Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do Not Be Fooled by Inaction of a Quiet Party

Last summer Stewart Hosie MP the SNP's Treasury spokesman said:

"Hauliers, and motorists in rural areas, have been struggling with forecourt prices for some time, but the recession, and now Alistair Darling's plans to increase fuel duty even further are the final straw.
"A road fuel regulator would see any extra cash raised from VAT on higher pump prices go straight back into an equivalent cut in fuel duty.It would give a real lifeline to Scotland's hauliers who are unable to plan effectively for the future because they do not know what the price of fuel will be."

In the European elections the SNP said:

"The SNP is the only party offering a strong voice for Scotland in Europe.

"Only an SNP voice in Europe will put Scotland's economy and Scotland's industries at the forefront of European debate and see Scottish issues represented in Europe."

They also have a voice in Westminster, so how did they use that voice today? Well as Andrew Reeves points out today there was a prime time for Stewart Hosie to make those feelings about Scottish hauliers and motorists heard. Alistair Carmichael the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland brought a debate to Westminster Hall on fuel prices in rural areas. Just the sort of debate that Hosie and his colleagues should have been jumping up and down in, making speeches and interventions, making that voice heard.

Well not as Alistair Carmichael tweeted:

"Good turnout for debate. MPs from all parts of the country. Disappointed no one from the SNP"

Adding as the debate progressed the nature of the issue:

"Several MPs make the point that people in islands have lower incomes and pay more of it for fuel"

Alistair is also Shadow SoS for Northern Ireland so he commented that:

"Three Northern Ireland MPs remind us that this is a problem for them too."

The Lib Dems have for a long time be vocal on this issue and only last month George Lyon Lib Dem MEP called on the UK and Scottish governments to work together to secure a fuel price derogation for the country’s rural and remote areas.

The result of Alistair Carmichael's debate this morning, well as he tweets to this European colleague:

"@georgelyonmep We later got a concession from the minister about examining EU schemes. Can we discuss this some time?"

Liberal Democrats have worked together to get the Minister to look at this issue while the SNP were posted missing through inaction.

Iain Duncan Smith former leader of the Tories said of himself, "do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man". I say today we've learnt just what voice the SNP have for the people of Scotland, it is one that wants to be heard by the people of Scotland in making promises to take action, but when that it comes to getting time to talk about the need for action they fall silent.

Therefore as we head into a Westminster election people should not be fooled by the inaction of a quiet party. They often show they don't care about Westminster, but claim to care about the people, but what when Westminster can actually help them to care for Scotland? Like today.

The SNP are not prepared to make real noise about the needs of Scotland, they only want the voters to think they do so they will vote for them, to give them independence. Then what? Their inaction and quietness speaks louder than....well I would say words...but there were none.

Last autumn our local SNP candidate for Westminster Tam Smith said:

"The Treasury’s tax take on diesel is modern day highway robbery. It is a national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying over 30p a litre more than motorists in Romania and Bulgaria.

"Key sectors like the haulage industry are reeling from forecourt costs, and Alistair Darling must use his Pre-Budget report next month to bring down the cost of fuel.

"A strong haulage industry is a vital part of our economy. Scottish hauliers are being put at a huge competitive disadvantage by this, and the prices just seem to go up and up and up. The fact is that soaring fuel prices are actually hindering economic recovery from recession."
Yet his colleagues failed to use their opportunity today to point out the issues facing rural Scotland, that many of them represent. Thankfully for the people of Wales Plaid Cymru did not take their position so lightly as the SNP did. But the SNP in Government in Holyrood or in Westminster seem so determined and focused on one goal they forget to take necessary steps along the way, when the time is right.

Yes sending Tam to Westminster would bring about a change but by the inaction of his would be colleagues over an issue that affects many Scots that would not be a change for the better, nor the needed change that the people of Linlithgow and East Falkirk need.

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