Who is this supposed to deceive?
This flier put on cars waiting for the CalMac ferry this week is perhaps the most extreme example yet of distortions and absurdities in relation to the Gourock-Dunoon ferry service. This was the back of the flier issued on behalf of Mike MacKenzie, the SNP candidate for Argyll and Bute for the forthcoming Westminster election ......
This is such a set of distortions and absurdities that ti is difficult to know where to start. I will just deal with some statements
Statement 1: "if the SNP hadn't won in 2007... there wouldn't even be a ferry to argue about"
Comment: absolute rubbish with not a stitch of evidence to back it up. This looks like a pathetic exercise in managing expectations so that when the government announces the service is "saved" they hope it will be seen as a triumph - and just wait for the re-appearance of the fast passenger proposal as a "triumph" for a "new improved service"
Statement 2: "the voters gave the SNP a mandate to prevent the ending of the service". :
Comment: more rubbish, the actual mandate the voters gave the government was to build two new vehicle-carrying ferries (see below). As for any supposed mandate to "prevent the ending of the service". ... see Statement 1 above, there was no risk that the service would end, the repeat of this nonsense is working on principles that if you tell a big enough lie, and often enough, it will be believed..
Statement 3: "The SNP went to the EU to make sure everything they do is clear and legitimate"
Comment: I think they mean the EC (European Commission) - we are already part of the EU (European Union) and have been for many years so if they went to the EU they would not have to travel very far, we are there already. There was no need to go to the EC (let alone the EU), as was made clear by me and others before the election, the EC played no part in imposing or maintaining any restrictions and the government knew that. The EC is a red herring played by this government as well as previous ones.
Now let us move on to the statements that are true
Statement 4: "they (LibDems) maintained the disastrous one boat an hour restriction brought in by the Tories which destroyed the viability of the CalMac service".
Comment: true. So why did this government not lift the restriction imposed by the Tories as soon as they were elected three years ago? The restriction was based on old domestic (Thatcherite) politics, not EC law, so there was no reason why this restriction could not have been lifted immediately.
Statement 5: "They (LibDems) saw the linkspan being built for over £1.5 mill but made no moves to order boats for it"
Comment: again true. So why did this government not order these boats (as they promised they would when they were in opposition) when they took office three years ago, the boats could have been built and in operation by now. In any case, why are they not being built even now?
Statement 6: "They (LibDems) were involved in secret meetings about a passenger only service"
Comment: again, true it was my FoI request detailed elsewhere on this site see here and here which found out (some of) the truth about this. So why has this government created a situation in which a passenger-only outcome is all but inevitable (see here and here and here)?
Statement 7: "who can forget our LibDems being shouted down in the Queens Hall as they suggested a passenger-only service"
Comment: again true, I don't forget that, I was there. But if you think that the reaction to the suggestion was violent, just wait until you see the reaction to the reality of passenger-only when it is finally delivered by this government (see again my Gourock-Dunoon posts of the last few days) .
Statement 8: "but what a ferry shambles ... A run down service with out of date boats which couldn't use the new linkspan - and no new boats (which could take several years to be brought into service even ordered"
Comment:: exactly - completely true - but who do you think has been running the service for the past three years - the Tooth Fairy? Again these boats could have been ordered and introduced into service at the time of the start of this government
The flier should be contrasted with what was promised by these same people before this election. Then I will deal with one last (true) statement by the flier above.
Note that the promise of new boats and vehicle-passenger carrying in this earlier flier has disappeared from the flier released this week Now back to that first flier....
Statement 9: "when the people of Argyll and Bute elected (the SNP constiuency MSP) and the SNP this provided the one seat majority that put the SNP government in"
Comment: absolutely true. The SNP won the seat by just 865 votes in 2007. There are many times more use the two Gourock-Dunoon ferry services each day, and many times more again who depend on these services or whose futures are affected by them.
Many were convinced by the promise of "new" ferries and the promise to "work to ensure that vehicles can be carried on the ferries operating between the town centres" (note also "ferries" in the plural).
That promise helped to win Argyll and Bute for them and so helped create the one seat majority that in turn led to the present government.
A government built on a lie.
Neil Kay April 18th 2010