Friday, 20 November 2009

John Swinney - Scottish Politician of the Year

Mr Swinney is, it seems, "Scottish Politician of the Year". Which award was given him by the Herald because "he has handled a very difficult brief in the teeth of the recession really well "...

Is that right. Let's examine the evidence...

John Swinney is the Finanace spokesman for the SNP. The SNP had two big promises in the area of Finance.

1. A local Income Tax to replace the "Hated Community Charge".

2. A Scottish Futures Trust to replace the "Hated PPP".

Mr Swinney is the man in charge of these key policies, neither of which has been enacted.

The LIT was complicated in theory, obscure in practice, fiendishly complicated in execution and quite probably illegal in Scots law. So it has been dropped and the Community Charge continues in being.

None of this was news to Mr Swinney. Some version of LIT has been mooted on and off for 50 years: but it has never been enacted for the reasons detailed above. Mr Swinney knew all of that, but still went ahead and made a manifesto promise to deliver it...without actually thinking through the details of his chosen policy.

The Scottish Futures Trust, now there's a story. This magicical mechanism was intended to do away with PPP. It would, we were promised, provide the Finance and the Project Management Mechanisms to deliver major infrastructure developments, more quickly, efficiently and at a fraction of the costs of PPP. And...

Well, to be honest, it doesn't exist. There is something masquerading under the name of a "Scottish Futures Trust", but it does not provide the Finance for major (or indeed any)infrastructure projects. If truth be told the so-called "Scottish Futures Trust" consists of an office in Glasgow with a big rubber stamp with which to "approve" projects that would have been approved in any case. It's fig-leaf and a process bottleneck. It's essentially worthless, and it has not delivered on new major development.

In fact, while we were waiting for this mythical beast to be born, the SNP built not one new school, EARL and GARL were abandoned, and the Aberdeen ring road sunk for lack of vision by the SNP and lack of a proper funding mechanism. The one major infrastructure project that is to go ahead is the new Forth Bridge. And the funding? We don't really know yet, but it will not be from the SFT....

Two and a half years wasted in the futile pursuit of badly defined and thought out policies on local taxation and infrastructure funding, and vital infrastructure projects dropped or delayed or de-scoped as a consequence.

And the politician responsible is "Scottish Politician of the Year"?

What must the rest of them be like...???


  1. Have a look at my blog post. I think the reason Mr Swinney wins may become obvious - it has been a bad year for politicians!

  2. Gosh it must hurt when your favorite rant gets a kick in the balls. Poor you.

  3. It's not right Jeanne, I agree.

    BTW, I'm sure John Swinney is a nice man.
    I just resent politicians who refuse to build schools and hospitals.

    You may have a different opinion, to which you are entitled, of course.