Tuesday’s long awaited Edinburgh trams enquiry confirmed what we already knew – this was not Scotland’s finest hour. Predictably, Conservative leader in Scotland, Douglas Ross, wasn’t slow in putting the boot in.
“The findings of this inquiry raises serious questions for the SNP to answer” he said. “SNP ministers have to take note”.
Well, here’s the thing Dougie. No it doesn’t and no they don’t. And here’s why.
Firstly, the original trams idea predates the SNP’s period as Scotland’s government. Indeed, having become the minority government in 2007, and with the trams legislation up for discussion, the party actually voted against it and wanted to spend the money on dualling the A9, as they stated in their manifesto ahead of the Holyrood election. That’s something to keep in mind whenever Ross et al whine about lack of transport infrastructure, and he should be reminded that his party voted down the road upgrade in favour of the trams clusterbouroch in cohorts with all the other unionists in Scotland’s chamber.
Cheers for that, lads.
Secondly, this was of course a joint project with Edinburgh City Council which, at the time, wasn’t even run by the SNP.
I shouldn’t have to declare an interest in the face of such predictably arrant nonsense, but I am a member of the SNP. And I should also say that if there’s a legitimate debate to be had about the party’s record in government – and believe me, there is – then I want to be part of the discussion. Wheesht for Indy I wish no part of. But my bigger concern is that a robust response to this seems to be lacking. Ross’s words were ludicrous, but also predictable, and the party now has a CEO with a strong media background. I may have missed something, but why aren’t we all over this? And where, incidentally, is the robust championing of the First Minister doing what we should expect him to do at least some of the time – going abroad and selling Scotland to the world? We boast then we cower. Once again we are reactive, not proactive, and the episode speaks I think to a wider inertia from Scotland’s largest party not just to a confected stooshie about transport but to independence itself. In short, if we don’t believe in ourselves, why should anyone else?
We have to get on the front foot. It’s later than we think, and Scotland can ill afford to miss the last tram to normality.