On a recent trip up North, this Hound was rudely detoured just past Oban when the crumbling Connel Bridge spanning Loch Etive was shut for maintenance. After another two hours on the A85 and A82, I was again detoured as the Corran Ferry was off.
To be sure, there are worse stretches of road to get stuck on. But with every extra mile, under stunning peaks and through lush valleys, there came the dull reminder of the crumbling infrastructure that had delayed me.
Today I was reminded of this – less the valleys, more the miles – by Penny Mordaunt’s scathing criticism in the Commons of the SNP’s gross failings and financial mismanagement.
The Leader of the Commons and MP for Portsmouth North had a pop at those on the benches diagonally across from her, condemning their “poor stewardship of public funds” and the chaotic management of the party’s finances which she said reflected negatively on Scottish politics as a whole.
As Mordaunt’s tirade came to a close, she said: “We are not just wondering how much longer those CalMac ferries will be in the dock, but also how many SNP figures will as well.”
Quite! The ferry scandal is but one of a cluster of SNP failures. Mordaunt’s speech comes as former Ferguson shipyard owner, Jim McColl, said he would buy back the yard for a pound.
On Tuesday, the Scottish government admitted that it would cost more to finish the Glen Sannox and Hull 802 in the yard at Port Glasgow than it would to order new ones from elsewhere.
McColl saved the shipyard from administration in 2014. The following year the yard received £97 million to build two ferries which should have entered service in 2018. Neither boat is built and the whole mess is estimated to have cost upwards of £200 million.
In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, The River Clyde produced 30,000 ships – a fifth of the world’s shipping. Now, we can’t even build a canoe.
As the Clyde’s finest product, Billy Connolly, once said: “There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter.” And under the SNP, it’s been winter for too long.
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