Monday, March 02, 2009

Nairn, roads and a hot political debate

The Nairn By-pass seems to be at the top of today's political debate in the Highlands. The Gurn has received an SNP press release from Dave Thomson MSP who challenges the Lib Dems with the following letter he has sent to the P&J:
Dear Sir,

Let us have a little honesty in politics. And let us start with the Liberal Democrats and MP Danny Alexander.

Mr Alexander has been shamelessly scaremongering that Scottish Government transport priorities will prohibit the building of any new road projects until 2017. He has even gone so far as to print "Nairn Bypass Now" stickers in an attempt to substantiate his ridiculous claims on the bumper of every car in the Highlands.

In reality however, it is the LibDems' Scottish leader Tavish Scott who has signed his name to the Liberal Democrat policy stating "We believe that building more roads and runways will not tackle congestion." In fact, it was the Liberal Democrats who voted for £500 million of Scottish Government money to be diverted to build Edinburgh's trams rather than Highland projects.
It is the leader of Danny Alexander's Westminster group of Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, who has announced that future Liberal Democrat policy will cut 90% from building new roads.
And it is the Liberal Democrats tax policies which will mean cuts in public spending by £800 million in Scotland and £20 billion across the UK. How can they pay for their promises in the Highlands when in Edinburgh and London they support cutting spending on road projects?
It all means something very simple.

Liberal Democrats had the means and the money to support the Nairn Bypass. They made other choices but think they can take the voters for fools by promising something that they will have no money to pay for. That is just not credible nor honest politics.

Under the previous LibDem/Labour administration no major road projects were started in the Highlands in eight years in power - it is the SNP that have announced dualling the A9, upgrading the A82 and provided funding for the eastern approach for the Inverness by-pass.
If we had a Liberal Democrat administration none of those projects would have had funding, and schemes such as the Nairn Bypass or the Inverness TLR would never be started, far less finished.

Yours sincerely,
Dave Thompson MSP
Dave Thompson has some other harsh words for Danny Alexander, he states in his press release:
"Danny Alexander has some questions to answer about why he is telling Highlanders one thing whilst supporting a different policy when in London. Voters don't like being treated as fools by sneaky LibDem politicians.
"He should stop hiding the LibDems’ failures behind bluff, bluster and misleading statements. It's time the LibDems told the truth to people across the Highlands about their policy on roads and recognised the damaging impact their policies would have on the Highland economy.
”If we had a Liberal Democrat administration none of those projects would have had funding and schemes such as the Nairn Bypass or the Inverness TLR would never be started, far less finished.”
There we go folks, looks like we can expect more debate on the by-pass issue. You can read the full press release from Dave Thomson on this web page.

1 comment:

nairnbairn said...

Oh dear, oh dear. The pernicious effect of party politicking threatens once again to divert energy and attention away from a sensible debate about action to improve Nairn. It's happening on MyNairn as well.

Here we have, in quick succession, a slanging match between LibDems and SNP about who is hypocritical and who is serious about support for the bypass. And a Tory "initiative" to assist High Streets, based on the deal they cut in Holyrood over the Scottish budget - even though they don't actually control whatever funds are earmarked for this purpose.

There seems to be a wide consensus that Nairn needs to address some major urban-revival and development challenges if the town is to survive.

It's important to have debate, online and elsewhere. But if the energy currently devoted to political point-scoring was focused instead on constructive efforts to make a practical difference, our elected representatives would be more deserving of our respect.