BURNTISLAND Fabrications yard in Methil looks like a rather sad set of Meccano left out in the rain. It is all that remains of a once-great engineering establishment that turned coal-mining expertise into oil platform production in the 1970s.

BiFab should have had just the right skills and know-how to move into the renewable energy age by building turbine jackets for the wind farms that are bristling around Scotland's coast. But it was not to be.

Last week, the Scottish Government effectively signed BiFab's death warrant. This in the very week that Boris Johnson announced a dramatic further increase in targets for the reduction of UK emissions, most of which will be achieved through offshore wind.

READ MORE: Over £50m of taxpayers money face being lost as ministers rule out nationalisation of collapsed BiFab

So much for the green jobs revolution. Scotland's major hope for getting a £2bn slice of the renewable energy action has gone south.

This is a major political scandal, and rightly condemned by a vote of the Scottish Parliament last week. BiFab has not one but two major windfarms on its very Fife doorstep: the Seagreen array off Angus and Neart na Goailthe (NnG). These £5bn projects together had contracts out for at least 160 full Methil jackets.

It beggars belief that BiFab was unable to get any of this work, despite a £50m bung to its Canadian owners JV Driver.

Instead, the French state-owned energy giant, EDF, will build them mostly in Asian yards and have them dragged 10,000 miles by diesel tugs.

A jaunty-sounding Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Economy Secretary, told Good Morning Scotland that her hands were tied by Brussels' competition rules. Too bad. Lessons to be learned etc.. But aren't we supposed to be leaving the EU? Why would they have any say in the matter?

It would be “naive”, she replied, to believe that these state aid restrictions will not continue in some form. Well, if so, why did the Scottish Government pony up so much cash in the first place?

If Scotland is the Saudi Arabia of renewables, BiFab's loss is surely a national humiliation. No other country would countenance such industrial defeatism, certainly not Norway which now has a substantial stake in renewables.

The Scottish Government has merely acquired a track record for pouring public money into lost causes from Prestwick Airport to Ferguson Marine. This confirms that civil servants and politicians are just not very good at business. They don't understand it.

They leap into action chasing favourable headlines by promising cash injections, only to stand aside thereafter as it gets burnt by private sector companies who’ll never turn away free money.

What Scotland lacks is a coherent overall industrial strategy, or any industrial strategy. We hear homilies about building back better and making the economy work “for people not profit” instead of just making it work.

The Scottish Government had the option of taking over BiFab at next to no cost, but declined on the basis that a nationalised BiFab would still be hamstrung by European competition rules.

This is a reminder that however much SNP likes to talk left and talk green, at least when trying to enlist support at elections time, it is no more socialist than New Labour or even Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: Anger as part Scottish Government-owned BiFab files for administration

Perhaps less so, now that the Tory government has essentially taken half the British workforce onto the public payroll and borrowed more money faster than even Jeremy Corbyn intended.

No one wants to live in a communist state, but we have the right to expect the Scottish Government to have an activist industrial policy that puts Scotland first.

That may sound like Donald Trump, but he wasn't wrong about the need to challenge corporate globalisation and labour arbitrage – that is, companies exporting jobs to low-wage countries and destroying the domestic industrial base.

Ms Hyslop lamented that Scotland couldn't compete with workers being paid £2.70 an hour in China or Indonesia. But it beggars belief that Scotland couldn't secure some guarantees from EDF that local, sustainable industry should be part of the supply chain. The Scottish Government has many planning powers and licenses these mega windfarms in the first place.

Every year Nicola Sturgeon makes inflated promises abut a green jobs revolution. But delivery has been pretty dismal in the decade since ministers first started spouting this boosterist greenwash. As The Herald reported earlier this year, of the 28,000 direct green jobs promised back in 2010, only 1,700 have actually materialised.

We are now told there'll be 100,000 new jobs in the great green rebuild. But where are they coming from? We may have 25% of Europe's wind energy but it is being exploited by foreign state-owned companies, like EDF, employing workers in China, UAE, Indonesia – anywhere but Scotland. If the Scotland is incapable of exploiting our own environmental assets then people are going to ask: what is the point of leaving the UK?

What happened to the tidal power revolution in the Pentland Firth? That was what Alex Salmond was actually referring to when he first coined the phrase “Saudi Arabia of Renewables” ten years ago. The original Peterhead Carbon Capture and Storage project was going to use old mine shafts to sequester carbon dioxide. That was axed in 2017 by the UK Government.

Then there was Pelamis, which developed the first commercial wave power machine at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Gone. The UK's only wind turbine tower manufacturer, CS Wind in Campbeltown, effectively shut up shop in August.

Few are aware that Scotland had one of Europe's leading environmental bus manufacturers in Alexander Dennis in Falkirk – but not for much longer. The Scottish Government is very good at making bold pronouncements about net zero and banning petrol and diesel cars. But words are cheap.

Where is the network of charging points for electric vehicles? What about replacing dirty diesel busses and trucks? Alexander Dennis designed clean hydrogen and electric buses, but has just axed 650 jobs.

It rather looks as if the green jobs revolution is going to amount to more dodgy home insulation schemes, some trees, and a forest of green lobbyists surrounding shiny-bottom bureaucrats at interminable conferences on COP26.

We hear pious lectures from ministers about how we should be cycling and not using cars, while they travel around in their ministerial Lexuses. Local governments like Edinburgh are doing their best to reduce car journeys in the city through a campaign of permanent roadworks and guerilla pedestrianisation.

Yet, bus travel has been declining fast, down 10% over the last 5 years, and that was before Covid. Until the pandemic, cycling was also in decline over the same period.

Where is the smart public transport system with through ticketing and computerised, integrated rail and bus services? The only significant urban transport investment recently was the ruinously expensive Edinburgh tram taking “high value” folk from Princes Street to Edinburgh Airport.

The Scottish Government will say that Scotland isn't an industrial powerhouse like America or China or UAE and can't just conjure dynamic world-beating industries out of thin air. But if the nationalists can't deliver an industrial strategy that moves Scotland into the green age then their promises about an independent future may lack credibility. The Union didn't leave BiFAb on the scrap heap, it was an SNP administration wot done it.