Sunday, 12 December 2010
A Slippy Portfolio
It was no surprise to learn Stewart Stevenson, the Scotland's Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change resigned yesterday, although I do think it was rather a pointless resignation in some ways. He wasn't responsible for the weather or the poor driving standards of some road users last week, but he was responsible for showing the public he had command of his transport brief. On Newsnight last week it was fairly obvious he had no realistic understanding of the situation. Mind you, the behaviour of the interviewer was also quite pathetic is his calls for an apology. This latest trend in Scottish politics of the media expecting our representatives to prostrate themselves on a BBC studio floor is distasteful. Like many, I prefer an apology to be sincere and listening to a BBC interviewer repeatedly saying, 'Will you apologise to the public?' was wearisome. During the 24 hours of chaos on the M8 last week I never heard one member of the public blame the Government. The police were criticised over and over again but the First Minister has strongly defended their actions or lack of them.
Who will succeed him? I would rather leave that to more informed SNP bloggers. Joan MacAlpine has the suggestion it could be time for a female to hold the post - Roseanne Cunningham would be my choice - while Brian Taylor gives us his pennyworth of really nothing. Scotland's satirical blogger mentions Mr Stevenson in his latest post as does Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP, who concentrates more on the climate change aspect of the job rather than Mr Stevenson's resignation. I would tend to agree with one of his commenters that this was a stitch up among the unionist parties and the Scottish media. Once Mr Stevenson's absence at Friday's meeting became public, the writing was on the wall I suspect.
Will Patterson contributes a thoughtful insight into possible successors and I hope he has no objection to me quoting his last sentence: 'By the end of the week, Scotland will have either a new Transport Minister or an early election on its hands. Fasten your seatbelts...'
Alex Salmond has a wide choice of experienced colleagues who would be very capable of handling the portfolio. Labour and the other unionist parties may just regret their decision to put so much pressure upon Mr Stevenson this past week.