Friday, 4 December 2009

GARL Vote - SNP and Tory Coalition

One of the notable things about the current Scottish Pariament, and something that has always puzzled me, is that the SNP's best friends at Holyrood are the Tories. The Tories would deny it of course, but actions speak louder than words.

The SNP Budget would certainly have failed in the last two years if the Conservatives had not rescued it with their votes. The mystery is why the party that has in the recent past styled itself The Conservative and Unionist Party, is the party that always seems to prop up the SNP administration at moments of danger.

The process continues with the defeat of a Labour attempt to rescue the Glasgow Airport Rail Link by getting it into this year's budget.

The publication of the Finance Committee’s Budget Report shows that the Conservative MSP Derek Brownlee voted with the SNP members of the committee to prevent the reinstatement of GARL.

This is doubly puzzling since the leaders of the six largest Scottish business associations have recently started a campaign to save the GARL.

The Conservatives like to pose as the businessman's party. It is difficult to see what benefit the Tories gain from this abandonment of their usual business friendly stance. No doubt the will claim some concessions in the Budget, but it is unlikley that any gain will balance the Tories' loss of credibility with Scottish business leaders.

And as the SNP slithers and slips in popularity the the Tories risk being harmed by their close association with the less and less popular nationalists.


  1. PS
    "And as the SNP slithers and slips in popularity the the Tories risk being harmed by their close association with the less and less popular nationalists. "

    Comedy Gold! ;-)

  2. Maybe the Tories actually read the CBI response to the GAL proposal...

    "Taking the pressure off other modes of transport, stimulating local economic growth, providing business and other travellers with more choice, improving Scotland’s international connectivity and integrating with the existing transport network are factors that suggest this is a sensible policy to pursue, subject to satisfactory answers on affordability."

    and decided that when Labour priced the 1 mile of rail link into Gilmour street without thinking about the cost of removing the fuel depots or the fact that it was being built on a marsh.

    that what is effectively a shuttle into Paisley really wasn't worth £170million being quoted.

    That's just the view of a sensible moderate fellow who thinks that £170 million for 1 mile of railway really is a waste of time and resource...

  3. No doubt the Tories recognise that the money simply isn't there and are not prepared to play quite such silly games as Labour & LibDems.

    The SNP are not making up the fact that Westminster have cut their budget in real terms

  4. Of course you guys are entitled to your opinion on GARL.

    But it's just astonishing the number of nationalists who, it appears, were always opposed to GARL, but kept silent while the SNP seemed to be in favour...

    Or maybe they only discovered their opposition when the SNP changed their position..?

    No. Surely not. That would be just too cynical.

    IMO it is a much needed project and about 20 years overdue.

  5. And it is surprising that the Tories, the so-called party of business and the union, are so close so often to the SNP who want to destroy that union.

    And in this case the Tories are far from the business community as well.

    Makes you wonder what they stand for...

  6. Not at all, I fully support a GARL and EARL, but I'd much rather we have a decent high speed uk wide rail network.

    The truth of it is that the benefit GARL offers could be met by a decent shuttle service from the airport front door to the back of Gilmour street station and a couple of escalators in Gilmour Street. I'll leave you to estimate the costs for that and you can get back to me with why that wouldn't be as effective a solution as is being proposed currently.

  7. So, is the SNP government now proposing a shuttle from the airport front door to Gilmour Street?

  8. I don't think, even by the longest stretch of the imagination, I could be said to speak for the SNP government.

    I would have hoped though that those people who seem to have such a desperate need for said airport link would have turned their minds to Plan B... After all, it's apparently a crucial part of the transport infrastructure...

    So the question should be. Whose proposal was GARL? Whom would it serve? and do they have an alternative if it's such an important issue?

  9. Those who thought there was a desperate need for it included John Swinney, until about 6 weeks ago.

    Haven't seen his plan B yet.

    Other who thought so include Labour and Lib dem MSPs. But they are not in power, so I suppose their plan B is to get elected, get rid of the SNP and start building Scotland's infrastructure again.

    But they have to get power first.

  10. Desperate need? Nah.
    Nice to have? maybe.

    The SNP minister for transport is Stewart Stevenson, and yes, I'd like to hear what he has to say on the matter too!

    The truth is that 1 mile of track between Gilmour street and the airport has been canned whilst the other planned improvements between Paisley and Glasgow are continuing.

    I suspect you've already concluded as I have that a decent shuttle service between the airport front door and Gilmour street back door with suitable improvements to the platform access at Gilmour street complementing these new improved services to Paisley would be a very decent 2nd best...

  11. Jim,

    Your right!

    The Transport Minister is called Stewart Stevenson. And, strangely, we haven't heard his opinion on this, just John Swinney's.

    Actually, come to think of it, as spokesmen from the SNP we get about 75% Salmond and 23% Sturgeon. Swinney lurks about and gets crumbs.

    Kenny McAskill is on holiday apparently. In Libya visiting old friends....?

    Can't say I recall seeing any other SNP Minister say anything much in public

    ..Now, Fiona Hyslop....that's another matter....