Not so much wild in the country as utterly livid
TO my shame, I know little of the work of the Scottish Rural Parliament but it is to Holyrood’s shame that such a thing even exists. It is a forum to discuss matters rustic, rather than an actual parliament, and it convenes in Stranraer, Wigtownshire, next week.
My old home town is the ideal venue, a microcosm of the blight plaguing rural fringes while the urban-obsessed SNP burnishes its city-centric agenda.
The South-West has been all but cut off as train services from Ayr were crippled by a hotel hard by the station descending to a state of near collapse.
Meanwhile, the key A75 and A77 roads – both usually have ‘killer’ appended – are subject to repeated closures and tortuous diversions of the sort the good people of the Kintyre peninsula know all too well as Rest and Be Thankful crumbles.
Incidentally, these two roads – really a series of interconnected accident blackspots – are what would service the pie-in-the-sky Celtic Bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
No surprise that proponents of a bridge – a boon for Chinese steel and ordnancedisposal experts who would have to defuse a million tons of war-surplus explosives dumped in the North Channel – include crooner Pat Kane.
The separatist cheerleader’s experience of transport infrastructure appears to extend to setting his 1989 single Looking for Linda aboard a slow train to Paisley.
Meanwhile, MSPs popping wee foldy bicycles into a taxi (Take the long route, cabbie – Joe Public is paying!) from Waverley Station to Holyrood are insisting we use public transport. Do they not grasp that outwith the M8 corridor, over which they fret obsessively, a car is not a frippery but an essential?
And how jaw-dropping that Nationalist Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, is miffed at how big Highland constituencies are.
Yes, it must be tough holding surgeries and cutting back and forth to Edinburgh, Kate, but spare a thought for those who must traverse rural swathes at personal expense and not that of the taxpayer.
While the Rural Parliament will discuss (as Holyrood ought to be doing) the misery that is depopulation caused by lack of jobs and investment as well as the crippling lack of broadband, there are ominous signs.
Keynote speakers include Mike Russell, the dud former education secretary axed but brought back to the non-job of Brexit Minister, and Mairi Gougeon.
Minister for Rural Affairs Miss Gougeon ought to be the busiest woman in Scotland but she makes Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, Invisible Man of the Cabinet, look high-profile.
Both are speaking about Brexit, as though everything in the rural garden is currently rosy and all country sorts have to fear is the ‘Tory Brexit’ cloud on the horizon.
What utter tripe. Rural Scotland is screaming for immediate help from indifferent politicians who can’t even grasp half the issues.
The First Minister will be a no-show on the shores of picturesque Loch Ryan.
Her dainty size threes are more likely to be found in carmine stilettos as she butters up arts luvvies with vague promises of a film studio than in wellies while she wrestles with the knotty problems of the rural Scotland of which she knows so very little.