Saturday, 11 December 2010
Good Idea Mr Salmond
The opposition parties in the Scottish government are still gunning for Stewart Stevenson, the Transport Minister, because he didn't attend Thursday's sub-Cabinet committee meeting on Scottish Government Resilience (SGOR) called to deal with problems caused by the current thaw and the freeze expected towards the end of next week.
Iain Gray, the Labour leader, said: "It is quite clear that Stewart Stevenson has been sidelined since last Tuesday. Scotland has lost confidence in him and it would appear that his colleagues have as well.
The Tory leader Annabel Goldie said: "On Thursday he sat in the chamber during a debate when he should have been at his desk sorting out the travel chaos. And now we learn that today he wasn't at the resilience committee.
Fairly weak comments from Labour and the Tories but will Mr Stevenson's future be affected? Who can tell. But I was pleased to note that Brig George Lowder, the Commander of the Army in Scotland was one of those present at the meeting. Forward planning is one of the strengths of the military and they are trained to plan and act with immediacy.
It also pleased me to hear Alex Salmond say last night that, as well as discussing the use of winter tyres for HGV owners, he was investigating their use for all road users. Presently he is in talks with motor insurance companies and tyre manufacturers who, he said, may be able to offer Scots a 'good deal' because of the initial high demand which would occur if legislation to this effect was passed.
Before people say they can't afford two sets of tyres, winter tyres can be used here all year round with the wear and tear being no worse than that of standard tyres. Read the comments here from those who already use them. In order to save money I would only use winter tyres from November to March then change back to standard tyres and repeat that until my standard tyres needed replaced. Only then would I start to use winter tyres all year round.
Certainly I'm all for legislation being passed, because it would be unfair to legislate only heavy goods vehicles while smaller vehicles are just as likely to block roads in bad weather. It was the volume of abandoned cars which held up the clearing of the M8 on Monday.
A footnote. Yesterday I was talking to someone who took a friend to Edinburgh airport on Wednesday. They said the approach road was in a disgusting state of hard-packed rutted ice and vehicles were all over the place. Furthermore, then said if they hadn't been driving a 4 x 4 then would have turned back. Maybe Mr Stevenson should have a word with BAA.