December 13th, 2010
SORRY NOT GOOD ENOUGH
It has been a week to forget for most people with snow and ice bringing the country to a standstill.
Schools closed, major roads shut off, trains cancelled and fuel and food shortages have created havoc.
Like many of you, I have my own tale of woe, having being stuck in the car for two hours in Greenock last Monday and then having to abort my journey to Edinburgh on Tuesday night when the M8 was closed.
I fared only slightly better when I switched to the train, leaving Greenock West station shortly after 6am on Wednesday and finally arriving in Edinburgh six hours later.
It has been the worst winter weather conditions for decades and it has raised serious questions over how prepared we are for the worst.
While we are grateful to the council staff, health workers and police officers who have did their level best in difficult circumstances, people have been left angry at Scotland’s reaction to the heavy snow.
The focal point of people’s frustrations has been the hapless Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson, who turned incompetence into an art form this week.
He spectacularly failed to take heed of the dire weather forecasts, was inert in responding to the escalating crisis and then refused to apologise on TV while hundreds of angry motorists slept in their car.
Not for the first time this year, the Scottish Government eventually got round to an embarrassing climb down and a grudging apology.
With Alex Salmond’s mishandling of the Clan Gathering, John Swinney’s gaffe over tax-raising powers and Nicola Sturgeon’s misguided defence of a convicted fraudster, sorry really does seem to be the hardest word.
As the Scottish Government lurch from crisis to crisis, Alex Salmond has yet to receive a resignation letter or issue a P45 to any of his blundering ministers.
This time he needs to take action against the Transport Minister who let Scotland’s main artery grind to a halt for two days or apologise for his sorry excuse for a government.