Thursday, February 08, 2007

Trouble Over Bridged Waters

At the moment, I've got an ear on the debate currently taking place in the Holyrood chamber on whether to abolish tolls on the Forth and Tay Bridges. Although I missed the start, my standout moment of the last hour has been Labour MSP Scott Barrie announcing that he's resigned as a Labour whip so that he can vote for abolition.

Good for him. However, it's a bit dispiriting to hear the likes of Iain Smith and Helen Eadie slam the SNP for being dastardly enough to agree with them that tolls should go. How dare the SNP put forward yet another motion to that effect? Shame on them! It might force us to put our votes in parliament where our mouths are at election time!

The Green argument against removing tolls seems bizarre in the extreme. They cite a FETA (if you're Mark Ruskell in the chamber)/Scottish Executive (if you're Mark Ballard on GMS this morning) report, claiming that the abolition of tolls would lead to a 20% increase in congestion.

Ah, yes... I can see how that scenario plays out. All these commuters sitting on the bus and the train thinking to themselves of a morning: 'You know, this public transport lark is all very well, but if only it cost £1 less for me to drive back from Edinburgh/80p less to get back from Dundee, that's what I'd do instead'. I wonder if I asked them nicely, whether they'd be kind enough to bag some of that up for my mum's rose bushes?

Anyway, the vote looks quite tight at the moment. The suspicion is that Fife Labour MSPs had been given special dispensation to vote against the Executive motion, on the grounds that the Green MSPs would support the Executive in their place. However, Mark Ballard refused to say on GMS whether the Greens would in fact support the Executive. I'll let you know if I hear any squeals of pain coming from the Labour corridors between now and 5pm...

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Early contender for title of the year!

I've not even read the post yet but had to congratulate you on that one.