Saturday, 11 December 2010

Alex Salmond must be wrong

Scotland's Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson decided that he should resign over his handling of the travel chaos caused by last week's extreme winter weather. He obviously thought that his actions were so poor that he was not worthy to remain a minister and this is a commonly held view. However I saw Alex Salmond on the news on Saturday evening. He seemed to think that Mr Stevenson should not have resigned because the weather was bad.

"I am very sorry that a decent man a competent minister has been forced into resignation basically because of the extremeties of the climate". Maybe Alex Salmond has had time to reconsider his opinion and does not stand by this statement. However this is what made the headlines and it makes Alex look incompetent just like his ex-transport minister.

I don't think that we can hold ministers responsible for failures in the weather forecast. I don't think we can hold them responsible for a failure to deal with a "perfect storm" but we can hold them responsible for failures of communication. On reflection Mr Stevenson must feel that he has failed. What is definite is that he failed to communicate this failure to Mr Salmond, so logic says he has to go on the very simple point that he cannot speak with his leader, never mind the much more complex vagaries of the weather.

As for the weather, we have to decide whether we want to deal with the worst weather possible and keep roads open,or whether we need to close roads.What we don't want is a 20-mile stretch of the M8 closed for 48 hours with hundreds trapped in their vehicles overnight.

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