Some of my readers who live outside Scotland may not be aware Scottish Water is publicly owned. Over the years the Tories have repeatedly suggested it ought to be privatised although various FMs have rejected the idea. Alex Salmond has been strong in his defence of keeping our water in public ownership.
Imagine my surprise when I read Alex Salmond and John Swinney have held secret meetings about the possible sale of Scottish Water with the Australian company which owns Thames Water; the first being 2008 and the second July 2009.
A FOI inquiry disclosed that Mr Salmond and Mr Swinney held at least two meetings with the Australian banking group Macquarie dating back as far as 2008.
The Sunday Herald has reported that the Scottish Futures Trust is looking at alternative models for future ownership of Scottish Water and is considering whether it should be sold off. Although the SNP has insisted that privatisation is not an option, it is now clear that two of the country's most senior ministers were exploring a change of ownership parallel to the review.
A Scottish government spokesman said: "Mr Swinney met representatives of Macquarie bank last June, at their request, to discuss the financing of Scottish Water. There were no actions arising from the meeting."
Young Tris has brought to my attention the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS). This quango, set up in 2005 to encourage Scottish Water to reduce prices for customers, comprises six commissioners and employs around 23 staff on a budget primarily funded by Scottish Water. That doesn't make sense to me that a publicly owned business sets up a quango in order to tell it to reduce prices - am I missing something here?
This quango spent over £100,000 on staff jollies. Isn't life good as a public sector employee? Along with the Health Scotland this is a quango which should be dissolved. (no pun intended).