Scotland’s Fuel Supply Has been Shut Down by a Washing Machine

Ever feel impotent in the face of doom and crisis that surrounds us?

Read this.

At 7pm last night three people blocked Powdrake Road in Grangemouth by locking themselves to a washing machine halting traffic in both directions. As all oil tankers have to use Powdrake Road to access the Ineos oil terminal at Grangemouth, which supplies the majority of Scotland’s petrol the obstraction has halted all petrol distribution from the Grangemouth oil terminal.

This renewed obstruction, combined with the past two days of disruption, will likely mean fuel pumps will start to run dry in Scotland.

Even when the system seems unstoppable and any action seems pointless, opportunity remains. The system is fragile and vulnerable.

The group are from This is Rigged who are demanding that the Scottish government vocally oppose all new oil and gas licences, and create a fair and fully funded transition for oil workers.

In April this year, following a series of disruptions at First Minister’s Questions (in which the group attempted to bring the question directly to politicians, and instead received 6 month bans from parliament), This is Rigged threw red paint at the front of Scottish parliament and vowed to escalate tactics until their demands are met. They threatened then to shut down Scotland’s oil industry, with the Herald reporting that the actions would cause fuel shortages around Scotland, comparing them to the 2000s fuel protests which caused petrol pumps to run dry.

This action forms part of a sustained series of actions, in which This is Rigged has vowed to “shut down the Scottish oil industry”. From 4am on the 19th of July, 20 people halted fuel distribution from the Grangemouth terminal by occupying the road, oil pipes and oil tankers. They were removed and arrested by Police Scotland after 12 hours. Also on the 19th of July, 4 people with This is Rigged halted fuel distribution from the Clydebank oil terminal by occupying a fuel silo. The occupation lasted over 40 hours. Two people were removed and arrested by police on the 20th of July. The other two were arrested just after midnight on the 21st of July.

Hannah Bright, a community worker and This is Rigged co-founder said:

“These blockades are about hope over fear. I’m here to stand up for my own – for ordinary people in Scotland and all over the world who have been screwed over for far too long by the people in power – and I’m not going anywhere, even if that means I have to cement myself to a road. We won’t be cowed by well polished corporate BS, or police bullying. We’re here to stay. The only way to stop us is to meet our demands.”

While licensing new oil and gas is a power reserved to the Westminster government, the Scottish government has yet to even oppose any of the 130 new proposed North Sea licences. A spokesperson from the group claims that this is the “bare minimum they must do to begin to mitigate some of the worst effects of the climate crisis.” Scotland is already suffering the effects of runaway climate collapse: in June, we saw warnings that Scotland will be facing record breaking heatwaves and droughts. Cannich in the Highlands recently suffered one of the worst wildfires in UK history. With one of the largest oil and gas industries in Europe, it is crucial that Scotland makes a rapid transition away from fossil fuels in order to limit the worst of global climate collapse.

The Scottish Government has full control over the transition fund for Scotland’s oil workers and, at present, the money is being invested in unproven carbon capture technology rather than in supporting oil and gas workers to transition to greener jobs, despite a coalition of 1000 North Sea workers setting out their demands for a fair transition. 

Scotland has massive potential for green energy: 60% of all of Europe’s potential for wind, and 25% of its potential for tidal, with only 1% of the population. The vast majority of the population are in support of a rapid transition. This Is Rigged are calling on the Scottish government to listen to the voices of its people, and on the Scottish public to join them in civil resistance and direct action to secure a fair and liveable future.

Rebecca Solnit has written: “We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant of our victories. The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.” This is it.

Comments (50)

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  1. mark leslie edwards says:

    hmm, this might give me a well earned rest, i.e., put a stop to my perambulations around the heilans delivering fowk thir shopping, what I am wondering though is have y’all considered the likely impact on folk in remote areas who rely on punters such as myself without whom they’d have nowt to eat, many thanks, Mark

    1. Roland says:

      this will be rural Scotland where every rural local authority produces more renewable electricity than it consumes – so one might think a fairly rapid transition to electric vehicles for the majority of freight is feasible.

