ALEX Salmond does not do things by halves.
His diary for last Thursday, the day after Ineos announced the closure of its petrochemical plant at Grangemouth, is a good illustration.
As we reveal today, the First Minister had a secret meeting in West Lothian with Andrew Owens, the chief executive of Greenergy who, he hoped, might buy the plant if Ineos held firm and shut it permanently. Then he met Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, at Holyrood as the union began its climbdowm over terms and conditions.
Then it was on to Dunfermline to knock doors for an hour at the conclusion of the by-election.
Finally, after learning one of BP's senior executives was in Scotland, the First Minister rushed to a late night rendezvous to help seal a deal which cut Ineos's costs by £40 million a year.
The latter was instrumental in persuading Ineos to reopen the site, according to the SNP government. Any First Minister worth his or her salt would have appreciated the gravity of the situation and mobilised government to avoid the loss of a critical component of the country's infrastructure.
Salmond has a track record of direct intervention in business matters. It has not always paid off. Diageo ignored his rally to keep open the Johnny Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and his relationship with the US tycoon Donald Trump has earned him much grief. Yet he perseveres in order to secure what he believes is best for Scotland.
That is an admirable quality. Add his drive and force of personality and it it is clear his efforts on behalf of Grangemouth and its workforce have had a tangible effect. He is to be commended for his efforts this week.
That thousands of jobs have been saved, and thousands of families spared a wretched Christmas, is the immediate result of Ineos reversing its decision on Friday. But there may be another long-term benefit.
For decades, Grangemouth has been part of the Scottish landscape, literally and figuratively. That this sleepless giant could close overnight was unimaginable.
Now we know differently. We need to learn from this rude awakening.
Grangemouth might, as Salmond says, have a 25-year future but other obstacles will lie ahead and governments need to keep a watching brief.
We should also reflect on the global forces behind the crisis, such as the surge in US shale oil and the decline in North Sea output.
Scotland needs to think ahead and adapt to change. That applies to its workforces, the unions, its government and those who run its businesses. The past week has been traumatic and we should be grateful that a new one begins on a much more positive note.
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