Did Minister write Transport Scotland “clarification”?

Please note the difference between these two statements.

Firstly, from a Transport Scotland rail consultation document released on 15th November.

“there may… be, particularly for Scotland, significant constitutional changes. Accordingly, we welcome views on the merits, or otherwise, of proceeding with a short-term franchise.”

And now, a Transport Scotland spokeswoman from today.

“Constitutional change would enable the Scottish government to develop a rail franchise that offers real opportunities to achieve more for Scotland – with more borrowing powers, more responsibilities for cross-border rail, and more progress over high-speed rail.”

Only 8 days but in context these two statements are worlds apart.

Putting aside for a second that no where in the Transport Scotland consultation does it even mention high-speed rail, last week the SNP government said that the consultation did not “reflect the views of Ministers” yet now it has ordered a spokeswoman to clarify the document so they can hug it close.

It is astonishing that a government agency has made such a political statement.

Transport Scotland could have easily responded to critics, myself included, who say that “constitutional uncertainty” is hurting the long-term interests of rail passengers by saying that there is an ongoing consultation which will look at long and short-term options for Scotland’s rail network and as a Government agency it has to keep all options open.

Instead, we get a regurgitated SNP line that could have come from the Transport Minister himself – perhaps it did, only time will tell.

This nobbling of anything and anyone who opposes the SNP view must stop. It does Scotland a disservice.

 

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