      1. The Buck says:

        So all these rural local authorities who produce more than they need should be able to give us cheap energy. Get real ya fud

        1. mark leslie edwards says:

          Nice to see yis takin aim at the teuchters, trouble wi lectric vehicles is they’re shite, many thanks, Mark.

  2. Dov says:

    I don’t understand. Why do they see the Scottish government as the problem, because the SG isn’t objecting to the cause of the problem? They know the SG is powerless. Why don’t TiR directly object to the cause of the problem? If there is a tailback caused by a car crash, you don’t blame the car queuing in front of you.

    1. The issue is directly addressed in the article?

  3. Antoine Bisset says:

    These people are terrorists. The police should have removed them instantly. Are the police too dumb to put a permanent guard on the entrances to Grangemouth? Has the Green faction in our Scottish government ordered that this terrorism be allowed?
    I have been of the view that (cheap) energy security and food security were the most important functions of any government. These functions seem to be going out of the window along with our border security.
    Does nobody get anything right?

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      No, YOU do not get anything right!

      These people are NOT terrorists. They are behaving peacefully as Gandhi and his followers did, and they, too, were called terrorists and were attacked and beaten by British troops. Churchill loathed Gandhi, especially because he was a person of colour.

      As for as the British establishment is concerned, people can protest but only ineffectually, but, if they are having some effect they have to get the shit kicked out of them.

      I once had a colleague who was also a Conservative Councillor. She called Nelson Mandela a terrorist and, when he arrived in Glasgow to be made a Freeman of the City, she wanted Glasgow Police to arrest him and extradite him to South Africa to be tried for treason.

      1. Antoine Bisset says:

        Well, your chum was right about Mandela. He was a murderer and terrorist. He was sentenced to death, but the penalty was commuted.
        Actually, one approach to obtaining independence would be to follow Ghandi’s example. however messing up people’s lives because you ar insane is not the same thing.

        1. John says:

          Antoine – calm down, take a deep breath and read A Long Walk to Freedom and actually educate yourself before you spout out your prejudices for us all to read in public.

    2. Yes I think that the Green Faction in the Scottish Govt has probably ordered that terrorism be allowed.

    3. John Learmonth says:

      There not terrorists, just a bunch of posh kids with nothing better to do with their lives thanks to the bank of mummy and daddy.
      No doubt they’ll soon be posting pictures on Instagram of their latest skiing trips and holidays to the Maldives.

      1. Not sure how you know the class of the protestors John. Frankly sick of older people denigrating young people putting themselves in jeopardy for a crisis they contributed nothing to create.

        1. Mr G Herndy says:

          He probably knows as he can use his eyes and see them, same as the rest of us!
          The crisis we face in this country is a massive increase in selfish, narcissistic individuals who believe they are the only ones who can fix a problem for everyone else.
          Trouble is, nobody’s asked them!
          These self important groups, they are speaking for a tiny fraction of the people of this country.
          The rest of us are busy building the infrastructure that allows these workshy to sit around wringing their hands.

          1. The buck says:

            There’s no fucking crisis. Older people know better. Why would we jeopardise our children’s future. It’s a made up crisis for financial gain.

      2. John says:

        Yes they are annoying a lot of people but they are raising the profile of their issue.
        I am sure that 100 years ago you would have been writing a letter with the same sentiments about the Suffragettes.
        Many of the Just Stop Oil protesters are not young workshy students but older, retired people who are now in a position where they do not just care about their own priorities but care about the type of future we are bequeathing our children and grandchildren. This is something I care passionately about similarly not for my own benefit or welfare and though I may not agree with methods of JSO etc I am aware of what majority of Climate Scientists are predicting and can see the changes in climate with my own eyes and therefore find it difficult to be critical of these protestors.

