Harvesting of black gold - what is the legacy?

It’s my opinion that the city of Aberdeen is suffering a crisis of identity as the area struggles to come to terms with the current downturn being suffered by the oil industry.

The Granite City was more than keen to embrace the arrival of the industry in the late 1960s, but never quite came to terms with what it could do with its new-found wealth in any kind of meaningful attempt to build for the future.

What in fact can we look back on and say - this was the legacy brought to us by the black gold we have so eagerly taken from the North Sea?

Apart from indulging in a live-for-the-moment mentality, I have seen little to convince me that there was any enduring bid to establish partnerships with an oil industry ripe for exploitation. Indeed at one point in the development of the industry such was the lack of co-operation from Aberdeen City Council that the major oil companies threatened to take their business down to Montrose.

Thankfully cometh the hour, cometh the man and in the shape of former Grampian Region convener Sandy Mutch the North-east had a saviour.

His leadership, inspiration and even stubbornness saved the day, although not readily recognised by local commerce and the generally lacking-in-vision public, who only saw dollar signs on their limited horizons.

Currently there is no sign of a new Messiah of the status of Mr Mutch, particularly in local government which seems to have retreated into its shell, feart to stick its collective, but limited presence above the parapet.

Deposing Jim Gifford as leader in Aberdeenshire was in my opinion a backward step, leaving us with limited leadership, hell bent on promoting themselves.

Indeed, I suspect the poor put upon electorate have no inkling of who currently is at the helm of what is in danger of becoming a rudderless ship, and not likely to be steered out of the troubled waters which surely lie ahead.

Interestingly, history has an absorbing take on the enterprise of the area which at one point was trading with Northern Europe long before the EU came into existence.

Traders of all kinds were sailing ironically across the North Sea taking their wares to the Scandinavian countries before returning laden with goods from the same countries. A return to this kind of enterprise would be welcome, not that I think we are likely to see such a development.

I am equally aware that Ellon is also coming to terms with its own issues, not least due to the incredible population explosion which saw the town grow from having 2,500 residents in 1972 to an astonishing 11,000 in 2015.

We have the numbers, but not the infrastructure, nor social awareness to cope.