis Robertson was replying to Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale about the jobs crisis in the North Sea.

The MSP said: “The member just mentioned a crisis in the jobs in the North Sea and oil.

“There is no crisis. We have just actually extracted more oil than ever before in the North Sea.

“We have the most skilled workforce in the North Sea and it is booming.”

I’m not sure what to make of the comments, I’m sure opposition politicians will be scrambling to get a quote out there having a massive go at the statement.

I have friends who work in the sector, as I am sure the majority of people living in the north-east corner do.

I have friends who have lost their jobs, I have friends who have been told that their jobs are at risk this year and I have friends who have had their hours cut.

In this respect I find the comments to be a slap in the face to those who have felt the pinch in the past year in whatever form.

When special summits have been called and special taskforces set up to help those who have lost their jobs, it isn’t fair to those people to say that the oil industry is “booming”.

On the other hand, Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive Deirdre Michie welcomed confirmation of the first rise in oil and gas production for more than 15 years.

They have warned that the industry will be extremely challenged to sustain this into 2016 and beyond.

I do not want to lay the boot into Mr Robertson but I do believe his words were poorly chosen.

I’ve written before how I believe that the North East is more than just oil, however there are a lot of other sectors that rely on the oil industry here.

I’ve heard that community groups and charities have been feeling the pinch as they haven’t been able to rely on sponsorship as much from the industry. What do you think of the comments? E-mail news@mearnsleader.com