  4. Scott Agnew says:

    As someone who has worked, and still occasionally works, in the oil industry, and who has spent the last 2 years working closely with Platform/Friends of the Earth on a Just Energy Transition document, I find it rich when organisations like This is Rigged and Just Stop Oil say they are speaking on behalf of energy workers without having actually engaged with a singal worker.
    Platform had the decency to hold workshops and involve energy workers at every point of the development of their demands, in complete contrast some other organisations.
    If organisations like This is Rigged want cooperation from energy workers (not just offshore, but onshore as well), maybe they should engage and listen to the hopes and fears of those workers instead of demonising them, or they’ll just be seen, as a colleague of mine commented in an article in 2022, as ‘middle-class hobbyists’.

    1. I don’t see where This is Rigged claim to be speaking on behalf of energy workers Scott?

      1. Scott Agnew says:

        A direct quote from your article, ‘The group are from This is Rigged who are demanding that the Scottish government vocally oppose all new oil and gas licences, and create a fair and fully funded transition for oil workers,’ seems to point to This is Rigged speaking for energy workers without communicating with them; unlike Platform, who actively engaged with over 1000 energy workers and trade unions, as alluded to in your article.
        I have actually partly transitioned from the O&G industry to renewables, namely offshore wind construction, but this sector, heavily subsidised by Scottish and UK taxpayers, has terms, conditions and employers that are a lot worse than O&G employers, and they were pretty terrible.
        The minimum wage isn’t even enforceable in the maintenance and construction of offshore windfarms, even within the 12 mile limit, and abuses under the Offshore Wind Workers Concession, that thankfully finally came to an end in May after countless extensions, was used as an excuse to sack domicile workers trying to transition, and replace them with exploited non-domicile workers.
        The renewables industry was a chance for a fresh start under fairer conditions, but that goodwill is fast dissipating, and we’re in danger of squandering opportunities and making the same mistakes we made with the oil and gas industry.

        1. The Buck says:

          Aren’t all wind farms foreign owned.? Fleecing the Scottish populace for the benefit of foreign shareholders.

          1. John says:

            Virtually everything in UK of any value is foreign owned due to privatisation.
            Not withstanding this onshore wind turbines now produce the cheapest electricity in this country.
            If Tories had not put a moratorium on onshore wind turbines, despite all polls showing they are popular with public, our electricity bills would have been cheaper now.

        2. I think the two groups you describe have different aims. You said they were speaking on behalf of oil workers. They are not and the article doesn’t claim they are

        3. The quote you give doesn’t suggest what you say. The key passage is “The Scottish Government has full control over the transition fund for Scotland’s oil workers and, at present, the money is being invested in unproven carbon capture technology rather than in supporting oil and gas workers to transition to greener jobs, despite a coalition of 1000 North Sea workers setting out their demands for a fair transition. “

    2. G Herndy says:

      Well said Scott.
      That’s a big part the problem, these are tiny groups of hysterical and irrational people who have decided they are the best people to represent the country in a topic they know absolutely nothing about because,
      They don’t communicate with the industry workers.
      They don’t communicate with the user, the public.
      They don’t communicate with energy providers.
      They just speak in an echo chamber with other groups.
      Iddly, they all seem to know how to engage in petty acts of vandalism and futile disruptive behaviour and people are getting fed up!

  5. Tommy says:

    Once again in our “modern society” the “tail is wagging the dog”. 3 men (woman) and a washing machine ??To many minorities dictating to the majority of people. Typical of our liberal attitude, everyone has a say but no leader!!!. What we need are leaders with positive attitudes like Churchill, Thatcher who got the job done. They didnt get it right every time but at least they led, unlike those”leaders” of today. Never forget what Harold McMillan Ex Prime Minister said “You’ve never had it so good”. Todays society is accepting mediocre leadership in all parties. God help us all.

    1. John says:

      Tommy Robinson I presume.

      1. Tommy says:

        John the Baptist I presume.

