Wednesday, 6 August 2008

He Came, He Charmed, He Promised...Just When?

OK the First Minister and his cabinet headed to the Highland's capital Inverness and making promises to invest in the Inverness to Edinburgh rail line and dual the A9. Is it just me or is there one vital thing missing from these promises? Where is the time scale? Apart that is from the one of making the announcement while in the city that will benefit from the promise.

While it is all well and good stating the "importance of having better and safer transport connections for the north of Scotland" promising investment on a "continuing basis" is not setting a SMART objective. Yes he came out of the meeting promising to spell out the details in a couple of weeks but making a promise of things yet to be revealed is being somewhat of a familiar tune from Alex's lips.

Surely these platitudes are also part of the smarm offensive that Alex used when also calling Inverness the "most important city in Scotland". No offence to any resident of Inverness but I'm sure even they would realise that there are several stronger candidates to that that claim in all honesty. Indeed why should any city be more important than any other. Without Aberdeen for example where would Alex's oil revenue be, without Edinburgh where would he power be, as for Glasgow where would a great bulk of his population be. Surely Alex meant to say that Inverness was as important a part of Scotland as anywhere else. But then that wouldn't have built up an hysteria within the crowd to prevent them looking beyond what he was saying to realise it was all big on ideas and thin on detail.

Promise all you want but you're going to have to deliver on them all.


  1. Is it just me who sees the irony of this post given the Lib Dems did feck all about the A9 despite holding the Ministerial post in the last Exec?

    That would be your next great leader - Mr Tavish Scott.

  2. Sean we wroked to improve public transportation in the Highlands anbd elsewhere in Scotland. We removed the tolls on the Skye Bridge. fergus Ewing before the election last May promised to Dual the A9, A82 and A96 in their entirity this is dispite doing do so for every mile will undercut some already pretty precarious slopes. All the while his colleagues had ear marked the Froth Road crossing as their most important transport policy, we see just how important a City to Scotland Inverness was in their eyes up until now as a result of what transport policy has been enacted and what is still only promised.

    Yes there are accident areas on these roads but dualling them in their entirity is not necessarily the best answer as it may lead to other porblems subsidence or land slips which would not enhance the long term future of highlanders. The SNP seem to have it massively in their head that every transport problem can be solved with wider roads, that isn't always the answer.

    I do applaud them for continuing to improve our rail network, something the Lib Dems did promise and were delivering, and in futher reading I do notice a 2011 deadline on the upgrade of the Inverness rail line.

  3. OK - so you are criticising the Scottish Government for not setting a timescale for dualing all of the A9; and at the same time saying it is actually not really a terribly good idea.

    Why do you want a timetable to deliver something you don't want?

    Oh, And the tolls were removed on the Skye Bridge to stop John Farquhar Munro resigning the Lib Dem whip, were they not?

  4. Actually Sean, until the SNP actually give timetables and budgets for their 'Grand Designs' to take a leaf from Jim Hacker they remain merely pie in the sky and echoing empty promises. The fact that it hasn't fully been costing to take into account the number of issues that will arise (according to a civil engineering friend of mine) is just another case of promising the earth to everyone irrespective of cost. If they were actually to promise the earth in a fully funded proposal they may actually stop getting attacked over thier funding and budgeting.

    As for the abolition of the tolls that was a manifesto priority in both 1999 and 2003. John Farquhar Munro threatened to resign the whip merely to make us but the pressure on Labour to follow through on what they had already promised to tcarry out as part of the 2003 partnership agreement.

  5. A "manifesto priority" in 1999 - which took until December 2004 to deliver... err and you can critise the SNP with a straight face over not delivering policies having only been in office since May 2007?

  6. In 1999 we were the minority 'partner' in an administration. Upon discussion with the largest party we formed programme of Government that was acceptable to both to implement sadly bridge tolls was not accepted at that time. In 2003 with a larger numerical and proportional input in a second Executive we were able to implement more policies including this one.

    The SNP need to learn a little give and take works wonders and I'm glad to see that they are starting to realise that today.

  7. If the Lib Dems had understood give and take after the elections in May 2007, they would continue to have relevance with a seat in the Scottish Government's cabinet.

    Instead, they have allowed the SNP to show that minority government works.

    The consequence of this for the Lib Dems is that the largest party come 2011 is not going to ask the Lib Dems to join them in government.

    With a lost deposit in Glasgow East, the Lib Dems are hardly on course to be the largest party in 2011.

    Outside of local government, the Lib Dems are out of power for a generation or more in Scotland.