Grangemouth Should Not Be About Referendum
Fantastic news for the Scottish economy, says the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Fantastic news for the thousands of workers at Grangemouth and elsewhere whose jobs have been protected, according to site owners Ineos.
And what a fantastic coincidence that the announcement comes on the day that First Minister Alex Salmond is due to make a speech in England on the problems often faced by businesses in the regions.
Undoubtedly the new shale gas import and storage facility means much greater hope for a long and prosperous future for the refinery.
Cheap ethane from the United States will be welcomed with open arms if, as many expect, North Sea oil production begins to wane and rising energy costs cut into margins.
But the fact that materials for what will be Europe's largest ethane storage tank have already been purchased, and that work on its construction will begin immediately, should be enough to tell you this loan guarantee hasn't happened overnight.
Just last year, Ineos' chairman was threatening to close the Grangemouth facility, claiming it was unprofitable.
A deal was eventually struck to secure its future, with workers accepting some pretty hefty changes to pay and conditions, and the Government indicating it would support the shift to shale.
And what of that Government support? Danny Alexander hasn't found £230m down the back of the Treasury sofa to give to Ineos. He isn't even lending them the money.
The Government is simply underwriting a public bonds issue - essentially acting as guarantor.
It's fine for politicians to be proud of their achievements, even to crow about them on occasion.
But let's be clear - backing infrastructure projects like this, particularly ones which increase the UK's energy security, is what governments are supposed to do.
These days everything is seen through the prism of the referendum and, as ministers continue to emphasise the economic benefits of the union, it is to be expected that Westminster will (albeit tangentially) use the guarantee as evidence of that.
The First Minister would no doubt argue that in the event of an independent Scotland, he would provide similar support.