A FEW elections ago, an overly optimistic Green candidate pitched up at a hustings in Aberdeenshire and announced that one of the first things he would do if elected was to abolish the oil industry and the monarchy.

Being in the area which has done very well economically out of both, it was a pitch for votes that, unsurprisingly, fell on deaf ears. Many businesses on Deeside, in the heart of the constituency, rely on tourists visiting nearby Balmoral for their livelihoods, while the number of large houses in this affluent part of Scotland show how many people have enjoyed the oil boom from the offshore industry.

But while the candidate was never likely to win votes in that part of the world, he was right in that Aberdeenshire, like the rest of the country, must adapt to life after oil and transition into a green economy.

The north-east has certainly done very well out of the oil and gas industry, but Scotland is missing out on the green energy revolution which is mostly taking place in the same sea that produced the oil.

In recent years, there has been a major expansion of offshore wind farms but the vast majority of jobs associated with them have gone overseas leaving Scottish yards with empty order books.

This is nothing short of a scandal.

Likewise, the country seems set to miss out on the future oil rig decommissioning boom with the structures that have already been taken offline being taken overseas to be broken up.

Mighty structures, built in yards like Ardersier, Nigg and Kishorn and pumping oil for more than four decades, are now ending their life in the sheltered Cromarty Firth before being taken overseas and broken up in countries such as Turkey.

 According to estimates, decommissioning could be worth around £45 billion. The majority of this should be coming to Scotland and the rest of the UK but it has so far been slow in doing so.

Yards like Kishorn, Nigg and Ardersier employed thousands in their heyday constructing the rigs, and there is no real logical reason why they cannot be broken up there too and provide work for thousands more again.

Scotland has already missed out on one green energy boom when windfarms were first developed here in the 1980s but, rather than being backed, the technology instead was developed in Denmark which is now the world leader instead. The oil and gas industry is hard to replace in terms of prosperity and job creation but we really should be doing far better than at present.