Friday, October 10, 2008


My researcher, Mr Google, has drawn my attention to an article in the Scotsman, where Tavish Scott is having a go at the SNP.

No change there. However, this time he's making the case for something called an 'Infrastructure Investment Board' to be set up, which would take the decisions about which major transport infrastructure projects ought to be progressed out of the clammy hands of ministers.

'Why on earth would he want to do that?', I hear you ask. Well, it seems Tavish has it in his head that the SNP is only interested in advancing major projects in constituencies which they hold, or would like to hold. This, he contends, would be a way to stop such low down skulduggery.

Golly. I wonder if he means the Edinburgh Tram Project? Oh, sorry, that one's going ahead, and the SNP was against it, wasn't it? Ah, here we go - he means improvements to the A9 between Perth and Inverness, which, he contends, the SNP only want to press on with, not because it might be a good and useful thing to do, but because it runs through Fergus Ewing's constituency.

R-i-g-h-t. Now Fergus, I concede, is indeed the SNP MSP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, and could, I suppose, accurately be described as someone with an interest in seeing improvements to the A9 go ahead. But remind me - which party currently represents the seats containing Caithness and Sutherland; as well as Inverness West at Holyrood? And which party is it that represents Inverness and all points north at Westminster? And which party, other than the SNP of course, is it that has repeatedly called for the A9 to be dualled between Perth and Inverness over the past 4 decades?

I'll give you a clue. Russell Johnston, a formidable advocate in his lifetime for improving the A9, used to be one of their MPs [for Inverness, as it happens].

Still nothing? Well, they provided the transport minister in the last Scottish Government, before the SNP took over in 2007.

Still nothing? Oh, OK then. That former transport minister, who singularly failed to improve the A9 during his term of office, is the one now complaining in this Scotsman article about the SNP going ahead and doing what he didn't.

It's certainly a novel tactic - trying to hold onto seats by complaining about transport improvements which you've always supported going ahead. Anyway, all answers, this time on the back of a dodgy by-election bar chart, to the usual address.

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