  6. Mr G Herndy says:

    Heres an idea for the workshy, go to University and find an alternative!
    No, I didn’t think so.
    These people are poorly educated narcissists whose priority is inflating their egos as they put folk in danger.
    So stop use of oil?
    What’s the grand plan afterwards?
    Then what?
    How will we make things?
    Including the clothes these morons wear, the cars these imbeciles use to get to their protests and the glues they use to stick themselves to the tarmac.
    The moment these workshy produce a solution, a replacement for oil, then I’m sure the public will be very pleased.
    But demanding oil just stops without any substitute,, that proves to us the education system is failing these hysterical hypocrites.

    1. Chris Ballance says:

      Jings, Mike, you do have a lot of weirdoes following Bella these days. Where have they all come from? And why?

      1. I think realty is reality annoying?

      2. Jimbo says:

        My thoughts exactly, Chris. Comments seem filled with geriatric fascists.

      3. Niemand says:

        It is interesting isn’t it? But I don’t think it should be dismissed as it is hardly isolated, the realm only of ‘nutcases’ and old gits. It all hinges on the targets of protest. I was heavily involved in anti-nuclear direct actions in the 80s and even was in jail for a few weeks for it, but our targets were the US military and to some extent the court system itself. No-one considered laying down on roads to stop Trident or USAF bases operating with impunity. We had pretty wide support even if some though it all quite naive. Once you start seriously disrupting people’s everyday lives with gestures that can seem quite empty and with seemingly zero chance of any result, it is bound to create a backlash. Moral grandstanding simply winds people up more.

        And even I have to admit that my actions in the 80s were largely personally motivated: I felt that at the very least I could feel better about myself for trying and I do think this is what characterises a lot of these recent protests which are thus not as altruistic as they appear on the surface, and people realise this so have even less sympathy for having their lives disrupted (hence all the ‘student’ and young people bashing).

        In essence, change the targets, think of the effect, don’t make them consistently arbitrary (e.g. sporting events). This can be done and still get the publicity which really is what this kind of action is all about.

    2. mark says:

      Hmm, most students have to work a job while studying these days. I think we really could do with cutting down on the amount of traffic on the roads, I mind my ole dear saying that when she was a bairn, which wasn’t really that long ago, the only folk with cars in the town were the doctor and the minister, so how did folk manage? Well, they must have or we wouldn’t be here. Back to the croft is still the best plan, I would say, many thanks, Mark

    3. The Buck says:

      Well said sir I salute you. They are good at protesting. But shit at giving solutions.

      1. mark says:

        there is no need to salute me & given my track record I am unlikely to receive an O.B.E, many thanks, Mark

  7. Suleiman says:

    I say we let these people glue themselves to the floor and obstruct traffic and then simply deploy a large folding double ramp over thrm woth bar each side and let them enjoy there day playing with traffic for the whole day wait until the local police amd fore services are more readily available in the areaau e into the noght letting them get rather cold amd regrettably still stuck down and thrn cart them off to the nearest mental health facility for 48 hour observation and see how thru feel about repeat9ng that action in future give them no attention as if thru dint exist at all simple unfold load and keep the universe rolling keep the trolls under the bridge of sort of attitude some will say oh well there human rights but they are directly effecting others right to live work make commerce seek emergency medical care and so I think anyone also that potentially dies as a result of being unable to reach hospital in time due to these goons thry shoiod be charged woth murder for obstruction of a right of way

    1. ruth says:

      well spelled!

    2. John says:

      12.14am comment with no punctuation- a ramble of unconsciousness.
      Drink involved I think?

  8. Magog says:

    Chapeau to the protesters, but I think blockading Holyrood would probably be a lot more popular than the possibility of ambulances running out of diesel.

  9. Mr David W Tomaszewski says:

    The police should arrest them, they’re complete morons!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Why are they morons David?

