THE drama that’s in danger of becoming a crisis at Port Glasgow shipbuilder Ferguson Marine goes way beyond the high politics being played out in the media ("Scots face paying out millions to nationalise shipyard", The Herald, August 13). It’s yet another example of Scotland’s total lack of industrial strategy.

Let’s step out of the maelstrom involving ministers and Jim McColl for a minute and ask some basic questions about why this has happened, like who in Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) thought it was a good idea to procure a "first in class" dual-fuel ferry design or who in Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) thought the blueprints for its manufacture were up to scratch?

When it all comes out in the wash there will be failings on both sides of the blame game. But while no one wants to carry the can for this mess, the future of hundreds of highly-skilled workers and a modern shipyard supporting much-needed prosperity on the Lower Clyde are stuck in the middle.

The business of building ships at Ferguson’s should be easy. Scotland needs a new generation of ferries to support the connectivity between the mainland and our island and rural communities. There should be a veritable conveyor belt in place for this and it should be complemented by using the first-class work force and facilities to compete for wider contracts.

It’s about having an industrial vision for the future and having the competency to delivery it but it’s seems we can’t do anything right when it comes to our ambitions; whether it’s our renewable energy infrastructure being built in the Far East or our procurement bodies purchasing ships that don’t sail. It wasn’t meant to be like this. The devolution era was supposed to be a bulwark against the industrial vandalism wreaked on our communities by the likes of Margaret Thatcher and a vanguard for economic and social progress.

Before the week is out it’s likely that Ferguson’s will be nationalised. If that’s what it takes to prevent this yard from closing then it’s a price worth paying because it has a purpose to serve, but it won’t address the real problem of our continued failure to plan properly for our future. One way or another Ferguson’s will be saved but the empty Glen Sannox vessel gathering rust in the dock at Port Glasgow is a sad symbol of Scotland’s industrial strategy.

Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, Edinburgh EH6.

I FOUND Kenny Kemp’s Comment article anent the Ferguson Shipyard (“What floating voters may want to consider if we have Indyref2”, The Herald, August 13) disappointingly shallow. The answer to his question i is contained in the article.

In contrasting the support given by the Finnish Government to its shipbuilding sector and what the Scottish Government can do he fails to mention that Finland is a state while Scotland is at present part of the UK, which is itself in a bit of a state. Under the devolution settlement the UK Government has the power to issue export credit guarantees under its trade and industry portfolio.

Once we are independent these guarantees will be a decision for Scottish ministers; until then the decision is for UK ministers.

Graeme McCormick, Arden, by Loch Lomond.

NICOLA Sturgeon and Jim McColl should exchange jobs for three months. Ms Sturgeon would learn how difficult it is to establish world-class manufacturing engineering businesses. Mr McColl would learn how easy it is to shout loudly and spend other people’s money.

Rev Dr Robert Anderson, Dundonald.