Thursday 13 November 2003

Throw them in!

I have no idea whether the redundant US Navy "ghost ships" that are to be dismantled at Hartlepool present any real danger to the public. The town’s MP Peter Mandelson thinks not. Friends of the Earth and other "environmentalists" are in full protest mode. The local ship recycling company Able UK Ltd talks of creating at least 200 new jobs and I imagine that the contract has preserved many existing jobs as well.

Last night I watched a story about this affair on the Channel 4 News as the first ship arrives in the UK. The "environmentalists" were given a great deal of coverage. The lady presenter then introduced the boss of Able UK as: "Perhaps the only man in Hartlepool who wants the ships here." Somehow I don’t think so.

There are 200 new jobs at the yard and there’ll be extra jobs at suppliers, as well as money flowing into local shops and other businesses. Perhaps Channel 4 imagines Hartlepool to be some sort of remote Victorian relic of the industrial revolution with undernourished workers running around in clogs and all the money from the contract flowing to the yard owner. I think that some burly members of the Hartlepudlian working class should toss a few "environmentalists" and southern TV folk into the town’s dock.