  10. John says:

    I note today that Rishi Sunak wants to be pragmatic with response to climate change. What he means is be pragmatic with any changes to accommodate the current economic model.
    The problem for Rishi and all the climate deniers is, if they both pro read the science from experts in the field, and opened their eyes to changes in climate we see on tv and at home is that the status quo is not going to exist in future due to climate change.
    We have to be a pragmatic with changes to economic model to accommodate and mitigate the changes that are coming to climate.
    The public are aware of climate change but also aware of their own economic circumstances. What is required is real political leadership to persuade and help people to make the necessary changes while protecting them (especially the less well off) from any adverse economic consequences.
    It is not impossible but it requires a leaders of principles, honesty and integrity who will stand up to vested interests of the few on behalf of the many.

  11. Calum Gallacher says:

    Sadly the Scottish government have lost all care for anything other than turning the country in to Europes power bank through their blind ambition for recognition. They are destroying outstanding areas of natural beauty such as Loch Awe. Argyll and Bute is being covered in giant record breaking turbines (230m) and pylons and another massive hydro yet most people still live with food and fuel poverty. It is not acceptable. Nor is the rapid deforestation to create space for these monsters and the irreversible harm to nature (to include 12 mating pairs of osprey) all birds of prey, pine martens, bats, red squirrels, red listed birds. Renewable energy as is propagated is not the answer – this is purely capitalism at it’s best exploiting the poor with a complicit government. Scottish government are no better than Westminster, they are giving away public land (forestry commission) for profits the public will never benefit from. Was a life long SNP supporter, can no longer look at them.

  12. Calum Gallacher says:

    To add… renewable doe not = clean or carbon neutral. Turbines use immense amounts of fossil fuels for their creation (coal hauled across Europe to port Talbot to melt the steel) then they are transported by cargo boat and hgv, to be erected in concrete beds which are poured in to drilled peat beds (both releasing huge amounts of carbon) where they stay for 10-15 year throwing off lots of micro plastics (toxic) until their blades have degraded and can no longer be used and, they are then transferred to landfill in Africa. Renewable? Not clean or green

    1. John says:

      Calumn – no one is claiming onshore wind energy is perfect and that it will be replaced in longer term by offshore win, tidal and other developments but
      it is off now one of the cheapest forms of energy available (green or otherwise). It is acknowledged that ifTory governments had not imposed a moratorium on onshore wind in England that our electricity bills would be lower now.
      Secondly since you have listed all the shortfalls of onshore wind can you compare environmental impact of other forms of energy and inform me of a cleaner and cheaper form of energy which we can use at present?
      We live in an imperfect world and with the climate crisis gathering pace we cannot afford to sit around and wait for the perfect solution.
      FYI I would far prefer that energy supply was owned by the people of Scotland for the benefit of people of Scotland and I have wind turbines that can be seen from my window as well but that does not prevent me seeing the bigger picture as things stand in 2023.

      1. Certainly ownership and production is an issue – but there’s no perfect energy system (though Passivhaus is a game changer)

  13. Wul says:

    Isn’t it weird that many of the comments here are attacking people who are trying to draw attention to, and stop, activities that harm all life on earth? These same people defend the powerful interests that have zero interest in their own well-being beyond consumers.
    Even when links are provided that show that Scotland could produce enough green, sustainable, renewable energy to meet our needs, some people will stand up to defend polluting, destructive, toxic, life-destroying methods of energy production. Weird.

    And the fact that “wind-farms are owned by foreign companies” is something entirely possible to change in an independent Scotland. All it takes. All any of this takes, is will-power, commitment, courage and a desire to change the way we do things. The shitty situation we find ourselves in is not an inevitability. It is a choice.

    And it’s a choice that some weirdos on here seem happy to embrace? Go figure.

    1. My thoughts exactly Wul. Who would defend INEOS? People on here denouncing activists often engaging in dangerous acts and defending fossil fuel companies engaged in mind-blowing profiteering while we suffer energy poverty. Its an extraordinary phenomenon to witness.

  14. Interesting given the criticisms that TiR specifically work with and cite Platform:

    “And while it’s fun/ disturbing to read the raj comments, what we care about is the 1000 fossil fuel workers demands for a fair transition to renewables, public ownership of energy and worker management- see the report by
    @PlatformLondon @FoEScot”

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