‘I fought the fuel campaign for fairness and I’m doing the same now,’ says Gordon ‘Diesel’.
The Gazette Big Referendum Debate is taking place on Monday 1st September at 7.30pm and Gordon ‘Diesel’ Maclennan - a local engineer, businessman and fuel campaigner - will be on the panel putting forward the case for a ‘Yes’ vote on September 18th.
All tickets have now gone but you can still see the debate streamed live online. Register to watch the event at: tinyurl.com/nu33qyk
There will also be full coverage of the debate in next week’s Stornoway Gazette, out on Thursday 4th September. See above for a video from Gordon ‘Diesel’ explaining why he is supporting Scottish Independence and see below for an interview by Stornoway Gazette reporter Jenny Kane.
Gordon ‘Diesel’ talks about the referendum on Scottish independence
Gordon ‘Diesel’ Maclennan became a household name when he took on an oil company, fighting for fair fuel prices in what many saw as a David and Goliath style victory for islanders.
But now the owner of Stornoway Plastics and Back Filling Station is also becoming known for his passionate belief in independence. If you venture into his workshop you had better be prepared for a good natured debate and a discussion about the future of Scotland.
The engineer by trade has been part of several island debates and has kept his down to earth way of approaching things.
“It’s like you and me where married. Ok?” he said as we sat in his workshop discussing why he believes in Scottish independence so strongly.
“Say you were working and you gave me your wage packet and I gave you back an allowance. And you said: Well I can’t feed the kids. And I said: Well that’s fine, go and ask the neighbours for help or go to the food bank. You would be saying hang on there a minute!
“That’s what London’s doing,” he continued. “London is getting our wage packet and it’s giving us enough back to live on food banks in return. It’s so unjust it’s ludicrous.”
So what is it that drives Gordon and fires up his belief that independence is the way to go?
“I’ve been a lifelong socialist and still am,” he said. “My main driving concern is the injustice of the system and the way it is just now. We’re not getting a fair crack of the whip. Nobody in an energy rich country should be living off food banks. Nobody.”
As with several other ‘Yes’ campaigners Gordon looks to Nordic states for inspiration and proof of the potential Scotland has to become a successful independent nation.
“Norway has managed, I’m sure you have heard me say before, to put away a £500 billion oil fund since 1995,” Gordon said.
“Scotland has got 80% of EEC fishing rights - Norway doesn’t. Scotland has got a £4.2 billion whisky industry - Norway doesn’t. Scotland’s got a £12 billion food industry - Norway doesn’t. Scotland has more coal reserves than the whole of the West of Europe put together - Norway doesn’t.
“Now, if Norway has managed to make every one of its citizens a dollar millionaire since 1995 and Scotland has all these other resources over and above that, Scotland could and should be an incredibly rich country in comparison to Norway.”
Gordon is not a politician, but he is also not one to keep quiet about what he believes in. “I fought the fuel campaign for fairness and I’m doing the same now,” he said.
“If I say something that is pro Labour that’s fine. If I say something that is pro SNP that is fine. I don’t care.
“Business people get very focused on what really needs to happen,” he concluded.