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« Wikileaks vindicates Scotland on Megrahi release | Main | Professor of government says Wikileaks vindicates Scotland »

December 09, 2010


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Hi James @Twodoctors. You make some interesting points but I do wish the Greens would rise above party politics and give the SNP credit where it is due. Scotland has always had a poorer infrastructure than the rest of the UK and any government in Scotland is going to take seriously calls from business and the public to improve that - none of the other parties apart from the greens would have cancelled the motorway. The SNP government has been pushing hard on renewables and set ambitious targets. If we had control of energy and the crown estate we would be able to do so much more. But instead of positive noises all we get is carping. I've heard very little from the Greens, for example, in support of the the supermarket tax which I assume is a move you must favour in some respects. We are both pro-independence parties without the kind of corporate/establishment backing enjoyed by Labour and the Tories. We are both full of people who want to see radical change. Yet the Greens in parliament seem to spend a great deal of time allying themselves to cynical unionist attacks on the SNP. It's very disappointing - and surprising.

"Yet those who know him say he understands public policy and business extremely well."

No, I'm afraid his grasp of policy in his department and his vision for Scotland's future are both woeful, leaving aside the snow. A climate change Minister who flies to Copenhagen to say he understands the issue only to announce a commitment to an absurd new motorway when he lands in Scotland? A Minister whose party manifesto promised 3% carbon emissions cuts but who came to Parliament with 0.05% reductions?

I work on a largely SNP corridor (at the Green end) and over the last three years he's the only Minister I've never heard any sympathy for amongst the others on the corridor.

@spoonsy you don't seem to be addressing the points I made at all. This post was a genuine attempt to move beyond political partisanship. Sometimes ministers are directly to blame, sometimes not. I know and like Susan Deacon and believe her to be a decent politician. I was deputy editor of the paper at the time and it never occured to us that she was to blame if she had not been informed (failing to act on information is different) The point I was making in this post is that government is a more complex affair but in Scotland we over-focus on the role of the parliament/government. Darling was probably right to blame the highway agency, if indeed blame was to be apportioned. In the Scottish case, your return to the weather is pedantic and wrong. The Met office put out a bulletin themselves on Monday morning around ten to say the snow was heavier than forecast. But even if we had planned for that, what could we have done? We already gritted the roads. Closing them in advance would have been unprecedented. The government themselves could have warned people not to drive but the police have been doing that every day and it has made no difference. My personal view is that the traffic management/rescue operation was the weak link but that's a police matter and you never blame the police. Even then the scale of the thing was such that the police would have struggled to cope. I had to abandon my car in the west end of Glasgow at 4pm because the roads were like skating rinks - it was fozen in for three days. This was freak weather. At the end of the day it's absurd to blame the minister, even if he doesn't look good on the telly - if we are going to have regular big freezes in future though we need to plan and change, which Alex Salmond mentioned at FMQs on Monday.

If you are still unconvinced by the weather there is an extensive analysis of all the broadcasts/bulletins here though of course the minister would have got his own briefings direct from the met office

So, you're saying that when Labour are in charge (Darling, Deacon) It's ok to blame ministers, but when it's the SNP then it's not their fault? I'm confused.

Oh, and in terms of actual size, a dual-processor chip is very small indeed.

The problem for Stevenson is that it's not at all clear what he knew about the weather that was coming, and when he knew it - and his attempts to clarify the matter have been less than straightforward.

It is patently obvious that with an election in the offing, the mainstream media, both printed and broadcast, are carrying out a campaign of dostortion and lies to undermine the SNP Government. The way in which SNP ministers are routinely harassed and abused on BBC Scotland is in stark contrast to the approach taken with, in particular, Labour politicians - the way in which they are questioned is along the line of "So, Ian Gray, what colour of wallpaper are you going to have in the living room at Bute House next year?". OK, that's maybe a slight exaggeration, but it's never awkward questions, and anything difficult, like the clear duplicitousness of Labour on the Megrahi issue, are routinely buried. Note how BBC Scotland led with the allegation that Salmond had made the decision himslef when it was apparent on looking closer that that was just something Jack Straw had claimed. No mention of the way Labour had siad one thing in public while saying another in private.

Anyone who votes Labour next year needs to be certified.

Well said Joan. All this screeching for scalps is pure theatrics and turns people off politics.

Stewart Stevenson will never change. First time I met him many years ago he was as he is today. Unfortunately he can come over as arrogant - a characteristic Scots don't particularly like, but that doesn't mean to say he's not capable in his position.

Shouldn't he have been in Cancun this week? I bet he's wishing that too.

The man who demanded Stevenson's resignation was Gordon who, by his very language in the chamber yesterday, demonstrated what he is.

When even the BBC are questioning his position is that acceptable?

The opposition parties in Holyrood blame ministers for things over which they have no control purely and simply because they are SNP Ministers.

As to that interview, you are right it had nothing to do with seeking information and neither did many of the other BBC reports about the situation on Monday. Few if any of those who DID have responsibility for things like closing roads or stopping people joining the gridlocked roads were interviewed to find out why these things were happening. The whole tenor was to direct blame onto the SNP and this particular Minister.

It is beyond a joke.

It's getting fairly bleak out there, and I don't mean the weather. Iain Gray and his cronies are determined to undermine the Government at any given opportunity. This surely has to be obvious to the Scottish electorate, yes, even those who read 'The Sun'. Labour are a party fully of contradiction, hypocrisy and a party with no 'New' ideas. It's politics like this that make the country apathetic to voting and generally turn the people off from taking an interest in Scottish issues. Where the issue of people stranded in cars for hours on end is serious, does it warrant all this blame culture? Will the SNP push Labour for an apology over Megrahi? We'll see. I'm apologising for this rant!

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