Sunday, 20 September 2009

Labour's mock outrage

It's interesting how the Labour Party and certain news media are working hand in hand to mount a campaign to "save Glasgow" from the SNP. It's almost as if they've had the headlines written, the plan of action ready and all they had to do was keep their fingers crossed that they'd get a reason to launch their attack.

So, there we were on Thursday afternoon, listening to John Swinney deliver his draft budget statement and he'd just announced that despite vicious cuts to the Scottish budget by our masters, the British Labour Government, there would be no cuts to the NHS in Scotland.

In fact, thanks to the SNP government the NHS in Glasgow is to get an additional £50 million in this budget. This on top of the fact that we're still getting the £842million new Southern General Hospital.

Immediately after that announcement, the Cabinet Secretary announced that, regrettably, the Glasgow Airport Rail Link was to be cancelled. With good reason which I'll come onto.

But to listen to Glasgow Labour MSPs shouting "shame" was pathetic. I could understand the use of that word if he'd said he was cancelling health projects as their Labour colleagues are doing in England. If operations were going to be cancelled, if people were going to die, if they were going to have to wait a whole lot longer for treatment, then I could see the word "shame" might be used, albeit hypocritically given what their party is doing down South.

But they were shouting shame for the cancellation of a rail link.

As my 17 year old niece said in the simplistic way you view the world at that age "but you can still get a bus can't you?". Now I appreciate it's about more than that but she's right, it's hardly "shameful".

If they'd shouted "wrong" or "short-sighted" I would have disagreed with them and I'll tell you why in a moment, but it would have been a whole lot more appropriate than the disgraceful sound of them shouting "SHAME"!

The reason why it had to be cancelled is because in 2006 we were told it would cost £160million and which latest estimates show would cost £397.5million. Who knows how much the cost would have spiralled to at a later date. The SNP will not sign blank cheques particularly when the British Labour Government have made an absolute mess of the economy and now leave us having to cut our spending by £500million.

A Glasgow Labour MSP told me it was an "outrage" - again, ridiculously over the top use of the English language if you ask me. She told me I had to speak to the government and tell them to reinstate the project. So I asked her 2 things:

1) Which government? The one that imposed the cuts (British government) or the one that had to deal with the mess they made?
2) What did she suggest we cut instead? We're all agreed the cuts are there and we have to deal with them like grown ups so what should I advise the government to cut?

Her response to (1) was obvious and to (2)? "I don't need to decide that, that isnae ma job".

Precisely! They don't have to do anything, don't have to make any decisions, they simply have to sit and heckle and provide local newspapers with spurious headlines. Nice job if you can get it! Meantime the SNP government will get on with doing what it's promised to do in these tough times and that is to protect frontline services and aid economic recovery in Scotland.

Just as an aside, we have a by-election on, I speak to a lot of people in Glasgow and I've been out campaigning all weekend. Guess how many folk mentioned any of the above? NONE. Not a single one.

No comments:

Post a Comment